December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

December 23, 2011

A Fiber Artist Christmas

`Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

... The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired, my brain was a bit thick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
"move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover
Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, Fraylic–move
"Paton, don't circle round; stand in line.
Come now, you sheep wool work just fine!
I know this is hard semi, it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a'grazing.

And then,in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked "Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"

He proudly replied "Ho-ho-ho, yes I did,
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself for I'd thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two;
For the first time I thought I'd really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!!

So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June."

-Author Unknown

FAF: Silk Hankies

I've just recently added silk hankies to the shop and thought I'd share them with you. These are not your Grandmother's silk hankies. In fact these are not really hankies like you think of them at all.

The silk hankies I'm talking about are raw silk cocoons that have been stretched over a square frame. They are stacked one on top of another until a small pile is made. There are dozens of these thin layers of cocoon hankies in an ounce. An ounce of these silk hankies will easily fill a small sandwich bag.

These silk hankies can be spun into yarn or have become very popular in felting projects. There has also recently been a small "craze" of knitting straight from the hankies. I tried it and it worked wonderfully. Silk is warmer than wool, lighter and is good at staying dry.

They are a lot of fun in their undyed state, but dyeing them is such a treat. They're shiny and bright! I've spent the last couple weeks dyeing several into a rainbow of colors. I still have a hard time believing how much an ounce really is!

My goal next week is to start spinning these into a yarn that should be amazing! I know I did things a bit backwards by knitting with them first instead of spinning, but I just love these hankies and had to play with them right away.

Happy Friday!

December 19, 2011

Bella's Mittens are Mine

I decided it was time to knit something for me. Everything I knit either ends up as a gift or in the shop. I don't knit for me very often. These caught my attention.

The pattern is called Bella's Mittens. I think they were inspired by one of those Twilight movies. That could explain why they are so popular. There are more than 7500 projects listed in Ravelry using this pattern!

I just loved the way these mittens looked and they seemed like a good way to start cables. I've never done any cables while knitting. It's not that they looked difficult, I'm just not a real fan of how most of them look. They tend to be too busy looking. I liked these though.

Luckily I had some bulky yarn mixed in my sock yarn stash and it was even a color I could live with. That doesn't always happen.

I cast them on and finished the first mitten in 4 days. Now I know some of you could have knit one of these in a fraction of the time, but for me that's really, really good. I normally only knit at night for an hour or two.

The second one is about 3 inches long and I can't wait to finish because I love these mittens. Now if only the weather would cooperate.

Has anyone told the weather man that it's supposed to be December? It was 50* here in Michigan again. It supposed to be 30* and snowy by now, but we've had barely any snow. In fact it's only gotten below freezing a couple times.

Is the weather weird were you are?

I love to see what you've been working on.

December 16, 2011

FAF: Yarn Cone Trees

I stumbled upon this awesome project a couple days ago and have finally figured out what I am going to do with all of those cones I end up with from the yarn I get. All those pounds of yarn from the mills comes on these cardboard cones and the kids snitch them to make monsters out of. If the kids don't take them I just throw them away because I never knew what to do with them.

Now I do. How cute are these?

They don't have to be Christmasy either. I'm thinking they'd be a great way to show off our different yarns at festivals. Besides they are just too cute!! I need to get some more yarn in now because I am out of cones.

You can find the complete instructions here. I'd love to see some of yours if you make them too.

December 13, 2011

Blocking Georgiana

Blocking knits when they are finished is not my favorite thing. It's not that it's hard, it's just a lot of wet work.

When I finished my Georgiana shawl I realized I had a problem. I did not have enough mats to go under my shawl to block it. Oh, but that gave me a chance to make an order for more and a couple other things I've been wanting. :)

For once my order made a speedy appearance and in no time I was soaking and blocking my shawl.

This shawl has an interesting shape. Every other shawl I've blocked has been a triangle shaped shawl, but this was round. I spent almost an hour moving, tugging and wiggling it into shape. It still wasn't perfectly symmetrical, but I'm not sure any one can tell but me.

