Nice article in the winter issue of Craftsman Quarterly:
Judith Schwartz writes about the people who are trying to turn around the near disappearance of American wool processing within the United States. Ecological reasons for keeping sheep (they contribute to carbon sequestrian if pastures are managed correctly), natural dying, and efforts to make American wool products competitive (based on value not on cost) with Chinese products made from American wool.
The election completed. Of the 39 eligible voters: 22 ballots were submitted and 3 opened their ballots but did not vote (56% voted). We use weighted ballots for elections (personal members have 1 vote, family members 2 votes).
President – 2 year term (2019 – 2020)
35.0 votes tallied and 0 abstentions from 22 ballots
Kevin Melvin wins with 100% of the vote
Vice President – 2 year term (2019 – 2020)
35.0 votes tallied and 0 abstentions from 22 ballots
Bob May wins with 100% of the vote
Treasurer – 2 year term (2019 – 2020)
33.0 votes tallied and 1 abstention from 22 ballots
Anita Duscher wins with 100% of the vote
Trustees – 3 year term (2019 – 2021)
64.0 votes tallied and 2 abstentions from 22 ballots
Carter Laidlaw and Brittany Smith wins with 50% and 45.3 of the vote each.
PLEASE NOTE: A new ballot for Secretary will go out to all members at 6PM Feb. 8 2019 due to a ballot error. The voting period will be 2 weeks.
The American Wool Council has provided fans of the all-natural fiber with a new way to Experience Wool through the creation of a YouTube page. The page currently hosts three videos produced by Brand Juice in the past year to market American wool to a wide variety of consumers.
The videos were shown on multiple occasions during the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention last month in New Orleans, and can now be shared from the YouTube page by producers looking to promote American wool and its many benefits.
In The Luxurious Fiber, a narrator explains that the “Fabric designers choose first to achieve pure elegance, absolute luxury and unmatched style” is American wool.
The High Performance Fiber is aimed at more demanding users and offers, “There’s one time-tested, expedition-proven material you can count on. One fabric for four seasons. Experience the confidence of American wool.”
Natural and Sustainable promotes what might be the fiber’s greatest trait. “What this miracle becomes is infinitely remarkable, versatile, beautiful and in the end, sustainable.”
If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the videos. Share them with your friends, family and clients, and help the American Wool Council in promoting this natural, renewable, sustainable fiber that is perfect for any occasion in any season.
Access the YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFhONGmym_OM8ZWxPqw9Fag
For more information on American wool, visit AmericanWool.org or follow Experience Wool on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Source: ASI Weekly February 8, 2019
A new study has confirmed that wearing superfine Merino wool helps ease the symptoms of eczema and improves the wearer’s quality of life.
Professor Joe Fowler at Dermatology Specialists Research in Louisville, Ky., undertook this two-year study assessing the effect of Merino base-layer fabrics on 50 of his patients with mild-to-moderate eczema.
Using a cross-over design, participants were placed in two groups. The first group was dressed in their regular clothing for six weeks and then changed to superfine Merino wool garments. The second group began with the superfine Merino wool for six weeks and then crossed over to their regular clothing for the final six weeks. Each patient undertook an initial visit to establish their baseline condition, followed by regular visits until completion of the study. They were assessed for clinical, physiological and quality of life outcome measures.
Significant decreases in eczema symptoms from Baseline to Week Three were seen in both groups. However, those who switched to Merino wool at Week Six experienced a further significant decrease in symptoms, in contrast to those who switched to regular clothing. Further, “it was only when Merino wool was worn that improved quality of life scores occurred,” Fowler said.
“I still wear the [wool] clothing, even though I’ve finished the study,” one participant said. “I’m super sensitive about clothing and never keep any that are not comfortable.”
Another participant commented, “I could feel it working, my skin got softer and I wear [wool] now when my skin needs help.”
Source: ASI Weekly November 9, 2018
Full Article: https://www.iwto.org/news/us-study-confirms-wool-benefits-to-skin
Woolrich, Inc. has announced that it will be closing the Woolen Mill in Woolrich, Penn. It is anticipated that fabric manufacturing operations will cease by the end of the year and will affect up to 40 employees in the mill.
