Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finished Helmet Liner

I meant to show this yesterday since 12/29/09 is the actual Helmet Liner Day; no I didn't knit it in one day. It was a simple and enjoyable knit though that I managed to do during the pre Christmas bustle.

It is knit with our natural colored Medium Grey worsted wt. on size 6 and 8 40 inch circulars. I knit almost everything now with the magic loop technique and the long needle was particularly helpful with this because you leave the size 6 in the ribbing stitches while you are knitting the head part in stockinette on size 8. Then you pick up the stitches around the face for another inch of ribbing, I went to a size 3 to pick up the stitches and then knit them with the size 6. It really fits nicely, snug enough to keep out the sand but not tight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Early Gift to Me...dyed yarn

Dyeing yarn is a stress reliever for me although it doesn't normally take me a whole month to do it. This is one of the 4 new hand dyed yarns I have made this past month. I call it Agate, the colors remind of the Lake Superior banded agates that are so pretty when they are polished. The other 3 colors also are my mind's image of semi precious stones - Amethyst, Jasper and Rubellite. With these posted I can now relax and enjoy this evening and Christmas Day with friends.

I pray all of you have a wonderful day and can enjoy it with your family or friends. If you aren't able to be "home" for Christmas, try to picture it in your mind and remember the reason for the season. Happy Birthday Jesus.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Helmet Liners for Soldiers

National Helmet Liner Day will be December 29, 2009, knitters and crocheters all over the United States will knit or crochet Helmet Liners for Soldiers.

This project began last April when Tarie Dillard-Williams owner of Yarn Heaven, a local yarn store in Arlington Texas, organized dozens of friends and customers to reach a goal of making 5,500 helmet liners. By November they had completed 3,000. After the recent announcement that 30,000 new troops will be deployed, Williams contacted local yarn stores across the US to help by distributing her free knit or crochet pattern and becoming a drop off location for the finished liners.

The free patterns have been critiqued by the military, the yarn must be 100% wool. Acceptable colors are Black, Grey, Brown, Dark Tan, Navy or Army Green.

Marr Haven Wool Farm will provide the free patterns and be a collection location for the finished helmet liners to send to the Arlington Tx. Group. The free patterns will be available at the Marr Haven shop, 772 39th St., Allegan Michigan 49010 beginning Friday the 18th. The patterns are also available with web links, for the knitting pattern or the crochet pattern.

Soldiers who have tried these designs say they are more comfortable and safer than the issued items. If you know a serviceman or woman, make one for them. You can also bring or mail them to Marr Haven, we will send them all to Tarie the end of January. You may send them direct to her shop at 1300 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington, TX 76013

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Allegan Spirit of Art

We had a great time last night at the Spirit of Art in Allegan. We exhibited a few handmade gift items at Baker Allegan Studio. Deb and Joe Leverence are great hosts and have created a wonderful art environment in this 100 year old building.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Michigan Winter Wonderland

I would post a picture but you can visualize a big, really big marshmallow and see it all. We have had blizzard warnings since the first of the week, it was supposed to start Tuesday eve and be over at 4pm today.... but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that she was on a time schedule.

We did get a little snow Tuesday am but that turned to rain, a little more snow on Wed. which put a nice layer of slush on all the drives and roads. Last night it started in ernest, the noon report said we had 8 inches of snow but it is now "lake effect" which is dry and blows all over. Visibility is about 1/4 mile. Why am I giving such detail? Those of you to the west of me have already experienced your first snowstorm of the season and those to the east are going through it with me. Just file this under misery loves company.

I do love snow and winter but would like to leave the winds out of it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Allegan Spirit of Art

This coming Friday, Dec. 11 is the 2nd annual winter Art Hop for downtown Allegan. Over 34 artists will be exhibiting in 20 plus locations, my exhibit will be at the Baker Studios in the Mill District. Even more fun is possible this year with two horse drawn wagons, one will take shoppers to the various locations and the other will be giving a tour of the town.

Pastor Jim made more shawl pins from exotic woods that I will take Friday. He really surprised me with two single piece pins one topped with a bouncing lamb and the other with a lamb head, plus the 2 two piece pins shown here. Notice the little sheep on the top of the stick pin. They are great to wear on a sweater, too... ask me how I know this.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fingerless Mitts - Great Gifts

Just finished the 5th pair of Fingerless Mitts. I am using the Kalamazoo Knits pattern, the rib design fits various hands so well, plus it is fast. I love wearing these and keep thinking of others who would enjoy them; a lady from church who reads much of her day and evening, a friend whose office is on the too cool side, another knitter, crocheter - even my husband knit a pair for himself.

