Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Summer of "S" ~ sort of...

Well sheep, of course!

And spinning ~ (finally, I've felt like spinning again!  It's been forever...)

Some mitten knitting ~ (again, had lost the mitten knitting desire...)

A sweater to finish ~ (which I am dutifully working on, even in the heat...)

And a new one to begin, one with soulful inspiration!

Take one lovely Bye Brook Farm, Romney lamb fleece from Maine.  Blend it into roving with one of our Serenity Farms Corriedale lamb fleeces.  Decide that the beautiful blend deserves to do more than languish in the stash (it's that amazing rusty black that reminds you of faded upholstery or vintage quilts, with threads of tinsel silver running through). Think longingly (so longingly that it's almost a physical pain, LOL) of how much you would like to be in Maine later this summer with Sarah of FiberTrek and her Wool Scouts retreat here.

Do a little sample spin of the lovely roving, and think of Maine sheep and Michigan sheep.  Maine wool women and Michigan wool women.  Start thinking about sweaters from handspun yarn that would be fitting for a Maine coast or a Michigan farm.  Listen to Emily of Fibre Town Podcast's Summer of S 2017 here .  And the idea of how to be a long distance dreamer participant of the retreat was born!

I'm spinning to knit a Maine to Michigan sweater!  I searched through dear Ravelry to find a Maine designer for my pattern (I was already thinking of a few) and had pretty much decided on Second Grace by Bristol Ivy.  But then, a few of my wool friends (Sarah and Patricia and Clare to be exact!) were knitting  Seachange by Jennifer Steingass.  I didn't want to start another sweater until I finish my Gingerbread so I didn't cast on when they all did, but the Gingerbread will be finished by the time I'm done spinning the yarn for Seachange and then I will start in.

My aim is to finish spinning and have the yarn washed and ready to go so I can cast on at the beginning of the Wool Scout retreat.  Emily's Summer of S craft-a-long goes until September.  I doubt I'll have the knitting done by then, but the spinning definitely! 

So there...there is my inspiration.  Will I stay focused and finish all these dreams?  I hope so.  I'm finding myself more single minded in my knitting and spinning pursuits these days.  And I rather like that.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

April Showers Bring...Knitting?

Lack of blog updates do not mean that knitting hasn't been happening!  Mitten knitting specifically but also....drumroll please....sweater knitting!

Yes, it's true, I started work on a sweater and this time, darn it, I aim to finish.  Because the truth is that in all my years of knitting and despite many starts and intentions...I've never completed a sweater for myself.  Can you imagine?  LOL, I feel no shame in this but I have decided that it's a knitting goal I am going to accomplish in 2017.  More on the sweater later, but right now I wanted to catch you up on the mitten knitting so far this year.  (Have you been following along in Tiffany's Ravelry group The Woolen Homestead? Much of our mitten chatter is happening there)

So, I'm continuing to diligently work on my Shine Mittens.  Slowly, but loving every minute of it.  I had intended to finish them by the 20th of March, but it didn't happen.  Now my goal is by the end of April.  I started and stalled making a pair of Shetland Garden Mittens for the New Hampshire Knits Mitten KAL.  I even won a wonderful prize at the cast-on "party"!  But my fingers and hands were really rebelling against more tight knitting of lots of stitches on small needles and my gauge was terrible.  I've set those aside to begin again at another time (possibly in the fall?)  Because I LOVE the pattern!

Another mitten pattern I was excited to begin was the Reflecting Light Mittens by Emily of FibreTown podcast.  I knew I wanted them to be made from handspun.  The handspun I had picked out Corriedale, with Lincoln as the contrast, is perfect mitten yarn.  But again, gauge was off and after no less than three false starts....I've also set them aside until the Shine Mittens are finished.  Might have to chose different handspun (luckily there is plenty of that on hand!)

I mentioned that I won a prize in the New Hampshire Knits Mitten KAL?  I was absolutely thrilled to win the Selbu mitten package donated by the truly marvelous Patricia from Knitography.  This was pattern and traditional Norwegian yarn to make them with!  Oh how badly I wanted to cast on the mitten the minute the yarn arrived ;)  But I also want to savor and enjoy the process, so they will be cast on after Shine is finished.  I'm planning that for the first of May.

So those are the mitten updates.  So far this year I've finished a full pair of mittens, a pair of fingerless mitts, and have been dedicated to a third pair.  I need to kick it up a notch!  We've awarded prizes in January (yarn) and February (pattern).  No prize in March, but I think I'll get one out for April, probably from the Finished Object thread of The Woolen Homestead group (mentioned above)  And I'm thinking of a large giveaway in May, watch for details.

Finally, just a little bit about the sweater I'm working on.  I'm totally weak for a good, relaxing KAL.  And when darling Kate of Hawthorne Cottage Craft podcast announced her first kal for The Gingerbread Sweater...well, I just gave in.  Partly because I had the perfect ginger colored yarn (our "Dunbonnet" from the moorit sheep).  So I cast on and am really having a good time with it!  It's knit in the round, top down but with interesting details.  I'm at the endless knit, knit, knit stage but that's okay (need a little mindless craft these days)

And that's it!  What have you all been up to?  At the end of this month we'll be shearing the sheep.  Lambs should arrive after the first of May.  Grass is slowly greening.  I'm looking forward to our first ever Finnsheep yarn when it comes back from the mill (I mentioned it here, on our yarn blog) and more Corriedale blends with Outlander inspired titles.  OH, and I've finally...finally taken the plunge and started on instagram, can you believe it?  Come and find me as @mywoolmitten!  Strictly knitting and the farm related.

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


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!