Wool is both beautifully complex and astonishingly simple. It can be crafted into clothing, bedding, textiles, art and even toys. If—like so many of us—your family is looking for a new hobby or hands-on activity, consider visiting Holy Lamb Organics for materials that can become anything your imagination and talent can make.

Holy Lamb Organics
If you’re looking for new hands-on crafts, like these puppets made from donated scraps, swing by downtown Olympia’s Holy Lamb Organics for all kinds of wooly materials. Photo courtesy: Holy Lamb Organics

What makes wool so unique to work with? “The natural qualities of wool are the reason it has been continually used for thousands of years,” say researchers. “Its superior properties have not been totally duplicated by textile scientists. Wool remains a masterpiece of nature and provides a standard by which other fibers are compared.”

Unlike other fibers, wool can bend 30,000 times without damage, is moisture-wicking and water repellant and extremely good insulation. It is naturally flame and static electricity resistant, and easy to clean.

Artisans use wool as yarn, felting, stuffing, batting and cloth. Regional textile artist Janice Arnold has partnered with Holy Lamb for displays of her stunning felt work at Arts Walk and Third Thursday events. She calls wool a “miracle fiber” and uses it in globally-impacted artwork.

Before COVID-19, Holy Lamb, owners Jason and Mindy Schaefer hosted classes for a variety of artistic endeavors. They also sell raw materials, you can get everything you need, including the crafting knowledge, in one place. “We’ve held needle felting classes using our wool roving and pillow making classes using our wooly down,” says Jason. “We’ve cooked up a ton of ideas for our wool.”

Holy Lamb Organics
Wool has been used in sweeping art exhibits by globally renowned artists like Janice Arnold. Photo courtesy: Holy Lamb Organics

And they’re not the only ones. “Folks have been using wool since the Stone Age,” says Jason. “The British Empire was built on the stuff. The wool ball ottoman we saw was interesting and Janice Arnold made a cow pelt out of wool that was a total brain resetter! Wool ball snowball fights are fun too.”

“Herding dogs love ripping wool—felted or not—to shreds so that’s always fun to watch,” he continues. “We made dog bones out of wool barrier and batting once. Really the sky’s the limit with wool.”

Over the years, they’ve had customers report back about some of the creative ways Holy Lamb fleece, wool and batting were used. “You can dye the wool and use it to make holiday themed items like Easter eggs and snow people,” Jason laughs. “I’ve seen people make quilts out of our boa strips and pet beds are easy. Our son wore some Happy Lamb Fleece one year for Halloween when he was dressed as a lamb.”

Most traditionally, he explains, people buy already dyed wool roving to be needle felted or turned into yarns for weaving. Roving is a step in the wool process that comes after carding. “In order for an even yarn to be made, the fibers must be separated, spread into a uniform thickness, and encouraged to lie relatively parallel with one another,” say textile experts. “The carding step produces a continuous strand of untwisted fibers that are eventually drawn into a finer diameter strand before twisting the strand into yarn.”

Roving fibers have been spread into a uniform thickness, but have not yet been spun into yarn. With a little prep, amazing yarns of varying thicknesses can be turned into sweaters, artwork, blankets, and so much more. Holly Lamb typically sells materials by weight or by the yard.

Holy Lamb Organics
Even kids can learn felting through classes taught at Holy Lamb–quarantine permitting–like this one taught by artist Valerie Bline. Photo courtesy: Holy Lamb Organics

The Schaefers have also hosted craft events for all ages from their downtown Olympia showroom. Events are typically in conjunction with Arts Walk or another community event. Though on hold during the state’s Coronavirus response and Safe Start guidelines, they hope to plan more if and when restrictions allow.

At these events, participants made holiday ornaments, brightly colored felted spring eggs and all manner of fuzzy fun. The Schaefers have also toyed with the idea of making all-inclusive craft kits. but haven’t completed any to date though they’re “happy to work with folks that want to set some up,” says Jason.

During quarantines and lock-downs we’re all a little stir-crazy. Simple, inexpensive activities are important and if they result in something delightfully tactile and adorably fuzzy…win/win! Order materials from Holy Lamb online or visit them at their locations. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.

Holy Lamb Organics

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