Episode 63: Sheep, Wool & Lenten!

Hi fiber folk! Welcome to episode 63! This one chock full of goodness for all kinds of crafters: Wisconsin Sheep and Wool’s Sheep to Shawl competition, an FO Lenten by Natasja Hornby, a Farm-to-Skein yarn update, info on colorwork in the flat, a big THANK YOU to my KoFi supporters, and a farm life segment. Phew! And all in 30 minutes! I hope you enjoy! ~Melissa


If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20 Show notes can be found at my blog: https://knittingthestash.wordpress.com


Posted in color, color palette, colorwork, farm life, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, Lenten vest, Making Stories, Making Stories Magazine, Natasja Hornby, organic yarn, Quince & Co., School of SweetGeorgia, shawl, sheep, Sheep to Shawl, Sparrow yarn, Sweet Georgia, SweetGeorgia, The September COllection, triangular shawl, Uncategorized, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, Wool n Spinning Podcast, yarn | 2 Comments

The September Collection by Making Stories

Hello yarn friends! As some of you know, Im an ambassador for Making Stories–a super cool, indie outfit out of Berlin, Germany. I’ve been a fan of Hanna Lisa and Verena for a long while now and, as a journal editor myself, I know that the work of publishing is wonderful, arduous, and crazy. That’s why I think we should celebrate the birth of new collections with lots of pomp and circumstance! And the Making Stories team is releasing their latest collection today! It’s called the September Collection and its chock full of wooly goodness. I had the opportunity to take a sneak peak at the collection so that I could write up a review for you all . . .

First, I want to knit ALL the sweaters, and there are so many of them! I’ve found over the years that the Making Stories team is really into garments; it’s one of the reasons I love their collections so much! The September Collection has four–yes four–really interesting sweaters that range from classic to completely contemporary. And all of them include some bit of novel construction.

September_Collection-Making Stories_final_0908.jpg

Variance by Keiko Kikuno

Take Variance, for example. It’s a sweater that produces some amazing lines all through the use of short rows and smart color work. I want to knit it simply to learn more about how it works–I’m a terribly non-spacial person and the best way for me to understand and learn knitting is to read patterns and get the yarn doing backflips in my hands. Like the rest of the sweaters in the collection, though, my sense is that even though these garments have a visual “wow factor,” they are actually pretty straightforward to knit. Hanna Lisa and Verena value accessibility and you can see that in the clarity of the patterns they accept for each collection.


I also absolutely love Mend, which plays around with the idea of well loved garments and the mending processes we could all use to keep our favorite sweaters alive for a bit longer. Plus, designer Armenuhi Khachatryan (she goes by Am) is a mathematician who also runs Oysters and Purls, a beautiful naturally dyed yarn shop.


Mend by Armenuhi Khachatryan


If garments aren’t your jam, you might consider the beautiful Wildflower shawl by Fiona Munro. It’s a squishy garter stitch delight with just enough colorwork to keep things interesting. I think I’m going to knit this one as an in-between // on the go project that I can pull out during meetings and appointments.


Wildflower by Fiona Munro


And what pattern collection would be complete without some socks?? The Pythagorean socks by Ainur Berkimbayeva are knit out of lovely Tukuwool fingering (yum!–I have a few skeins in my stash . . .) and the pattern reminds us all that socks don’t have to be knit in the same old vanilla way; we can spice things up with fresh angles whenever we want! This pair plays with triangles and it’s absolutely cool to see the results. I think I might knit a pair from the toe-up and make them even longer for the cold midwestern winters!


Pythagorean by Ainur Berkimbayeva


So do you have a favorite? Have you knit from any of the Making Stories collections before? If so, I’d love to hear what patterns you love!  ~Melissa


Posted in book review, garment, knitters, knitting, Making Stories, Making Stories Magazine, new collection, pattern, review, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Episode 62: The Ramblin’ Ram!?

