Knitting Making Podcast Natural Living Woolful Podcast

Episode 4: Matt Gilbert & Melody Hoffman – Nomadic knitting, self-sustainability, shearing and building a fiber mill

December 16, 2014

I’m very excited to share the fourth episode of the Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet two fiber folk that have inspired many of us in many different ways. Matt Gilbert a shearer and founder of the Mendocino Wool and Fiber Mill and Melody Hoffman of Mandarine’s.


Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Yarn, a charming online and local yarn shop based in Eureka, California. Yarn was created by Sunni Schrivner who has a dedication for natural fibers and supporting local yarns. Make sure to visit Yarn in person when on the coast in hum bolt county and online at


Fiber folk 1: Melody is a passionate knitter and maker, with new aspirations as a knitwear designer. Originally from France, she now lives is Latvia where she focuses her days on knitting and self-sustainability. You can follow her journey on her blog at and on Instagram @bmandarines.


Man on the Street: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a handful of fiber enthusiasts to answer the following question, “If you could raise a flock of sheep in the breed of your choice, which it be?” We had many amazing replies from Melissa (@hey_lady_hey), Jennifer (@jaykay_knits), Andrea (@dreareneeknits), Madeline (, Nikki (@woolenviolet) and Sonja (@atreebytheriver)

Fiber folk 2: When it comes to gumption, tenacity and spirit, I’m not sure many come close to having as much as our next guest, Matt Gilbert. For over a decade Matt has been a shearer in Northern California, witnessing parts of the area that very few ever see, while gathering a lifetimes worth of wooly knowledge. A couple years ago he began building the Mendocino Wool and Fiber Mill of which he hopes to launch very soon. You can find and follow Matt’s journey on Facebook at


Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway, is….Charlene, grandknit on Ravelry. You’ve won 3 skeins of Snoqualmie Valley Yarn, naturally dyed with black walnut. Congratulations!

The giveaway this week is another special one, our first guest Melody’s Pinecone and Mulberry hat pattern along with two skeins of Quince and Company’s Owl Tweet. To enter this giveaway, visit the giveaway post on Instagram @woolful and tag a friend in the comments. You can also enter by leaving a comment below.


Awhile back I had an idea, to help bring the focus back to smaller producers, those concentrating their efforts on building domestic production (to whichever country they belong) and trying to do so consciously in regards to the environment, animal welfare, economy, and more. This is a lot of why I started this podcast, to give these people a platform to simply share their stories, and by doing so, inspire others to both support and take action. Whether that be as simple as buying a skein of yarn from a place they could trace the source to, becoming a shearer or even building their own mill. As a pairing to the podcast, I opened an online shop that focuses on supporting single farm and small producer yarns. We started with Cormo from Ton of Wool and then introduced a variety of handspun yarns, bred, raised, shorn, scoured and spun by an incredible sheep shearer and someone who happens to be my neighbor in Idaho. I’m humbled to be working with these amazing fiber folk and am excited to  introduce a handful of new yarns in the shop over the next few months, all with their unique story and purpose. If you’re interested in taking a look or getting involved, please visit


Music by Jónsi

Transcription of episode:

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  • Reply Sara lawson December 16, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Ive always wanted to knit Quince yarn!! The colorways are so beautiful!

    • Reply kelsey sylvia January 20, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Episide 8 was so touching.thank you for bringing us such lovely stories of those dedicated to the land the sheep the wool and connection with community.

  • Reply Elaine December 16, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I have really enjoyed all the podcasts so far and find it all very inspiring. Thank you!

  • Reply Pauline Guilbaud December 16, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for these amazing podcasts ! Such a relaxing and quiet moment, and a time to stop stressing about everything, just listen while knitting. I’m from France, and I love the way you involve people from all over the world. Thanks again 🙂

  • Reply kristen silvia December 16, 2014 at 5:03 am

    thank you for highlighting these makers!

  • Reply Marci December 16, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Can’t wait to listen to yet another interesting podcast – Looking forward to another wonderful break in a hectic time of year – thanks for providing such wonderful entertainment. Love meeting all these people!!!

  • Reply Abby December 16, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Ah! I have been listening to lots of podcasts from Hannah Fettig and Pam Allen recently, would love to win the Owl tweet!

  • Reply Allison Harris December 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Im excited for the new additions to your shop. I’m gonna head over there now and check it out. Thanks for another exciting giveaway. Cheers!

  • Reply hd December 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

    love this podcast and those mittens are gorgeous!

