Raw Material Offers One Woman’s View of the American Wool Industry

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/

 

Sheep Shearing Training

90 Minute DVD from Doug Rathke, NZ trained USA shearing instructor since 1988 ($45).

Sheep Shearing Video

Strong demand has prompted Doug Rathke to put together an instructional sheep shearing called “Sheep Shearing Made Easy”.  This video is designed both for the beginner and for those who have already been shearing and are interested in improving their shearing technique to increase speed and efficiency of the job and to minimize stress to the animal.

This 90 minute “how-to” video takes the viewer step by step through the basics of shearing including preparing for shearing, shearing clothing, fitness, understanding and appreciation of shearing gear, selecting combs and cutters, setting up a hand piece, and setting the shearing work area.

The core of the video is dedicated to shearing patterns and techniques.  Not only does the video patiently show the basic shearing pattern and footwork, it also explains the modifications of the shearing pattern for different types of sheep. Each shearing blow is explained as Rathke demonstrates the procedure. Tips are also given on how to hold the hand piece for maximum blow width, thereby avoiding extra work and costly second cuts.

Order DVD now.


Also holds sheep shearing schools, located in Hutchinson Minnesota – check his web site for schedule.