Here she is!

If you look really close you can see there is a color difference between the old mats and the new ones.

December 10, 2011

Why You Should Always Wear Gloves While Rinsing....

While rinsing some aqua fiber today I ended up dyeing my hands. One of these days I'll learn to wear gloves while rinsing. For now I guess I am an honorary Smurf.

December 09, 2011

FAF: New Pattern - Snowfall

Remember that pattern I talked about writing last Friday? I finally released it into the world yesterday.

Sending a pattern off into cyberspace is terrifying. Really, really terrifying. Will people like it? Could I have done any more to make it better? These questions kept me up most of the night. No matter how many patterns I create, these same fears assault me every time.

I get over it thought because seeing the pictures of my pattern pop on Ravelry is such a thrill! And then seeing people favorite the pattern and queue it and then make it.......awesome!

I know I did my best creating this and the test knitters loved it and gave great feedback so I know there shouldn't be much to worry about, but still, I'll probably stew about it for a while.

I am excited to share it with you and the weather almost cooperated so I could take pictures. I would have preferred some snow on the ground, but mother nature wouldn't listen to my pleas.
So here it is......Snowfall. Fingerless mitts inspired by the first snow of the season. The pattern can be found in Ravelry and in our Etsy shop.

December 02, 2011

FAF: Creating a Pattern

Have you ever wondered how all those creative pattern writing people create those patterns? Every person's creative process is different, but I thought I'd give you a glimpse of mine.

The inspiration for a pattern can come from anywhere. This particular pattern idea came from a wine bottle cozy I made. It was so cute that I thought it needed to be worn. That was the start of the fingerless mitt pattern that will debut next week.

After getting an idea of what I want it to look like, I then decide which yarn I want to use. I like to write the patterns to feature the yarns we sell so I go diving through the inventory and play with yarn until I feel I have the right one for a project. In this instance I choose a 100% superwash merino in fingering weight (our Klondike base). 

I tend to doodle and write all over papers so the start of the pattern kind of looks like this.

There is a small sketch of what I wanted it to look like when complete and lots of crossed out math on the top as I tried to figure out the number of cast on stitches.

Did you know there's math in knitting? I mean, seriously scary math? I pictured a cute lacy edge to my mitt and finally came up with the perfect one. The problem....the number of stitches for the repeat of the lace pattern was completely different than the repeat for the mitt pattern. There was a lot of math, cursing and scribbling as I finally found a combo I could live with and that worked together.

For the most part, the rest of the mitt was a piece of cake. Why is the beginning always the hardest?

I spent about 2 weeks of evenings writing the pattern and knitting as I went. Occasionally I had to adjust something and once I ended up with a whole section that looked like this. I wasn't happy with it.

After my first pair was finished and the pattern typed up, it went out to the test knitters so they could give it a whorl.

For the most part, the pattern was a complete success. We had a couple of days of discussion on how to improve some instructions and there were a few typos, but overall it was good.

The test knitters gave it their approval and now 2 weeks later it's almost ready to debut. I can't wait! Here's a blog exclusive sneak peak.

December 01, 2011

December Phat Fiber Sneak Peak

The theme for the December Phat Fiber box is..........Childhood Favorites!

It was a very generic theme to work with and honestly I could have gone in a million different directions. I even toyed with the idea of a Disney movie theme or my favorite 80s cartoons. The problem was I had some colors stuck in my head and I needed a way to use them.

I finally decided on ice cream flavors. Who doesn't love ice cream? I went with my absolute favorite from childhood, Mint Chocolate Chip and the kids favorite, Cherry Chip. I think they translated really well to yarn.

 I used our Klondike base - 100% Superwash Merino. Very springy and squishy.

Full size skeins will be up in the shop on Monday and to get the December Phat box visit the Phat Fiber website for all the information.

November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Georgiana Shawl and Maluka

My Georgiana shawl is coming along great!! This is the first project in a long time that makes me want to knit all the time. Lately it seems that knitting has been a chore, but I've found my love of knitting again in this shawl.

