Exotic Kilkenny sheep weave major award for owner

Suzanna Crampton's Zwartbles sheep make beautiful blankets!

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Plain sheep provide beautiful textiles

The Bennettsbridge Zwartbles Ireland lamb’s wool textiles woven by Philip Cushen in Cushendale Mills, Graignamanagh

Farmer and author, Suzanna Crampton has won the textile category in the Irish Country Magazine’s “Irish Made Awards for 2018”.
The Bennettsbridge woman was picked out by a panel of experts.
The final selection was decide by public vote. Zwartbles Ireland lamb’s wool textiles won thanks to those individuals worldwide who voted for the brand on social media.
Suzanna has good reason to thank her huge audience on social media because she couldn’t have started producing the blankets without their support.
“Many of my loyal followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram began as curious followers to my flock of Zwartbles sheep,” she said.
“Their original requests for 100% Irish wool yarn made me look for a way to spin my raw Zwartbles sheep fleeces into yarn.”
She then discovered Cushendale Woollen Mills through Kilkenny Arts Officer Mary Butler.
“After the initial introduction to Philip Cushen, I spent many days and long hours at his mill.
“Together we weighed and then I sorted through a half ton of Zwartbles raw fleece.
“We hand-selected the finest wool to cleanse, tease and spin into yarn by Cushendale’s huge old carding machines and spinning mules.
“Followers who were not knitters subsequently asked for a Zwartbles woollen product that came from my flock.
“This request inspired me to design my Zwartbles Ireland woollen blankets.
“With his life-long weaving experience Philip helped to oversee and refine my final woven designs.
“I continuously kept my social media followers in touch with farm routines since my sheep farm life ranges among highs, lows, good, bad, happy, sad and beautiful events.
Bodacious
“In the past year my followers’ enthusiastic interest led me to write ‘Bodacious the Shepherd Cat’, my book about how to care for land and sheep from my farm cat’s perspective.
It has gone to be a bestseller and has received serious critical acclaim and it is expected to be nominated for numerous literary awards in the next few months.
“I’m greatly indebted to all those people who kindly voted for my Zwartbles Ireland blankets in the Irish Made Textile Category,” Suzanna said.