Thursday, December 6, 2012

MD Hand Dyers Guild Yarn Crawl

The past 6 weeks have been a whirlwind of fluff! Crafty Bastards completely wiped me out - I sold all the soap I brought and came home with only 6 skeins of yarn, so I had to start again from scratch building inventory for a holiday yarn crawl this weekend. I'm going to be selling my yarn & soap this weekend at the first annual Maryland Hand Dyers Guild Yarn Crawl! This saturday, December 8th, and sunday, December 9th, three MD hand dyers will be opening up their studios to sell their gorgeous hand dyed yarns. They just happen to also be my three favorite local hand dyers: Dragonfly Fibers, Neighborhood Fiber Co, and Cephalopod Yarns.

I will be at the Dragonfly Fibers studio (4104 Howard Ave Kensington, MD 20895) on saturday from 10am-5pm and at Cephalopod Yarns studio (1547B Ridgely, Baltimore, MD 21230) on sunday from 10am-5pm.

I'm bringing handspun yarn (mostly art yarns, only handful of patchwork yarns), goats milk soap made with milk from my own little herd, sheepy sachets, and some project bags.

new soaps

I made 8 batches of goats milk soap right after Crafty Bastards, including these new kinds (pictured above):

Chocolate Orange - sweet orange and blood orange essential oils with a bit of chocolate fragrance oil swirled through. Colored with tumeric, paprika, and cocoa powder.

Ginger, Sweet Orange, & Pink Grapefruit - with pink himalayan salt. Lightly colored with tumeric & paprika.

Lavender, Bergamot, & Juniper Berry - with poppy seeds & lavender buds.

Chai Latte - Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg essential oils, with powdered cinnamon and nutmeg swirled through the soap.

Frosty Morning -Peppermint and fir needle (smells like a pine tree) essential oils, with powdered oatmeal and dill for color.

Any soaps left over after this weekend will be posted in my etsy shop.


The kids are growing up, I can't believe it's already been 2 months since they were born! They are technically old enough to be weaned but I switched the triplets to being bottle fed because they're so much smaller than Tarot's buckling, who was getting three times as much milk since he had an entire udder to himself. It feels strange to be milking in december (brr), but I'm getting a half gallon a day from two mini goats. Most of my other girls should be bred (fingers crossed) for spring kids.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We just finished up a mini kidding season here. Cameo had triplets, our first set of triplets ever. Two blue-eyed boys and a girl. It was a little chaotic at first, but it worked out well because Cameo is a super mom and well equipped to handle raising that many babies at once.


snuggled up

I guessed that she was going to have triplets, based on the size of her udder and how incredibly wide she got in the last few weeks before kidding:


Tarot had a single buckling, a funny laid back little guy.

last kid

Tarot's buckling

In other news, my goats milk soaps are now available in my etsy shop. I love them, I've had a long running obsession with handmade soap and it's pretty great being able to make my own. These soaps all suit my tastes: simple, natural, rustic.

I will be a vendor at the Crafty Bastards craft fair in DC again this year, but it feels like a whole new show since it's going to be indoors for the first time (hurray! No worries about rain/cold!). For the first time, you will need to buy a ticket to get into the show -  it's $10 at the door, but you can order tickets online for half price here. It is totally worth it for all the awesome vendors at this show! The new location is Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE in Washington, D.C., and Crafty Bastards is Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 from 10am-7pm.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Patchwork roundup

It's been over 2 years since I last posted about projects made with my patchwork yarns, I think it's about time for a new post! There are now 5 pages of projects made with my patchwork handspun on ravelry (maybe more that aren't linked), so I picked some of my favorites to feature. I linked back to the ravelry project pages if you want to see more pictures & details of the original projects.

Gnomey Pants, knit by knittingma from the Gnome colorway. These are beautiful. I don't even know how many times I've just looked at these pictures in my favorites on ravelry, this is one of those times when the yarn and project are perfect for each other and the finished item could not be better! The solid blue edging ties everything together and makes the colors pop. When I was designing this colorway, that shade of blue was one of the main colors it was centered around. And this only took one skein!

Folktale Wristwarmers, knit by mindfulknitter from the Luned colorway. I feel like having happy-colored knits like these keeps me warmer, but that could just be me.

A Thorpe For Mama, knit by Bertha out of the colorway Gypsy Boy. Thorpe is a free pattern, and I dearly love hats with earflaps and ties! I also love this colorway. If you go to the ravelry project page for this hat, you can zoom in on the picture to see more detail.

f a r m e r ' s : t o a s t and g y p s y {mitts}, knit by GracieBelle of One Headlight Designs from the Farmers Market and Gypsy Boy colorways.One of the reasons patchwork yarns are excellent for hand coverings like mittens and fingerless gloves (besides just looking good) is that they tend to knit up into a really dense sturdy fabric. I can wear my patchwork mitts while doing farm chores in the winter and they hold up great.

Folktale Socks, knit by EarthenKnit from the Rona colorway. Even though I like knitting socks from heavier yarns, it never occurred to me to knit a pair from my patchwork yarn. I bet they'd keep my feet toasty in this drafty little farmhouse in the winter!

