Fiber Farm Community Supported Ag

I recently became a virtual farmer in support of Sweet Tree Hill Farm in Virginia. The farm has Shetland sheep, angora rabbits, and cashmere goats. I was excited to learn where the the funds I provided would go. They helped pay for 1 month’s worth of hay for the fiber animals. I’m glad I can contribute in…

Excerpt from Sheep Farm Literature

I began to read the book “The Improbable Shepherd: More Stories from Sylvia’s Farm” by Sylvia Jorrin, 2013. She has a sheep and goat farm in the foothills of the Catskill mountains in NY. This is a passage I especially enjoyed: “…Other islands of dark green emerged and disappeared. Parts of the hills that surround this…

Diversifying the Face of Shepherds in the U.S.

Raising sheep is challenging and requires knowledge of the land and animals. Regarding land, a shepherd must know water sources available, which plants are poisonous, and be mindful of rotational grazing strategies to prevent overgrazing. Intimate knowledge of sheep’s behavior throughout seasons, breeding patterns, lambing, and individual characteristics like personality are also essential to manage…

Embracing Local Cultures of Dress- Small Exhibit

Local production of clothes has been integral to several cultures throughout time. This exhibit focused on comparing Navajo traditional, local cultures of dress and textiles, with the American Fibershed project that is creating “local” cultures of dress as part of the larger sustainable fashion movement. The Fibershed project in Northern California was established in 2011 by…

Amazing Fibershed Symposium 2013!

I went to the Fibershed Annual Wool & Fine Fiber Symposium in Point Reyes Station, CA last weekend Sat Nov 16. I was very excited to see a wide range of people from different professions including University professors to fiber farmers and artisans.  Presentations can be seen here. If you are interested in agricultural sustainability, or care…

Mapping NY Fiber Farms

I’ve been creating a map of fiber farms throughout New York to contribute to discourses about regional Fibersheds. I inserted all of the addresses and identified the specific fiber animals that are one the farms. The map shows that there are extensive Alpaca farms, much more than sheep farms. This is because I was able…

Finished Cashmere Sweater and Memories

I finally finished the cashmere sweater that I mentioned in a previous post. The stitches in this sweater have so many memories and I am so happy that I can reflect back on the time I spent preparing the yarn and knitting. I began working on it in June and finished in August 2013 and it…

Worth of Wool

Visiting the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill was great, especially since I’ve had some contact with people who process their fleeces here. I learned about the steps involved in turning a fleece into yarn from washing to spinning steps. It was very interesting to see the large scale equipment. I was surprised that it takes about 2 weeks…

Re-Visiting Laughing Goat Fiber Farm

I previously visited the Laughing Goat Fiber Farm in January when it was snowy. Visiting in Summer is beautiful and it was great to see and interact with the fiber animals again. I’m currently hand-knitting a cashmere sweater from cashmere fibers of this farm. The cashmere is grey, a mix of black and white fibers from…

From Watershed to Fibershed

“Fibershed” is a term coined by Rebecca Burgess, it represents regional fiber resources from plants and animals such as sheep, goat, or alpaca, manufacturing mills that process raw fibers into clothing, and a local market. To understand this term, it is helpful to consider better known watersheds, bodies of water that link up to larger bodies…

Ag Day! Celebration of Agriculture

Yesterday there was a wonderful event that celebrated the diversity of life in Ithaca. Animals and plants were brought to the Ag Quad on the Cornell campus and many students got the opportunity to interact with adorable animals. Lisa, a fiber farmer I visited in January was at the event and she brought three of…

Loving Alpacas while Gaining Ecological Knowledge

I was very excited to visit the Alpaca Cass Farm in Davis CA. It will be interesting to compare the information I learned here with information I will learn from a visit to an Alpaca farm in NY in a few weeks. When I first entered their area, the Guard Llama, shown in the photo…

Developing Narratives with Clothing and Connections to Place

I first met Audrey Acosta, one of the kindest designers ever, in Spring 2009 at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis California. I was charmed by all of her colorful one-of-a-kind dresses.  In an internship with her, she explained that she traveled to India once a year and hand-picked recycled silks to use for her…

Local discoveries for sustainable fashion design

In conducting preliminary research for my Masters thesis in Apparel Design, I was excited to find that there are several local fiber farms in Tompkins county. I found farms in Ithaca, Groton, and Prattsburg NY that produce yarns from the soft, fluffy hairs of sheep, goats, and alpaca (ie “exotic” animals). Learning about these local…