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Coopworth Sheep at Spring Fed Farm

Helen Sahadi

 

On a busy homestead in Northport, Maine, you will find a small flock of sheep (primarily Coopworth) among the other animals on Spring Fed Farm. This farm - with natural springs everywhere on the property - is the home of Alessandra and Tom Martinelli.

Coopworth fleece has three qualities that many spinners and knitters/crocheters love: a long fiber length (which tends to produce a knitted fabric less prone to pilling), a defined crimp (the more crimped or wavy the fibers are, the more elastic the yarn), and noticeable luster.

How did Coopworth become the defining sheep breed at Spring Fed Farm? Alessandra tells a story of a sweater knit and worn by Maine indie dyer/spinner/educator Jacki Ottino Graf. Jacki was wearing the sweater one day when Alessandra saw it. The luster of the sweater spoke to Alessandra and she knew she had to have that fiber. She sought out and purchased the bloodline of sheep that produced the beautiful fiber for Jacki’s sweater.

By the Fall, the flock at Spring Fed Farm will be changing a bit. At the moment there are Romney, Cotswold, Coopworth, and Finnsheep at the farm. However, Alessandra is really excited about the cross breeding of Finnsheep (known for its softness) with durability and luster of the Coopworth. Alessandra and Tom are also keeping their flock numbers down for a little while longer for pasture management purposes.

This year’s shearing will be happening later in the summer. We have some yarn from the last shearing which is available here. Growing up as a child whose mother was a fashion designer, Alessandra relocated a lot, and as a result, she does not like to accumulate too many things inside her home. What yarn did not sell immediately she had woven into throw-sized blankets by Farm and Hearth Textiles of Montville, Maine. The warp in these blankets is wool spun at Jaggerspun in Springvale, Maine and the weft is the wool from Spring Fed Farm. If you are interested in these throws, please contact Alessandra at: springfedfarm04849@gmail.com


2 comments

  • Hi, I am putting this out there to all the sheep people I see. I have been out of work for the year. I was laid off and then my husband had a heart attack ( although he is very young ). I then was rear ended in October ,hurting my neck. In December I tripped and fell at the Art Walk in Portland requiring emergency surgery 3 weeks later for an abscess underneath the hematoma. I was off my feet for moths with an open wound that went almost all the way through. So, I have no money. I just lost my whether, leaving his 18 year old mother alone. I am looking for a companion sheep for my poor Finn girl. The kicker is that mother & sone were the only unfriendly sheep I ever had. She never came to get pet or back scratches. I don’t have money, but I am a felting artist. I won the Judges Award several years ago at The Common Ground Fair. I also have a huge stash of home made canned goods, like low sugar jams, pickled scapes and exotic chutneys, like Thai Blueberry chutney. I am not looking for a new lamb- but I would be open to a bottle baby, since I have time. I am hoping to find a breeding ewe that is ready to retire or an old whether that just isn’t producing the wool anymore. All my animals made it into their mid or late teens. If you could pass this on, I would be very appreciative., Thanks for your time, Kristen- ps- beautiful flock.

    Kristen Oberhauser Bishop

  • We have crossed English Blue and white Coops To our fine and open fleece Finns to terrific results. Going to keep two ewe lambs from this year’s lambing to evaluate further. Would love to swap notes with you. Mary Fallon, Soft Rain Farm, Durham.

    Mary

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