Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Frantic Fun of Fall and early Winter

November and December are always busy months for most people and our household is one of those.  We are truly blessed though with such great friends; our 2nd family who help make these seasons memorable.

We always spend holiday dinners with them.  I particularly enjoy this; mostly for the company but also because I don't enjoy cooking and there is always good food in their homes.  This Thanksgiving had an added blessing that one member of that family had been missing from the group and now she is back.

Mid November in Michigan is deer hunting season.  This year my husband brought home a big buck with an ugly rack.  As Gene put it, "the buck was a fighter, not a lover".  A tine on each side had been broken off, I was worried that the meat might not be tender but it is.  Hopefully, the removal of this "bully" buck will allow the other bucks a better chance at finding the does.

I am still working at pieces for the annual Allegan Art Hop.  It is only a week away now so most items are ready.  Several of the nuno shawls I've made are fancier party wear, they are so lightweight they will easily be part of the spring and summer wardrobe of their new owners.  My felt pieces will be at Sharon's Quilts & More, 128 Hubbard St.  The horse drawn wagon goes right past her shop on the way to Baker Studios .  I hope you that are in the area will come to see all of us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nuno Felt Shawl made for Art Hop sale.

This is one of the Nuno Felt Shawls I made for the Art Hop.  Gift items like this will be available the evening of Dec. 14 from 5 pm to 8pm at Sharon's Quilts in downtown Allegan. 

I'm felting a variety of styles, some more glitzy than others.  This one is perfect for casual attire as well as "dressed up". 

In between dyeing yarn and felting, I have had fun activities, too.  Last night several of us who enjoy author Suzanne Jenkins' novels met with her.  We talked about her books based on the character (and title of the first book in this series) Pam of Babylon. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Arts and Eats Tour was a great success for the Allegan County artists I spoke with.  Our shop had many visitors who had never been here before.  I heard lots of "I have heard about you."  or "I always wanted to stop by."  I hope they all enjoyed their stop as much as I did and will return.

The leaves were in peak color that weekend but began dropping in earnest the following week.  Even though we had already "picked up" several loads of leaves earlier in the month, it took both of us a good two days to have the yards around the house "clean" again.  We have many trees around us and gave up the hand raking a few years ago.  Here is my "picker upper", Gene's is a bit larger.

Then the Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast.  We were glued to the tv and internet sadly watching the tragedy unfold and feeling so helpless.  Thankfully our son and girlfriend had a safe place to stay for a few days and miraculously were able to return home this past Wed.  Our hearts and what little we can do to help are with the stricken still.  I was surprised at how quickly those winds did reach us here in the midwest.  It didn't take long for our temperatures to drop...oh, and those leaves we didn't pick up in the pasture are now in the yards.

I don't mean to downplay the catastrophe the east coast is and will be dealing with for awhile by detailing our annual clean up.  They will remain in our prayers. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am embarrassed at how long it has been since I posted here.  My weak excuse is the unusual summer weather.    I know it was not limited to our part of the world, that is why it is such a weak excuse.  You would think since I was nearly housebound for 3 months that the number of new felted items or hand dyed yarns would be substantial...not.

After I did the morning chores trying to keep the sheep and horses comfortable, it seemed to take half a day to recoup from that little exertion.  By then it was time to feed us and do the animals all over again.

Thankfully that passed, in August Michigan Fiber Festival had lovely weather and the shop was busy with their workshop members before that weekend, then visitors coming just for the Festival weekend.  In Sept. our son and his SO came home for the 10 days of the Allegan County Fair...yes, we love the Fair.  Also hosted a book club for Suzanne Jenkins, author of the Pam of Babylon series.

The fall has been beautiful so we have most everything around the farm ready for winter and I am trying to keep caught up with the wonderful "wool season".   Next weekend, Oct 20 and 21 is ARTS AND EATS, a back roads art, food and farm tour of Southwest Michigan.  I am excited to be a part of it and ready to talk and show lots of wool and hand made items.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Basswood Tree Blossom

This year's blossoms have been quite numerous on most of the plants and trees.  We all know now that was not a good thing for the fruit trees in our area,  Thankfully the big basswood held out for its "usual" time to bloom.  It probably helped that it is tucked in between our house and the pine windbreak.  The main tree is so tall we only get to see the blossoms as they land on our deck but the smaller tree beside it will share a few blooms closer to ground level.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hand Dyed Yarn, five new one of a kind colorways.

