Discussion with author and shearer Stephany Wilkes


Local Yarn Pop-Up Shop

What is the journey from sheep to skein? Who is involved the yarn making process? How many hands are involved in bringing us the fiber in our lives? What makes a gainfully employed woman in tech want to give it all up for full-time work as a traveling sheep shearer?


Please join us on March 16, 2019 at 3pm at BLUE: The Tatter Textile Library for a discussion with California-based sheep shearer and author Stephany Wilkes. Stephany will speak about her experiences on sheep farms across the United States. She will be reading excerpts from her new book Raw Material: Working Wool in the West and telling us about her journey from the tech world to wanting simply to ‘knit local” which led to a total and complete life-change of shearing school and eventual full-time work as a roaming shearer.

The process of Stephany’s journey inevitably sheds light on the challenges farmers face to bring eco-friendly fleece to market. 

Stephany’s story will appeal to those interested in the fiber arts or the textile industry, and anyone who wants to be a conscious consumer, especially as it relates to the fleece, yarn, fiber, and sustainable fashion.

About the Book

”What begins as a search for local yarn becomes a dirty, unlikely, and irresistible side job. Along the way, she meets ornery sheep that weigh more than she does, carbon-sequestering ranchers, landless grazing operators, rare breed stewards, and small-batch yarn makers struggling with drought, unfair trade agreements, and faceless bureaucracies.”

You can read more information about the book at: https://stephanywilkes.com/book

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New York State Regional Yarn Sourcebook and Pop-Up Shop:

In addition to the discussion , BLUE will be hosting an on-site New York State yarn and fiber pop-up shop. This is a wonderful opportunity to support the local farmers doing the hard work to keep American fiber farming alive. We are excited to have examples of local fiber to enhance the themes and ideas Stephany will speak about during the event.

Fiber will be purchasable on site from the following farms: Cabbage Hill Farms, Dashing Star Farm, and Faraway Farm Alpacas.

On display will also be the New York State Regional Yarn Sourcebook created by the New York Textile Lab. This resource is a tool to help facilitate the development of small and mid-scale regional textile production in New York State. By connecting designers with farmers and local mills, the NYS Regional Yarn Sourcebook broadens the impact of urban manufacturing efforts into rural communities throughout Upstate New York.

Please join us for a very special afternoon full of information about the state of wool farming in America and a few the efforts to help grow and nurture it.

Date: Saturday, March 16, 2019
Time: 3 - 6pm
Location: TATTER Blue Library, 505 Carroll Street Suite 2B, Brooklyn NY 11215
Cost: Free

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Stephany Wilkes is a sheep shearer certified by the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center, a wool classer certified by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), and the President of the Northern California Fibershed Cooperative. Her writing has appeared in The BillfoldThe Ag Mag, Hobby Farms, Midwestern Gothic, and other publications. Stephany speaks about sheep and wool terroir at numerous yarn shops, fiber festivals, guild meetings, schools, and events. She lives (somewhat begrudgingly) in San Francisco, where she dreams of a dog, a truck, and a horse, in that order.

Explore some of the work, people, and products described in Stephany’s book at:

The Northern California Fibershed Cooperative

Fibershed Marketplace 

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