From the very beginning, Emily and I knew that we wanted to make The Shepherd and The Shearer a grand collaboration between the shepherds that grew the wool, the shearer, the designers and the knitter who brought all the pieces together to create a beautiful sweater, an entire package that featured both the yarn and the pattern that would best show it off.
So we approached two rockstar designers, and as I wrote earlier, we were pretty sure they would both say no. They both really busy and successful, but we figured it could hurt to ask.
When I tell you I nearly fainted when they both said yes, I am not exaggerating. I never allowed myself to dream that I’d be in a position to work with Kate Davies and Kirsten Kapur. Never never never. It’s SURREAL, y’all.
Kate Davies and Kirsten Kapur are each designing an exclusive cabled, Aran sweater, inspired by the yarn we are creating and the spirit of the project. The patterns will be named The Shepherd and The Shearer, respectively. The patterns will be either unisex or available in adult men’s and women’s sizes (we’ve left this up to the to designers).
Both patters will be featured in a numbered, soft-cover book, that will arrive with the yarn in September, 2013. The rest of the book will feature photographs and descriptions from Emily and myself of our process of getting the fiber from the fleece all the way through to the finished yarn. We’ll also have a few pics of the designers’ creative process, sketches, etc.
Every farmer who’s fleece is used for this yarn will be credited (and photographed, if they are up for it.). The book will be a complete record of the project from it’s start on the small fiber farms of the Mid-Altantic to your knitting needles. In fact, we’re leaving space for a few photos of your progress and a hero shot of your completed sweater. Think of it as a project workbook that isn’t complete until you finish the sweater.
In addition to your yarn and The Shearer and The Shepherd book, each collaborator will receive a project bag with our awesome logo on it. Cause I want to put that logo on everything.
Don’t we look like two thirds of the cast of a very special, farm-based episode of Charlie’s Angels?
Are you ready for the best part? Cause we’re not there yet. Emily and I are dedicating a portion of profits from this venture to establish a scholarship fund to send women to sheep shearing school! Shearing school itself isn’t all that expensive until you factor in travel, hotels, meals, etc. We’re going to take application and send as many women as we can to learn the fine art of shearing a sheep!
In order to be sure that we had the yarn in hand to ship out to our collaborators by September of 2013- and that you had your sweater in time for the cold!- we had to make a deal with the mill in upfron,t and very carefully work out the timing. Emily and Erin are going to deliver the fleeces to the mill no later than June 3rd of 2013 and the mill assures me that we will have it back at the farm and ready to ship to you by September of 2013.
The yarn will undyed, and, as we are only using white fleeces, will be a traditional off-white color. When the yarn ships, we’ll start a Ravelry group with knit-a-longs for both patterns, so you won’t be totally out to sea, even if you haven’t knit a sweater or cables before.
And, of course, we will track the progress of the project from start to finish here on the blog, although we’re going to save lots of pictures for the book only.
Spots in The Shepherd and The Shearer will go on sale tomorrow morning for $250 each. This price will include the book, the project bag and enough yarn to make ONE sweater in your size. It will also cover the cost of making sure everyone involved is fairly compensated- the farmers, the mill, the designers, etc.
Since we have already committed to a total weight with the mill, we can only sell 200 spots in the project. I honestly have no idea how long it will take to sell all the spots. You may want to let Santa know ASAP that this is on your list.
As far as we can tell, no one has ever done this type of collaborative knitting project before, and Emily and I are very excited to participating with Kate Davies, Kirsten Kapur and YOU.
*I’ve already gotten a couple emails asking who did it: our friend CaryCanary did the artwork and the brilliant Michelle Lukezic turned it into a brilliant logo. Just FYI, I wouldn’t take a truckload of gold for Michelle. She is a gem!