From Farm to Yarn at PCC Rock Creek Campus

Natural color yarn is a mix of Romney, Dorset, and Rambouillet sheep. Dark gray is a mix of Jacob and Churro. Light gray is all of those mixed together. They are all very soft.
Natural color yarn is a mix of Romney, Dorset, and Rambouillet sheep. Dark gray is a mix of Jacob and Churro. Light gray is all of those mixed together. They are all very soft.

A year ago, I visited Tina Johnston’s shop in Hillsboro, which is called Black Sheep @ Orenco Station, and learned about how she supports the Portland Community College (PCC) Veterinarian Tech program at the Rock Creek campus. These students are trained to work with vets, zoos, and farms to take care of all types of animals. Tina came to our October 2016 meeting to tell us about this wonderful program.

The college maintains a flock of about 25 sheep as well as a few chickens, goats, and a cow. The students sell wool from their annual sheep shearing to raise money, but the price for raw wool is very low. So Tina volunteered to get the wool cleaned and spun into yarn that could be sold for a better price. She sells the yarn at her shop and donates all proceeds to the Vet Tech program. 

tinajohnston3 Tina’s educational presentation included a video of sheep shearing and an explanation of “skirting”, which is how thinner wool is removed from the edges of the fleece. She also passed out short lengths of fluffy wool and chopsticks, so we could all try spinning it. The yarn is not dyed–the colors are a result of mixing wool from various breeds together. Tina brought some yarn to sell at our meeting. If you missed it, fingering weight yarn is still available at her shop.

 

Link to shop: Black Sheep @ Orenco Station

Link to PCC: Vet Tech Program

by Marina Salume

tinajohnstonlogo