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Knitting for Sanity in 2014

January 12, 2014

I don’t know about you but I find knitting to be one of the most soothing activities I do – it’s right up there with meditation and weeding…but more productive & cleaner respectively.

When people tell me they don’t have the patience I am floored…knitting helps me keep centered and patient. Just catch me on a day when I’m in the doctors office and they are running late and I forgot my knitting…I’m a total basket case with anger cause I have to wait…then catch me when I’ve got a portable knitting project with me…calm as can be and in my own world as I get lost in the rhythm of the stitches. Knitting keeps me focused in the now.

In 2013 I got another victim..er…lucky recipient for my knitting, my grandson is of course the apple of my eye and won’t complain about my knitting or loose it at school (I think that’s a hint that the item wasn’t cool enough), and if it doesn’t fit well now it will in another month or so! I have tons of patterns for baby knits so I think a goal this year is to get busy and knit some before he’s a teenager like the other two grandsons (the ones who lose grandmas knits at school).

2013-09-30 15.12.22

Last year was pretty busy, I packed one daughter off to go live with her new husband in North Carolina, got a new grandson from my oldest daughter, attended almost all the farmers markets by myself (at two different markets), and dealt with the usual farm activities with birthing babies and milking the goats and making the cheese.PFM2013

This year is already packed with plans for improving the work flow on the farm, increasing our offerings in the cheese department, and changing over to a permaculture system while using biodynamics to improve the quality of our soil. We’re building another high tunnel to house the animals and it’s going up on a piece that hasn’t had any animals on it so we’ll have to fence it in of course. This will help both the goats and sheep as it will have new pastures that they can browse & give them all a permanent house to live in with plenty of room. When that’s done I get to tackle the old pastures and re-contour them so we can keep the rain water in the fields instead of running off the fields. We’ll do this by creating swales and planting lots of trees and shrubs. I’ll have to keep the sheep & goats out of there for at least a year, and even then limit their access to a couple hours so they won’t do much damage to the young trees. I already lost 4 cherry trees to the goats, and the sheep almost took out my new pear & apple trees last summer. This year I’ll be planting more fruit & nut trees as well as some nitrogen fixers (haven’t figured out which ones will grow here but white clover,  filberts & chestnuts are on the list as well as black locust and a couple oak).

shetlands-springbabies2013

So here’s to a new year and new plans! Hope your holiday season was full of wonder and lots of love. Happy New Year!!

Hydrangea in November…still blooming!

November 21, 2013

Um….is this normal? It was such a beautiful day doing chores in the late November sun was a delight, though it was clear as a bell it was also very chilly. It struck me as amazing to see white, pink, and blue/purple blossoms on my large hydrangea. . . and in the middle of November no less! I can see some of the leaves are turning now but the blossoms keep on going!

Blossoms on the hydrangea in November!

Blossoms on the hydrangea in November!

Yarn – Glorious Yarn!!!

November 18, 2013

I love spinning and dying my own yarn so I know when someone else does a great job… if you are on facebook check out Lindsey’s LAMSpun Yarn or at her Etsy shop.

Lindsey produces wonderful color ways that make your mouth water!! I’ve got to admit I’m a little prejeduce…she’s my daughter!!

Knitting – Baby Booties & Hats

November 18, 2013

My new grandson’s feet are cold!!

Oh Dear!!

Two needle baby booties.

Two needle baby booties.

Time for grandma to start knitting up a storm of socks for baby! Since it’s fall and the dairy is closed for the winter I can spend time doing knitting projects any time of day – after I clean up the knitting room it will be even easier cause I’ll be able to get to my machines. So searching Ravelry I found several likely candidates and came up with one that makes a baby bootee in one piece on two needles, Easiest & fastest baby booties ever!

Knit Flat and then seamed , it's quick and easy.

Knit Flat and then seamed , it’s quick and easy.

The first pair were too big but the second pair was just right. The third pair disappeared fast as they were too short for his feet and kept falling off. The difference? The yarn probably. First pair were beige RH as were the second, the third pair was our of Carron Soft and black, the same needles were used on all booties, but the softer yarn knit up at a different gauge.

