Thursday, April 25, 2013

How we started

Blue Barn Fiber started out as a dream, and it has slowly evolved into a beautiful reality.

I always knew that I wanted to someday have my own farm. I have surrounded myself with animals my entire life and often feel that I identify with animals better than most humans.

When I was 10 years old, I volunteered at a petting zoo in Sonoma, California. When I was 13 years old, my family moved to North Idaho and rented a house on a 22 acre horse ranch. At 15 years old, I volunteered at a local Big Cats rescue in Rathdrum, Idaho.  And as an adult, I fell in love with a man who was just as much of an animal lover as I am, and I married him.

Dan dreamed of becoming a veterinarian someday, while I majored in Environmental Science. During my studies, I learned a great deal about the cruelty involved in factory farming and the negative impact that factory-grown foods and goods have on the earth. I spent a great deal of time focusing my studies on ways to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle, which included growing my own food and fiber.

My studies of alternatives to synthetic and imported fiber took me to a whole new world, and brought me back in touch with my love for animals. Specifically, sheep, goats, rabbits, yaks, and other fiber-growing creatures. 

Dan and I quickly realized that our shared love for animals and the earth could pair together to create an amazing, artistic business and family farm. And we have been working towards that dream ever since.

We started out by using every last penny we had to buy 200lbs of raw alpaca fiber from a local farmer who was moving back to Seattle. This was a terrifying risk and a giant leap of faith - but it quickly paid off. After picking through all of that fiber by hand and learning how to grade and skirt it, we moved on to sheep wool and goat fiber, then expanded our inventory to include more exotic fibers such as camel, qiviut, and yak. We also started growing some of our own cotton and investing in eco-friendly bamboo fibers and hemp. It soon became apparent that the fiber world is full of endless possibilities and we were just starting to scratch the surface. 

We have a long way to go. Currently, we buy fiber from local farmers and shepherds and we clean it and resell it to other fiber artists. We strive to only purchase cruelty free fiber and we purchase locally whenever possible.

We are pinching pennies and working every day towards buying our own farm where we can raise animals of our own. Even when that happens, I am sure that we will continue to support other small farmers by buying their fiber to dye and resell. The fiber community is small and tightly knit, and each and every customer that we meet is incredibly gifted and special to us.

We invite our customers to share their beautiful creations with us and show off what you can do! Thank you for reading our story.

No comments:

Post a Comment