as nature intended...this is such an interesting prompt for me, and i’m not sure if i’ll be able to clearly articulate all my thoughts (both due to caption limits and sleep-deprived brain). something that i used to really be on board with when i was younger and vegetarian/vegan was when activists would go and open farm gates or “rescue” livestock from barns. now, i realize how fucked up and entitled that is, because you’re literally messing with someone’s livelihood, but also because for the vast majority of domesticated livestock, that move is actually a death sentence to them. sheep are the oldest domesticated relationship we have when it comes to livestock, and beyond the predator issues, there are basic health concerns for sheep left without some human interaction. while there are still some breeds that shed naturally, the vast majority of sheep around the world today (after thousands of years of evolution) have wool that grows forever. if you don’t shear it regularly, it gets matted and painful, and they can get stuck and die slow, painful deaths without intervention. so, as nature intended it, sheep and humans belong side by side at this point in history. also, i think something we frequently forget is that we humans are mammals, and we are part of nature. we have responsibilities to do better for nature, because so much of what we do interferes with how the rest of systems work, but i think most of the time that’s because we’ve forgotten that we’re part of those systems too. when it comes to wool, humans are part of how nature has evolved our sheep friends to survive. we help each other out. it’s a symbiotic relationship. and for all the farmers i’ve personally met so far, that relationship is deeply valued ❤️🐑❤️
We'll be at this NOFA/Mass "Farmscale Hemp Production for Flower, Grain & Oil" full day intensive workshop this coming Monday.
NOFA/Mass writes: "The knowledge of agricultural hemp production, once a common and lucrative crop in Massachusetts, has skipped over more than a generation of farmers. For the past 81 years it was illegal to grow, leading to the loss of local strains of crop genetics, regionalized cultural practices, and an interruption in the handing down of crop knowledge from parent to child and farmer to apprentice. With a new Massachusetts policy authorizing the commercial production of sun-grown agricultural hemp in the state, local farmers are interested in integrating agricultural hemp into their farm businesses"...so are we!
Highlights from The 7th #fibershed Symposium yesterday. FIDM students and alumni invited to share creative projects using responsible design and materials choices #soiltosoil
i’m waiting for the sun to show up so i can take photos for today’s #wovember post, but in the meantime i want to remind you that today is the LAST DAY to get your fibreshed experience boxes featuring @pembinafibreshed (aka my home fibreshed). as of midnight tonight, the listings will be removed and i’ll start shipping boxes to their new homes. so if you’re looking for a gift that’s perfect for the fibre lover in your life this holiday season, or want to try delving more into fibreshed offerings, check out the remaining options before they’re gone! 🐑
On the rolling hills above the Nicasio Reservoir, a gentle humming can heard. It's one way that alpacas communicate, and Sandy Wallace knows it well. At Alpacas of Marin, Sandy cares for 78 alpacas, both Suri and Huacaya varieties: she calls to them gently, moves them amongst paddocks to fertilize the soil and increase forage, and breeds each generation with an eye toward soft and lustrous fiber and a fine micron count. How did a herd of these incredible camelids come to find their home in Marin? Read more in the latest blog post, written by Amanda Fisk & photographed by @paigegreenphoto, linked in profile or at http://fibershed.com/blog
The new shetland ram lamb. He is a little guy but he's got the drive to get the job done! 😂
He was jumping at least two of the mature ewes in the truck all the way home yesterday. I'm not sure if he was on long enough to do the deed or not. Time will tell.
He now has a group of ewe lambs. Caroline, Lizzy, Kitty, Lydia, Jane.
He is moorit spotted, same as Jane. Mainly I am using him on these girls because I am more comfortable putting him on them than Bingley, who is more hefty than the girls. Whereas this little pure shetland is likely to throw smaller lambs.
