Posted on Leave a comment

holiday knitting? Too Late?

Is it too late to start knitting for Christmas? Maybe, but maybe not. How can you figure that out? Well let’s do some math…it’s simple math.  

  • How long can you knit each day? For me, it’s realistic to say that I could knit 1 hour a day for at least 6 days a week. That’s 6hours a week.  
  • How long until the holidays or when I have to mail presents?There are 6 weeks until christmas and hannukah week. So that is 36 hours of knitting.  
  • And so how long would a project typically take? Well that depends, right. So we have to think strategically. Use a bigger yarn and bigger needles or a smaller project like hat, cowl, mitts.  I know that I can knit a fingerless mitt in about 2 hours. And so that is 4 hours for a pair.  I could probably do a hat in that time as well. And I’ve timed myself on my Lacy Cowl made with luxurious Zephyrette and I know that takes me about 3 hours of knitting. So let’s go with 4 hours.  I could make 9 projects in the time left.  9?!?!?!

But is that reasonable? I’ve already told you all that I am the world’s slowest knitter. But still I could conceivably get some presents knit for some very special people.

Need some ideas? Well a Zephyrette cowl makes a very luxurious gift with very little knitting time. The Lacy cowl below took me 2-3 hours of TV knitting to complete. The other cowls will take slightly longer. The yarn is so soft and warm and beautiful that it is a pleasure to knit and it will be a treasured gift for that knitworthy friend or relative. Pick a skein of Zephyrette and let me know what pattern you are interested in and we’ll get you started on this gift.

Posted on Leave a comment

Handmade Holiday

I may be too late or I may be too early, but nevertheless, I’m working on my holiday gift list. And at this time of year, I think back to all the wonderful childhood Christmas gifts that I received over the years. I remember the anticipation to see what Santa brought for me. I remember the ritual of opening presents…not all at once, but one at a time around the family circle. And I remember the gifts that I made for my aunts and grandparents, mom and dad. Sometimes I cringe when I think back to those homemade gifts made by my small hands. But at the same time there was a nice exchange involving the whole family.

My first presents for adults were pot holders. My mom had taught me to use the sewing machine and I think that I made these when I was 10 or so. I used leftover fabric from clothes mom had made for us. And I stuffed them with old worn out towels. They were cute and functional and I could replace them year after year.

When I was in high school and knew how to type, I made a salad cookbook. I used carbon paper to make the multiple copies and so you know that it was less than neat…. I had gelatin salads and tuna salad and egg salad all the favorite salads that my family liked to make and eat.

shibori

One of my favorite presents each year was the dress that my mom sewed for me. I don’t remember being mortified by handsewn clothes as some people talk about. I loved these outfits. My mom was really good at keeping these hidden and so they were really a surprise.

Do you make handmade gifts? A tin of cookies or a knitted hat? Or do you shop for special items at a free trade store or a small business? I have 2 suggestions for you. First, if you are local you should come out for our Fiber Art Studio Holiday Tour on December 7th and 8th from 10-5. At each stop we will have indie yarn of course and we will have many finished goods ready to be wrapped and labeled for gifts, such as jewelry, felted figurines for your mantle or your tree, hand dyed scarves, napkins and tea towels, hand knit hats and shawls and many other fun items. At each stop there will be a free pattern for a small item to make for a gift. So come out and get in the holiday mood with us.

Secondly, if you are busy that weekend or live far away, you can get a quick cowl kit to make with zephyrette yarn. My Lacy Cowl is a really quick knit. By making it with Zephyrette, you will have a luxurious gift for a special friend or family member.

What am I making? I’m going to do some shibori tea towels dyed with indigo and/or walnuts that I’ve found around here. I also found some awesome handmade necklaces made by a fellow fiber farmer and I snagged a few of those for presents as well. What will you be making?

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Great Gifts for the Spinner in Your Life

Here are some of the wonderful gifts that would be perfect for the spinner in your life.

sonoma harvest3

1. Spanish Peacock spindle–This craftsman makes the most beautiful spindles in many different styles: top whorl, bottom whorl and supported. Check out his gallery to find a great gift for the spinner you love.

2. Sarah Anderson’s book– Have you always wanted to spin cocoons and boucle? This book is informative and stunningly beautiful.

3. A cup holder for a spinning wheel–This is definitely for the spinner who has everything! I found it at The Woolery.

4. Gradient dyed roving–One of my guilty pleasures is buying wonderful roving to spin, even though I can dye it myself. Melissa at Wild Hare Fiber Studio dyes wonderful gradients that are so fun to spin. Check out her latest offerings here.

5. A blending board by Clemes and Clemes is a really fun tool to have. The spinner you love can use it to make unique color and fiber blends.

 

6. Spinner’s Control Card–This tool is great for the spinner who is working to make different weights of yarn. With it, a spinner can check the weight of their yarn. It will make a good stocking stuffer! You can find it here.

 

7. An art batt or two!  You can make unique and beautiful yarns with an art batt.  There are lots of ETSY makers. One of my favorites is JazzTurtle. You can find her shop here.

 

8. A McMorran balance–This is another great tool for a handspinner. With it you can measure how many yards per pound your yarn is. This measure will let you calculate the yardage you have made as well as help you to translate your handmade yarn into commercial yarn lingo, such as sport or worsted weights. I found it at The Woolery.

9. Subscription to Ply Magazine–This magazine is merely 2 years old. I love the photos and the information presented. The articles are written by a wide array of spinners.  A gift subscription will be enjoyed all year!

10. A gift certificate to FGF–We have wonderful natural colored and dyed rovings for the spinner you love. If you don’t know which one might be most loved, give him or her a gift certificate and let them pick.

What’s on your wish list? Please share your favorite gift idea for a spinner in the comments!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

twins 75 76

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