This week, I had a lovely Facebook chat with Kami Noyes, owner and operator of Ranching Tradition Fiber in Montana. She has been posting some terrific fleeces this season and the breadth of the breeds represented by her sales caught my attention. Kami also helps to moderate the Farm to Fiber group on Facebook. She was kind enough to share some terrific pictures (below) from her FB page, and to take some time to answer my questions. I learned some fun facts from Kami–and I found out that staring this month she will be selling something new: sample packs of raw fiber from 4-5 different breeds! I hope you’ll check out her FB page, website and Etsy shop! In the meantime, enjoy reading more about her sheep and Ranching Tradition Fiber!
How did you get your start?
I am a fifth generation rancher so it is kinda in my blood. Sheep have come and gone around here helping through hard times. When I was little, we had sheep and I loved them; my dad sold them when I was about 11 or 12. Then he pushed me into getting 3 bottle lambs when my kids were little. From there my herd grew. Right now, I have about 70 ewes.
What breeds do you raise and/or sell online?
I mainly have Targhee Rambouillet there are some Polypay Suffolk crosses in there (back from when I was still learning about the wool). I started with them just because that is what we have in our area. Once I became a spinner I learned that I really like Targhee fiber. I love the bounce in Targhee wool… It has such a great handle. It is becoming more popular among spinners.
I also buy raw wool from other ranchers, all in my area of Montana; that is how I have different breed of fiber available. I go to their shearing and handpick and skirt all their top fiber. I am going to have sample packs from 4-5 different breed (raw fiber) available sometime this month.
What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
I LOVE lambing season, being in the barn is so relaxing to me. It is a lot of long hours but I just love being around the sheep. I have 20 babies I am feeding from a bottle this year…. I think I only had to pull one lamb this year. A couple years ago I pulled a ton. I changed bucks and that helped. Sometimes a buck will just throw big lambs. I learned to spin a couple years after I got sheep so I started my whole fiber love from a different direction then most.
Are you working on any projects at the moment (spinning, knitting or otherwise)?
I always have a few projects. I don’t knit, just crochet. I have a crochet purse started, I am spinning some green yarn that I processed. I have some fiber I am wanting to get carded, I have a batch of fleeces that are waiting to be washed, I have some fiber calling me to dye it…. I am never bored: another reason I love this craft!
Any interesting facts readers might not know?
We shear in Montana once a year, each spring.
****Keep a lookout for those sample packs, due out this month—super exciting!****
I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)