When I was little, my parents read me The Oxcart Man by Donald Hall.
In the book, a farm family spends a year making the farm products that they would sell at the town market in the fall. The family made honey, yarn, mittens, shingles and brought home the few goods they could not manufacture at home.
I recall this book as a parallel to my current project. As you may have gathered from some previous posts, I’m bringing my wares to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival in October. Just like the family in the Oxcart Man, I am preparing several different products for sale to showcase what my sheep create.
I will bring:
- My Sheep and Pickle Vermont Aran mill-spun yarn, made by Hampton Fiber Mill, in three natural colors. This yarn is made exclusively from the fleeces of four of my eight crossbred sheep.
- A new gauge and style of yarn, to be determined, from the ultra-soft wool of my two Merino x Corriedale x Cormo sheep, Earl Scruggs and Martha.
- Hand-washed and processed batts for spinning, in all natural colors.
- Soft, comfy pelts from some of last year’s lambs.
- Lamb and mutton from my flock.
- Color-work and technique-based patterns for every skill level
- Cat beds for animals who love the scent of wool, made from waste fiber from the batt-making process.
I firmly believe that the only way to survive economically as a shepherd is to use everything the animals produce. That means lamb and yarn, but also mutton, pelts, waste wool and manure, too! I am looking forward to writing more about the processes of creating these unique products, and talking more about why Sheep and Pickle’s lamb and fiber are truly special.