Hog Island Sheep Newsletter June 2021

Hog Island JJDoyle.net SE3SE

Header: June 2021 Newsletter: Hog Island Sheep & the shepherdess & artistPicture of hog island sheepPicture of hog island sheepPicture of hog island sheep

Hog Island Sheep

Hog Island is a barrier Island off the coast of Virginia and is where the colonist lived and grazed their sheep in the 1700’s.  

The sheep are a small, hardy breed that was allowed to roam the island.  In the 1930’s several hurricanes and storms hit the island and the inhabitants left.  The Hog Island sheep became feral and survived on the island until 1974 when the Nature Conservancy purchased the island and removed the sheep to allow the native grasses to survive.

Many of the sheep were moved to Mt. Vernon who still has the majority of the Hog Island Sheep population.  It is reported that there may only be 200 Hog Island sheep in the world.

The Hog Island fleece that I am offering come from an interesting shepherdess and artist.  Her name is Jenni-Jo and she has two Hog Island sheep.  Their names are Knit and Purl and they came out of Mt. Vernon.

Most Hog Island sheep are white, only about 10% are black.  Knit and Purl are Black Hog Island.  The color is more gray than black.

Generally the wool is between 22-32 micron so it is fine to medium.  The staple length is usually fairly short being 1.5” to 2.5”.  The fleece holds together very well and it has a springy quality.   Because it is short, hand carding is probably the best way to process it.  The yarn spun from the Hog Island will make a nice woolen yarn that will trap lots of air for a warm garment.  You may find fleece fine enough for next-to-skin softness but, the majority of the wool I have used was better for sweaters, socks or blankets. 

Meet JJ Doyle


JJ Doyle

Fifty years ago when I graduated from high school, I wanted to be an artist. I was accepted at Mass Art in Massachusetts, but was unable to start that Fall. 

Being an impatient 18 year old, I decided to pursue other things. Over the years, I have had a host of wonderful careers…and at 43, I went back to Suffolk University to study Art and Graphic Design and worked in that field as both a designer and professor until my departure from MA in 2012.

Animal portraits are my passion and I have painted a variety of cats, dogs and livestock! I work using a great amount of detail! I also dabble in more whimsical folk type pieces.

Retirement and the move to Virginia have now opened the door that was closed fifty years ago.

I do not regret leaving my dressy clothes behind and trading them for Keen sneakers and jeans. My  payback is time to work on my art and appreciate the incredible beauty that plays itself out every day on our farm.

My husband and I live in Union Level, VA with a family of Tennessee Walking Horses, Pointers, Chickens, Guinea Fowl, endangered Hog Island Sheep, bees, a rescue dog and a found  cat and of course our Pugs, Kristian and Lucy

banner The Art: jjdoyle.net

painting of sheep Knit and Pearl

In addition to raising Knit and Purl, the black Hog Island sheep, she is an artist.  
JJ Doyle paints commissioned animal portraits, fruit, flowers, and some interesting crows.
The photo above is a painting of Knit & Purl being watched over by the sheep clouds above.
Commission Dog Painting
painting of sheep: Sheep Well

Watch my short video about the history of Hog Island Sheep & How to Process this wool.  Click on the photo.

YouTube Thumbnail Hog Island Sheep Histoe

Shop the special sale on Knit & Purl's Wool

Click on Photo to go to listing.

photo fo hog island wool

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