Patrick Cudney, Michigan State University Extension District 3 coordinator, recently let me know about a tour he and members of the District 3 Extension Council took. They visited the Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich., following their council meeting Jan. 20. What’s so special about that? The mill prepared the yarn for the sweaters and hats designed by Ralph Lauren that Team U.S.A. will wear in the 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremonies. Not only that, the fiber mill has its beginnings in a 4-H experience.
When Debbie McDermott, the mill’s owner, learned to knit at the age of 7 from her grandmother and continued knitting and sewing as a 4-H’er in Hillsdale County, it sparked an interest in fiber. Then in 1989, her daughter began raising two sheep as a 4-H project. The experience with the two sheep led to what is now a company that employs 14 people including family members. Debbie later served as a 4-H leader in Charlevoix County, continuing the 4-H legacy.
Debbie and her husband, Chuck, along with Mary Faculak, District 3 Council chair and state council member, met with Gov. Snyder in December 2013. The McDermotts gave the governor an Olympic sweater for his work and support of agriculture in Michigan.
Read this MSU Extension news article that MSU Extension educator Kendra Wills wrote about Debbie, her Olympic wool and the 4-H connection: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/michigan_wool_at_the_2014_winter_olympic_games