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.
i was taught to knit by a farm apprentice in the autumn of 2006. still years away from our own yarn, let alone our own plant dyed fiber, i nevertheless became engrossed in that first mile long scarf of the nastiest acrylic.
in the decade since sheep first started grazing our pastures and my hands fumbled awkwardly with those needles, our sheep and wool projects have taken a solid place in our overall farm plan and my knitting has improved greatly.
this past winter though it happened, really happened, i crossed over into the land of complete obsession. i took the plunge, after countless hats, mittens, wrist warmers, and cowls, i cast on a garment: a vest made of our own plant dyed indigo yarn knit by me for me.
something shifted when i first put on this top. i’m afraid i won’t be satiated until i’m clothed from head to toe in hand mades. spring is going to stop me i know, but in these final days before i don’t sit on the couch ever, i will finish this cardigan made from our Jacob’s wool.
i’ve spent the better part of the past two decades preaching about the importance of a strong local food system. i can feel the swelling excitement within about local fiber. join me, adorn yourself with hand made, locally sourced beauty. it ranks right up there with the first spring salad.
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).