Currently I am working back and forth on what seems like a million short rows to shape the shawl, but they are easy. I think I could be sleeping and not screw these up which is a nice change from the lace charts. Only 20 some-odd rows to go before I get to the next lace chart. I might even make it there by tonight.

I'm trying to behave and not cast on another project before this shawl is done, but it's very hard not to. I recently received an awesome skein of alpaca blend yarn in a swap and it finally told me what it wanted to be.

 Isn't it pretty?

I will be making this shawl/scarf/wrap thing (not entirely sure what to call it) that I found on Ravelry. It's called Maluka and looks like this.

This will be my very first project with cables! I'm excited and terrified all at the same time. It's only little cables though so I think it'll be ok.

November 28, 2011

Spin in Your PJs Day Follow-Up

Spin in Your PJs Day was a rousing success!!

Several of us from around the world came together and spent at least part
of the day spinning in our jammies. Some of us were even brave enough to post pictures in our pjs.

For many of us, this was a day to enjoy spinning again. In our busy lives
it can be difficult to find the time for our fiber hobbies and we occasionally need a push in the direction of relaxation. Coming together in a group where we can encourage and nudge each other helped me get back to my spinning wheel and I know a lot of others felt the same way.

The day was so successful that we've all agreed that we want to do it again next year! I'm already super excited and planning some fun. I'll be sure to let you know in plenty of time in case you want to join in. In the meantime, you can read through this year's thread and see some of the great pictures posted.

November 25, 2011

FAF: Spin in Your PJs Day

Happy Friday! I hope your Thanksgiving was a happy one!

How are you spending your day after Thanksgiving? Did you brave the dark and stand in line for great deals? Did you sleep in and do your shopping online? Or did you skip the post holiday shopping altogether?

I did a little shopping online yesterday after the big meal and was able to score the couple of "doorbuster" deals I wanted. I really liked the fact that most retailers were offering their sales online yesterday instead of waiting for today.

So today I am celebrating a day that I have officially declared "Spin in Your PJs Day". It's a simple concept. Just spend the day relaxing in your jammies and do something you love. In this case, spinning.

I started a thread on Ravelry so people can gather together and it's taking off. At least I'm not celebrating it alone! I've even offered a prize drawing for anyone that posts pictures of themselves spinning in their jammies.

 I was a good girl and posted this picture taken of me this morning spinning in my Christmas pjs.

Today will be a day of relaxing. I needed one and I suppose it's a little sad that I had to declare my own holiday to get it. I'll enjoy every second of it though and hope to get some yummy silk yarn spun. Maybe I'll even get a few more rows of my Georgiana shawl done.

Have a great one!

November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Georgiana Shawl Continued

I am really loving this shawl pattern! It's easy to follow, looks more complicated than it is and works up fairly quickly. Once I finally had the correct number of stitches, its been flowing pretty fast.

I wanted to be through the first chart by now, but I didn't realize how much that really was. I thought 22 rows...that can't be too bad, but turns out that there are more than 10,000 stitches from the beginning of the shawl to halfway through the first chart.

Yeah, you read that right. More than 10,000.

At roughly 10 stitches per minute, that's around 16 hours so far and I still have half the chart to go. I was a little too optimistic I think.

My yarn is shrinking rapidly too. I've used up the first 250 yards of the 750 yards I have. Please let me have enough!

 I'm not sure how much more I'll be able to work on it today because I've got pies to bake, but I'll try.

Happy Wednesday!

November 21, 2011

*~* New Product Update *~* Mini Skeins and Yukon

I spent the day trying to list some of the new products in the shop.

First up is a brand new yarn base called Yukon. It is a cousin to our Klondike fingering weight sock yarn, but comes in worsted weight. It's 100% superwash merino and totally soft and squishy. I LOVE this yarn!!

Currently it is only listed in Peppermint, but I have another color that I'll be listing tomorrow.

