Sheep-shearing is a great place to begin the conversation with your children about the influences sheep has upon our culture here in New England. Seeing sheep being shorn with traditional tools while listening to tales being spun by the shearer can give kids a unique insight into our regional history and this historical trade. Asking questions about how wool is processed after a sheep has been shorn, and how modern day processing techniques might compare to the techniques used in the Colonial era can support interests and lead to a lot of learning! Check out sheep shearing happening at community events and local farms, some using traditional tools (Wool Days & Sheep to Shawl), others with modern electric tools for comparison (Sheep & Woolcraft Fair).
There are many festivals and wool celebrations that take place in New England throughout the year. Here are a few where you can learn more about raising sheep, fiber production, and processing.
An age-old skill, knitting provides us with some of our most treasured warm clothes. Learning the art of knitting can not only help to provide warmth, but can lead to explorations of local history, local agriculture, and complex math – and families can even engage in service-based learning by donating hand-knitted goods to help support people in need!
Want to learn how to dye wool with Kool-Aid or make a needle-felted fairy? Perhaps you’ve never seen sheep dogs in action or can’t tell a Cotswold from a Corriedale? Indulge your curiosities by attending the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair this Memorial Day weekend!
Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair provides children with the opportunity to learn experientially about portions of agriculture, art, and the manufacturing of small-scale goods that are important both within our history here in western Massachusetts, and in our current modern culture as well.