Small steps


Yesterday, as I finally caught up with the rest of the world and turned my calender over to the correct month, I was encouraged to have one of the more inspired days I’ve had in the last few weeks.

You’ll never guess – I had an afternoon off!! Raising dairy animals is an insane amount of work, and I have had little time to spend with by Annie Claire except for the usual stocking of the shop and emailing out patterns. However yesterday afternoon I had some of my farm work covered for the afternoon [which I think is going to become a regular thing, yay!], and I enjoyed  [what felt like all the time in the world] a few hours locked away in my office surrounded by yarn, sketches, swatches, dye recipes, and ideas for the future.

Things are steadily growing around these parts and I am never short on new ideas – the biggest struggle I have had during the busy times on the farm is to act on these ideas. Strong foundations are a priority and although it is so tempting to launch straight on into new projects [as per the calender] I have been quietly sitting on all these plans, allowing the time to act to present itself. But yesterday afternoon showed me a glimpse. My brain was allowed to totally focus on the thoughts I have been carrying around. Stuff was written down and ideas were organised, swatches were knitted up and new designs finally found their way onto needles. And whats most exciting – new farms with interesting yarns were contacted… Fall, and into Winter, is going to be an exciting time around here…

… and what else is a girl to do with an afternoon off? Well, visit her LYS of course!! [Don’t worry I kept my clothes on]. Like 4480 other people before me, I think Colour Affection is calling me! See what I bought?!

Summer Collection 2012 : Dock Root


Wow, how the clouds did gather, and drenched us with a blowing rain today. It took me completely by surprise.* What storms and wet weather usually promise have exceeded their expectation – lots of kids, 15 actually, born in the last two days. Phew, I’m tired.

Anyway, without further ado, whilst I still can form semi-reasonable sentences, here is the third and final colour of the Summer Collection 2012! [Aren’t I glad I took these pictures a few days ago!]

Under the alders, in the south pastures is where the ground it softest. This is where I dig. For what? Curly Dock Root. I didn’t think I would ever use this dye plant as it takes more effort than other plants to harvest. Anyone else find that the busier they get the more ambitious? It makes no sense.
The aim of the game is to loosen the soil about the root and to pull out the root in one, but often they snap. Once gathered you chop the root up into bite size pieces [which look like carrots!] wash, wash and wash again to be rid of the dirt, and soak overnight. Whilst tied up in cheese cloth the soggy roots will steep in with the fiber, and left until the next morning when you are rewarded with a brick grey-brown that holds an earthy warmth.

: : available on etsy : :

More pictures to come of the collection as a whole… and a new pattern!

*I could easily complain more about working out in this rain, it makes everything three times harder, but with another wet day expected tomorrow I have stew in the pot and many-a WIP ready for cosy-in-front-of-the-fire time! Can’t wait!…


Summer Collection 2012 : Hedge Nettle


Join us this week as each day a new colour of the Summer Collection 2012 is released!

Woo, so many goat kids born today! I thought I was never going to get here…
Hedge Nettle, it grows everywhere! You mow it down and it comes right back due to its wandering roots. It’s so pretty and I enjoy finding it around the property this time of year, adding some life into mundane bushes and brambles. I love the small delicate flowers that are so full of vibrant colour. I have been using it frequently in little jars of flowers I have around the house, but when also known as woundwort it is used by herbalists for a wide variety of ailments. But for me, its a fabulous dye plant!
My initial recipe experiments dyed a strong chartreuse, but I decided to tone it down by using less plant matter to create a softer, more green tone. It reminds me of a setting sun’s rays on freshly cut grass… oh, its summer everyone!!

: : available on etsy : :

Just one more colour, tomorrow, to complete the Summer Collection 2012. See you then!

Lovely Little Clara Dress


Remember how I had ummed and ahhhed about this pattern? I don’t know why? If by chance you follow me on instagram you may have noticed how in love I was with the whole process of this gorgeous little Clara Dress – the knit, the colour, and the final finished project – I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

Perhaps I was sad to see this knit finished as it was the last few tasks of weaving in ends and sewing on a tiny vintage button that took me the longest! I have also gotten used to having this cute little dress hung on my wall, it makes me smile! But she is bound for elsewhere, and is all packaged up to go find my little niece, who will no doubt make it even more adorable – the big full skirt is calling out for a big ol’ nappy bum…. Still, I’m thinking I might have to work on another to fill the void!

As you may have picked up, things are a little completely chaotic around these parts at the moment, lets not pretend otherwise, but I have continued dying and designing, as and when I can, and later this week is the release of a small Summer Collection 2012… and there are a few other changes too… stay tuned for more info tomorrow!!!


Playing the waiting game

Its no longer weeks, but days,  and we are playing the waiting game. Everywhere I look it feels like the others are joining in too…. There are buds waiting to open, bulbs ready to bloom and fruit growing to ripen. You no longer have to look to hard to find barrel-bellies and udders ready for action.
The barn is calm and quiet as they get bigger and bigger, and closer and closer. It could be any day now.

I’m lucky to be able to step away from the preparations for kidding today to find many more things waiting…. designs slowly progressing, projects unfinished, boxes of undyed yarn…. and the realization that it will be June in 4 days!!… hello Summer Collection!!



Crazy busy world

I’m back home. I eventually found my front door after buses, cancelled flights and a shared car hire back to Northern CA. The shop is alive once more, as are my dye pots, and the big list of emails to reply to… I will get to yours soon, I promise! Also to catch up on are the ever changing tasks of life – the chicks are bigger, plants are growing, and summer is coming!!

I find I always have a new kick when coming back home from being away a while – I have a new spark of enthusiasm and drive. Today I am focusing on completing all those niggly annoying little jobs whilst I feel so good, and I’m organising, organising, organising. I’m enjoying feeling successful and productive at this moment.

This increase in activity might also be for another reason : I have come home to a crazy busy life. Work on the farm is increasing at a rapid rate – Mister and I are goat dairy farmers. We are coming up to kidding season [we bred late this season] and that means milking, lots of little mouths to feed, and too few hours in the day.

As I go to join him out in the pastures I am hoping that initially it won’t affect my work here. I have a rough plan for the rest of the year and will continue to update my products, release new patterns and yarn collections as usual, but I have a feeling the blogging might slip a little. What else might it mean? Lots of cute pictures of baby goats!.. I’m pretty sure you’re not complaining.

And so begins May…


Piece by piece


No matter how long you go away for, things are always different when you get back. Today is a day for catching up – there are emails, knitting dilemmas I had happily walked away from 4 days ago, dye plants to collect, patterns in various draft situations, dye pots calling me, new housing needed for ever growing chicks, vegetables to pay attention to, rainfall drainage problems, but the most exciting of all – we have a new puppy to get to know!

[sure, its nothing fiber related, but come on, shes so cute!]

She is a 13 week old Tibetian Mastiff, with no name just yet. At 45 lbs already she will grow to be a big and beautiful guardian dog. With the promise of bears, lions and coyotes about these parts she has joined the farm to protect our goats and land against anything that creeps around at night. We have a lot to learn, and so does she, but its already so much fun!