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Canceled Festivals? No problem

We just found out this week that Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is not going to be held. This is the first time in it’s 47 years that it is being canceled. The first shows of the year, Fibernate and HomeSpun Yarn Party are also canceled. It’s hard to put into words just how I feel. On the one hand, I’m glad that we are taking Covid 19 seriously. I am glad that by canceling we are putting our neighbor’s health on par with our own. I’m sad to not be seeing all the wonderful knitting and crocheting and spinning and felting that you have done since the last time we saw you. I’m sad to not be able to see the excitement in your eyes as you think about a new project you could make with my hand dyed yarn or roving.

This is a time for a pivot. Especially if you have bought yarn or roving from me in the past. You know what to expect with my yarn. So the pivot will be that you will start to buy online.

I’m still here for you to ask questions. I’m here to take you (on your phone or ipad) into the studio and help you pick out the yarn you want to buy. I’m here to package it up and get it in the mail to you. I have been uploading virtual yarn shop videos to my YouTube channel all week, so you can hear about the yarn and see the colors I currently have. You can access them here.

BFL roving in Raisin Colorway

This weekend, Sunday specifically, we are trying a new experiment. During the hours that HomeSpun Yarn Party would be held, we will be having a virtual yarn party. From 12 to 5pm, we will have a special sales code for 15% off and any order over $100 will have free shipping. Anyone who buys during that time, will also be entered in door prize giveaways from the team at HomeSpun Yarn party. You can get the secret code in 2 ways: join my email list here in the popup window and I will be sending out a blast Sunday morning with the code OR tune into the HomeSpunYarnParty facebook group here on Sunday from 12-5. This is the first time we are trying a group virtual festival, so we’d love to see this work well for you.

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have you been out?

How are you feeling? I have to say that I’m feeling a little lonely. I always work from home. And I haven’t felt lonely before. I have an advantage of being an introvert, so no people doesn’t really get to me. But it is getting to me. I went out today. I took orders to the post office. It was empty. Downtown Frederick was empty. The Common Market was limiting people entering so there weren’t a lot of people in the produce section. I had my wipes with me. I had my own bags. The cashier was wearing gloves. It’s the new normal.

When I got home I found out that MD Sheep and Wool has been cancelled and that was just a punch in the gut. All the work I’ve been doing to increase my inventory is for naught. The optimist inside me says “It’s not for naught!! People need yarn. They will want to have happy colors of yarn delivered right to their doors.

To help my people find those happy colors, I’m doing daily Instagram and FaceBook stories about the yarn. You can see the colors up close and personal there or on my You Tube Channel here. So far I’ve uploaded sessions of our Chinook yarn, Alto yarn and Sparkly yarn.

So to say it again. You can come by and shop in alone or in a small group. Or you can arrange a Face time call and we can look at the yarn together. And lastly, you can watch my videos and then go directly to the shop and get it delivered to your door quickly.

Reply and tell me how you are dealing and how you are coping with the new normal.

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Virtual Studio Tour

Now that we are living in the time of Coronavirus, it’s time to think outside the box. You, our talented and creative customers, buy from us at fiber festivals. They are big! There are more than 50 people. And now that we are all limited and advised to stay at home and safe from exposure to the virus, we need to get yarn to you in a new way.

First of all, if you are local, you can always make an appointment to come and shop. Our space is clean. We are out in the country. The surfaces that you touch will be cleaned before and after your visit. Just shoot me an email and we can decide on a time.

If you aren’t local, we can still get yarn to you. If you would like your own personal tour, you can make an appointment for a face time call. We can go to the studio and you can see the yarn you need and ask any questions that you have about quantity, texture, patterns, all of that.

Sparkly yarn

Or you can just go to our web store HERE. You can explore the yarn and kits and roving that I have in stock.

In order for you to get to know our yarn better, I’m making a video everyday that highlights one of our yarns in all the colorways that are currently available. I did the first one today. You can find it by clicking HERE. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel you will be notified each time a new video is uploaded. You can also see these each day in my Instagram and FaceBook stories.

Yarn for Conflagration kit

It’s a perfect time to use our isolation to make beautiful, creative projects, to take a walk in the woods and to spend quality time with our families.

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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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Autumnal Yarn Collection

hand dyed yarn in autumn fall colors

I’m working on my Autumn yarn collection that will make their debut at the three fiber festivals in September and October. I have a booth at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, Fall Fiber Festival at James Madison’s Montpelier and Rhinebeck Fiber Festival. I’m still deciding which yarn will be the featured yarn at which festival. As you can see these are fingering weight yarns. They make excellent socks but I also love this yarn for making shawls. Click here if you would like to join my mailing list so that I can let you know about new colorways, patterns and which of these yarns will be available a specific show.

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Sweater Inspiration

Alto DK weight yarn

Have you started your Rhinebeck sweater yet? If not, think about using this wonderful yarn for your next sweater. It is our Alto. The yarn is DK weight and is a blend of superwash BFL wool and silk. It is very shiny and it has a wonderful drape. You can find it in our webstore.

