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Maryland Sheep and Wool Prep Behind the Scenes

These are part of my Five Elements collections. In this photo are space and water

Getting all ready for the show this weekend. Remember I’ll be open from 11-2pm on Saturday and Sunday and I will be hosting concierge shopping at 3pm EDT via zoom. Link will be sent out to email subscribers on Friday morning.

More of the Five Elements collection: earth, fire and air pictured
Big ole pile of Zephyrette our luxury blend
More springtime colorways
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WIP: Fixing a Garment

You know that feeling when you finish a pattern and the garment just doesn’t fit? I do. I’ve had it happen a number of times. This hat has been on my to-re-do pile for a while. It is just too small.

Thankfully, I have some of this same yarn and colorway that was returned from a sample knitter. So I decided to pick up the edge and just knit a ribbing on the hat. For some reason, this pattern doesn’t have a ribbing on it so it made sense for me to add one to make this a better size for me.

I made sure that as I picked up the stitches the “seam” that happens went to the inside of the hat. There will still be a slightly visible line, but I’m OK with that.

I’m thinking that I may make a doubled rib edge on this. That is when you make the ribbing twice as wide as you want. Then you fold it and do a 3 needle bind off to “sew” the end of the ribbing onto the inside of the hat.

Would you ever try this? Have you ever done something similar? Or do you rip it all out and start all over again?

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2021 Words of the Year

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!

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FO Friday–Alpaca Top Edition

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!

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Helping Pick Out Yarn Combos

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:

Cacao Mohair and Synergy yarns

Then we narrowed it down to these 2:

Cacao Mohair with Majesty Synergy
Cacao Mohair and Carribean Synergy

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!!

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Bonus Podcast: Pandemic Fatigue

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.

You can hear more about this by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the podcast on itunes.

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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.

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planning for my autumn collection

Even with no in-person shows, I still want to design a really nice autumn collection of colorways. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the inspirations I’m thinking about using this year.

So you have a favorite of these photos or colors? I’ll be revealing my experiments in the coming weeks.

Here are last year’s autumn colors!
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Around the farm these days

Here’s a few shots from the last week or so….

Tiger swallowtail on mint flowers…a sure sign of late summer
Portrait of Henrietta….our colored BFL
Blackberry the Cashmere who is a lot less than friendly on a good day!! LOL
Portrait of Bill trimming a Cormo hoof….look at the sweet face of that sheep
Free form wool dryer balls that look like river stones. I’m loving these so much!