Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Knit, Design, Write, Repeat

Occasionally I give in to the little voices in my head that tell me I have bitten of more than I can chew .... but not very often. Though they do get my attention, I utilize them in a different way and rather than letting them tell me "I can't", I allow them to challenge me in to how, "I can".
knitting has not been one of my strong points until recently. I know, I know, that sounds really strange, sort of like the fisherman that doesn't know how to swim, but my lack of skill has come from lack of time. Sure, I can knit, just not fast, and not in intricate patterns. But that's about to change.

While vending at The Fiber Festival on New England this past November, I was truly inspired by all of the creativity around me. I had just finished dyeing my new Kaleidoscope yarns and really needed to knit a swatch to show how the colors knit up on the needles. I knit and purled, the woolen spun yarn flowed smooth and wonderfully over the bamboo needles. The colors produced in each row left me excited to see how the next combination would turn out. I added ribbing, and then some seed stitch. WOW! I needed more! The swatch measured about 8 inches long, and I bound off and reached for longer needles. With no pattern, I sat in my hotel room and cast on, guessing the number of stitches, measuring my girth with the length of the needles.
As I continue to knit I am designing as I go. The process seems simplier to me as I keep assuring myself that I can. Writing the pattern down may be a bit of a challenge, but I have experienced friends to call on for assistance. You can follow the progress of this sweater on my facebook page.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

It is time to build up my biceps again. The outside water spicket is once again challenged by the cold air. It is fussy, working only when the sun touches it with it's barely warm winter-time rays. My morning chores are now the basics. Everybody up? All is well? Here is breakfast, see you around 2:00.
During the summer months, I try to accomplish as many tasks as possible before the heat of the day sets in. But when the seasons change, and in the dead of winter, I wait for the "warm" part of the day when the sun comes over the tall pines and warms the barn in the afternoon. That is of course until lambs are born. Then I have no choice but to wrap myself in many layers underneath my stiff, insulated overalls and venture out at all times of the day or night. But that's okay is worth it.

The sheep don't realize how much they are used during the winter months. Our colorful chickens
keep close on cold days, using them as wind blocks and the occasional foot warmers. It is not uncommon to find a hen or two nestled into the warm, thick locks of a pregnant ewe, especially on a very cold night. Seems the rafters of the barn are not the best place to spend the night when the temperatures dip below freezing. Mother Nature does provide for our creatures and if you think about it we humans are quite fortunate to have them and to benefit from their warm, woolly harvest.
Our new bunny Willow came inside for a haircut yesterday and then moved into the basement with our two other bunnies for the winter months while her beautiful fiber grows back. The bunnies move around quite a bit during the year. Inside from the winter cold, back outside in the springtime, up to the big cool barn during the summer heat, and back outside during comfortable autumn weather. Their cages are large but mobile, and I think they enjoy being outside rather than in. Time for some BIG projects! After a season of traveling to shows, taking small, simple, "mindless" projects, I am ready for a challenge. This sweater ( which looks so much better in person ) has been a fun project. I am designing it as I go and having a grand time. I am using two different dye lots of my Kaleidoscope Yarn as well as Charcoal, Turkey Red, and now Licorice and White. I hope to have it done to wear to the Ag Show in January.

So snuggle in my friends, and enjoy the season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Is Good!

Time for some Holiday Cheer!! Beginning Dec 13th, Romney Ridge Farm Yarn Co. will be giving away a some fabulous fibery goodness every day until Christmas! Then on Christmas Day we will choose one lucky winner of our

Romney Ridge Farm Sampler Package containing:
4 skeins of our unique yarns.

A "bump" of our Angora/Wool roving.

4 handmade stoneware buttons from Sunshine Pottery -Topsham, Maine.

A handmade Mitten Pin from Sunshine Pottery -Topsham, Maine.

A handmade sheep pendant featuring our sheep - Littleput Land - Portland, Maine.

A Hooking Kit -Snowman Ornament.

Our 2011 Romney Ridge Farm Calendar.


Orders placed from Nov 1st until Dec 23rd will qualify you to win one of the 12 give aways and put you in the running for the Farm Sampler.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So there I sat completely out of my element, strapped into the seat, looking out of the tiny round window at the bustling ramp agents. Fear and total loss of control had me in it's grip. Why? I hate small spaces and I always have to drive. I am a control freak after all, and I was totally without any. I felt very small and when the plane touched down and we made our way to the ship, I felt even smaller.

