Earlier this week I gushed (just a little) about some undyed, breed-specific yarn I bought from Lisa Westra of Feederbrook Farm. I plan to use the yarn for a couple of sweater projects and have already begun swatting up some of the Corriedale as a test for gauge. Lovely stuff! In the meantime, Lisa was kind enough to answer a few questions about her farm and flock and I am very excited to share the results with you today! Feederbrook Farm is in Baltimore County, Maryland and has been in operation since 1971. In the last few decades, the family adopted some sheep and Lisa has been working with this spinner’s flock (of about 20 sheep) for many years now. She is also a self-taught spinner. Her fiber is available in LYS around the country and on ETSY. I must say: her fiber is amazing! I have some of her mill-spun yarn and some BFL top that is super soft. I’m looking forward to dye-day so that I can give it some color.
How did your farm/operation get its start?
It was all by chance! The sheep didn’t show up until the mid 90’s when my family’s farm tenants got some as pets. After a few years the tenants left and abandoned the flock of 20 sheep and a few cats too. We knew nothing about sheep farming but decided to keep them as they were “mowing” the pastures. We did know that every spring they got sheared. So that May we called the shearer and ended up with 20 bags of wooly awesomeness. That summer I was playing in the barn and saw the bags of fiber. I mentioned it to my parents and said that they should get me a spinning wheel and I would make some yarn. I was totally joking around but come Christmas there was a brand new spinning wheel in the living room just for me. I taught myself how to spin and ended up with way too much yarn. I started selling some skeins here and there to help out with the feed bills. The rest is history.
What kinds of fiber animals do you raise and why?
I mostly have sheep (12 different breeds); it’s a nice spinners flock. Much of the fiber goes to my fiber CSA but some makes it to the raw fleece sampler kits that I put together. There is one angora and I have some alpacas and a llama. These other animals, along with the different breeds of sheep, are here as part of the fiber/farm educational programs that I run. The sheep breeds include: BFL, Teeswater, Shetland, Romney, Lincoln, Fin, Clun Forest, Cormo, Corridale, Rambouillet, Leicester Longwool, Black Welsh MT sheep. The main breeding flock is BFL crossed with a Teeswater and I call them BLTees.
What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
I honestly just like to sit with my girls and pet them. I love to teach other folks about the care and time that it takes to raise these animals. And even though it is challenging, tiring, and down right cold (sometimes), I love lambing season.
What is on your wheel and/or needles at the moment?
On the wheel = Cormo (spinning 5 different breed specific wools for Icelandic style sweater for next year’s state fair.)
On the needles = I am in the middle of writting a new pattern for ENTROPY yarn: it’s a short sleeve seamless cardigan. I hope to finish for NYS&W!
What would you like hand spinners to know about your fiber?
I offer an experience of different types of fibers and focus on breed specific fiber. Fibers are offered RAW, washed, and as top and roving. All dyes used are organic but color fast.
How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Feederbrook?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/FeederbrookFarmLlc?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Ravlery Group: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/feederbrook-farm
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Thanks so much Lisa!
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)