Shearing A Path For Youth

Get To Know Local Agriculturalist, Mrs. Patty!
Graphic Designed by Remy Smith
Graphic Designed by Remy Smith
Mrs.Patty teaches local youth how to spin wool into yarn. (Mr. Sanville)

Mrs. Patricia Sanville, also known as Mrs. Patty to most youth exhibitors, works hard throughout the week of The Great Frederick Fair volunteering her time to help youth exhibitors while also teaching the public about fiber and agriculture. 

Mrs. Patty grew up on her Grandfather’s farm, visiting over the summer raising Black Angus Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Ducks, Turkeys, Chickens, Pigs, Guinea Hens, and a Scottish Highland Heifer. 

With agriculture rooted deep in her ancestry, Mrs. Pattys son got into 4-H, making Mrs. Patty fall in love with sheep. To this day she raises over 11 sheep, making her take care of her herd on a day-to-day basis. While this may sound tedious, taking care of the herd doesn’t take much time on a daily basis.

 

 

Our farm was started from bare land so everything was built with sheep in mind.”

— Mrs. Patty

She says each sheep grows about eight pounds of usable wool each year. Then, it takes upwards of six months to get the wool back from the mill as usable roving — from which she spins the yarn. She uses this wool to spin into yarn. For a sweater, you need at least 1,300 yards of two ply yarn; taking her roughly 40 hours of spinning time. Then she sets the twist in the yarn by washing the skeins of spun yarn. That’s about an hour of soak time, and then a day of drying it. 

Knitting a sweater can take two months or more since she is busy volunteering her time to youth. 

To get a better look into Mrs. Patty’s views and daily life, I asked her a few agricultural-based questions.

 “How did you get into working with sheep and their fleece?”

“I started my fiber journey as a 4-year-old when I found a stack of pure wool granny squares in my grandmothers attic closet. She patiently taught me how to crochet them together into a blanket for my dolls. I loved that sweet blanket I made and had it well into my adult years before losing it in one of the many moves we’ve made. I had always wanted to own sheep — following the flock that Colonial Williamsburg had. When we moved to Maryland, I finally was able to get my own flock — I told myself they were for the kids to show in 4-H — but in all honesty they were as much a gift for me as a learning opportunity for them.” 

When she moved to Maryland, her son found an interest in the 4-H organization. 4-H provides kids with community, mentors, and learning opportunities to develop the skills they will need to create a positive change in their lives and teach kids about the agriculture industry. 

My son’s joined 4-H when we moved here – this was the rabbit hole that I fell into — my mantra — ‘For the Children’ — I will move mountains to help the youth succeed!”

— Mrs. Patty

Mrs. Patty using a drop spindle to create yarn from wool. (Mr. Sanville)

Through her many volunteering opportunities, The Great Frederick Fair allows her to teach youth and visitors about agriculture and the fiber industry. 

“What is your goal when volunteering at The Fair?”

“To provide opportunities by expanding the ways in which youth can compete.” 

During The Great Frederick Fair she created a variety of competitions; including Skill-a-thon, fiber, knitting, and new this year was a spinning contest. Young or old, experienced or not, you could participate in a spinning contest to learn how to spin wool into yarn. She provides free instruction to any youth that wants to learn to process fiber, spin, knit or crochet. 

As a member of 4-H All Star and Honorary Extension Agent, she provides assistance whenever there is a need. 

 

“What aspects of the fair would you like visitors from the fair to take away?”

“I would love for the general public to see how dedicated our youth members are to their projects. It would also be great if they came away with the overall feeling that Agriculture is alive and well in our county.”

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    Tony WardOct 5, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Very informative and gave facts that I previously did not know about. Good Job!

    Reply