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Showcasing: Local crafts

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Sweet Home Spun is a 150-acre family owned and operated sheep farm, wool, knitting and retail enterprise on U.S. 421 just 1.2 miles south of Pleasureville. It is the life’s work of JoAnn Adams, her husband Sam and son, Samuel.

Their animals are raised without hormones or antibiotics. “The key is to feed them right to keep them healthy,” Adams said. This year’s flock is 37 strong with 11 healthy lambs. Adams said they breed their “unique little flock” to be “gentle animals with great color and spin-ability.”

Samuel Adams is the shepherd. He keeps a watchful eye on the ewes in March when the lambs are born, pastures the herd in summer and makes sure they have sweet alfalfa hay in fall and winter. Samuel also helps dad, Sam with shearing. JoAnn noted that old hands at shearing don’t consider themselves journeymen until they’ve sheared 1,000 sheep. “Let’s just say Sam is okay at it,” she joked.

The Six Mile Meetinghouse adjacent to the main house is headquarters for JoAnn’s spinning and knitting. The building is an authentic replica of an 1824 Low Dutch meetinghouse. Adams said the family used as many Henry County crafters as possible in the two-year building process. For example, local craftsman Joe Clark utilized recycled old chimneys to create the rock sidewalks and building trim. Interior exposed beams accentuate the high ceilings and polished hardwood floors in the open and airy main room where merchandise mingles with works in progress.

Adams said her lifelong zeal for all things sheep began when she took up knitting at the age of seven. Adams’ grandmother Ada Katherine Burgin was her teacher. It became Adams’ dream to raise sheep, spin and knit. In 1990, she met a spinner and was hooked. With encouragement from Sam she began buying fleeces to spin. “It wasn’t enough,” Adams said. “I had to have sheep.”

She bought three ewes and a ram in 1995. Now Adams spins all her own yarn, offers spinning and knitting lessons and sells hand-knitted items as well as Schact Spindle spinning wheels, quality knitting needles and accessories. “I carry good needles,” she said. “I don’t sell anything I don’t use.”

Adams said her favorite aspect of the endeavor is teaching. She organized a knitting club for students at Henry County Middle School where she teaches language arts.

Adams offers Second Sunday Sessions at the meetinghouse on the second Sunday of each month from 2-6 p.m. “Anyone is welcome,” she said. “You can watch, or eat and talk, or spin and knit.” Adams also offers one-on-one spinning lessons.

You can reach her at 502-878-4814 or visit on the web at ww.sweethomespun.com.