$1,546
pledged of $8,630pledged of $8,630 goal
26
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, December 12 2015 2:42 PM UTC +00:00
$1,546
pledged of $8,630pledged of $8,630 goal
26
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, December 12 2015 2:42 PM UTC +00:00

About

This is breed-specific yarn passed from hand to hand, from sheep to shearer, to shepherd, to mill, to dyer, to knitter, crocheter, or weaver. It moves through a community that believes that wool is a valuable resource, and in the importance of where the wool was grown, how the animal was cared for, how the yarn was cleaned, spun, and dyed. Sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly breed-specific yarn supports local small farms and mills, while protecting and maintaining rare breeds of sheep. This is a project worth your attention and funding.

 "Breed specific" means yarn made from the wool of one particular breed of sheep, and displaying the unique characteristics of that breed. Supporting breed-specific yarns, teaches us about the origins of the different breeds while encouraging the husbandry and preserving of many rare and endangered sheep breeds. lt also provides vital financial support and encouragement to local shepherds, who raise these unusual breeds, and the small mills that process the fiber. Having breed-specific yarns will give knitters and other fiber artists the greatest possible number of options to choose from in making their creations.

Wool yarns found in local fiber shops come from a collection of undetermined raw fibers. Mills buy raw wool fiber in bulk and process it without regard to the type of fiber, where it was grown or how it was harvested. One generic combination of wools should not be expected to meet all needs, when there are so many incredible breed-specific fibers to explore.

My proposal is to use locally sourced breed-specific raw fiber purchased from small farms and local breeders. I will wash it, then send it to a small mill to be spun into yarn for resale at fiber events and online at farmyarns.com. The funds generated through this Kickstarter proposal will be used to pay for the cost involved in processing clean raw wool into fabulous yarn.

Bramble, Shetland Ram
Bramble, Shetland Ram

 I became interested in sourcing local fibers from breed-specific sheep after a trip to the United Kingdom, where I was amazed by the incredible variety of breed-specific yarns available. My idea for Farm Yarns came about when I discovered (to my great surprise) an abundance of raw breed-specific wool available within a 100 mile radius of my home. This summer I visited several farms and met the shepherds and farmers raising sheep. I met animals named Henry, Chloe, Sherlock, Bear and many more. I saw animals that were lovingly cared for and fleeces that were ethically harvested through proper shearing techniques. 

Henry, Gotland Ram
Henry, Gotland Ram

Over the summer months, I hand selected whole fleeces of Cotswold, Shetland, Wensleydale, Border Leicester, North Country Cheviot, Blue-faced Leicester (BFL), Gotlands, Cormo, Romney, Icelandic, Califonia Variant Mutant (CVM), Coopworth, and Lincoln, All of which are being hand washed and prepared by me for processing, by a small family owned mill, into yarn.

Cotswold fleeces
Cotswold fleeces

Wool is a sustainable natural fiber with amazing qualities, strong, durable, warm even when wet and flame resistant. Wool from different breeds varies widely in color, softness, elasticity, strength, drape, and sheen. Using wool from as many different breeds as we can provides the greatest number of options to choose from when buying and working with yarn. And more importantly this project will help to sustain many rare and critically endangered breeds being raised on small family farms.

Wool from breed-specific sheep has its own personality and falls into several categories. This is a general overview of the wools I will be using in this project:

  • Down Breeds such as Dorset Downs, Hampshire Downs and Suffolk are primarily raised for meat. These are raised in large flocks in the rangelands of the western US. The wool is a byproduct sold directly to large woolen mills to be spun into "wool yarn”. Down wool is elastic (stretchy) and very strong. It can add strength when blended with Longwools. Down wool is great for socks, hats, mittens, and blankets.

