Monday, June 30, 2008

HHH Ravelry Swap Questionaire

I signed up for the Hush-Hush Handpun Hootenanny swap over at Ravelry. I am just "homespun" enough to get a chuckle out of the name ;) Here are my answers to the questionnaire for my future swapper:

How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself?5 or 6 years and I consider myself an intermediate spinner

What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)? Yes ((grin)) The yarn I create depends on what I am spinning for. I find bulky spinning the hardest to do.

What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)?Wheel – have never conquered the spindle and at this point in my somewhat arthritic life, I don’t feel the need to ;)

What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don't like?I raise Corriedale sheep and that is my favorite. Wool is my favorite, period. I much prefer it to alpaca, silk or any of the other “luxuries”. I do, however, like angora bunny and I like some of the other fancy stuff when it is blended with wool. I do not like spinning cotton or flax

Who are your favorite crack dealers fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)?Well, I have my own supply on the hoof and support other local fiber producers. But I love the yarns from Heritage Yarns and fibers from Spinderella’s. I love the fiber I bought from The Woolen Rabbit, too.

What kind of fiber do you want to try?Hmmm…not sure about that one, I don’t think there is anything new I want to try

Is there any techniques you would like to learn?I would like to conquer the long-draw in spinning, also improve my spinning from the fold technique.

Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn?I do dye fiber and wish I had time to do more of it.

Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?
I have combs, both mini combs and the larger ones – I love them and even sold my drumcarder. At this point, I guess I would prefer ready to spin fiber unless it is something like angora bunny, which I can always blend with what I have at home.

What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed?I mostly spin for socks and mittens, or else finer stuff for shawls and scarfs. These are also the types of projects I have completed.

Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?No, I think I have most of those kinds of things that I need – but maybe my partner has discovered some really cool little gadget I might not have thought of?

What colors "fall into your shopping basket"? Any colors you just can't stand?Any and all of them have a need to fall into my basket – LOL! I guess I’m not that crazy about neon blends, though.

What is on your wheel/spindle right now?Alpaca on one wheel; Corriedale-Pygora on the other

What other crafts/hobbies do you have?Gardening

Other than crafts, what are you passionate about?My Christianity and my family and farm

Do you have an online wishlist?No

Is there anything that you collect?Things that have sheep on them

Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have?
I would like to try some of The Woolen Rabbit's yarns one of these days. We subscribe to The Shepherd; Spin-Off; Draft Horse Journal and Farm magazines

When is your birthday?
January 24

What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality?
Now don’t laugh because I am a girl and this character is a boy…but I think I am a lot like Ken McLaughlin in Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka books. I was a real dreamer when I was a girl, and of course crazy to have a horse of my own. Often my daydreams got in the way of me getting my work done or caused problems, as happened with Ken in the books. Did you know there were three books in that series? My Friend Flicka; Thunderhead, Son of Flicka and Green Grass of Wyoming

What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)?
Summer in Michigan this year has been typically unpredictable. Last week it was close to 90 and humid – this week is a beautiful 70 and low humidity

Tell us one weird fact about yourself!
That I would rather be here at home than any place else on this earth! I don’t think that is so weird, but lots of people tell me it is ;)

Favorites -

Favorite painting/picture(link):

There is a well known painting of Jesus praying in the Garden at Gethsemane, but I’m not sure who painted it. A huge reproduction of that painting hung at the alter in the little country church I went to as a child and it always stirred up deep emotions in me, even as a child. The other one I like is of Jesus amidst a flock of sheep, carrying a wee lamb. There is even a black sheep in the flock. I have a copy of both of those pictures. And then I have one of a beautiful collie dog who has found a lamb in the snow. I don’t know who made any of these pictures, but I love them all.

Candy: I love caramel

Food: Anything! I really like the comfort type foods and probably prefer salty snacks to sweet (well, except for the caramel I mentioned!)

Drink: Coffee, followed closely by unsweetened iced tea and good old milk ;)

Movie(s): Old movies are my favorites. I love Casablanca; Gone With The Wind; Mrs. Miniver; John Wayne movies;

TV Show(s): I like Mystery on PBS; As Time Goes By on PBS; Grey’s Anatomy (though I hated this last season)

Book(s): That changes all the time

Guilty Pleasure(s): Buying to much yarn and fiber when I already have a good supply and at this time of year buying more new plants than I really need for the garden ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Will it rain on the hay?

The hay is cut and ready to rake. The weather, as is usual during hay season, tortures us.

Look to the north:

See the dark clouds building over the woods and the hay field?

I turn and look to the southwest:

See the beautiful clear sunshine? This photo was taken just seconds after the last one!

Look to the east:

This picture over the house shows the two systems coming together!

Sigh....the old saying is to make hay while the sun shines. How's a farmer to know when you can literally get dizzy trying to figure it out! LOL!!!

