Sunday, December 25, 2011

Linen Sweater Project finally done!

Looking good in Louet linen yarn. Finally finished this project (years in the making) and seems to be getting good use in Florida. I love linen, and this yarn was fun to work with.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 Northeast Handspinners Open House in Pawtucket RI

Chris ventured with me to the Slater Mill in Pawtucket on Saturday, where we attended the every-other-year Open House produced by the Northeast Handspinners Association. This time Rhode Island got to pick a site, and they chose well! Slater Mill is an historic site, actually the first textile mill built in the United States (Or North America? Not sure on that factoid.). Not necessarily easy to find if you've never been to Pawtucket, located just north of Providence.

The mill was beatufilly restored and cozy and filled with examples and memories from days gone by. Wonderful enlarged photos of young women and men reminded us of how fiber and clothing was produced, and how the workers looked and lived.

Chris and her prize
A small selection of local fiber product vendors tempted us with new rovings, handmade jewelry, soaps, and gorgeous drop spindles.In true form, Chris won a prize during the raffle drawing. A pouch of lovely angora rabbit fiber to add to her stash
Raffle drawing

Ann Hood

The RI planning committee really lucked out in securing our guest speaker. Author Ann Hood -- that's right, of The Knitting Circle fame -- regaled us with life stories, both hysterical and heartrenching. A native RI-der, Ann spoke as fluidly and poetically as she writes. She seemed to enjoy being there as much as we did. Her good news was the book has been optioned for a feature film starring actress Katherine Heigl, one of my favorite animal-loving celebrities. And, Ann has more wonderful projects in the queue.

The organizers informed us that the 2012 The Gathering (the 3-day weekend of fiber/spinning workshops, shopping, talks, and more) will be held in Southbury CT. Again, not at all inconvenient for my local fiber pals. Start saving those pennies now!
For me it was a wonderful, overdue outing with a fiber friend I have come to appreciate very much, and a poignant reminder of how our spinning guild is in transition.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Salty Ewe Farm in November

The pictures speak for themselves. Another lovely day of visiting with the flock, this time with a new stud on display. Hercules came down from Romney Ridge Farm in Wiscasset, ME. Big Bill moved on to Shearbrooke Farm, due west of Portland, where he will surely keep a new group of ewes happy, and lend his glorious cocoa coat to the farm's fiber production.
Big Bill
Big Bill is indeed.

Hercules is handsomely mottled over his face and body with browns and creams, and has a long tail. Two of the Babydoll Southdown ewes have enjoyed his company in the specially-created "love nest" -- three is definitely not a crowd for this bunch!
Little Hercules

The other light and dark ewes munched peacefully in the groomed field, keeping a wary eye on me and my cameras. Though I brought apple slices to lure them in, they are tough to convince that I am harmless.

See more images at the Walking Wool facebook page
Maybe this is the winter when I will shoot sheep in snow. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Slater Mill and Northeast Handspinners Association

Looking forward to December 3rd. Heading down to Pawtucket RI for the 2011 NE Handspinners Assoc Open House. Lots of luscious fiber fun. Here's a taste of the program:

Main Speaker: Ann Hood
The author of the bestselling novel, THE KNITTING CIRCLE, and the memoir,
COMFORT: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF, which was named one of the top ten non fiction
books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Ann has
been a welcomed speaker at Fiber Events- combining her story telling skill with the healing
respect for fiber related arts and crafts. A R.I. native- she is very excited to have been invited to
this event and looks forward to meeting members of NHA. She will have her books available for
purchase during the afternoon spin.

Local Rhode Island Vendors will be on site at the Jencks Center.

Something to follow

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hot off the press

Just returned a few hours ago from the 2nd Annual New England Fiber Festival at the Big E in West Springfield MA. Met lots of very nice people (typical for fiber festivals in my experience) and shot another few hundred photos for the portfolio -- see below, and more at the Walking Wool facebook page.  Also, got a front row seat for a shearing, and learned a little more about that skill, which I covet and hope to learn one day. Some helpful vendors gave good feedback on the sample Walking Wool Calendar I brought with me.

It was worth the reasonably short drive.

Border Leicester




Corriedale, before and after shearing
Shearing demonstration

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm a blocking novice

No, that's not a new curse word.
I meant I've never "blocked" a knitting project before. And, it's about time I learned.
Just finished a sweater that desperately needs some resizing so that it can actually be WORN by the intended recipient. Wouldn't that be nice.
I knitted it in linen, and really enjoyed the yarn. It's a sweet design that has been in my knitting basket a LONG time.
So, I am grateful to for this article on how to "wack" my linen project into submission.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Calendar on hold

As much as I have longed to make this a reality, the calendar must wait until next year. Too much research on printing options needs still to be done in order to make it possible to offer a 2012 edition. The initial investment will be well over my budget, and so I look forward to more LUCRATIVE times early next year when I can revisit the project and make it a reality, for sure. In the meantime, I get good and positive feedback about the concept and the content.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shipment #1: Calendars Arrived!

This is pretty exciting. So exciting I was afraid to open the package!
I ordered two versions of my calendar from Vistaprint -- one b/w and one in color.

