Bringing Little Pasture Farm & Fiber to life

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wool yarn

In the crush of travel, the new book, and the beginning of summer I have somehow neglected to report on one of the most exciting things that has happened in recent memory: The long-awaited arrival of yarn spun from the wool of my own darling sheep!

The fact that I would neglect to share something I have been yearning, dreaming and fretting over for a long time is a very familiar phenomenon that has had me flummoxed for most of my adult life. I recently came across the term “upper limit problem” which might explain it.

The upper limit problem is a phrase coined by Gay Hendricks in his book “The Big Leap.” It describes a person’s capacity to subconsciously sabotage themselves when they experience any kind of success that exceeds their expectations. This can happen when someone achieves something they’ve wanted for a long time, such as a promotion, financial gain or, as the case may be, YARN. The subconscious mind may self-sabotage to return the person to their comfort zone because their success scares them due, according to Hendricks, to “faulty beliefs and attitudes.”

I could spend a long time trying to decipher the “faulty beliefs and attitudes” that have led me to be secretive about my successes, but my husband can attest to my tendency to speak at length about the things worrisome or aggravating in my life. Why exactly I can share freely about the frustrations, but not the joys, I’m not sure, but I do know the struggle is real. And probably annoying to those who know me well.

I’m beginning to believe the whole point of middle age is to break all the habits you don’t want to take with you to the grave, which is why I’m going to tell you that I had a lot of trepidation about sending my ewes’ wool to the mill. Milling raw fleeces into yarn is expensive; the supply chain is not built to support small-scale shepherding. For almost a decade I’ve avoided taking this step because the reality of trying to sell the yarn at the required price point was too daunting. Sadly, it actually made more sense to do nothing with the wool than attempt to process it.

But, today, I fearlessly updated the logo and handle for my yarn “business,” Little Pasture Farm & Fiber. I put business in quotes because it’s a labor of love and I honestly don’t want to make money. I write columns and books and play music for a living. I’m selling yarn because I want to be able to afford to treat my ewes like queens, and I want to be able to share the bounty of their gorgeous wool with all of you.

I am also going to share that last week, when I picked the yarn up from the mill, I nearly swooned. In addition to spinning the fleeces into yarn, the yarn mill I worked with (aptly named The Yarn Factory) made me three sample hats. One is the perfect, beautiful brown I spent years of selective breeding trying to create. It also happens to come from two of my naughtiest, most beloved ewes. To know so deeply the fibers I’m wearing is a sacred and beautiful gift few people get to experience. Wearing the hat has been nothing short of transformative; it feels like an honor I am so excited to share, as well as a leap of faith that I’m so thrilled to have finally taken.

For now, yarn will only be available at in-person gatherings, and when it’s sold out, it’s sold out…until next year! That’s the beauty of sheep — they don’t have an upper limit problem. They just keep growing gorgeous wool without any fear at all.

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