Last Saturday, when the weather was cold and overcast, we drove down to Rainbow Fleece Farm, outside of New Glarus, WI, for their annual open house. Unfortunately for them, but fortunate for us, there were not too many people in attendance (which I'm sure was due to the inclement weather) while we were there, so we had more opportunity to talk with the owners and guest speakers. I had heard about it from one of my weaving digests that I subscribe to, and since it is a somewhat local event, I wanted to check it out. I am VERY happy we did, and I believe that Don enjoyed it very much as well. There are times when he does have to be more "tolerant" of my "fiber obsessions". :)
Besides raising sheep for stock, wool, fleece, and meat, Patty and Andy also do custom wool carding, using this 1915 carding machine. It is located in the lower level of a barn/garage, and is the first place Don and I walked into, next to tables of tanned fleece, available for purchase.
Yes, we did buy a smaller tanned fleece. I wanted one to replace the woven rug on my weaving bench. They are EXTREMELY soft, and surprisingly, machine washable! They send their fleece (hides?) to the Pennsylvania Amish, who use a special process to tan them that allows the fleece to be machine washed afterwards. Behind me, is another smaller machine that cleans the wool of chafe and other foreign materials prior to carding.
Upstairs in the same building, are yarns, rovings, books, and other fiber related "stuff". :) This is Patty, one of the owners of the farm.
Inside their house, they had guest speakers. Unfortunately, I do not remember this womans name (far left), who was the "felting" speaker. She had materials available to "take a stab" (pun intended) at it. The process uses fine needles and roving. When the roving is continuously punched with the needle, it becomes a thicker material, turning into "felted wool".
More of our farm visit in my next blog entry.......