Announcing Hopland’s First Barn to Yarn Event

Taylor HillmanEducation

Have you ever wondered where your wool sweater came from? Or just how to keep a 160lb sheep still enough to shear it? Join the Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) team and friends on Saturday, May 23rd, 10am-2pm to get the answers to these and many more questions.

Expert shearer Matt Gilbert will be offering demonstrations with a few of HREC’s flock of over 800 western whiteface sheep working as his models! Visitors will also have the chance to see different kinds of wool from the fine, soft merino to the long, coarse Navajo-churros and to learn how they are graded.

Throughout the day Leslie Jensen, program coordinator from Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center, will be giving us a new use for Kool-Aid, using it to dye wool! To complete the process there will be spinning demonstrations, workshops for kids making simple spindles and even the chance to watch local weavers in action.

The day will provide opportunities for sheep farmers, fiber enthusiasts and families to get involved and learn more about every step of the process from sheep to sweater! Visitors will be welcomed to the HREC new conference hall, The Rod Shippey Building, and will have chance to picnic on the grounds of the 5,300 acre center. “We can’t wait to welcome the community to our beautiful site and to raise awareness of just one of the areas of research and education that we conduct up here. Our sheep are not only vital for the UC Cooperative Extension sheep shearing school but also for research into best management practices for rangelands and animal science,” commented Hannah Bird, HREC community educator.

Admission is $5 for adults, children under 12 are welcomed for free (online registration or checks preferred). HREC asks visitors to leave their pets at home to protect the site and the sheep resident there. Bring your own picnic and all utensils; some light food will be available from Mendocino 4-H. Visit to find out more and purchase your ticket. Barn to Yarn will be held at the Rod Shippey Hall, 4070 University Road, Hopland, CA 95449 from 10am-2pm on May 23rd. For more information contact Hannah Bird, (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105,