Sunday, January 29, 2017

More of the Mittens!

Here we are at the end of January, three weeks into the Basket of Mittens 2017 "project".  It's been great fun to see lots of people joining in, here at the blog, through Ravelry or Tumblr and from Tiffany's podcast, The Woolen Homestead.  We've been mentioned in a few other podcasts as well, how exciting!  Thank you Jennifer of Driftless Knitting and Ali, Little Drops of Wonderful!  I love both of these podcasts, go and give them a look if you haven't already.

I thought I'd share a little of my progress and also try to answer some questions I've received.  And at the very end, our first prize giveaway!  First off, I finished my first pair...and within 24 hours, I lost them!!!  Arrgh!!!



This picture shows one of the pair of mittens, pattern is Those Zig Zag Mittens via Ravelry.  Now I know the finished pair is in this house somewhere!  We have been doing some "spring cleaning", organizing and painting...they've simply gotten taken from the table and put somewhere they don't belong.  I'm having faith they'll turn up.

However, not a good start to filling the basket, is it?!?

I'm continuing to work on my Shine mittens, I'm knitting both mittens at once but on two separate sets of dpn's.  I've finished the cuff on both, have the thumb gusset complete on one.  Slow but joyful knitting those are!

In my organizational efforts, I gathered together some WIP's (works in progress).  UFO's (unfinished objects).  All mittens....


What a jumble!
And obviously, I have a thing for grey/silver (and cream), LOL!  I couldn't help but think of Sarah of Fiber Trek ;)

Here we go, all sorted...



There are five on the go mittens on this table (plus two that got left out of the picture).  Maybe I don't need to cast on any new mittens for February, but rather finish these?  What do you think?  I don't know, I may need to cast on at least something colorful ;)  But I'm going to make myself finish one pair from this group first, how does that sound?

I wanted to answer two questions I've been asked.  One is from June, for a favorite pattern for handspun mittens.  June, I've made several pairs from handspun, not from patterns that particularly called for it.  I think if your handspun is close to gauge for the required yarn, it will work!  I need to search my "archives" for photos of some I've made. This free top down pattern is one I like, and I've made a few times.  Someone else asked if there were any good YouTube videos on making mittens, and the only free one I found that I thought was pretty good is this one from KnitPicks.  However, she uses magic loop and I'm not sure how easy that is for a beginner?  Maybe I'm underestimating ;)  Otherwise, it's got some helpful tips.  I believe that Craftsy has a good paid for class on making mittens.

Also,  a reminder that crochet is totally welcome in this kal!  And as you can see, WIPS are welcome, too ;p

Finally, it's time for our first giveaway!  Are you excited?  Did you even know this was coming?  LOL...giveaways will be random throughout the year, I'll try to do them once each month but don't promise it.  I'll try to coordinate with Tiffany to do some through her Ravelry group, too.  For this first, though, I simply wrote down the names of everyone who contacted me in some way (blogs, Ravelry, email) and drew your name.  I hope you'll trust me ;)  The winner is ****  drumroll please **** ~

Ali, from Little Drops of Wonderful and via Ravelry!!!  The prize is one skein of yarn from the farm, wool from our Corriedale sheep, in natural colors...250 yard skeins.  I'm so excited for the first prize to be given....



I think next month's prize give away will be for a lovely mitten pattern, so stay tuned.  And tell me, have you started your mittens/gloves?  Still in the planning stages?  Pulling out unfinished pairs?  LOL, I'd love to know!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

2017 ~ YEAR OF THE MITTEN

Because the world needs more warm hands.  Because the lovely mitten is often overlooked in knitting (and crochet) circles by its sister, the sock.  Because my nickname is "Mitts" (short for My Wool Mitten, something that I've come to be quite fond of!)  Because I live in the mitten state.  Because I've dedicated and named the yarn and wool portion of our farm production "My Wool Mitten at Serenity Farms" And, well, why not?  



Over this past Christmas time, I knit a lot of mittens.  And could have/should have knit a lot more.  Mittens, fingerless mitts and even gloves are an easier gift to give then hand knit socks, I think.  Socks need to be a pretty particular fit, don't you agree?  While something for the hands can be a bit more forgiving in size - especially when made with lovely wool, a natural material so willing to be formed and shaped.

All over the crafting community at the beginning of a new year, plans are made for knit a longs for socks.  Year long knit-a-longs.  Exciting monthly knit-a-longs for socks!  The most popular podcasts knit socks.  Enthusiasm is at an all time high!  All well and good.  But my love for mittens, my sad shortage of mittens in 2016 and the loss of one of my favorite pairs of handspun, hand knit mittens (probably laying in a snowy parking lot somewhere!) inspired me to crown 2017 the "year of mittens"!  Surely there must be some of you out there who feel the same?


The mitts above are made from a free pattern on Ravelry "One Cable Mitts" by Valerie Teppo. Knit from our yarn A Breath of Snow and Ashes

So, let's knit/crochet hand wear in 2017!  We can do it together!  My goal is one pair per month, whether for myself or to gift.  Mittens, fingerless mitts, gloves...something to cover and warm the hands.  I want to fill a basket with mittens by the end of the year!



A "Basket of Mittens KAL"  Here is my empty basket, waiting to be filled.  Maybe you can only knit one pair, or six.  Maybe you make twenty-four, who knows? No rules here, just knitting fun and hopefully a new obsession for you (I hate to be in this alone, LOL)

I think that today, January 7th - Distaff Day! - is a lovely day to start, do you?  I don't have a podcast or a ravelry group, but if you would like to join in just leave a comment, follow the blog if you'd like to (not required).  I am on ravelry as grannysheep, if you'd like to find me there.  Because I'd really love to hear about more warm hands in the world (and there may be a giveaway of yarn or patterns here, wouldn't that be fun!)



