Wearing Sheep for Rosa Bonheur’s “Sheep by the

Hello and welcome to a Style Imitating Art. Today is the day that the three hosts, (Salazar, Daenel, and me ) unveil our interpretations of the chosen artwork.

What Is Style Imitating Art?

Style Imitating Art is hosted by Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey, Daenel of Living Outside the Stacks, and me. Style Imitating Art challenges us to draw style inspiration from pieces of art. Every other Monday one of us selects an inspiration image and we each post the image on our blogs. The following Monday we share our art-inspired outfits. The following Wednesday, the curator shares all of the submissions on her blog.

This Week’s Presenter

That would be me.

This Weeks Inspirational Work
Sheep by the Sea by Rosa Bonheur

I thought something calming was in order after my last two picks. This oil painting is by French artist Rosa Bonheur. It was painted following a trip to the Scottish Highlands in the Summer of 1855. Originally, this painting was commissioned by Empress Eugénie of France but Bonheur did exhibit it at the Salon in 1867 before it went into the Empress’s collection. It is now located at The National Museum of the Women in the Arts in Washington DC. Currently, the museum is closed for renovations.

Rosa Bonheur was a successful 18th-century artist and served as an inspiration for future female artists.

My Take

I took a simple way out for me. I did sheep.

The Sweater

I designed “Flock” and knitted this tessellated sheep design in 1999. With the exception of the white wool (I didn’t have any white Shetland sheep at the time), all yarn for this sweater was handspun by me from my Shetland Sheep flock.

It was in response to the “Save the Sheep Project” sponsored by Spin-Off magazine. Spin-Off magazine is an American magazine for those who hand-spin yarn. They sponsored this contest to highlight endangered sheep; which, at the time included Shetland Sheep. However, I think that the Shetlands have recovered nicely and are no longer endangered.

I felt honored that my sweater was one of the pieces chosen to be included in a national tour and even made the cover of the book, Handspun Treasures from Rare Wools, which was published by Interweave Press.

All the Other Things

This is a fairly thick sweater and even if it is cold, I can usually just wear a lighter jacket. Today, it is my “lined wool jacket from Harve Benard that I found at Kohl’s back in the middle 90’s. I’ve always called this style a Barn Jacket. I’ve noticed that this style has made a comeback (with the independent pattern companies anyway) but is now called a Work Jacket. I imagine most cultures have some type of version of this simple cut and no frill jacket.

Shetland wool is great for outerwear, in that it can feel scratchy. I always put a think cotton turtleneck under it.

My boots are by Pikolino. I bought them one size larger because I wanted to wear them with my hand-knitted socks. which I am wearing here. I’m not a big sock knitter buy have a few of them now. Covid was good for my sock knitting; I managed to get two pairs finished!

My jeans, as usual, are American Eagle. Yep, I’m still wearing skinnies. I like them with my socks and boots.

We live around the 38th latitude and I don’t know if I could wear this sweater any farther south!

Closer View of the Flock

I used the knitting technique Intarsia for Flock. Intarsia is used when a knitter wants to knit blocks of color. Small bobbins of yarn are needed for each color that is being knitted in a row. I had from 7, 14, or 15 bobbins for each row. The eyes, nose, and mouths were done in a duplicate stitch after the knitting was finished.

Then, you have to weave in all those yarn ends on the back. This is probably the biggest drawback to Intarsia.

If you are interested, I have a more complete description and back story about Flock, the pattern that I developed, and the cover of the book it was featured on HERE.

Well, that enough of me.

It’s now your turn.

I hope you find something in this work that inspired you and didn’t mind the small journey into the knitting universe. Send me what you come up with at meadowtreestyle@gmail.com along with a small blurb on how the work influenced your choices by tomorrow.

I will do a roundup this Wednesday featuring all your designs. I hope Rosa’s sheep inspired you.

Take care everyone and stay creative!

I will add that I have just let my Shetland Flock grow old with me and am down to just two old ladies. It will be a strange feeling not to have sheep. But life is full of adjustments and this is one that I decided to make.

21 thoughts on “Wearing Sheep for Rosa Bonheur’s “Sheep by the

  1. What? You designed and made this awesome sweater yourself and even spun the wool yourself? I’m so impressed. It absolutely deserves to be featured in a book!
    I love your interpretation very much. And I love the inspirational painting because I love the Highlands!
    Have a nice week.
    XOXO Reni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I did. That project controled my life for four months. Most of it was done during the summer school break of 1999, but I was still working on it after school started in September. I was driven and impassioned and am sure I drove my family crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh, Terri, this sweater is magnificent! How very creative and I really enjoyed the story behind its creation and the wonderful accolades it received. It absolutely deserves the cover of a magazine because it is brilliant! I like skinny jeans with cozy sweaters and boots, too, and no fashion trend is going to tell me that I can’t! This is the perfect cozy fall outfit and a wonderful way to interpret this painting. I just emailed you my photo!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shelbee. I did it in my younger and crazier days! It was a life controlling project for a good four months or more. And YEA for skinny jeans. I’ll wear other styles occasionally , but this style will always be my favorite from all the ones I’ve worn through my life and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been around for a long time! Can’t wait to see what you have.


  3. Oh my goodness. I love that sweater – I’ll bet I could wear that sweater in Alabama. I’m always cold.

    At any rate, it looks gorgeous and I’m impressed to now say I know someone famous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Iris, that was a long time ago when I did all that. My daughter still jokes that I have enough wool around here for five generations of Gardners though! Have a wonderful week. Terri


    1. Thank you Liz. It did keep me pretty busy once up a time. I’ve always been fascinated by tessellation and thought it would be perfect for showing off the different natural colors that the Shetland comes in.


  4. Oh, my goodness! I am truly impressed…not only by your knitting prowess, but you have sheep and spin your own yarn. I only just graduated from acrylic yarns to wool! Your sweater is stunning (as are you)! I wonder if our neighborhood HOA has rules about sheep? I am such a slow knitter…something like this would take me a year! Intarsia is something I have yet to attempt. Brioche, as of right now, is beyond me!

    Thanks so much for hosting this week’s challenge! I enjoyed it once I got my ideas!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool, another knitter. Intarsia is easier than Brioche, I think. I finally found a video for Lefties about how to do Brioche that I finally understood. I’m a very slow knitter too. This sweater took over four months. I started it just after summer break and was still working on it after school started for an October deadline. I’m a retired teacher too (art).


    1. Thank you, Daenel-It was quite a project and I’ve never done anything that time consuming again. I think as artists we all have to be a little bit crazy at times. I might be wrong about that but that is how it sometimes seems to me.


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