VACAVILLE — Depending on the season, Allendale resident Robin Lynde is a farmer, weaver or teacher.
Depending on when you catch her at her Meridian Road farm, she is either taking care of her flock of Jacob sheep, weaving their wool into sweaters or other clothing or using her small store as a classroom to teach others about subjects ranging from raising sheep to weaving clothing.
“It is just trying to make a living and doing something that I enjoy. My only regret is wishing this was 15 years ago,” Lynde said.
She started weaving in 1979, when she was pregnant and wove a blanket for her unborn son. At about the same time, Lynde also learned to spin with a drop spindle.
“When you become a spinner and a weaver, you start getting interested in opening a shop,” Lynde said.
Lynde stepped away from spinning and weaving for 13 years while raising a family and running a dairy in Dixon.
She established Meridian Jacobs farm and shop northeast of Vacaville in 1999. It is now home to more than 60 Jacob sheep, which started out as about 20 sheep she got from a friend. They supply her with unusual spotted wool for handspinning, knitting and weaving. Lynde sells the wool, as well as the sheep as breeding stock and pets.
The Jacob sheep are a rare breed that is smaller than the modern domestic breeds and are known for their striking appearance with a black-and-white face, spotted fleece and multiple horns. The sheep may have originated in the Middle East 3,000 years ago, but have been raised in England for at least 350 years.
“It is a good wool for sweaters, hats and scarves,” Lynde said of the medium-grade wool the Jacob sheep provide and which she loves to spin into wool and weave.
Their wool fills some of the bags at her shop that Lynde has for those customers interested in spinning their own yarn. The mixed fleece from her sheep is a medium gray, while the separated wool ranges in color from white to dark gray.
She now sells creations that include wool blankets, cotton baby blankets and rayon chenille scarves at The Artery in Davis, as well as at shows, at her farm store and on her website.
Lynde also makes time for spinning, weaving and dyeing classes, which are taught mostly at her shop, but she is willing to travel if groups such as spinning guilds ask for her.
The store, which is open Thursdays, is a support structure for her classes because, she says, “it doesn’t make much sense to send students elsewhere for materials.”
“Things are going pretty well and I am pretty well-known in the area now,” Lynde said.
Lynde is also a part of FibershedMarketplace.com, which is an association of farmers and artisans “whose personal goal is to produce clothes sourced from providers from within 150 miles,” Lynde said.
She notes that there is enough wool in the area to support such an effort, which could be very good for the area.
“This could be the start of something that could be really big,” Lynde said.
For more information about Lynde and Meridian Jacobs Farms, go to www.meridianjacobs.com or call 678-5750.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.