McFarland Creek Lamb Ranch
A lot of attention and care go into producing Katie Haven's fleece, roving and spun yarns.
“We raise the sheep and help them give birth to their lambs. Sometimes we have to feed the lambs with bottles, and we raise them up. I do the washing November through March, and then I spend most of my time on the ranch during the summer raising the sheep. It’s a completely beginning-to-end process.”
Katie is intimately connected with each sheep and labels each skein with the name of the sheep it came from.
“A lot of people throw all their wool together, but I wanted to make it more personal than that. They each have their own slightly different feel. Rams are not as soft as compared to their yearlings.”
THE PUZZLE FITS
Katie Haven went to sea and worked on ships for 27 years as a marine engineer. In her down time, she knit constantly. But it wasn’t until she met her partner, Bill, a sheep rancher, that Katie’s hobby took on a new meaning.
“I saw that they were throwing away the fleece after they sheared the sheep, and I was horrified. So a group of women and I figured out a way to save the wool and send it off.”
The venture turned out so well that Katie’s idea for a business was born. She learned how to wash the wool from her sheep—through books, the internet and by trial-and-error—and learned how to dye the wool from a class she took from fellow artist Sara Ashford.
“I was really inspired, and now I use all natural dyes."
Katie currently sells her fleece, roving and naturally dyed yarns through her online store at McFarland Creek Lamb Ranch, and at retailers around the state including at the Mazama Store, Wooley Mama's in Omak, 3 Wild Sheep in Chelan as well as at fiber festivals and Christmas bazaars.