Wool from Afar

Some friends of our just took a cruise around South America (38 days- major trip). One of the places they stopped was the Falkland islands. While in port in the Falklands, Margaret took a trip ashore to visit a sheep farm. Here’s her report:

“Today (day 9) we are anchored in Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, S51°,40’, W57°50’. The sun was shining, the sea slight and the wind moderate. I had to get up early for a trip to a sheep farm. Archie couldn’t go as we had to go by tender (which double as life boats) and we expected that there would be quite a bit of walking involved. The ride to shore was about 20 minutes and the drive to the farm almost an hour through rather desolate country. It is mostly barren with huge rivers of rocks. The island population is about 2500 with only about 200 living outside of Port Stanley. The islands are British and cars – of which there are very few- drive on the left side of the road. In 1982, Argentine forces invaded and occupied the islands for 10 weeks before being defeated by the British. The British still hate the Argentinians who come to the island wanting to plant their flag there only to get chased away. Not sure why they want the Falklands so badly except that there are oil deposits offshore but no one has tried to drill for any as it is too difficult and expensive.

Anyway, the sheep farm was very interesting. It is located on 2300 acres of East Falkland farmland which supports over 3000 sheep, 70 cattle, 28 horses, 7 sheepdogs, 12 chicken and 3 cats. They grow their own vegetables and use hand cut peat to fuel the house and the cook stove. They showed us how they cut the peat and then sheared two of the sheep, saddled a horse and invited us to tea and coffee in their cozy kitchen.”

And here are the sheep who “volunteered” for the shearing demo:

Before-

Falkland Sheep2

During-

Falkland Shearing1

And after-

Falkland sheep shorn

Margaret asked if she could get some raw wool to bring back for me,, but was advised that it probably wouldn’t make it through customs. Oh well.

But, she did snag some yarn for me in Peru!

It is a big hank (10.5 oz, about 250 yards), rather rusticly spun, and still had quite a bit of lanolin in it.

peru yarn

First I balled it up,

Bruno w peru yarn

Then I re-skeined it and washed it lightly to relax it some (it was kinda kinky) and get rid of the slightly waxy feel

Here it is drying on our not-yet-blooming cherry tree-

peru yarn washed

And here it is, all freshly washed and dried.

peru yarn dried

I unspun a little bit to get a look at the fibers, and they are fairly fine, and only about 2 inches long. Don’t know what type of sheep they’d have in Peru. Anyone? Anyone?

Peru Wool unspun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *