This designing shepherd has found her niche in the farm-to-fashion movement

SFGATE | Rachel Manteuffel, The Washington Post | 

MIDDLEBURG, Va. – Gum Tree Farm Designs’ showroom is far enough out in horse country Virginia that the dry cleaners down the street also offers mane pulling. President Kennedy had a house near here; it was where Caroline Kennedy’s famous pony, Macaroni, lived while her father was in office. Located in downtown Middleburg, Virginia, among brick sidewalks and across the street from an old church, the showroom is a cozy, light-filled shop full of luxury wool goods – baby sweaters, socks, fingerless mittens, all artfully arranged and hand-knit.

Proprietor Franny Kansteiner, 61, designed almost all of the items, and knitted about a third of them herself. The day I visit, she is wearing a dark blue woolen work shirt of her own design, which retails for $475. With silver sneakers, bobbed blond hair and jeans, she looks a little practical for how you might imagine a fashion designer. She looks quite glamorous, though, for how you might imagine a shepherd – which is her other job…

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