Member Spotlight: Welcome to the Farm of Kelly Brandt

Meet Kelly Brandt, weaver, spinner, feltmaker and shepherdess from Lake Odessa, Michigan east of Grand Rapids. Kelly moved to her six (6) acre farm in 1974 primarily to raise horses but soon discovered she was having a problem keeping the grass in the pastures down. To help remedy the situation her grandmother-in-law sent her home with four (4) Heritage Horned Dorset sheep after a visit, thus beginning Kelly’s career raising sheep. Because of her love of the land and animals, Kelly is now fondly known as “Mother Earth” to many of her friends and neighbors. Kelly and her partner Dan currently have a flock of thirteen (13) sheep (mostly crossbreeds) consisting of one ram and twelve (12) ewes plus twelve (12) lambs including one bottle fed lamb named Una. The sheep are raised primarily for their wool and a few are processed for meat. Other animals on the farm include guinea hens, turkeys and Muscovy ducks. Kelly sends most of her wool to Zeilinger’s in Frankenmuth for processing although she does keep a few fleeces to process herself along with dyeing, spinning and felting the fiber. Kelly sells approximately 50% raw materials to 50% finished goods and is primarily known for her felted hats which she enjoys making as a creative challenge. Kelly’s hats can regularly be seen on display at our guild’s TAM sales and illustrate her creativity in her designs including “fascinators” and other unique and fun styles.

 

Kelly has been a member of Woodland Weavers and Spinners Guild for about 10 years and regularly teaches classes in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin and in her studio/barn on the farm. She also makes her studio available to other fiber artists to utilize in teaching classes, equipment loan or working on larger scale projects. In addition to WWAS, Kelly is a member of the Greater Lansing Weavers Guild and is scheduled to teach again at the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan in August 2024.

Thank you, Kelly, for giving us a glimpse of your farm and flock!

Featured Projects

The cowl on top left was designed and knit by member Jocelyn Shaw using her own handspun. Deflected Double Weave & Twill Ruanna on right were created by Cathy McCarthy. 

 

Some of our Guild Members & their stories…

“Many years ago, probably mid to late 80’s, I joined the Woodland Weavers and Spinners Guild.   What a lucky day that was for me!!”

One year a very dear friend of mine decided she would join WW&S.  We rode up to the meeting together and she was most impressed with the meeting and how friendly and supportive everyone was.  She felt so welcomed.  I will never forget our ride home that evening.  For the hour ride we were happily discussing how welcomed we felt at WW&S, and how wonderful it was to be part of that atmosphere..  We could not believe our good fortune at having found such an inviting and supportive group of weavers, spinners, and fiber artists. 

-Cathy McCarthy 

Hand Knit Sweater

I have been living in this sweater which I finished February 1st. I made it without a pattern. I am waiting for a set of buttons which are being made for it by Carla Allen-Hart of “Not Quite Right Pottery.” The yarn is some handspun from guild member Margaret Jaeger.” 

 -Dawn Cheikh

“I appreciate all the weaving knowledge that is in the group. It is a huge help to a relative newby. Also the opportunities to learn new weaving techniques thru workshops or just the programs at the meetings are a great benefit. Not to mention getting together with a wonderful group of people. ” -Vina

“Reconnecting a family to their loom”!

Many years ago, I answered an ad to purchase another loom and discovered it was being sold by the father of a family friend. When they learned I was teaching some refugees to weave on a floor loom I was gifted that loom and have enjoyed it for years. This past December at our Textile Arts Market sale I was delighted to see our family friends after many years and mentioned that I had their grandmother’s loom and wondered if anyone in their family might want to use it. Their faces lit up with excitement as they explained that the oldest daughter, Lizzie, had declared just the night before after visiting our sale, that she thought ‘weaving was in her future’.  That week I gifted the loom back to the family to surprise Lizzie for Christmas and I was blessed to spent time teaching her some weaving basics on her family’s loom.  Lizzie’s and her great grandmother have connected over weaving and the loom has found its way back home after many years.”

-ChiChi VanDyke

I fell in love with fiber arts at a young age.  My grandmothers taught me how to knit and crochet.  From there I moved on to learn macrame, embroidery and rug hooking.  I kept up with my knitting and crocheting while my three children were growing up.  Now as an empty nester, I have started doing macrame and needlepoint again.  I also learned how to weave on pin and circular looms and enjoy the flexibility of them. I also recycle old jeans, t-shirts and other fabric and turn them into rugs, coasters, plant hangers and other fiber art pieces. 

Cheryl Fannon

“We built our house, and on the blueprint it said, “Cathy’s studio.”  Unfortunately, Mike chides me when I try to move out into more of the house proper.   Reminds me the studio is downstairs, and nowhere else on the blueprints did it say weaving area.  Darn!”
Cathy McCarthy