the Intrepid Fiberwizard

adventures in spinning, knitting, gardening and life

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Finished just Under the Wire

There's always lots to do just before a show - it seems that almost everything happens at once~despite hours of careful planning.
Every year I try to make new samples for our booth displays that show off the yarns. I work on these from October until June it seems :-) (and then start all over for the next year !)
For this year, I made a gazillion socks, a bamboo jacket, my magic sweater (from handspun Chasing Rainbows merino bombyx) a silk belt and now finally.... a Melody summer top:

This little lovely (and I do mean little... but we'll get to that in a minute) was knit from Southwest Trading's Melody yarn. It's a railroad-type yarn. Softer than many of its competitors with about 4 times the yardage in a ball - this is a fun novelty item. If you like it, hop on over and grab some (we were just informed by the wholesaler that it is being discontinued)

I used a pattern from Plymouth Yarn called "Drifters Shell" ~ knit up on size 6 and 7 needles. It took about 1 1/2 balls of Melody yarn... and miles and miles of stockingette stitch. The BEST news of all, is that I finished it just before this weekend's upcoming fiber fair. wooppieeeeeeee

Now to the "little" part - I made up the woman's medium size. I knit both the front and back at once. I thought I was clever, I giggled at my wise self... (that will teach me ! hah) Anyway, I was careful to count my stitches every few rows (since it's easy to add a stitch with this yarn) My measurements matched the pattern exactly...... BUT... the crucial trying-it-on moment came... gasp.... it was skin tight ! yee-gaadds (do people still say that?) It was tight enough that it might fit a small child of 11. Be forewarned... if you want it to 'drape' like the lovely model in the picture on the pattern, knit it at least 2 sizes bigger... sigh... it'll make a great booth display, and then maybe a gift for the young daughter of another blogger I know whose wee princess loves pink and purple (grins) but then again, she might not like it... we shall see!

So now, without further ado, we pack and load for our upcoming show. Anyone within driving distance of Gig Harbor Washington, please pop in and say hi. We'll be spending thursday-sunday at the Northwest Regional Spinners Association annual conference. It's long hours (we're there from around 8:30 am to 10 pm) There are classes, a formal dinner, fashion shows and open spin-ins on saturday. Come on down! (it's at UPS - no, not the men in brown, but the college)

The wizard has left the building.
See you next week !

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Lovely day off

It was close to the end of the week - and I was ready.... it was time for a day off! Yippee !
I drove up to Seattle (about 1 hour & 45 minutes from our farm). I got pampered, I treated myself to a gift, and had a fabulous pizza. Nothing quite beats a fabulous pizza.

The spinning continues, and Cheryl & I wonder how we can squeeze another 10 hours in a day :-) All knitting had ceased, sleep barely happened, the fiber dyeing pots have been cooking up pounds of fiber every day. The garden is jammed full with weeds that threaten to squish my lovely flowers, laundry isn't getting done, and the dust... well, let's not go there. I had seen a full quota of clients this week. Our preparations for the two big upcoming fiber fairs were in progress. A rest was in order.

Before my couple of hours being pampered as my daughter did my hair (thank you Erin !), I wandered over to my favorite little yarn shop in Seattle (So Much Yarn). This is a shop that just makes you want to sigh with delight as you enter. The sales staff is cheerful, fun and knowledgable (yahoo) All the yarn is amazing. I walk around grinning, touching, ooohhing and aaahhing for hours. I never fail to find some grand new project to play with when I visit there.
Here's what I came home with this time :
Lauren (shop owner) designed a fabulous shrug that has ruffles around the edges. I couldn't help myself - I dove in. (and needless-to-say, I cast on this morning)

Now here's my thought for all you blog knitters around the world : Support your local yarn shops ! Yes, it's true that you might find an amazing bargin on line from one of the humongo cut throat discounters, yes it's true that you might save a few dollars .... BUT (and that's a big but) whatever would we do without a place to go "touch and see" the yarn of our dreams? Who would be there to talk to if we need help with a complicated pattern?.... just sayin'..... How about we all make a little promise to ourselves, to buy at least 1 skein of yarn a month from a small local shop. Who's in with me?

