Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

From me and the reindeer goats.

Bonus outtake:

I hope everyone is having a warm and cozy winter! If you want more goat pictures, check out my flickr stream or this blog post by my friend Josie about my first time shearing my pygora goats.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rain, rain, go away

It is so very rainy here! All day it's been dark and dreary, and every so often the wind picks up and I can hear walnuts thunking onto the roof. It's actually pretty good spinning weather, but I'm crossing my fingers that my last few yarns dry in time for Crafty Bastards this saturday, and that the sun comes out for the craft show.

Here's a small preview of the many yarns that I'll have for sale at Crafty Bastards - the pictures are extra moody and dark thanks to the clouds:

Corespun yarn with lots of multicolored puffs

Cherry Blossom yarn, spun from naturally colored local farm fibers with a bit of hemp and hand-felted, hand-dyed, and hand-embroidered cherry blossoms

Mushroom Collector, with tiny felt mushrooms spun in

Handspun and hand-dyed recycled bamboo rayon

Leafy yarns! I have a lighter version and a darker version, four skeins of each

Now it's time for labeling and the final inventory. I know for sure that I surpassed my minimum goal for this show, and also broke my record for most yarns spun for a show. I have so much yarn right now. About three times the amount of yarn I brought to my first Crafty Bastards! Every year I manage to spin more and more.

Besides yarn, I will also have: felty baubles, 2 pairs of handspun + handknit fingerless mitts, sheepy sachets (filled with organic herbs), batts, and a few other fibers (hand dyed local wool locks & rainbow hemp).

Crafty Bastards is this saturday, October 2nd, 10am-5pm at the Marie Reed Learning Center at 18th & Wyoming in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington DC. The map of the fair is here - come look for me in booth #95!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting ready for Crafty Bastards

It's that time of year again! Crafty Bastards is coming up fast, and I've spent the past month getting ready. Strangely enough, the usual craft show panic hasn't hit me yet. I'm feeling pretty serene. It might have something to do with the fact that I'm fairly certain that I'm going to break my record for most yarns spun for a craft show (or ever all at once) sometime in the next few days.

I also recently finished spinning the largest single skein of yarn I've ever spun. 9+ ounces! The hardest part was fitting this thing on my bulky flyer, I ended up having to stop because I had it packed on so tight that the back of the flyer popped off and refused to go back on.

I've secretly been referring to it as 'the beast' in my head. Although probably I won't actually name it that. Probably I'll come up with something nicer sounding.

Here it is next to a normal sized skein of my patchwork yarn (heavy worsted to bulky weight) for scale.

I was planning on spinning another huge skein or two in different colors, but I haven't quite recovered yet from the first one. We'll see!

P.S. This year at CB, when people ask if I raise any fiber animals, I will be able to answer: "Yes!"

But please don't ask unless you really don't mind hearing all about how awesome my goats are.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have a few different things that I've been meaning to post about, but the only thing I can think about right now is: goats! Our three milk goat ladies arrived here this past sunday, and this week has been full of as many visits to the barn as we can fit in. We even contemplated sleeping in the barn (we're still thinking about it!). They're all registered purebred nigerian dwarf goats with fancy papers. Oh, and they're all under knee high - I think the average height at the withers for a nigerian dwarf goat is about 20". Get a ruler. It's little.

Let me introduce them:

This is Cameo. She's the daintiest of our goats and looks a lot like a fawn with her coloring and body structure - but she's also the most fearless and aggressive! She's our current herd queen.

This is Tarot. She's a big scaredy-cat but is coming around quickly. Tarot and Cameo are about the same age and I have a feeling they grew up together, because they stick together a lot.

And this is the lovely miss Cowalily. She's my goat (Lucius picked out the other two). She's a year older than the other two and so a bit bigger. I think she's just gorgeous.

We're going to take our does to visit a buck this fall and be bred, so next spring we will have tiny baby goats and milk. And my first pygoras will be arriving in about a month or less, so we will have a nice little herd soon! Next we need to think of a farm name so we can get started building a website and getting business cards and such in preparation for selling at farmers markets. I think we should just go with Folktale Farm, but L hasn't been very receptive to that so far.

I'll be back to talking about fibery things soon, I promise! I updated my etsy shop on thursday and it's already empty again - but I'm working on another big update in a week or two.

Friday, July 16, 2010

home sweet home

Hello! I've sort disappeared from the face of the internet for a few months there - did you miss me?

There have been some big changes going on in the little world of folktale, mainly: we bought a house!

A house...and 4.5 acres!

And the past few months have been a blur of moving and adjusting. We bought this house from the Thornes, who are amazing. We didn't know this when we first found the house, but they're involved with the maryland sheep and wool fest and have a booth there selling wool, yarn, and seedlings (I'm pretty sure we even bought stuff from them in the past).

