Have you said this statement to yourself? I know that I have. I never thought that being creative is your human nature. It is embedded in our instincts and in our DNA. Only through society have we now lifted up artists to a heroic stature. Listen to this podcast to find out the truth. Do my suggested exercise to train your creative spirit. And as always let me know what you think….
To listen to the episode, subscribe on iTunes, follow on Spotify or click here.
Do you print out your patterns? I have some I have printed and some I have bought. And I needed a way to organize these and keep track of them. I borrowed my system from a customer. She always carries her notebook to shows or to stores so she has all the information about the patterns she wants to make next.
Watch this video to see the system….. Click here to download the dividers for your own pattern notebook
**Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this blog. I truly love these apps and use them personally. The opinions are mine alone.
There are 3 yarnie apps on my phone that I simply can not live without. I have to say that these are mostly knitting oriented and so I apologize to my crocheting friends. I simply don’t crochet myself, so I don’t have that frame of reference. I’d love to hear about apps that you use that would be helpful for my readers.
Stash Bot–This app is a great little reference to have in your pocket at a fiber festival or a yarn store. I will give you the approximate yardage needed for knitted garments. You need to know the size of garment and an approximate gauge of the garment. Then it will dial in the number of yards that you need. I believe that it is a paid app, but it was well worth the money.
KnitCompanion–This app is a way to see the PDF’s of your patterns without all the paper. I just use the free version and it is amazing!! It will automatically upload the PDF’s of patterns in your Ravelry library. And you can keep track of where you are with the vertical and horizontal lines. It is great to use when reading charts. There are also many stitch and row counters that you can use as well. I love this app!!
StitchCounter–This app does just that. It will help you count stitches or rows. It is simple to use and so convenient. You always have it in your purse or pocket.
I took a hiatus from the podcast so that I could really get my head around this new season. In this season, I will be talking about creativity. And not just talking about it, but also giving you an exercise with each episode that you can complete to feed your creative spirit and to let it rise within you!!
If you follow my social media and these blog posts, you know that I am currently working very hard to bring a naturally dyed yarn line to you. I also want part of the yarn line to be Fibershed certified, when it is possible to do in our Chesapeake Fibershed. So I’ve been foraging around our 25 acres and in places within 10 miles here to find dye plants that I can use. Yesterday, I was able to get some of these dye plants collected and prepared for dyeing into the fall.
Black Walnuts grow wild here on the property. They are just beginning to ripen and fall off the tree. I collected several pounds of them. Walnuts are dual purpose. The outer husk is where the dye lives. And the inner nut is oh, so yummy. Yes, they are hard to pick out from the shell, but they are worth the trouble in my opinion. So yesterday I broke open the husks and put those into a dye bag and laid out the nuts to dry in the sun.
We grew Hopi Black Sunflowers this year. Bill harvested the seed head several weeks ago, and I’ve been slowly picking the seeds out of the sunflower head. I’ll save these until later to dye, they will keep just fine. I saved the seed heads with some seeds in them to plant for next year. The plants are lovely and grew probably 8 feet in height. There’s nothing prettier in summer than a row of sunflowers.
And then there were the pokeberries. I cut off the sprays of berries and put them straight away into the freezer. I have to read up on how to dye with these. Unfortunately this dye tends to fade but still it will be lovely to try to use plants that our ancestors used.
We also harvested acorns, although we don’t have nearly enough to do anything with at this time. I will just keep adding to the stash until I have enough. And we picked up hickory nuts too. Those are just to pick and eat. They are also hard to crack and to get the nut meat out of, but they are really really nice. It feels great to live in a place where we can go out and forage for dyes and for food.
We have 2 new yarns this year and I’m dyeing up A LOT of it.
The first yarn is called LiViLy Bounce. It is a sport weight. Each skein has 330 yards in each 4oz skein. And it feels so great. It is made from our Cormo fleeces. I haven’t yet put any on the needles and I need to get to that. I know it will be amazing. You can find our available colors here.
The second yarn is Trasna Fingering. It is a fingering weight with 400 yards in each 4oz skein. It is made from our Cormo X fleeces and again so nice to the touch. I have knit a swatch of this one and it has amazing stitch definition. You can find some of the colors here. More colors to come within this week.
I know you will love these yarns that are sustainable, climate beneficial and beautiful to boot!! Remember that when you buy farm yarn you support our sheep and goats through the winter!
On Saturday our first in-person fiber festival goes live! Yes, it’s in-person. The show is Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. It’s at the Clark County fairgrounds. You can find out more information here.
I’m super excited so see people and to be in the presence of unbridled creativity!
I’m nervous because we haven’t set up the booth in 2 years…will we remember? Will it actually be better?
I’m a little scared too. Will people wear masks and be safe? How can we provide a safe place for our customers?
So many emotions!
I know you must be feeling these things too. I also hope you are feeling excite to touch all the yarn and see all the colors.
We are in the Arts and Crafts Building. We are right by the front door. To keep us and you safe, we will be wearing our masks. We will be bringing a fan so there is more air circulation and less opportunity for the virus to transmit. The festival is from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.
Please do come out for a beautiful fall day! It’s supposed to be just gorgeous weather that day. I’m want this weekend to be a real celebration! Be sure to stop by and show us anything you’ve made with our yarn or fiber. We love seeing all your fantastic creativity on display!!
It’s just days away until Summer is over. And it’s time to be gathering some of the best dye plants in our area. This past weekend, Bill and I headed out to find Goldenrod. It is an amazing dye plant. It grows wild all along the roadways here in Maryland. And we were lucky to find some that had been spared from mowing and herbicides that are used along roads to keep the weeds at bay. They were in full delightful bloom.
My plan is to separate the blooms from the leaves and woody stem. The stems will go into the compost pile. The leaves will be dried and frozen for later dye sessions throughout the winter. The flowers will be made into a dye pot this week.
Here’s what I will be doing…. I will cover the blooms with water (at a neutral pH). In fact I may put my rain barrel back in service, since we should be getting some rain this week. I will slowly raise the temperature of the flower water mixture, careful not to boil it. I will keep the water just below the simmer. Then I will set it aside and let it cool. Once cool I will remove the flowers.
When it’s time to dye, I will presoak my scoured and mordanted wool and then add it to the dye pot. A good rule of thumb is to have equal weights of fresh flowers and dry wool. This will give you a nice shade. I will begin to raise the heat of my dye pot and again keep it under the simmer for 1 hour. I will check it to see if I want to leave the wool in overnight, or just stop there.
Then I can make a determination if there is leftover dye (exhaust) that I can use to dye more yarn in a soft, more muted color. I’m super excited to get started!!
Where to find us
The studio is currently CLOSED to visitors….under construction. We will reopen soon!
We are located in Frederick MD. You can shop in person with a mask and lots of social distance! Or buy online and stop by to pick up…I’ll run your purchases out to you in your car.
If you are coming here, please enter Flying Goat Farm into WAZE. That app will reliably get you to our farm. Google Maps DOES NOT work!