Susie Benitez; ACRE Student: From Fleece to Yarn

ImageThis summer, Professor Trimpey and I are doing an ACRE on sheep, wool, and spinning while out in Cedar City, UT. We thought that because Utah has a large number of sheep farms, this summer would be a great opportunity to travel there and go around to some ranches and learn more about a fiber that we come across daily in the costume shop. By the end of the summer, we hope to have mastered (or at least try our hand at) the process of cleaning, carding, and spinning a sheep’s fleece.

Cedar City is a beautiful town in southern Utah. When you walk outside, the sun is almost always shining and there are mountains all around. We are at 5,846 ft above sea level and located in a desert valley, so the climate is much different than what we are used to in Reading, PA. Utah is the 6th largest sheep producing state in the US and you can go for a walk in Cedar City and shortly, come across a nicely sized sheep ranch.

Our first order of business was to find a place near Cedar City to get some of the supplies that we need to clean and spin a fleece. After an internet search, we found a store in Enterprise, UT, about a 45 minute drive, called “R Ewe Spinning.” It was a cute little store in the back of a gas station. We bought carding paddles (what you use to comb or brush out a fleece), some drop spindles, and some roving (fleece that has already been cleaned and carded). We also made a great connection with the owner of the store, Linda, who happened to be a shepherdess and have a small ranch with about 30 sheep. We were so lucky to have connected with Linda because she not only gave us some valuable information about sheep and spinning, but she also invited us out to her ranch to meet her sheep!

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These are some pictures of Utah.

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Here Professor Trimpey and I are with Linda.

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