I'm Amanda, and this is a little glimpse into our lives here on Willow Glen Farm. I'm an only child that was raised in an Air Force family but has settled in Western New York trying to create a life for her own family that's different than anything she's ever experienced. I mean, come on, what does an only child know about raising four kids, or an Air Force bratt know about creating roots, or a suburbanite know about farming? I'm a bit of a fish out of water doing things her way.
I attended the Univeristy of Alaska Anchorage and earned my very useful degree in English Literature, and then went on to work in journalism and marketing before figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up. It all clicked when I started working for a yarn shop, the Embraceable Ewe, for 5 years. I taught knitting and crochet, and helped run the shop while our third child was young.
During this time, I started exploring further into the fiber arts. I began spinning, dyeing and felting. The dyeing lead to me opening my first Etsy shop: Inspiration Fibers. The shop was ever-changing as I shifted from hand-dyed yarns to hand-spun yarns to finally hand-dyed fibers.
We loved the balance of our life, but my husband and I wanted something different for our kids, and to be closer to his parents. With baby number four on the way, we moved next-door to my in-laws in the country and started building fences for sheep.
Willow Glen farm saw its first animals (four Shetland sheep and two llamas) arrive in the summer of 2011. It didn't officially get a name until spring of 2013! Also that summer, I began a breed-study fiber club that's hosted on Ravelry, and remains one of my main focuses.
As the flock grew and we finally had own fiber products to sell via Etsy, I decided to close down Inspiration Fibers, and sell all products under the farm's name. The Willow Glen Farm Etsy shop not only sells our Shetland wool, but also wool that I've purchased from other small American farmers and had processed at our local mini-mill, Acorn Works. I then hand-paint the roving, or dye and card it into batts.
I've recently started teaching dyeing, spinning and knitting again through the Roycroft Corporation in East Aurora, NY. And now that the youngest is heading off to preschool, I'm finding time to write articles and design patterns for PLY magazine. I'm also involved in co-leading Morgan's 4-H group and active in our church.
Going forward, I'd love to find a harmonious balance between farming, running the shop and writing. Laundry may suffer.
Children: Matthew (18), Brendan (15), Morgan (8) and Kathryn, aka Kat (3)--ages as of Aug. 2013
Pets: Hunter and Axel, our standard poodle sheep-chasers