FO Photoshoot May 2017

I guess I’ve been knitting up a storm! I had a pile of FOs to be photographed and my dear husband came out with me this morning to get everything catalogued ❤ Here are some postcards from our backyard. More photos available over on my Ravelry project pages. Happy knitting everyone!

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Loop by Casiapinka; Yarn by Old Crow ArtYarns and Hedgehog Fibers

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Waiting for Rain by Sylvia McFadden; Yarn by MadTosh

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Aileas (2) by Isabell Kraemer; Yarn by Isle Yarn (UK)

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Gladys by General Hogbuffer; Yarn by Knitting in France

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Fiber Focus: Ranching Tradition Fiber & GIVEAWAY!

Hello weekenders! I’m so pleased to be featuring Kami Noyes of Ranching Tradition Fiber! I interviewed Kami a few years ago and then featured her upcoming Copper K Fiber Festival as well; she is always up to something new! Of late, I know she has remade her website, has been working to offer even more variety of fiber (raw and prepped), and has been busy with festival preparations. Read on for more info from Kami–she’s a storehouse of knowledge! And, Kami has generously offered to sponsor the next podcast with a GIVEAWAY! She is offering one of her amazing raw wool sample packs to a lucky reader/viewer!! I’ll talk more about the raw wool in next week’s episode . . . but let’s get the party started right away–at the end of her interview, I’ve posted the info for the giveaway. You can enter HERE, in our Ravelry group, or via Episode 16 of the YouTube cast 🙂 So many options!

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I first featured Ranching Tradition Fiber in 2015; what’s new?
Thanks for featuring Ranching Tradition Fiber then and again now.  I am still raising sheep and selling their wool from Raw to finished items and everything in between.  I sell my yarns and fibers in a couple local shops, one is Stix Yarn Shop in Bozeman Montana so if you are ever in the area make sure to stop by and take a look.   Ranching Tradition Fiber is a family ran business with myself (Kami) being the main fiber person, my husband and 2 kids help a lot with the sheep, at shearing time, and even with shipping during our busier seasons.  Our busiest season is a few weeks after shearing, when my raw wool sale opens.  Opening morning is crazy makes us all feel very blessed.  I always try to have fleeces that will cover a wide variety of budgets and needs.  I also try to offer all types of fiber if you don’t like processing from raw I sell processed Top or True Roving, handspun yarns, all dyed or natural mostly wool raised on the ranch or by other Montana ranchers.  I am also a wool buyer in my area.  I will go to shearings and buy rare wool right from the ranchers.  A couple of my latest adventures are trying to become a better dyer by reproducing the same colors over and over on different bases.  I have always just offered one of a kinds, it is a process but I love trying new things that keep me growing as a fiber artist.

What breeds of sheep have you raised and how did you settle on your current flock?
I started my herd by buying area rancher bum lambs (lambs ewes couldn’t care for and have to be raised on a bottle).  The basic breed I have now is what I started with Targhee Rambouillet crosses.  I did have a few bums that were Suffolk crosses but not many left.  I tried Polypay rams one year because Polypay is known to produce multiple lambs, I didn’t find that the case.  I am always watching and researching other breeds but always come back to my Targhee Rambouillet.  I have some pure Targhee now and hope to be able to get some pure Rambouillet sheep someday.  Targhee sheep are a dual purpose sheep.  “The Targhee was developed at the Dubois, Idaho experimental station starting in 1926 in response to a demand for a western range sheep with improved meat characteristics. The Targhee is an easy keeper, long lived, lambs on pasture and produces an excellent fleece”. Targhee is a cross of a Rambouillet, Lincoln, and Corriedale.  Targhee fiber is known for its loft and elasticity.  You can find more about my sheep breeds on my blog

What is the Copper K Fiber Festival? 
Copper K Fiber Festival was created by me.  It all started with my sister renovating our old barn up into an event venue.  She started the project in 2015 and her first opening season was 2016 she rents it mostly for weddings and family reunions.  As we would be out helping her I would dream of it being a great location for a fiber festival because of it has great history and the sheep connection. The barn was built in the late 1800’s throughout the years it has been used for many things equipment storage, cattle, horses, and sheep.  I have a lot of great memories helping my dad during lambing as kid.  Last summer my sister and husband gave me a push to “just do it”.  So I put a post out on Facebook wondering if there would be interest in a festival the response was YES!  I then recruited Betty Kujawa with Snowdrift Alpacas to help me with the planning.  We are so excited for our first festival to be held July 22 and 23rd of this year.  We have vendors, teachers, food, wine, camping and just pure fiber fun in the country.  We are expecting people from all across Montana, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, and Connecticut.  It is looking to be a very fun event.  We still have a few spaces opened in our classes and outdoor vendor’s spaces available for anyone interested.