“The decision to close the mill was made following a comprehensive review of our overall woven fabric business and the considerable capital improvements needed to modernize and maintain viable operations,” said Woolrich President Nick Brayton. “Unfortunately, due to higher manufacturing costs, eroding margins and continued unprofitability within the Mill, it is no longer economically feasible to continue our Pennsylvania based Woolen Mill operation.
Woolrich will provide career transitional services for affected employees. Retirement and pension planning services will also be provided for those employees not seeking re-employment.
“We are eternally grateful to all our employees for their years of dedication and loyalty to the company and our number one priority right now is to help affected employees through this transition,” Brayton said. “While this was a very difficult decision, our strategic approach to align our collections globally remains our primary focus and we are continuing the next stage of the globalization of the Woolrich brand.”
The company plans to maintain its wholesale, retail, and e-commerce apparel businesses.
Source: ASI Weekly November 9, 2018
New book released Oct. 2018….Raw Material – Working Wool in the West
Follow a sweater with an “Italian Merino” label back far enough and chances are its life began not in Milan, but in Montana.
Many people want to look behind the label and know where their clothes come from, but the textile supply chain – one of the most toxic on the planet – remains largely invisible. In Raw Material, Stephany Wilkes tells the story of American wool through her own journey to becoming a certified sheep shearer.
What begins as a search for local yarn becomes a dirty, unlikely and irresistible side job. Wilkes leaves her high-tech job for a way of life considered long dead in the American West. Along the way, she meets ornery sheep that weigh more than she does, carbon-sequestering ranchers, landless grazing operators, rare breed stewards and small-batch yarn makers struggling with drought, unfair trade agreements and faceless bureaucracies as they work to bring eco-friendly fleece to market.
Raw Material demonstrates that the back must break to clothe the body, and that excellence often comes by way of exhaustion.
With humor and humility, Wilkes follows wool from the farm to the factory, through the hands of hardworking Americans trying to change the culture of clothing. Her story will appeal to anyone interested in the fiber arts or the textile industry, and especially to environmentally conscious consumers.
Stehanie’s website: https://stephanywilkes.com/book
Book also available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Raw-Material-Working-Wool-West/
The 24th annual Sheep & Fiber Festival was held on Saturday and Sunday at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds in Ringoes.
The festival was presented by the Garden State Sheep Breeders, a non-profit, educational group promoting sheep and wool products in New Jersey.
This year they added two breeds: the Scottish blackface and Valais blacknose, a new breed to the United States, on display courtesy of Stone Manor Farm.
Source and to see the Photo Gallery:
The Livestock Conservancy is hoping to preserve endangered sheep with its Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em program that encourages fiber artists to work with wool from rare sheep breeds.
Genetic diversity is just one reason to preserve heritage sheep. Heritage breeds have survived through the ages because they are naturally hardy. Of particular interest to fiber artists are the different types of wool that each breed produces. Some have a softer wool that’s excellent for garments, while others have wool that’s more suited to making rugs. Some have white wool that takes well to dyes, while others come in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns.
The goal of Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em is to put fiber artists in contact with shepherds who produce wool from sheep on The Livestock Conservancy’s list of endangered livestock. When fiber artists register, they will receive a passport that includes a page of information for each breed. Each page will also include space to put a stamp after they purchase wool from a particular breed. There will be a Facebook group and a Ravelry group where members can share pictures of their projects. As fiber artists work their way through the breeds, they will receive prizes for completing projects and reaching various landmarks.
In addition to encouraging fiber artists to try rare wools, the program will also educate shepherds about how to prepare their wool for sale to fiber artists. By helping shepherds market their wool, they will become more financially stable, which helps ensure the future of the sheep.
When shepherds sell raw fleece from rare breeds directly to consumers, they can earn an average of $16 per pound on Etsy. Fiber can also be sold to fiber artists at fiber festivals that are held around the country. By turning wool into roving, it can be sold to hand spinners or felters for an average of $44 per pound on Etsy, and if they take the extra step of having it spun into yarn, it averages $80 per pound.
More information about the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Challenge or about sheep breeds on the Conservation Priority List are available on the Livestock Conservancy website.
Source: ASI Weekly September 7, 2018