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New Podcast: A Conversation with Emily Chamelin-Hickman

In this episode, I talk to Emily about shepherding. We talked about how she became a shearer and shepherd. We talk about raising healthy animals and how she is using regenerative practices to improve her land. We also talked about what it takes to be a woman shearer in a man’s world.

Emily is one to the strongest women that I know. She made a place for herself in a really physically demanding profession. She is empathetic to the animals and the shepherds who tend to them. And she has raised a strong, smart daughter.

Click here to listen

Click here to see how to find Emily

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Another Virtual Show This Weekend

Let’s be real….

How are you feeling? Are you continuing to knit or crochet or spin? Are you making way through your collection? Are you excited about the possibility of seeing some great yarn and roving and pottery and buttons this weekend?

This weekend, really starting tomorrow, Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is going to a virtual show. I am grateful that the festival organizers have taken on this new world of virtual festivals. I am grateful for the teachers who will teach on zoom. I’m grateful to all the shoppers who are supporting us. So I hope that you will be able to come out and see what we have for you this weekend.

This festival is on a new platform called Eventeny. Here is the link to the festival page. That platform is much like ETSY. You as a shopper will be able to fill your cart with items from many different vendors all in one place. I had to make a decision about this platform. I made the decision to not migrate my whole webstore to this platform. I have put my special collections there. Click here to see our page. You can find much of my Autumn collection, Viral collection and my new colorway in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

BUT, I do want to give you a perk for buying from my webstore this weekend. You can use the code SVFF on my website only, for free first class shipping on your purchases. This coupon code is active now and it will expire 9:30am on 9/30. There you will find all our yarn and roving and kits and swag.

I will also be doing Facebook Live sessions at the following times (click here to watch):

Friday 10am and 5pm

Saturday 11am and 4pm

Sunday 9am.

I hope that I will see you virtually this weekend. Keep making beautiful items. It is good for your soul

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New Podcast: Fast Fashion

In today’s podcast, I talk about “Fast Fashion”. This is the push by marketers and manufacturers to make cheaper and cheaper clothes that we buy, wear once or twice and cast away while chasing the next fashion trend. It used to be that there were 2 “seasons” in the clothing industry. Now there are 52 “mini-seasons”. The pursuit of these fashion trends is making our planet sick. The chemicals to make and dye the fabric is toxic to us and to the environment. The pursuit of this fashion is making our bodies sick as well. There are hormonal changes that are happening, not only to the people who work in the industry but also to those who were the products on their skin.

I offer some ideas for how to wean ourselves off this hamster wheel.

This is just the first in a series talking about fast fashion vs. slow fashion. I’ll be talking about the Fibershed movement too.

Click here to listen!

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No Rhinebeck Sweater update and needle round-up

I’m live every Thursday at 1pm on Facebook. I hope you’ll join me. Today I showed the update of my No Rhinebeck Sweater. I’m nearly finished with the first sleeve. I also had an epiphany about needles. And I wanted to share. I share my favorite needles, some needles I hate and a circular needle keeper.

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Back to School

As most of you know I was a public school teacher up until the end of the 2019 school year. I am feeling all the love for my dear teacher friends as schools here in Maryland open.  The public schools are starting our virtually.  That is hard. Really hard for families, teachers, administration and kids.  It is a whole different kind of school and a whole different kind of learning. So if you are a teacher or a parent of little ones, know that I’m thinking about you.  

More than January 1st, my year has always started when school started.  This started when I was a kid, new clothes, new subjects, new friends and new opportunities.  Do you feel this way too? 

What is on your list this time of year? Do you want to learn a new technique? Do you want to learn to dye? Are you willing to do some online learning? I’ve got 2 classes up and running right now and working on 2 more.  You can learn how to dye yarn. You can learn to knit socks 2 at a time.  Coming soon you can learn to dye roving to spin or use in felting and if you are a weaver, I’m also working on a warp painting class. 

