NO war - NO wool

Wild Fibers 10th Anniversary - - Features -

Among the many fac­tors lead­ing to the de­cline of the wool in­dus­try few things have in­vig­o­rated Amer­ica’s pas­tures like the de­mand to clothe thou­sands of sol­diers. With no one knit­ting lit­tle green berets for a squadron of drones, Amer­i­can wool is stag­ing a come­back and fully pre­pared to sock it to you.

Ifall on a large bag of rov­ing filled with fat con­trails of wool the in­stant I step in­side the of­fices of the Amer­i­can Sheep In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion. Peter Or­wick, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, is ready for me. “Merino?” I ask, stroking the fiber. “Ram­bouil­let,” he corrects, ex­plain­ing that the rep­re­sented vari­ant is the “French merino.” Or­wick is in a po­si­tion to know. In ad­di­tion to his more than 20 years with ASI, Or­wick grew up on a cat­tle and sheep ranch in western South Dakota home­steaded by his great grand­fa­ther. There, in ad­di­tion to beef, they raised Ram­bouil­let mostly for meat.

To­day, he runs the U. S. wool in­dus­try’s old­est and largest trade as­so­ci­a­tion, rep­re­sent­ing more than 82,000 sheep producers. Founded dur­ing the Lin­coln Ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1865 as the Na­tional Wool Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion ( the coun­try’s first live­stock as­so­ci­a­tion), the or­ga­ni­za­tion is poised to cel­e­brate its sesqui­cen­ten­nial in just over a year. The an­niver­sary will mark, if not a time of re­nais­sance for the wool in­dus­try, a time of re­newed in­ter­est.

Lo­cated in Englewood, Colorado, ASI’s head­quar­ters look for all the world like those of a mort­gage lend­ing com­pany, with some no­table ex­cep­tions: On one wall hang the photographs of for­mer pres­i­dents of the Na­tional Wool Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and now ASI, rep­re­sent­ing 150 years of as­so­ci­a­tion lead­er­ship. In spite of the fact that the sheep and wool in­dus­try de­pends on its ewes, it wouldn’t be un­til the 1980s that a woman’s photo would join that line- up. Or­wick’s of­fice, which looks out onto the north­ern Front Range peaks and the vast ex­panse of city and prairie to the east, har­bors a mounted moun­tain lion, a 140-pound tom who made the mis­take of tak­ing out about a half dozen year­ling ewes on the the Cot­ton­wood Ranch in Utah. “It took me five days to find him,” Or­wick says.

In the last cen­tury and a half, the Amer­i­can wool in­dus­try has faced threats even more dire than those posed by preda- tors. Chang­ing tech­nol­ogy, tastes and gov­ern­ment poli­cies have done their part to shear the size of the Amer­i­can flock to the point that the United States barely reg­is­ters on global in­ven­to­ries. Cur­rently. Amer­i­can producers run about 5.34 mil­lion sheep, putting the United States be­hind China, Aus­tralia, Iran, the U. K. and even Azer­bai­jan in the num­ber of sheep raised do­mes­ti­cally. We cur­rently pro­duce about 14 mil­lion pounds of clean wool ( down from 55.1 mil­lion pounds in the mid- 1970s), more than half of which is ex­ported.

Count­ing sheep: Where have all the ovines gone?

But that wasn’t al­ways the case. In 1942, when Amer­i­can sheep were feed­ing and cloth­ing U. S. ser­vice­men over­seas, the in­ven­to­ries of th­ese multi- pur­pose an­i­mals hit an all­time high of 56 mil­lion head, putting the U. S. in fifth place in world­wide wool pro­duc­tion at the time. Since its hey­day, the Amer­i­can flock has dwin­dled some 90 per­cent, a fig­ure that begs the ques­tion, where have all the ovines gone?

The slide of the sheep in­dus­try mir­rors that of agri­cul­ture in gen­eral. Young World War II vet­er­ans, hav­ing been raised on dry ran­ge­lands in the West and green pas­tures in the East, didn’t want to re­turn to the farm af­ter lib­er­at­ing Paris. With the G. I. bill in their back pock­ets, they poured in to Amer­ica’s col­leges, choos­ing other oc­cu­pa­tions and leav­ing the sheep in­dus­try— and agri­cul­ture in gen­eral— be­hind.

