Vermont Fleece Sale: Supporting Shepherds

Fleeces at the 2015 Fleece Sale. Photo: Michael Hampton.

Fleeces at the 2015 Fleece Sale. Photo: Michael Hampton.

The Green Mountain State fiber scene is thriving! The Vermont Sheep and Goat Association (VSGA) actively promotes the state’s fiber producers through long-established events as well as new fibery ventures. On Saturday, June 25, the VSGA is excited to host the second annual Fleece Sale.

This sale gives producers a way to market individual fleeces to fiber artists. Vermont has had a wool pool event for a number of years. Wool pools are a common way to collect wool from many shepherds to create larger lots, which are then typically sold on the commercial market.

Last year, the VSGA decided to create an additional marketing option for shepherds, and the Fleece Sale was born. Well-skirted fleeces are dropped off in individual bags, which are then displayed at the Vermont Technical College for the enthralled handspinning masses. VSGA member Michael Hampton of Hampton Fiber Mill and Spinnery said, “Last year, we collected 74 fleeces totaling 470 pounds. We are anticipating more this year—fingers crossed!” This model allows shepherds to capture more value for their fleeces, and fiber artists are able to purchase fleeces directly from local producers—a happy scenario, indeed.

Michael Hampton is helping to grow the network of fiber producers, processors, and consumers in Vermont. Photo: Elaine Fortin.

Michael Hampton is helping to grow the network of fiber producers, processors, and consumers in Vermont. Photo: Elaine Fortin.

Michael was also instrumental in another VSGA event that was launched last year: The Handspinning Challenge. (Read more about it here and in the Spring 2016 issue of Spin-Off.) This unique contest provides all participants with an identical kit containing fiber and a sample of that fiber spun into yarn. The goal is to spin the fiber into a skein that matches the spun sample as closely as possible. Intrigued? The Handspinning Challenge is gearing up again this year, and all are welcome to participate. Check the VSGA website and Facebook page for details.

Does this set your spinner's heart racing? Photo: Michael Hampton.

Does this set your spinner’s heart racing? Photo: Michael Hampton.


Vermont Sheep and Goat Association Fleece Sale
Saturday, June 25, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Vermont Technical College Red School House in Randolph Center, Vermont.
Contact Michael Hampton at mhampton@gmavt.net if you have questions.

 

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