  • Reply Antonella December 16, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I am also a KnitFM podcast aficionado and found that Woolful’s emphasis on fiber production complements it beautifully. I have been listening avidly to both. Needless to say, the giveaway from Quince and Co is super attractive.

  • Reply Danielle Danforth December 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I only recently discovered this blog and podcast, but it is such a gem! I have become quickly obsessed. I have been trying to make my fiber practice more sustainable lately, and it’s so great to find resources and other people doing the same! Love this. Also that yarn OMG it’s drool worthy. <3

  • Reply bri December 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

    i can’t wait to listen to this weeks podcast while working on some last minute christmas gifts! This podcast is amazing, thank you so much for the enlightening episodes on the secrets of my favorite fiber artists and their craft. I have followed Melody’s blog for a while now, can’t wait to hear her interview!

  • Reply Jill Raney December 16, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! Love your podcast – found out about it from Susan B Anderson’s blog!

  • Reply Naomi December 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

    So beautiful!

  • Reply Margaret December 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I love Quince and Co. yarn and so look forward to listening to the new podcast. I’ve learned so much from listening to your podcasts. They are so enjoyable as well as inspirational.

  • Reply Amanda W December 16, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Knitter wannabe, just beginning! Would love to win! I am so glad I found your website.

  • Reply Andrea Mowry December 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Bravo! Another delightful podcast 🙂

  • Reply Kristin December 16, 2014 at 10:39 am

    This might just be my favorite episode yet! Such a good variety…I love Melody’s blog, and it was really interesting to hear from a sheep shearer. I’ve not yet knit with Quince and Company’s yarn, but I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Reply Nanda December 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Hope I win!

  • Reply Jody December 16, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Love the podcast. Thanks for the giveaway!

    JKnits51 on Ravelry

  • Reply Mary Moury December 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Thank you so much for this great give away. Quince and Co yarn is always beautiful.

  • Reply Veronica December 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This is an awesome blog!

  • Reply tess December 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Such a lovely podcast! I enjoyed listening very much!

  • Reply Ludivine December 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    A wonderful episode again, such a peacedul time to listen to it.
    “Pinecone and Mulberry”, what more poetic to wear on head !

  • Reply Jennifer Cole December 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I am so loving these podcasts. I listened to the first two on the airplane the other day and can’t wait to listen to more. Quince & Co is one of my favorite yarn brands, and I can’t wait to try Owl.

  • Reply Oekmama1 December 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    What a great podcast! Found you through knitfm. It warms the heart to know that yarn producers also have this concern for the environment and sustainability.
    Also, awesome giveaway. I would love to knit that hat… Beautiful.

  • Reply Laura December 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I live the colors of those mittens!

  • Reply Ine December 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    This is such a lovely podcast to listen to! I agree about everything 🙂 especially the support of the knitting community, it’s amazing! I’m also a big fan of Melody’s blog and podcast, which led me here.

  • Reply sarah December 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    every week this podcast is so inspiring – thank you!

  • Reply Shannon December 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I am loving this series! It has made me question so many things, and now I want to start a farm. My husband says no, but I think I can persuade him! Beautiful shows! Can’t wait for the next one!

  • Reply mzry knzpp-samet December 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    please enter me in the free give away

  • Reply kianna December 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I would love a video podcast on itunes maybe or webcast?

  • Reply Dana (DanaRae19 on Ravelry) December 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Another lovely podcast. 🙂 I haven’t tried Quince and Co yarn yet, but would love to, thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

  • Reply craftyone December 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I like this brand of yarn but have not tried this one yet.

  • Reply lori December 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    loved it all! melody is so sweet and matt, so interested in his future. wishing success to all, well done everyone!

  • Reply Megan December 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I love the patterns from Quince & Co. and would love to knit one of their designs with some of their yarn!

  • Reply Katerina December 16, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Love your podcast and i love Madarines too. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Reply Neza December 17, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I enjoyed listening to this week’s podcast so much, very interesting topic about shearing sheep and wool mills and sheep breeds and also what’s Melody doing! Thank you!

  • Reply ErinJoelle December 17, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Ashley, thanks to you and Matt for some insight into shearing. I have seen this done several times at fairs, but never noticed the shearers’ shoes. How wonderful that there is a specific style of shoe, which is likely the same as it has been for hundreds of years!

  • Reply Cecilia December 17, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I’ve followed Melody’s blog for a while now, can’t wait to hear her on this episode!

