Close to Home…Post #3…Barinaga Ranch Yarn

The first post in this series explains the concept of this show. Barinaga blanketsBlankets woven of East Friesian wool from Barinaga Ranch.

Story of this yarn: Valentin Barinagarrementeria travelled from the Basque Village of Markina to the U.S. in the early 1900’s to make his life as a sheep-herder and eventually managed 5000 ewes and lambs on a range sheep operation in southern Idaho. His granddaughter, Marcia Barinaga, after a career in science journalism, and with support from her biologist husband, began Barinaga Ranch, a sheep dairy, on the shore of Tomales Bay in 2009. Her Basque cousins generously shared their knowledge of sheep dairying and cheese making and her American cousin helps with lambing in the spring. The 800-acre ranch is grazed by beef cattle as well as by the dairy sheep and is part of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.

East Friesian dairy sheep originated in northern Europe and produce on the average a half gallon of milk per day during the six to eight month lactation cycle. They are milked two times per day and Marcia uses their raw milk to make Basque-style cheese that is sold all over California. Milk and lamb production (and of course cheesemaking) are the primary enterprises of Barinaga Ranch, but with the help of local Fibershed members, Marcia is developing her wool market.DSC_9395These are East Friesian ewes and their lambs. They graze the hills in Marin County but spend some time in the barn at lambing time and they were in for our Farm Club field trip. 874-5 The wool is not as soft as some of the other wools I used in the show but it is a medium grade and just fine for blankets. They have great loft and dynamic color.Barinaga East Friesian yarnCan you believe that this blanket…Barinaga Sheep Ranch…and this blanket are the same weave structure? The top one uses dark weft and the bottom one uses white.artery 2014 Barinaga East Friesian yarnI have a little of this yarn left and look forward to more blankets.


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