I’m a Yarn Tease

So we raise sheep. We shear the sheep. Our shearer Drew says, “This wool ain’t worth much.” We like Drew. We believe Drew. Drew knows a great deal about sheep and wool.

But our dear friend Drew isn’t a spinner or a knitter (at least not that we know of), so he must be forgiven for not knowing that our wool is actually very good for spinning and knitting. We sold some yarn and roving made from it a few years ago, then had more spun into yarn this year.

Our friend Kathy knit with it, and raved about its softness, even though there isn’t a speck of Merino or alpaca or angora in it. She said it makes great cables, which will mean something to those of you who knit, and not much to non-knitters, or to knitters like myself too cowardly to try cables. She showed it to a friend who designs patterns for Vogue and teaches knitting, and Annie thought it had great ‘spring’ and immediately took some home with her.

It’s been interesting, as shepherds, to begin paying more attention to what happens to the fleeces once our sheep are done with them.

And now we’ve hooked up with a great hand-dyer, and she’s happily dipping our yarn in dyes and painting them with dyes and having all sorts of fun. Here’s what she’s done so far….

So, this is just a tease, ’cause she’s not done yet. When she finishes, we’ll give the yarn silly names, perhaps put labels on them, then offer them for sale on this blog, and on our website. So check back mid-January, when you’ve recovered from the holidays and feel a need to increase your stash (that’s knitter talk, by the way. I’m so good at picking up jargon, no?)

10 thoughts on “

  1. I just started teaching myself to knit YESTERDAY, so at this point I am ready to stab myself in the eyes with the knitting needles, but looking at the gorgeous yarn and colors has given me reason to keep trudging onward with it… keep those morale photos coming, lol!

  2. Pickin’ up jargon like a bunch of dropped stitches!

    Can’t wait to hear all the funny names and see more of the fruits of your Great Wool Experiment!

    I am thinking it would fun to play with some of the fiber from our Highland cattle. They shed a bit naturally, losing their winter coats when the weather finally warms, so if I just gather the commbings from brushing them I might have enough to play a bit with. It’s lovely stuff, very fine and soft…must be useful for SOMEthing (besides keeping cattle warm!)

  3. Erin,

    First it’s the eyes, then the ears, then you’ll want to stab any part of yourself. You will say many bad words and you may even fling your knitting across the room, or ask your dog to bury it in the backyard.

    But then you finish a skinny scarf and wear it to book group and feel pretty darned classy.

  4. I suppose if Drew shears many different kinds of sheep, perhaps yours doesn’t feel as nice, however, there is just something so cool about making something coming from your own animals. And I’m sure your friend that actually uses different yarns would have preferences for certain things. Not everything needs to be soft enough for a new baby!
    Love the colors, looking forward to hearing the names you come up with for them.
    And to MaineCelt, have fun with your Highland hair. I have a few head of them, and it’s amazing how soft their coat is!
    I don’t know how to knit, but you all make my fingers itch to start learning!!!
    Have fun!

  5. In January you posted something about weaving, with this beautiful scarf you made. It was inspiring to me. Hey, why not learn to make stuff with my own hands? Now, I have four spinning wheels at home, started teaching spinning classes, dye the wool with natural materials, sell it at the farm where the sheep come from and have found someone to teach me weaving at the four thingy-loom which I salvaged from the scrap yard. My husband was infected and is spinning his fingers off, as well. Bags and bags of wool are stacked everywhere. Here’s how far your writing is reaching!

  6. Estella,

    Are you serious? That is so amazing! I fumble through a weaving class, and now you’re teaching spinning and dyeing yarn and selling stuff? We are all so connected that it scares me sometimes—it’s a responsibility we often forget.

    MaineCelt, I’ll bet Estella knows if you can spin Highland hair….

  7. Yes, I am serious. Where can I post the pictures of our spinning class and the wool I dyed, with onion peels and walnut husks and madder root? All without the use of chemicals, since they would create havoc in our reed bed filter.
    And i would love to get my hands on some of that highland cattle bangs, but for now there is so much to experiment with, only with sheep wool. And then there are the llama’s, not exactly indigenous here either, but they come with some lovely soft wool.
    Again thanks for the inspiration! I already fantasized about making fabrics through the Great Reskilling, from the Transition Town movement, but really your blog tipped me over to actually get going.

  8. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Have you considered doing a CSA-like business model – a fiber share? Several farms out there are doing it, one more way to tie in to the farmer who produces what we love and need.

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