I have learned a lot about myself these past few days. Excited to see a new world, and experience new things, I left the safety zone that I have created for myself over the past 13 years. I am confessing now, that I am phasing into the next step in my life. Not changing who I am, but beginning to allow myself to say "yes I can" a little more than I used to. And I am more inspired each time I step out into the world, life is good.

Good friends always make life just a little sweeter. Especially those who understand that I march to the beat of a different drum. I love old engines, gardening, art, farming, cowboy boots, architecture, big hair rock bands, painting and fast boats. I can't make it much past 9 p.m. and I need to see the sunrise. I am what I am and I have good friends who are okay with that.

Cozumel took me a little off guard. It wasn't anything that I expected it to be, though time limits kept me from seeing more of the island than I would have like to. The colors were spectacular, the people were friendly and smiling with their big toothy grins and beautiful skin. The water was a different blue than the waters of Maine, and the trees were fascinating.

My husband and I, and good friends Dom and Pam took a little off road excursion into the jungle. After several miles of rugged roads, rocks, flying mud and cow poo, we stopped at a deep underground cave where stalagmites and and resident bats were the main attraction.
The boys swam in the bat poop soup, while Pam and I pondered the reasons why roly-poly women choose to wear bikinis.:) Our wonderful tour guides, R-R-R-R-R-Roberto and Danny Boy, explained how the high calcium content in the water affected the "structure" of the Mayan people. They were short, strong people with little dental issues or osteoporosis.
After a quick shower and clean up on the ship, we headed into the Marketplace for some shopping, then on to Margaritville for some fun and the best guacamole I have ever had!

All in all it was a good trip. I really missed my family and my simple life. Too much hustle and bustle for me, too much rushing, and not enough to do on the ship. I knew sitting and relaxing would be a huge challenge for me. Next vacation I hope to be riding and roping on the range. Time to start saving.:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Perfect Pot O' Color

If you "follow me" on facebook, you have probably seen these skeins already. They are a random act of color craziness that I had to get out of my system. What you do not see is the frenzy of designing, the how to do it this way, and step three and four shouldn't take too long as to leave enough pigment for step five, and I really should be doing something else today psycho -nutjob that I become when I think about new techniques and designs. I am after all, a super huge control freak ... I have accepted that.

Only one dyelot turned out as I planed. But there are no mistakes, only a lesson learned and a new note to take. In my eyes, the perfect pot of color would be very boring. I don't believe in perfection, or normal for that matter. A normal day? No such thing. And if it did exist, it would not have been filled with any sort of surprises that make me say "holy cow, how did that happen?" I am as excited by my experiments in dyeing as I am in the day to day colors that need to be replenished.
In the middle of my dyepot frenzy,
a mama hen arrived as proud as a peacock with her brood of 10 peeping chicks. You can imagine my surprise, then panic to find them all, then my surprise to find a second hen in the process of hatching out the rest of the clutch, sitting protectively over the last of the eggs, two of which had tiny beaks protruding through the escape holes that they were making.
Normal day? Nope, but I'm not complaining.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Fashion Show Featuring Joe!

Two years ago the realization that Joe was getting old hit me. I consider him the beginning of my shepherding adventure. I have learned so much from him over the years. So in early spring, when we sheared, I kept his fleece separate from the rest of the shearing and had my friend Nancy of Newaim Fiber Mill turn him into "just Joe" yarn. Over 3,000 yards of silvery- grey, worsted weight yarn was returned to me on cones. Then a friend, with incredible knitting skills, was hired to knit me a sweater of just Joe. I chose a pattern that I felt would serve the yarn well. Joe is a Romney -a long wool breed of sheep. Longwool is a bit heavier than down wools. Projects knit with longwools have a beautiful drape. So I chose the pattern for The Ursa Sweater and modified it a bit.
My Joe Sweater is a treasure to me. I pack it safely away when warm weather comes to Maine, but look forward to wrapping myself in it's warmth when the air turns crisp and cool.

In a few weeks I will be attending the Fiber Festival of New England in Springfield, MA. At 3 p.m. on Saturday there will be a fashion show. What fun! I am entering my Joe Sweater in the event as well as two other projects made from my yarns. This is the first year of what I hope will be a successful event. Check out the website for the dates and times, as well as the many wonderful vendors attending this event.