But the as­saults on sheep didn’t end there. The postWorld War II era also brought the ad­vent of cheap feed grains, which boosted the pop­u­lar­ity of chicken, pork and beef, while mut­ton fell into dis­fa­vor among fam­i­lies whose pa­tri­archs had en­dured count­less tins of the stuff dur­ing the war. Add to that the pop­u­lar­iza­tion of lower- cost syn­thetic fibers that were easy to wash and wear, and it ap­peared as if the in­dus­try was headed out to pas­ture.

En­ter the Na­tional Wool Act of 1954. De­spite the ro­bust-

ness of mid- cen­tury sheep in­ven­to­ries, the United States still im­ported about half its wool for mil­i­tary uni­forms dur­ing World War II and the Korean con­flict. To limit the coun­try’s de­pen­dence on for­eign fiber and bol­ster Amer­i­can wool against in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, Congress passed the Na­tional Wool Act, pro­vid­ing sub­si­dies to wool and mo­hair grow­ers. Though sheep num­bers con­tin­ued to de­cline, the Wool Act helped shore up wool prices and en­cour­aged grow­ers to im­prove their clips.

The Wool Act stood for al­most 40 years, but un­der the Clin­ton Ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1993, the Wool Act was re­pealed.

“It was part of an ef­fort to rein­vent gov­ern­ment,” Or­wick ex­plains. “They thought it was too much money to spend on a small agri­cul­tural in­dus­try and they thought they could win it.”

The demise of the Wool Act rep­re­sented an enor­mous blow to a sheep and wool in­dus­try that had al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced se­ri­ous con­trac­tions. In a per­fect storm of sheep dip for the in­dus­try, the 1990s also ush­ered in the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment and the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, re­duc­ing bar­ri­ers to for­eign im­ports and open­ing doors for Amer­i­can tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ers to move op­er­a­tions to Mex­ico, China and In­dia with their lower la­bor costs. The re­sult: Ninety- five per­cent of the looms shut­tered in the Amer­i­can South, and wool pro­duc­tion con­tin­ued to plum­met.

“In late 1960s and early 1970s a huge share of gar­ments were Amer­i­can made; maybe three- quar­ters were made in Amer­ica,” Or­wick ob­serves. But in Amer­ica to­day, we’d be hard pressed to find a frac­tion of that.

Sheep: An en­dan­gered Amer­i­can species?

Though so many fac­tors have con­spired to put a crimp in the in­dus­try, Or­wick, wear­ing a tie and wool suit (“busi­ness ca­sual,” he says, has taken its own toll on wool ap­parel), sees bell­wethers of change on the hori­zon that could bode well for the fu­ture of Amer­i­can sheep. In­creas­ing im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tions of Mid­dle Eastern­ers, Greeks and His­pan­ics who have a taste for lamb are push­ing de­mand for high- qual­ity prod­ucts at eth­nic mar­kets. The knit­ting boom, which has proved to be a gate­way to spin­ning and weav­ing— and even rais­ing an­i­mals— is driv­ing in­ter­est in Amer­i­can fibers and yarns. The In­ter­net, too, is mak­ing it eas­ier for novice grow­ers to learn the ins and outs of rais­ing sheep.

“Be­cause of the In­ter­net you don’t have to have sheep farmer down the road for men­tor­ing,” he ex­plains, adding that new grow­ers can reach out to vet­er­ans dig­i­tally and take ad­van­tage of online ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams, such as we­bi­nars of­fered by ASI. “The dif­fer­ence be­tween now and the 1980s: you don’t have to be in a county where your neigh­bors raise sheep.”

A 2001 con­tro­versy over the man­u­fac­ture of U. S. Army berets in for­eign coun­tries and sub­se­quent U. S. in­cur­sions in Afghanistan and Iraq has also helped the wool in­dus­try, which pro­vides tons of fiber for Amer­i­can mil­i­tary uni­forms. ( The U. S. mil­i­tary uses about 20 per­cent of the Amer­i­can clip.). A re­vis­it­ing of the Berry Amend­ment of 1941 by Congress in the 2000s re­quires that all food, cloth­ing, tents, etc., pur­chased by the Depart­ment of De­fense be of U. S. ori­gin, in­clud­ing wool uni­forms— and berets.