We had our first snowfall beginning Thursday evening and have about 4 inches on the ground. We were lucky this time, the 'lake effect' went north of us, folks about 50 miles north have over 16 inches of snow. That first snowfall does wonders for invigorating the Christmas spirit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wooden Shawl Pins and Felted Soaps

I am so excited about the handmade gifts we have this year. They are so appropriate for knitters but also for anyone who wears shawls or scarves whether knit, crocheted or woven.

I have to say the Beatles song, "I get by with a little help from my friends", is my theme for now. The lovely shawl pins are designed and cut by my pastor, his wife hand sands them to a silky finish.
He also made the drip free soap dishes for the felted soap gifts. The soaps are made by my very good friend, Fran; I did do the felting.

I love to give and receive one of a kind gifts and hope others enjoy giving original, unique and yet useful gifts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Men's Knitting Retreat

The Men's Knitting Retreat group stopped by on their way for a fun weekend of knitting. We had a great time with them, so many gregarious personalities.

Someone mentioned that the photos taken by different people will all be posted in one spot. My link right now goes to a couple more close up pictures that Gene took but I hope to add a link to all their pictures. Bob from Chicago brought a sweater that he knit from our yarn (and pattern) about 10 years ago. I didn't think to get the camera out then. One of the men flew in from Atlanta GA and another from Buffalo NY. I don't know the home locations of the others except for our great knitting "neighbor" Tim from Zeeland MI.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More Merino and Merino Silk Top

Yesterday was a beautiful day, little cool and very windy so it was just as well that I had to stay indoors. We have 9 new merino top and 7 new merino silk top added to the shop and website. It took me most of the day to get the photos ready for the website mainly because I try to get the color perfect for my monitor. Then after spending all the time with retakes, different light settings etc; I end up thinking .."will it show correctly on other's monitors?".

The new Purple and Olive Merino are just two of the new colors.

The Merino Silk blend in Green has long been a favorite for me and it is back in stock with the rest of the new Merino- Silk Colors

Today is an even better day, warm (for us - 61 degrees at 11:00 am), still windy but I have to get outside.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun Felt Making

I had such a great time Wed. with Suzanne Higgs of Hooked On Felt. We spent the day making hats and wraps. This is mine made of Bottle Green Merino top, decorated with Peacock Blue Merino & Tencel plus lots of Silk and glitz.

We wet wool and rolled and talked - alot. So many ideas to try and love of felting to share, we got so carried away that I didn't think to get the camera out. I hope Suzanne will show her lovely things on her blog before she sells them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Color Beginning

Stepping out our front door, looking across the front pasture, this beautiful canvass of God's Nature has begun to show more color. This has been a glorious fall day, cool but sunny; a day to celebrate life.

One life being celebrated today is that of Stacy Livingston. I only know Stacy from the insightful emails that she and later her husband, Tim, wrote about her journey and battle with cancer. She is gone too soon to see their young son grow into a man. I pray for all those who will miss her so very much.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

from bleak to bright..more FeltUnited

Yesterday began as a rainy, chilly day...but then I opened my emails and it seemed cheerful even with the rain. There were two spewcial emails that changed my mood.

The first was from Judy of Muskegon, she came to the Felt United event last Saturday and sent a link to her October 8 blog posting with pictures she took.

Second was from knitting designer Jennifer Hagan of Figheadh Yarnworks. Her October 9 blog posting included the cutest picture of a sweater she knit with our Medium Grey, the sweater is hugging a cone of our Lilac Heather sport yarn which may become her next project.

We have known for years that we have some of the best customers in the world and this is a sample of why we think so.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clara Parkes new book

Clara Parkes has been a friend to knitters, new and experienced, for quite a long time now. She always seems to know what our questions are about our love of knitting and yarn before we do. Her answers and yarn reviews have been relied on by so many, rightfully so.

Well, she has done it again. Her new book, The Knitter's Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber is going to be one of those hang onto, refer back to, and only loaned to our BFF for a few minutes type of book. I haven't even held it in my hands but I know why Clara is respected.