I love this house. It was built around 1950, and it reminds me of my grandparents house a bit (which was probably built around the same time). I'll have more pictures of the inside (including my small craft/fiber room) when it's a little more organized and set up, but here's part of the kitchen:

I have a small veggie patch going in the garden, but about 99% of the garden is giant weeds and wheat right now. The garden is huge. Huge!! Since we don't have a tractor, my plan is to build a ton of raised beds and then have some fruit trees and berries and herbs in the back. I'm really excited to be able to grow things, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with sustainable organic gardening. I did a bit of companion planting with my vegetables - carrots and calendula in with the tomatoes, and a "three sisters" patch with corn, squash, and beans planted together.

We also have chickens! They're pretty spoiled. I still can't get over their funny little dinosaur noises and their silly chicken mannerisms - they manage to make me giggle almost every time I see them.

And the best part: I'm going to have a small fiber flock. My first pygora goats will be arriving this fall, and we'll have a few miniature milk goats as soon as we finish fixing up the barn. I haven't decided whether or not I want to get sheep - I'm going to think it over and decide next spring after we've been living with the goats for a while.

I'm about ready to re-open my etsy shop. I finally made it through nearly all of my custom orders, and I have a nice little stash of handspun yarn stockpiled for the shop. I'm hoping to update sometime in the next few days - I spent this morning taking pictures of yarn on my window seat.

I kind of forgot about this until recently, but when I was about 12-14 years old I went on a field trip with my school to a place where you take a series of tests and then they give you an extensive list of ideal careers for you. My top careers all turned out to be things like "llama farmer", and the 12-year-old me found this hilarious. But man, those must be some crazy accurate tests, right? And I guess it's good to know that I'm suited to raising fiber animals ahead of time, haha.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homespun Yarn Party tomorrow!

I'll be vending at the Homespun Yarn Party in Savage, MD tomorrow - this is my second year selling there, and last year was awesome so I'm even more excited for this year. Lots and lots of local fiber people will be there, plus my favorite soap maker. HYP is located in the historic Savage Mill, which used to be a fiber mill but is now full of shops & restaurants.

I will be debuting some naturally plant-dyed combed top for sale tomorrow. I have naturally dyed yarn, too, a bulky wool/mohair blend. I'm so very happy with how it turned out:

And I am most especially happy with the greens. Green is my favorite color, and I have never before managed to so successfully dye such pretty shades of green with natural dyes.

In fact, I'm keeping this one (there are multiple chains of this colorway + a few others). And I'm kind of hoping the rest don't sell...

Another thing I'm happy about are my local fiber corespun yarns, spun from local kid mohair, local merino, and organic local blue faced leicester/border leicester wool, all processed by me from raw fleeces.

I have one really pretty tailspun skein, organic local bfl/border leicester from a sheep named Hadley.

Aaand, lots of other novelty yarns. Leafy yarns, several skeins of the cherry blossom yarn from my last post, patchwork yarns, a bunch of yarnbow self-striping skeins, and one yarn that incorporates plush stars hand dyed & handsewn by me from a recycled wool/angora blend sweater.

My only problem will be trying to fit everything on the table!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fresh start

I love the beginning of the new year. It's when I get a fresh start and get to re-think and re-organize and plot new things. I pick out what I need to work on to improve my business and my personal life. It's also right before spring and shearing season! I'm currently trying to decide what to focus on with my fleece-buying from local farms. I got some lovely samples of this years fleeces from one of my favorite farms:

My only problem right now is narrowing down my choices, because I want it all! I'll be talking more about the local farms I get my wool from later this spring, after I start making my fleece-buying trips.

I'm planning out lots of new yarns for upcoming shows & my etsy shop, mostly spring-inspired. Here is one of my favorites, Cherry Blossom:

I've had the idea for this yarn in my head for over a year now, and I'm really excited that it turned out so well. It's spun from a blend of natural chocolate brown merino wool locks from local sheep that are kept as pets, plus a bit of local natural brown rambouillet/border leicester locks, local natural charcoal kid mohair locks, local natural pale caramel kid mohair locks, and a bit of natural off-white loose hemp fiber. The cherry blossoms are hand-felted from merino x wool, recycled tussah silk, and hemp gauze, then hand dyed and embroidered by me. I have a lot of this gorgeous chocolate merino, so I'm spinning up quite a few of these skeins.

While my thoughts are turning to spring, its really very wintry here. We were hit with 30 inches and then another 10-20 within a few days, and everyone has been trapped inside on and off all week.

(Picture taken by L) That's okay, I don't mind being stuck inside - I know once spring actually gets here, I'll have a harder time focusing on getting work done, so right now I'm trying to be productive. By the time spring finally rolls around, I plan on having a nice little stockpile of yarn!