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I'm creating a locally sourced, locally processed, and locally dyed wool yarn from a primitive breed sheep, Gotland.
I'm creating a locally sourced, locally processed, and locally dyed wool yarn from a heritage breed sheep, Gotland.
I'm creating a locally sourced, locally processed, and locally dyed wool yarn from a heritage breed sheep, Gotland.
67 backers pledged $4,360 to help bring this project to life.

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Valley Made - a locally made sheep to yarn project

$4,360

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Gotland Sheep
Gotland Sheep

My day job involves making our world more sustainable, while my creative life is focused on providing people with happy color for their knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, and other textile projects. Help me merge the two while I work to create a locally sourced yarn in the Willamette Valley.

Most wools travel thousands of miles before they end up in the hands of the customer. Think of wool sourced in Peru, spun in Peru, sent to the US, and then sent out again to you. Some wool is even grown in one place, sent to another for processing, another for spinning, sent back for dyeing and then sent to a retailer before making its way to a retailer.  By using locally sourced wool, we can cut the carbon footprint of the wool, while supporting our local economy.

I want to create a valley made yarn where the major steps of the process happen here in the Willamette Valley. That includes wool sourcing, wool processing, and hand-dyeing. I've created similar projects for my customers in the past and want to upscale my project, but it requires additional investment. This will significantly reduce the cost of the wool.

I'm sourcing most of the Gotland wool from the McTavish farm in Eugene, Oregon. I went to visit the sheep already. The ewe are named Nori, Tsunami and there's a wether too. 

Gotland is a primitive breed of sheep from Sweden. Like most primitive breeds in the US, it is vastly underused. Most Gotland is a lovely silver gray with a luster. It also halos a little (it's fuzzy like mohair). The potential for overdyeing is high. I love overdyeing gray wool because the wool itself is adding living color to the yarn and it's nearly impossible to duplicate the tone that the wool itself is providing. Gotlands' fineness ranges from 30-44 microns.

In the United States, Gotlands are upbred from other breeds by using a base breed and then artificial insemination to increase the percentage of Gotland DNA. The Gotland's I'm obtaining wool from are about 68% Gotland.

The wool will be processed by the Ewethful Fiber Farm in Halsey, Oregon and hand-dyed by me in Salem, Oregon. Ewethul Fiber Farm is a small batch processor and supporting local mills ensures that even small businesses like mine can make local wool. 

Spinning Equipment at Ewethful Fiber Mill
Spinning Equipment at Ewethful Fiber Mill

Some of the wool will be left undyed because some people prefer it that way.

My dyeing work is best seen on instgram, where you could follow #threefatesyarns or @threefatesyarns. I've overdyed other grey wool blends in the past and here is an example of what they looked like. 

Overdyed Merino Yark and Nylon
Overdyed Merino Yark and Nylon

I am currently overdyeing some commercially spun Gotland so I will have an understanding of what the final product will look like.  Here's an example of commercially dyed gray Gotland top from Ashland Bay using Tintagel.

Commercially Dyed Gotland in Tintagel
Commercially Dyed Gotland in Tintagel

 

Risks and challenges

I am using kickstarter as my chosen platform, because this has the greatest chance to engage crafters in their local textile economy.

I've made two other farm sourced wool projects this way and I'm accustomed to it taking a while from shearing to getting it into my hands. I've had as much advance communication as I possibly could already with both the sheep farm and the wool processor.

Financials (best guess)

20 lbs of fleece will result in 15-18 lbs of wool, or around 60-72 skeins.
Raw goods cost: $20/lb: $400
Processing cost: $25/lb: $450
Dyeing cost: $25/lb: : $450
Bags and other rewards: $780
Fees: $100
Margin of error, office supplies, packaging, etc: $220.00
Total Project Cost: $2,450

Timeline:

March: Shearing
May/June: Processing , Early reward distribution
July/August: Dyeing
October/November: Distribution

Any yarn rewards obtained through kickstarter will be distributed before any of the remainder is offered for sale.

I plan to go ahead with this project irregardless, so I set the initial amount at about half of what I need to do everything. If I raise twice as much as the kickstarter goal, it will mean another round of fleece project yarn. It could also mean another fleece of Gotland, although it would come from another farm in Eugene.

I'm not sure of the exact yardage of the final project, only that we're going to aim for a 2-ply wool of 200-220 yards per skein.

I'm guessing the loss of wool during the cleaning process is about 20%, but am not offering the full estimated weight because we're still guessing the fleece weight.

I've already scouted out the initial fleece, although it may require additional fleece from a second farm. The animals haven't been sheared yet, so I'm not entirely sure what the final weight will be. I thought about keeping each animal separate, but have decided against it to provide a more even color.

The color of the wool is not known exactly and will be determined by the final shade of the wool and the blending process.

The wool could cost a little more to process than I've estimated.

Farm sourced wool may have more hay in it than you are accustomed to seeing.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    Lamb

    Acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, a write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a three fates yarn stitch marker.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Logo bag

    A zippered pouch with the three fates yarns logo on it, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, and a write-up of the adventure to make local wool.