Also these ewes take more after their shetland % of the heritage. Jane less so, she is a bit taller and stockier, but I want to see if I get more spotted from the two.
today we’re talking about “not my usual wool” for #wovember , so it’s a perfect chance for me to talk about the ultimate stash addition - qiviut!
qiviut is one of those fibres that people talk about in awe, because it’s generally much more expensive than other fibres, and it’s often hard to get. but just what do we mean when we say “qiviut”? 🧐
qiviut usually refers to the warm undercoat of muskox, an animal that lives in the far north in small numbers. there are major restrictions to how many muskox can be harvested in a year, and since qiviut either comes as a by-product of a harvest or is gathered by hand from shedding around its habitat, there’s a good reason it’s so pricey. if you get qiviut for a lower price (expect to pay at least $100 per skein), chances are it’s from an old hide pre-limits (like the skein on the left there that i picked up from belfast mini mills in pei this summer). when you’re purchasing qiviut, it’s worth asking either how old the fibre is and/or where it was sourced from. @nunavut_qiviut is one of, if not the best, direct sources of qiviut, and they supply to some wholesale partners as well. they’re based out of kugluktuk, nunavut, and if you’re shocked by shipping prices, meet the reality for northern canadians! this is another reason ethically sourced qiviut isn’t cheap. i was honestly amazed the first time i held qiviut because it is so incredibly soft and drapey - it has almost no structure on its own. i’ll be sure to document more when i get around to knitting with it!
more fun facts about qiviut: in inuktitut, qiviut (or qiviuq or kiveot) actually refers to the warm down/fur on any arctic animal, including hare and fox. so if you’re up north and looking for muskox qiviut, make sure you’re specific! ✨
swipe for shots of willow “helping” me take photos 😒
Really enjoying making these oversized linen Box Tops. Fun little hand stitched patches at the back of the neck. Just donated this one to @californiafirehelp Check out there page and start shopping for the holidays, 100% goes to fire victims.
as a self-professed bookworm, you can bet i was excited about today’s prompt for #wovember ! i’ve written a couple of books, number 3 is in baby planning stages with @samsonphotography again, and zines are probably my favourite addition to my mini-collections. unfortunately, i haven’t quite mastered the skill of reading and knitting simultaneously (mostly because i’m a speed reader, so the rate at which i’m flipping pages is too quick to conveniently knit), so my actual reading has slowed down in recent years. i still devour books though, and am slightly notorious for sobbing through a book and then foisting it on dear ones (heather o’neill is a great author for this). i find audiobooks a bit tricky, because i’m obsessed with actually seeing how an author lays out a page, and for the same reason there are several authors i won’t buy e-books from because i know the screen formatting changes how they would have the spacing otherwise 🧐
that being said, i am extremely happy to have a copy of “the field guide to fleece” on my phone - it’s such a handy resource! i scoured it earlier this year when i started developing my own sock yarn and finding other breeds that would make appropriate natural sock bases. anyone who follows me over @sunflowerknit knows i’ve been doing yearly sock collections for the past couple of years (7 patterns released over the year for a week’s worth of socks), and 2019 will feature 7 different all natural, no nylon, no superwash plastic yarns. i’m writing a zine to go along with the collection so that knitters can have a starting place of basic things to look for when knitting natural socks, companies around the world who make good bases, and how to make your socks last longer. here’s a sneak peek of the yarns being featured, and swipe to see willow “helping” me get the shots 🐾
Wovember 2018 Day 12: Local.
Local to me is Northern California. The key that opened my awareness to my local fiber source was a chance discovery of a video on Rebecca Burgess’ project to produce a wardrobe sourced within 150 mile radius of where she lived( link below). She founded the nonprofit, Fibershed.com . Fibershed is about education and rebuilding local fiber economies, and resources for exercising sound ecological practices. This led me to seek what wool and other resources were in my backyard. I found local farmers, teachers and local events. Those connections led me to new friends, my spinning guild, which led to other vendors and artists -and so on. It worked!
