In Gladwin, Michigan, in the bottom of a house, Martha is keeping the spirit of the fiber community alive and well! For six years she's been opening her doors to knitters and crocheters to learn and spend time together.
"I had lost my office job and was told by my hand surgeon no more computers. It left me in a dilemma. The only job I could think of with no computers was political - not my thing. I have been knitting since I was 10 and crocheting at 6. I knit my way through college while I was studying. It really helps me focus and I knit through most meetings these days. I get asked a lot if I knit in my sleep and it always gives me a laugh. I usually have knitting and/or a book with me wherever I go. My current location is in the bottom of a house. It feels like a good fit. I get many compliments about the way I have it arranged.
I love natural fibers. I try and stock many American made fibers. I know how they are made and usually there are no surprises ( a piece of hay now and then). I found Cestari in a shop when I was still working my office job. I made two sweaters with it and fell in love. I told myself I would stock if I ever opened a shop.
My customers are like friends. I have an open knitting table. People drop in during the day to stop and visit, knit a few rows, ask questions....Thursday is my open knit day from 1 to 9 but I get many people at different times. I ask people to call ahead if they need some one on one. I have had a bunch of aluminum needles and hooks donated and that is what I use for beginners to keep the costs down in the beginning... I usually have monthly specials and a knit-a-long going." ~~ Martha Ogg
Meet Rebecca, our first STELLA Stockist that we are shining the spotlight on. You can find her STELLA Stockist listing under the CRAFTERS section. She's a soap maker & a yarn dyer; her work is just beautiful. Here, in her own words, Rebecca talks about her creations, her interests, and why she chooses Cestari. Scroll down for pictures!
dusty tree dyeworks:
When I established Dusty Tree DyeWorks (an offshoot of Dusty Tree Soap) in late 2017, I knew I wanted to use materials that I felt good about. I researched and tried a few and when I stumbled onto Cestari Sheep & Wool Co. I found a winner. I use their Mt. Vernon base in fingering, DK and worsted weights as some of my bases in my hand-dyed yarn company.
Sticking with a Dusty Tree theme and my unusual nature of things, I have decided to name my different yarn weights according to trees; you will find SEED (lace weight), ROOT (fingering), SAPLING (sport), TWIG (DK), BRANCH (worsted) and LEAF (bulky) in my yarn line.
I'm also a handcrafted soaper living in the Laurel Highlands area of SW Pennsylvania. I make plant-based palm free soaps with natural colorants and essential oils. I also make a low suds Wool Wash that I wash all of my handdyed yarns with as well as my own hand-knit garments. I use Cestari's lanolin in my Wool Wash since I feel good about knowing where it comes from and it's the real deal. Not some refined paste passed off as lanolin.
Hand-dyeing yarn was a natural progression from my soap business. I am able to play with colors that I couldn't do with my soaps while also incorporating my favorite pastime...knitting! I love attending fiber festivals selling my soaps and now my hand-dyed yarns too. I look forward to doing it for many years to come and continuing my relationship with Cestari.
Find me on Instagram as both: dustytree & dustytreedyeworks
We had a chilly day of sheep shearing on Friday, March 22, 2019! Here are some pictures you might enjoy!
There is a wonderful program sponsored by the American Sheep Industry called the Make It With Wool Contest. This program encourages young folks to design and make clothes and to model and exhibit them using American grown wool. Boys and girls of all ages up to 24 years are eligible to enter. It encourages personal creativity in sewing, knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, and other needlework arts. The garment must contain a minimum of 60% wool. Check the National Make It With Wool website to see if there is a program in your state!
We are supporting this program as follows:
-- On the National level, we will award to each of the winners of the Junior and Senior divisions a beautiful 100% merino wool throw blanket made from our Mt Vernon collection.
-- To each of the winners of the Junior and Senior divisions of Virginia, a beautiful prize consisting of 6 skeins from our 100% wool collections will be awarded.
We would ask that each yarn shop in the U.S. participate in this program by offering any contestant a 20% discount on any of our Cestari wool collections.
If any contestant should win on the National level using our yarn, we will award a beautiful plaque and 10 skeins of yarn to the shop that sold that yarn.
