Michael and Vera brought their first lambs home in 2012, and were instantly enamored. Today, they operate Fifth Fence Farm in Charlotte, Vermont, and produce small-batch wool throws in classic plaited twill and herringbone patterns. Their flock of sixteen sheep are fed on grass, minerals and kelp and grow full, radiant fleeces. Fifth Fence Farm throws are available in four patterns, all named for ewes in the flock: Mona, Iris, Elba and Sparrow.
The sheep are shorn twice a year by a traveling shearer who learned the trade from her father. Vera and Michael spend hours cleaning the the wool with family and friends before sending it to be washed and spun into yarn at the Green Mountain Spinnery, a worker-owned cooperative fiber mill in Putney, Vermont. They process wool for farmers from around the country and work to create yarns of the highest quality, to help sustain regional sheep farming, and to develop environmentally sound ways to process natural fibers. After the mill, the yarn goes to a weaver in rural Massachusetts where old industrial looms live their second lives weaving wool blankets.