Left to right: work in progress (WIP) made from hand spun Romney x Coopworth fleece grown at Harvey Farms, Calpine, California; cakes of naturally dyed Twirl Yarn grown and produced in Napa, California; my hand spun marl yarn and washed fleece from Meridian Jacobs in Vacaville, California.
Special meaning and memories in this hand spun Fibershed hat! I spun the grey yarn from 2 oz of a blend of Jacob and Corriedale wool from @mendowool . Since I knew it wouldn't be enough by itself (that tiny ball is all I have left), I added some peachy handspun stripes from a blend of CVM and mohair fiber that I got from The Two Ewes @1hundredprojects and @betterinmotion
And 90% of it was knit while I was at the @fibershed_ Wool Symposium.
This gives you an idea of why we wash wool. The fleece on the right is skirted only and not a very greasy Columbia fleece from about 30 miles away. The one one the left is a CVM fleece (from Casper, WY) that is washed and the sheep was coated. This is not a true before and after washing but is a good indicator of how wool starts and how it can end up. Both are nice fleeces but the one on the left is the better fleece. Plus a lot less work. I paid a lot more for it too. #wool#cvmsheep#columbiasheep#localwool#fibershed#unicornpowerscour#littlehawkyarns 📷: @littlehawkyarns
today’s #wovember prompt is “local”, which is honestly probably the easiest prompt i could have, but that would not have been the case a couple of years ago. a big part of why our local fibreshed looks the way it does today, in such a short period of time, is because of the efforts of this badass woman here - anna has made her fibre flock and now mill @longwayhomestead a central space of learning and collaboration in our community, and she literally runs @pembinafibreshed alongside @meanderfield. and today is her birthday!!! 🎂 i’m so happy to call anna one of my close friends, and to have several other close friends as a result of knowing her (looking at you @fermefiolafarm, @bearandbunnyyarn, and @artemiselani) 💕
the @pembinafibreshed experience boxes are only available for another few days - after thursday, the listings will be taken down and they’ll be prepped and shipped to their new homes - and i’m excited to have info about anna’s mill included with her keychains, and yarn from @fermefiolafarm (including some fleece-specific skeins spun right down the road at anna’s), and other beautiful locally made goodies from myself, @naturalknotwood, and raven’s creek farm. this local community of mine is pretty damn awesome, if i do say so myself 😘
photo cred to the fabulous christel of @fermefiolafarm too - if you’re a @pembinafibreshed member and need some high quality photos taken of your operation, christel is definitely your gal 📷
We've been waiting to send out the great news that we are one of the recipients of the @fibershed_ grant this year!
Over the next 6 months we will be working with a carbon farming cohort with 7 alpaca farmers in Southeastern New England conducting soil sampling and working with the farmers to help understand the mechanisms of soil carbon farming and how this will benefit their farms and
remove carbon from the atmosphere.
We started soil testing last week in partnership with the @woodsholeresearchcenter with @quissetthillfarm which is such a beautiful space. Please check them out.
We'll be loading more info on our site soon with ongoing blog posts about the farms themselves and the progress being made.
For now, Welcome to our amazing cohort!
Kave Rock Farm
Moonlight Rose Alpacas
Melanie in her "We Can Do It" Rosie the Riveter shirt, demonstrating how to spin wool into yarn, as a girl in a handknit cable sweater watches. I think it's by chance that Melanie is spinning wool that's a very similar color to the girl's sweater? But it makes for a nice message in this picture.
Beautiful handspun and naturally-dyed yarns from Wild Rose Farm #fibershed bought at yesterday's #2018woolsymposium Also a little bit of Gotland fleece from the sheep sheering demo. The elven cloaks in the Tolkien films are woven from the ancient breed of Gotland sheep. A suitably middle-earth breed! And a bit of my own knitted elven cloak😊#gotlandsheep
WOW! What an amazing experience at yesterday’s @fibershed_ Wool Symposium! I am so proud to be creating with thoughtfully & sustainably sources materials! The feeling & inspiration from being around like minded creatives, farmers & producers is unmatched!! ***
The materials used in this piece each has its own amazing story... The roving & warp are from @lanislanawool, a completely climate beneficial wool from Rambouillet sheep. The warp was naturally hand dyed by Alisha owner of @fibercirclestudio. The felted roving was hand felted by Sarah @mendowool specially for me 😆 and the bark, that will be moved to the center of the piece, was harvested from eucalyptus trees off of Point Reyes - Petaluma Hill Road. How the inspiration for this piece came about is much longer story, maybe I will share it during my gallery opening in March.