  • English Longwools such as Leicester, Cheviots, Romney, Cotswold, and Wensleydales have roots that go back to the Roman occupation of England, two thousand years ago. They are grown for their fleece with most being sheared twice a year in spring and fall. This wool makes yarn that is sleek, shiny and takes dyes beautifully. Yarns spun fine are great for lace shawls, hats, mittens, and cowls. Spun heavier it can be used for outerwear and textiles.

  • Northern European Short-Tailed sheep include Finn sheep, Gotland, Shetland and Icelandic, most having a dual-coated fiber that provides both soft downy undercoat and guard hairs. These sheep have roots in early primitive breeds from thousands of years ago. These breeds can produce ultra-fine yarn for hand-knits as well as coarser, but equally gorgeous yarns suitable for sturdy socks and warm outer garments and remarkable tapestry yarns.

  • Other Sheep Breeds have been developed by combining characteristics from unrelated sheep and have become an independent breed on their own. These include California Variegated Mutant (CVM), Cormo, Corriedale, Jacob, and Coopworth. Some were developed for meat and some for fiber. Their individual history of origin, from shipwreck castaways to medieval sheep stock, are fascinating along with the diverse fiber produced.

With so much to be offered from breed specific fibers, one “wool” should not be used to meet all needs of the fiber craftperson.

Border Leciester fleece drying on rack
Border Leciester fleece drying on rack

By keeping the batches of yarn small (75-100 skeins each) this will allow me to design each yarn to embody the unique characteristics of the specific fiber(s). Once the yarn has been spun it will be returned to me on cones. From there I will rewind it into 4 oz. skeins.  Most of the yarn will remain as its natural color, but I can’t resist dyeing some, especially the Coopworth. Each dye lot will be done in small batches and difficult to repeat, thus making the dyed yarn truly one of a kind. I will use Greener Shades dyes, that are eco-friendly (containing no heavy metals), to dye the yarn in earth shades using low-water immersion kettle dyeing method.

Hand dyed yarns
Hand dyed yarns

As of now I will be processing the following fibers into yarn:

  • Wenslydale White

  • Wensleydale Gray

  • Wensleydale Black

  • Coopworth

  • Romney/Cotswold

  • Border Leicester/North Country Cheviot

  • Icelandic/Mohair (fiber from my own animals)

  • Romney/BFL

  • Romney/CVM

  • Lincoln/Gotland

    Locations and links to farms where fibers were sourced will be available on the website. Also a link to the small family owned mill.  

Icelandic fleeces waiting to be washed
Icelandic fleeces waiting to be washed

My goal is to have all yarns processed, dyed, and packaged in time for spring fiber events in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Yarns will also be available for online purchases at farmyarns.com.

Timeline for 2015-2016  

  • November 9-December 15: Kickstarter proposal submitted for funding. Fibers will be sent to mill during this time to keep on schedule. Website will be developed.

  • December 16-January 15: Funding received and reward items will be ordered. Continue sending fibers to be processed. Yarn received from mill will be wound into skeins and hand dyed when appropriate. Update website with new yarns and keep backers informed of progress.

  • January 16-February 29: Reward items will be sent. Send more fiber and receive finished yarn. Yarn received from mill will be wound into skeins and hand dyed when appropriate.  Update website with new yarns and keep backers informed of progress.

  • March: Yarn received from mill will be wound into skeins and hand dyed when appropriate. Update website with new yarns and keep backers informed of progress.

  • April: Last of yarn received from mill will be wound into skeins and hand dyed when appropriate. Update website with new yarns and keep backers informed of progress. Get yarn packaged and ready for shows.

  • May: Attend two major fiber events: Stitches South, Maryland Sheep and Wool show. Update website with new yarns and keep backers informed of progress.

At this time I will review the success of Farm Yarns, and determine which fibers will be purchased and processed into yarn for the 2016 fall fiber events.

