It Began With A Love of Fiber
I grew up in San Francisco – a real city girl. In college, I majored in Art and explored all types of media. I felt something special the day I walked into the weaving classroom. It was like I had found what was right for me as the vehicle for my creative expression. 50 years later I am still enthralled with what I do. I added spinning to my addiction in 1982. I take great pride in creating, and carefully crafting, one-of-a-kind quality knitted and woven treasures.
Eventually, my children were grown and on their own. Then my husband took early retirement from teaching at the university and we moved to the foothills in Northern California to a small community called Georgetown. And we actually had 5 acres of land! My “dream studio” was built – the wish I thought could not happen came true. I really would have a farm with animals.
What kind of fiber animals should I have? Some years before a friend had given me a Jacob sheep fleece from England. It was a joy to spin! 21 years ago it was difficult to find these elusive fleeces, or sheep, because there were very few Jacob flocks in the United States. My first Jacob, Ms. Prissy, came from Clinton, New Jersey by plane. Three other ewes came from Washington state, and this was the start of my flock. The lambs have a birth weight of 6 to 7 lbs. and look like stuffed toys that any child would cherish.
Calico Stole My Heart
I decided that llamas would be my other fiber animals. Llama fiber was not available anywhere in those days, and I wanted something unique. I found a llama ranch in our area and we went to look. They introduced their llamas and there he stood… his name was Calico. He was only eleven months old and I fell in love. We also purchased his little brother, Jingo, and he joined our growing four-legged family when he was weaned and old enough to leave his mother. This was the start of my love affair with llamas. The fiber was important, after all, that was why I wanted them, but I never dreamed how special and fulfilling my life would be living with llamas.
Calico is responsible for my having so many llamas living with me today. He was a very special llama who was intelligent, loving, and my best friend. We had an exceptional relationship and spent many happy years together until he died when he was 17. I still miss him, but he taught me well. That is his legacy and I will be forever grateful.
After 17 years in Georgetown I was tired of dealing with being snowed in, the loss of electricity on a regular basis, and hauling 20 tons of hay up and down hills every year. My flock of sheep had grown to 45 and I had 11 llamas. I decided to sell most of my sheep, just keeping a few of my favorites for their fiber. In 1992 I relocated to Lincoln, California. Since that time my “animal focus” has been on raising my llamas.