Meanwhile, back at the farm... it's raining here. Now, some of you might moan over a week's worth of rain, not I, says the fiberwizard. There's weeding to be done (and afterall you can't weed in the rain, all that mud you know) there's grass to be cut (same as before) and there's watering to be done (normally.. ha ha). So instead, I celebrate, doing a small happy dance when I wake and see that it's still raining.. now I can knit! (she giggles in glee)
The flowers are popping open here - and it's truly spring.

On Friday a lovely gift came in my mailbow, from my blogging buddy Leah.... handmade sock yarn bags ! She must have heard me say that I could never have enough (grins). Aren't they lovely ! and yup, I just had to cast on a new sock to jump right into it's lovely bag. Doesn't the pelennor sock coordinate nicely with the bag? (tee-hee) So now I am the proud owner of three sock bags hand made by Leah and Trek (see earlier post). wander over to their blogs and tell them how fabulous you think they are okay?
I sure am one fortunate fiberwizard. :-)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Check it out

If you have never checked it out, go ahead and click on this link...our friend, Julie, owns Knitter's Anonymous. It is a hilarious pun on the 12 step programs.. only for knitters ! Julie is a genius!
Aside from fun memberships which will earn you a discount at many large retailers, she has developed a wealth of fun gifts for all of us goofy knitters.

Here's the newest Christmas ornament that I bought myself when we were had a booth recently at the Seattle Knitter's Expo:

Need I say more? !

And for all our Sock Hop Yarn enthusiasts, we are currently out of stock - and have a full back order list. Thank you to everyone! Cheryl and I are spinning as fast as our little fingers can fly - (and wishing for more hours in the day (grins). Please feel free to email us here at Crown Mountain Farms at the following address to be placed on a mailing list: info AT crownmountainfarms DOT com .

We would be delighted to send you an email notification as soon as we have Sock Hop Yarns back in stock. (we're expecting about four weeks, but maybe less) Due to the overwhelming response to this grand new yarn, we cannot respond to everyone personally (we need to be spinning - ho ho ho) Thank you so much for all the interest ! Who wouldda thunk it ? !
Good ol' US Postal Service was amazing over the weekend, and most of you who ordered should have your yarn by now (yippee!)

So, my knitting will just have to wait a little bit while I spin. Good thing it doesn't spoil (grins)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The House is a Rockin'

I was so excited last night that I couldn't sleep ! So what did I do?
Stayed up and finished my sock of course - all the while singin' and dancin' all over the place! The newest addition to the Sock Hop Yarn "Hall of Fame" is this sweet little gem - colorway "Say a Little Prayer".

You might ask why I couldn't sleep - well, Cara posted a blog about our Sock Hop Yarn, and we were flooded with emails the entire day (this is a wonderful dilemma to have !) A big hello to all you new visitors to my blog! :-)

K stayed up late packing boxes and the sock yarn is now winging its' way all around the world.
We are almost out of all the colorways as of this moment - but not to fear, Cheryl (our wonderous spinner!) is busy finishing up the next batch of colors. We are taking backorders for a little while, so please feel free to email me if you'd like to be added to that list.
(teyani AT crownmountainfarms DOT com )

We are also working as fast as we can to get this grand yarn up on our website. As soon as that happens, it'll be much easier for all of you to order. Thanks for your patience during this exciting new introduction! We LOVE this new yarn, and are tickled pink that you do too!! In the meantime, be sure to check out our line of Dicentra Designs hand dyed sock yarn - it's lovely.

On the home front -
it has been awhile since I captured our kitties on film - Miss Em and Lady Di have grown so big now.... and as you can see, they just love to "guard" the front door (heh heh)....... at this very moment outside, we had a most unusual "guest" ! (look carefully at the company who came calling just outside the glass sliding door !)

