This unassuming little swatch is the first step in some pretty exciting news.
After a family backpacking trip in eastern Oregon this summer, Sally stumbled upon Ruby Peak Farms. She quickly realized what a treasure this place was and struck up a relationship with Kate, who has been raising Jacob sheep in the Wallowas for almost fifteen years. Take a peek at her gorgeous flock.
Jacob sheep are quite the animals. As Kate writes on her website, they are "well-suited for sustainable, grass-based, and organic systems." Her sheep are only fed fresh grass and hay that grow on the property, which has been chemical-free since 1999. These amazing animals are a primitive breed, "keepers of the ancient genes that made sheep strong and healthy." They are prolific reproducers, and the ewes take good care of their (adorable) lambs. And the horns on those guys!
In addition to being really cool animals, they produce wonderful wool. Kate worked diligently to find a mill in Oregon that could process her skirted fiber into yarn. She connected with Skyline Fiber Mill, and they are currently in the process of scouring, picking, carding, and pindrafting the fleece. Learn more about the whole process here. You can see it here drying on the racks.
We are very eagerly awaiting three natural shades and one marled/multi. Kate calls this a sport weight, but Sally's swatch knit up close to five stitches per inch on a US7. I guess we will see how it looks when it arrives. Regardless, I am very excited to get my hands on this yarn from Ruby Peak Farms and start planning a project with my own little swatch. I will let you know as we hear more from Kate and the mill!