LEBANON, OREGON - After four years of working through USDA and EU protocols, Martin and Joy Dally are the first to import the genetics of the Swiss Valais Blacknose sheep into the United States. Martin Dally operates Super Sire Ltd, which offers genetics for the sheep industry, and Joy Dally operates Shepherds Lane of Oregon, which deals in fiber, fleece and pelts from their flock. In this producer story we get to meet the first Valais Blacknose cross lambs born at their farm!
A big win for American fiber producers and domestic manufacturing! Here's how it happened for Imperial Stock Ranch...
Kim & Mitch Biegler are the owners of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill, located in Halsey, OR. They live on Mitch’s family Century Farm, where they have grown grass seed for generations. With the support of her husband, Kim slowly began to bring farm animals back onto the farm. They began with hens, a couple of sheep and added alpacas to the mix a while later. Since then Kim's passion for fiber has inspired the creation of the Ewethful Fiber Mill, a full service, custom fiber processing mill. The mill is housed in a historic Halsey building, which Kim and her husband renovated and brought back to life. Their vision is to create PNW grown and milled fiber and yarn. For more information please visit www.ewethfulfiberfarm.com
We had the pleasure of visiting with Wayne and Eileen Doolin of Skyline Fiber Mill in Salem, OR. In this video Wayne and Eileen share with us how they process fiber at their mill. Thank you so much Skyline Fiber Mill for sharing your mill with us!
We had a lovely visit with Lois Olund of Blakesley Creek Farm, a family farm in the Oregon coastal foothills of Wren, Oregon. Lois has been operating this farm for over 33 years and is an active member in the Pacific Northwest fiber community, through her leadership in events such as the Black Sheep Gathering, the Midsummer's Spin-In and countless educational tours of her farm for 4-H groups and elementary schools. She is welcoming, passionate and an inspiration in her years of experience and wealth of knowledge.
For the past decade, Blakesley Creek Farm has been actively involved in the introduction and upgrade program of Wensleydale sheep from the United Kingdom and belongs to the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association. Wensleydales have a long, lustrous fleece that is finer than fleeces of most other English longwools, with origins dating back to 1838. For more information about the development of the breed in England, please visit http://www.wensleydalesheep.org/images/history.htm
Wensleydale sheep have distinct, curly, kemp-free ringlets that are wavy with a smooth, lustrous surface. The long locks can be spun into smooth or textured yarns which are exceptional for weaving, knitting and crocheting. Wensleydale fiber is very amenable to dyes and produces clear, bright, lustrous colors.
Blakesley Creek farm is home to alpacas, dogs, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, canaries, cats and sheep. Lois has a strong bond with her animals and creates a wonderful home for each and everyone of them on her farm.
Angora rabbits are one of the fiber producing animals raised at Blakesley Creek Farm. Angora fiber is known for its softness, thin fibers and what knitters refer to as halo, or fluffiness.
Bellwether Wool Company is a friend-based partnership between Lois Olund of Blakesley Creek Farm and Linda Hansen of Dayspring Farm. They raise Cormo, Wensleydale, Border and Blue-faced Leicester sheep, as well as angora rabbits and alpaca. Once their animals are sheared, they wash and dye the fiber and then have the fiber processed into roving, which is pin-drafted.
Bellwether Wool Company brings you colorful, pin-drafted roving, batts and yarns, produced with wool raised on these two small, family farms.
Lois is holding a textile that was hand-spun and woven by a friend of hers, using Bellwether Wool Company fiber. A wonderfully vibrant example of the gorgeous fiber being raised and produced on these farms.
Lois has built a wonderful, sustainable, fiber classroom on her farm, which hosts a variety of fiber workshops. There are several workshops coming up in November and the beginning of December (Dates are TBA). Please visit www.facebook.com/BlakesleyCreekFarm for more information on these upcoming workshops:
Full day workshop felted mittens & slippers (choose one) $80
Full day workshop Nuno felting ( making 2 scarves) $80
Half day workshop felting coin purses $40
'Play Days'- choose Nuno felting scarves, silk painting scarves, felting coin purses, slippers, or mittens $25 plus materials
Carding fiber at a recent nuno felting workshop.
Thank you Lois Olund for sharing your farm with us! For more information on the Bellwether Wool Company please visit www.bellwetherwool.com.
Angela Wartes-Kahl of Common Treasury Farm shared her passion for farming and textiles in our recent visit to her Alsea, Oregon farm, where she has been farming flax for over 4 years. In this video we take a look at how flax is farmed and how it is processed into fiber for textile production. Thank you Angela so much for sharing your farm and what you produce with us! Enjoy this wonderful video by StereoEye Productions.
Tash Wesp has been a felting artist for over 20 years. Having studied Nuno felting in Europe in the 1990's, Tash has mastered her craft, creating one-of-a-kind wearable felt art and goods. She is constantly experimenting with processes such as dyeing with leaves and other plant materials as well as traditional dyeing of wool and other materials.
