Photo Essay: Lambie Jammies
Actual sheep's clothing wouldn't do a wolf much good. When breeders show sheep they use blankets and Spandex "tubes" to keep sheered animals clean and protected from parasites, but polka dots and zebra patterns have helped make the garments state-fair style statements. Here are some of our favorites.
Michael Cunningham had the idea for custom sheep blankets after joining his daughter at 4-H sheep shows. The father-daughter team now employ six people at T’s Blanket Company in Breckenridge, Texas, where they make blankets that keep sheepies warm on the pasture and looking stylish before they hit the showing stage.
While most sheep showers elect for blankets to keep a sheered animal cleaned and protected before a show, others choose sheep “tubes.” These spandex sheep Speedos are a bit of a pain to squeeze the animals into, but they keep a tighter wrap around the sheep’s wool and skin. Both tubes and blankets come in some pretty incredible patterns and styles, catching the eye of photographers Alison Toon, Becky Holmes and Janet Petersma who love photographing state fairs.
Linda O’Brien — owner and operator of Good Shepherd Lamb Coats — makes lambie jammies for a much more vital purpose: to protect new born lambs from the cold. “I found a shrunken wool blanket in the closet that my mother had given me to use for a dog bed,” she says. “I cut it up, sewed it together, and fastened it on the lambs with safety pins. That’s the story in a nutshell.” Today, her products use solid metal fasteners, but she still relies on vintage wool blankets for material.