This sweater was knit with Alto in the Lightning colorway. It was designed by Corrine Walcher of Gingyknits. It is great to wear. It is so soft and has a great drape-y hand. There is a cabled lace on the side seams and down the sleeves. The pattern is available here on Ravelry. It is called The Land of Silver Birch.

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Finding Your Joy!

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is in the small moments. It is in the smell of cinnamon almonds and kettle corn. It is in the turning of the fall leaves.  It is in the light playing off the Potomac as you are crossing over it.  It is in the feel of a great yarn like our Zephyrette. It is in the feeling you get when you start a new project OR when you finish one. It is in the sound of the trick-or-treaters at your door, the cute ones, not the teenagers (LOL). It is a feeling of connection with other people and with nature. It is the feeling that all is right in your world, right now.

These last few weeks, I wrote about overcoming overwhelm at these shows.  I realized just recently, that I need to regain my joy at fiber shows. And I am writing today because I have come to understand that maybe you need to find that joy as well.  If you want an additional help for defeating overwhelm, I made an organizer for you that you can get here.  And while I don’t know if I have all the answers for finding joy instead of overwhelm, I think this is a start.

Before I was a vendor, I would go to these shows as a buyer and a looky-loo and a participant. And it is true that there are a lot of people and a lot of activities and a lot of things to buy. There are things to eat and drink and there are animals and fleeces, too.  There is a lot.

Now that I am a seller at these shows, my perspective is a little different.  There is all of that still and there is my color work that I have up on my wall for you to look at and hopefully to take home with you.  But, I think today I will peel back the curtain and let you know that I have felt myself losing the joy at shows. You know that’s hard to write, because I love what I do. I love to make beautiful color combinations. I love packing up the yarn and roving and putting it up on the grid wall. I love to have you look at what I’ve been making for you. But I feel my joy starts to dissipate as I respond to people telling me that they are overwhelmed or that they just got here and have to look around first or that they are on a fiber diet. I start to take on those feelings too.

My message to you today is this: when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed at a show, stop and take a moment.  Maybe go outside and sit for a minute. Maybe go into that empty booth instead of the one with the line and take a moment to appreciate the work that artist has done. Even if it isn’t anything you want or need, that person has brought it there for you to admire.

I’m asking you to do something not only for me but for all the other artists at the show. Just tell us something good. Tell us that you love our colors. Tell us that you appreciate what we are doing. Tell us that you love that shawl. That kind of interaction will build us up.

And I promise to you that I will do the same. I will complement your sweater or shawl. I will appreciate the colors you put together. Together we can spread that joy throughout the show. We, artists, don’t expect you to buy something at everyone’s booth. Of course, I hope you will find something that you love in my booth. But don’t make an excuse, just say thank you.

And what about that family that is walking too slowly or that person who just stopped dead in her tracks? Spread the joy with them too. Complement them, don’t get angry. It’s supposed to be a fun day not a stressful one. Say a kind word to that person or admire their hat or sweater or shawl that they have made.  Feel that connection to the artists, fiber farmers and creatives who are out for a day of joy at the fiber festival. And of course, come by our booth and say Hi! It will be one of the joys in my day!

 

 

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Defeat Festival Overwhelm!

Do you get overwhelmed at yarn or fiber festivals?
Do you feel like you buy yarn that sits in your closet, mocking you and demanding to be used?
Do you feel like you have a stash but not a collection?

You are not alone! You have plenty of company.  I hear the anxiety and frustration at every show. I hear it within 5-10 minutes of the gates opening and I hear it at noon, when people are tired and hungry and I hear it at the end of the day.

I have been thinking for a long time about this topic. Because as a yarn and fiber maker, this overwhelm is not just a problem for the shopper. It is my problem as well.  How can I help my new and seasoned customers feel comfortable, relaxed and joyful at these festivals.

My answer is a technique that helps me to deal with being anxious when faced with lots to do and too many choices.  I know that I feel less overwhelmed when I go shopping with a list. With a list, I have a mission to accomplish.  With a list, I can be focused about my purchases. With a list, I can remember what I need and what I want to make. And when I use a list, I can feel like I’ve accomplished something that I needed to get done.

And along the way, of course,  I may exercise my right to buy some things that weren’t on the list, but I have my mission to complete and that gives me purpose and reduces choices in a small way.

In order to help you with this I’ve made “Festival Fix”. This little brochure is a place where you can put your ideas BEFORE you get to the festival. There are 2 sections to put the information about a garment that you want to make. You will write down the pattern name and what weight of yarn you need. Also the number of skeins or yards of yarn you need and what you should look for….is it a semi-solid or a variegated? Do you want to make it in cool colors, warm colors or natural colors? And the 3rd flap is a place for you to write down any special projects that may be coming up like the holidays, or a special birthday or any special item for charity or a resistance garment like the pussy hat.

Do you think this would work for you? Do you want a copy for yourself? If yes, click here to get one for yourself.  And tell your friends that they can get this free download when they enroll for my emails here.