Pull on Hats, knit by my friend Josie from the Farmers Market colorway. She is awesome and grows food for a school in MD, you should check out their blog, Community Farm at Sandy Springs Friends School. The colors in this hat match all the vibrant produce pictures on the blog!

lirael fingerless mitts

lirael fingerless mitts

Lirael fingerless mitts, knit by ME from the Lirael colorway. I came up with this pattern as a beginning knitter and have used it countless times over the years, but these are the first mitts I'm keeping for myself. They were SUCH a fast enjoyable knit, and very warm and comfy! I spun this yarn from squishy cormo farm wool, and it was irresistible.

And, lastly - Folktale yoke sweater, knit by POWERPAW. She blogs at LIONHAIRS and also has an etsy shop with cure accessories (I like the collar necklaces). My heart went pitter-patter the first time I saw these pictures! I need a patchwork sweater now, and my goal this winter is to spin and knit myself a sweater entirely from patchwork yarns.

I will be closing down the patchwork yarn sale tomorrow evening, so there is one more day left to place pre-orders. As of right now, the custom spots are just over half filled and I made enough to buy supplies to build nice new kidding pens for my goats so that each doe can have her own space. I'm hoping to get enough orders to be able to buy the supplies to build individual shelters for each pen too. The best part is that the pens will be moveable and can be taken apart and rearranged into different fencing configurations when I don't have any does ready to kid - so I will be able to use them for breeding pens and moveable pasture fencing too. Right now I have my nigerian dwarf does out in a small moveable pasture, eating down the crazy overgrown weeds in the garden for me. It saves me the trouble of having to scythe an acre by hand, the goats get lots of nutritious greens (and bonus: they fertilize as they go), and being able to move them to entirely new ground every day means I can worry less about parasites. Plus my neighbors get to watch the "goat parade" every evening when I lead them all back in to the barn.

Thanks, everybody who's ordered so far!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Patchwork yarn pre-order sale/fundraiser

I know it can be hard to grab a skein of my patchwork handspun yarn, since it usually sells out within a few days of a shop update, and I don't usually update more than twice a month at best. I do take requests for colorways - if you contact me saying you want a specific patchwork colorway & how many skeins, I get back to you when I have that colorway ready to list again, with pictures and details, so that you can have them listed reserved for you if you'd like. However, this takes a while unless I happen to already have the fiber dyed and ready to go in that colorway, sometimes as much as a few months. Well, now's your chance: I've decided to offer custom requests for my patchwork yarns spun from lofty minimally processed merino cross wool at a really really good price, with the goal of fundraising money to get some farm projects done.

You can pre-order any repeatable patchwork colorway or Yarnbow self-striping yarn for $30 per skein for the next few days (until wednesday Sept. 5th) OR until all custom spinning spots are full. I'm going to cut this off at a certain number of skeins in order to make sure I can get it done in a reasonable amount of time and don't get too overwhelmed - I do have a few pregnant goats due in a month, after all. I'm setting aside the month of september to spin these custom requests so that I can get them dyed, spun, and shipped before my goats kid. Shipping is a flat $4 per order, no matter how many skeins are in that order.

The temporary pre-order shop is here. To order multiple skeins in one colorway, just add the colorway to your cart, click "go to cart", and then adjust the quantity there. If you'd prefer to order through etsy, you can contact me through my etsy shop and let me know which colorway(s) and how many skeins you want and I'll make you a reserved listing.

Patchwork yarns are usually around 130-200 yds per 3.5-4 oz skein, worsted to bulky weight, and they are normally priced at $36-$42 per skein plus shipping. They will be spun from merino x wool from DHF farm in the falkland islands - their sheep are mostly merino with a small percentage of corriedale, so the wool is super soft and lofty but with a longer staple length for a sturdier, better wearing yarn. They don't use any herbicides, pesticides, dips, footbaths or regular injections on their sheep, and no bleach or other chemicals in the processing of the wool - so it is, according to them, some of the purest, cleanest wool you will find on the planet. There are 16 different colors in each patchwork colorway, and they knit up in tweedy stripes. You can see examples of how they knit either in my previous blog posts about them or on the Ravelry projects page for my patchwork yarns. I will also have a new blog post showcasing some of my favorite projects made from my patchwork yarns in a few days - I realized that it's been almost 3 YEARS since I posted finished object pictures, and there have been lots of awesome projects in the meantime, including these fingerless knits I knit for myself from the Lirael colorway:

lirael fingerless mitts

lirael fingerless mitts

Also, for those who have been asking, my goats milk soaps made with milk from my little herd, essential oils, and herbs will be done curing in about a week, so I will be listing them on etsy soon. I think this may be my first official "farm product".

goats milk soaps

goats milk soaps

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Stuff For Sale!

I finally pulled off an etsy shop update! Let's start with the yarn. Back in May, I managed to buy a really amazing fleece at the MD Sheep & Wool Fest.