today’s gathered/gathering image is another one i snagged from @longwayhomestead (shot by @fox_scoulder) from shearing day at the end of april this year. remember when my hard drive crashed and i was certain i’d lost some files, just wasn’t sure what they were? well, all my raw files from shearing day are gone, and unfortunately i never got around to even editing any of them with the exception of getting the bonus episode of video footage online. i’m glad i have my own memories of the day spent with so many friends and learning so much, and i’m also thankful that there was other footage taken 🐑
since anna, luke, and their boys moved to manitoba, their home has become a central gathering space for our fibre community. i’m so grateful to have such incredible, generous friends in my life, and to be part of such a vibrant local crew. @manitobafibrefestival is another fantastic example of annual gathering for us, and i’m excited to see @pembinafibreshed grow and expand those opportunities as well! this work can feel isolating at times, whether alone on your farm in the rural areas or standing over your dye pots in your kitchen, so having times and places to meet up is invaluable. and i would also say that these online communities we build play a part in that too! 💕 here’s to many more years of gathering together as we gather our harvests!
With 25 people dead and 200,000 people displaced by the most destructive fires in California’s history, it was timely that much of Fibershed’s 2018 Wool Symposium was spent discussing (under orange smoke-filled skies) the important role fire plays in our Fibershed. It is clear that fire suppression is not the answer and we need to implement natural fire management strategies for the safety of our communities and the health of our ecosystems. #2018woolsymposium#fibershed#paigegreenphotography#wildfire#regenerativeagriculture#prescribedgrazing
Spending the day at the Fibershed Wool Symposium studying fire ecology, grazing management to control fire and soil to skin Fashion amidst a day of serious fires in Butte County. I’m blessed to be part of the solution and my heart goes out to everyone effected by the fires. #fibershed#lanislana#fireecology @fibershed_ #warnermountainweavers @deepcreekyarns
Watching the premiere of the film we made for @fibershed_ at their wool and fine fiber symposium in CA. The film, “Resilience in Practice” focuses on re-integrating livestock into agriculture and how using them can help sequester carbon into the soil and prevent fire damage. It feels a bit more relevant today with the fires all over California. Thinking of all of those affected by the fires especially one of our own @jebdraper who has been evacuated and lost property in the Camp Fire. It’s been an inspiring day and full of amazing people.
Packed house in Point Reyes Station for the release of @fibershed_ ‘s film “Resilience in Practice: Re-integrating Animals into Cropping Systems” produced in association with us @soil_centric. Filming & editing by the lovely @earthenproductions. We’ll be sharing the link soon! 🐑🍐🍇🍷🎥
There was stitching, there was a living, breathing indigo dye vat, and best of all there were a whole bunch of Detroit’s most wonderful people all under the same roof for six whole hours today to come together to learn and make. Thank you to everyone who came out today to the workshop at @post.detroit.shop and especially to @colorwheelmichigan for organizing it and inviting me to teach. Also so much gratitude to @drsushidetroit for the wonderful lunch! I learned SO much about indigo dye and have the blue hands to prove it!
