This past weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Rhinebeck annual Sheep and Wool Festival. It's a family event but mainly a convention for fiber and textile artists to meet, see the latest in fiber arts and buy some yummy fall goodies for the season.
For me, I get the do my annual studio purchases for the upcoming season. I also get to scout out new sheep breeds I have never worked with that will hopefully shape my next collection of designs. This year I decided to purchase one of the oldest known sheep breeds, the Karakul.
Here is a snippet from the Wiki about the breed:
"Karakul or Qaraqul (named after Qorako‘l, a city in Bukhara Province in Uzbekistan) is a breed of domestic sheep which originated in Central Asia. Some archaeological evidence points to Karakul sheep being raised there continuously since 1400 BC.
Hailing from the desert regions of Central Asia, Karakul sheep are renowned for their ability to forage and thrive under extremely harsh living conditions. They can survive severe drought conditions because of a special quality they have, storing fat in their tails. Karakul is also raised in large numbers in Namibia, having first been brought there by German colonists in the early 20th century. They are currently listed as Endangered"
The fiber is super lush and spins up like a dream. I see why this is widely sought after. Sadly, the Karakul Sheep babies are constantly in danger of being slaughtered due to the fashion industry. Its fetal pelts are used in couture fashion and sometimes the mother is killed just to get to the fetus and it's soft and silky pelt. The Karakul fiber obtained here is from a farm in Upstate, NY and the adorable sheep is 2 years old. The Upstate farmers in NY sell their fleece in Rhinebeck to offset the cost of running their homesteads and unless they are raising the flock for meat they usually never slaughter so this young sheep is safe.
This fleece is currently being processed and sorted. Once the packing is complete I will be listing this breed along with some hand-carved spindles in the shop. I will also be releasing some Karakul yarn blends as well.
I also want to talk about some of the new designs and the revamping of the Official SAJATA-E shop but that is a lot of info to unpack. I will post a full article on that shortly.