Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lots of Time for Knitting

There has been very little time for spinning at the farm, but with so many hours logged at the hospital and in waiting rooms I accomplished a lot of knitting since January...and most of that finishing projects - hurray! But before I show you my knitting progress, I want to share with you the February package from my Sockret Pal:

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I just realized that you can't see the adorable pattern featuring some pretty playful kitties on the little drawstring knitting bag (I will have to take another closer up photo and show you on another day - cats and knitting, how cool is that???) The two skeins of yarn are Rowan 4-ply (my first Rowan yarn, too!) in the most appealing, earthy colors. There is enough here for a pair of socks, but I am thinking of combining these with some of my Ainsley brown wool to make Pegg Thomas' Fancy Feet sock pattern. There was also a gift set of B&BW Orange Ginger bath products - shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion - had I mentioned that I love Orange Ginger?!? What a "right-on" swap present, Dharmafey! And by the way, you live in the same town as one of my very dearest friends!!!!

Okay, here is some finished knitting. First, the big(est) one - the shawl I started for my daughter last November. I actually started two other patterns, the ripped them out because they just didn't suit. I was looking at something by Silvia Harding and knew that this was the one!

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The pattern? Follow The Leader Faroese Shawl by Silvia Harding (downloaded from The Knitting those downloadable patterns - instant gratification!)
The yarn? From dearest daughter's favorite sheep in the flock, Violet (natural colored Corriedale) blended with angora bunny (you can just see the slight halo of the shawl), mill spun by Jim and Lynn at Spinderellas
Needles? Denise needles (really, I love these needles), size 6 and the extra long cable (52 inch, I think?)

Here is a little closer look at the center back:

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I wish I could show you the shawl on the daughter, as it looks lovely on her. The pattern was perfect for her, Nakia does not like light and airy, open work lace. I like the Faroese style for the way it can be wrapped and tucked into a waist band, leaving hands free (perfect for holding new grandson Elliot) I did make a mistake and got off on the pattern around the shoulders, but I went with it - as I told Nakia it is now snowflakes rather than triangle type shapes (grin) It was intended to be a gifted to her at Elliot's birth, but became instead a present at Mason's birthday. I think she doesn't mind ;) I also finished her Ainsley Yarn socks, from her second favorite sheep on the farm...I don't have a finished photo of these rich cocoa brown creations because they were whisked away and have been on her feet since their completion!

(Note ~ Now I am trying to decide on another shawl, stole or wrap pattern to start on and have in the works. I have yarn and patterns for several and just need to make the decision...I think I will write about that tomorrow and let you all help me decide!)

Next is the finished scarf I wrote about in a previous post. I think the colors look like a rainbow in the sky:

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What this photo shows is that I need to re-block the thing! The mohair blend yarn was so beautiful to work with! The pattern? Not mindless and not really all that easy, simply because it did require some concentration, but the rows were short and there was the "resting" purl row to allow you to count your stitches and keep yourself on track. This is also a gift for someone special.

Another finished project happens to be on my feet today:

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These Jaywalker socks, knit in Opal yarn, are from my first sock swap ever last year. The socks were started by Stariel (she chose the yarn and pattern, knit the first sock and sent me the remaining yarn to finish the second sock) They were finished but for a few inches, then sat in my knitting pile - isn't that ridiculous? So I finished them and have my lovely pair of socks and happy feelings for that first swap (which was also my first time using Opal sock yarn and my first pair of Jaywalkers, a pattern I have come to love)

Then, to celebrate finishing these projects I allowed myself to start a new one. And since I love the Jaywalker pattern so much, I got very excited when Grumperina (Jaywalker's creator) had a pattern in the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits, called Roza's Socks. I started them this week and think I will like them - maybe a progress photo later this week.

To top off the week, a plain manilla envelope arrived in my mailbox, disguising this sweet and thoughtful present from my friend Carissa:

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Isn't this precious? It has ladybug fabric on the reverse side, but I am so taken by the delicate watercolors of this fabric, I have it on the outside for right now. My Roza's Socks are carried inside. Carissa has such a gift for making unexpected blessings arrive in the mail when they are very needed....I was completely surprised and so touched by this! Thank you Carissa ;)

There you have it, knitting content from Serenity Farms! With spring and summer approaching, I am now looking forward to more spinning time...wait, time? What time??? LOL...

Friday, March 16, 2007

We ARE Still Here!

And, life continues ~

I would like to thank everyone for their care, concern and prayers since our world took an unexpected turn in January. It has been a long struggle with Bill's health, but it has not been without many blessings along the way - and friends and family are surely right at the top of the list! God is good, and He is faithful. After nineteen days in the hospital (including a long stay in intensive care, with an hour drive both to and from) Bill is now at a live-in rehabilitation facility only a few minutes from home and we are looking forward to the day he will be able to be back here with us on the farm. I hope to be better at keeping up with things in coming days, and I look forward to visiting with many of you. This world is filled with wonderful people, and we are blessed to know so many!

In the midst of this all, we have dispersed our herd of Percheron horses - all but Sam and Lisa. These old girls will live out their days here. I am especially thankful for the new homes that Stella and Rochester will have, both are near by.

Lambing began and shearing was done in February. There are many adorable lambs and amazing fleeces:

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I am VERY slowly getting the fleeces skirted and on the way to their new homes, but with so many additional responsibilities it is slow going as you can imagine! I want to be sure to thank all of my wonderful customers for their understanding and patience with me, especially when (along with everything else going on!) my computer died and couldn't be resurrected for nearly three weeks! And for those who could not wait and needed to forego your fleece reservation, I want to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my circumstances have caused. The good news is that this makes more fleece available to those of you who have been on the waiting list ;)

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My friend Theresa coined a phrase for my fiber...she calls it "Comfort Wool" and the sentiment has been echoed by many of my customers. I want to share a roving (pictured above) with you that is certainly deserving of that name! From a lovely little ewe named Bree (her picture is below with her 2007 lamb), this is so dense and so plush and so absolutely makes your heart and hands sing while you are spinning it! Rich, deep, dark brown.

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Another roving I just got back from Zeilingers is this blend I call Stone Soup:

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I was inspired to throw all kinds of wool together to have this one made after taking Letty Klein's Braided Roving Rug workshop - the intent being to have a nice felting roving to make some rugs with. Various amounts of things like Cotswold, Lincoln, Border & Blue Faced Leicester, Dorset, Columbia, Icelandic, Shetland and even some Alpaca, Llama and Corriedale - a real hodgepodge! Imagine my delight at how yummy the roving is and how beautifully it spins! I am currently spinning some of it up with the goal of a 3-ply sock yarn. Very soft yet with strength from the longwools and a neat tweedy oatmeal/grey, like Ragg Wool yarn!

Again, my love and thank you's to our friends and family who have kept in touch and had us in their prayers! A scripture that has echoed through my mind over and over in recent days is this one from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." It is a comforting feeling, to know that you are not alone when changes like these come our way!