A Rainbow of Natural Dyes

Craftsy folks frequently share a do-it-yourself ethic. While it’s always easier just to buy cheap, pretty yarn at the craft store, some (particularly homesteaders) prefer to create their own dyes. In fact, if you own sheep or other fiber animals, this may be a logical next step to adding value to your products. You can…

Adding Value to Wool

A brief summary of all the options for making the most of your fiber business.

8 Ideas for a Bison Business

Want to do something a little different with your family farm or ranch? How about raising bison? From a land stewardship perspective, there are some major advantages to raising bison. Despite their size, these animals are far easier on pastures than most types of domestic livestock, fostering a healthy grassland ecosystem. Furthermore, they are hardy…

Tennessee Fainting Goat

Although best known for “fainting” when startled, the Tennessee Fainting Goat is more than just a novelty.

Cashmere

Cashmere—a word that has denoted luxury and comfort since the most ancient times. Perhaps the oldest reference to this fine fiber is in Exodus 25:4, where God requests offerings of goats’ hair (also known as cashmere) to build the tabernacle. The cashmere was subsequently used to make curtains (Exodus 36:14). While any goat except the…

Angora

The Angora comes to us from the Himalayas of Asia Minor. Its origins are so ancient that the details have been lost altogether. It is believed to be a direct descendant of some species of wild goat, perhaps the Persian bezoar or perhaps the markhor, famous for its twisted horns. In any case, mohair, the…

Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog, contrary to its name, is not terribly old. A 1771 portrait of the third Duke of Buccleuch by Gainsborough is commonly asserted to contain the first known likeness of the sheepdog. However, the dog in the portrait appears to be of a small breed, leaving us at a loss for a…

7 Unique Fiber Animals

We all know that sheep are raised for wool. But sheep are not the limit when it comes to producing fiber. Some of the alternative fibers you have probably heard of, such as cashmere and angora wool. Others may come as a bit of a surprise…. Bison Bison hair can be difficult to work with,…

Highland

The north Atlantic coast of Scotland is a particularly wild, rugged region. Little wonder, then, that both its people and its animals were equally wild and rugged, well suited for a struggle for existence in a harsh climate. One of the hardy animals that has made its home in Scotland since time immemorial is the…