Obviously, one of my main hobbies is reading and then writing about what I read. However, I am fascinated by a variety of subjects, one if which is the world of knitting, spinning, and sheep raising. I currently have about 14 sheep who provide entertainment, meat, and piles and piles of gorgeous wool.
Adventures in Yarn Farming is written by Barbara Parry, a shepherd and self-professed "yarn farmer" in New England. Each year, she delivers hundreds of lambs and produces more wool than I think I can imagine. In this book, we follow her adventures in raising sheep throughout a year.
The year starts with wool shearing and then the highlight- lamb delivery, which I know from experience is quite a stressful situation. I can't imagine doing it on the level that she and her family and farm hands do. However, Parry writes so warmly and lovingly of this part of her job- the delivering of countless lambs and then the care of all of the mother sheep and their new lambs. I well know that happy, cozy feeling of leaving a lit barn that is full of mama sheep talking to their new babies.
Next, we follow this farm into summer, when the pastures are lush and green and there is hay to be made and lambs to be weaned (not a pleasant process, she assures us), and a big garden to be tended.
With fall comes fleeces to be skirted, spun, and dyed, the ram put in with the ewes, and the now-grown lambs sent to butcher.
Finally, winter appears and all of the sheep return to the barn to huddle together while inside, there is spinning and knitting to be done!
This is such a pretty book. It is chock full of gorgeous photographs documenting a beautiful journey from a newborn lamb to a skein of yarn. Along the way are recipes for meals from the garden, instructions for various dying methods, and, of course plenty of knitting patterns. There is a spring cardigan that I am eyeing.
The book is arranged in essay form with such topics as the hijinks that Parry's goats got up to to weaning lambs to sending wool to the mill. Parry is not just a gifted fiber artist; she is a very skilled writer. There is nothing flat or dry about this book.
I would highly recommend reading this if, of course, you are interested in the world of fiber. But if you're not, this would still be a pretty coffee-table style read-something to page through to take a look at another world. I really, really liked this book. In fact, I like it so much that I'm putting it on my Christmas list.