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Adventures in Yarn Farming

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Gain an insider’s view on fiber farming and yarn craft, from sheep to skein, all told through the eyes of shepherd and textile artisan Barbara Parry. Follow her flock over the course of a year and discover all the facets of life with sheep: from shearing day and lambing season, to preparing fiber for yarn. Along the way you’ll find projects for the fiber obsessed by top knitwear designers, essays on country life, and over 100 stunning photographs. With the growing locavore movement, the rising trend in sustainable farming, and the ever-increasing interest in crafting, this book is perfect for those who yearn for a closer connection to a rural lifestyle and who enjoy making things by hand.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“Visually as well as informatively inviting, Barry’s story of her New England farm, particularly how she produces yarn for crafters, will absorb readers regardless of their previous interest in or even exposure to the nearly magical world of yarn preparation.”—Booklist, starred review

“Many people dream of ditching it all and starting a farm in the country, but Barbara Parry actually did it. In 1997 she began building a flock of sheep that has since become the foundation of her thriving Western Massachusetts fiber farm. Here she offers a beautiful, vivid portrayal of the life she has chosen. Season by season, she presents a narrative that is dreamy yet concrete, inspiring yet informative, and, always, unblinkingly honest. A must-read for anyone who wants to better appreciate where their yarn comes from.”—Clara Parkes

“Parry’s skillful hand and gentle heart  are the perfect blend to capture the joys and heartaches of farming in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.”—Linda Cortright, publisher of Wild Fibers magazine

“Many of us wool enthusiasts daydream about someday owning a farm, raising sheep, harvesting yarn, and going back to the land. Follow Barbara Parry—a former English teacher who made this dream a reality—on a journey that teaches us all ‘about the intangible gains of . . . taking the long road.’ ”—Jared Flood, knitwear designer and owner of Brooklyn Tweed

“In my very first years of sheep farming—and the resulting shearing, spinning, and knitting that goes along with it—I found myself turning each page slowly, not wanting the education and camaraderie to end. But no matter where you find yourself on the spectrum —farmer, spinner, dyer, knitter, or weaver—you are sure to find inspiration, laughter, and joy in the farm tales that Barbara shares.”—Amanda Soule, author of The Rhythm of Family


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Casting On 
The Road to Springdelle Farm
Flocking

Spring
Good Fibrations
Ides of March
Springdelle Jacket (project)
Lamb Watch
The Full Lamb Moon
Jammies for Lambies (project)
Troubleshooting Lambs
Lampedes and a Llama
Finding Fiddleheads

Summer 
Hay-lelujah!
Cutting the Apron Strings
Grazing Days
The Kitchen Garden
A Summer Meal from the Kitchen Garden (project)
Lavender Harvest
Lavender Pillows (project)
Bridge of Flowers Sweater (project)
Fun with Tractors
Hay Day

Fall 
At the Mill
The Zen of Dying
Dyeing and Hand Spinning a Self-Striping
Yarn (project)
Field and Sky Woven Tablet Cozy (project)
The Ram is Half the Sweater
Goats are Born Looking for Trouble
Dyeing, Combing, and Spinning Mohair (project)
Sundance Scarf (project)
New York Sheep and Wool Festival
In a Wild Place
Wildwood Cabled Pullover (project)

Winter 
Gathering the Flock
Ice Storm
Winter Solstice
Solstice Hat (project)
Snowshoe Shepherd
Dip Dyed Yarn 
Full Snow Moon Cowl and Mitts (project)
In the Sugar Bush
Sumac Mittens (project)

Binding Off 
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Glossary
Guidelines for Safely Dyeing Yarn and Fiber
Resources
About the Designers and contributors
About the Author