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New Fall Yarns for your Collection

We have 2 new yarns this year and I’m dyeing up A LOT of it.

The first yarn is called LiViLy Bounce. It is a sport weight. Each skein has 330 yards in each 4oz skein. And it feels so great. It is made from our Cormo fleeces. I haven’t yet put any on the needles and I need to get to that. I know it will be amazing. You can find our available colors here.

The second yarn is Trasna Fingering. It is a fingering weight with 400 yards in each 4oz skein. It is made from our Cormo X fleeces and again so nice to the touch. I have knit a swatch of this one and it has amazing stitch definition. You can find some of the colors here. More colors to come within this week.

I know you will love these yarns that are sustainable, climate beneficial and beautiful to boot!! Remember that when you buy farm yarn you support our sheep and goats through the winter!

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Report from the Show

Well, it was our first in person show in our area in 18 months. And I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, nearly everyone wore a mask. There was lots of social distance between people as well.

The weather was beautiful. People were happy. And there was lots of squishing of yarn happening.

So thank you for coming out if you did. If you didn’t come out this time, think about it for next time!

Of course if you are local, you can come by during our farm chick studio weekends. Our next open studio is October 30th. We’ll be open from 11-4.

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Nurture Your Inner Artist

I never thought I was an artist when I was growing up. I was told that I couldn’t draw, and I guess I thought that drawing is what made you an artist. And it became a self-fulfilling prophecy because the artistic abilities I do have weren’t nourished.  I found and read the Artist’s Way in 1992 when my life took a total shift away from an abusive situation to one where I was the one in control of my life. It’s funny to say that now, because there are so many days when I don’t feel like I’m in control.  But I do get decide what I am doing on any given day. I do decide if I’m dyeing, what I’m dyeing, if I’m designing and if I’m learning.

Anyway, back to the Artist’s Way. I did morning pages for probably 2 years straight. I did them religiously. And they did help me find myself and my inner artist again. They helped me figure out my feelings and what my next steps were. I really like to write, but sometimes I decided not to write daily.  

Along with daily morning pages, Julia Cameron you must commit to go on an Artist Date once a week. Man, I had such a hard time doing that. What to do? Where to go? I would go to the LA County Art Museum, duh. That’s a no brainer. I went to farmer’s markets. I went to funky shopping districts, like Main Street in Santa Monica, Melrose Ave., or Brentwood area in LA. I went to great bookstores like the Bodhi Tree (where I even went to a book reading by Cameron) or even to the nearby library to just look at magazines. But they felt disjointed and weird. I never really felt filled up by them, something wasn’t quite right.

I stopped doing the morning pages after I went back to teaching full time. In the summers, I would dabble in the pages, but it wasn’t really lasting or nurturing for me. Now that I am a full-time artist, I have developed the habit of morning pages. Writing them helps me to build my daily intention. It is helping me become a better writer just by the shear practice of writing. To get back to that practice of writing every day, I joined 750words.com. This website is a community where you can write your morning pages, digitally. It reminds you if you forget and it is a place where you can put in searchable words to find your thoughts later.

Back to artist’s dates, they continue to be hard for me. And with these pandemic times, going out and venturing in public just hasn’t been reality for me. Pre-pandemic, we would take trips to DC or to Longwood Gardens to be a fun day away from the farm as part of a staycation when Bill was off from work. Every time I step into the Longwood visitor center, I begin to feel like this is an artist date. I see amazing still lives, colors and closeups that could make beautiful photographs. With each view of flowers, the water scapes, and tree houses with their almost art deco look, I get filled up inside. We stroll through the large greenhouse with its orchid room and green wall and delightful children’s garden. I take so many photos.

We usually plan to eat lunch at 1906 Restaurant.  Lunch is always artistically and physically filling. Each course is unusual and so, so good. It is a great place to take a rest, cool down and reflect.

When we leave, we were full of new inspiration and new motivation. We will definitely go back to Longwood for seasonal artist dates when we feel safer within this covid pandemic. Click here for information about the gardens.

Incorporating these 2 practices: writing morning pages and taking artist dates are so integral in integrating my dye work, my creativity, and my intention for the day.

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New! Website Page for Free Stuff

I just created a page on the website that is the place to find lots of free stuff. All through the past 2 years and really probably the whole 16 years I’ve been in business, I’ve written and recorded lots of educational content. I have printables and links to the videos of tips of the week. There are book guides too.

And of course, my podcast is free and can be found here on the website OR you can subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

I also have videos of the tips of the day and podcasts and other learning opportunities on YouTube here or on Vimeo.

I’ll be added more and more to this page weekly. So bookmark the page and come back often to see what’s new!!

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New Podcast: Resources for Hand Spinners

In this episode, I talk about some of my very favorite resources on the bookshelf. Some of the books include: The Intentional Spinner, Yarnitecture, Intertwined, The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Design, Color in Spinning, A New Look at Color, Spinning and Dyeing Yarn, Start Spinning and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook with it’s companion, A Field Guide to Fleece. Lisa also recommends some spinning teachers to follow including Jillian Moreno, Judith MacKenzie, Maggie Casey, Esther Rodgers and Alanna Wilcox.

Click here to listen to the podcast

Click here to watch the Vimeo video

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TOTW: Why you need to knit gauge switches the same way you will knit the garment

I KNOW!!! You don’t want to do a gauge swatch. But in reality there are some good reasons to do that. Especially when you are making a garment that needs to fit. In this video, I’m sharing the way that I make a gauge swatch that will give me the MOST information. This is particularly important if you are making a garment from handspun yarn. The Tour de Fleece is going on right now. It’s day 3 in fact, only18 more days to go. Many of us are spinning to make a wearable item. You knit swatch will give you information on the gauge, right? But it will also give you information about how a lace or cable section might look. It will also give you a swatch that you can use to see if this is going to be the kind of garment you can wear next to the skin or if you need an undergarment too. So I hope you watch this video and learn some lessons that I’ve learned through trial and a bunch of errors!!

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Let’s Talk Yarn Standard Weights

So you want to make that really cool shawl/sweater/scarf/hat on Ravelry. It calls for a yarn that is discontinued, but you have the same standard weight yarn in your collection that would be really great. Can you just go ahead and use that yarn and get the same results as the photo?

Maybe…. Here’s a video of my understanding of standard weights and how they affect all your knitting.

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Newly Added! In Person Spinning Class

Are you a fiber lover? Have you dreamed about making your own yarn? Now that vaccinations are in place and the virus is starting to wane. I am going to start offering my in-person classes to a small select group of people. 

This spinning class will be limited to 2 people at a time.  Depending on the weather, we may be able to do this outside on the porch unmasked. Or if we need to be indoors we will wear masks at least until that mandate is lifted.  I will be offering this once a month for the next few months.  If my dates don’t work for you, please contact me and we can work out an alternate date or time.

blue green marled merino yarn

This is a 3 hour class offered from 1-4pm on each of the dates.  You don’t need to bring anything, I have spinning wheels and spindles for you to use.  If you do have equipment that you would like to use, just let me know.

Really early FGF dyeing

You will learn how to prepare the fiber for spinning. You will learn how to use a spinning wheel and/or a spindle to make yarn from roving.  If there is time, you will also learn how to ply your yarn too.

You can reserve your spot here.

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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