Just watched the premiere of the @fibershed_ film we made on the big screen at @fibershed_ wool and fiber symposium. The film, “Resilience in Practice” focuses on re-integrating livestock into agriculture and how that not only helps to sequester carbon into the soil, but also helps to prevent fire damage. With all the fires happening around California today. it feels much more important and relevant. Thinking of all those affected by the fires. Also, for those of you who don’t know i launched @earthenproductions (website is still in the works) a rebrand of my old company. We focus on authentic storytelling for sustainable causes and love working with earth-conscious companies and brands. It’s been an amazing and inspiring day. So many amazing people doing amazing things, and I’m honored to be a part of it! If you want to know more, keep up with the happenings at @earthenproductions
today’s prompt for #wovember is “not just clothing”, which is especially great because so much focus gets put on the fleeces we want to wear and there’s not as much discussion about what to do with the other fleeces! wool is fantastic because it’s biodegradable, so yes, a less-than-perfect fleece can just be composted (and they often are). but did you know wool can also be used as housing insulation, for carpeting, and as bedding for both you and your fur babies? i plan on eventually adding a wool dog bed to willow’s collection (they seem to be duplicating all over the house...), and i’m adding a duvet from @longwayhomestead to my own bed 🛏
when i visited @circlerlamb earlier this year, i was especially excited about their twin-sized quilt batts (they have bigger ones too, but the twins roll up into a tight bundle i could fit in a mailing box to check on the plane home). swipe to see more details of the quilt i made my twinsy for her wedding this summer - i keep scraps of cotton near my dye pots to exhaust them, and eventually have enough to pull together quilts. i’ve got a warm-toned one almost ready for my couch! have you invested in any wool bedding for your home yet?
A Yule jumper in the making - w i n t e r b e r r y - red berries standing our against a dark winter-scape. I am so exited about the ornate color work yoke on this beautifully designed #dreymasweater by #jennifersteingassdesign @toltyarnandwool | Luscious local yarns by @berkanawoolshop @customwoolenmills (Canadian wool natural black) #mulespinneryarns and (madder dyed red) #honestyarn merino + silk by @maiwahandprints
Today is the Annual Fibershed Wool Symposium at Point Reyes, Ca. The speakers are informative and inspiring, the vendors bring clothing and housewares made from Fibershed Certified materials which mean they are made with local fiber, local natural dyes and local labor. #fibershed @lanislanawool @fibershed_ #lanislana
awww, remember when it was still green a month ago? it’s november now, which of course means snow, and also means that i’m heading into holiday prep mode. i’ve been reading some interesting conversations around consumerism within the knitting industry and while i 100% agree that we all need to be making more conscious decisions about what we’re buying and producing and making within the contexts of slow fashion and fibresheds, i do also think it’s kind of... ironic? hypocritical? frustratingly hilarious? that a lot of the conversation comes from consumers rather than fibre industry professionals (designers, dyers, mills, farmers, etc). like, we who make a living off of our industry are to blame for the market feeling saturated/a boom in the industry/new players feeling pressure to produce (which is absolutely shitty, you should produce at a level you feel comfortable with, but also we more established folks shouldn’t be admonishing them when we all know that building a portfolio and business for yourself means releasing patterns, and passive sales/collaborations often don’t kick in until you have a solid portfolio under your belt). would you feel the same if we were talking about innovation or growth in the tech sector? if suddenly a bunch of authors were able to access the market with new books? if smart new local businesses were popping up in town, creating a visual difference from the influx of box stores that are also popping up but somehow seem part of the landscape these days? there are definitely conversations to be had about ensuring product quality, fair pricing that values work and materials, managing expectations and stress levels in a highly unregulated industry. but i for one love how accessible our industry is, and i think a lot can be learned through mentorships and transparent dialogue rather than complaining. whoof, that was a longer comment than i meant to be. i actually wanted to just let you know that the @fromfieldtoskin fibreshed experience boxes are online for only one more week, through november 15, before i take them down and start shipping for the holidays 😂 swipe through to see remaining options, and hop over to fromfieldtoskin.com!
Tomorrow I will be the @fibershed_ Wool Symposium at Point Reyes Dance Palace doing a demo with all natural local fiber! Stop by and check out the lectures, shop local fiber & so much more! Visit @fibershed_ for more information. Hope to see you there 💕