Each year I go through a process of review and goal setting, not only for this yarn business but also for my personal life. This year is no different. Well it was different in every way. But 2020’s word, Savor!, was a North Star to me. It really helped me to remember to be more present. It reminded me to build in experiences that would allow me to savor my world here on the farm. I didn’t do the savoring that I expected to, but I did learn to savor the experiences that I had, savor my reality.
It’s the first “work day” of 2021. I know that we all have such great hopes for this year. I hope that with new leadership, we can affect change in the realities of this virus. I hope that we will be vaccinated soo. I hope that the vaccine gives us the immunity that we need to go forward into the new normal. I hope that we will be able to get out and about again. I want to travel, to visit with family and friends in person and to just be more free, to be able to have more choices.
So drum roll please….. my personal 2021 words of the year are CHOOSE HEALTH. To me this means to make the choices that I need make to stay virus free. That means limiting exposure, especially these next few weeks as the Christmas travel surge is in place. It means continuing to wear my mask. It means to really remember to wash my hands (I’m not great at remembering this, I’ve never been a germaphobe) It means to make healthy food choices…not to lose weight…but to live a more full and healthy life. It means to make the movement choices to maintain balance and build strength. It means to take breaks when I’m knitting and to do hand, arm and neck stretches when I’m trying to crank out some knitting. It means to make sure that I’m planning for self care in order to improve my emotional and spiritual health. It means to make choices to be out in nature whenever possible since it feeds my soul. So for me choose health will be a guiding value for me.
I’d love to know if you have a word or phrase for 2021? Reply to this blog and share it with us!
This week I’ve been working on dyeing spinning fiber. First up has been superfine alpaca top. I wanted to show you part of the process. Especially with alpaca fiber, the dry dyed product is a lot lighter than the wet product. You can see the difference!
I’ve been missing helping people put yarn combos together. It’s part of what I love about in person festivals and now my open studio days. And there are some of you who are just not close. But last week, I had the fun and pleasure of helping Kathleen pick out some yarn from afar. She wanted to use my Cacao mohair yarn and to pair it with my synergy yarn for a pop of color. Here’s how it started:
Then we narrowed it down to these 2:
And finally she picked out the Carribean and Majesty Synergy yarns for a shawl. It’s funny how you don’t know what will really tickle your fancy until it just hits you!! That was so fun. We did this in Facebook Messenger. But you can also set up a personal shopping session on Facetime or Zoom. Just shoot me an email and we can start from there!!
Today’s podcast is a bit off my usual topics. I felt that I needed to address what I was feeling last weekend. And I thought that maybe I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling. I thought is was important enough to not only talk about this with my family but to also talk about it with my family of listeners. Last weekend I hit the wall. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was disappointed. I was down right mad too. That is so unlike me. Well not the tired part. But I’m usually a “glass half full” kind of person. I tried to find the best in every situation. But last week I just wasn’t feeling like me.
I happened to listen to Brene Brown’s podcast while going on my walk and what she was talking about really made sense. It gave me an AHA moment. When I got back to the house, I immediately found the article she was talking about. I studied it. And I really had a feeling of relief. What I learned was that we all have a “surge capacity”. An ability to use our inner strength to get things down and survive in a short term disaster like a hurricane or fire. But this Covid thing has become a slowly evolving crisis and no longer short term. We are being whiplashed around with good news and bad news on a constant basis. And I know that I’ve run out of these short term resources. They need to be recharged for the long haul.
At the same time, I started to read the book “Making a Life”. It is a beautiful book about makers who have built a life around their making. The first chapter included an interview with Ellen Dissanayake who uses her observations of children and peoples who are not “modernized”. She found principles to pass on from her observations. She noticed that every thing we create is made with out hands whether it be the written word or a clay pot. And that making is not simply utilitarian. She found that we humans thrive on “Artifying” what we make. We make the ordinary, extraordinary. We take the mundane and lift it in celebrations.
These 2 ideas really came together in my head. As makers, I think we can use that artifying and using our hands to bring us through this crisis. We can use our making as a contemplative practice. We can use our brains to not only use the here and now…feeling the yarn, touching it’s softness, hearing the clicking of our needles. But we can also use our brains to plan for the future. That’s the fun part, the planning of the new project. And that can be part of our recharge.
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.
So how do you set up an appointment? Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where to find us
Open by Appointment! Email me for an appointment or FACETIME
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.
Next Open Studio:
February 13rh from 11am to 4pm With afterhours zoom meeting from 4-5pm EST