Hello fiber and yarn folk! This episode begins with a CRAZY story about a ram who decided to trek his way to our farm . . . it also contains a little garment discussion about finishing work and a terrific interview with Kim Goodling of Vermont Grand View Farm! Come hang with us a while? ~Melissa

**Love the content? Buy me a coffee at http://www.ko-fi.com/knittingthestash

To enter the giveaway for some delicious maple syrup from Kim’s farm, please leave a comment here, on the blog post or the Ravelry thread letting us know what you want to know about farm life or raising sheep! The giveaway is only open to the continental US; I’ll draw a winner by random number generator in 2 weeks time! Good luck!


Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/knittingthestash

If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20 Show notes can be found at my blog: https://knittingthestash.wordpress.com


Posted in Blackbelly sheep, farm, farm focus, farm life, finish work, garment, Grand View Farm, homestead, Kim Goodling, knitting, Lenten vest, linen, Natasja Hornby, organic yarn, Quince & Co., Sparrow yarn, Uncategorized, Vermont Grand View Farm, yarn | 9 Comments

Farm Focus: Grand View Farm, VT

Hello Fiber Folk! I am so pleased to offer a two part interview with Kim Goodling, owner and shepherd at Vermont Grand View Farm! Since adopting a (temporary) flock of our own, I have been on the lookout for other shepherds and information about keeping our sheep safe, happy, and healthy. I found Kim through Instagram–beautiful photos of Gotlands and farm life, folks!–and it just happened to be at a moment when she was launching some new online course materials about adopting a flock of sheep. Her course covers fencing and shelter, plus a module on choosing a breed that’s right for you! But that’s not all . . . and as I dug deeper into conversations with Kim, I came to really appreciate her farm know-how and her deep dedication to helping others find their way with sheep. She even offers phone and in-person consultations for new shepherds. Quite a resource, I must say! Plus, farm stays, Gotland sheep, and so much more! So, please enjoy the interview and beautiful photos (all courtesy of Kim Goodling and photographed by her daughter, Anna Estelle) and then stay tuned for the podcast next weekend–I’ll be interviewing Kim and we’ll chat about sheep, fiber, and even maple syrup!

Winter with sheepGoodling-144IMG_7856untitled-042

KTS: You have quite a bustling business–farm stays, camps for kids (and parents), online classes–how do you decide what directions to move the business? Do you have a grand plan (a “war board” in a kitchen, barn or office) or do you feel that you create new trends as the inspiration strikes you?

Kim: Most small farms in Vermont diversify to make the most of every season. Our farm is no different from any other farm, in that we have lots going on. Much of our work follows the seasons-we make maple syrup and lamb in the spring. Offer Farmstay vacations and on farm workshops in the summer and fall. We attend sheep and wool festivals in the fall to sell our yarn and to promote our sheep. And we rejuvenate and do business planning in the winter. Our farm has evolved through the years. Honestly, there never was a master plan. Our main goal, many years ago, was to provide healthy food for our family of five as well as a lifestyle centered around agriculture. As our children got older it evolved into a desire for our then homeschooled children, to be a part of a family business. We also wanted them to fully experience farm life and the life and death cycle.

If there is one thing that has remained constant on our farm, it would be that we have always been a center of education. When our children were younger, we offered summer camps for young children and their moms. My children lead the children’s camp and I lead the mom’s camp simultaneously. Through the years, we have offered numerous on farm workshops and courses in things like fiber processing, natural dyeing, spinning wool, and raising sheep.

KTS: What prompted you to begin offering an online shepherding course (Farm School)? Why move beyond your popular blog and individual consulting work? 