I LOVE  the cover images and the way the titles look. The BFL ewe in color with her one gentle eye looking upward is stunning.
cover of the color version
cover of the b/w version

The paper stock is a little thin, but I think it will help to keep the price point down, an important consideration in this economy for all concerned. Some of the images were not the best resolution, so they have to be exchanged. The data in the calendar date grid looks good, and just needs a few edits. All and all, am pretty excited. They also sent me sticky return address labels. More promo vehicles is a good thing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Calendar and other random thoughts . . .

Waiting anxiously for the arrival of the sample calendars I designed to feature my sheep portfolio. The images were chosen from a group of new and older shots, black and white. I'm learning so much about online resources like Picassa, but the time spent on the project is astonishing. Suddenly hours have gone by. What have I accomplished? A little bit more confidence and that is worth it, I suppose.  Off to feed hungry boys now, one of whom talks to me about the delay in getting the dinner together. The other rests patiently, knowing I can be relied on to provide the victuals. Today saw another honey colored chow in the current issue of DownEast Magazine. That one lives with Martha Stewart, who is the subject of the feature article (she has a home on Mt Desert Island and has promoted Maine businesses and products for years). You can be that's one lucky dog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Summer Weather in October Lures Me Outdoors

We've had days of 80-degree temps here which keep me longing to be outside instead of working on the calendar project, spinning, knitting, and other urgent tasks. I've tried to do them all outside, some with better success than others. Wifi fails me beyond a certain distance from the office. The Boys are enjoying the flurry of fall activity on display: squirrels and chipmunks and rabbits gorging themselves on the season's harvest. Igby is super quick, and Jeric is very vocal, especially when his "favorite" bunnies come out of hiding to much on the green grasses just steps away from his confinement (on the porch). I am lucky to have large picture windows in Suite 1 (the LSPR office) and down in Suite 2A (the Walking Wool studio). But, there's no comparison to the warm, fresh air these last few days have provided. They are especially sweet, as I know the chill will arrive soon.   Today I must harvest the last of the basil (it's still growing!), one of the highlights of vegetable gardening.

Ordered samples just now of the calendar, in B/W and in color. They should arrive within a week, and then I'll know what they look like in the flesh. Very exciting to be moving this long-in-the-making task forward. Next up, a letter and samples to Interweave Press, and also to Brown Trout Publishers.

Meanwhile, I pass out my calling cards where ever I go, and am updating new images on in my etsy store.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SOAR So Close, Yet So Far

I am not making it to SOAR 2011 in nearby Manchester NH this week, but two dear spinning friends are. Hope for a report soon from Betsy and Chris, who are a devoutly fanatical about spinning as I am. A week of spinning in New Hampshire! What a way to spend National Spinning and Weaving week this year! Meanwhile, I plug away at my 2012 calendar and upload new images to my etsy store. At night I keep at my knitting projects, and during the day I steal a few minutes here and there to spin up some random fiber from my too vast collection, or pick open dyed fleece that requires this step before carding or combing. Doesn't really matter what I work on, as long as my hands are busy, touching the fabulous materials and feeling myself relax.

Two events coming up in New England I expect to get to: The 2nd Annual Fiber Festival of New England at The Big E in West Springfield early next month, and then the Northeast Handspinners' Association Open House in Pawtucket RI. Both are easy day trips and hopefully a fiber friend will join me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sheep Handling 101

Me here fulfilling a fantasy at a CT Sheep & Wool Festival --  one of my favorites -- a few years ago. "Who wants to help me hold the sheep?" the lecturer asked. "ME!"
Found these while perusing CD files for my 2012 calendar, a first and hopefully the launch of a series. Hard to decide on just 12 images! Thanks to Betsy for capturing my few minutes of bliss.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apologies to Hungary

Some time ago (this spring???) I discovered an etsy seller from rural Hungary who had local sheep and their fleeces for sale. Here is the documentation of  the shipment that arrived, just one week after I  ordered it (my how things have changed since I was a student and shipped things to and from Europe!). The white and black fiber samples smelled richly of the beasts upon opening the envelope. That too was a treat!
But the staple! Sooooo long. Like, 8 inches? More? After taking these photos of the still dirty fiber I did wash it. Then, I got a combing lesson from my friend Chris and learned how to get these exotic long lengths into order for spinning. Only now am I actually working up the little birds' nests of roving into yarn on my wheel. It just slips through my fingers. I think it will be very strong, not much spring, but lush and special. 

Now, I have to find someone selling german sheep fleece online and so satisfy that side of my family tree.

Not exactly woolly

Unrelated but important to me, a few scenes of my Mom enjoying Acadia National Park this month with some friends. On the water and on land, having a grand time. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer from &*()^%

I'm probably not alone in feeling this way, but a little self-pity now and then is normal, no?

Posts to this blog have been nonexistent since July . . . that should tell you something. My wheel was down, my family was in chaos, storms were strange and menacing, and fiber time was on the back burner.

The good news is there are new portfolio photos, new business cards and postcards, a few fiber excursions made, and a revitalized spinning wheel. Plus, collaborating with the Salty Ewe Farm shepherd on promotional materials has kicked me back into gear.

Living so close to OSV (Old Sturbridge Village), I escaped for a couple of hours last Sunday and hung out with the Gulf Coast Native sheep, the dyers, the herb garden, and a couple of exceptionally handsome and friendly Randall steers. Really nice to have such a charming resource 1/2 hour away.
The Gulf Coast Native sheep,which would have been popular, along with Merinos, apparently,  in New England during the  19th Century.



The Randalls, heritage breed steers who like attention.