Tell me your thoughts, share your mitten love (or frustrations).  During the winter solstice, I cast on a particularly lovely mitten pattern from Pia of Kammebornia podcast (pictured above) called Shine Mittens and I'll continue working on that. But today, for my official kick off, I'm beginning a pair of mittens called Those Zig-Zag Mittens that my friend Lynn and I meant to start a month ago.



Hurray for the year of the mitten, 2017!!!  Let's do our part to make the world a place with warmer, gentler hands and hearts...


NEWS FLASH! LOL, at least I think it is!  My friend Tiffany, who hosts a lovely podcast called The Woolen Homestead, has agreed to play along for the year!  So if you don't already, give her podcast a listen or come and join her Ravelry group.  Thank you Tiff!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just Because ~

A few pictures of yarns and knits and the colors of autumn ~













We still have our natural color Corriedale yarns available for purchase...a lovely Christmas gift for the knitter in your life perhaps?  Or to treat yourself? See more here, and of course I'm always available to answer questions ;)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Farm Yarn Friday...on a Monday

Update 1-18-2017 ~ "Wisewoman" is now sold out, but there will more available later this spring.  I'll leave this post up for reference!

Because I set a schedule and unrealistic goals for myself, because real life and no time for the computer gets in the way of updating things in a timely fashion...this new feature I was hoping for ~ Farm Yarn Friday ~ is coming to you on Monday this week.  Hopefully, this means you'll see two yarns this week, one today and one actually on Friday!
 
It has definitely felt like fall here in the mitten this past week (I love it!)  And the moon has been brilliant.  Finally, wool weather has arrived in full force!

Today's Farm Yarn Friday is going to highlight one of the Corriedale~Alpaca blends. A 3-ply, heavy fingering weight, processed right here in Michigan at Stonehedge Fiber Mill .  About an 80-20 blend, 250 yard skeins made using white wool from our Corriedale ewes and white alpaca from nearby North Star Alpacas, my friend Maple's farm.  It's called "Wisewoman"....






This yarn is such a dream to knit with!  Perfect for shawls, cowls, hats and of course mittens! It brings sparkling detail to colorwork, you can see in the gloves below, paired with two more of our yarns "Murmurations" and "Lord John Grey"...



We're so proud to take this fiber from the pasture fields, to the skirting table, to the mill and then to the knitting needles (or crochet hooks)!  If you are interested in purchasing any of this yarn, you can find out how in this post.  Wisewoman....

Vedbaek shawl by Karina Westermann, knit in Wisewoman yarn. A fantastic pattern!


"They say, in the old days when a man would go forth to do a great deed, he would find a wisewoman and ask her to bless him. He would stand looking forth in the direction he would go and she would come behind him to say the words of prayer over him...Bless me, then, wisewoman," he said softly, "and go...." Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon


NOTE:  All of our yarns, at this time, are named for lines or scenes from Diana Gabaldon's series of Outlander books.  If you haven't read them, I highly recommend a look!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

It's All About the Wool, the Yarn and the Farm

Hello again!


So I mentioned in my last post (way back four months ago) that I had something exciting to share with you all.  And it's taken me this long to prepare myself to share it...ah, life, you do have a way of throwing stumbling blocks and detours our way, don't you?  But here I am again and thrilled to be able to talk a bit about what we have to offer.  Can you guess from the photo what it might be?



Yes, it's yarn!

Farm yarn.  Our farm yarn.  Completely Michigan grown, nurtured and processed.  Small farm, small batch, heirloom quality Corriedale and Corriedale cross yarns.  All natural colors. Not just single breed yarn, but yarn from a single sheep (or two).  Woolen and worsted spun!  I can't tell you how excited I am to have this worsted spun yarn, it makes my heart and my fingers sing holding it in my knitting hands!  If you've never tried Corriedale wool, this is a delightful way to treat yourself.

















I want to write a little bit more about each of the yarns individually, and the sheep who have provided the wool for them, but as we've been getting questions, I'll share quickly that these lovely skeins were spun at Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan Michigan.  Each one is a 3-ply, plump sport weight.  With names like "Dunbonnet", "Breath of Snow and Ashes" (SOLD OUT) and "Gravel Road at Dark" (ONLY A FEW SKEINS AVAILABLE).  The moorit brown and the pale silver are both worsted spun yarns.  The charcoal gray is a squishy woolen spun.  There are approximately 250 yards each and if you are interested in having one of your own, the cost is $20 per skein.



I thought it would be fun to offer a sample pack.  Four Corriedale "skinnies" , junior sized skeins 50 yards each of the three foundation yarns plus one of our Corriedale~Alpaca blends (either the natural black "Murmurations" or crystal white "Wise-Woman") a total of 200 yards for $18.  
ETA: Sample packs are not available at this time as three of the yarns are sold out.  We'll offer them again as we get more yarn back from the mill!

I can't tell you how proud I am of these yarns and how happy I am to have them.  As you can imagine, there's a lot of knitting going on around here!  For that reason, these have a very limited availability.  If you're interested, I'd love for you to have some for yourself!  We accept Paypal, personal check or money order for payment.  I'm happy to ship outside the United States.  Prices listed do not include shipping.  You can reach me at serenityfarmswool at yahoo dot com with any questions and I'll be happy to give you a total with shipping and make all of the arrangements.

Happy sheep, happy yarn.