I'm starting a new, major project today!
A friend of mine has placed an order for a custom-made, handspun, handwoven quilt. I'm pretty excited about doing this because it will be my first of what I hope will be many more large projects creating beautiful, practical, and durable goods from my farm that are 100% factory-free. I've done lots of other smaller projects (jewelry, purses, etc.), but nothing approaching the scale of an entire queen-sized quilt.
By factory-free, I mean that EVERY material used has been grown on my farm, and EVERY step of the processing, from raw material to finished product, has been done by me, here on the farm, by hand. How often do you have the opportunity to own an entire quilt that has never, at any point, passed through a factory?
The quilt will be made of wool from my own flock of Icelandic sheep. I shear the wool myself, then wash, dry, pick, card, spin, ply, weave, and stitch it. I estimate that this quilt will contain more than 3 miles of double-ply yarn (which means that I spin 6 miles of single-ply yarn, then spin it back on itself to make it two-ply, a total of 9 miles of spinning).
The quilt squares will be individually woven by hand on my set of Quilt Weaver looms from Hazel Rose Looms. Then the squares will be assembled into the Maple and Oak Leaf pattern I designed. The colors will be the natural colors of the sheep, so no dyes will ever be used on this quilt.
I expect this project to take me a few months to complete. I'll post updates here periodically, to show how it's progressing.
Today, I'm starting with the very first step: Choosing the wool. My customer wanted his quilt made from lamb's wool, which is a little more expensive, but it's softer than the wool of an adult sheep.
One of the fun things about getting a custom quilt direct from me is that you get to see the sheep who provided the wool. Here are the sheep who gave their lamb fleeces for this quilt:
I don't have any of the beige colored lamb's wool in my inventory at the moment, so that will come from my fall shearing, in October. It will probably come from this handsome lamb:
Next step: Preparing the wool. Stay tuned!