Yesterday my LYS held a special event called Shepherd’s Day. It was a trunk show from Cestaria Sheep & Wool Company. Not only was there yarn, there was the shepherd that tended the flock. I’m not sure where to start talking about this really fun day.
My friends who work at the store posted some sneak peak pictures as they were setting up on Friday night and the color selection was amazing! I’ve been wanting to get some yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl and this had some definite possibilities so I was very excited.
When I walked into the store on Saturday morning the first thing that caught my eye were the pile of sheepskins on the big knitting table – they were beautiful and so soft. I could not stop petting them. But there were several tables of yarn to look at so I dragged myself away.
Being someone who is sensitive to wool, I was really interested in the cotton and cotton/linen yarns that were being offered. In addition, they did have traditional wool in a variety of weights. As I was making my first pass, the shepherd, Francis Chester, came over to talk about his yarns. According to the Cestari website, Francis is 80 years old and still farming! All of their yarns are made and produced here in the US. Francis has a farm in Virginia where he raises sheep for wool. They also obtain additional wool from reputable ranchers in the US. The cotton is grown and processed in Virginia.
It is then treated and spun in the US and is all done using environmentally friendly methods. Even the dyes are safe and non-toxic. Now, as I’m saying all this you are probably thinking (like I was) wow, that sounds great but how much does it cost??? It was some of the most reasonably priced yarn I’ve come across. I continued to circle and ponder my options for the 3 Color Shawl and as I did more of the store regulars were coming in.
One of those regulars (and part time worker at the store) was my friend H and her baby R. We love when R comes for a visit and she loves the shop and all her friends! I found some colors (and they were even outside my usual color zone) and sat down to chat with my friends, and to pet the sheepskin. Now, here’s the thing, the longer I pet that thing, the more I knew it had to come home with me. And so, I put the yarn back and bought the sheepskin.
While we were posing for this picture, the shepherd explained they brush the skins with dye for the added interested. I got the black/white/gray one but there were also tan/brown ones available.
I think part of what made it such a fun day was just sharing it with some of my favorite knitting people. I realize as I listen to various podcasts how lucky I am to have such an active group of knitting friends IRL (in real life) as not everyone has that. Our store is just like any read you about in the fictional books and that is probably a story for another day.
I highly recommend checking out the Cestaria yarns. I think he’s making his way around on a tour so if you see a Shepherd’s Day near you – go!!