Welcome, Ranch 02: Forbes

Our Ranch Project springs from the desire to continue to explore the possibilities for domestic yarn production. For each single batch release, we partner with single ranches to source single clips in quantities too limited to use in a core yarn line but for which we are able to highlight their unique and special qualities. Our aim is to also highlight the exceptional stories of these ranches and the noteworthy work they are doing in reimagining ranching practices in the U.S.

 

Ranch 02: Forbes, the second yarn line in our Ranch specific series, is named for the Forbes family in Kaycee, Wyoming. Jim Forbes, the head of the Forbes ranching operation, has spent the last 40 years tending to his flock of Rambouillet sheep - the very same sheep who contributed their fleece to this yarn. 

The Forbes family has lived near Kaycee, WY for many generations. Jim grew up on the ranch; his Dad was raised just twenty miles south of the current ranch “as the crow flies” and his Grandad was one of the original homesteaders to the area after immigrating from Scotland. As Jim tells it, this is a place of community with family and relations all around the property including the nieces and nephews he hopes to someday rope into in the business of Rambouillet ranching. 

 

As knitters, we love Rambouillet for its softness and spring. Jim’s love of this breed of sheep runs deeper than just the hand of the fiber. As a self described animal lover, he is attached to each individual sheep in his flock. And who could blame him? Rambouillet sheep are beautiful animals, each with their own unique personality and character traits. 

Rambouillet have adapted well to the open western ranges of the United States; as hardy browsers they don’t require much human intervention to thrive. Each year, around the end of June, Jim takes his sheep and newly-born lambs up the mountain and, by the end of summer, all of the lambs are "legged and muscled up" by good mountain water and sweet meadow grass, they are able make it back down the mountain to overwinter before being sheared in the spring.  

Jim is a humble man. In all his years of ranching, he has strived, in his own words, "to keep a good fleece." While he told us, “I ain’t there yet, but I’m tryin’,” we think he has hit his mark as the fleece that went into Ranch 02: Forbes, the fleece he and his family nurtured, is amazing.

 

For Jim Forbes and his family, it’s very clear that this venture isn’t about making a dollar, it's about the lives and vitality of their animals and community. We've been so fortunate to cross paths with yet another amazing supply chain link and hope you will join us in celebrating Ranch 02: Forbes — the fiber and the people, the wool and the community. 

2 comments

  • Hi Meg! What a thoughtful question, thank you for asking. My teammate Stephanie, our Yarn Production Director, shared this with me “For the Ranch series in particular we want to highlight the specific properties of sheep breeds and, at the same time, talk about the manufacturing partners that we work with to bring the yarn to market. Where to scour, how to spin, where to dye, and how to dye are all considerations when planning the project. We hadn’t done a skein-dyed woolen-spun yarn before so, in this case, we thought it would be something different for us. We like to explore new ways of approaching an age-old craft like making yarn. At the end of the day, it’s all about making beautiful yarn.” Let us know if you’ve got any other questions!

    Jamie M. on

  • This is a lovely yarn from a great American fiber. I’ve had the pleasure of spinning many Rambouillet fleeces over the years. I’m curious about one part of your design process: did you consider dyeing the fleece before spinning? I’m curious about the pros and cons you weighed.

    Best of luck with this beautiful addition to your yarn lines.

    Meg Caulmare on

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