The Sophisticated Sheep

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In early 2019, I was browsing Instagram and found some beautiful rope leads for dogs. They were made with the same cotton rope that classic sheep halters are made from and it inspired me to try and make sheep halters for my sheep. For years I had been searching for the perfect halter for my sheep - almost all of the halters I had come across are either too big or too small and they were nearly exclusively white.

I bought some cotton rope from a UK supplier, and some colourful waxed cotton jewellery twine to whip with. I came up with my own way of making the halter, and with help from a very useful YouTube channel, I got the whipping done. After that messy practise halter I made a second, and this one was for Rosie.

Another early project was this lead for Susan. It's in a knotted style that I have since swapped for the stronger splicing method (at this stage I hadn't learned to splice), and it's wrapped with a little bit of fabric to match her scarf. It's glued, not stitched, so it's more of a one-time use sort of lead, but cute nonetheless.

Alongside my experiments with natural rope, I was starting to learn about dyeing. This turned out to be a really fun and satisfying process. I started off by dyeing ready-made halters, but this was very expensive so soon I was looking to make my own. I found white firm lay cotton rope and it was beautiful. It holds dye very well and is easy to work with. My first lamb halter was this little pink one for Gertie.

As daunting as learning about rope work was in the beginning, eventually my self confidence was boosted enough to try my hand at leather. Unlike the other things here (rope and BioThane), this one I needed some help with. Last Autumn I went on a leatherwork course and was given lots of advice. I was so happy to come home with this collar on the last day. I still have stuff to learn about leather but I'm really enjoying the process!

The next material I was curious about was Beta BioThane, a waterproof alternative to leather. I was taken in by the wide range of colours available and its durability. I really like working with BioThane as well! One of my favourite things I have made with it is a navy and tan collar and lead set. Alongside rope halters, another thing I have been looking up and down for is a sheep-sized headcollar. After some experimentation I made this one out of BioThane. I'm hoping to make a few more of these in other colours.

Not to be left out, Blue Belle is also awkward to buy for - she's bang in the middle between Standard and Mini Shetland so often headcollars don't fit her properly. My new hobby allows me to make her pretty headcollars in something closer to her size. This one is made from cork, another experiment.

At the end of May 2019 I launched The Sophisticated Sheep, a small Etsy shop where you could get your hands on my creations. I occasionally make things to order so if there is something on this page you like the look of you can send me a message on either InstagramFacebook or Etsy and I'll get back to you.

Thank you for your interest in The Sophisticated Sheep.

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