Friday, July 5, 2013

Sheep Heid - Jacob Style

Every July 4th I remember the Fourth that I spent parked in the truck just outside the barn watching fireworks out the front window and a small Jacob ewe out the driver's side window.  Jacobs are sneaky sneaky when they are going to lamb and I knew she was ready but also knew that if I was there watching it wouldn't happen. 

I'd made Heidi a lambing stall in the barn aisle where I could see her from the truck.  Stella and I had watched the neighboring town's fireworks from up on her hill for awhile and then I headed back to the barn.  I pulled up out front and watched Sunshine being born. I checked to make sure her nose was clear and then stepped back. 

Jacobs are usually up right away, but Sunshine didn't get up.  Heidi did all the right things, but the tiny lamb was unable to stand.  I tried to help her but she was just. couldn't. do. it.  Heidi let me hand milk her and I dribbled milk into her baby's mouth for about an hour and finally if I held her up she could nurse on her own.  That's when I realized there was something wrong.  Her spine looked like an accordion.

I stayed with them to the wee hours of the morning hoping eventually the little lamb would strengthen up.  I knew I'd intervened with something that nature probably would have dealt with differently.  Heidi loved her though and the little lamb didn't know any different so I got her latched on for one last drink and headed to bed. 

The next 36 hours continued in this way.   We didn't name her and figured we were just putting off the inevitable, but couldn't stop trying to help Heidi take care of her.  The third morning I walked into the barn and found her standing up, just as bright and perky as could be.

"Good morning, Sunshine!" 

And that's how she got her name :-).

Sunshine had a variety of medical issues including no bladder control.  We knew we were going to have to be able to catch her and wash her every day and since Jacobs are not known for being super chummy...we got her eating cookies.

And that's how the cookie eating got started :-).

Sunshine was a delightful lamb.  She didn't live quite a year, but she packed a lot of joy (her own and ours) into those months.  It's fun to scroll back and remember.  She was the princess of the farm.  Everyone loved Sunshine.

Kate Davies' Sheep Heid was designed as a Shetland pattern, featuring nine different colors of Shetland wool...from nine different sheep.  I instantly fell in love with the pattern and thought it would be fun to try to  make it from just one sheep.   


By blending different amounts of Sunshine's black and white wool I was able to come up with six of the nine colors.  Janbaby re-worked the original pattern to accommodate those colors and the pattern knit up like a charm. 


I used duplicate stitch to add some different markings and horns to the thirteen sheep around the bottom.  Sunshine had more black than white so while these aren't true to breed standard they are pretty close to Sunshine :-).


I changed the pattern to knit white stitches down the middle of the faces around the top to look more like Jacob sheep.


And I like how they all look a bit different too.  Sometimes the inconsistent thicker and thinner of handspun comes in handy ;-).


Loved the crown shaping.  Such a clever design.



32 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

Wow, WOW! That is just amazing and such a wonderfully beautiful and meaningful way to remember a special sheep. You sure did Sunshine proud.

Maureen said...

Dang it... what a wonderful story and wonderful creation... I am smiling and crying at the same time.

Alice said...

Wow! What a masterpiece! The sentiment and the story behind it are magazine worthy. ..... Spread a little Sunshine!

Willow said...

So much talent you have. Beautiful tribute.

Terry said...

It's a fabulous hat! Sunshine would be proud!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Awesome!!! That deserves a Best In Show ribbon in any and every competition. You did Sushine proud for sure. You did good girl, no you did GREAT.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Awesome!!! That deserves a Best In Show ribbon in any and every competition. You did Sushine proud for sure. You did good girl, no you did GREAT.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Forgot to say I love how the pattern looks like each sheep has many hearts. Wish I could figure out why sometimes I have problems getting one post and next time I get 2, only hit the enter key once.

majorasue said...

What a great hat, and a wonderful tribute to a lovely lamb.

I had one this year that took 48 of the longest hours to figure out nursing. Luckily, I was able to milk her mom and tube feed her while she figured things out.

Peacecat said...

Your knitting skills are so impressive...as are your photography skills, and story-telling skills. What a wonderful way to remember Sunshine.

janna e said...

Perfect. In so many ways.

MarmePurl said...

Good morning Sunshine! Perfect.
Beautiful knitting. Beautiful story. Beautiful lady.

Miranne said...

I am moved to tears by your story - and your spinning and knitting is wonderful, too.

Spinners End Farm said...

Aw......love the backstory on the beautiful hat...labor of love indeed. I'm always amazed how sheep can steal our hearts.

I'm gonna tell Mom! said...

Your Sheep Heid is beautiful. I have the pattern and wool, and now fresh inspiration. Yours is hands down the Best. ver.
Kim

Thirteen Sheep (Or More) said...

Brilliant! It would send me into a permanent state of confusion to try to change the colors on a pattern like that! What a wonderful story! All sheep are special, but some are just extra special!

Rae said...

I loved the story about sunshine and that pattern is beautiful. What a wonderful way to remember her.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Absolutely lovely!! How wonderfully special to have something that you'll always remember being of Sunshine. You walk into my Mom's house and every piece of furniture has a family story. We've heard the stories a zillion of times and now I think of that person when I sit in Aunt Sara's chair or turn on GGgrandma's lamp. Everything you wear has a story. You need to have - or hopefully you already do have a spiral notebook with the sheep's picture and bio on one page and a picture of the things you have knitted from their wool. Spiral notebook so you can add the photo if you knit a year or two down the road!!
Lovely knit hat and an equally lovely story of Sunshine!

Michelle said...

Echoing EVERYONE else's comments; all true! Brava!

Christine said...

Aww, the perfect project for that special fleece! I love the sheep details!

Miha Giustina said...

Sunshine was such a precious little lamb! Love the picture where she kisses your face. And the story, well, as always, said with that special sheep loving goodness.

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

oh, like michelle said, i echo all the above comments and of course cried and laughed with the Sunshine story. g r e a t hat, woof and baa
super job! kate davies would be proud also.

flowerweaver said...

Such a beautiful thing, made from the wool of a beautiful baby! I love how well the sheep came out in the design, and that you were able to spin all those combinations of colors from one wee lamb!

CraftyJeweler said...

Love it! I miss my Jacobs, and those lambs can get into your heart. Sorry that Sunshine was around for so short a time! I love the colors you've gotten...makes me wish i had the time to do more fiber stuff.


I'm pleased to find my Jacob x East Friesian cross lambs have very promising fleeces....now if i can get come color other than black.

sheepsclothing said...

that is just beautiful. sunshine would be so proud!

Kelly said...

I ADORE that hat! What a wonderful story and a fitting tribute to a sweet little special needs lamb. Our little blind lamb is still doing well too so maybe someday I can have you make a similar hat for me. :)

Andee said...

Your hat turned out amazing and the story about Sunshine is so touching. I love that you have such a precious hat with your own touches.

Dianne MacDonald said...

You chose the perfect way to keep Sunshine's memory alive. The hat is gorgeous! Great project, Sara.

Leanne Coppola said...

This hat is the most perfect hat i ever seen. what a wonderful token of love. Beautiful, beuatiful, beautiful.

Kim said...

Wonderful hat! Lovely story.

kenleighacres.com said...

That is so wonderful...the knitting, the colors, the story, and especially that last photo.

I need orange said...

Totally gorgeous hat, from a totally gorgeous little girl's wool.

Perfect tribute to Sunshine.

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