What are fiber sample packs?
Like I said before I always love to try some new fiber or technique.  So I offer different types of sample packs from time to time for other fiber artists to try.  I have a true roving sample pack with 1 oz. of Targhee 1oz Targhee Rambouillet 1oz of Blue Faced Leicester X 1 oz. of Bond right now.  The next one I will have is a raw wool sample pack which will include a few samples of raw wool Targhee and Targhee Rambouillet cross are just a couple.

What can spinners learn from them?
They can learn the different characteristics of the different breeds plus learn about the different types of processes (True roving vs True Top for example, Understanding what the different micron / spin count of a fleeces means)

What are you most looking forward to this summer/next year?
Of course the Festival.

How can folks find your shop or info about the Copper K festival?
You can find more about Ranching Tradition Fiber on my website or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.  The Copper K Fiber Festival is also on my website and is also on Facebook.

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GIVEAWAY INFO:

One lucky reader/viewer will win this amazing sample pack of raw wool and scour! All you have to do is leave a comment HERE, in our Ravelry group, or via Episode 16 of the YouTube cast 🙂 So many options! **The Question: Tell us a little bit about how you wash your fleece? OR Why you want to try raw fleece for the first time!

The giveaway will close on June 9th–so comment away! Share your fiber know-how!

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Thanks so much, Kami!

I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a dyer, 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)

 

Posted in community, farm, farm focus, fiber, fiber art, fiber artist, fiber festival, FiberFocus, giveaway, ranch, Ranching Tradition Fiber, raw fleece, raw wool | 13 Comments

Ella. Enchanted.

I started Ella this past week and (despite the cables and lace) I’m making fast progress! One of the items on my “To Learn” list for this year was top-down sweater construction, and my sweaters of late have given me much practice. Aileas is also a top-down sweater. But Ella is also giving me the chance to work on yoke construction as well! I’ve just joined fronts backs and sleeves and I’m about to move on down to the body. Such a lovely pattern and Jennifer Wood is an amazing designer!

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I am also intrigued by this yarn, which is Polka Dot Sheep Ski Town Sport–a SW yarn. I’ve *never* knit a sweater from SW yarn–indeed, I have actively avoided it! But this yarn has beautiful definition and a good hand. I’m satisfied that it will show the lace and cables off well AND that the drape will help to make this sweater’s fit excellent. Here i a close-up of the back lace and cable panel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some charts to read . . .

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Posted in knitting, superwash, sweater, top-down, WIP, Woodhouse Knits, yoke | 7 Comments

Episode 15: FOs All Over!

In today’s episode, I chat about my FOs: the Aileas Cardigan and Loop Shawl! I take a trip to Ravelry for some excellent new patterns that I’ll be knitting up: the Ella Cardigan and Rebel Shawl (brioche!!). And, of course, I feature lots of indie dyers and fiber folk! Giveaway announcement towards the end 🙂

 

Show Notes:

 

Posted in Aileas, big projects, Ella, episode, FO, information, knitting, Loop Pattern, project bags, spinning, Uncategorized, video, Woodhouse Knits, yarn | 5 Comments

Waiting for Ella

**If you are looking for the GIVEAWAY and PODCAST, click here**

Ever since last month’s teaser from Jennifer Woodhouse (of Woodhouse Knits), I have been having these vague and shadowy dreams of the *perfect* little lace and cable cardigan. Her tiny sleeve snippet was all I needed. And it’s perhaps why all of the other sweaters in my Rav favorites bundle have lost their glow for me (at least for the moment). Today, the pattern dropped and Ella became a sweet, sweet reality: next sweater sorted, cable and lace galore (my favorite combination), and light spring/fall wardrobe staple identified.

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I’m going to knit it up in the recommended yarn (for once!) and there is even a discount on theElla pattern site for anyone purchasing the yarn from Polka Dot Sheep. Have at it people! Ella has finally arrived!

Having knit Jennifer’s patterns before, I know that this one will be well-constructed; there will be minimal errata, and the design will be stunning. I also know that this will require some skill and concentration; lace and cable combos take some time, but they are SO worth it.

