**Don’t forget about my Spin-Off Giveaway! Enter before June 1st!!**
This week, I am happy to feature Seven Spirits Farm, located in Dansville, NY–right next to my hometown of Ithaca! The Fingerlakes region is one of my favorites (OK,OK, I’m biased) and I can only imagine this wonderful farm all nestled in near the lakes. Seven Spirits is certainly on my list for summer visits, if we get out to NY! Jennifer was kind enough to share some stories of her flock and some beautiful photographs. The fiber she has been selling this year has been gobbled up by raw fleece lovers and I think you will be able to see why!
[All photographs from the Seven Spirits Farm Facebook Page]
How did your farm/operation get its start?
We got started with the farm after I quit my pharmacy job to stay home with our kids and started adding animals 🙂 chicken first then came across sheep second and other animals to follow….main reason was I got sick of seeing recalls on food we were getting from the store so we grew a garden and raised our own meat. The fiber thing was a bonus! I was lost what to do with the fiber after we sheared it off and since I didn’t want to waste anything I looked into spinning it and it just took off from there, people thought I was nuts at first seeing me shear my own sheep with hand scissors and washing this stinky greasy fleece in my bath tub and hand carding and spinning it on this wheel that was only seen in the sleeping beauty books and movies.
What kinds of fiber animals do you raise and why?
We raised all types of breed of sheep, goats, bunnies, alpacas and even highlander beef cows with long horns and fiber…. just to learn the fastest way what I liked to spin and raise. 14 years later we have giant, satin and english angora rabbits, Teeswater sheep, and Cormo’s. They are my absolute favorites! not only for the temperaments of each one, but the fiber for fun art yarn is endless with the long luxurious locks of the Teeswater. The Cormo are big teddy bears in full fleece and make a great breed for meat and fiber (I know some don’t agree with eating meat and that is fine for them but we do and we supply it to others) and for the fleece part of it . . . “OH my” is all I say every time I have my hands in the AMAZINGLY soft fine fiber that comes in many colors and can get up to 7” long in a year!
What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
I can’t say there is one favorite part about raising fiber animals . . . most everything about it is awesome! I get to have peaceful afternoon out in a pasture listening to them munch on grass, talk to one another, watch and sometimes even help with births and raising babies. In the winter, the weather is horrible here, but once you step in the barn of sheep chewing their cud and waiting for babies, it’s like night and day . . . very peaceful; the sweet smell of hay and lanolin is great too! let alone the sheep don’t mind you putting your hands in the fleece giving them scratches (even though your goal is to warm them up and get your cracked hands relieved with lanolin). As for the bunnies, oh my, they are the best snugglers around 🙂 and you don’t have to wash the fiber off them since they are clean and there is no grease in the fiber . . . all the fiber off each animal we have is the bonus of raising them, it’s a big thank you to us for taking care of them. It’s not as easy as most people think and its not always happy days since they are livestock and things can and do happen, but animals of any kind can add peace to your heart and any time you’re having a bad day (sometimes they are the cause of it lol), but they ALWAYS make it better even if the remedy is just sitting and spinning some fiber.
If you are a spinner/knitter/weaver, what is on your wheel/needles/loom?
Because I like to spin the most and I hate sitting still when I’m anywhere, I have a few drop spindles with cormo/angora/silk blends on them in my purse, truck, and car lol . . . on my wheel of choice right now ( Hansen minispinner), I have a prize alpaca fleece being spun in lace for a alpaca farm. My second thing to do is knit lace and I have a Boo knits shawl pattern started on it made from my cormo/silk mix. I have two looms with projects started as well, one has alpaca and silk wrap made from the alpacas we use to have and the other is a cotton core spun and hemp corset project . . . but since weaving is not top of my list it might be a while before it gets done!
What would you like hand spinners to know about your fiber?
I guess the thing I would like other spinners to know is that we have worked hard and spend a decent amount of time and money in our animals so they produce amazing clean, soft fiber for everyone to enjoy spinning . . . it’s more about the quality than quantity for me.
How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
The best way to follow us or get fiber and/or animals is our Facebook farm page
, our website
(not always up to date), or via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much Jennifer!
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)