martha's vineyard fiber farm

hey boys,

just arrived on martha's vineyard yesterday for a week of relaxing. i'm particularly excited about this year's trip because on wednesday i get to visit with susie gibbs of martha's vineyard fiber farm for a hand dyeing workshop!! i'll walk away with 5 skeins of their amazing yarn, dyed by hand (MY hand). and then on thursday or friday, i get to go to the island agriculture fair and see all the lovely sheep (and eat fried dough!). if i'm lucky, i'll get to see a sheep shearing demonstration.

if you don't already know about it, the fiber farm is a CSA model (community supported agriculture) flock. people buy shares of each season's shearing and get their shares as undyed or dyed roving or yarn. susie has a flock on the vineyard during warmer months, but also has a year round flock in hudson, new york. it's a really cool model of supporting local farmers (and herders). and susie is a blast.

i know, i know, i sound like an infomercial, but i really love this lady and the work she and her gang are doing. (just in case you're interest is piqued).



New York Built's picture

I agree. CSA's are also used for food. As a member, you get a part of the grower's product, usually dropped off to a central location, and distributed. Takes a farmer's market and put's it in your larder, every month. Good job, Jesse.

For all you fiberphiles, it takes five to six lbs of raw fleece and 6 hours of work AFTER shearing just to get about a half to a pound of top roving...IF YOU ARE LUCKY! Here you get to see the people making your wool and knowing the far less than minimum wage they make raising sheep and producing wool goes directly to them.

Sustainable, smart and supports good aggie practices. Just my take on things.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
– Albert Einstein

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

jessemkahn's picture

we also participate in a vegetable CSA that helps support new immigrant farmers. we get awesome new england crops as well as veggies native to our immigrants' original home countries. it's really cool. and friends of our this year found a fish CSA and are really enjoying it.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I have friends who run a CSA in western Wyoming. If I lived in their area, I'd definitely join. I'm surprised nobody has begun one for fleece and/or processed wool. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

jessemkahn's picture

the MV and Hudson fiber farm(s) do processed wool as undyed or dyed roving, but i don't think one can get whole fleeces from them.

Tallguy's picture

Oh, quite a number of farms will let you "adopt" a sheep. You get letters informing you about what has been going on, you share any joys and disappointments, and you get to have the fleece. Of course, you have to support this sheep that will live on a farm with other sheep. So it can get to be quite expensive, after all the feeding costs, medical care, etc. But you get the pleasure of knowing it is YOUR fleece, from YOUR sheep. Ask around in your neighbourhood, I'm sure you will find a shepherd that will gladly let you share in owning one or two sheep.

jessemkahn's picture

SIIIIIIGH. what a wonderful way to spend a day. i went to susan gibb's house and, along with one other participant, did a hand dyeing workshop. learned some very valuable information. saw samples of solar dyeing (passive aggressive and SO neat; it's like sun tea for your yarn), salt mordants, and acid dyes. woo hoo!

came home with 5 400 yard skeins of cormo in a nice sport weight. dyed them a gorgeous range of oranges. may make myself a sweater vest.

will post pics when i get home.