Flock was hatched during the summer of '99. Spin Off Magazine had just issued their call for original designs using endangered sheep breeds. This was the Save the Sheep Project.
At that time, we had owned Shetland Sheep for just three years. I had colored sheep but no white. So, with the exception of the white, all wool that is in the original sweater was spun and knitted with wool from my own flock. The white was also handspun, but I had to order roving.
I credit my daughter Rachelle, for challenging me with the design concept. After whining that I wanted to have a sheep motif, but sheep were so overused, she shot back, "well then find a different way to interpret sheep". The tesselation idea was born. Tesselations are shapes that repeat and fit together like a puzzle.
I was honored to have my sweater as one of the twenty eight pieces chosen for the national tour, Handspun Treasures from Rare Wools. Flock is well traveled.
There was a book printed to accompany the exhibit and to my amazement, Flock was on the cover!
I think one of the reasons my sweater was picked for the cover is that it photographed well in black and white. For me, value is one of the more important elements of art. I took great care in trying to have as much value selection as I could and worked hard with the value layout.
As an art teacher, I always told my older students to squint their eyes when checking their color work. This shuts out the color and only values show up. If the work was still strong, then it was a go. If it didn't show up very well, "Go work on those values!"
An after note: A year later I found my white ram and he did a good job making me little white Shetland sheep. At the time of this writing, Carnegie has passed away. But many of his daughters are still out in our field.
Last fall, Carnegie's grandson, Ruben, traveled back to his grandfather's original flock to help reestablish the white wool gene. That made me proud.