Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Website and Blog

Hello faithful followers of the Brown Sheep Company! For the last few months we have been working on a new website design that would tie everything we do online into one site. We recently finished the site and went live. Everything appears to be working. We need to you to get over there to that site and check out the blog. We want to get the reader and feeds going too so it is easy for you to follow us through whatever method you choose. We will also be interfacing with facebook and twitter if that is your preferred way to keep up with the companies you know and love.

If you have any suggestions that you think would make our transition cleaner or easier or in any way better for you, please post in the comments and let us know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Life

For those of you who have been languishing for more posts from Brown Sheep Company, there is good news! A new website is on the way. We have been working on it over the winter and it is almost time to unveil our new and (much) improved website. A list of features will follow once we know which will make the cut.

Stay tuned. And get outside--winter is over...sort of. Get that vitamin D in your skin. Six more months until we get ready for another winter! Is that good or bad? Love knitting by the fire on the long winter nights...hate the cold. Wool keeps me warm! Love the colors and fibers...hate the dark. Ah well. We need to be happy with what we have at any given time right? And right is SPRING!

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Lines (History of the Mill part 2)

Harlan Brown had a herd of sheep on his hands, thousands of pounds of wool, and a dream of mountains of yarn. Through the grapevine, Harlan heard that a wool mill in South Carolina was selling some of their equipment. The price was right, so in the spring of 1980, Harlan and his wife Janet hopped in the tractor-trailer used by the farm and headed South to retrieve the equipment.

They returned with a pindrafter
and a spinning frame.
The pindrafter and spinning frame pictured above are the ones in use now--yes, the operation has grown!

Harlan spent the first six months of the year learning how to use his new toys. On July 4th, he had the first ball of yarn in his hand. For those of you who are familiar with Brown Sheep Company, you know that we have multiple lines of yarn. This was the first. What Harlan perfected over the first year was the line of yarn that is still known as Top of the Lamb. This product is a single-ply, 100% wool yarn that is still loved today.

Confidant that this was an excellent product, and unique for its time, the Browns packed the trunk of their Ford with as much yarn as it would hold and hit the road. They spent several weeks marketing their new product and establishing their customer base. Many people turned them down, but when they hit Omaha, Nebraska, they found one buyer who cleared out their stash. That emptied their trunk, so they headed back to western Nebraska to make more. Their second outing was to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. More on this trip in a later post!

A note on Top of the Lamb:

This is still a popular seller 30 years later. It comes in 35 colors, and is used for industrial production of things like blankets, rugs, and other sturdy manufactured products. If you need a tough, made in the USA yarn, this one is for you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Before the Wool Mill

We would like to begin a series on the history of the Brown Sheep Company to fill in the holes left by our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Harlan Brown was a farmer in western Nebraska. For 35 years he farmed the family land. During this time, he developed an interest in wool and the sheep that produce it. As he collected larger and larger flocks of sheep, he became facinated with the wool production process. This fascination led to his involvement with the American Sheep Council, and the Midwest Wool Growers Association. This company officially started in 1980 as a family owned and operated business.

Over time, there were sheep and lots of them. Harlan worked to streamline his sheep growing and wool producing operation. By the end of the 1970's, the Brown family had over 1000 head of sheep. EDIT: a zero was left off--there were over 10,000 sheep at the height of the wool production process.

Harlan realized that there was profit to be had in adding value to the wool he was producing, and the idea for a wool mill was born. The Brown Sheep Company took its name from the Brown family and in 1980 the first equipment was purchased for the production of yarn.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Or shall we say Autumn! There is a difference you know. One word we throw around flipantly as we discuss the weather. The other has meaning. When we talk about autumn, we really mean the feeling we get when the wind brings a crispy chill and you can hear the leaves on the ground. For knitters everywhere Autumn means planning out all the projects that need to be completed before December 25.

Of course, having spent time in South Africa, I know that October means something else entirely for the seasons. For those of you who live in the southern hemisphere, we wish you a warm and balmy summer!
And don't forget that December 25th is not a northern hemisphere exclusive date--the deadline approaches. Another reminder--have fun while you knit, and if you are in a place where the leaves are turning colors, enjoy them, they will soon be covered in snow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shameless Publicity

Check out our yarn giveaway at our friend Olof's blog We are thankful to Olof for displaying our product and we think she did a great job on this toy. Great pattern from the Itty-Bitty Toys book from Susan B Anderson.

Now here's the deal, Olof is giving away four skeins of our yarn, so read her whole post. If you stop at the top, you will miss out on this sweet deal. Read the giveaway details and post your comment on her site. We do not want to confuse you, so get there and read it yourself. Contest is open until Midnight Oct 3, 2010.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Someone is Happy about the Fiber Fair!

Ok, really it was everyone, not just this Alpaca.

We are excited to share some of the memories from the 2010 Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair! The event was held Sept 18-19 at the Mitchell County Fair Grounds in Mitchell, NE. If you weren't able to join us for this fabulous event, here are some of the highlights:

Weaving class was a blast

On Friday, we held eight classes including, beginning, intermediate, advanced weaving, Fair Isle, Entrelac, Beginning and Endings, Color work, embroidery, to name a few. The classes were attended by 64 students and taught by eight knowledgeable and passionate instructors. Here are a few shots of classes in progress.

You have to spin it before you can knit it right?

Local fiber artists demonstrated their skills and inspired us to try new things. Some of the demonstrations included knitting, crochet, knitting spool, spinning, weaving, etc.

There were samples of people's finest work on display and for sale.

At the Fiber Fair, vendors from around the region displayed their yarn, products and garments. We had special guest appearances by the wonderful animals which grow the fibers we adore: sheep, alpaca, goats, and angora rabbits. It was truly a day to indulge the senses!

Machines doing what we learned to do by hand!

Saturday was packed full of fun events! We hosted tours of the mill throughout the day. Visitors were able to get a peek into the inner workings of Brown Sheep Co, browse through the store and get hands-on with our product.

Recap: Be here next year, it is a very fun event. And...get the newest generation of fiber arts specialists in on the action!

Knitting spools in use, wish I had taken that class!

If you attended this event and would like to send us a photo of something you made or leave a comment please do so here or visit our Facebook page

We would love to see what you do with Brown Sheep Co!