Also have to admit, several years ago she reviewed our yarn at my request and I so appreciated her honest opinion. She has undoubtedly swayed knitters to check us out. Now I can thank her by letting you know of her book off the presses.

Do go read her review, she modestly doesn't say much about the book itself in this review but the subtitle "The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber" speaks volumes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Felt United - The First International Day of Felt

We had a wonderful day!
Most of the people who attended the Felt United event at Marr Haven were not felters - when they arrived. However with Suzanne Higgs of Hooked on Felt fantastic tutelage, most left wanting to try more felting. Two of the "brand new" felters are shown in the photo with Suzanne while Barb enjoys their intensity.

More photos will be posted on the website page later today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Only one more day until ...Felt United

We were having way too much fun getting things ready for the big event tomorrow. It is cool, we were glad to model Sue Pufpaff's hand dyed and felted wool vest and jackets. This picture shows items in the Felt United color range, on the left is yours truly in my orange hat wearing one of Sue's warm, comfy vests.

Sue Pufpaff of Pufpaff's Fiber Processing is in the middle. The felt fabric hanging to the far left will be used by Sue tomorrow at her fiber mill with a group of 4H students learning to needle felt.

On the right is Suzanne Higgs of Hooked on Felt with a few of her designer hats, including the one she is wearing. Tomorrow she will be demonstrating some basic felt making and probably answering lots of questions. If you are in the southwest Michigan area, do plan on coming by.

Friday, September 25, 2009

only 1 more week to Felt United

This is a teaser for the actual event. The banner is over 6 ft long in the Felt United theme colors. Circles and ovals of red, yellow and orange embedded in the banner depict felters worldwide connecting in many ways. Hope you will be here to join Suzanne Higgs and I celebrate the First International Day of Felt. Noon to 4 pm next Saturday, Oct 3, 2009 click here for maps.

Wish the Felt United yard sign to the left of the banner was clearer in the photo, but the wind was having a good time with the camera and me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Diane's Basketweave Hat

Another example of the fun I had earlier this month when my friends visited, Diane started the hat while she was here. She finished it when she went home and sent this photo. I do think the model has had too much of that California sunshine though, nice tan but a little wrinkled.

Friday, September 18, 2009

September has Lazy Days

The song says the "lazy days of summer" but to me September has the perfect lazy days. The garden has slowed down so no frantic picking of veggies every night and then doing something with them. Now I can appreciate every thing I pick, thinking it won't be long and it will be gone.

The glads above are left from 3 of my greatest lazy days this month. My friends, Karen and Diane, along with other goodies brought this gorgeous bouquet. I only wish I had taken the picture right away, this photo was after 7 days. We talked and knit till late at night, ate alot, walked the pier to the Big Red Lighthouse at South Haven and waded in Lake Michigan. Really relaxing for all of us.

The Allegan County Fair is on for 10 days and since we don't show sheep or goats now, I can attend and enjoy the noise, people, other people's animals and the harness races. The races were really good last Wed. Air was cool and the track was fast, the 14th race was a dead heat (means two horses tied for first place) and the last race was run at 2:02 - that has to be close to the track record for pacing horses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Knit then Felt with Marr Haven worsted

It is always true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Leslee Perez of Texas shared this photo of the box she knit then felted with our yarn. The photo arrived at a perfect time as a customer was asking about using our yarn for a knit the felt purse. I always explain it takes our yarn much longer to felt in the washing machine because of the fine grade of wool; but Leslee's picture said it much better.

I have the banner done for the Oct 3rd Felt United event. I can't show it until after 10- 3 but I can describe it. It is my hand dyed shades of orange with interlocking circles and ovals just beneath the surface of the felt. It depicts the united groups of feltmakers all over the world creating the total fabric of felt.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Felt United event at Marr Haven

Marr Haven Wool Farm of Allegan, MI will host a FELT UNITED event October 3, 2009 from noon until 4 :00 pm.

A large tent will be placed in front of the farm shop for felt makers to exhibit (and sell if you have a Michigan sales tax license). Suzanne Higgs of Hooked On Felt will demonstrate simple felt making for the public and will have several of her stunning felt hats available.

We are inviting all felt makers in our area to participate by making a felt item in the Felt United color theme of red, orange and yellow. A combination of the 3 colors or one of the 3 colors may be used according to the Felt United guidelines with no more than 3% added colors. Photos will be submitted to Felt United for their online exhibit as well as in a multimedia presentation. More information regarding the felt pieces are on the Felt United website.

