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Time for a staycation?

Wow! Let’s be real here. The world is changing by the minute, right? Two weeks ago I was dreaming about my 10 days in Europe on a river cruise. I was thinking about what clothes to take, what books to read and what knitting projects to take for the long plane ride. Now? We’re staying home. Not because we are worried about getting sick, but because we were worried about getting stuck someplace. With MD sheep and wool festival coming up and off farm jobs awaiting, we just couldn’t risk getting stuck. Are you experiencing something similar?

Yarn for Conflagration scarf kit

If you want to drive out to the country and shop for materials to make a new shawl or sweater, just shoot me an email and make an appointment to come over and shop.

Another colorway for Conflagration Scarf

Do you need to self quarantine? Well, you can always buy a kit or a sweater full of yarn in our webstore.

Yarn for a Fade cardigan

Knitting is always there to help you through long days. And we are here to help you with new inspiration and ideas to make your hands and heart soar!

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FO Friday Cowl Edition

Pile o’ Cowls

Here is a pile of my finished cowls. I have knit all of these over the past couple of years. I love cowls. Have I told you that before? I love them because you put them off and they never fall off. They never unwind. They don’t drag on the floor. They are just perfect accessories in my opinion. All but one of these is my own design as well. The zephyrette cowl patterns are available here.

Do you like to wear cowls? Reply to this blog and let me know.

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Thoughts about cost of local farm yarn

Recently I bought a back issue of TapRoot Magazine. I was intrigued because the issue’s theme is: Wear. And since I’ve been spending the first part of the year thinking and studying and planning in a fibershed, local fiber kind of way, it was a perfect fit. The article that drew in my attention is by Tamera and Char White of A Wing and A Prayer farm.

Taproot published November 2019

They write about all the costs in raising and feeding the sheep that is making that yarn all the way through shearing, processing, dyeing and selling farm yarn. They really drill down in to the costs of hoof trimming (in time and money), the vet costs and the shelter for the animals. They chose one ram’s fleece which yielded about 12 pounds of wool. It became 33 four ounce skeins. The total cost for those skeins is a little over 1500 dollars. The wholesale price would be $46 and the retail $67. That is a LOT for a skein, right?

They also write about the emotional costs of raising sheep for local yarn. And also the rewards of raising your sheep to make yarn. We are a community and we love our sheep. We hope that you love our sheep and yarn as well.

Trasna skeins

With your purchase of our local farm yarn, you are supporting those sheep and goats whose fiber you are using to make a garment or a household item. Think about buying from a producer of good wool yarn. It comes in all colors and all textures. It is not all scratchy. It can be smooth and soft. It can be squishy like our Livily and Trasna yarns. It can be durable for socks and slippers like our Stratus and our mohair. We are working with our mill to make more weights of farm yarn so that we will have a farm yarn for every garment or other handmade item that you want to make. Click on any of the photos to be taken to our website to find farm yarn for your collection.

Stratus undyed and overdyed skeins
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march is national craft month

Did you know that March is National Craft Month? It is our month to shine. So let your craft flag fly!!

What will you make this month?

What will you learn this month?

indigo class

I have lots of dyeing plans and knitting plans. And I’m designing a new shawl, it’s in the works!

Reply to this blog and let me know how you will celebrate National Craft Month!

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WIP Wednesday

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a WIP Wednesday. I am closing in on finishing 2 projects. I am excited about that for sure. I need to invoke my 10 minute knitting rule…especially on this sweater. It hurts my hands at this point to knit the sleeves. But I’m so close. I have to finish it.

Modified Ursa Sweater made with 100% 3ply mohair

And the Conflagration scarf is within 1 or 2 more repeats and I can bind off.

Conflagration scarf made with sparkly yarn

What’s next? A new shawl. I can see it in my head. But I have to get it on paper, pick the yarn and cast on.

What’s on your needles? Reply to this blog and let me know…or better yet, send a photo!

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book review Faerie Knits

My absolute favorite author is Alice Hoffman. I love all of her books and all of her short stories. There is always an element of the paranormal whether that be a witch or a heron husband. She writes stories of family and love and apple orchards and death beetles. Perhaps her most well known book is Practical Magic which was made into a wonderful movie.

