Hi friends! How’s your weekend going? We’ve been spending loads of time out on the back deck, relaxing and crafting … a perfect Labor Day weekend, if you ask me!
And it’s been even more perfect than usual because we had a very exciting start to the weekend. Remember Thursday when I mentioned I had an upcoming adventure that I was really excited to share? Well, here it is! On Friday afternoon, my mom and I hopped in her little Fiat and tootled out to gorgeous Rose Lane Farm in Rocky Mount, Virginia.
Rose Lane Farm is run by Julie Jeavons and her family. We found out about it completely by accident. A few months ago, my younger sister was at an all-day workshop for her job and got talking to a fellow workshop attendee. Somehow, the conversation came around to knitting (as every good conversation does), and the man mentioned to my sister that his wife kept Rambouillet sheep, whose fleeces she had spun into yarn.
Yarn made from sheep raised just a half hour from where I grew up … you better believe that we were dying to get some! My mom contacted Julie a few weeks ago to find out more about the yarn and where we might buy it, and she was kind enough to invite us out for a visit to the farm.
When we pulled up in their driveway, my mom and I couldn’t believe how picturesque the farm was! The farmhouse dates back to the 1870s, and Julie and her family are only the third family to own it since then! Julie started our farm tour by showing us around the house, which was stunning. It was so cozy and full of unique touches … the sorts of things you can only get when you’re living in a century’s-old home!
After we saw inside, Julie took us out to see the sheep! All the sheep on the farm are named after flowers … it is, after all, Rose Lane Farm! First we saw this delightful mama, with her son, Sven (the only non-flower named sheep, named, along with his twin brother Olaf, by a Swedish exchange student who stayed at Rose Lane Farm this year). Sven will most likely be sold as a breeding ram, so he and his mom are kept separate from the rest of the flock.
On the way to see the rest of the sheep, we saw Julie’s chickens:
Then we met the rest of the flock:
And Finley, guardian of the sheep. He’s a Great Pyrenees, still a pup and already bigger than me!
Julie was generous with her time, answering our questions about her experiences raising Rambouillet in Virginia over the past six years. Besides being quite knowledgeable, Julie is friendly and bubbly, and generally just fun to talk to! After gazing at the sheep and chatting, we went back inside to look at Julie’s yarn.
Julie is an accomplished spinner and dyer, and sells some of her handspun. Mom bought this gorgeous red:
And I came away with these two lovelies:
Julie also has her sheep’s fleeces professionally milled into gorgeous DK-weight yarn. We each got a sweater’s worth of her undyed Rambouillet — I opted for cream (and a skein of brown for good measure) and Mom did the opposite:
We could hardly wait to get home and swatch … the yarn is bouncy and energetic, leaving you with a beautiful, squishy fabric. It smells nice and sheepy, and there’s the occasional bit of vegetable matter, which I love … I like picturing Iris, Lily, Sweet Pea, and the gang wandering around their pasture at Rose Lane while I’m knitting!
We’ve both decided to use the yarn for Rocquaine from the latest Pom Pom magazine (you might recognize it from Friday Favorites!) The yarn has great stitch definition, so will be perfect for the guernsey-style sweater … and it’s even the same breed as the pattern’s suggested yarn! I’m so excited to be working with fiber that’s not only local, but from sheep whose ears I got to scratch!
We had such a special afternoon at Rose Lane Farm and were so appreciative that Julie took the time to show us around and introduce us to her lovely sheep. If you’d like to know more about Julie and her yarn, you can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s going to be dyeing up some of that gorgeous natural cream yarn this fall!
Thanks again, Julie! Hope you all have a great Labor Day. Til next time, happy knitting!