Other forces such as the buy ( and eat) lo­cal move­ment, the Great Re­ces­sion and con­cerns about the en­vi­ron­ment and food safety are chang­ing the way peo­ple are think­ing about their liv­ings and the land. Hand­spin­ners, weavers, fel­ters, knitters and dy­ers are tak­ing to the fes­ti­val cir­cuit to ply their wooly wares and de­velop al­ter­na­tive in­come streams. Ranch­ers find they can com­mand pre­mium prices on grass­fed lamb, sell­ing di­rectly to the con­sumer at farm­ers’ mar­kets. Young— and not- so- young— en­trepreneurs are look­ing for ways to cre­ate their own jobs and bring their liveli­hoods closer to home.

“What is driv­ing this is that peo­ple are get­ting sick from siz­ing they put in fibers,” ob­serves Vicki Eber­hart of Mon­tague Farm, who has started the North Amer­i­can Wool Co­op­er­a­tive to help Amer­i­can grow­ers get more value from their fiber. “Nat­u­ral fibers are mak­ing a come­back, be­cause peo­ple have al­ler­gies and want to buy lo­cally. And the only way to do that is to pay a fair price to the farm.”

In Bel­grade, Mon­tana, near the base of the Bridger Moun­tains, Becky Weed and her hus­band Dave Tyler de­cided to cre­ate their own ex­per­i­ment in liv­ing off the land with sheep. Nei­ther come from farm fam­i­lies. Weed is a ge­ol­o­gist by train­ing and knit­ter by av­o­ca­tion, and Tyler is an engi­neer. Both had an in­ter­est in farm­ing, and af­ter many frus­trat­ing at­tempts to find a spread they could af­ford, they pur­chased the John Reese homestead, one of the old­est in south­west Mon­tana’s Gal­latin Val­ley in 1987 and Thir­teen Mile Lamb and Wool Co. was born.

“Thir­teen Mile is an at­tempt to see if you can man­u­fac­ture fiber goods with­out putting peo­ple in a fac­tory hell- hole, in a way that re­spects and val­ues a healthy ru­ral com­mu­nity,” she says. “Can that be real busi­ness and mean some jobs? I think it can. We’re not get­ting rich, but this is not a hobby.”

Ini­tially, they kept their off- farm jobs. They started by sell­ing their lamb into the com­mod­ity meat mar­ket and their wool into one of the Mon­tana wool pools that en­able grow­ers to com­bine their clips and sell them at a cen­tral lo­ca­tion. “It didn’t take us long to re­al­ize that at low and volatile com­mod­ity prices for lamb and wool, we weren’t go­ing to be able to make it,” ex­plains Weed. “It also seemed a lit­tle bit crazy to put ef­fort into prod­ucts with such re­gional iden­tity, and then send them off into a com­mod­ity sys­tem.”

A 2001 con­tro­versy over the

man­u­fac­ture of U. S. Army berets in

for­eign coun­tries and sub­se­quent

U. S. in­cur­sions in Afghanistan and

Iraq has also helped the wool

in­dus­try, which pro­vides tons of

fiber for Amer­i­can mil­i­tary uni­forms.

So they de­cided to take the ram by the horns. Weed and Tyler’s de­ci­sion in the late 1980s to tran­si­tion to di­rect sales is one that many small farm­ers have made in re­cent years. Their in­come now is a pas­tiche of cus­tom fiber pro­cess­ing ( in the mill they built on their ranch), the sale of grass- fed, or­ganic lamb, whole­sale and re­tail wool sales in forms rang­ing from hand­spin­ners’ rov­ing to yarn and felt and knit­ted goods. They also pro­vide jobs for four part- time em­ploy­ees.

Think­ing dif­fer­ently is how many producers are ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges of mak­ing it in the Amer­i­can wool mar­ket. In the case of Thir­teen Mile, Weed has gone out of her way to not only raise sheep or­gan­i­cally ( her prod­ucts are cer­ti­fied un­der the Na­tional Or­ganic Pro­gram by the Mon­tana Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture), she has worked to pro­duce yarn that is about as clean as it gets. So­lar wa­ter heat­ing pan­els heat much of the wa­ter used for scour­ing wool. Fibers are dyed us­ing nat­u­ral plant dyes. Weed and Tyler man­age their herd us­ing preda­tor- friendly prac­tices, mean­ing that Thir­teen Mile sheep are pro­tected from coy­otes, moun­tain li­ons and other preda­tors by guard dogs rather than guns, snares and poi­sons.

