Thanks to Dawn of Independence Farmstead Fiber Mill for the visit to her ranch for episode 86 of the VeryPink Knits podcast. I dragged my boys along on their day off of school with the promise of a visit to the local Blue Bell creamery.
Her goats and sheep were friendly, as well as the huge ranch cats. Dawn gave us a tour of the whole process from sheep (or goat or alpaca) to skein. Touring a small family-run mill like this really makes one appreciate the hard work involved in all the steps to make yarn ready to knit. Taking care of the animals is enough, but the process of taking fiber to from washing to combing to spinning... is a multi-step process which Dawn does with the most eco-friendly options available. They even use the waste fiber as a natural solution to control erosion on the ranch.
Her yarn is beautiful and I hope when I work through my stash and don't have kids around, next time I see it, I'll snatch some up. Be sure to visit her website if you're interested in the mohair cinch chord.
You can read more about the history of Texas mohair ranching on the Texas State Historical Association website or through books Dawn recommended, Texas Wollybacks (not in publication), and Shepherd's Empire. She also recommended this beautiful photo book of a historical family ranch, Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations.
Enjoy these photos! (click to browse through all the photos.) The goats with the jackets had just been sheared. The cat has found the best spot for rest among some drying fiber. And, the ice cream from Blue Bell is another Texas tradition.