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yarn made by the flock

Well they made the fleeces, right? They ate grass and a little grain. They hung out in the barn. They did their part to add more carbon and nitrogen into the soil here at the farm. And once a year they are shorn, no it doesn’t hurt them. And then I take it to be cleaned, combed and spun into yarn.

wool and mohair yarns made from our own fleeces

Sometimes I leave them in their natural colors and sometimes I dye them up in luscious colors.

2 ply mohair yarn dyed up
Fun color experiments that will become a stripe-y garment
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spinners! Dye your Roving

For the first time, I’ll share with you two ways to dye your own roving. In this Feb 29th workshop, you will dye approximately 8 ounces of fiber (either BFL or Merino, depending on availability). You can decide what colors you will use and we’ll talk about how to avoid felting your roving in the heating process. All my workshops have small so that you get individual attention. Click here to grab your spot.

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new classes scheduled

It’s a new year and it’s the time when I think about what I want to learn. It is the time of year, when the fiber festivals are all done and I have more time to devote to teaching you a new skill, such as dyeing, knitting, spinning or weaving.

Hand Dyed Sock Yarn

First up is my Dye your Socks workshop, I have scheduled 2 dates for this: Jan 20 (MLK holiday and Feb 8th. I limit the number of participants so that you have lots of individual attention. All you need to do is come with an idea of what color(s) socks you would like. You will leave with a variegated skein and a semi solid companion skein. Click here to register.

sock class
Painting your sock skeins

Dawn Viands will be offering a needle felted chick class to get you in the mood for spring. This class will be on Feb 9th. Mark your calendar and join our mailing list to be the first to be able to register for this class when it is available.

Dawn Viands will also be teaching pysanka–Ukrainian Egg painting class on March 8th. These are beautiful and can be put in your Easter basket or an egg tree for the spring holidays. Mark your calendar and join our mailing list to be the first to be able to register for this class when it is available.

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what do you want to make in 2020?

It’s a thing….The Make Nine Challenge… I’m not sure who started it. But you can see all kinds of plan by your friends and people you follow on Instagram and Facebook. Here is my Make9:

4 of these are WIP’s. I want to finish those 2 pairs of socks. As well as the Ursa sweater and the Conflagration scarf. I will work on those first.

Then on to new projects: a shifty pullover with my Synergy yarn.

Some quick slippers with some of our Stratus farm yarn.

A Ruffles scarf using Zephyrette, I think….

The Anemone Hat with some handspun. And the cowl with 2 colors of Alto I think.

Alto DK weight yarn

What do you want to make? Will you take the challenge? Comment on the blog to let me know!

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what do you want to learn?

The new year is upon us. For me that means that I’ve been using this last couple of weeks as a time of reflection about last year and what I want my life to be in the new year. It is a time to think about what new ideas and creations I want to bring into my life. And it means that I usually also decide about what I want to learn this year.

My reading/study list for next year….not pictured is Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess since I have the Kindle book

As some of you know, I’ve taken some time off from teaching here. And now, I am ready to dive back into offering more classes on a more consistent basis. Most of these classes will be taught by myself, however we will also have some guest instructors as well. To be the first to find out what classes are scheduled and to get access to early booking, sign up for our email list here.

Examples of what you can make during my Dye your Socks classes Jan 20th or Feb 8th

So I’m asking you, what do you want to learn? Leave a comment so that I can add your ideas to the list.

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word of the year 2020

Sparkly beauties to savor with the eye

We are on the cusp of a new decade with only 4 days until we start the new year. At this time, each year, I reflect about last year and I look ahead to next year. I’ve picked a word of phrase of the year for maybe 8 years and it has served as a guiding light or North Star for me as a navigate the next year.

Savor it all!

This year I decided that I needed a personal word of the year. Not just a business one. Why? Because I’m think I am needing to create more balance in my life. Enough work and enough time for leisure or fun, downtime to recharge and relax too.

Chinese character for savor

So TA DA!!! My personal word of the year is SAVOR! And probably with the exclamation point too! What I mean is this. Savoring in taste. Savoring in sights. Savoring our vacations. Tasting with your mouth and smelling with your nose, and delighting with your eyes. And dancing with your feet. And listening to beautiful music. I absolutely love to see new sights. I love to taste new foods. I want to savor these things. I want to smell the roses and taste the peaches. I want to sail on a European river and spend time with people who are different than I am. Who hold different beliefs than I do. And yes, listen to glorious music. And sew beautiful fabrics. Life is short and I want to savor it all!

How about you? Do you have a word or phrase for 2020? Comment to let me know!

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new sweater in the works

URSA Sweater is available on Ravelry

I need a warm and really sturdy sweater for this winter. The yarn I’m using is Cacao that I made into a 3 ply so that it is more of a bulky weight. I tried, believe me I tried to get the half brioche stitch correct in the raglan areas. I finally gave up and did a PKP rib there. Because this is going to be a outside sweater and barn sweater, I’ll probably make it longer than the pattern suggests. We’ll see how it goes.

What are you knitting this winter? Reply here or on Facebook and Instagram to let me know.

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fun and easy knit for the new year

shawl for alpaca wool blend yarn
Camau Shawl

This is a really fun and easy knit shawl. It is a flat triangle shawl that can be worn in a variety of ways. It is primarily a garter stitch shawl with intermittent short rows of eyelet (k2tog, yo). The yarn is a 3 ply farm yarn that is a sport weight. There are 2 plies of wool and one of alpaca. So you have a slightly heathery look to the yarn. The yarn will keep its shape because of the wool but add some lovely softness from the alpaca.

Each kit is one of a kind and they are on sale to!!! So be sure to grab one here while they are still in stock.

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thought provoking book

I’ve known about the California Fibershed movement for quite some time. I long to have a movement like that here in the Mid Atlantic. Have you heard of it before? It started as a local indigo project and grew to a movement to source one’s clothes responsibly and preferably with 100 miles of your home. This can be really hard to do.

The first part of this book details how Fibershed got started and also the really alarming cost of our clothes to our health and the health of the environment. The fashion industry has brought us fast fashion. Clothes that are popular right now for a very short period of time. The 2 biggest manufacturers of fast fashion produce one billion items per year. Most of which are worn a few times and thrown away. Most of these clothes end up in our landfills, becoming more than 5% of all of the municipal waste each year. Over 80 billion garments were sold in 2017 which equals a $1.3 trillion industry employing 300 million people from nearly every country. The majority of those jobs pay a very low wage.

I didn’t realize just how damaging washing your clothes could be. Of course the detergents an be unhealthy for many people. And these synthetic clothes shed microfibers in each and every washing. These microfibers make their way into our water, where up to 40% end up in rivers, lakes and oceans. We know what these plastics are doing in our environment.

5 mini skein gradient

What can you do? Well, you buy clothes that will last for a long time, those made from natural fibers and not made from petroleum by-products. You can recycle your clothes by mending them or repurposing them into quilts or other textile items in your home. You can wash your clothes when they are soiled but probably not every time your wear them. And as knitters, crocheters, sewers and makers, you can be part of the fibershed movement. Consider making a wardrobe for yourself or others. Of course wool, alpaca, mohair and cashmere grown locally is sustainable and renewable. We fiber farmers are happy to help you build a wonderful, colorful wardrobe.

knitting in the wild

I encourage you to read this book and consider the impact of choices we all make in clothing ourselves and our families.