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pan terra farm

Central Massachusetts

Farmer: Dorothy

Sheep Breed: Icelandic and Shetland

How many sheep do you have?

I have 18 Icelandic sheep and two Shetland sheep right now. I shear the Icelandics twice a year, in early May and then in mid October. Generally, I produce 100 to 150 lbs of fleece each year.

Tell us a little about your farm.

My farm is a 50 acre farm in Central MA which is also home to chickens  a guard donkey and a livestock guarding dog and also hives of bees to pollinate the hay crop. 

How long have you been raising sheep?

I have been raising sheep for about 10 years but raised dairy goats before that.  

Can you clarify what Lopi means? 

Lopi is the traditional way of spinning Icelandic yarn. It has very little twist and contains the two coats of the Icelandic sheep. Icelandic sheep have two coats like dual coated dogs.  The outer coat is long. The inner coat is short and very soft. I have them processed together for a specialty yarn. Some people separate the two coats but I like it better together.

Are there particular qualities of the wool that is different from other sheep?

I chose Icelandics first of all because they are very beautiful . Also, they are naturally short tailed sheep so I don't have to dock the lambs' tails. They also eat very little grain, existing mostly on hay and pasture.  Iceland their home is so small that no grain can be grown so they are very thrifty.

Are you a knitter? Or primarily a weaver? Is there something about the Icelandic sheep wool that is appealing for weaving?

I am mostly a tapestry weaver myself. I do a lot of my own spinning for my weaving but I send a lot out for my knitting and weaving customers.  I also hand dye using plants I can either find or grow on the farm. 

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