Kim: A new barn prompted me to begin offering online courses. This past winter, I knew that a new barn project was in the plan for this summer.  I knew that we needed cash to pay for the building project. I responded to an ad on instagram and about a week later, I was knee deep in taking an online course on how to design your own online course. I felt this was a perfect extension of my blog and the work that I do already on our farm. It is a perfect match for me as an educator and a shepherd. It took me the entire winter to work my way through the 12 week course. It has been a tremendous learning curve for me. I have been stretched and challenged in ways I never would have imagined in creating these online courses. Designing and hosting online courses is a costly and very time consuming effort.  My desire is to create an online community where sheep people can gather, share, learn, and encourage one another regardless of where we are in our shepherding journey.

KTS: Who are your biggest crafting influences/inspirations?

Kim: Aha! My biggest crafting/artist influence is Irena Levkovich and Jenny Hill. Look them up! They are two AMAZING fiber artist who create felted garments. I have a secret ambition to one day find time to really invest into my felting and to create amazing felt garments like they do. It is my dream to take a class from Irena. I have followed her felt work for several years now. I love felting garments and actually at times find my self having to suppress my desire to felt because farm chores get in the way. Jenny Hill was a woofer on our farm about 5 or was it 6 years ago. As part of our work agreement, every evening, after all the farm work was done, she would work along side of me in my studio. I taught her about natural dyeing, processing wool, weaving, and finally felting. I saw her eyes light up when she made her first felted scarf. Jenny has now far surpassed me in my abilities as a felt artist and has gone on to become an accomplished fashion designer and artist.

KTS: What’s your best sheep story? Farm story?

Kim: Oh my….do I have to just tell ONE? There are so many…..

The heartfelt story-the first time that we lost a new lamb….it was born breech and I was not there to help pull it out quickly. It was coming out back feet first and it suffocated in the birth canal. I stood holding his still warm body, sobbing. My 12 year old daughter came out and comforted ME, reminding me that this was how farm life was….there would be sorrows mixed in with the blessings.

The near miss story-The time that we had our first flock of Gotland sheep hauled 3,000 miles to get to our farm from Oregon. They arrived safely to our little New England village. We met the transporter in town to load the sheep onto our truck to drive them up to our farm. As we were moving them from his trailer to our truck, one ram got lose and took off running down Main Street. It took four adults, 2 farmers, one engineer, and one town clerk, 45 minutes to catch him. After a jaunt through the elementary school parking lot, through the church yard and the post office, we cornered him on the porch of the town office building where we finally got hold of him.

The funny story-The 5 year old from New York City who had never been on a farm before and helped collect eggs from our chicken coop. She held a freshly laid egg in her hand, took it to her grandmother and said, “Look Grammy, the chicken laid an egg and cooked it too!”

The sad story-The young couple who came to stay on our farm to grieve the recent death of their newborn daughter and to purchase a little antique wooden box to put her ashes in.

The story of encouragement and faith…My middle daughter stood in the barn helping me with a laboring ewe. This ewe had a breech lamb and this time we were there to help. My daughter held the ewe while I pulled. I told my daughter that we had to pull fast so the lamb would not suffocate in the birth canal. I told her to hold the mom so I could pull. My daughter looked at me and said, “It’s ok mommy. I have faith in you. I know you can pull this lamb out.” Can you guess what we named the ewe lamb? Faith.

I could go on and on and on with stories……

KTS: How do you manage a good work/life balance?

Kim: My work is my life and my life is my work. Sometimes I have to pinch my self to believe  it is all real. I think about how fortunate I am to live where I do and to have the work that I do. As my husband used to say to our children….we live VACATION all the time!

KTS: Any advice for folks who might want to start an online course of their own?

Be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked before. It’s a beast!

KTS: Where can folks find your shop? or find out more about you?

I have an online shop with my yarn and wool products. You can find it on our farm website www.grandviewfarmvt.com. Folks can find out more about me by reading my blog, (www.livingwithgotlands.com, or visiting my online course site www.vermontfarmschool.com or by booking a stay with us!

KTS: What’s new on the horizon for Grand View Farm?

