I was sort of joking when I decided at the end of last year that a sheep should be in every conversation. This joke coupled itself with the sad thought that there are so many things that I can’t fix, so why not talk about sheep?
When lambs are born, we generally have a lamb watching party when the sun is beautiful and setting on the barn, 5 p.m., in the early spring. This year, the lambs were born on March 6. The idea of a party was out due to social distancing, so this led me to mount a Lamb Naming Contest. The rules are simple: I ask for suggestions, and then from entries received, my selfish self chooses the winner! Oh but how to choose?
Sheep on Parade by the Barn
New Lambs
See them? That one! No. That one! Two black, one white. No names yet!
Three New Lambs
Ladybugs in the Barn
This was mostly the gift. To me, in my mind, honestly, really… we all started, for even a very short moment, thinking about this one thing: the names of three lambs. (I am not going to make a list of all the things we didn’t want to think of early on in March 2020.)
What I wrote to a friend on April 3, 2020: We are trying to get caught up on all those things we always say we wish we had enough time to do. What can we do but think of the future? I am lucky to have young lambs and chicks and two grand buddies who run up. We are all trying to stay put long enough to know that we are all clear. We are all making lists and trying to keep to them, but don’t imagine for one instant that it works all the way every day. 
For myself, I am pausing to look more closely at nature and things starting to bloom, and birds coming in to nest. I let myself go into dream land. Yoga helps with that. AND I am reading a pile of books and thinking up book reports. We are lucky to live in the country to step out from the house and breathe the air! When I give myself a minute to think, I have done so many many things, met so many wonderful people, and can now take time to review them all. Then more memories appear. I am looking for the gifts. I can’t fix the rest.
Curious Lambs Meet Cucumber, the Barn Cat
At first, I posted the Lamb Naming Contest on Facebook and Instagram and heard from 5 or 10 lovely friends who know I like to play games like this and wanted to play too. Then, I passed it down and down further down in my list of friends… Folk School employees, former students, dance team members, my husband! At this count, I have collected more like 120 suggestions! Fun huh? And I have laughed loud!
Let me find a few for your interest and amusement. By far the most popular combo is Winken, Blinken, and Nod. I think about 8 folks suggested them right behind, Larry, Curly, Moe. There is also Do, Re, Me, and Dewey, Chetum and Howe… Oh! And several people suggested Porthos, Athos and Aramus… and there is the ever popular, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. And for Tolkein fans: Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli… honestly, it goes on and on. I must draw the line through Corona, Covid and 19.  There is also Cinnamon, Walnut, Wheat, Honey, Ivory, Sweet, Noodles, Puddles, Oatmeal, Porridge, Pudding and Dandy. (I think this home school Mama is hungry!) Tim, Tom, Tot which had a slightly naughty limerick with it… and Snap, Crackle, and Pop!
To find out what I ultimately decided, you will need to read on to the end!
Spinning & Dyeing Class Photo, November 2019
When I look forward towards the future, I always start by looking back. I keep seeing one common thread (of course I would see thread… have I told you why I keep sheep?) and that is our school, the John C. Campbell Folk School. I personally came to the school in 1978, had sheep by 1980, and have continued on basically being totally interested and enamored with my subject, now 40 years on. I keep thinking of all the people I know connected with the Folk School. I see so many faces and see so many gifts. And now we are told to stay home for a while, but we know what to do… We still make things! And we will be together again.
We Got Wool!
Simple Sweater from the Good Old Days
Towards that end, I would like to mention, I have wool! Any shape: raw, washed, yarn and many textures and colors (black, gray, dyed), so let me help you out if you want a new style of textile adventure. My year is focused around using all this wool some way as I am sure you can imagine. We shear again, if God smiles, at the end of this month and all my teaching gigs are no more, so we got wool. Now would also be a good time to tell me your chest measurement! I take time payments, OR, I am willing to help you design a simple sweater or vest from the yarn in your stash or from mine. Your choice. Get in touch with me about this at: spinknitfeltdye@folkschool.org and we will get started on one of many ideas to come. We still make things.
Lambs on the Walkway

April 20: Naming Contest Results!

Oh yes? The winner of the lamb naming contest? See below…

Introducing Nod!

And Wynkin & Blynkin!

Thank you to everyone who submitted name ideas.

About Martha Owen

Martha is the Folk School’s Resident Artist in Spinning, Knitting & Crochet, Feltmaking, Dyeing, and Surface Design. Her adventure in spinning began at this very school in 1978. Since then, her extended family has included sheep (mostly Corriedale, Shetland, Romney) and Angora rabbits (French).

A banjo player known to tell a story or two, Martha’s interest in sheep and wool, music and dance has carried her quite literally and joyfully around the world. She reads historical fiction for knitting references and rewinds movies to see the shape of a hat or to draw a color repeat. She is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and was co-owner of Yarn Circle in Murphy, North Carolina, until deciding to close in 2016. Find her on Facebook and Instagram at Martha Owen Woolens.

For wool, pattern inquiries, or any other questions, send Martha an email at: spinknitfeltdye@folkschool.org

Martha Owen, Resident Artist
About Martha Owen, Resident Artist