Review: Shear Spirit

I really enjoyed reading Shear spirit : ten fiber farms, twenty patterns, and miles of yarn 9780307394033, by Joan Tapper with photography by Gale Zucker. The pictures are great and there is very interesting text about the different farms. It is clear that in all cases the people love the land and the animals, but otherwise are quite different. The farms are from across the US with a variety of fiber animals. The owners have a widely different backgrounds. The farms generally emphasize local foods and products. The patterns in the book are OK but what I liked best about them was seeing the yarns in use.

Meadowcroft Farm in Washington Maine, run by a single mom, which has Polwarth sheep, She dyes the yarn using sea water and solar power, called Seacolors.

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts has a wide variety of animals including Karakul, Soay, Shetland, Icelandic, Navajo-Churro and Jacob sheep, Bactrian camels, emu and yak, The yak have created a connection to Tibet and Nepal. Dyeing is done by Botanical Shades. The former Cornish fisherman weaves with the fiber.

Autumn House Farm in Rochester Mills, Pennsylvania has Karakul rams crossed with Border Leicester ewes. The fibers are dyed and carded on the farm. They are very self sufficient, even including natural gas from wells on the farm.

Misty Meadow Icelandics Farm, a small hobby farm in Minnestrista, Minnesota raises Icelandic sheep. Felting is a major textile activity here.

Kai Ranch in Blue, Texas has angora goats. The owner dyes the fiber and also raises colored angora goats, which are quite rare. She uses the yarn primarily in weaving.

Victory Ranch in Mora, New Mexico has alpaca. The owners grew up on the south side of Chicago so have had to learn everything as they went along.

Lazy J Diamond Ranch in Rocky Ridge, Arizona has a Churro flock. The yarn is dyed and woven by the Navajo family.

Thirteen Mile Farm in Belgrade, Montana raise sheep in a predator friendly manner. They use solar panels to power their picker, carder and spinning frame. They also dye the fiber.

Goat Knoll Farm in Dallas, Oregon raises cashmere goats. Their mid-life hobby farm quickly turned into a business.

Old Mill Farm in Mendocino, California raise Cheviot-Karakul crosses. The sheep are only part of the farm and fiber was not the original goal.

Rating: 3.8


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