This month, we are honored to present Janet Garman, a long time farmer, fiber artist, and author at Timber Creek Farm. Janet studied Animal Science in college and her husband was a Forestry major, they began working their family farm over 20 years ago so their children could be closer to nature.
Janet and her husband both grew up in suburban households. The switch came when their daughter wanted to ride horses. They started a horse farm on their family-owned property, and over the years have added goats, chickens, ducks, cattle, and pigs.
Janet was finally able to begin raising fiber for her own line of yarns a few years ago when she acquired a few sheep. Between the sheep, the fiber goats and wool from other local wool producers, Free Range Yarn was born. The line of yarn now includes fine yarns from other small producers in my area. Her efforts provide a way to give other small fiber producers a market for their yarn through her Etsy shop. Life is so full of opportunities, and Janet loves what she has been able to accomplish so far on her family farm.
What are you contributing to Rootsy this month?
I contributed a video with instructions on how to learn needle felting and making a simple project. You’ll love it!
Any other areas of homesteading or simple living about which you are passionate?
I am passionate about chickens too. We have a few breeding pair of rare heritage breeds such as the Olandsk Dwarf. We also breed black and white Polish, and Mottled Cochin Bantams. The Bantams are excellent egg producers. The Cochin Bantams lay an egg that is large in relation to their body size.
What was your inspiration or push for this lifestyle?
Our first inspiration was to keep our kids close as they grew up, giving them work to tend to and life skills to learn. Now we are moving into grandchildren time and love to watch the awe in their eyes as they discover the farm and what it has to offer.
How did you pick up your needle felting skills?
I learned needle felting a few years ago from a friend who loves to steer me towards all types of crafts! We tend to encourage each other in the pursuit of gathering crafting supplies. However, needle felting quickly became a favorite of mine. I love how relaxing it is and how the creativity flows. You can’t make a mistake! It’s art and all art should be enjoyed. Plus, parts that you don’t like can be reworked or covered up!
What’s your best piece of advice for the beginner crafter?
Don’t buy all the equipment that is available! So many times we start to think that we need every new gadget that comes along. Many of these gadgets do the same thing as a simple tool you already have. Remember they are marketing these products! Of course, they want us to think we NEED it. Take it slow. Borrow books from the library, watch You-tube videos for inspiration and maybe take a free or low-cost class from a local college or art school.
If you don’t love what you are doing, stop! Art and craft should be enjoyed. I love to knit but I can’t knit socks to save my life. So I buy socks and knit what I love to knit. I love knitting mittens and crocheting. When I have more time to learn and focus I will take another class on sock knitting.
If you could give just one piece of advice on your crafting pursuits, what would it be?
There are so many crafts we can learn. Choose one or two that are right for your lifestyle. While it’s easy to fill your house with craft supplies, it’s even more rewarding to focus on doing one or two crafts well.
Where did you gain your knowledge/experience in this field?
My grandmother, mother, and many friends have shared the love of yarn work, through tapestry, needlepoint, crewel, knitting, crocheting, weaving and now needle felting! I am indebted to my grandmother for fostering a lifelong love of all things yarn.
Find Janet and Timber Creek Farm at these links:
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