I realize that this kind of simple construction  could easily be up-sized for an adult foot…wheels are turning! In the mean time I’ve got to whip out a few more for baby and then start on a set of socks for him. Baby socks are easy and I think I’ll use this pattern Super Quick Baby Socks

I’m also going to knit a few of the kimono slippers I saw on ravelry. And I do like the garter stitch Booties as well.

Baby hat worked in team colors for his brothers football team.

Baby hat worked in team colors for his brothers football team.

I also finished up a hat for baby a couple weeks ago, and before that a hat and sweater. I put the projects up on Ravelry. I’ve got to put buttons on the sweater and it will be finished…finishing up my UFO! Yea!!

What a week… cont organizing stash

November 17, 2013
Re-organized office

Re-organized office

What a week!!

I’m almost done re-organizing…what a job it’s been. The main problem with it all is that once you start it kind of flows into all the other areas of the house!

I started in the office and it moved out to the living room because I had more room in the office to put things like spinning wheels and such. Then I decided to reorgainze the books/pattern collection because we decided to move the treadmill out of the knitting room into the living room now that there was more room in the living room and that required a move of a bookshelf full of books (went into the office)…which meant there was now  huge mess in the knitting room since in order to get the treadmill out I had to move everything to the side. UGH!

the new home for the spinning wheels

the new home for the spinning wheels

Now I’m organizing three rooms instead of just one, and the living room is a ‘greatroom’ meaning it’s a living/dinning/kitchen room all in one. It sounded so easy to just reorganize the office…what a landslide this turned into!!

The nice thing is that I can now walk into the office and put things away and keep the living room clear of my projects…and another goal I’ve decided on is to finish all the unfinished projects I found while moving everything around!

So what had to go in order to get all that room in the office? About 30 bags of fleece from my Shetland sheep and Angora goats, which is sad because I don’t have the Angora goats anymore. As I tossed them into the compost I recognized every fleece and the wonderful Angora goat that grew it for me.  But, the fleeces were infested with wool moths and all had to go.

Then I had to do a thorough cleaning of everything to make sure there weren’t any moth eggs left, big job but the Dyson was up to speed and hopefully I’ll not see anymore little moths flying around….haven’t seen one in days…crossing fingers!!!!

Still missing Chief, it’s been a week and I suspect I’ll still be tearing up in 6 months.

Chief – RIP

November 17, 2013
Summer babies 2013 with Chief

Summer babies 2013 with Chief

My beautiful boy Chief has gone over the rainbow bridge.

We lost our Livestock Guardian Chief to kidney disease last week and he’s left a huge hole in my heart as well as our defenses. Chief was my first LGD,  I got him as a rescue at 1yr old, so we pretty much learned together how to help him guard chickens and goats and later on the sheep ducks and geese. For six years he’s been wonderful at guarding the baby goats and helping the mamas with birthing, truly a wonderful guardian who knew his job and did it extraordinarily well.

The picture below is of Chief in the foreground and Tessa in the background with some of the goats in between. Tessa is now responsible for guarding all the goats and chickens and rabbits, I had to rearrange the fences a bit to allow her access to all the areas and she’s doing a really good job. Chief helped me train Tessa so it was a lot easier to raise up Tess than it was to raise up Chief.

Chief in the early November sun.

Chief in the early November sun.

Organizing Stash

November 6, 2013

My knitting room and office is a mess. 2013-11-06 08.44.05

What fiber artist doesn’t have a problem with maintaining an organized stash? In my case I’ve got needles, hooks, yarn, bags of fleeces (washed and unwashed), cones of yarn, knitting machines, and looms all over the place! I’m sometimes surprised that I can even find my way thru this collection!

Having a farm means I’m busy from early spring (planting time) thru late fall (last of the cheese making). During the months of winter I get to slow down and catch up on inside projects and this winter I’ve decided to concentrate on organization…mainly organizing the fiber in my life.

Spring 2013 Shetland fleeces…many projects are possible with a fleece. As each one is shorn off a sheep I get to inspect them and dream about the possibilities…I moved these into a storage barn once they were in boxes. Now I get to wash and dry them and get them ready for projects to keep friends and family warm.

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