This is where you can help! Backers are needed help fund the processing fees at the mill. All the fiber is bought and the types of yarns are being designed with help from the mill and fiber community. Here is an overview of the budget:

  • Mill Processing (washing, picking, carding, spinning, plying and winding onto cones or into skeins) - 10 separate yarns at $600 each -$6,000
  • Website domain and support - $380
  • Packaging and marketing materials -$275
  • Reward incentives and shipping - $1,300 
  • Kickstarter and credit card fees - $675 

If the goal is exceeded, extra funding will be used to purchase more local fiber and supplement yarn processing fees.

I want to thank anyone in advance for making a contribution to Farm Yarn. Your support for this project, which will benefit breed-specific sheep, is greatly appreciated. If you are unable to make a contribution to this project, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share my campaign and help spread the news about the wonders of breed specific fiber.  

Risks and challenges

I have been successful in promoting and selling other products (hand-made soap, hand-dyed yarns) I make at market events and online. I feel I have developed the skills to ensure success and fulfill my mission efficiently. I have been a successful educator for 35 years and now retired. I have the time to devote to this project.
The raw fibers are already purchased, with more being purchased as I locate them. The only challenge is the timeline with the mill. The mill I am working with is committed to helping small fiber businesses and is enthusiastic about breed-specific yarns. They have assured me a quick turn around on the processing time. They have a solid record of 3-week turn around while being able to process 3 orders at a time. I feel confident that I can get all fibers processed within the timeline.
I do have a supportive family and wonderful friends who would be willing to step in and help if needed. The responsibility of preparing the raw fiber, getting it to the mill, winding yarn into skeins, dyeing, packaging it will be my responsibility with support as needed.
I have great organizational skills, and can work under pressure. I feel very confident in my ability to fulfill all rewards and incentives as offered.
Farm Yarns is a small business that will design yarns from breed-specific wool, to highlight the characteristics of a particular fiber. I will work with a small mill to create unique and well-crafted artisan yarns. I will communicate with my backers and they will be the first to know if I experience any delays in the production timeline and how I will solve any unforeseen problems. This project provides an opportunity to support local shepherd-farmers while protecting and maintaining rare breeds of sheep, and it makes it possible for fiber enthusiasts to obtain (and enjoy creating with) unique, breed-specific yarns. From farm to yarn is a journey worth taking. Please join with us for this exciting endeavor

Thank you for your consideration!

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Support

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

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    * a handwritten thank you note

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    You will receive:
    * a photo of one of the sheep the fiber was sourced from
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    You will receive:
    * one package of 8 notecards with original oil paintings of sheep, like my logo.
    * a handwritten thank you note.

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    * one Farm Yarns mug with a sheep design
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    You will receive:
    * one Farm Yarns tote bag
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You will receiver:
    * one Farm Yarns tote
    * one package of 10 notecards with original oil paintings of sheep, like my logo.
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

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    * one Farm Yarns tote
    * one Farm Yarns mug with a sheep design
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    You will receive:
    * one Farm Yarns tote bag
    * one Farm Yarns mug with sheep design
    * one package of 10 notecards with original oil paintings of sheep, like my logo.
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive:
    * one 4 oz skein of breed specific yarn, your choice
    * one Farm Yarns tote bag
    * one Farm Yarns mug with sheep design
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    You will receive:
    * one 4 oz skein of breed specific yarn, your choice
    * a Farm Yarns tote bag
    * one package of 10 notecards with original oil paintings of sheep, like my logo
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    You will receive:
    * two 4 oz skeins of breed specific yarn, your choice
    * one Farm Yarns tote bag
    * one Farm Yarns mug with sheep design
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You will receive:
    * two 4 oz skeins of breed specific yarn, your choice
    * one Farm Yarns tote bag
    * one Farm Yarns mug with sheep design
    * one package of 12 notecards with original oil paintings of sheep, like my logo.
    * a handwritten thank you note

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    You will receive:
    * all the rewards for the $250 pledge
    * you will be able to name a yarn collection including any names for colorways, your choice.

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Funding period

- (30 days)