Here is the latest on the Blue Ridge Blanket Project.
1. Wool has been obtained from Black Thorn Farm & Kitchen in Sandy Mush. These farmers maintain a herd of about 124 sheep, mostly for meat. They are a mix of Tunis, Finn, Texel, and Southdown. 100 lbs. of fiber including wool, alpaca and mohair (for blending) will be delivered to The Green Mountain Spinnery after volunteers finish skirting and cleaning up the fiber. I brought home a small amount of the wool from the farm to card and spin as a knitting sample. I will add photos in the next blogpost!
2. 50 lbs of Shetland was delivered to Two Roots Alpaca and Fiber Mill some time ago for processing into yarn. The finish date has been pushed back now to mid or late July this year, 2022.
Above: Two Roots Alpaca and Fiber Farm / Photo by Caroline Williford
Because of various unaccountable delays in processing the fiber, it looks like our one year of development will stretch into the second year. Thus, our timeline for development and marketing the product in time for Christmas retail is unrealistic. After fiber is processed into yarn (at uncertain time frames, the earliest being Feb 2023), the samples will also require 3 months for natural dyeing and 3 months for weaving to be finished. Christmas 2023 is our new target!
This new timeline generated a considerable amount of discussion at our leadership team meeting this month. In the meantime, we will continue to identify retail locations to market our finished products. We are living and learning and still working hard.
Above: Josephine and Tina skirting wool just behind the Local Cloth studio. In the background Judi and Beth recently painted a nice, sheep-filled hills with blue sky background to dress up the mostly concrete covered space. Photo by Judi Jetson.
SUMMARY TO DATE:
To catch you up, here are the links to previous blogposts about the 1st phase of our project.
And, links to blogposts from the Spinning Interest and Natural Dye Interest groups that are directly relevant to this project.
June 21st we had a Leadership Team meeting. For those who do not know, this consists of the elected board members plus a few others. Each month we receive an update from Caroline Williford. She also oversees the Blue Ridge Blanket Project website page.
It would be worthwhile to make a list of the various wools that have been collected and to say that Local Cloth is always on the alert from local farmers who could provide skirted, fine wool with staple about 3-3.5" long and containing some crimp.
1. Blue Ridge Mountains Blend #1,
- 30% Montadale, 25% Shetland, 25% Alpaca, 20% Mohair from local fiber farmers
- Yarn was spun at Two Roots Alpaca and Fiber Mill and dyed by our Natural Dye Interest Group at Local Cloth
- Will be woven by students at Warren Wilson College (Heather K. Powers on-line weaving workshop and Melanie Wilder involved)
Photos above (by Caroline Williford):
Top, Melanie Wilder and Eileen Hallman at a Weaving Design workshop
Bottom, Melanie and a participant examining "cakes" (wound yarn) and bobbins of the naturally dyed wool.
See recent Newsletter for more detail.
Above: Weaving/photo of Naturally Dyed Blue Ridge Blend #1 by Melanie Wilder
Above: Weaving/photo of Naturally Dyed Blue Ridge Blend #1 by Miles, WWC student
Above: Weaving/photo of Naturally Dyed Blue Ridge Blend #1 by Miles, WWC student.
2. Shetland from local farmers
- Yarn will be spun at Two Roots Alpaca and Fiber Mill (possibly by end of July 2022
- Will be dyed by Natural Dye Interest Group
- Will be woven by Haywood Community College students who attended a weaving design workshop at Local Cloth.
3. Polled Dorset
- Waiting for samples of dorset/bamboo blend yarn from Echoview Fiber Mill. NOTE: Sad news, Echoview Fiber Mill just announced it will be closing (6/29/22).
- Perhaps sock yarn and Natural Dye Interest Group to dye it.
4. Rescued Cotswold X Tunis
- Volunteers are skirting fleece in Mills River.
- This pretty Cotswold X Tunis herd was stored in a barn for years, and we rescued it from the landfill.
- Will explore best uses.
5. Wool from Black Thorn Farm & Kitchen will be delivered to The Green Mountain Spinnery after skirting is finished.
6. Gathering more mohair, alpaca and fine wool from farms across the region, including those in Barnardsville, Leicester, Tryon, Mills River, Vale, and Rutherfordton