Howdy. I’m Stephany and West by Midwest is my personal blog about sheep shearing, knitting, sewing, writing and other miscellany.
I am a tiny flock sheep shearer. I was certified as a Beginner Level 2 sheep shearer by the University of California ANR in Hopland, CA in May 2015, after receiving Beginner Level 1 certifications in May 2013 and 2014. I am also a certified Level I Wool Classer, having met the requirements of the American Sheep Industry (ASI) Association’s Certified Wool Classing Program in May 2014. You can learn more about my professional and educational background on LinkedIn and can contact me at stephany [dot] wilkes [at] gmail [dot] com.
The name West by Midwest tells part of my story. I migrated from Detroit to San Francisco by way of a six-year stop in Chicago. The logo was designed by my very talented brother-in-law over at Transit Design.
I write for work and for fun. I’ve completed a book, Raw Material, about sheep shearing and the U.S. wool industry and the manuscript is currently under consideration with agents. Cross your fingers!
I write for a variety of publications, when I’m lucky. My short story, Township, was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Midwestern Gothic, and I recently had an essay published in The Billfold. I regularly write about sheep for the Hobby Farms website, for the Fine Woodworking blog (here, here and here) and I formerly blogged for The Greenhorns. My dissertation research was published as a chapter in the book Learning in Virtual Worlds: Research and Applications from Athabasca University Press.
I miss the smell of fresh Great Lakes water in a primal way and, in fall, want to return like a salmon. I can’t believe I live in a place where I depend on snowfall for water but wonder how I could ever live without mountains.