And one last picture - of Miss Em, who loves to 'hang out' with Dad while he's watching the news :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Me & Aretha Rockin' Out

While New England suffers its floods and storms, we are in a heat wave. It's been 82 in town, which translates to 88-90 degrees here on our hill. While this might not seem like such a heat wave to my southern friends and family, remember that west coast homes don't have air conditioning (hmmmm, maybe I should say: yet)

Yesterday evening it was too hot to even knit, so I pulled out my spinning wheel and contented myself to the slow gentle movement, watching some gorgeous colors glide through my hands. This is a batch of Blue Faced Leicester that was hand dyed by my friend Lisa. I bought it from her last year at Northwest Regionals Spinners Conference, and spun most of it over that weekend. Lest you go looking, no, this colorway isn't on our website.. (yet ?) I could ask her to make some up for you if you like. The color is called Hadhafang.

So today comes along (yes, it's hot and dry again) and after a morning of weeding in my garden (until the sun really got hot) I hopped off to work to see clients. Lo and behold,
they had cancelled... (me thinks the heat is getting to all of us out here) So, lucky me... I raced back home to get started on a knitting project....... yup, you guessed it................. a new sock!
Now it's too hot to knit quickly, but the lovely Beck's beer helped. (of course it's German !) Here's where the "rockin' out with Aretha" comes in......I'm singing a sweet tune while I knit; this is our new colorway "Say a Little Prayer". The original song was sung by none other than Aretha Franklin , and was recently in a cute movie called "My Best Friend's Wedding."
So here I am singing along, sippin'
my icey cold beer, and I invite you all to join in
Each day when I wake up, before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you-

While combin' my hair now - and wonderin' what dress to wear now
I say a little prayer for you
Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you...

..... oops, carried away a bit (grins).. here's the close up. Isn't the Embossed Leaves pattern fun in this yarn?.
Stay cool out there all you rock 'n rollers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More Sock Hop Yarns

I just received this wonderful photo from our Sock Hop yarn spinner, Cheryl (thank you dear girl!) And am so excited I can hardly sit still (picture me dancing all around the house right about now)

It's of the newest colors of our yarn - all spun up ! Yay!
From left to right the colors are called:

Say a Little Prayer
Brown-Eyed Girl
American Pie
Pink Cadillac
Wild Thing

The cost/skein is $13.50 and you'll need two skeins for a pair of socks. Each skein is about 200 yards and knits up on size 1 needles. (We raised the price by 50 cents to help cover shipping)
The first batch sold out fast - and I spent last weekend dyeing up more. Look for the above colors PLUS new colors coming soon to our website: Midnight Hour, Blue Suede Shoes, Mustang Sally, Big Yellow Taxi, Hang on Sloopy, I feel Good and Love me Tender.
I hope that this tickles your fancy too!
(for now, just email me to order.... teyani AT crownmountainfarms DOT com)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What's goin' On

Amidst spring cleaning and celebrating the awakening of my garden, I'm doing a bit of knitting. It's the fiber fair season around here, and I've been knitting up a storm for our booth displays.

First up is the obligatory endless stockingette stitch...
This is a soft rail yarn called "Melody" that we offer on our website. Each ball contains 400 yards, and I'm hoping that I can finish this cute summer top with just two balls. Now wouldn't that be grand! (I'll let you know)

Second is a sock..(but of course!) now you didn't think I wouldn't have one on the needles, did you?
This yummy yarn is 55% mohair and 45% merino. It is dyed is 58 colorways by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. We have ten of the colorways on order, and they should arrive by early June. This is a great yarn. I am totally in love with knitting with it, and I don't even mind that I'll have to hand wash these little guys. It knits up fast on size 3 needles. One skein for a pair of socks will cost you $20. Look for it to be added to our website within a month !
The gorgeous sock bag is from Trek. Thank you - it's such fun! I feel so very elegant now that I've disposed of my plastic baggies (grins)

and, lucky me, I have another hand made sock yarn bag on the way from Leah.. yay! (One can never have too many sock yarn bags in this household.) I confess that I also have two other socks on the needles right now.

