Alf, Border Collie

A look back over the last year

Well 2017 has been and gone, and here at Hawkshaw Sheep HQ, what a year it has been, mostly ups a few downs and as usual controlled by the weather!


Jan - The 2016 clip of the Hawkshaw Sheep fleeces arrived back in the from of yarn, the start of my new business.
Sent in an application for Woolfest which if accepted is where I will be launching my Hawkshaw Sheep business.
I took my weaving yarn over to Andrew Elliott the weavers in selkirk to have a length of Tweed cloth produced.

Feb - This month was taken up with twisting the hanks of yarn into skeins then making and attaching the labels.
Heard that my application for Woolfest had been accepted.
Got my Tweed cloth back from the weaver, it far exceeded my expectations, it is gorgeous.

Well 2017 has been and gone, and here at Hawkshaw Sheep HQ, what a year it has been, mostly ups a few downs and as usual controlled by the weather!


Jan - The 2016 clip of the Hawkshaw Sheep fleeces arrived back in the from of yarn, the start of my new business.

Sent in an application for Woolfest which if accepted is where I will be launching my Hawkshaw Sheep business.

I took my weaving yarn over to Andrew Elliott the weavers in selkirk to have a length of Tweed cloth produced.


Feb - This month was taken up with twisting the hanks of yarn into skeins then making and attaching the labels.

Heard that my application for Woolfest had been accepted.

Got my Tweed cloth back from the weaver, it far exceeded my expectations, it is gorgeous.


Mar - Had a day out at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, what a great day I had looking around the stands to get some inspiration for how to set up my stand at Woolfest.

Last week of March we started to gather in the sheep in preparation for lambing, gave them their vaccinations and wormer.


Apr - Started lambing on the 23rd then had snow on the 24th, it happens every year, it snows at some point during lambing. Luckily I don't have to physically lamb any of my sheep, but I do have to catch all the lambs to ear tag them and log their parentage on the tag scanner.


May - First 2 weeks were totally taken up with the lambing, after the snow we had some very hard frosts, but gorgeous clear days, it's a good job my sheep and lambs are super hardy. finished lambing in the third week of May, and I think what must be a first for us there hasn't been a drop of rain since the snow.

Went to the sheepdog sale at Skipton, I have to work, as I scan all the dogs for microchip details which must match what is written in the catalogue.


June - Started to halter train the sheep that I'm taking to Woolfest, it's a good job I started this early, as they did not take to it like I was expecting, however by the time of Woolfest they were walking like dogs on leads.

The rest of the month was spent preparing the stuff needed for putting up my stand.

Woolfest was just brilliant, I really had a great time, although I discovered it was a huge learning curve for me, from setting up which took me six hours to discovering the best way to approach potential customers.


July- I made a start to clip my Wensleydale sheep, as they are so big I have to clip them standing up, however they were the only sheep that got clipped as the weather turned and we had practically non stop rain for the rest of the month.

I took a trip to the British wool show at Thirsk, mainly to see if it would be a suitable show for me to apply to vend at next year.


Aug - 6th of August we finally got the rest of the flock clipped, which was way too late, most of the Hebridean sheep fleeces had felted so much that they couldn't be used to make yarn with.

I had some fleeces booked into The Border Mill for the middle of August, and I only just managed to sort out the required weight in time.

Also in the middle of the month I was asked if I would display my yarns in the fleece tent at Peebles show, I was amazed at how many people were interested in what I was doing with my fleeces.


Sept - It was a very busy yarny month, firstly I went to the Perth Festival of yarn to vend, what a great event really well organised and attended. later in the month I was vending at the Scottish Smallholder Festival held at Lanark auction, again what a good event. The next day I took myself off to Yarndale which is held in Skipton auction mart, I applied to vend here earlier in the year but didn't get accepted, so I went as a spectator, I had a wonderful day, as there were loads of vendors that I had met at previous events, I had plenty of people to have a chat with.


Oct - I got my yarns back from The Border Mill, they are gorgeous. 

Have decided to sell the Hebridean sheep as for two years running I have had to bin the majority of the fleeces because of felting. The lambs and the shearling males went to the Auction Mart, and the breeding ewes apart from 12 older ladies went up to a farmer in the North of Scotland. 

I bought myself a little box trailer that I could tow with my van, I store all my stand stuff in there permanently and it is lockable from the inside so I can sleep in it when I'm at two day events. I took it when I went to the Kendal Wool Gathering event, the event was very good and I managed to sleep very well in my trailer.


Nov - Early in the month I attended the St. Abbs wool fair which is held in Eyemouth, it is a small event, but it has a huge attendance of people through the doors, I really enjoyed this one.

Joe started gathering the sheep for tup time, when they were gathered I gave them a worm injection and some multi vitamin supplement and sorted them out into there groups ready for the tups to go in.

The tups went in with the ewes on the 29th Nov so we shall expect lambs towards the end of April.


Dec - At the beginning of the month I was invited to attend the Wool Tribe Christmas Party held in Akvar in Edinburgh, what a wonderful night, a whole room full of knitters, I meet some lovely ladies who were sat at the same table as me, and ate some fabulous food.

Every day for four weeks I have to go round each of the groups of sheep and gather them together, in order for the tups to find any sheep that may be coming into season. 

We went to Callums school Christmas event, Callum was singing a solo, which he did beautifully, the perfect start to the Festive season.


Now we are into a new year, I wonder what this year will bring, no doubt the weather will play a big part in it, it always does. I'm researching sheep breeds as I will need to buy something to replace the Hebrideans, I have one breed in mind, but it will depend if I can locate any at this time of year.

Watch this space!


Until next time


Sue


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