Thursday, March 26, 2009

Goat Cuteness

Goats are dogs with horns. They are socially oriented communicators, opportunists, easily trained and tameable. My vet's assistant mortifies her 14 yr old daughter by driving into the school parking lot with the family goat in the front seat, heat lolling out the open window, bleating. That's dog status if you ask me. Goats are cool.
Recently I went to Elizabeth's for a mini photo shoot (that's her in my new Undulation Scarf below). She is our local "egg lady", delivering beautiful white, brown and green (worthy of Martha Stewart) eggs from chickens that do what they want, when they want, even climb trees to eat
 fresh apples. 

This time
 around (it being spring) there were baby goats in abundance. They ran to the fence to greet me and hit me up for treats. As I'm coming to learn, milk goats are often bottle fed to tame them early on. They see humans (we all look alike, you know) as
 milk bottles. So when these guys ran up to me and I put my hand in to pet them, the little grey faced darling butted my hand like it was an udder, then looked up at me like this. When they decided I was milkless, and probably wasn't getting the picture, the smartest one decided to make his plea more obvious by sitting in the feed bucket. Can't help but wonder not "if" animals think we're stupid, but "how" in "how stupid is that?" how.

Here's Elizabeth in the Undulation. I've written patterns for both scarf and cuffs and you'll find them listed separately on my Etsy store. These are easy patterns as lace patterns go...all pattern stitches work on right side rows. Everyone who has tried the cuffs on has wanted a pair. These are knit in Sierra Cascade, a mostly cotton blend. This duo is very well suited for vegetable fiber yarns.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Upcoming Classes

Just a reminder.

Sunday, April 5, 2009: Hands on Color at Haus of Yarn, Nashville, TN.

Sunday, April 19: Beginning Wheel Spinning at Yarn Expressions, Huntsville, AL

Sat and Sun, May 16, and 17: Hands on Color residential workshop at Dubose Conference Center, Monteagle, TN. See details in previous blog post. email for more info.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Boucle Version of Ripple

Pat Harder of Kid Hollow Farm gifted me with this lovely skein of her kid mohair boucle yarn. I’m not sure of the colorway, but it’s one she does a lot. Her yarns are amazingly beautiful, and she has loads of gorgeous colorways. So I knit Ripple extra long…36 rectangles…on a 60” Addi Turbo circular US 10 1/2 needle. I ran out of Pat’s gorgeous yarn, but had a 200 yd skein of Mary Ann’s kid mohair silk boucle in a "Mountain View" (olive, gold and blue), so I finished the edging with that. It took probably 600 yds in all. When Mary Ann’s daughter Lilliana saw the scarf, she started dancing around with it in total ecstacy and I knew then it had to be hers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Knitty, Spring 2009 just went live and it's full of awesome patterns, including my newest, Ripple. You'll find not one, but two (count 'em, two) versions in the same pattern page.  The handspun version (pictured here) is a neckwarmer length in sport weight in my two-ply handspun. I spun the yarn from Three Waters Farm BFL fiber, one ply each of "Winter Fields" and "Winter Daybreak" plied together. It's knit on smaller needles too. If you don't spin, you'll soon find a beautiful tonal yarn dyed especially for Ripple at Three Waters Farm. It's called Bamberino Tonal and it's a superwash merino/bamboo light worsted weight yarn> If you knit it on a size US 8 needle it will be slightly open and drapey. If you knit it on a US 5 or 6, you will get a firmer, ripplier fabric more like my handspun. I've knit Undulation (see earlier post) in this yarn and I love soon.

The standard length scarf is knit in Celery K1C2 Camelino, a worsted weight merino/camel hair blend I bought at Threadbear...very soft and cushy yarn.
The rose pin that you see in the photo of moi at the bottom of the page is called Ripple Rose and you can find that pattern in my Etsy store.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Color Class!!!

HANDS ON COLOR, a Spinning Workshop

with Lynne Vogel

Dubose Conference Center, Monteagle, TN

9 AM-4 PM, May 16 & 17, 2009

Workshop Coordinator: Daria Bocciarelli


Come as you are and leave with new color spinning skills and inspiration.


I’ve been wanting to hold a residential spinning retreat here on the mountain for some time. Finally, it is going to happen! Monteagle, TN is on Tennessee’s beautiful Cumberland Plateau (the “mountain”) and is minutes from both Sewanee’s beautiful University of the South campus and Tennessee’s scenic South Cumberland Recreation Area. Those of you who have come to Shakerag Workshops will know that we’re just a few miles from St. Andrews Sewanee.


Hands On Color, a Spinning Workshop is a residential, two-day color intensive for spinners who want to expand their understanding of spinning hand-painted rovings. In a casual and supportive atmosphere you will learn how to make many different yarns from one handpainted roving and broaden your understanding of color theory and color relationships as they relate to spinning. And just spin. We’ll explore yarn design wholistically by knitting or crocheting with our samples to see how yarns look in the final project. Although this is not a beginning spinning class, if you are comfortable spinning at a wheel or spindle, then you are ready to take this class. More experienced spinners and dyers will find plenty of inspiration from this class as well. Lynne’s goal is to encourage each participant to move forward from their own individual skill level, both technically and artistically. This is definitely going to be a very fun class, a color feast.


