The Livestock Conservancy

Wooly Wednesday Round Table with the 15+ Club

August 12, 2021

This month we are chatting with members of the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em (SE2SE) 15+ Club to discuss working with rare breed fibers. Joining Cindra Kerscher for this chat will be SE2SE Fiber Artists Diane Barrows, Susan Vanderford, Kathy O’Reilly, and Lori Holder-Webb. Join in to learn tips and ask questions on sourcing, processing and creating with interesting wools.

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Lori Holder-Webb created fiber art in the form of handmade paper collages until the arrival of rambunctious kittens in the household, and their "assistance" brought that chapter to a close. While casting about for a kitten-resistant alternative, she stumbled across some online wet-felting videos on YouTube. These were the standard-issue nuno-felted scarves, but she instantly saw how it would be possible to shift her aesthetic into this new medium. By 2019, she really wanted to expand her horizons beyond Merino and was fortunate to encounter Ashford Heights Farm at her local sheep and wool festival. Ashford Heights supplied her with a bag of Leicester Longwool roving and an information packet for Shave 'Em to Save 'Em. The rest of it - the spinning, and whole raw fleeces, and weaving - had an air of inevitability.

Kathy O’Reilly started knitting very young, taught by her mother. In 2015, after mumbling for years about the quality and cost of yarn, she started spinning after her husband gave her a spinning wheel for Christmas. He created a monster. She had no idea there were so many types of wool and fiber, so she started trying as many as she could. She had already spun CVM, Shetland, Jacob, and Black Welsh Mountain when she stumbled upon the Shave 'Em to Save 'Em Initiative. She thinks it has been so much fun to interact with a group of like-minded people.

After watching the Guild spinners at countless county fairs, Diane Barrows ached to learn and set out doing so once her five children flew the nest. She joined the Shave 'Em to Save 'Em Initiative soon after its launch, and soon discovered herself adding to her repertoire, spinning the new fibers she was encountering. Diane has enjoyed knitting, crocheting, sewing, and quilting for decades. She is a beginner weaver and is working on her HGA Master Spinner’s certificate.

Susan Vanderford has been a fiber artist since she was a kid, but most recently got into spinning during the pandemic. She got involved with the Shave 'Em to Save 'Em Initiative during the WAFA sales in early 2020. She kept seeing the SE2SE acronym and got curious, which led her to the program. Susan's big love though is knitting and her favorite part is trying different techniques to see what you get!

Want to become a Fiber Artist for the Save 'Em to Shave 'Em Initiative? Sign up at RareWool.org.

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