“Three mil­lion pounds of wool gets shipped over­seas in Cal­i­for­nia and sent back here for re­tail,” ex­plains Fiber­shed’s Dustin Kahn. “It makes a lot of sense to us to bring back that in­dus­try and use that wool lo­cally, re­duce its carbon foot­print, cre­ate jobs and pro­vide a model for hav­ing it done in our fiber­shed. ...”

“If ranch­ers want to mar­ket them­selves and their prod­ucts as en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, that means we have to move to­ward ac­count­abil­ity for the full cy­cle of what we do,” says Weed. “To me, that means re­duc­ing our de­pen­dence on feed­lots, on chem­i­cal farm­ing and feed­ing prac­tices and on fiber pro­cess­ing meth­ods that are con­tra­dic­tory to the stew­ard­ship we seek on our own land. This can’t hap­pen overnight for every­body, but peo­ple do seem to re­spond to the ef­forts we’re mak­ing to work to­ward prod­ucts we’re proud of in all their many di­men­sions.”

Dress Lo­cal

In the Bay Area, Re­becca Burgess was wor­ried about her clothes. A tex­tile artist and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, Burgess rec­og­nized the in­cred­i­ble strain clothes put on the en­vi­ron­ment. ( Tex­tile World says the tex­tile in­dus­try is the big­gest emit­ter of green­house gases on Earth.) So she set this chal­lenge for her­self: wear noth­ing but cloth­ing that was grown, man­u­fac­tured and sewn within 150 miles of her house for one year.

Part blog trope and part en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tive, Burgess’ chal­lenge was more in­volved than not spend­ing money for a year or cook­ing her way through Mas­ter­ing the Art of French Cook­ing. In or­der to lo­cally pro­duce even a small wardrobe, she needed to cor­ral and pay wool and cot­ton grow­ers, spin­ners and mills, fash­ion de­sign­ers and knitters as well as other mak­ers. It wasn’t some­thing she could nei­ther do alone nor for free.

A $ 10,000 Kick­starter cam­paign in 2010 funded the project that would come to be known as Fiber­shed, a term coined by Burgess that’s roughly anal­o­gous to the food­sheds or wa­ter­sheds that sup­ply re­gional pop­u­la­tions. In ad­di­tion to pro­duc­ing what Burgess calls the “pro­to­type wardrobe,” a tidy clos­et­ful of ca­sual, wear­able clothes that in­cluded nat­u­rally dyed sweaters, pants, skirts, leggings, and yes, un­der­gar­ments, it also slashed the en­vi­ron­men­tal bur­den of th­ese gar­ments to zero toxic dye ef­flu­ent and zero pes­ti­cides. Fiber­shed re­duced the carbon im­pact by an es­ti­mated six times that of pro­duc­ing equiv­a­lent gar­ments.

The project caught fire. It brought to­gether about 100 ar­ti­sans and grow­ers whose in­ter­est in con­tribut­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of a sus­tain­able tex­tile chain had been kin­dled, it got healthy cov­er­age in the press on ev­ery­thing from na­tional ra­dio to the blog of The At­lantic mag­a­zine. The sheep was out of the gate. So in 2012, Burgess in­cor­po­rated Fiber­shed as a non­profit ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing the evo­lu­tion of lo­cal cloth­ing move­ments.

And it’s work­ing. To­day, some 17 af­fil­i­ate fiber­sheds in the U. S. and abroad are tak­ing steps to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties sim­i­lar to that of the orig­i­nal and mak­ing use of their lo­cal abun­dance. For ex­am­ple, The Re­cy­cled Lamb yarn shop just pro­duced a Moun­tain and Plains Fiber­shed prod­uct ( the fiber­shed iden­ti­fied as 300 miles from the town of Golden, Colorado) This 30th an­niver­sary yarn com­bines Sis­ter Sheep’s CVM/ Ram­boul­liet wool and al­paca from An­cient Trea­sure Al­paca Ranch with a kiss of Mid­night Moon­song’s an­gora, all pro­cessed and spun at Wild West Fiber Mill near El­bert, Colorado. The nat­u­ral ecru and fawn col­ors are sell­ing briskly at $ 18.50 for 150 yards.

