I wrote a couple weeks ago about signing up as a fiber artist with the Livestock Conservancy’s Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em program. As soon as I got signed up, I began the hunt for endangered breed yarns! You might imagine that it takes a little looking, and you would be right. The Livestock Conservancy makes it a bit easier by having a pretty cool interactive map to search with. Also, there is an active Ravelry group with some farmers posting pretty regularly.
The Ravelry group is where I found my first yarn provider – Sonja of The Farm at the End of the Road in Queen Creek, Arizona. They have some of the endangered breed sheep themselves, and also work with people in their nearby areas who have small numbers of sheep and don’t bother to sell their fleeces themselves. So they are a great resource, as well as being just super-nice 🙂 They don’t really have an online store per se – email them or message them on Ravelry. Sonja was very responsive, and glad to let you know what they have on hand.
In addition to my skein of Tunis breed yarn, Sonja also sent me some interesting information about the breed and about their farm. Also, not included in the picture, she sent me a cute button that says “Warning – I carry pointy sticks and I’m not afraid to use them!” The yarn is a little toothy, and is a lovely creamy color. I wouldn’t say rough, but its not super-soft. It is a sturdier yarn, though, and I can’t wait to see what I can make of it!
Finding some of these yarns is going to be a challenge for sure. The animals themselves are not too common – as implied by the program. Many of the growers do not have a web presence, so don’t have nifty interactive online shops. A LOT of them have a phone number and that is it. Fleeces are a little bit easier to find for some of the breeds, to the point that this might be the thing that pushes me to learn spinning, which I have resisted up to now. We shall see on that, though. In any case – first sticker in my passport!