Notes from the Withers Ranch in Tucson

I just sent this out to my email list, so if you did not receive it and would like to be added to my list, please email me. Contact info is at the bottom.

An added note - last two lambs for the year were born yesterday. Two Moorit Shetland rams.


This has been a quiet summer in terms of business, but very exciting in other ways. I did a show in Albuquerque at the end of May that caused me to look in other directions for my inspiration and I took a trip to Del Mar for the White and Colored Angora Goats Shows that reaffirmed my love for the angora goats.

My first love is spinning yarns, but I have come to realize that what sets me apart from other spinners and designers is the fact that I raise my own animals and have cottage industry sized equipment that lets me express my color sense when dyeing and carding my fibers. I control the quality of what I sell and produce – so it is always my responsibility to ensure that what I sell is the best. I was incredibly excited to discover that my goats have among the finest fibers available.

My friend, Scott of Southwest Acres, borrowed 20 of my goats and entered them at the Del Mar shows. I took the opportunity to go visit my son and watch the judging. It is hot here in Arizona, so my goats are always going to be smaller than those of cooler regions. The other breeders were all from California and can breed to have kids born whenever they chose. I have to wait for it to cool down sufficiently for the buck’s semen to be viable. I am lucky to have babies born in January. My first kids were born February 29 and most were born in April. Despite the fact that my kids were two to three months younger than the other contestants, my whites won pretty much everything - my yearling herd sire won Supreme Champion. In the colored competition, my goats took first or second. If they did not take first, the judge always mentioned that he preferred their fineness, but that they needed a little more growth. I do not plan to artificially inseminate to compete and I won’t be showing my animals, unless Scott wants to do it again next year or at some other venue. It is very exciting to know that I can recognize quality and can hold my own against breeders who provided my original stock.

Due to feed expenses constantly rising, I have decided to focus on the animals that produce the best and most fiber. This means that I will be seriously downsizing my Shetland herd and focusing more on the Merino sheep. I bought two Merinos while I was at Del Mar - a new white ram and a lovely Moorit ewe. I have ordered a black ewe that will arrive sometime next month. They are already friendly and eating out of my hand.

I will be at the Pasadena Gem and Bead Show from July 27-31, 2011, so the shop will be closed. I have applied to a few other shows, so it is always smart to call ahead, if you have a long drive. My website and blog will keep you current on my whereabouts.

The Tucson Wool Festival will be Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 9-3. Due to inclement weather this past spring, we are adding Sunday as a rain date. Not all vendors will be able to stay the extra day so, if you are just wanting to shop, do come on Saturday. The animals have to be sheared and I plan to keep as many dry as possible, so there will be shearing on Saturday, even if it does rain.

New Products:

I am now carrying size 35 needles that are 32 inches long that are perfect for knitting a rug or landscape. They are a great way to use up roving or yarns that are not so nice. Come see what I have been doing with them.

I have a complete set of elastic yarns for core spinning, as well as a small selection of metallic threads. If they prove to be of interest, I will stock an entire line. I am using both types to create art yarns.


August 13, 2011 10 a.m-1 p.m. Pin Weaving $45 for the instruction, a foam pad, needle and warp and an additional $20, if you do not bring your own stash.

August 16, 2011 10 a.m-1 p.m. Crazy/Abstract Lace $45 for the instruction and 10% off any yarn you buy that day.

August 20, 2011 10 a.m-1 p.m. Nuno Felting $50-70 includes the use of my felting kits to make a scarf or shawl.

September 1, 2011 10 a.m-1 p.m. Freeform Knit and Crochet $45 for the instruction and 10% off any yarn you buy that day.

September 10, 2011 10 a.m-1 p.m. Nuno felting $50-70 includes the use of my felting kits to make a scarf or shawl.

Freeform Spinning Group – Learn to drop spindle or just hang out – August 6, September 3, and September 17.

Private classes may be scheduled by calling 520-572-3758 or emailing

For a continuous update on events at the ranch and online items for sale, check out my blog: and etsy shop:

Kathy Withers