Back at Fiber­shed head­quar­ters, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has grown to of­fer a range of pro­grams that in­clude ev­ery­thing from fash­ion shows and kids’ classes to ed­u­ca­tional of­fer­ings on sheep hus­bandry. They are also in the fi­nal throes of a fea­si­bil­ity study to fos­ter the de­vel­op­ment of an in­dus­trial wool mill in the Golden State.

“Three mil­lion pounds of wool gets shipped over­seas in Cal­i­for­nia and sent back here for re­tail,” ex­plains Fiber­shed’s Dustin Kahn. “It makes a lot of sense to us to bring back that in­dus­try and use that wool lo­cally, re­duce its carbon foot­print, cre­ate jobs and pro­vide a model for hav­ing it done in our fiber­shed.

“Hope­fully, then peo­ple will see it as a vi­able source of in­come and more peo­ple will be in­ter­ested in rais­ing sheep, not just in Cal­i­for­nia but around the coun­try.”

Heir­loom toma­toes and heir­loom wool

As a mem­ber of Vir­ginia’s Loudoun Val­ley Sheep Producers, shep­herd Gretchen Fred­er­ick re­al­ized that a lot of small sheep producers ei­ther had no idea what to do with their wool or saw it as a has­sle. As a re­sult, they were throw­ing fleeces away.

“Un­less you’re a user of the wool and get plugged into hand spin­ning mar­kets or fig­ure your way into this fiber world, you don’t know what to do,” she ex­plains. “Or it’s too hard to fig­ure it out and too ex­pen­sive to have prod­ucts made—and then how do you sell them?”

Rec­og­niz­ing that she was sur­rounded by a wealth of pure­bred wool that was go­ing to waste, in 2006 Fred­er­ick joined forces with another like­minded shep­herd and hand­spin­ner, Sue Bundy, to buy up fleeces with the goal of pro­duc­ing breed- spe­cific yarns.

“I am very in­ter­ested in the lo­cal food move­ment and see a real par­al­lel,” Fred­er­ick says. “Peo­ple who care and sup­port lo­cal agri­cul­ture will buy food di­rect from farms and it’s got an iden­tity to it. Wool is an agri­cul­tural prod­uct. It also has ter­roir, in that dif­fer­ent ar­eas send you to rais­ing one sort of breed or another. East Coast shep­herd­ing is another lan­guage than Western range shep­herd­ing. It’s re­ally dif­fer­ent.”

And so are the yarns. Since start­ing out, Fred­er­ick and Bundy have sent wool to mills all over the coun­try, us­ing their spin­ners’ sen­si­bil­ity to match their yarn de­sign choices to the wool char­ac­ter­is­tics of each breed. The yarns are mar­keted un­der the his­tor­i­cal name of Fred­er­ick’s farm, Soli­tude, a nod to the yarns’ ori­gins, and sold through fiber fes­ti­vals and a web­site, soli­tude­wool. com.

Un­der­stand­ing that, like heir­loom toma­toes, con­ser­va­tion breeds can help boost ge­netic diver­sity and cre­ate stun­ning yarns, other com­pa­nies are pro­duc­ing ar­ti­sanal sin­gle­breed yarns. El­sawool in Colorado sells yarns and fin­ished gar­ments made from Cormo wool sourced from two ranches in the Rocky Moun­tain West. And hand­knit­ting su­per­star Jared Flood of Brook­lyn Tweed turned to the TargheeColumbia cross­breed grown in Wyoming for his sig­na­ture yarns, Shel­ter and Loft.

The yarns are as in­di­vid­ual as wine va­ri­etals, each breed like its own grape. Ed­u­cat­ing cus­tomers who may not rec­og­nize the dif­fer­ence be­tween Karakul, a hard­wear­ing, felt­s­like iron wool, or Tu­nis, a ver­sa­tile medium wool, has been part of the process. The pub­li­ca­tion in re­cent years of books such as Clara Parkes’ The Knit­ter’s Book of Wool and The Fleece and Fiber Source­book by Deb Rob­son and Carol Ekar­ius has also helped raise aware­ness among stitch­ers of the idio­syn­cra­sies of breed- spe­cific fibers.

