Here at Shepherd's Lamb, we raise a number of Navajo-Churro sheep with the rest of our flock. The Churro is a rare North American heritage breed with a fleece that ranges in color from white to black and reddish-brown to dark brown. Because Churro wool has a very light grease content, it is possible to spin this wool in-the-grease. Its long fibers and relatively little crimp make it a popular material for hand-spinning and weaving.
History of the Churro Sheep
The Navajo-Churro sheep, a descendent of the Churra sheep of Spain, was first brought to North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Many Native American tribes in the west of the United States acquired Churro sheep from the explorers and the breed became extremely popular in the Rio Grande Valley region. The Navajo tribe in particular prized the Churro because the long, dense fibers of the wool have a very low lanolin content, making it ideal for spinning without washing and easy to dye with natural vegetable pigments.
By the mid-20th century Government cross-breeding programs had brought the Churro sheep to the brink of extinction. Efforts to preserve the breed began in the 1970s and continue to this day. The Navajo-Churro Sheep Association was established in 1986 to help preserve the species by maintaining breed standards through pedigree documentation. Today, more than 6,000 Churro sheep thrive in the United States, thanks to careful conservation and breed perpetuation measures.
Shepherd's Lamb now offers 100% organic knitting kits in four original designs - Grandma Sterzick's Mittens, Fingerless Gloves, Cozy Sleeping Socks, and the Ribbed Scarf. These kits are perfect for those who want to work with high-quality organic wools to make a beautiful, easy to complete project. If you are not a knitter yourself, give one of our kits as a gift for the passionate knitter in your life!
Each of our kits contains a unique Shepherd's Lamb knitting pattern and enough Shepherd's Lamb organic wool in a color of your choice to complete the project. The kit comes in a 100% cotton bag hand-stamped with our unique Churro sheep image, perfect for toting this project and other projects made with our 100% organic wool.
Lamb pelts add a wonderful decorative and functional touch to your home. Drape one of our pelts over a rocking chair or a sofa for a rustic yet refined touch. A large multicolored pelt makes a bold statement in front of a fireplace. Or try a soft, white pelt as a bedside rug - perfect for your toes on cold mornings! And don't forget your faithful companions - Shepherd's Lamb premium lamb pelts make excellent crate or bed liners for dogs and cats. Each Shepherd's Lamb premium lamb pelt has unique coloring, texture, shape, and size. If you are interested in purchasing a pelt from Shepherd's Lamb please call us at 575-588-7792 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can discuss our pelts with you (we'll even send you pictures!) and find the one that perfectly suits your needs.
Shepherd's Lamb is proud to offer unique handmade knitted and woven creations for sale. Each of our handmade items is produced one at a time by our skilled artisans– no two are alike! Please check back regularly, as we are always adding new handmade items to this page.
If you find that an item you love has been sold, please contact us! Our artisans may be able to produce a similar item for you to purchase.
Care instructions for knitted items: To maintain the colorfastness of the all-natural dyes, hand wash gently in lukewarm water using a plant-based, non-petroleum soap. Rinse thoroughly. Roll in a towel to remove excess moisture or spin in washer for ten seconds. To dry, lay flat, stretching to correct the garment's measurements, in a well-ventilated area.
Care instructions for woven items: Although certain woven items may be washable, it is safest to advise dry clean only. Keep woven items out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.
Our Rambouillet yarn collection is hand-dyed with all-natural plant dyes. These natural dyes are made with plant ingredients like blue aster, black walnut, cochineal, indigo, and yellow onion skins. The natural dye process is time consuming and labor-intensive: the yarn may be in the dyebath from four hours to two days depending on the desired color. Most of our natural dye materials are gathered by hand from the northern New Mexico region. Our Rambouillet yarn collection is a two-ply light worsted that is best suited to knitting and crocheting projects.
Our Churro yarn collection is hand-dyed using low-impact prepared powder dyes, a process that is well suited to the dry regions of the western US because it requires very little water. Each dyebath can be re-used many times simply by refreshing the color in the existing water. Our Churro yarn collection comes in two different weights, blanket and rug, which are roughly equivalent to worsted and bulky weight. Churro yarns have long been the preferred choice for traditional Navajo weavings and our two weights of Churro yarn are ideal for large and small weaving projects. Our extensive color selection was crafted to reflect the colors of northern New Mexico for greater scope in color choice for both the novice and expert weaver. These yarns are also suitable for knitted and crocheted projects.