"Nuno", a fabric felting technique, derives it's name from the Japanese word for cloth. Nuno felting is said to have been developed by Polly Stirling, a fiber artist from New South Wales, Australia, in 1992. The technique bonds loose fiber, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt.
Tash Wesp resides and works in the vibrant coastal town of Newport, Oregon. Her work can be found at places such as the Bay Street Gallery in downtown Newport, a popular strip for sight seeing fishermen, visiting art galleries and tasting local fare.
Tash Wesp's work at the Bay Street Gallery includes eco dyed, Nuno felted, wearable pieces as well as wall art, vases and rugs. Tash is constantly experimenting with color, pattern and shape in her work.
Tash sources wool from local growers, as well as dyes and processes all of her own goods in her Newport, Oregon studio. This rug was felted using hand dyed, raw wool from Common Treasury Farm, a Pacific Northwest Fibershed producer farm.
Tash re-uses pattern found fabrics in her work and is constantly experimenting, reinventing and improving her techniques. This seamless, Nuno felted jacket is a wonderful example of Tash's eclectic and adventurous design aesthetic.
Tash is often asked why she doesn't grow her Felt Fusion business's capacity to produce more goods and her answer is quite simply, she is happy where she is now and loves selling at events such as the Oregon Country Fair. She enjoys building relationships with her customers and clients, as well as creating handmade goods that show impeccable craftsmanship.
These 6 ft Nuno felted benches are on display at the Newport Public Library. Another example of the Newport communities love and support of Tash Wesp's art.
Thank you Tash Wesp for sharing more with us about what you do and for your passion for ecologically and truly locally, handmade goods! For more information on Tash Wesp and her work, please visit Felt Fusion by Tash Wesp.
We had the pleasure of visiting with Tracy and Lyn Robertson of Ram's Head Station farm, a small family farm located in Corvallis, Oregon, the heart of the Willamette Valley. Here they breed and raise Icelandic Sheep, a heritage breed that has retained one of the purest bloodlines in the agricultural world. Hand spinners and knitters are fixated on the Icelandic sheep's wooly double-layered coat which is suited for cold and wet conditions.
Thank you Tracy and Lyn Robertson of Ram's Head Station for sharing your farm with us!
Local Color Fiber Studio grows and uses cultivated and wild harvested plants and fungi to get exquisite colors into their yarns. Emily is a former architect turned farmer on Bainbridge Island, WA. In addition to the dye gardens, she tends a small vegetable farm, 15 Finnsheep, 2 llamas and 3 German Angora rabbits.
When we met up with Emily Tzeng, she was hard at work planting the Local Color Fiber Studio dye garden on Bainbridge Island, WA.
This is dried plant dye material from last year's Local Color Fiber Studio's harvest.
Emily introduced us to her flock of Finnsheep in the midst of the lambing season. She expressed that growing a healthy pasture brings her happiness, but watching her flock of Finnsheep graze on that healthy pasture is her ultimate pleasure.
Emily shared her experiences of being a new farmer in a time when farmland is becoming harder and harder to come by, yet afford. With grace and determination she continues to build her farm on the rented pastures and farmland she has managed to secure.
Naturally dyed yarns and fibers, grown and gathered on Bainbridge Island by Local Color Fiber Studio.
Thank you Emily Tzeng of Local Color Fiber Studio for sharing your farm with us!
Under The Root is an underpinning groundwork to a conscious, wakeful culture. The intimate apparel designs are hand structured lingerie, loungerie, and boudoir accessories. Each design and entire process utilizes industrial hemp, organic cottons, sustainable, upcycled, reclaimed and many times vintage textiles. The owner, creative director, and designer Jennifer M. Brown established the brand in 2008 after studying dance, business, philosophy, and liberal education.
Under The Root studio in Seattle, WA.
Mostly self taught, Jennifer M Brown has designed this seasons collection through patterning, grading and technically designing each and every piece, until the fit of the garment is perfected.
Jennifer sources Fair Trade Hemp and is thorough in researching the practices of companies she sources textiles from. She knows there is a better way and is passionate about the possibility of regionally grown and produced hemp.
Every Under The Root garment is hand dyed by Jennifer. She utilizes sustainable practices throughout every stage of production.
There is great attention to detail in every piece Jennifer makes. All sewing and construction takes place in her Seattle, WA studio space.
We asked Jennifer to pull out a few of her favorite pieces from the Under The Root Capsule Collection.
Every scrap becomes something whimsical at Under The Root Studio, where Zero Waste is embraced.
Thank you Jennifer M Brown of Under The Root for sharing your studio with us!
We had a fabulous visit at Cooke Creek Sheep Company, a regional producer of award winning fleeces in Ellensburg, WA. Established in 2002, Cooke Creek Sheep Company is a family-owned and operated sheep and hay ranch located near Ellensburg in the beautiful Kittitas Valley of Central Washington State. At the farm you will find Texel, Coopworth and Border Leicester crosses, Targhee, Debouillet, Wensleydale and Teeswater sheep.
Thank you Jami and Larry Beintema of Cooke Creek Sheep Company for sharing your farm with us!