I've also listed several packs of mini sock yarn skeins. These have been a huge hit and sell out rapidly. No two are alike and there so many colors to choose from.

 Enjoy the yarn tease!

November 20, 2011

Frustrating Craft Show

Boy, what a weekend.....

We had a craft show yesterday. This is a craft show we've done before so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong.

Last weekend we vended at a new Art show that far exceeded my expectations. In sales that is, not size. It was small (26 vendors), set in a church and well planned. I love well planned events. We did really well. It helped that the organizers talked up our alpaca products and yarns, but there was also a decent amount of traffic through the show. I did so well I was able to purchase my studio lights for taking better product photos. Yeah!

Yesterday was another small local craft show. We did pretty well last year and it's local so we get a lot of our local repeat customers wandering by to see us. Um....where were the people this year??

There was no traffic at all. In six hours there may have been 100 people come through. I hate it when things become a waste of time. I'm not really trying to blame the organizers of this event although I heard there was something about the signs along the road being taken away a few days prior. It was just plain painful to sit there all day staring at the booth across from us.

In six hours I sold exactly $43.50 worth of product. I have to wonder if this is a localized economy thing or if it really wasn't advertised as they said. Now I'm left wondering if I should add this craft fair to our schedule again next year. 

One bright spot.....I got several more rows done on my Georgiana shawl.

November 18, 2011

Georgiana Shawl Started

I'm trying to get back into knitting after spending the summer not knitting much of anything. I find it really hard to just sit down and knit. I should be up and doing something, even if it's just the dishes, shouldn't I?

I recently bought this special edition magazine by Interweave Knits. It's called Jane Austen Knits. Now I'll be the first to admit that I don't like Jane Austen books, but I do like these patterns. They are very romantic, but yet very practical at the same time. They make me long for a simpler time.

There were several patterns I ear marked right away, but unfortunately I seemed to be missing something for every one of them! For most, I didn't have enough yardage of a yarn I liked, but for some others I was missing the needles I needed. {sigh} If it's not one thing, it's another.

I did manage to stop at a yarn shop near the art show we vended at last weekend and picked up the size 9 circular I was missing. I needed that size 9 to start Georgiana which is a beautiful shawl/wrap. I'm just starting to venture into chart knitting and this pattern seemed tame enough for me.

After casting on, on Sunday I got several rows done and by Tuesday was ready to start the chart. Well.......unfortunately I had cast on the wrong number of stitches. I ended up transposing 368 into 386. The chart did not work with that and I ended up ripping out the entire thing and starting over.

I have now managed to start over and am back to the chart. Actually I completed the very first row of the chart and everything lined up with the correct number of stitches. Yeah!!

The yarn I'm using is a yarn I carry in my shop called Fantasy. It is a truly scrumptious fingering weight 50/50 merino and silk blend that feels like heaven!  I dyed it in a rust color that is in fact, far darker than these pics. Bad camera!

We have another craft show tomorrow, but my goal is to get through the first chart by Monday. That's only 22 more rows. I can do that, right?

November 09, 2011

An Apology and New Directions

I've been absent lately. I'm sorry for that. I could give you lots of pretty excuses, but there's really only one. I was feeling completely burnt out. Blogging had become a chore to get done and it wasn't fair to anyone,
especially you.

I've done some thinking and have decided to take this blog back to its roots. I'm dedicating it to the farm and the fiber arts that happen here. The main focus will be fiber, spinning, knitting and anything else fibery that inspires me. I'm sure the alpacas will still make the occasional appearance too.

For now I will keep the recipe tab at the top for all of you that have come to love the farm food goodies. And because for some of these recipes, this is the only copy I have. Oops.

Other things, like the weekly recipe and blog hops will be gone. I know not everyone will stick around for this journey, but for those of you that do....I promise not to leave you hanging again.

September 05, 2011

Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop 9/6 - Brownie Biscotti

Chocolate!! Need I say more?

