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what’s happening on the farm

As we start WEEK 5!! of the stay at home orders…quarantine. I’m not sure what to really call it. It’s not a lock down, it’s mostly voluntary, right? We can still get in our cars and go to the store. I hear that people are just wandering around Home Depot and grocery stores. We are so used to going 24/7, never having a minute to slow down and just be. And now we are forced to just be.

Even Gus is thinking about this all being over

I’m doing okay with it all. But I’m an introvert. What about you? How are you handling it? I have my animals and a partner here. And I’m connecting with friends and family on phone calls and zoom calls.

BLT’s for breakfast. You can use grape tomatoes thinly sliced.

I don’t mind all the quarantine cooking, but I am making plans for some great dinners out at our favorite restaurants. I sure hope they don’t go out of business.

Local Distiller is now making hand sanitizer. We had to buy some booze to get it…..but what a treat all three are

So here at the farm, the apple trees are in bloom this week. The plums and apricots have been pollinated. I picked my first asparagus this week….but the bed is SO FULL of weeds. I really hate to weed, but I’ll have to get on it, if I want to find the asparagus. We have a couple of new keet’s (baby guineas) that were hatched by a couple of moms. The sheep and goats are munching on beautiful green grass.

Forest Rock Colorway on Sparkly yarn

We hope to see you in person soon. In the meantime, if you want some new color or texture in your yarn collection, you can always stop by our online shop and find just what you are looking for!.

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question answered: how did I get myself into this

I was asked this question on Instagram and I promised to answer it. So here goes… I’m not from a farming family at all. But really my maternal grandfather was a citrus rancher around the time of the Depression. And my paternal grandfather was a subsistence farmer in N. Carolina. And my Bill’s maternal grandparents were farmers in the Poconos and he has lots of great memories about growing up harvesting and canning vegetables. So maybe our farming roots really do run deep.

Really early FGF dyeing

I grew up in S. California and worked in healthcare and travel and loan origination and apartment owner until I met Bill in the early 90’s. Also during that time, I learned how to weave and dye and began my creative journey in the textile world.

We moved from California to Oregon and then on to Maryland. And when we came here, I told Bill that I would love to have a little farm with goats and chickens. Little did I know that he had always wanted to have a small farm as well. So we did just that.

Our first 2 goats: Winter and Inkblob

So remember I’m a weaver, spinner, dyer and cat owner. I didn’t know anything about goats. But I liked how Angoras looked. So one day at the Howard County Fair I found a set of goat for sale. Our thinking was that we would just get 2 and we would see how we liked having them. We got a small Amish building that served as a barn and fenced in our large lawn for them. I thought that I would just have some fiber to spin and I could weave with it.

I love this photo!

Soon we were buried under lots of pounds of fleeces and I realized that there was no way I could keep up. I had to send them out to be made into roving and yarn. And from there the business of making farm yarns and dyeing them and commercial yarns has grown and grown.

Our first two sheep: BFL named Puck and Cormo named Viola

Thanks Kyle for asking the question. Do you have a question? Add it to the comments and I promise to answer them in the future.

Just the beginning of the FGF yarn business
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widn *what I’m doing now*

So life is not normal and will probably never be normal. We, individually and as a society will be permanently changed by the social distancing, the fear of the virus and the uncertainty about how long this will be and will we be safe or will we be sick….

January through mid-March were full of new colorways and lots of creativity in preparation for the Spring shows. If you are a long time reader of my blog (or even if you’re new) you can see all those fun colors on new bases. But as you all know, festivals are either cancelling or going virtual.

I spent a couple of weeks feeling down and trying to figure it all out. And I started to read more and to take a few classes online. But I had an angel. An angel that helped to get me out of my funk and to allow the creativity to flow again. Rose is my angel. She had a lot of yarn made from the fleeces of her Coopworth sheep. She didn’t want to dye it herself.

So I started a custom order for her skeins. She brought fingering weight and worsted weight yarns. We decided that the fingering weight yarn would be variegated and fun for socks and some scarves. And the worsted would be done in sweater quantities in more semi-solid colors.

I’ve had so much fun working with this wool and working with Rose to make her color dreams come true.

Do you need a custom dye? Do you have a yarn in mind that you can’t find at a shop or show? Well send me an email and maybe we can work it out together, while we are staying apart.

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guild retreat pop up shop

Do you go to knitting retreats? I went to my first one as a participant last year. It was a wonderful weekend full of good food and good conversation and learning a new skill. Over the years, I have been asked to bring my yarn and roving to guild meetings and guild retreats. I love helping people pick out skeins that go together for a new shawl. I love learning about new shawls and sweaters that are becoming popular. And I love being around all this creativity. This weekend is another guild pop up shop. I’m really excited to see these great knitters again.

If you would like to have me come to your knitting group or if you would like to have your group come over to my studio for a field trip, please reach out. It’s such a pleasure to be in the creativity and excitement of a group of knitters.

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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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knitting as self care

I did jump right in to do that dyeing. BUT…

This afternoon, I decided to put my feet up and take out my current shawl knitting and to take a little down time in order to rejuvenate myself. Why does knitting help me to rejuvenate? I can be moving my hands, but my head can clear a bit. I can focus on the stitches and the pattern, and I don’t have to focus on my to-do list or all the “shoulds” in my head. The repetitive nature of knitting has been well documented to help people get into a meditative state. And it certainly does help me to reach a quiet, peaceful place in my life.

So I can finish listening to a podcast or a TV program and emerge with a clear and peaceful mind, ready to take on the rest of my day.

When you need some down time, what do you do?

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Behind the Scenes

This week I’ve been busy making new colorways for the fall shows. I’ve also been filling in some of your old favorites. These will be available at the fall shows: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia and at Rhinebeck. You’re not local to those shows? Send me a message and we can sneak one or two out to you.

In the meantime, visit our web store to see what is on our shelves.