Born in Ohio, Lanette Freitag fell in love with rural Kentucky during visits to her grandparents’ farm in Estill County. After attending Ohio State University, Lanette worked for various corporations across the county until she was offered the opportunity to transfer to Kentucky in 1984. She and her husband now manage a farm operation with cattle, sheep, llamas, and alpacas on 370 acres near Sharpsburg.
Lanette first began to raise llamas and alpacas in 1987, in addition to a variety of sheep including Merino, Lincoln, Cotswold, and Karakul. The beauty of these animals’ wool inspired her to try using these fibers to create a marketable product. She learned to to spin and knit, but eventually turned to felting, which was less time consuming and allowed the natural colors and curly locks of the wool to remain intact and visible.
After Lanette’s animals are shorn, their wool is washed by soaking it in extremely hot water with no agitation. The water is then spun out of the wood and it is air dried. Because wool fibers have barbs on them, they can be made into a sturdy fiber through felting. In this process a felting needle, which has tiny barbs along its length is used to catch, twist, and connect together the barbs of the wool fibers. Lanette creates rugs, stoles and other works using this technique, and also has developed kits.
Lanette Freitag is a juried member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Crafted program.
Works by Lanette Freitag can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.