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The Churro Sheep

The Churro breed of sheep is a heritage breed raised and cultivated by the Dine (Navajo) people. Their cultural way of life included the sheep as their kin. They cultivated a wide variety of natural colors and used them in their rug weavings. Their cultural traditions were almost wiped out, but with the strength of the people they continued the legacy. The coarse fiber represents the resiliency of the people and their environment. The natural color palette presented in these pieces shows the enduring relationship between The Dine and The Churro

How it was made

Majority of the yarn was handspun by Irene Bennalley, a Dine weaver and Churro caretaker of Two Grey Hills NM. She prides herself on the wide variety of natural colors she cultivates in her sheep. Because it was handspun by Irene, you might notice a spot where it’s tightly woven, she says at that moment perhaps she was thinking about a difficult time in her life. The yarn tells the story of her meditation while spinning. Same goes for the knitting process. Frankie Santos hand knitted all the pieces. She strived for perfection, but falls prey to the uniqueness of the human hand. Each piece tells a small story with all the hands that had a part in making it.

By making these story connections, we preserve the legacy of a culture’s traditions of herding with the land, spinning with it’s fibers and weaving the story together to give us warmth.