The University of Connecticut’s Animal Science Department is working in collaboration with the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association (CSBA) to sell wool blankets made with wool from the UConn and Connecticut sheep.
Blankets come in four sizes and can be purchased by emailing academic program assistant Michelle Lewis from the Animal Science department.
“This is something we do every year for a number of years,” Lewis said. “We pool the wool from our sheep on the farm with wool from other Connecticut sheep that are part of the organization and they make the blankets.”
Only one pattern is sold each year and sales are on a first come, first served basis.
“The sheep are typically shaved in the spring, and the pattern changes every year based on the groups decision and what the mill can make but the colors are always the same,” Lewis said.
All proceeds from blanket sales will benefit the farms these sheep live on.
“Each of the farms put a certain amount of wool into the project and then they pay for their blankets based on the amount of wool they contribute from their farm and their proceeds go back into their individual farms,” Lewis said.
Each blanket comes with its own certificate of authenticity and series number.
“This is a really great piece of history, because they last a really long time and it’s a great way to own a product from the UConn and Connecticut sheep that you can’t get anywhere else,” Lewis said.
Sylvia Murray, blanket inventory coordinator and participant in the CSBA, has been working on the annual project for 18 years.
“We started this back in 2002 and here at Alder Brook Farm we used my daughter’s sheep, so they were 4-H and it was always marketed as an exclusive blanket so that was really nice,” Murray said.
The mission behind the project is to encourage and promote the keeping of sheep in Connecticut, Murray said.
“The CSBA does this so small producers could have what some call a value-added product to their line of things they can sell, and someone who might only have a couple of sheep would complain that their wool sits in their basement or the top of their barn,” Murray said. “So we thought including smaller flocks could help breeders move their wool so it doesn’t just sit there building up.”
Naiela Suleiman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.