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10 Great Gifts for the Shepherd in Your Life

Here are some great gifts that I would love to have.

1. Muck or Bogs boots–These are not only necessary when it is rainy, muddy and snowy, but you will be in STYLE while farming!!

2. Hand knit hat– If you don’t knit, then ask a friend to make one for you. This one is made from my Puck’s Choice yarn which is naturally charcoal yarn made from Puck’s fleece (border leicester), Stripes (Angora Goat) and a black alpaca fleece from VA. Each skein has 200 yards, enough for a hat. We sell it for $22 per skein.

 

handknit hat

3. Carthart overalls and jacket– This is absolutely necessary in the winter. These are so thick that you stay warm and dry in the worst weather.


4. Handwarmer packs– Cold hands make working outside really hard. And there is always outside work to do in the winter.

5. Premier feeder–I really need a bunch of these so that I stop getting “in the way” when feeding really hungry sheep and goats. Premier1 sells plans for these.

 

6. Rocky coats–These coats are durable and colorful.  Rocky makes coats in a number of sizes that just fit sheep better.  Our Cormos are covered year round so that we have the whitest, cleanest fleeces.  See Demi in the back? She is sporting a wonder Rocky Sheep Cover.

breeding group

 

7. Field Guide to Fiber–This is a small field guide that you can use when you are dreaming about your future flock. There is great information about so many breeds, their history, fiber types and great pictures.

8. Heated water buckets–an absolute must have in the winter here in the East. This is about the limit of what I can carry.

9. Lambing Supply Bucket–This is a great starter kit for your first lambing or kidding season. It is available from Sheepmen Supply here in Frederick, MD but they do ship all over the country.

 

10. Animal Care Class at FGF–We do offer sheep and goat care classes here at the farm. Our next session is January 25th in the afternoon. If you take some time to learn, you will be prepared to have your own flock.

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Wishing you a fantastic holiday season from all of us at Flying Goat Farm!

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Color–Part 3 VALUE

No doubt! Value is the hardest color dimension to talk about. I have found that seeing the value of color is a learned skill. It is hard to differentiate and so it is very frustrating.  Value is the lightness or darkness of the color, it is also is a measure of color purity and saturation.  Here is the gray scale that is used to help determine the value of a hue. While it is relatively easy to see the differences in value between white, gray and black, it is not so easy to see the value of colors. The color itself skews our perception of the value. Some hues like yellow are more likely to be at the top end of the scale, while purple is more likely to be at the darker end of the scale.

 

 

The human eye can see about 5 steps of this scale. The “pure” white, “pure” black, neutral gray and a step between those 3 values. In the real world, there are many more nuances of value. When I was learning about value, one strategy that helped was to squint or partially closed your eyes and look at the yarn, fabric, or photo and the value would be easier to see. The squinting reduces the number of color sensitive cells (cones) that are activated, while the cells that perceive light (rods) are still activated. Try this with a favorite photograph and see if you can differentiate among the values in that photograph.

There are a couple of “tricks” that we can use today.  One is the computer.  You can take a photo and change it to a black and white photo.  Also you can use red or green plastic ……to see the value differences.

 

 

If you are intrigued and would like to learn more, register for my color class on September 6th at 1pm.  Go to the fiber class page to register.  We will be doing lots of experiments to train our eyes to be better color detectors.

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Studying Color

“Can you teach me about color?”  That’s what many people say to me. I love your colors. I just never know what to choose.  A few years ago, when I taught dyeing, I just assumed that people would know what colors they liked and would be able to choose the dye to make yarn that color. It wasn’t so simple. The students would look at my yarn and copy it.  I got smarter and more strategic and now I have my students look at magazines or at Pinterest and pick some images that they like. Then we can dissect those images and pick colors they can use to learn how to dye.

I am constantly trying to hone my knowledge about color and how it affects our lives. I have noticed that we all SEE colors differently.  Art historians believe that the impressionists like Van Gogh and Monet saw colors much more vibrantly than others around them.  So this summer, I am working on the Munsell Student Color Set.

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The colors come in a small pad. They are not in any particular order that I can see. AND there isn’t an answer sheet. So it really is a good exercise.  The way I approached this experience was to look for the clear hues that had little or no grey in them. Those go on the right side of the rows. Then I looked for the shades (greyed hues) that were the same value as the true hue in each row. I then made sure that the saturation (lightness/darkness) of the shades proceeded in order from lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom.   I did this early in the morning with the clearest, brightest light. Then throughout the day I walked past them to see if there was any color chip out of place.  Every once in a while, something seemed wrong to me, so I would move the chips around to see if it made more sense.  Finally, I glued them down.  The book wants you to glue them with a “post-it” kind of glue, so that you can remove the chips and use them in further exercises.  I hope to remember to pick up some of that glue….gotta put that on a list!  The book is fantastic. It contains information about colors, hues, values and interactions. It also contains a lot of exercises to hone color knowledge.  A caveat: many of the color books available are geared towards painters and while the principles are the same, the way that fiber artists work with color is different and has to be taken into account.  So if you want to learn about color, get this book and complete the activities!  You will work with color a whole lot differently after you do!

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