Please contact me as soon as possible if you are interested in participating so I can include you in the news releases which I would like to send out by next Monday Sept. 7.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rainy Days and Hand Dyed Wool Yarn

Looks like there could be a pretty good late season cutting of hay this year with all the rain we have had lately. As I have said before, I like cooler weather which the rain brought back so I am happy!!!

Did some more dyeing of yarn, This is Cheery Grape

and Woodlea.

Both show my head is into fall already.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Probably too long, but please read.

I am not an alarmist and I try to be objective when new ideas or issues are introduced. Especially since there seem to be more changes in our lives the longer we live.

However, there are some things happening in our country that don't seem to get media attention yet can have some far reaching ramifications to life styles. The American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter arrived today (August 21, 2009) with items that bothered me. I hope you will become more aware of these types of things. With the permission of ASI, I am quoting part of a couple of these items.

(1) "Conservationists won a battle with the federal government over information they say will help improve a program aimed at returning the Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest.

A judge ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services (WS) to release information on the locations of conflicts between livestock and the Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona.

WS turned over the documents but not information that would have shown the specific locations of livestock-wolf conflicts. The agency cited concerns for landowner privacy. Reprinted in part from "

(my edit: Why should you care? Local governments have lost control to protect their residents, the residents have lost their privacy along with earlier losses of their rights to protect their farm animals.)

(2) "Every spring, farmers in Chandler and Casa Grande, Ariz., move thousands of sheep out of the heat into northern Arizona for the summer and return them south in the fall. Some sheep are trucked part way, others are herded.

Now, an environmental group, the Western Watersheds Project, is suing to block their route, charging that herding the sheep through forests threatens the wild bighorn sheep. The anti-livestock group has filed a federal court lawsuit in Phoenix challenging a decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to allow domestic sheep to run across two forests. "

(my edit: The environmental group claim the bighorn sheep will mix with the domestic sheep and possibly catch disease and the domestic sheep will eat too much and create a food shortage for the bighorn sheep.)

"Mark Pedersen, a manager at Sheep Springs, said environmentalists are comparing apples and oranges. He said their data comes from intermingling of bighorns and domestic sheep in the same pastures over months at a time. In contrast, he said, his sheep are in a bighorn area only a couple of days, the domestic sheep are vaccinated, are kept in a tight band and bighorns do not venture into the herd.

He pays the USFS every year for a permit to trail his sheep through the forest.

"The sheep are staying in a tight band with bells on them; there are dogs and a herder riding a horse," Pedersen said. "You can't tell me that wild bighorn sheep are going to run down and run into your (domestic) sheep. It's just highly unlikely."

Environmentalists are not convinced and want the USFS to do an environmental impact study. USFS spokeswoman Paige Rockett said a study has begun.

Meanwhile, the anti-livestock group is considering filing a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the sheep run this fall. Reprinted in part from The Arizona Republic "

With the economy still tight, I find it hard to believe common sense couldn't settle this faster and cheaper than a federal government study. Also I have read studies in the past reporting how the domestic sheep help protect forests by reducing undergrowth which feed forest fires, at the same time improving the ground with their droppings.

These may seem like little things and far removed from you but there are folks who do not believe we should "own" animals for meat or fiber. In my 20+ years of raising sheep and being aware of these 'little' things I see how the organized groups are winning many little battles and I fear the end of this war.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nuno or Laminated Silk Scarves

It took a week but August proved to be what most people call summer - hot & humid. I probably have said before that I loved our summer so much this year because it had been cool, I guess others need to have what they prefer as well.

It did give me a good reason to stay inside to make some nuno scarves for the shop.

These are 3 of them. You can view a close up of them.

The day temps.are back to 80's which is much better for this weekend's Fiber Festival. I have already met some who are here early for classes and came to the farm shop.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Michigan Fiber Festival

Wow, only two more weekends before the Michigan Fiber Festival. Last year at this time I was having real withdrawal pains since that was the first year I didn't have a booth at the festival. I am so proud of what the Michigan fiber enthusiasts have created with this event and to think I was one of the original 9. It is almost like watching a child grow up.

