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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‚Ķfeeling 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!

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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!