Friday, August 31, 2007

Yarn order done!

I have been working on a store order for a few weeks now and finally got it done this morning. I had dyed our yarn and then overdyed some skeins with indigo, weighed, checked yardage, got the labels on and took 38 skeins to the shop today. On to handpainting again!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sing along

200 more bales of hay in the barn, 200 bales of hay. We trucked it back and stacked it up, 200 more bales of hay in the barn!

It was a hot evening for putting hay up (isn't it always?) but thanks to Steve and Liza we made pretty quick work of it.

We are now within 50 bales of the finish line!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Steve and Liza have moved onto the farm this month...another Antioch connection and wow are we happy to have them with us! They are hard working, cheerful, independent and hearty! Since moving here August 1st they have instinctively accepted the assistant shepherds role, taken on some extra farm chores and made their cabin the envy of Jack and me! We have a fondness for that cabin as we lived there our first six months here, but they have made us think about moving back in, it's so charming! Steve is a forester, Liza is accepted for the masters program at Antioch New England for Environmental Studies which she begins in September. We have regularly rented to Antioch students, offering reduced rent in exchange for farm chores. Their graduate studies don't last longer than 2 years and then they move on to jobs in their chosen fields. It's always interesting for us and we have met some wonderful people across the past 6 years.
Liza and Steve took on the catered lunches for our annual Earthues workshop here at the farm this month, just 2 weeks after they moved in, and set all sorts of culinary records! (Shown here with one of the lunches they prepared). They are a breath of fresh air and we are delighted to have them a part of the farm and our lives.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trinity says...

Well, there may be bugs on some of you mugs but there ain't no bugs on me!

She's a smart little ewe...she stays in the dark of the shed when it's buggy and keeps quite comfortable!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mr. Pasquarelli

I haven't a picture for this post but hopefully I can evoke an image in your mind.
We ran an ad in the local newspaper for some of the items that didn't sell at the yardsale. We got a call from a man a few days later about 5PM. I answered the phone and he chimed right up "What's that lawnmower you have?" So after a bit of explanation and some directions he said he'd be up around 7PM. He arrived and Jack showed him the lawnmower, he started it, pushed it about on the lawn but decided against it as wasn't self-propelled. But he asked what else we had for sale so Jack walked with Mr. Pasquarelli down to the machinery shed. They were gone quite a long time. They reemerged about 45 minutes later and he had bought the ATV yard trailer and the yard-size limer to pull behind a mower. The three of us chatted for a bit and we learned he was one of the Pasquarelli brothers, both barbers for many years. Mr. Pasquarelli is 90 but he didn't look a day over 75! He still works in his yard and garden everyday after an hour of weight lifting each morning. He has a female companion since his wife passed away, she is in her 50's. He says he not to sure he needs to remarry at this point! God bless him, he was a breath of fresh air and a light shining on the golden years!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On the heels of the workshop...

I got back from the Harrisville workshop on Friday late afternoon and Jack and I promptly started setting up for a yardsale here...useful items to be sure but no longer for us. We had a Mosquito Magnet, not useful on 130 acres!, a lawnmower, yard size limer, ATV yard trailer and number of other such things, oh! a canoe!

We set up and were ready to go at 8AM and the folks came from everywhere for about 3 hours. By 11AM we started the trips to the recycling center where we have a great swap shop. When Jack took the second trip all of the stuff he'd left the first trip was gone! One man's junk is another man's treasure.

We came out pretty well for it and there is a lot of empty space in our sheds again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My fiber get away

So right smack in the middle of farm improvements and my regular 9-5 job I spontaneously decided to take a workshop with Lynne Vogel of The Twisted Sisters Sock Book. The course was offered through Harrisville Designs and was a 5 day workshop. It was lots of fun. We spun dyed roving initially, picking specific colorways for blending and then knitted our plyed fibers for entrelac and mozaic patterning. I was delighted to master Andean plying as I am a big fan of the drop spindle. (I am the proud owner of 2 drop spindles crafted by Tom Golding , my most recent purchase one of their vintage bangle spindles with a 1.75 weight...just divine!) To be able to drop spin fiber and ply it with no extra tools and equipment is the kind of style. Back to the workshop, we then ventured into dyeing roving (chemical dyes which are against my visual and environmental fiber but so be it!) so that we could create colorways that would spin up yarn specific to our knitted choice. Lynne Vogel offered lots of entrelac patterns and coupled that with mozaic and also straight knitted techniques. Texture, pattern, color, was mostly fun and colorful! There were 16 of us in the workshop, from all over New England and beyond. Good week, good friends and good fun. My pictures are a bit limiting here but give you an idea of the week.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I have had a wild and wooly couple of weeks and apologize for not blogging of late!