The last thing for our booth this year (that I just finished) is a knit belt. Believe it or not, this is 100% silk yarn. It is a raw silk, and has delightful "nubs". It's available in pastel colors of lilac, yellow(shown), blue, pink, green and a combo color of green-cream-purple. For a limited time it will be available on sale for $8.00/ball (was normally $11). We haven't loaded it up on the website yet - and it may sell out at the shows.
I suspect that my hippie-days are showing.. and I'm really looking forward to wearing this over the summer with my jeans.

It is very fun to make projects for the booth display ('cause I also get to wear them!)

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ode to a Sock

Oh needles so small, so round and so thin
You point on both ends
You about did me in.

You’d bend and you’d break,
Or the tips cats would chew
Til one day came a bag to put you in to.

Oh patterns so long, so detailed, so new,
I’d fret and I’d ponder
Deathly pale was my hue.

It all started Thanksgiving of 2005
I cast on quite bravely – but would I survive.

My place became lost – my rows were confused
Til one day came Karen –knotted yarn was my clue.

Oh yarn so confusing, you’d boggle my mind
There were stripes, there were solids,
There was thick, there was fine.
Til one day came Lisa - inspiration was mine!

Oh socks , so amazing, you’d twist and you’d turn,
Round and round I would go, til my fingers they’d burn.
Now the cuff it was easy, after cast on was done-
Then the heel would approach and my brain would go numb.

Oh my, there were holes
Call them ladders you say?
And how would I make this?
My face did turn gray.

Oh gussets, dear gusset, my heart’s all aflame,
Eye of partridge or slip stitch-
Count the rows I’m fair game.
Slip a stitch, count your numbers
So confused I’d knit on.
Purl and knit, slip and count
Hold my breath.. is this fun?

Oh and then came the tough part, find a stitch on the side !
Oh the holes in the ankles and miscounting, my- my
There’ll be no more sock yarn, I sighed and I sighed.

Then one day I found a class so sublime
Knit a sock, said Charlene
It’s so simple.. you’re fine.
We tinked and made beep noise
We laughed til we cried
The kitchner came easy
Zen breaths and we sighed.

Count the rows, then we learned, there’s a loop on the side
There’s a sock that’s emerging
Just continue, You’re fine.
Slip the last, not the first
Or garter them three.
And your head will not spin
Oh how happy you’ll be!
Twas a class so delightful
We sailed thru the test.
Make a sock now, it’s easy
No math, do your best!

Oh -then came Amanda
and partnered us all-
The feet are still Bloomin'
Blogs are fun for us all.

Oh the sock yarns they call me
And I do not delay
They hop in my basket
Saying ‘buy me today’

Thru picking and throwing, my sock lives intact
Thru darning and yelling, my heart does not crack
Thru thick and fat needles. Thru thin and so small,
I’ve conquered the sock monster
Now I stand tall.

Come lace do your darndest
Come cables, let’s ride
Come twisting and turning,
I take it in stride

Now my feet are a’ dancing
The “Sock Hop”s begun
Toss your shoes in the corner
And we’ll dance until One

Show your toes
Strut your heels
Wag those soles and let’s dance !
Socks have won and I sing now, to the sock yarn romance!

(epic Ode by Teyani)

Saturday, May 6, 2006

'Twas Shearing Day

It was a busy day at CMF. Our shearer, Marcia arrived at 9:00 am.. and we got right to work.

but before she arrived, I snapped a quick picture of my Iris that just popped open today :-)
(that's for Amanda) Check out her fascinating blog about the fleur-de-lis.

The animals were already confined by K - and they stood in the corner, as if to say... no, no, not me today!

Our Shetland rams were the first. They look so huge with their fleeces on. Apollo (the black/grey one) is a handfull ! Normally, we chase him around for 20 mintues or so before he is caught. Today, with the help of a neighbor, Caesar, he was captured right away.

Marcia, our shearer - is a gem! She'll croon a soft tune to the animals while she's shearing, to calm them and reassure them. so sweet. Normally, after the first year they have been shorn, the process does not scare them. They 'suffer the indignity' with calm surrender.
Apollo and Merlin were quickly done. The male goats were shorn standing since they were so large.

