Lambing season has been progressing at a slow pace. The snow is still on the ground and many of the ewes are starting to show signs of being close to delivering. What does that look like, you ask? The most outward sign is that the ewe's udder begins to swell. The correct shepherding term is "bagging up." When we walk around the field, surveying which ewe is close, that is the word that flies from our lips most frequently.
|This ewe is bagging up and close to a new lamb|
Another sign we look for is any ewe who has isolated herself from the flock. When they are closer to delivery they stop eating and move to the outer edges of the field. Sometimes ewes begin pawing the ground, building a little nest for their new lambs. Many times a ewe will begin hanging around the just born babies, even trying to steal the baby from the real mom. I bet you didn't think such "soap opera" events could happen in a sheep barn! Well they do and the humans get to watch it all.
When each lamb is born, we dip their umbilical cord in iodine. We place a band on their tail which will make it fall off in about 2 weeks. Short tails mean the grown sheep will be less susceptible to flystrike. Using a wool friendly spray paint, we mark each lamb with the ewe's eartag number. This year we are also painting the ewes so it is easier to match the pairs up. Blue paint means the ewe has a single lamb. Green paint means the ewe has twins. The colored stripe down the back of the ewe tells us which 2 week period the lamb was born in.
Personally, I hate the way the paint messes up my photos but there needs to be some sense of order in the complete chaos.
Now for the knitting news at hand. I'm so happy to introduce you to a new book by my friend Gudrun Johnston (aka The Shetland Trader). Gudrun hails from Scotland but she now lives here in the Pioneer Valley with her husband David and their two gorgeous children Maya and Sage. They have two of our kittens too. Gudrun was here at the farm this summer to pick up a kitten just before she was on the way to the photo shoot for her new book Knit with Me - A Mother & Daughter Collection. That is Gudrun and her teenage daughter Maya on the cover.
Today I'd like to share some projects from this lovely book. What I like about it is the designs are all rather easy to knit. The styling is casual. The sweaters are very wearable and perfect for busy moms and busy teens. Lovely wearable colors. Natural fibers. Easy knitting gauges. Lovely photography.
The designs are sized to fit teens to adult women. This is great because that whole teenage issue of finding sweaters to make for teenage girls is tricky. I know - I am living through it. Most of the designs are sized from 30" chest to 52" chest which is fabulous. (On an aside, I am getting pretty frustrated with so many of the magazines now that size sweaters from 30" to 40" finished chest. Seriously - they are not thinking of many women.) Many of the sweaters have 12 sizes! What a lot of math (that is the designer in me speaking!) Gudrun ROCKS!
When I showed Julia the book, she chose her favorite design - Braeburn.
Personally, my favorite is this one. It is shown on Gudrun's beautiful daughter Maya. Simple lace flowers at the waist. A nice scooped neck. Love the photo.
Gudrun has also included a great selection of accessories including hats, cowls, leggings, scarves.
So here's what I have for one lucky winner today..... A copy of Gudrun's new book Knit With Me. Here's how you enter.....
Answer the following question in the comments:
Who taught you to knit? Was it your mom, your grandmom, a friend, a yarn store....???
Contest is over! The winner is Francie who wrote: My Great Aunt Frances taught me to knit and crochet when I was very young but I didn't "really" start knitting until after she had passed away. By then, I needed a book to help me get it right. Thanks for the chance to win a great looking book.