We’ll be housing the workshop at the Dubose Conference Center in Monteagle, TN. Reasonable and clean accomodations are available in dorm-style Claiborne Hall. Three meals a day are served in the dining room. Our conference room is large and airy, capable of holding up to 25 spinners with wheels. Mary Ann Pagano of Three Waters Farm will have a beautiful mini-store set up with fiber, yarn and handmade soap. Local participants or those with other lodgings are welcome to attend for the class, or class and meals.


Deadline for registration is May 1, 2009. Please contact workshop coordinator Daria Bocciarelli for more information and registration forms.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Shearing Day

The first time I walked into the fleece barn at the Black Sheep Gathering and stood in a room full of fresh fleeces I felt something come alive within me, an emotion powerful and ancient. This primal recognition lifted me as on a wave, awakening memories that could only be written in my DNA, memories of foggy moors dotted with sheep, guarded by the watchful eye of a border collie. I can smell the heather, feel the moisture bead up on my shetland sweater. My mind wanders to visions of hearth and tea kettle, a bite of scone, or a heavy crust of handmade bread and crumble of sharp cheddar beside a flaggon of brown ale. Even as I write I feel an upswelling of emotion.
Yesterday was shearing day at Three Waters Farm and I had the good fortune to be there. Mary Ann, Stephen and I watched as the shearer prepared his mat and clippers, put on his felt slippers, dipped a bit of Red Man with the reverence of one taking communion. Then he turned and said, "OK ladies, who's first. With gentle confidence and manly strength, he caught and positioned a ewe and deftly buzzed away a year of buttery wool. Mary Ann took each fleece as though she was handed a newborn lamb, inspected, trimmed and rolled the beautiful thing into a ball, then into a bag with the ewe's name. We watched Old Lady, Young Lady, Tawny, and the Inscrutable Romney (that's her in the photo) lose their locks in a sweep of finery. And my heart filled with bittersweet emotion at the joy of our harvest and the sheeps' loss of their
 protective blankets.

I arrived here Wednesday night for our yearly dye blowout. I love it here.Good company, good food. It's never boring. Last year there was the goat that hurt it's leg. We had to hold it to give it injections and it fainted in our arms every time (hey, I can relate). We watched Young Lady getting ready to lamb, but holding off until we finally went to town. I really wanted to see that lamb being born. We watched for three days. Of course, when we finally had to go to town, out popped a little racoon faced black BFL lamb. This year I watched that yearling render his hoggit fleece, soft, black, as we all spoke of chocolate and the caramel foam that graces a cup of well made espresso. 

This year Old Lady had given birth to triplets on the second coldest day of the year and things were nip and tuck. The morning after I arrived found me not in the dye studio, but in the barn, cradling a 5 pound ram lamb in the bib of my overalls. And during one of my short trips to the house, Young Lady managed to give birth to another raccoon faced black lamb. Just like that! I came back to the barn and there was a wet, steaming lamb on the ground. Why? 

Over the last three days Mary Ann has managed to save the lives of all three with bi hourly bottle feedings and plenty of attention to the mother. Even as we sat at the computer, Mary Ann perused the screen with a tiny ewe lamb looking on from the bib of her overalls, a bottle sticking out of her pocket like a misplaced udder waving in the breeze. Yesterday was magically warm, 70 degrees, and finally everyone looks great despite rough beginnings.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Twist Collective and Undulation

Twist Collective's Spring Issue is live and lovely. If you haven't seen this online knitting magazine, do check it out. They put a great new twist on the genre...snazzy themed layouts with models posing in beautiful places (not to mention some of the most adorable babies...gad!), lots of eye candy, really interesting articles (like Barbara Parry's sheep...oh, the lambs) and how to paint on knitted lace with dye by Linda Whiting. They have regular columns by faves like Claire Parkes of Knitters Review (Swatch It) and the Mason Dixon gals Ann Shayne and Kay Gardner (Dear Problem Ladies). And this issue features my photos in Notebook, beautifully compiled in Twist Collective's inimitable style. This is a very special honor. Thanks, ladies!!!!

In celebration of Spring, I'm offering a new pattern on my Etsy store. Undulation Cuffs put on the romance with a whimsical touch of lace. The cuffs in the photo are knit in Cascade Sierra, a cotton/wool blend in a soothing pale indigo (color 23) that melds magically with denim. They are fun to knit and fun to wear. Pattern gives tips on sizing...even for children sizes.  Emma loved being a part of our photo shoot. While mom Elizabeth modelled Undulation in her vintage Levi's jacket, Emma brought us homemade goat cheese and crackers she had fixed herself. After we were through shooting, Emma tried on the cuffs and danced around in them. Here she is handing them back, all done up like a bunch of flowers. Great gift wrap idea???