Blue Heron Shawl is on the cover

So when I saw that she co-wrote a knitting book with her cousin, well, I just had to have it. I was fortunate to get a signed copy, but not so lucky to actually meet Ms. Hoffman. I did however have a really nice conversation with Lisa her cousin.

This book includes 14 fairy tales which were originally published in Faerie Magazine. Each story features a heroine who knits and a knitted object. I think that my favorite of all the stories is the one featuring the Blue Heron. This heron story has made appearances in Hoffman’s books, most recently in “The World That We Knew”.

I also love that each well written pattern includes Knitting Wisdom to explain some technique or to help with making color decisions.

The mix of patterns is very diverse. There are items you could make in an hour or two and there are larger more intricate patterns. I think the mix also is good for beginners, intermediates and maybe even some advanced knitters. I highly recommend this book for it is a good read and inspires great knitting.

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even I take classes

I do. I love to learn new things. And I’ve really wanted to learn about the brioche stitch from an expert in person. And so I took a 2 color Brioche in the round a while ago. And then I was able to make the time to go to the next step: 2 color Brioche knit flat with increases and decreases.

This is a challenge for me. I don’t really like to read patterns. I like to see how something is done and model my movements after the teacher. But here you have to read the pattern. The increases are not that hard…but the decreases have many “moves” in them. And I didn’t get them right the first time. So I got help with that. And then I got it wrong a second time and I couldn’t fix it myself. So what did I do? I ripped it out and started over. I gave myself the admonition to READ the directions slowly and carefully. And I did that row correctly….mostly.

I have to READ the directions slowly and carefully for the next few rows and I hope to develop the moves to make this an easy pattern.

I love the yarn I chose for this project. This is my synergy yarn. It is spun after the dye process, so it has a tweedy, marled look. It is Merino so it is super, super soft. You can find all the Synergy colors I have here.

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Making a Local Wardrobe

Really? A whole wardrobe? What is that about? I’ve been thinking a lot about how the choices we make really effect our planet and our climate. I’ve written about this before and I have been reading and thinking about just how to make a local wardrobe.

I make wool and mohair yarn. So I can have outerwear pieces from my very local yarn. I can make socks, boot cuffs, hats, mittens, scarves, shawls and sweaters with the yarn from my own animals.

I can felt fiber into fabric to make a coat and accessories like a messenger bag or purse.

But as summer comes along, I will also need to have some lighter fabrics. There aren’t any cotton growers or cotton and linen mills in our area. So for lighter garments I will have to find cotton and linen made in neighboring states. I’m hoping to even find some hemp grown in N. Carolina. So my fibershed, my local will have to widen out a bit.

Why go to all this trouble? Because it is important to turn away from the plastic and microfibers in commercial clothing. Did you know that 60% of our garments are made with polyester. To make this, we consume 350 million barrels of oil every year. That’s amazing. That’s dangerous.

Did you also know that nearly 2 gms of microfibers come off of a jacket run through the wash. And that 40% of that makes it to streams, rivers and the oceans? We’ve seen the massive amount of plastic garbage in the ocean, but these microfibers are largely unseen and still they are a threat. Like seafood? You are ingesting this microfiber that traveled to the ocean.

So my little part may not make a huge difference. But I will be doing my part… Want to do your part too? Think about your own local wardrobe or local pieces. We have wool and mohair yarns made right here in many different weights and we are growing this local yarn line as I write this.

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Next Shawl?

What shawl is in your queue? What shawl will you be knitting next?

One of the steps that is so hard for knitters is to put together skeins that will make a great shawl. Skeins with enough differences to be interesting but have enough similarities that the shawl will be gorgeous. I’m helping with that problem by putting together curated trios of skeins that are fingering weight that are perfect for many, many shawls.

All you need to do is pick a pattern, grab some needles and cast on. You can see all of the options in our web store here. These are all one of a kind. So if you see something that thrills you, it would be good to snatch it up.