Again this year, the farm shop will be open each day the week before festival weekend - open August 10 through the 14th. The shop will be closed for the weekend - 15th and 16th so I can attend. If you haven't been to the farm shop before, we are 7 miles southwest of Allegan. Here are maps and written directions if you need them. Hope to see many of you at the festival and/or here at the farm.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barb's Hand Dye on Marr Haven Lilac Heather

I am still having fun over dyeing our heather colors. The two colorways shown here are dyed with Jacquard on our Lilac Heather. The first shown I call Black & Browns, pretty descriptive name - you think.

The second one, MacIntosh Apple has the Lilac color included in the colorway. If you are familiar with all the Michigan orchards, you know Mac apples have a unique color change during their ripening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A New Hand Dyed Yarn from Our Customer

This is a new color from Christine Kern of hippy pippy called "king kandy".

It is dyed on Marr Haven Light Grey. She has this colorway and more available now on her website.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Hand Dyed Yarn from Our Customers

Amy Foret of Cajun Fiber Company shared a photo of her colorway "Mystery" on 3 of our yarns. She dyed them with Jacquard Dyes, left to right is Natural, Light Grey and Light Heather.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Hand Dyed Yarn

Still wonderful weather temps for me and I am taking advantage of it. Got to play with the dyes again.

This is Rainbow, would there be a better name for it???

Next is Semi Solid Magenta, deep, rich colors. There are a couple of Cranberry skeins or 3 Raspberry skeins that would work great with this new one if someone wanted a full sweater or larger project.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wonderful Weather for Felting

I am quick to complain about the weather I don't like so I must take this opportunity to rave about our recent weather pattern. There has been a slight breeze nearly every day the past week, some clouds but enough sun to keep it comfortably warm - around 70 degrees - perfect for me. The photo above shows how I spent some of my day, felting soap.

Don't laugh if you haven't tried these, the gently scrub feels good to my skin and the felt really makes lots of bubbles, even on these oatmeal soap bars. The lovely hydrangea pot is from my good friend Karen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hand Dye Marr Haven Heathers

You may have heard that we are out of our Natural worsted weight yarn. Unfortunately it is true. We may not have the Natural again in worsted weight due to washing and spinning problems. However it is available in sport weight as well as all our other yarns in worsted or sport.

I have often dyed with the other two naturals, Light Grey and Medium Grey, also Light Heather; recently I dyed with one of our darker colors - Lilac Heather, to see how it would dye. You can see the results on the pages of our website and page 2.

The Light Grey and Medium Grey are still available on one pound cones as well as skeins. The Light Heather has a high percentage of lambswool in it so is exceptionally soft.

The skeins above were dyed by Kristi Pyatt of Tree Frog Knits . They were all dyed together to see how the same dye would show on the different colors. Shown on the left is our Medium Grey, Light Heather (middle skein) and Light Grey. You can see more of photos on her Flickr page.

I hope the photos shown of our greys and heathers dyed, will assure those of you who love to dye our yarn that you can still enjoy it. The greys and heather are mostly (75 to 90 %) white natural with a small percent of natural black or dye blended in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Midwest Thunderstorms & Tornados

This a picture of the South Haven lighthouse during the 6-19/20 storms shared on the WWMTV website. I love to watch the lightning shows but this past weekend had more than I want to experience again.

The storms began Thursday evening and the electricity went out over a wide area of SW Michigan. Friday we had a couple of huge limbs down that had to be drug away with the skid steer and of course lots of smaller branches, leaves and just plain sticks. The electricity did come on for a couple of hours but went out again that evening, along with the phone. More large limbs and branches were down Sat am plus a 40 ft Mulberry tree that didn't fall over till later during the night.

We found out Sunday how really blessed we are because a tornado was confirmed 1/4 mile north of us. Several lost barns, buildings and homes. Our phone was back in service Monday about 10 am and the electricity was back on Monday at 6pm. We didn't have any flooding but it rained so hard, both days that the city of Holland had several sections of main city streets with wash outs- that means the ground under the road is washed away and the road collapses.

Sat. a Grand Rapids radio station held the annual free country music show at the Iona Fairgrounds called the B-93 Birthday Bash. The fairgrounds is located along the river, shown in the upper right side of the photo. A dam upstream had to be opened and the event attendees did not have enough time to get out. As of today about a thousand cars are still stranded there, many were fully submerged. photo by Terry and Susan Long of Ionia shared on WWMT site.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Locker Hooked Rug

Isn't this a beautiful rug! MaryAnn made it by locker hooking. The black is Merino Top and it just shines. It shows how easily you can make a design stand out and speak. I have a close-up on the Your Pictures page of our website so you can see the stitches drawn by the locker hook.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Natural Worsted Weight is sold out.

