Know Your Shepherd
It all began with a spinning wheel. A friend living in the Philippines asked me (Rachel) if I would like to have and treasure her wheel that was in storage at her parents’ house in New Jersey. I said, “YES!”
This winter I went looking for someone to help me learn to spin and found a lovely little shop in a tiny town I’ve driven through many times when heading down to NJ. The owner welcomed me, helped me understand my wheel, and introduced me to the sub-culture of fabric artists.
Just as the local food movement is growing and offering us all connection to our land, animals, produce, and farmers, so the local fiber movement is giving us healthy options when it comes to our fabric and bedding choices. The story of our clothing is familiar: products are made out of sight by people in unhappy conditions using methods and chemicals that degrade our land and pollute our water.
We can begin to change that as we learn where and how to source what we need from people who are working to promote health in our communities. Recently, I took the kids to visit Battenkill Fiber Mill where the wool from Carole and Mark Harth’s Bear Farm in Burdett, NY, is made into yarn. I’m happy to be able to offer some of that yarn on our website. It’s 100% Corriedale hand dyed wool. This product supports the livelihood of two farming families and a small business right here in upstate NY. And in your skillful hands, it can be made into any number of useful items or gifts to be treasured for a long time.
If you aren’t one to knit up scarves for you favorite nieces and nephews, I imagine you are one to need a good night’s rest. We are also offering 100% organic cotton cover wool filled pillows. My friend, CeCe, of the lovely little shop in Esperence, NY, talks about the process in the second video here.
Enjoy the photos of our mill tour, and find the products on our store here.
The piles and piles of fiber pouring in reflect the return of spring and and the shearing taking place all over upstate NY.
The wool is washed and rinsed ever so gently and multiple times.
It dries in the open doorway on racks,
moves through several carders and spinning machines, is dyed, and then
… we get to take it home…
…to make into baskets and other goodies. The top of this basket is made from the Corriedale yarn I am offering. The bottom is a result from my spinning CeCe’s sheep’s wool.