Artisanal yarns and handmade treasures abound

A shepherdess’s love for her flock comes alive in every warmly crafted wool creation found at Ten Good Sheep in Onancock. Described as “authentically artistic and certifiably cute since 1998,” the artisan store stocks a rainbow of hand-dyed, handspun, and locally sourced yarn and natural fibers. The sheep producing much of the material are raised nearby by owner and official shepherdess Karen Belknap, under the watchful guardianship of beloved herding dogs Captain Woolsey and Admiral Woolsey. The shop is transparent in each step of the yarn creation process, explaining the shearing, wool washing, and spinning on the company website and to curious in-person visitors. Once the long preparation of the fibers is done, it’s time to dye. The color palettes range from pastel to earthy to flashy to funky to warm. Knitters will rejoice in the sheer, or “shear,” variety of tones.  

And luckily, Belknap knows that crocheters, weavers, felters, and crafters aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a little wool in their lives. Ten Good Sheep handmakes a whole lineup of products perfect for gifts or treating oneself. With earrings of twisted yarn, Muttmellows pet balls, Rustic Bird Nesting Ornaments, and Soap in Sheep’s Clothing felted soap, there’s a piece of fleece for everyone—even the animal members of the family. The soap is well-known and loved for its soft merino, silk, and bamboo texture recipe, offered in enchanting sea glass and bold jewel tone colorways. Belknap loves sharing how each item is made. “Demonstrating spinning and weaving at the studio is one of my joys, and I love to inspire new enthusiasts,” she says. 

Stop by the market in the Historic Onancock School Building to pamper yourself and the gift-receivers in your life. You can even arrive by water—dock your boat at the Onancock wharf and wander down the street to Belknap’s shop to feel all things soft and fluffy. TenGoodSheep.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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