What’s new? A new 20×30 pole barn is new! That means I can keep more sheep through the winter and that is just fantastic!!  This fall I am launching a FREE online training series called, “4 Steps to Profitable Shepherding.” This will be followed by my first large online course which helps small farms with all things marketing, like finding a niche so they stand out among the competition, and building relationships and connections with customers so they will come back time and time again.

I also look forward to taking more tour groups to Gotland!

I do have one other new exciting thing going on….but am just not quite ready to share about that yet! One must have some secrets.


Thanks so much, Kim, for sharing your farm and stories with us! I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above) Happy knitting! 🙂

Posted in farm, farm focus, Gotland, Grand View Farm, interview, local wool, raw wool, sheep, Uncategorized, wool | 5 Comments

Episode 61: I Grafted the Whole Thing Twice!

Hello fiber folk! I’m so excited to have an episode full of modifications . . . oh the grafting! You have to hear this story of woe and triumph! Plus, I have an FO: the Rumo by Alice Caetano, more Lithuanian knitting, a Panda sweater, our Modification KAL giveaway winner, and an announcement about this awesome SweetGeorgia Ambassadorship! Plus, a day in the homesteading life (at the end). Come hang a while? ~Melissa


Posted in Beiroa Yarn, episode, Felicia Lo, fix, hand dyed yarn, knitting, knitting modification, knitting podcast, modifications, Panda, Rumo Sweater, School of SweetGeorgia, seamed sweater, sleeve cap, Song and Dance, Susan B. Anderson, sweater, sweater design, sweater surgery, Sweet Georgia, SweetGeorgia, technique, techniques, tricks and tips, Uncategorized, variegated yarn, video, yarn | 4 Comments

Episode 60: Song and Dance

Hi yarn-folk! In this episode, I discuss my Song and Dance pullover designed by Albina McLaughlin of LB Handknits. It’s a gorgeous, graphic garment 😉 that’s fun to knit! Plus, Susan B Anderson’s Panda, some Faroese shawls (thanks to Misse Jensen), a blast from our knitting past magazine, an update from our Modification KAL, and giveaways galore! Come hang a while? ~Melissa


To enter the Giveaway for the gift box of yarn and goddies, you must post an FO in the Ravelry thread for our Modifications KAL (garment or accessory thread) by August 16th.  I’ll draw the winner by random number generator! Postage is included for US addresses; all other winners will need to pay their own international shipping costs. Good luck!

**Love the content? Buy me a coffee at http://www.ko-fi.com/knittingthestash

If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20 Show notes can be found at my blog: https://knittingthestash.wordpress.com

Posted in Barrett Wool Co., episode, Faroese Knitting, garment, Knit and Bolt, knitting, knitting podcast, LB Hand Knits, LB Handknits, local wool, LYS, Minneapolis, podcast, Song and Dance, Susan B. Anderson, sweater, sweater design, test knitting, Uncategorized, video, yarn, yarn shopping, Yarnfolk Festival | 3 Comments

Episode 59: We Got Sheep!

Dear yarn-folk! A new episode is up and full of . . . sheep! Come hang out with the flock that’s pasturing at our place for the rest of the summer. Plus, two baby knit FOs for some dear family and friends, a bit about the history of darning AND a birthday giveaway of fleece and yarn! Come hang a while?


To enter the Giveaway for either spinning fleece (washed) or two skeins of Vidalana yarn (perfect for summer knitting!), please leave a comment here, on the episode 58 YouTube thread, or on the Ravelry thread telling us which you would like and what you would make. I’ll draw two winners by random number generator in two weeks! Postage is included for US addresses; all other winners will need to pay their own international shipping costs. Good luck!

**Love the content? Buy me a coffee at http://www.ko-fi.com/knittingthestash

If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20 Show notes can be found at my blog: https://knittingthestash.wordpress.com

Posted in baby, Corriedale, cotton yarn, darning, episode, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, Miss Babs, Outlaw Yarn, podcast, sheep, Uncategorized, video, yarn, yarn on the hoof | 10 Comments