    The bag will be made from organic cotton and the dimensions are approximately 10”W x 7”H x 3”G.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $26 or more About $26

    Corriedale Roving

    8 oz of undyed Corriedale Silk pencil roving (2 4 oz pieces) (85% corriedale wool, 15% silk).The Corriedale is from Hubbard Ranch in Oregon and was processed at the former Snowpeak Fiber Mll in Lebanon.

    You will also receive a hand-written thank you, acknowledgment on my website, and a write-up of the adventure to make local yarn.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $32 or more About $32

    Sock: Hand-dyed sock yarn

    3.5 oz of superwash merino nylon fingering weight yarn in an exclusive colorway. About 463 yards. (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon)

    You will also receive acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, and a write-up of the adventure to make a locally sourced yarn.

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    Valley Made Gotland Yarn and Pattern

    You will receive one 4 oz skein of hand-dyed Gotland light worsted weight wool and a pattern designed especially for this yarn from Marie Greene of Olive Knits. You may choose from one of a few preexisting three fates yarns colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You may also ask for it undyed; please note what color you'd like when checking out. The wool is sourced from the Willamette Valley, processed in the Valley and dyed in the Willamette Valley.

    You will also receive a hand-written thank you, acknowledgment on my website, write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a three fates yarns stitch marker.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 21 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $48 or more About $48

    Sock lover: Logo Bag/Yarn Combo

    3.5 oz of superwash merino nylon fingering weight yarn in an exclusive colorway. About 463 yards. (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon)

    A zippered pouch with the three fates yarns logo on it, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, and a write-up of the adventure to make local wool.
    The bag will be made from organic cotton and the dimensions are approximately 10”W x 7”H x 3”G.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 4 backers
    $
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $52 or more About $52

    Valley Made + Logo Bag

    You will receive one 4 oz skein of hand-dyed Gotland light worsted weight wool and a pattern designed especially for this yarn from Marie Greene of Olive Knits. You may choose from one of a few preexisting three fates yarns colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You may also ask for it undyed; please note what color you'd like when checking out. The wool is sourced from the Willamette Valley, processed in the Valley and dyed in the Willamette Valley.

    A zippered pouch with the three fates yarns logo on it, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, and a write-up of the adventure to make local wool.
    The bag will be made from organic cotton and the dimensions are approximately 10”W x 7”H x 3”G.

    You will also receive a hand-written thank you, acknowledgment on my website, write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a three fates yarns stitch marker.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 11 backers
    $
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  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $63 or more About $63

    Double up: Valley Made Gotland

    For people wishing to make a slightly larger accessory. Two skeins of valley Made Gotland Yarn and Pattern

    You will receive two 4 oz skeins of hand-dyed Gotland light worsted weight wool and a pattern designed especially for this yarn from Marie Greene of Olive Knits. You may choose from one of a few preexisting three fates yarns colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You may also ask for it undyed; please note what color you'd like when checking out. The wool is sourced from the Willamette Valley, processed in the Valley and dyed in the Willamette Valley.

    You will also receive a hand-written thank you, acknowledgment on my website, write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a three fates yarns stitch marker.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    $
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  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $84 or more About $84

    Got to have it all?

    3.5 oz of superwash merino nylon fingering weight yarn in an exclusive colorway. About 463 yards. (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon)

    You will receive one 4 oz skein of hand-dyed Gotland light worsted weight wool and a pattern designed especially for this yarn from Marie Greene of Olive Knits. You may choose from one of a few preexisting three fates yarns colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You may also ask for it undyed; please note what color you'd like when checking out. The wool is sourced from the Willamette Valley, processed in the Valley and dyed in the Willamette Valley.

    A zippered pouch with the three fates yarns logo on it, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, and a write-up of the adventure to make local wool.
    The bag will be made from organic cotton and the dimensions are approximately 10”W x 7”H x 3”G.

    You will also receive a hand-written thank you, acknowledgment on my website, write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a three fates yarns stitch marker.
    These will ship together when the Gotland is ready.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 5 backers
    $
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  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $260 or more About $260

    Sweater: Valley Made Gotland Yarn

    Approximately 11 skeins (4 oz/115 grams each) worth of hand dyed gotland light-worsted wool in a three fates colorway of your choice.The color will be one of a few preexisting three fates colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You could also get it as undyed - please make a note what your choice is when you check out.

    Comes with a three fates logo project bag, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, a write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a set of three three fates stitch markers.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $
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  11. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Late Sweater Backer, Valley Made Gotland

    Approximately 10 skeins (4 oz/115 grams each) worth of hand dyed gotland light-worsted wool in a three fates colorway of your choice.The color will be one of a few preexisting three fates colors: Mt. St. Helens, Arthur, Morgana, Tintagel, Aching, or Mosby. It is most likely to look like one of the aurai colorways I dye, but more muted due to the lack of superwash treatment. You could also get it as undyed - please make a note what your choice is when you check out.

    Comes with a three fates logo project bag, acknowledgment on my website, a hand-written thank you note, a write-up of the adventure to make local wool, and a set of three three fates stitch markers.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $
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Funding period

- (33 days)