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I love top down sweaters!

So many of you are following my progress on my #norhinebecksweater. I was talking about on my facebook Thursday Thrums yesterday (do you know I am live on Facebook every Thursday at 1pm?)

In case you missed it, I am making my no rhinebeck sweater from handspun lamb fleece from my Cormo/Blue Faced Leicester sheep. It’s been in the works for 3 years. I know, it’s a long time. But I’m finally making the sweater. I have the body mostly done. BUT, I was afraid that I didn’t have enough yarn. So I put the body on a cable with stoppers on it and started to work on the sleeves. And if I do run out, at least I’ll have the sleeves done and if I must use another yarn, it will only be for the ribbing. Smart, right? It took me a while to figure that one out. But I’m in progress.

So as I’m doing this, I realized that I LOVE top down sweaters! Why? Because I can try it on at every step. I can see if the body is long enough. I can see if the sleeves are decreased enough. I can do that over and over again. And when I’m finished, I KNOW it will fit and it will be exactly what I wanted to make.

How do you find one? Well I do a ravelry search. I know there’s lots of controversy about ravelry right now, but it is still the biggest repository of patterns. I search for a sweater: cardigan. I pick construction: top down. I pick the yarn I’m using: worsted. The algorithm whittles and whittles until you get a set of patterns to choose from. At that point I have 1591 patterns to choose from. I wanted steeks and colorwork so that whittled it down to only 19 choices. And I was good with that. I found 3-4 that were possibles for me.

So if you are looking to start a sweater, please consider a top-down sweater for a more pleasant experience and a more fitting and flattering sweater.

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Picking the right yarn for your next project

I just dropped Episode 7. It’s all about how to pick the right yarn for your next project. I start with some of the questions I ask myself as I’m dreaming of a new project. Don’t you love starting something new? I do! I do think it’s like dreaming. There is the entire world of garments and yarns and colors and weights to choose from. Yes, it can be overwhelming. But there are still some parameters.

In this podcast I talk about what I’ve learned about picking yarns for cables and laces. I talk about when to sure semi-solids and when to use variegated yarn. I want to help you to start a project that will be enjoyable and will meet your expectations. For instance, for both cables and lace stitches, you need to have yarn that is stretchy. You also need to have yarn that will hold its shape when it is blocked.

Are you knitting for a picky person: toddler, teenager or senior? Are you knitting something that is fitted or something like a shawl where size doesn’t really matter? You have to take these into consideration.

You can click here to listen OR you can subscribe on itunes so that you don’t miss an episode.

Have a question about yarn, shepherding or knitting? Reply here or send me an email, I’m planning a Q & A episode, but I need your questions to do that. I look forward to hearing from you.

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upping my knitting game

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I live every day during these pandemic times.  How many times do I get up and walk around the house or around the block…well our “block” is 25 acres of trees, grass, deer and rocks.How many times have I walked to the fridge or the pantry as a way to use up time or quell some anxiety or to relieve some boredom.  If that is you too, watch this great video

I’ve been thinking about being the slowest knitter in the world too.  I have to say that my stitching isn’t that slow. No, really it’s that my time over the target, at the needles, is really limited.  It’s not that I don’t have time either.  It is about building the habit of knitting every day.


This week I am combining these 2 areas of my life and working towards a healthier life.  If you have been reading lately, you know about my #norhinebecksweater. This is a handspun, colorwork, steeked cardigan.  I want it to be done by the time that Rhinebeck really would be happening. That’s the 3rd week of October.  

Iounn Sweater published in Knitty

I consistently look for snacks at 3pm….you know….an after school snack.  Geez.. how many years has that been a habit? So from 3-5pm, I will be knitting on my sweater.  This solves 2 problems. I have more time at the needles. It’s built into my day. AND I won’t be snacking, because my hands and mind are occupied. There won’t be anxiety, well only a little bit when I wonder if I have spun enough yarn for this sweater. And I will not be bored. I can not eat because my hands are busy.  It is a win-win.  I’m in my 10th day today.  I know it takes 28 days to form a habit, but I’m 40% finished with that. And I don’t suppose that this sweater will take 18 more days, but who knows, maybe it will.  If I finish this, I’ll pick up another unfinished project.  I’m feeling better already!!