If you read any list that said Marr Haven is out of yarn ...... we aren't out of yarn. We are out of Natural in worsted weight and do have a good supply in sport weight.

So many wonderful hand dyers have been using our Natural that I knew last montht a shortage was a possibility, just had no idea it would happen all at once. Anyway, because of the possible shortage, I began doing some hand dyeing with our other yarns. For years I have dyed the natural colored Light Grey, Medium Grey and Light Heather to give unique colorways but I wanted to see what would happen with our darker dyed colors.

This is Happy Blue on the left and Forest Green below. Both came out just as soft and lofty as any of the natural colored yarns. I used Jacquard Acid Dye, the same amount I would have used on the Natural and had total dye takeup, none left in the dye pot.
You can see more of the dyed yarns and links to close up photos on this page and page 2. If you dye for your self or others, I think you will be pleased with these options.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Knit it to fit best, Hepburn pattern.

I love this pattern for several reasons, the turtleneck, raglan sleeves and subtle cable design.

Pam is a slender - approximately 33" bust - who loves oversize sweaters and raglan sleeves so this was a great design for her. She used smaller needles than suggested, size 3.

She said, "I wanted to make sure the turtleneck wouldn't stand out too far from my neck, thus making it look even longer and thinner than it is.... Also, I ran short of yarn - probably due to the #3 needles. So, on the neck treatment, after picking up and knitting for about 1/2" I used a blending color for the inside (non-showing portion) of the turtleneck. I ribbed that part with p2,k4 rib for 3", facing the right side of the sweater, so the neck hugs my own more closely. I then joined the Light Heather yarn again and did stockinette for another 1/2" for the turning ridge, then switched to #5 needles for the cable pattern. I did do almost an extra 1/2" in the neck cable to be sure it would extend down far enough when turned so it would not ride up and let any of the 'wrong' yarn show."

Great ingenuity and I appreciate Pam letting me share this with you. She made a great adjustment for a size problem and possible yarn shortage. Two things that we all have had to think about at some time so I hope this is helpful to someone else - as well as me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to all that have served and are serving our country.

It is so easy to forget the real reason for our holidays but this one is especially dear to me this year since I lost my only uncle two weeks ago. Clarence Poole served in the Navy during WWII and was so proud of his service and his country that he saved his uniform, it was displayed with all the wonderful pictures his children arranged at the funeral home. We were all surprised that he still had it. I wish I had a photo to post, he was one handsome man with a heart of gold and a laugh that would cheer anyone.

Guess this isn't a very good month for us; as I type my husband is on the way to the funeral of his aunt. She was in her 90's and lived a full and glorious life. All 4 of her children were with her this past week as the town they come from in Iowa make a really big deal about celebrating Memorial Day. The high school classes meet for their reunions that weekend so it is not unusual that folks from all over come back for a visit.

When you are on a small farm it is difficult for both to be gone at the same time so this is my turn to stay home and do chores and keep up with the yarn business. We are truly blessed to have such a peaceful home, beautiful scenery and make a living at it.

We are both race fans so after church services, I will do double duty keeping track of the Indy 500 and the Charlotte 600. Have some yarn dyed that needs rinsing and drying so that will keep me moving around. I will post pictures of the yarn in a few days.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

The first of May means events close to my heart are happening... Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is first in line with competition on Saturday from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. I usually pick an underdog or the horse with a great heartwarming story and this year it is General Quarters. Even if I was at the track, I would only risk a $2 bet so I wouldn't be losing much although I cheer from home as though I had alot of money on the line.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is so full of great stories that I couldn't pick one. I really miss not having a booth there anymore but after 13 years, I have many great memories to keep me company the first weekend in May. My celebration of the festival was to dye more yarn. The fashion reports say that this fall's basic color will be brown sp I did 3 colorways of semi solid browns. This is Milk Chocolate.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

GoodSearch and GoodShop

I just learned about GoodSearch and hope you will check it out. Started in 2005, GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend a dime! As of today, they are 79,044 participating non profits and schools that you can choose to donate.

