i spent mother’s day assisting a professional shearing team at our neighbor’s alpaca farm. i mean, when your neighbor needs help with fiber and you get the chance to watch a pro, really, the choice was obvious.
i guess i was expecting someone old. maybe even grumpy. i never, ever imagined this pair: two young men, well traveled and tender with fiber. they met in the peruvian andes of course.
they sheared 20 alpacas in a quick morning. we swapped stories. in those few hours in my neighbor’s barn, my current love of fiber and the fondest memories of my twenties spent travelling the world filled my mind and heart. tales of south america and asia flowed amidst countless facts of alpaca fiber and dyeing and shearing equipment and staple length.
if anyone is ever in need of an alpaca shearer, mr clipper’s shearing service comes with my highest praise.
it can be an annual or semi annual or bi annual or “holy smokes our barn is full of fleece” trip to our fiber mill. so many points of interest lie in the 250 miles between our farm and ohio valley natural fibers . each trip up there has had a different flavor, none better than the other.
the view out the back is always the same
this year we chose the urban route through louisville. our agenda was simple: good coffee and a taste of the local food scene. our delightful host was more than happy to comply and the overnight adventure was perfect.
we have been working with ovnf since we sheared our first ewe. the original owners had jacob’s sheep and we felt a mill that was familiar with our breed of sheep was the perfect match. now, under new ownership, we remain delighted with their services to us and other members of our regional fiber community.
needless to say, by the time we returned to louisville we had just enough daylight left to meander over the ohio. the sun set on our great adventure and we returned home to a farm well cared for by my teenagers (OK, one actual teenager and one 24 hours shy).
clearly the barge knew he had an audience!
the week gone by is really beyond words. the level of intensity required to achieve what we wanted was pretty high. usually my man and i mediate each other. when one is pushing into superhuman mode, the other stops, makes tea, cooks some nourishing food. this time, not so. we were both so driven to accomplish, we went through these past days kind of, sort of, unstoppable. to the dear 2015 hill and hollow crew: you deserve the highest of accolades. the first of many events at the now blessed hill and hollow farm stay was, hands down, a huge success. the magic of blue: an introduction to natural dyeing at the farm stay at hill and hollow. done.
the farm stay, still under renovation remember, was transformed. on it’s acres and in it’s rooms we gathered: 10 adults, 8 children, and a new flock of 10 sheep for a day of sharing. a day so rich we were each deeply nourished. we dyed. we dined. we wove. we spun. we made connections that will last and yarn in the deepest colors.
i am still in awe of the event and still swirling in the delight of our day. creating such beauty with such amazing folks, wow.
harvesting the japanese indigo plant
picking the leaves off of the stems is way more fun with a group
oxygenating our dye vats
one guest erin is a skilled weaver. natural dyeing offers moments of down time, when a dye pot is steeping, when yarn is immersed in the vat, these are moments we took to offer even more opportunity to work with our farm’s fiber. with a table loom warped with hill and hollow yarn, each guest was able to weave a pouch. this weaving below was later cut into each individual’s pieces. what a lovely image representing the timeless beauty of fiber, friendship and collaboration.