Brownie Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 teaspoons
vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups
all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup
baking cocoa
2 teaspoons
baking powder
1/2 teaspoon
baking soda
1 cup
unblanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup
miniature semisweet chocolate chips


1/2 cup
white baking chips
1-1/2 teaspoons

In a large bowl, combine the butter, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture just until combined (dough will be crumbly). Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead in almonds and chocolate chips. Divide dough in half.
On an ungreased baking sheet, shape each portion into a 12-in. x 3-in. log, leaving 3 in. between the logs. Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until set and tops are cracked. Cool for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm and dry. Remove to wire racks to cool.
For drizzle, in a microwave, melt vanilla chips and shortening at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti.

For more great recipes visit Hearth and Soul, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, What's Cooking Wednesday and Tuesdays at the Table.

Home Sweet Farm

September 01, 2011

Crafty Friday 9/2 - Back to School Craft

Some of you may have started school already, but the kids in our area go back next Tuesday. Even though we homeschool I like to keep a schedule similar to the local schools. It keeps the kids from asking if they have to do school when they get up. :o)

There are lots of fun back to school crafts out there and after looking through hundreds I found this. Something fairly easy, cute and practical. All pluses in my book. The original project can be found here.

Book Blankets

  • Felt
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Embroidery thread and needle
  • Button (optional)
Self-adhesive Velcro dot (optional)

1. To make a cover, open your chosen book and measure the width and height. Add one inch to each measurement and cut out a piece of felt with those dimensions. For the inside flaps, cut two additional pieces of felt the same height as the main piece and two-thirds the width of the closed book's front cover.

2. Lay an inside flap on top of each end of the main piece and pin the flaps and the main piece together. With embroidery thread, sew a running stitch about 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch from the edge around the entire border.

3. If you like, add one of these extras:

Notebook pocket:  Before attaching the inside flaps, cut a piece of felt that's 1 1/2 inches wider and 1/2 inch shorter than your notepad. Sew it in the center of what will be the front cover of the book.

Faux button closure: Before attaching the inside flaps, cut a strap that's 1 1/2 inches wide and as long as the width of an inside flap. Sandwich the strap between the back flap and the cover and pin it in place, then sew around the entire edge of the cover, as noted above. With scissors, round the end of the strap and sew on a button. Affix a self-adhesive Velcro dot to the strap and the front of the cover.

Penholder: After the cover is finished and on the book, cut a 1 3/4-inch square out of felt. With the book cIosed, lay the square over a pen on the book's spine and pin it in place. Take the cover off the book, then sew on the square.

So what have you been up to this week?

Do you have something to share? Let us know what you’re working on this week! It can be photos of a project, instructions, recipes, or anything else you feel is "crafty". If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link to the current week's party. Just please be sure to:
  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address in the linky form below.
  2. Include in your blog entry a link back to the party post on this blog so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is working on today and have an opportunity to contribute! You can use the code below to add the button to your posts or blog if you'd like.
  3. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what makes a party fun!! You don't want to come to a party and have no one talk to you!

If you want to play along don't forget to grab a button to place at the top or bottom of your post to show you are participating in Crafty Fridays!
Simply copy the code below in the box and paste where you can edit the html in your blog post.

Home Sweet Farm

August 31, 2011

Waltz On By Wednesday Blog Hop - 8/31

Welcome to Waltz On By Wednesday hosted by Home Sweet Farm. The goal of this hop is to get new Google Friend Connect Followers for your blog and be introduced to new blogs to follow! We wanted to keep it fun and easy so all you have to do is add your blog link and start blog hopping and following away! You aren’t required to write a post for your blog for Waltz On By Wednesday unless you want to (but we really appreciate it if you do to help get the word out).

When you visit a blog that you like and want to follow, leave them a comment with your link telling them you are following from the WOB Wednesday. Of course, we would love for you to follow your hostess blog, Home Sweet Farm, but it isn’t mandatory. If you do follow us, just leave us a comment and we will follow you back.

The main goal is to have fun and follow the blogs that interest you!

Home Sweet Farm


Related Posts with Thumbnails