What are you knitting these day? Anyone working on a No Rhinebeck Sweater? I’d love to be accountability partners if you are!!

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tour de fleece- part deux!

I haven’t talked to the spinners in our community for a month, since the TdF part un concluded. Why 2 parts? Well, a little background. .. The tour de fleece is based on the tour de France and that was delayed due to covid 19 concerns. The spinning community decided to hold the tour de fleece at it’s usual time, just in case the cycling race was cancelled over all. I went with that. And now it looks like the tour de France will be on starting this Saturday. It runs from 8/29 through 9/20. There are 2 rest days: 9/7 and 9/14. And there are challenge days when the bike race is in the mountains, spinners challenge themselves to do more or do better or do different. There are a lot of those days this year: 8/30, 9/5, 9/5, 9/11, 9/15, 9/16, 9/17.

Tour de France map

This time I’m collaborating with Patty Sanville of Budding Creek Farm. We will be combining our teams for the prizes. Both teams are on Facebook. The prize categories will be most yardage spun, most different types of spinning fiber (plant, animal and man-made), most different “Shave Em to Save Em” breeds spun and most different spinning equipment, such as electric wheel, number of treadles, different kinds of spindles and even a charka if you have one (hint: I do!)

Hand Dyed BFL Roving

So how do you participate? First join one or both of the facebook groups. Click here for FGF Tour de Fleece group. Click here to join Spinning in Circles group. Have a goal for these spinning days whether that’s spinning for a certain project or just stash busting. Then spin everyday. Do you have to spin the whole time the race is running? No! You can of course do that and you would be in the running for the most yardage. But any spinning every day is fine. I’ve found this to be the single greatest way to improve your spinning. You are building up hours of practice. You are learning your wheel and your fibers and building stamina.

Hand spinning on an electric spinner

I do hope you will join us! Its a fun community. I will be doing at least one Zoom spin-in. More info on that on the group page.

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What are you looking for?

Okay, it’s a strange time right? The stores have limited hours and limited availability. The festivals are all virtual. And it’s hard. It’s hard to find that skein you’re looking for. It’s hard to trust that the skein will look like the photo when you get it. It’s hard to try to look through all those Ravelry patterns to find your next project. Let’s not even get into the changed look of Ravelry and all the distress it’s causing many of us.

I know you’re knitting or crocheting or spinning or felting. You have to be, in order to maintain your sanity and to feel creative and positive. I am too.

Have you just given up? Do you say to yourself, “I’ll just use my stash. I’ll just find patterns in the books or magazines that I bought a while ago. I’ll just use the needles I already have.” And even if all these things aren’t thrilling to me, it is just too hard to do online shopping.

So how can I help you find what you need? Well there are a few ways…. First of all, you can make an appointment to come by. Bring yourself and up to 2 others. We will all wear masks. I have hand sanitizer. It’s a nice drive in the country.

Secondly, you can make an appointment for a Facetime appointment with me. I can help you shop for a project. You can ask me the same questions you might as in person. We can set up a project for you with the yarn and the pattern. And then I can send it to you in the mail. Especially if you want to make a Casapinka shawl or one from Steven West or maybe a nightshift, where you need so many different skeins. I can help you put it together. That’s the part I love. I love working with you to come up with skeins that will make wonderful projects.

NIght Shift made with Synergy yarns

So how do you set up an appointment? Just shoot an email to info@flyinggoatfarm.com and we can get out calendars out and make a date.

Lastly, I am holding open studio days. The next one is September 19th. Of course we will all wear masks. I will have the hand sanitizer and I’ll let 2-3 people in the store at one time.