    Lovelovelove Quince yarn! <3

  • Reply Savannah December 17, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I’m in love with your instagram and blog. You are inspiring. I want to make my own yarn so badly but I’m a simple college student

  • Reply Phoenix December 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Keep the great work coming! I look forward to this hefty dose of inspiration every week. xo

  • Reply Katie December 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I so enjoyed the podcast this week, thank you 🙂 It was really fantastic to hear from Matt about setting up a mill, I really love that you’re interviewing people other than just knitters. Really and truly fascinating.

  • Reply Erin December 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

    After hearing your ad on, I downloaded all your podcasts and am just loving them. (: Great job! I’m a spinner and knitter who is starting to spin and dye more of my own knitting yarns, and the more of this kind of reporting and connecting, the better.

  • Reply Madeleine December 17, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Your podcast is so very inspiring! Keep it up!
    I’m a knitter but would love to explore the dying realm, maybe someday!

  • Reply Kelly December 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I am looking forward to this podcast, I have very much enjoyed the other ones so far. The yarn you mentioned looks yummy, and the hats look just lovely. I would love a chance to make one 🙂

  • Reply Jacqueline December 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    The podcasts are thoughtful, inspiring and awesome to listen to. Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Reply Carlene December 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I loved hearing about Melody’s lifestyle, and I learned about some breeds of sheep I didn’t know about in Man on the Street…loved the mother/daughter response. i’m saving the second half of the podcast for later in the week, just to savor it longer! Excited for the giveaway as always.

  • Reply Chelsea berkompas December 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Another great podcast Ashley!!! So enjoying these

  • Reply Katie Emma December 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I loved this episode – listening to Knit.FM with Clara Parkes in the same day has left me itching to get my hands on some new-to-me breeds of wool. Thanks for the podcast!

  • Reply Emily Horacek December 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I’m so glad I found this podcast! It fills a niche that I didn’t know I was missing. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a prize. It adds a little excitement to my day. <3

  • Reply Lorna Brown December 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Another great podcast. I love Quince & Co. yarn so please enter me into the drawing. Thanks!

  • Reply Amy Westereng December 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Your lovely podcast has piqued my interest the sourcing, spinning and natural dyeing of fiber, something I have not thought much about until now. My favorite way to listen is while I’m knitting 🙂

  • Reply Deb Hickman December 18, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I’ve just found your podcast via Melody, what a great giveaway. I’ve never used Quince and Co before. I’m off to catch up with all four episodes now!!!! 🙂

  • Reply Amylynn December 18, 2014 at 6:18 am

    I happily stumbled upon your site and podcast. Someone tagged me in your Instagram contest and I had to see your site. I dream of someday owning a small farm again and having a few sheep and Angora rabbits again. For now my husband and I have two more years traveling about wherever the Coast Guard sends us. Our latest adventure San Fransciso this summer. I am tickled by the possibility of meeting many fiber enthusiasts and learning more about knitting, sheep and wool. If you have any recommendations for me I would be happy about it! You can find me on ravelry at appalachianchic
    I look forward to checking our your online shop and past podcasts. We have a very interesting duo here in Arlington VA called Solitude Wool that you must check out. They are very similar to Matt though the do not sheer. They go and visit local farms and try to save heritage sheep and they have their yarn spun and sometimes dye it to sell in our local shops and farm markets. There are so many beautiful breeds that are in decline but I believe the recent resurgence of the love of fiber will help these breeds remain. Please check them out:-) and thanks!

  • Reply Kathleen December 18, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Since discovering your blog and podcast, I eagerly await each new episode. Such thoughtful and inspiring interviews. Thank you.

  • Reply Zoe December 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Just found your podcast – very thought provoking. Thank you for sharing yours and your guests jouney.

  • Reply Katie December 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    It’s only the 4th episode and I’m hooked! I feel like we would be best friends if we lived closer and knew each other! I’m so glad you started this podcast!

  • Reply Fräulein Rucksack December 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I found out podcasts are fun though melodys first episode and I so love the woolful series!
    I’ve been following Mandarines and I always wondered what she lives from. Which is non of my business of course, just curiousity.
    Thanks you guys!

  • Reply Carol December 18, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Loved this episode! I would love to try out some quince and co yarn!

  • Reply Elise Dear December 18, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I have been looking for a podcast like this for some time now. I have gobbled up all four episodes in two days and I am left wanting more. Thank you for taking time to share with us these wonderful, inspiring people.

  • Reply Janice Hellzen December 19, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Once again another great podcast. I look forward to these every week! Yes, I would love to win the giveaway!

  • Reply Cassie December 19, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Great blog and podcast! Thank you!

  • Reply Charlene December 19, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Ashley!!! How can I thank you enough for the giveaway from last week!!! I’m so incredibly excited about this yarn and to think that you dyed it yourself! Thank you, thank you!

