Tucked away in Mars Hill, just north of Asheville is Bovidae Farm, a mid-sized farm owned by Jim and Rose Hogue. These two have been raising sheep here in a valley between mountains since 1990. They named their farm for the biological family of animals that include sheep, goats and cows. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to visit their farm a handful of times, our mid-October visit was extra special. Their flock of over 70 Dorset sheep was still newly welcoming 35 new baby lambs.
I saw Bovidae yarns for the first time when I was browsing the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in October of 2014. I was immediately drawn to the bright, woolen yarns in their booth. SAFF is one of the only places to buy Bovidae yarns outside of a visit to their mountain farm. The yarns produced from their sheep are dense and soft, filled with natural lanolin oils for soft wool and soft hands.
Their sheep are shorn once a year and their fleece sent to a mill in Maine where they are cleaned, carded, spun and dyed. The yarns then make a trip back to the Mars Hill farm where they are stacked neatly in the bottom floor of Jim and Rose’s log cabin, which doubles as a yarn shop/weaving and spinning studio.
They offer a worsted weight and a sport weight version of their yarn. Both weights come in a rainbow of colors, jewel-like and vibrant, while at the same time feeling rustic.
Appalachian Knits is a project Jennifer Sadler and I started this year (2016) in order to highlight the wonderful fiber culture present in the Appalachian Region of the country. We focus on farms, mills and dyers every few months and design patterns to specifically showcase the things we love about local and unique fiber. Jennifer and I wanted to utilize both yarns Bovidae offers for this installment of our collection and really show what this yarn can do.
The Roan Cardigan is a multi-textured, belted cardigan knit with the worsted weight yarn. It features an all-over cable pattern designed from the popular Carrick Bend knot. This cardigan can be rugged, cozy or polished, depending on where and how you wear it.
The Richland Mitts are two-color patterned mitts, made with the lighter, sport weight yarn. They are durable, yet beautiful and their tiled color work pattern pays homage to the historical Cherokee Indian basket patterning from the Appalachian mountain region.
The Switchback Beanie is a simple, everyday hat. The hat is reversible, as it features a textured pattern that looks great inside or out. The Switchback is also knit with the worsted yarn. All three patterns are now available on Ravelry.
All the beautiful photos were taken by Olivia Emmer of Olive & West Photography.