I'll end with a picture taken a month or so ago. Those of you who have followed my blog for very long have seen many pictures taken looking out across this pasture field from our porch. This year, we plowed under part of this field that had been pasture for the past fifteen years. It was tired and increasingly full of thistle and needed rejuvination.

I'm not a big believer in plowing under pasture. But the thistle and June grass was getting ahead of the other things and it was time. This fall it will be corn...corn that will be picked, after which I can turn the ewes into the corn stubble over the winter. Then it will be planted to hay. I like hay fields ;)

So, I leave you with the sun tipping its hat to the woods of Serenity Farms and the ewes in their smaller pasture lots. There is still plenty for them to eat, especially with the rotational grazing.


And if you feel led, pray for our hay crop ;) The sprinkles we are getting seem so minor when I think of fellow farmers across the middle of our country who are completely under water from this springs floods. Pray for them.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Summer Clearing House, Project-a-Long

My friends and I over at the Christian Artisans Yahoo list are having a stashbusting, projectbusting, clearing out of a work-a-long...not just for our unfinished, languishing projects but also for our minds (hopefully!) We seem to have become so bogged down with questions, cares and concerns ~ we are hoping to grab some joy and share it with each other as we share work on some unfinished projects.

I have determined to see the joy and peace and strength in each day from the Lord...we know from His word that He provides it, but how often we miss it when we busy ourselves with so much work, worry and concern! I want to really take notice of each day He gives me this summer, and hope it will become more of a pattern in my life. I am basically a joyful person, and that joy stems from my faith in God. I refuse to lose that!

The idea of the project-a-long is to chose a tangible project you would like to "clear up" this summer. It can be any form of craft...knitting, spinning of some stash, dyeing that fleece you have been holding back to work on, weaving, crochet, sewing. We started the first of June and are keeping track weekly, cheering each other on if necessary ;)

So hmmmm, what project do I want to focus on? LOL...there is no shortage to chose from! Should it be the project that has been on the needles the longest?

The color displayed in this photo is awful! The yarn is actually very bright and pretty, handspun from one of Spinderella's thrum batts called My Granny's Apple (wish I had more of that one!) It is a Mitre Square Poncho I began for my daughter at least a few years ago and it is more than two-thirds of the way finished!

How about the largest project in my UFO collection?

This is the Wrap Me Up stole/shawl by KnittingatKnoon that we are working on as a kal at my LYS. I love it, it really holds my interest...but it is getting so large and is 100% wool - it is just getting to bloody hot to work on! Hmmm...may just leave this one down at the shop and work on it in the air condition when I am there!

Or the smaller ones, for more instant gratification?

These five single socks are only part of the unfinished socks I have suffering from Second Sock Syndrome. The sad thing is, most of the mates to these are more than halfway finished!!!

The one with the biggest problem to correct?

This is Hanami, by Melanie Gibbons of Pink Lemon Twist. I have quite a bit of handspun white Corriedale from my own flock ready to continue with this one, and I really love it - the yarn and the pattern. It is soothing to knit. But I messed up big time on the lace pattern and need to decide what I want to do about it (no lifelines in site on this - ugh!)

And this is only the knitting projects! I can't begin to show you spinning projects that should be finished; carding or combing projects; fiber blends to create and get sent to the mill...and what about the gardens? Don't even inquire about the gardens, with their weeds and unruliness!


This little prayer, written by Peter Marshall, really seemed to me to sum up my goal for this summer time effort. It is taken from a little booklet originally printed in 1949. It says:

"O spirit of the Living God, breathe upon us Thy gracious power. As the coming of spring rouses Nature from winter sleep, so may Thy Spirit revive us, giving us new hope and a livelier faith. If we have never before been conscious of our need, make our souls hungry for Thee, O God, that we may no longer be content to be half alive, which is half dead. Give us fullness of life, set free from fear and doubt, that we may find new joy in our labors..."


Friday, June 06, 2008

Hot Days and Colored Fibers

Yes, it is. It is finally hot and humid in Michigan...and thankfully, we got some rain. Probably not enough to help the hay crop much at this point, but enough to revive some sleepy pastures!

All of the white fleeces I showcased here a week or so ago have sold (thank you to all who inquired!) I have three remaining partial fleeces for sale, all three are natural colored from covered sheep, and they are listed on my webpage ~ you can go here to check them out. Maxine's (below) is one of those fleeces:


This should be the last of the 2008 raw fiber available for sale unless I decide to part with some of my own personal stash {{{grin}}} - my eyes are always bigger than my available time in a day. If you did not get a chance to purchase a Serenity Farms fleece this year, and are not already on the waiting/reserve list for 2009, please contact me and I will add your name.

Okay, now I should go and pull some weeds from the garden. But I might not....