Sheep in the City

Ross Farm's Darwin, a Jacob ram. Photo: Scott Manko.

Ross Farm’s Darwin, a Jacob ram. Photo: Scott Manko.

Amy and Scott Manko of Ross Farm Fibers have been spreading woolly cheer at fiber festivals and conferences for several years. They are known for the amazing collection of breed-specific fibers and yarns that are created using wool from their Pennsylvania flock. The first time I stepped into the wool-scented Ross Farm booth was in 2013 at the Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference, and I’ve followed their adventures ever since.

Creating markets for rare and heritage-breed sheep can be a challenge. Amy and Scott started with a small flock of Leicester Longwools in 2008 and have since added nine more breeds. The flock continues to grow, as does the diversity of products the farm offers.

An important part of sharing rare breed wools is getting it into the hands of fiber artists. Recently, Ross Farm headed to fibre space™, a LYS in Alexandria, Virginia, for a weekend pop-up shop. This was the second year that the farm was hosted by the popular yarn and fiber shop. Amy said, “We always have a great day when we get to talk to folks about our sheep! We had lots of people stop to chat about our wool, and one lady thanked the shop owner for hosting us and supporting what we’re trying to do with these rare sheep.”

Locks that Kate recently purchased from Ross Farm's Leicester Longwool ram, Phineas. The Leicester locks are in excess of 10 inches and shown with a Merino lock for scale. Photo: Kate Larson.

Locks that Kate recently purchased from Ross Farm’s Leicester Longwool ram, Phineas. The Leicester locks are in excess of 10 inches and shown with a Merino lock for scale. Photo: Kate Larson.

Visitors to fibre space were able to shop for rare breed yarns and fiber in the Ross Farm pop-up shop. Photo: Danielle

Visitors to fibre space™ were able to shop for rare breed yarns and fiber in the Ross Farm pop-up shop. Photo: Danielle Romanetti.

Danielle Romanetti of fibre space™ specializes in yarns and fibers from hand-dyed, independent, local, and domestic sources. This community of makers was established when Danielle was hosting fiber arts classes around the Washington, D.C. area in pop-up fashion. Knit-a-Gogo, Inc. coordinated classes that were held at coffee shops and libraries. The group grew, and the bricks-and-mortar fibre space™ was born. Learn more about the shop’s steady stream of great classes and events on Facebook.

You can keep up with Ross Farm on Facebook or take a stroll through their Etsy shop. Amy also has a few spots remaining in her Rare Gems breed discovery class at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest September 23, 2016.

Scenes from Ross Farm: Tillie the Leicester Longwool with her twins. Photo: Scott Manko.

Scenes from Ross Farm: Tillie the Leicester Longwool with her twins. Photo: Scott Manko.

 

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