It came from a Romeldale x sheep named Tofu. The "x" means that while the sheep is mostly Romeldale, it is crossbred rather than purebred ( I pronounce the "x" as "cross" when saying it aloud, so "Romeldale x" = "Romeldale cross"). This particular sheep was 37.5% Romeldale, 34.4% Romney, 12.5% Corriedale, 9.4% Border Leicester, and 6.2% Lincoln. Quite a mix! The many longwool breeds mixed in there made me nervous, since I definitely prefer a finer fleece, but based on feel and looks I probably would have guessed that this fleece was a fine corriedale or a rambouillet crossed with something with a longer staple length. It is REALLY nice. And unique - I've never worked with a fleece quite like this!

I washed, picked, carded and re-carded the wool before spinning it. This always seems to take forever to me since the spinning is my favorite part, but I also greatly enjoy having a big pile of finished batts sitting around.


Most of the batts are plain, but I blended some of the Romeldale x with dark brown CVM wool (CVM is the same breed as Romeldale, just a color variation) and some with 20% recycled soysilk. I started with a 7+ pound fleece, but after processing I ended up with about 4.5 pounds of batts. Then comes the dyeing - which also takes a while, at 16 colors per patchwork colorway! I write out detailed notes for myself before every batch that I dye. And finally, the first batch of finished yarns:

These yarns are up in the shop now, and there will be more coming in the next update or two. I also listed some merino x patchwork yarns and a handful of novelty yarns, like an extreme tailspun lock yarn and a corespun yarn with my pygora goats fiber.

I listed several of my fiber-animal themed small knitting project bags for the first time, one of the new products I mentioned in my last post. I've been sewing these since the beginning of this year and selling them at shows, and have made a few changes to my design. The changes are minor, mostly messing with the dimensions (they are all the same size, just with the width and height rearranged), but I decided to list my remaining bags at a reduced price so that I can start fresh with the next batch of bags I make. The price will go up by about $5 at the very least, since I'm using as much organic cotton fabric as possible, and I'm thinking of custom screenprinting my own fabric in the future. Here are two of the bags with a small turquoise GoKnit pouch for size comparison:

The Go Knit pouch is about 6" wide and 8" tall, and my bags vary but are about 5.5" wide and 9" tall on average, with a square bottom. They can easily hold a small project - I photographed most of them holding a half knit sock with two balls of yarn:

They are fully lined and can be reversed if you want, but really I think the fiber animal fabric on the outside is the best. I have two organic cotton sheep prints and one alpaca print fabric used on the bags in this update. Each bag is unique as the lining and accent fabrics are different. They are super useful, and can be used for things other than knitting - I've used mine to hold a spindle and fiber and embroidery projects.

They also have a carry strap, which can be hung around your wrist if you want to knit and walk, and close with a drawstring made of super strong paracord.

An important shipping note: for the first time in years, all items in this update have the option for international shipping! I finally figured out a way to allow me to ship international items both in a timely fashion and with partial tracking/insurance, so I'm testing it out. I may or may not continue to offer this in the future, but I've had many requests for this! Before I moved to the farm I shipped internationally all the time, since I could walk the packages to the post office daily.

Coming soon: super creamy goats milk soap, made with milk from my own little herd! Nigerian Dwarf goats have super rich milk, and my skin loves this moisturizing soap.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

farm update

The main reason I didn't breed most of my goats last fall was that we didn't have an unrelated buck and I couldn't find one I liked enough to buy. A buck is 50% of your herds genetics, so it pays to be picky. I finally bought my first adult buck this spring, a lovely amicable fellow with striking blue eyes.

Three of my girls stayed in the brand new buck pen with him for a month, and I'm pretty sure all three are pregnant. They should be over 2 months along now, almost to the halfway point, due Sept 30 - Oct 4. They are just starting to look rounder to me, and I'm hoping to be able to feel the babies by the end of this month.

I was so excited after breeding them that I made a quick kidding schedule. I'm already planning ahead for my fall breedings this year - I bought a second blue-eyed nigerian dwarf buckling to use in the fall, this handsome boy from Sunny Daze Farm:

He is mostly cream, but I think he has some pale gold moonspots. It's hard to tell since he could also just be dirty, but they should darken over time and become more visible. I'm going to try to breed the pygoras this fall as well. I should have a bunch of kids for sale in the spring, and a few for sale this fall. Lily's kids went to their new home last month. I was sad to see them go, but I'm glad they went together, and they're going to be pets for a family of excited kids.

                      Lily's babies

bye, babies!
I also have quite a few broody hens right now. I was planning on ordering chicks this summer, but I ended up letting them sit on their eggs and I now have 18 chicks! They are mostly heritage breed mutts, since I have a mixed flock, but they're all 50% barred rock and look like my rooster. I don't mind that they're not purebred, since all my chickens are good egg laying breeds.


It seems a little bit like magic, hatching chicks. If I have the time in the next few weeks, I'd like to try and build a separate area for a few broody hens so I can buy some rare breed eggs for them to sit on.

I've been working on a large batch of handspun yarns, and I will either have one huge update or two medium sized updates very soon. 

blurry yarnpile

I will post here either before or right after I update my shop, since there will be at least one new product available, possibly two.