    Can’t wait for Mendocino Wool and Fiber Mill to be up and running! Quince Owl Tweet is wonderful! I have plans to knit my son a sweater with it in January.

  • Reply Judy December 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I’ve just found your fabulous podcast through knitfm. I’ve listened to this week’s post and am now going back to listen to the others, while eagerly awaiting new ones. I am trying hard to buy from smaller wool and mill producers here in the US, so found your interview with Matt to be very insightful and exciting as well! I also loved hearing about Melody’s interesting life. You all are people who are following your dreams, which is so refreshing!

  • Reply Susan December 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Another inspiring podcast. Would love the opportunity to try knitting with Quince and Co. yarns for the first time!

  • Reply Kerri December 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    It is nourishing to have a podcast that focuses on wool, knitting and creative people. Inspiring and such a pleasure to knit to.

  • Reply Ady Simmons December 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I love her accent and the hat pattern is adorable!

  • Reply Naomi December 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    This is just the loveliest website!

  • Reply Doug December 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    As a new knitter, I find this podcast fascinating!

  • Reply Amanda Falson December 20, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Love everything about this podcast, and giveaway. So inspiring! I’d love to win! I plan to knit my way through my current stash and start buying natural with more awareness! Perhaps even try sticking to one project at s time!

  • Reply TAnk December 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Oh, that quince yarn looks absolutely lovely! I’ll have to find some. Thanks for the great podcast, see you next week!

  • Reply emlymom December 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Just found your podcast. Am in love with QnCo yarn colors! Thank you so much for your program and all you do.

  • Reply Lisa December 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I have heard so many wonderful things about Quince yarn. Adore your podcast!

  • Reply Meghan December 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Oh how I am loving your podcast! It has me wistfully dreaming of my childhood plan to be a sheep farmer. Someday…

  • Reply jonatha foli December 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    ashley, so nice to hear about matt’s progress up in eureka.
    thank you for selecting him!
    your podcast inspires.

    so nice to hear from matt and his progress just north of me.
    thank you for selecting him for your inspiring podcast.

    your podcast inspires!
    and it was great to hear that matt’s enthusiasm has not faded.
    he has a vast knowledge of our wool community.

  • Reply Samara December 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Every podcast has been so inspiring for me! I love feeling connected with a community of people who are on their own exciting fiber journey. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Gemmav December 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Another super podcast. Loved the sheep shearing and mill insights!

  • Reply pistachios December 22, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Thank you for your interesting podcast!

  • Reply Ashlyn December 22, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Great episode! Especially loved the bits of horticulture talk:) And great giveaway. Quince yarns are divine!!

  • Reply Shayne Z December 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I am in love with this podcast and am so grateful for your wonderful giveaways as well. What a lovely addition to the fiber community 🙂

  • Reply Katey Troutman December 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Oooh, I have been lusting after Quince & Co.’s Owl Tweet. Yet another lovely episode; can’t wait for the next one.

  • Reply Josephine Tucci December 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I love Quince & Co. yarn!

    • Reply Kelly H December 23, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Woolful has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts!
      I’ve never knit with Quince & Co before and I’d love to give them a try.

  • Reply Patricia B December 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I love the podcasts! Thanks for your work and the opportunity to win some cool yarn!

  • Reply diane December 30, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Thank you for your lovely podcast. Always luv quince and co yarn, amazing to knit with!

  • Reply diane December 30, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Thank you for your lovely podcast. Love quince & co yarns, amazing to knit with.

  • Reply Sustainable knitting | Scandinavian Knit December 31, 2014 at 8:17 am

    […] other day I listened to Woolfulls podcast about the process of the wool and […]

  • Reply Gro from Sweden January 1, 2015 at 7:01 am

    I reallt love you podcast! Interesting and nice to listen to. Thanks!

  • Reply Artania January 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Maybe some info on spinning resources for people wanting or new-to spinning/dying any tips/tricks?
    Much appreciated!

  • Reply amelia January 5, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    That blue yarn is so lovely!

  • Reply Cady January 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I am loving the podcasts and the information you are providing. This has been a really awesome learning tool. Thank you!

  • Reply emily a January 5, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    gorgeous. thanks for the chance!

  • Reply a knitter’s journey to the united kingdom | Thien-Kieu Lam March 30, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    […] small family farm in Surrey, her sheep is sheared by Susie (shearers are awesome – check out this interview with shearer Matt Gilbert on the Woolful podcast), the fleeces are washed in Yorkshire, spun in Devon, and then hand dyed by […]

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