Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ZOE AND THE MANX LOAGHTAN SHEEP

Zoe is a seamstress and avid craft maker and enjoys working with natural products such as sheepskin and wool. She has been producing homemade craft products and wool garments for a number of years.
Originally from Liverpool she moved to the Island 5 years ago and together with her husband Dave they run a small but successful cleaning business; supplying cleaning services to Self Catering Tourist Cottages and small businesses, as well as some private residences.
They make a perfect team - experienced in managing their own business and finances, and enthusiastic and determined to make their love of wool into a successful cottage business.  
Their long term goal is to have a range of locally produced products sourced from Manx Loaghtan farmers including fleece - bags, cushions and accessories.
Additionally they hope to capitalise on the association with Gansey Bay, and the historic local fishing industry by producing a range of Gansey sweaters knitted to traditional designs researched in the Manx archives.
Where possible, all fleeces and skins will be sourced from locally produced animals providing a much needed alternative source of revenue for local producers. 
They believe their unique products will additionally help publicise the quirkiness, history and beauty of their adopted Island home.

ABOUT THE MANX LOAGHTAN SHEEP
The Manx Loaghtan is a breed of sheep native to the Isle of Man. It is a small sheep, with no wool on their dark brown faces and legs. The sheep have dark brown wool and usually four or occasionally six horns with short tails and are fine boned.  The name Loaghtan is sometimes spelled as Loaghtyn or Loghtan .    The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx word  ( lugh dhoan)  which means mouse-brown and describes the colour of the sheep. 
The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds and descends from the primitive sheep once found throughout  Scotland, the Hebrides and Shetland Islands.  
This breed is primarily raised for its meat, which some consider a delicacy. The meat has recently received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme, which requires products to originate in a specific region.  The Loaghtan sheep are slow to grow taking 15 to 18 month to mature before being sent to market  which gives the animal a bit more of a life where most sheep only have about 6 months  before they go to market.  The meat has a very unique and surprisingly intense flavour, low in cholesterol and low in fat only 5% compared to 27% in the modern hybrid lamb.   The breed is listed in the Art of taste, an international catalogue of endangered Heritage foods that the global Slow foods movement maintains and it has also now joined foods such as Champagne and Parma Ham.
The wool can be made into beautiful garments. Craft spinners and weavers like the wool for its softness and rich brown colour. The crafters use the un-dyed material to produce woollens and tweeds.  The Loaghtan's wool has a high coating of lanolin wax, also known as wool wax or wool grease. Warm weather makes the lanolin viscous, which aids shearing.  Some specialty soap producers also use the lanolin as an ingredient in a mild soap.
The wool is much sought after as the fleeces are soft, close textured and lustrous, heavily oiled and excellent for hand spinning. The staple varies between 70mm to 100mm. When spun is naturally a dark to light toffee colour. Once knitted it is fine enough to be comfortably worn next to the skin yet robust enough to be used in outerwear.
The sheep skin are a lovely toffee or tan colour which can be made into beautiful items like Cushion, baby booties, Rugs or even the sheepskin as it is. The fleece next to the skin is a dark tan or brown but the top bleaches in the sun

Tel 011 441624 824949       

The Manx Loaghtan sheep is still one of the rarest breeds of sheep in the British Isles.

These  Manx  Loaghtan  sheepskin  products  come  from  pure  bred  sheep , reared  by  members  of   the  Manx  Loaghtan  Sheep  Breed  Society  on  the  Isle  of  Man



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