Soli­tude Wool cur­rently buys be­tween 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of wool an­nu­ally, pay­ing above- mar­ket prices. She es­ti­mates that about half that amount might not have found a mar­ket if she and Bundy hadn’t found it use­ful.

“A lot of what aided the lo­cal food move­ment were chefs,” Fred­er­ick ob­serves. “It be­came cool and you had to have lo­cal food. They also helped ed­u­cate peo­ple about the fla­vor and va­ri­ety of things— that it re­ally makes a dif­fer­ence. I’m hop­ing fiber artists pick up the idea.

“If there isn’t a mar­ket for that an­i­mal, that breed is go­ing to go out of ex­is­tence.”

It’s not as if the Amer­i­can

Sheep In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion has

been sit­ting on its haunches

count­ing sheep while the

in­dus­try slides. In ad­di­tion to

push­ing ex­ports and in­creased

pro­duc­tion, ASI has darned an

im­por­tant hole in the U. S. wool

man­u­fac­tur­ing: su­per­wash­ing. For more in­for­ma­tion please visit: Amer­i­can Sheep In­dus­try USA ( www.shee­, Thir­teen Mile Sheep and Wool Co. ( www.lam­band­, North Amer­i­can Wool Co­op­er­a­tive ( www.northamer­i­can­wool­co­op­er­a­, Fiber­shed ( www.fiber­, Soli­tude Wool www.soli­tude­

Big ag It’s not as if the Amer­i­can Sheep In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion has been sit­ting on its haunches count­ing sheep while the in­dus­try slides. In ad­di­tion to push­ing ex­ports and in­creased pro­duc­tion, ASI has darned an im­por­tant hole in the U. S. wool man­u­fac­tur­ing: su­per­wash­ing.

In the af­ter­math of off- shoring, U. S. plants could no longer shrink- proof wool. So even if a com­pany— or the U. S. mil­i­tary— wanted to pro­duce wash­able wool prod­ucts, they couldn’t. “It was the only piece we were miss­ing,” Or­wick ex­plains. “And with socks, they have to be wash­able.”

In 2011, ASI had a wool- top chlo­rine/ poly­mer shrink- re­sis­tant treat­ment equip­ment line in­stalled at Chargeurs Wool USA in Jamestown, South Carolina, the last com­mer­cial- scale top­mak­ing plant in the U. S. The move not only made it pos­si­ble to pro­duce wash­able- wool goods from soil to sock in the United States, it re­duced the carbon foot­print of many goods and shored up man­u­fac­tur­ing sched­ules for U. S. firms.

The new plant makes it pos­si­ble for com­pa­nies like Ibex to use U. S. wool in the man­u­fac­ture of their high- tech prod­ucts.

“The $ 20 wool sock is a boon to our busi­ness,” Or­wick ex­plains. “The sock in­dus­try main­tains a lot big­ger share in Amer­ica. Peo­ple want per­for­mance socks and wool is a key fiber. It’s huge for us. Thank God for $ 15 to $ 20 re­tail socks.”

Bor­der Le­ices­ter ewe with triplets, part of Soli­tude Wool’s yarn pro­gram. Photo cour­tesy of Gretchen Fred­er­ick.

Rom­ney fleece. Photo cour­tesy of Melissa Cun­ning­ham

Thir­teen Mile Lamb and Wool Com­pany, Bel­grade, Mon­tana. Photo cour­tesy of Becky Weed.

Fiber­shed’s Milk Maid Top de­signed by Mar­lie De Swart and made of Shetland Cloud yarn sourced from Mimi Lub­ber­man’s Win­drush Farm, West Marin, CA.

Flock of Cor­riedales. Photo cour­tesy of Amer­i­can Sheep In­dus­try.

( Clock­wise from left.) Soli­tude Wool’s Rom­ney lamb, as­sorted yarns, Gretchen Fred­er­ick and Sue Bundy skirt­ing fleeces. Photo cour­tesy of Gretchen Fred­er­ick.

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