In 2007, GoodSearch was expanded to include GoodShop, an online shopping mall of world-class merchants dedicated to helping fund worthy causes across the country. Each purchase made via the GoodShop mall results in a donation to the user's designated charity or school – averaging approximately 3% of the sale, but going up to 20% or even more.

This precious little bundle nearly died before she was correctly diagnosed and sent to the University of Michigan for cardiac surgery. Her grandmother told me how the Ronald McDonald House made it possible for the mother to be with her baby throughout the hospitalization. Now she uses GoodSearch and GoodShop when she can to support them.

Check it out, I bet there is a non-profit charity you want to support.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

10% off Heather Yarn

The winter of 2008-2009 seemed longer and harder than usual for most of the US and when the calendar date for spring only brought cloudy, dreary days the desire for color became very strong.
I was restocking the yarn shelves when my memory clicked back to our original choices of yarn colors. We wanted colors that would meld with each other and with other yarns, nature provided the perfect palette, green of new grass, blue of the sky , red, yellow and lilac of the flowers.

I picked up a skein of each and held them together like a bunch of flowers... yeah, corny but it made me feel better - and the sun came out for awhile. I know that was coincidence as well but maybe I can offer my euphoria to you with a sale of our heather yarns for a short time. It begins today and for today will only be available to our blog readers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cats in the yarn shop

Nearly 4 years ago, a starved cat found her way to the farm. She was so small that we named her Minicat and it soon became obvious she was carrying kittens.

Today she is the queen of all her surroundings, occasionally she will still groom her kittens but today the roles were reversed. Sophie, the black female kitten, decided it was time to groom her mother, even if she had to hold Minicat down to do it.
We haven't convinced them the shop is not for animals, their favorite spot is on top of my Aran Wrap which is displayed on the yarn rack.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wet Felted Vessels

I seem to hop from one fiber art to another, I don't think I am alone. The daffodil leaves popping through the leaves in the flower bed must have signaled my inner self that I was going to need vases soon... so I made a wool vase.

Of course that isn't going to hold the daffodils,who will need water in their vase so I made some lilies for the wool vase. See them laying on the table in the next photo.
When I made the tan striped vase, I was thinking tall; it is 11 inches tall, 9 inches wide at the base by 5 inches deep at the base. This view makes it look a little tilted, it isn't; I was trying to photograph the white wool inside the vase.

I made the stems on the lilies long enough for the vase, but without a heavy wire in their stem, they wanted to lean over. I did use an 18 gauge wire in the stem but that wasn't heavy enough. No problem, make a new vase!

The next vase is wet felted wool and mohair blend for the outer greenish layer, the inside again is white - our merino rambouillet wool.

The wool and mohair vase is 8 1/2 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches wide at the base by 5 inches deep at the base.

I was pleased enough with this match of lilies and vase to display it for the month at the local Downtown Bakery & Deli, hopefully to have people vote for it with their pennies. The money collected will then go to the artist's charity choice. Wish my charity, Allegan Seeds of Grace, and the lilies, good luck.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another farm family trying to do it the Right Way

I met Keith and Aimee this weekend when they came to get yarn for their unborn baby's blanket. We hit it off right away since they live in an area close to my heart and birthplace, Brown County Indiana. During their visit we talked about how great the internet is for those of us who live on farms. We are able to have a business to support our families while staying at home doing what we love. Keith and Aimee sell organic berry plants online.

The next day, I had the time to visit their website, Backyard Berry Plants and was amazed at how dedicated they are to the success of their customers who grow their berry plants. There is so much information that even if you have never grown anything before, you could have your own berry patch. I hope you will check their website, wouldn't it be really great to pick your own bowl of blueberries - or raspberries or blackberries?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

worsted wt. Button Wrap finished

This is my version of the e-pattern designed by Jill Turner.

Notice I said my version... I measured incorrectly and made it 4 inches longer than the pattern directed. Actually I am pleased with the outcome, it allows the wrap to be worn higher on the neck and the bottom length of both sides come out even. The back view is on our webpage and shows how nicely the cable lays.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sharing the love - of lambs, that is.

My friend Karen visited a few days ago. Before we could go to dinner, the sheep wanted their dinner. You can see they were patiently waiting. Note the lamb at the bottom of the picture ready to follow the yellow cat (barely visible) into the lamb creep (where the lambs have food available all day that the sheep can't get).

One little lamb was really begging so Karen went into the creep to calm him.and her husband caught this photo.