Tunis sheep are really cool. First brought to the US in Colonial times (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned Tunis sheep), they are a heritage breed. Well adapted for our heat and humidity, Tunis was the predominant sheep breed in the south until the Civil War almost wiped them out. Now they are on The Livestock Conservancy's "watch" list. We love buying fleece to support the breed and turning on knitters and spinners to this wonderful Medium wool.
Our host shepherds, Jim and Irene Mandraccia invite you to visit Beaucaire Farm in Purcellville, Virginia on Sunday September 13th. Meet their Tunis sheep and learn what makes them so cool, see a beautiful farm, taste some LoCo (Loudoun County) libations and maybe take one of the two classes offered.
Entrance fee is $15. Part of that goes to Beaucaire, plus you get a $10 coupon good towards Solitude Wool products. The Field day will start at noon and end at 4:00pm. You're welcome to bring a wheel or your knitting and sit and hang out for the afternoon. We will have a stand with Solitude yarns and fibers (including our two ply Tunis and double twist Tunis yarns and roving made with Beaucaire fleece). Beaucaire also has two Tunis farm yarns, fleeces and sheep pelts for sale. We are offering two classes 9two sessions each class) during the day: Knit a rolled brim cap with Karin Fellers (good for beginning knitters, learn circular knitting and more about woolen yarn) and Hand Paint a skein of yarn with Gretchen Frederick. Classes are $45 each and include materials). Email Gretchen to register for a class or pre-pay entrance. If there are still spots available you can sign up day of the event, but class size limited to 6 participants each, so it might be a good idea to act now.
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This is the season for woolen: warm, insulating yarns that are light in weight and cozy. But...you ask, what makes a yarn woolen? The short answer is woolen yarns are spun with fibers opened up, but going all which ways to trap air inside the yarn. They are lighter in weight, but warmer than worsted spun yarns. They tend to hold a shape, are not "hard wearing" and they can pill... but they are great for hats, blankets...sweaters, warm woolen mittens and other of my favorite things.
If you want a bit of a longer explanation...read on.