If you are interested in Jennifer Woodhouse’s work, you should totally join her newsletter (discount codes!! pattern previews!!), check out her Ravelry group, join her KAL for Ella, and generally peruse her patterns. I have found her to be very responsive to pattern queries and, she’s just all-around funky and cool.

Posted in cardigan, community, found, Jennifer Wood, pattern, sweater, unicorns, Woodhouse Knits, yarn | 8 Comments

Indie Dyer: Susan Gomes of WitchCandy

Happy weekend everyone! I’m so excited to feature Susan Gomes of WitchCandy this weekend. I have been smitten with Susan’s work for a LONG time–especially her “Birch Fire,” “Utah Mesa,” and “Sunset Hair,” which are super hard to get a hold of. There is a certain whimsy and vibrancy to Susan’s color combinations. I know I fell in love when I saw her knee socks knit with a beautiful gradient yarn. Plus, Susan is well regarded in the indie community and folks in many of my FB groups snap up her yarn as fast as she can make it. So, first things first: some eye candy from WitchCandy 🙂 and then, the interview!

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How did you get into dyeing?
When my kids were little I was really into knitting things for them.  There was an indie dyer who’s yarn I couldn’t get enough of—Lindsay Baker of Family Roots Legacy—who dyed in vibrant colors I wasn’t seeing at any of my local yarn shops.  Lindsay took time off from dyeing and, lucky for me, put out an e-book that was perfect for beginners and also included a few of her “recipes.” My boyfriend purchased her ebook for me for Christmas one year and that set me on this path.

What is your favorite fiber to dye?
I would say anything with some silk content.  Colors blend so beautifully on silk bases and light just seems to dance right off of it’s sheen.

Where do you find inspiration? 
EVERYWHERE! nature of course, art, music, food, photographs, thoughts in my head, even my kids’ messy rooms!  it is really true that inspiration is everywhere if you are paying attention and open to seeing it.

Any advice for new dyers?
Yes, try everything! don’t be afraid to screw up, it’s just yarn (yes, I said that!). Don’t always follow the rules of color theory–sometimes mixing “taboo” colors creates the most beautiful results. just play with color and you will build a filing cabinet in your head of colors that work together so that when you see inspiration, you can translate it to yarn. try lots of different techniques; kettle dye, pan dye, squirt on dye, paint it on, sprinkle it on dry, etc.  There are so many different ways to apply dye and they all create very different results.  Experimenting with various techniques will help you develop a style that works for you.

Where can folks find your shop online? 
I have an Etsy shop (www.witchcandy.etsy.com) and I’m also on Facebook and Instagram under the name Witch Candy Yarn

What’s NEW on the horizon for your shop?
I am starting to dye yarn sets which is new for me. I have also been turning over the idea of building a studio so that I can dye in larger batches, I just have to decide if I want to make that leap.

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Thanks so much, Susan!

I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a dyer, 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)

Posted in color, color palette, colorway, community, indie dyer, interview, knitting, sock yarn, Uncategorized, WitchCandy, yarn, yarn shopping, yarn-lover | 7 Comments

What if Everyone was Knitting?

**If you are looking for the GIVEAWAY and PODCAST, click here**

When you’re nervous, some say you should imagine your audience in their underwear. I think this sounds awkward. And ineffective. But, who am I to judge?

When I’m out in public at a soccer game or sitting in a meeting or waiting in an airport, I do imagine everyone around me  . . . knitting. Yep. Fully clothed, but totally immersed in the fiber arts. At some point along my knitting journey, perhaps when I read Kate Davies book about Haps and piecework or when I learned about the mitten quotas in Iceland, I began to look around me and imagine the scads of knitwear that we could collectively produce. What if everyone was knitting? Would we be happier? More productive, surely. Would we dread knitting as an imposed social requirement? Would we all be a little more zen?

And this question led me down another rabbit hole: thinking about all of the stitches I fit into the interstices–not just the evening marathon sessions, but the quiet moments waiting in a line, or during a car trip the the grocery store, or sitting on the porch in the sunshine for a quick morning work break. All of those tiny moments add up to sweaters and socks and shawls. As my husband would say: it’s like the strangely improbably task of eating a bowl of soup one spoonful at a time; and then suddenly it’s done and you’re full! Ok, maybe that’s a weird analogy, but you get my point. Little stitches, after little stitches, adding up to make something beautiful and warm and colorful.

Posted in community, Knit in public, knitting, not knitting, unexpected | 11 Comments