I am so very excited to be welcoming a special guest to the Daughter of a Shepherd fold.
Not quite the white sheep of the woolly family, Foxen Meets Merino is a delicate shade of light cinnamon that I fell in love with at first sight earlier this year…
Danica Mäder Jully, owner of German-based yarn company Nature’s Luxury, and I met in March at Edinburgh Yarn Festival where we were both exhibiting. Susan Cropper of Loop messaged each of us to we should meet one another, and over the past six months we have been working together on the patterns Danica writes to accompany her stunning range of hand-painted yarns.
Alongside the hand-dyed range, Danica sources fleece from rare-breed German flocks which is then spun exclusively for her in a traditional family-run mill, also based in Germany. As you would expect, the sheep breeds have the most wonderfully descriptive German names, and I immediately fell in love with the “Coburger Fuchsschaf” when Danica told me more about them.
Roughly translated to “Coburg Foxsheep”, the breed were given the ‘fox’ part of their name from the deep auburn, fox colour of the newly-born lambs. As the sheep grow, the fleece gradually fades to a beautiful and delicate, creamy colour, whilst their heads and legs retain the original rich, reddish-brown pigment. Isn’t that magical! I immediately pictured them as mythical, fairy tale sheep, as it would seem many before have also done and the wool is often referred to as the ‘Golden Fleece’.
The raw fleece that forms 70% of the yarn comes from a certified organic flock of these amazing Coburg Foxsheep, who graze very close to where Danica lives. It is then blended with 30% German merino wool to lift the colour and bring a touch of softness, before being woollen spun into a gloriously crispy yarn that is exclusive to Nature’s Luxury.
Look closely at the yarn and in amongst the overall natural oatmeal colour, flecked throughout the skein, you will spot longer red hairs which remained in the fleece as the lamb grew. As with Daughter of a Shepherd yarn, every skein of Foxen Meets Merino tells a story of the sheep from where it came.
Spun to a DK weight with 275 metres (301 yards) in a 100g skein, the 3 ply yarn is bouncy and has excellent stitch definition, making it ideal for wintery cables and textured stitch patterns. Recommended needle size is 3.5–4.5mm (US 4–7) and it knits at a gauge of 18–24 stitches and 24–28 rows over 10cm (4”). Due to legislation, the specific breeds of sheep cannot be listed on the yarn label, so you will see 70% wool, 30% wool rather than 70% Coburg Foxsheep, 30% merino.
Foxen Meets Merino will launch on my stand at Yarnporium this Sunday 6th November, priced at £18.00 per 100g skein. The remaining stock will be available to buy online in the Daughter of a Shepherd online store from Monday 7th November at 8pm (20.00 hours) GMT. Please note that this is a very limited edition yarn, produced once a year from each seasonal clip, and I therefore only have a small amount available.
I am thrilled that Foxen Meets Merino is my first guest yarn in the Daughter of a Shepherd range and I know you are all going to love it as much as I do – it’s the reason why I selected it for the shop. Danica’s story of working with German rare breeds rang so true with my own journey, plus she is an utterly delightful and very hard-working woman, which makes it a pleasure to support her and the important work she is doing. There are so many incredible breeds of sheep the world over who’s fleece is undervalued and not being used to its full potential, but thankfully there also people willing to take a risk to capture the potential and showcase the beauty of these fleeces. As part of the fibre community, we are all much richer for it.
Pop over to the Nature’s Luxury website for more information about the background of the Coburg Foxsheep, and you will also find a wonderful post written by Nadine Haarich over on the Wovember blog.