Please advise us if your shop wishes to participate and we will list your shop and send you a sign acknowledging your participation!
Our country is seeing a decline in wool production due to the increase in costs for harvesting wool. Fewer and fewer people are shearing sheep, and those who remain are charging exorbitant prices, reducing profitability in producing good wool.
Cestari is immediately making the following changes:
1. We are raising the price we will pay for quality wool similar to that which we produce.
2. Starting in the Spring of 2017, we will be bringing mature sheep to our farm one tractor trailer load at a time, and will sell them to new and established sheep people. We will instruct the new comers how to raise wool sheep, then we will buy their wool and lambs at above market price.
3. We are in the process of working on an invention that will reduce the cost of shearing sheep, which will be more humane and comfortable for the sheep, as well as making the wool more economical to harvest.
How can you support our endeavor?
Consider purchasing our U.S.A. raised and manufactured wool and wool blend yarns. Our lines that contain wool are the Traditional Collection, the Mt. Vernon Collection, the Ash Lawn Collection, and the Montpelier Collection.
Help us improve and increase the wool sheep numbers in the U.S.A.!
Thank you for your continued support,
CEO, Cestari Sheep & Wool Company
Hello from the road!
Our craft yarn industry is in a state of evolution with over half the yarn shops having gone out of business. The good news is that the remaining shops are thriving! As I travel Interstate 80 on my way to San Jose, CA for TNNA, I see enthusiasm I haven't seen in a long time. This is encouraging!
Also, an update on our latest endeavor: Our new textile facility at our ranch is being built cement block by cement block and should be finished by late spring. For every $10 spent on yarn, I've calculated that we can put 3 cement blocks in place. These blocks will be forming the walls of our mill! The foundation should be finished next week.
These are exciting times! We have full confidence in the future of our beloved industry. We intend to have Cestari Sheep & Wool Company leading the revival of it.
Don't forget! My daughter, Jennifer and I will be exhibiting our Cestari yarns at TNNA in San Jose, California. You can find us at booths 708 & 710. We will be at Sample It! January 20 and at our booths January 21-23, 2017. Please stop by and say hello! Every person who comes by to visit our booths will receive a ball of cotton harvested by hand by a couple of cotton farmers in Virginia!
Also, we sent news out that some of our prices are increasing as of Friday. We will honor our current pricing on orders placed before January 20, 2017. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
Thank you, as always, for being in partnership with Cestari. We appreciate your business!
Francis Chester-Cestari, the Shepherd
Remember: You can place your orders by phone, e-mail, or online. We are always available to answer any questions you might have!
When you place an order, we will send you an e-mailed invoice with a secure payment link using Square. You can pay for your order online anytime day or night!
Thank you again for considering our company for your yarn needs.
As my daughter and I have been visiting yarn shops around the U.S. and Canada, we have noticed a sharp decrease in yarn shops. We have noticed that there are many areas lacking a quality Local Yarn Shop (LYS).
Although we can answer many of your questions, the LYS is the only place where you can feel and get hands-on instruction in a fine social environment. We want to encourage yarn enthusiasts to support your LYS in your area, as that is THE place to receive the lessons and assistance to make you a successful craft person!
If you have a LYS and they are not carrying Cestari yarns, then please suggest that they do and have them contact us for more information and samples.
Check our website to see if there is a LYS near you that carries Cestari yarns: www.cestarisheep.com/stockist--retailers.html
However, if a LYS is not available, the public is welcome to order your yarn needs directly from us and hopefully in the near future a well-managed LYS will appear in your area. We do not want anyone to be deprived of our high quality yarns, USA grown and manufactured by us! If you don’t have a LYS to visit, please consider purchasing Cestari yarns directly from our website: www.cestarisheep.com
As always, we thank you for supporting Cestari!
Farming is a lifelong passion for Francis Chester. Born in Brooklyn, he moved to Long Island, NY as soon as he could and learned about vegetable gardening, how to milk goats, and how to care for chickens.
Help us improve and increase the wool sheep numbers in the U.S.A.! Click here to see how.
Thank you for your continued support,
CEO, Cestari Sheep & Wool Company
Visit our lamb website here: CestariFreshLamb.com!