Merlin peeked his head thru K's legs, as if to say.. "oh, the embarassment of it all". Still he looks regal - even with no fleece!
The Shetland rams don't look nearly as intimidating without all that fiber on! Emo even stuck his tongue out at me while I took his picture (oh mom.. don't take a picture of me looking like this!)

Once all the boys were completed, we moved on to the girls.They were bleating and hollaring (their babies had "escaped" thru the large hog panel-fence and were prancing merrily around the pasture while the mama's awaited shearing. "Bleh to this shearing business" pouted Iris - one of the Shetland Mamas :-)

The fleeces turned out to be difficult to shear - perhaps the rainy extremes of last January - perhaps the urgent moving of them from the flooding pastures - whatever it was, Marcia really had to work this time. The sheep had begun to "rue" (which means to try and shed their fleece on their own) and it was a tough go to even get her shears through the fleeces.
The shetlands are such tiny sheep - so sweet and so dear. They love to have their chins rubbed - and will almost get hypnotized by this.
All the tiny baby shetlands were jumping around. One got very very curious about Marcia's tool box.
They lined up and seemed to almost pose for me - perking their ears.. what's goin' on Mom?

Here's a picture of a shetland Mama after shearing. they're so tiny!.. Little teddy bears on four legs!

And then we have a couple of no-brand (we call them 'heinz 57 mix) sheep.. humongo girls..
This one is called "Easter" (since she was born on Easter three years ago). Here she is pre-shearing..
and getting her hooves trimmed.. and then
after. She has amazing fleece.
I will now pick through it and see if her fleece was also damaged by the heavy winter rains.

The rest of the damaged fleeces will be dumped on the rocks and dirt on our hillside.. and next year we'll have incredible grass :-) It is truly fun that there is absolutely no waste at all in this fiber industry! Our hillside will look a little "wooly" to our neighbors for a time - but it's great fertilizer!

Last but not least - this is a sky photo for Sandy... can you see the whale in the clouds?

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

We have a WINNER!

Welcome to the newest addition to Crown Mountain Farms :....
Sock Hop Yarns

And the winner of our contest is..... Trek ! Hey Trek- please email me asap with your choice of colorways... you get first dibs!

The four little words that we were looking for were "handyed handspun superwash merino" sock yarn. Yes, I know it was a tough contest... but what fun would it be if it had been easy? !

The wizard has been a busy girl - and we have come up with a fabulous NEW line of sock yarns to delight you ! Introducing nine colorways (with more colors to come very very soon) in a handspun superwash merino sock yarn.

This line of sock yarns is called "Sock Hop" yarns..... Your toes will be tapping, and your feet will be dancing as you wear the socks you knit from this wonderful new line of yarns! Each skein is lovingly hand dyed and handspun (one pair of socks uses two skeins.. and takes about 4 hours to spin). We enlisted the spinning expertise of a friend from Oregon - New Hue Handspun.

Those of us 'behind the scenes' have been singing and dancing for a month or two as we created this wonderful yarn. Please join us, and sing along as you knit with this wonderful new yarn!

Offered exclusively on the Intrepid Fiberwizard Blog (for the short term) here are the nine new colorways:

It's my party

Great Balls of Fire

Heard it thru the Grapevine

Good Vibrations


It takes two Baby

Heat Wave

The Beat Goes On

Hard Day's Night

Each skein of yarn is unique due to the hand dyed, handspun nature of this yarn. Your socks will truly be a work of art! The cost per skein is $13.00 (you will need two skeins for an average pair of socks) Each skein contains approximately 200 yards of luscious yarn!
For the next month, this yarn will only be available by special order (due to the limited quantities available) - Eventually we will be selling it off the website.
If you are ready to order some, please email me :
teyani AT crownmountainfarms DOT com
and I will give you details about how to send your charge card info in a secure manner.

We are totally thrilled - our toes are tappin', twirlin' while we twist and shout at the farm !Come join the party and DANCE !