On Open Farm Day, we went to Ellsfarm, a family owned sheep farm in Union, Maine. Their sheep are raised free range, providing healthy dairy products, meat and wool.
Farmer Perry Ells names her sheep after movie stars. We saw Madeline Khan and Maggie Gyllenhaal; matrilineal succession marked by the same letter of each animal’s first name.
The sheep were already sheared in the beginning of the summer season, but for the sake of demonstration, Farmer Perry Ells showed us how it is done.
Nice and cool after being sheared.
I couldn’t pass up the yarn they had for sale. The wool is raised and spun right there at Ellsfarm. The dark yarn is all natural, no dyes, just bare dark wool straight from the sheep. The light cream colored yarn is dyed with all natural henna. No harsh chemicals or synthetic dyes.
It was very exciting to have met the sheep that my yarn came from.
The color scheme matched Jay’s wardrobe perfectly, so I decided I would make him something. Since 100% wool tends to be heavy and itchy I thought something that had limited exposure to bare skin, like a hat, would be best.
I knitted with double pointed needles, in a 2×2 rib pattern, to give it a slight elasticity. Everyone who saw me knitting thought for sure it wouldn’t fit Jay’s head because it looked so small.
I was right, though. It fit!
It was the first time I made anything in a rib pattern, so I did have a little doubt regarding the fit, but since I made a swatch prior to knitting the hat (yes, I’ve learned my lesson!) I was 99% sure the hat would fit.
After having worn the hat for several weeks, Jay mentioned that the wool hat made his hair a bit oilier than usual. I’m guessing the wool is so untouched by chemicals, it may still be secreting lanolin.