Wool That Nobody Wanted

 There is a story in each garment, a living history of our collective experience resides in the implications and realities of our clothes.  The wool in this tunic comes from the homestead of Kenny Kirkland.  His flock is small in comparison to the flocks that live north and west of us– where 1,000 sheep per ranch is considered normal.  In our current system the meat from these animals brings the highest margins, and yields vital wages and income.  However, many resources lay wasted in the process of procuring this “one” economically viable product.  Making something from the wool is time consuming and proves unaffordable for many ranchers.

I wondered…. “At this moment..the great irony and tragedy is that it is too “expensive” to use our own resources…. but in a drastically re-organized economic system which we are entering…… will this remain the case?”

What happens when we can’t get everything we need from somewhere else?

The sheep are here.

So many of them in fact….that we are throwing away, and or, store-housing 22,000 pounds of wool annually, in my county alone.  We haven’t seen so much as a sock available from our own “meat sheep” wool.  Let alone the obvious and easy applications you would expect to see– duvet fill, mattresses, and housing insulation.  Instead of making a mattress, we wanted to prove you could make something even more visually exciting– a garment so beautiful you don’t want to take it off.

This tunic is made with the wool of a sheep named Saturday, spun and knit by the hands of local artisan Nance Ottentstein, dyed in the summer and fall harvested plants of black walnut, Japanese Indigo, coyote brush, and eucalyptus.  This garment is a living symbol of what can be created when we focus on what is here and what is now.

To see this garment in person, and all of the other Fibershed pieces, you’re invited to our benefit dinner and show… a celebration to bring the first solar powered farm-based mill into existence.

We look forward to seeing you.