For more information about special events and workshops at Sheep & Shawl, please call 413-397-3680.  FIBERuary offers 4 weeks of special events and speakers.

We continue into March!  See the schedule below for March 5th and March 12th.  Hope to see you at the shop soon.

In June we host Joan Ruane’s 2-day Cotton Spinning Workshop!  Scroll down for more info.

Welcome to FIBERuary 2017!

For the month of FIBERuary, Carole Adams of Whispering Pines Farm in Colrain and Liz Sorenson of Sheep & Shawl have teamed up to focus on FIBER all month long. Carole set up the FIBERuary website in 2016 at to feature a different article each day written by local fiber farmers, a shearer, and many crafts people. It’s all about fiber!

Sheep & Shawl will host a series of speakers about fiber on Sunday afternoons.  Call 413-397-3680 for more information and to reserve your seat.  Seating is limited.  See descriptions below the bullet list.


1:00 – 3:00   Free   Refreshments provided

Call to reserve your seat:  413-397-3680

  • Feb 5  –  2nd Annual FIBERuary celebration  Come in for a meet and greet with refreshments  Please wear or bring something fibery you made for an informal show and tell, or bring a question you have about fiber & crafts. Meet other people interested in fiber!  1:00 – 3:00
  • Feb 19 Natural (plant) and Chemical Dyeing of Wool and Linen – A Panel of Dyers 1:00 – 3:00  Scott Norris, Michelle Parrish, Linnie Dugas
  • Feb 26 – no speaker
  • March  5 – What is Naalbinding? – Katherine Johnson  1:00 – 2:00
  • March 12 – History of Shetland Sheep – Faye Whitney  1:00 – 3:00

Sunday, March 5 – What is Naalbinding? – Katherine Johnson   Textiles have a deep history with humans, none more so than the family of looping techniques that includes naalbinding. It is found among the oldest surviving textile fragments excavated by archaeologists, and it has been practiced in some form on every inhabited continent. The stitches can take many forms, but they are unified by production technique. It is portable, requires only a needle, and it has been used to make everything from bags to clothing to decorative edgings. Come find out about this craft, handle samples, and see it demonstrated.  This talk will be followed by a class in Naalbinding on Sunday March 19.   Katherine Johnson is a fiber fanatic, and making stuff out of yarn or wool or — oh! Let’s try that grass out in the weed patch, maybe we can spin that and then make it into something! — is a pretty big part of her life. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts where she has been tatting, knitting, spinning, crocheting, looping, naalbinding, band-weaving, botanizing, gardening, animal husbanding, and child-raising.

Sunday, March 12 (postponed from the snowstorm) – History of Shetland Sheep – Faye Whitney has raised Shetland Sheep for over 20 years. Learn about the Shetland Islands, the origins of this primitive breed of sheep, their traits, including many colors, and reasons why Faye calls them “an ideal breed for many farms” in North America.  Faye Whitney lives at Whitney Acres Farm, Ashfield, and is Exec. Sec. of the North American Shetland Sheepbreeders Assoc.

Sunday, FIBERuary 19 Natural (plant) and Chemical Dyeing of Wool and Linen – A Panel of Dyers

  • Scott Norris will talk about the processes he use for dyeing and weaving linen with synthetic (Procion) dyes. Although he won’t demonstrate actual dyeing, he’ll describe the steps used to dye color-fast linen; show the tools and substances (dyes, soda ash, etc.) that he uses; and show examples of his dyed linen, including bath towels, tablecloths, and dish towels. He’ll provide a handout that describes the step-by-step dyeing process, and that identifies all of the materials he uses. Scott Norris is a weaver who specializes tablecloths, bath towels, and other utilitarian household items, woven in hand-dyed linen. He is also a writer, with essays and reviews published in magazines and journals such as American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Art and Perception, and Under The Sun. Visit his website at .
  • Michelle Parrish will explain the steps she follows to scour, mordant, and dye linen yarns using plants that can be grown or gathered here in the Connecticut River Valley. She will bring samples of dyed skeins and dried plant materials. Michelle Parrish is a weaver, natural dyer, and spinner who writes about her projects on her blog Local Color Dyes at  She is also a member of the New England Flax and Linen Study Group.
  • Linnie Dugas will bring some dyeing equipment, photos of the dyeing process, “go to books” for dye recipes, and contact information for purchasing mordant/s and extracts for plant and natural dyes. Also on hand will be Linnie’s record keeping log (of dyeing wool) and a basket of colored rovings that demonstrate the array of colors obtained from plant dyes. Linnie Dugas and Claudia Benoit of Conway, MA stepped into the world of sheep farmers in 1999. With eight Coopworth sheep, they quickly came to appreciate that selling white and natural colored rovings was not going to pay the bills, so they branched out to explore the world of plant and natural dyes. Fifteen years later, they have extensive gardens of their own and have come to know where they can acquire what they do not grow. They have experimented with as many as 15 different local plants and 13 different plant extracts, using only alum as a mordant, but creating an extraordinary palette of vibrant colors.  They sell both natural and plant or extract dyed rovings to spinners and felters as The Woollies of Shirkshire Farm. Sampler kits of 6 different colors will be available for sale at the talk.


Joan Ruane  –  Easy to Spin Cotton Spinning Workshop

2 days: Sat-Sun, June 3-4, 2017   9 – 4    6 hours/day (1-hr lunch break)

Designed for All Levels of Spinners*

* Spinner must be able to able to keep their wheel spinning clockwise consistently.

Tuition: $235  + $20 materials fee    Call 413-397-3680 to register.  Registration closes May 17, but call early to reserve your seat.

Workshop goal: To give students good basic techniques in spinning cotton so they feel comfortable with cotton and see how easy it is to spin.

To see the full description, click joan-ruane-workshop-june-3_4-2017.