I recently started an AMA (Ask Me Anything) topic in the Knit Read Pray Ravelry group. This is a thread I love to read in other groups, so I thought I'd give it a go in mine.
Almost immediately, I wondered, what if no one asks me any questions? Thankfully, Andrea, one of the first group members, posted this question:
I am curious as to how you came to be a shepherdess, how does the wool from Jacob sheep compare to other types of wool... and do you expect to add any other animals?Great question! My former in-laws own Summerhill Sheep Farm in Morganiville, NJ, and raise Jacob Sheep; these are the sheep I mention in the podcast. Their farm is about 30 minutes northwest of where I live at the Jersey shore, and they've owned that farm for about 12 years. Tom, my former stepfather-in-law and the "shepherd" at Summerhill, is very active in the Jacob Sheep Breeders Association in New Jersey and involved in the organization of the Garden State Sheep and Wool Festival every September. He loves Jacob sheep so no need for other breeds on the farm!
I've been lucky enough to go to both Maryland Sheep and Wool and Rhinebeck as their guest over the years, and a few years ago, Tom was kind enough to drop off some fleece at Rhinebeck with representatives from a mill in Pennsylvania. That spring, we picked up a big box of gorgeous worsted Jacob wool yarn, and I've been knitting with it ever since. This yarn is a deep gray (we didn't have the cream and black portions of the fleece separated), and almost water proof. The fabric it makes is very squishy and just becomes softer and softer with wear. I've made a bunch of accessories with it, but the overall favorite is my version of the Outlander cowl I made for Sarah a few years ago. She's spent 2 winters in Philadelphia, and this cowl served her well. I've also made versions for her friends - it's a popular pattern for the urban millennial!
Now the question is, why am I talking about a farm owned by my ex's family? Not only are they wonderful with my children, I've know my ex-mother-in-law since I was 19, and we've remained close. We've spent a lot of time at the farm over the years as a family, and as someone who loves yarn, having a farm to enjoy and fiber to knit adds another wonderful layer to a lifelong loving relationship!
If you'd like to see more projects with wool from the farm or the recent babies born to the flock, check out my Instagram. There are a few hanks of our yarn for sale in our etsy shop as of the date of this post. Please join us on Ravelry to keep up with future questions as well as knit-a-longs and other crafty discussions!