Fiber Arts Festival at Castle Farms

A lot has been happening on the farm this past week that I’d like to share with you. First of all, I’ve been very busy finishing fiber art projects that I’ll be offering for sale at the 4th Annual Fiber Arts Festival at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, MI. This is a wonderful festival celebrating fiber and artisans who create incredible and beautiful fashion and art for you to enjoy and purchase. Located in beautiful Charlevoix and a historic setting…a castle! Check it out at

Angora Goat

Angora Goat

One project that I’ve been working on is the sweet little Angora goat pillow in the pic.  Did you know that mohair fiber comes from the Angora goat?  Mohair is one of the oldest fibers known to man and referred to in biblical times. South Africa has become the world’s leading producer of mohair at about 60 % of the world mohair market! In case you’re wondering, an Angora rabbit produces angora; a sheep produces wool; a Cashmere goat produces cashmere; alpaca produces alpaca…all wonderful natural fibers!

Speaking of natural – wish you were here this past weekend when Sheepy Hollow Farm hosted Heritage Spinning and Weaving’s ( Natural Dye Day!  Every year, students look forward to an opportunity to enjoy a day in the country with fellow fiber enthusiasts while attending Joan’s natural dye workshop. Did you know that within many plants lie hidden natural treasures of COLOR!! Workshop participants explored a myriad of plants and color at the hands of knowledgeable plant expert and fiber artist, Shelly Buckman!

Students learned the fundamentals of dyeing, dyeing technique, creating a dye bath, mordants, effects of pH, natural plant dyes and so much more! Dye cards noting data such as plant dye stuff, mordants and methods used were prepared by the students to take home as a record of their natural dye results. It’s a great experience whether you’re a beginner or advanced fiber artist!

Finally, we’ve been making lots of goat’s milk soap at Sheepy Hollow. It’s local county fair time and handcrafted natural soap is a fun and natural activity for 4H goat clubs! The goats are producing an abundance of milk which makes a wonderful natural moisurizer for the skin. The kids used the ‘cold process method’ which results in lots of natural glycerin to sooth even the most sensitive skin! Kids became familiar with terms such as saponification, exothermic, tare weight, sodium hydroxide, etc. in addition to good ‘lab’ procedures and practices.

Goat's Mil Soap

Goat's Milk Soap

We used individual soap molds, including goats of course, so that every 4H participant was able to take home a bar of pure and natural soap!

Well, the gardens are growing – the tomatoes require staking and the sugar snap peas are about spent with the last week of warm and humid weather. The green peppers are beginning to grow a bit. They’re a tropical plant and have not liked the cool nights we’ve had here in MI the past couple of weeks! The good news is that we have had pretty regular rainfall so there has been little effort required on watering the garden. I’ve done away with many container/potted plants with the exception of a few around the shop. It’s just too time-consuming to make sure they’re watered every day! I’ve planted the rest of the ‘steppables’ I had for sale between the pavers at the drying barn since the last garden walk market event.

Well, I’m off with a mile-long list of chores…blessings, Jenny

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