Muddy Woolly Sheep Season

 Our ground has been frozen for weeks and then dumped on by snow and then the temps warmed and the sun came out and now, we are in mud. How about you? 

I don't raise sheep but for many years we kept Jersey dairy cows and mud season was the worst for keeping the cow udders clean. Lots of extra washing till the water ran clean required before the udders could then, and only then, be properly prepped for a good clean milking. The process was the definition of chore! (As a sidenote, my favorite prep for milking was udder-high snow. Our cows had free access to the field and preferred to be out in it. Deep snow was like getting an udder facial and so appreciated by the milker 😉)

Back to muddy doesn't take much for me to imagine the nuisance that mud presents for those who manage sheep during winter thaws on into early spring shearing time. 

What does all this have to do with my new rug design? A couple of things came together as I was considering ideas for a new rug design. 

In the autumn I planted a lot of bulbs, including Snowdrops and have been anxiously waiting for signs of success, especially after a couple of chickens turned up the planting area with their determined scratching for bugs. Ugh!

The simple shape of snowdrops across a field was one idea but the sketch looked empty so it seemed like a good idea to put a sheep in the field. Then our mud came and that was what tipped me off to what color the sheep out in a field of snowdrops would be. 

I cooked up a dye bath using Karen Kahle's recipes for "Earth" and "Warm Earth" and ended up with what I think is a really good combination for wool to hook my muddy sheep.

The wools that went into the dye bath were an assortment of off white and tan plaids, checks, and solids.

Next up is to hook a bit of the background wool to see if I like it on the hook as much as I do sitting next to the rug. That doesn't always pan out for me. It's usually a bit of trial and error but maybe not this time! Here's what I'm thinking:

Most likely I'll be adding some lighter echo hooking around the darker stems of the snowdrops to set them off from the background. Then I have to decide how I want to hook the border. 

In the meantime, may your mud season find you warm and cozy with lots of time to hook awhile!


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