I have multiple entries coming in the next 24 hours from a workshop I attended with Lynne Vogel of The Twisted Sisters Sock Book, to our new assistant shepherds, Liza and Steve, to the annual Earthues workshop here at the farm last weekend, plus a few minor clips. Be back tonight with the beginning!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The barn that Jack, Kip and Lyle built

Currently set up for our annual Earthues dyeing workshop location this week, this is the barn that Jack, Kip and Lyle built! In the summer of 2001 Lyle, friend and owner of Pat Rawson Construction became a talented building mover for us. He moved 2 buildings to new, more usable locations. They are both pictured here: the barn on the left and the little house to the right. The barn had been across the lane and behind another barn, had no windows and was quite rotten from years of no repair. The little house was across the road by the cottage and served as a child's playhouse in years past. It also was quite rotten, the roof nearly caved in and sills gone. Jack did a number of improvements and then added the little shed attached to the barn in 2002. Then in 2005, Kip of Courtlan Construction added the large addtion shown here. It made a huge difference in the winter chores when it snowed as we didn't have to shovel just to get to the feeders.

And this summer Kip returned and put a front addition on so to further decrease the snow shoveling come winter. Jack has done all the wiring, painting and built all the stone foundations, added new soil and reseeded the pasture area and added new hardpack inside the barn area. Jack and Lyle also extended the water line from the frost free hydrant by the little house (formerly a chicken coop currently my sheep /fiber house) down into the pasture and into the new addtion where there is another frost free hydrant. I had hoped to put in an automatic water system but we couldn't dig deep enough in this tough New England soil to take advantage of the geo-thermal heat. Just the same no more lugging water to the barn! The picture below was taken on July 16th and the one below that was taken August 12th. Great job by all, mostly Jack (of course).

Saturday, August 11, 2007

From across the pond

This is me and Simmy in a fast photo while she and her family stopped by to talk dyeing and say hello. Simmy is a blogger and she arranged for her family to come to America for the first time and stay with other bloggers, none of whom they had actually met! Fascinating and clever! We were all in the kitchen at one point and I asked if anyone would like a cold drink (it was 90 degrees!) and no one stepped up to the sink, so Simmy chimed up and said, "Oh stop being so English, have some water!" (referring to their British politeness!). And so they did. It was a brief visit but a fun one, perhaps another year we will connect again. You can visit Simmy's blog at

Friday, August 03, 2007

Knitted swatches from the painted skeins

Here are the knitted swatches for the skeins I painted in Seattle. I thought it would be helpful to see that even though the skein may look okay before knitting, it may not be what you want when you knit your project.

Pictured below are skeins 1 & 2; #2 is a duplicate of 1 with an indigo overdye.

Below are skeins 3 and 4: I omitted a "hit" color on these so #3 is rather drab, #4 is a duplicate of #3 with an indigo overdye and seems a bit more interesting. Skeins#1-4 are all painted with the same pallete and are a cotton/rayon blend.

Skein 5 below is a silk skein. I used the same pallete again but painted the strands more individually and also pulled a number of strands first and dyed with indigo, then painted oved those strands to create the purple, a "hit" color to be sure, but too splotchy.

Skein 6 below is wool, the colors are punchy individually but when blended there is too much contrast. I am not fond of this skein at all!

Last, Skein 7 below is also wool and here I changed my pallete and my technique. I only used 4 dyes and they were very complimentary. The resulting knitted swatch shows an evenness throughout. This type of painting would be great for a sweater where an overall variegation was desired.