May is generally a slow month, allowing us to slowly get ready for the summer season.  This year the trees and flower leaves were so early and inspired me to dye the New Greens pictured earlier.  At the same time the flowers were racing to see which could bloom first.  This colorway is based on the Crocus Flowers which of course, is its name.

This is one of the 5 new hand dyed colorways added to the shop and website.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Needle Felt Sculpture

A few weeks ago I shared a photo of a needle felted purse by Teri Jackson of Georgia, since then Teri has taken needle felting to a whole new level.  She says what started as a hobby has developed into a business.

This is Zander, he is a warrior from the planet Zocor.  Teri admits she gets quite attached to her sculptured dolls, even writes stories about them when she sell them.

Teri's doll and animal characters are all impressive.  You can see them on etsy.

I just love it when others get involved with felting in any form and especially when it becomes a passion for them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hand Dyed Yarn to date

I work in "spurts" at my fiber loves; perhaps felting a number of different pieces one after another.  Then no felting for awhile but knitting or dyeing wool/yarn takes front stage.  The  weather also adjusts my production, or at least what was planned in my head.

The past few weeks have been productive both inside and out.  The sheep are sheared, their wool has been processed into roving and that is now in the shop, new fences set up to keep the lambs corralled, snow peas are up in the garden and several new hand dyed yarn skeins are ready.

This is the latest one added to the shop and website, called New Greens, inspired by the many tree leaves that are out so early.   Earlier 2 other colors in the purple/blue range were added and almost ready is a teal combo and a brown.  Of course, if you have viewed my hand dyed yarn or wool before, you know there is never a solid color (or rarely) I love playing with colors.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Needle Felt Purse

I always enjoy seeing the finished projects of our customers; especially ones that are first creations in a new wool art form for them. Teri Jackson of Georgia certainly did not disappoint.

 It is obvious from the photo that she has very firmly needle felted the merino wool; the design features are well embedded.  She said to make sure the handles were joined completely she needled them until she felt her hand was going to fall off.  She was going to do a little wet felting to insure the handle strength. I think she should be very proud of her work and will enjoy her new purse.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Before and After Sheep Shearing

The unusually warm weather we experienced so far this year probably made the ewes look forward to removing their wool coats.  Fortunately the few days before the shearing date, the weather cooled and the photo taken the day before, they look very comfortable.
The month old lambs tend to "hang" together.
Lunch time.

The day after shearing, sun feels sooo good!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Merino rambouillet Yarn Special for St Patrick's Day

To honor my long ago Irish ancestry I enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  This year our green heather merino rambouillet yarns can be a celebration for you, too.

For St. Patrick’s Day, the Green Heather sport cones and Green Heather worsted skeins are 17% off. A one pound sport cone is $28.22 and 4 ounce skein is $7.05 for this week. Go to to order.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fiber Art & Painted Art

Sally Goins owner of Starry Night Studio & Gallery thought it would be fun for both of us to do the same subject in our own medium. 

She had just finished the daisy with bee drawing in colored pen and ink  pointillism;  a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. 

I printed her picture and began layout with merino and silk fibers.  This is about midway through the layout. 

The original size was 16 inches by 20 inches, after felting it was about 12 x 15 inches.  I forgot to photograph it after felting, before I gave it to Sally to take to the Gallery.

Of course, the layered fiber colors blended and softened with felting so I think I was fairly close to her design.   It was a fun project.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bird Pods for Spring 2012

My good friend, Suzanne Higgs, shared her idea for bird pods well over a year ago.  After quite a delay the first one was made and hung but way too late in the breeding season to gain any winged tenants.  This year, the mostly warm winter has inspired me to prepare for spring much earlier.

Both pods are made with a green/white blended batt of merino and mohair.  The design work is embroidered after wet felting, this way I could be sure it would not appear too bright or unnatural and deter the birds.  The one on the left is 10 inches high and 7 inch wide at the base with the 1 1/4 inch entrance hole at 4 inches above the floor.   The second is 9 inches high and 7 inch wide at the base with the 3/4 inch entrance hole at 2 1/2  inches above the floor. 

I was surprised to discover bird pods are so much fun to felt, they seem so simple that I thought it would be boring but the challenge of trying to size them according to nest box dimensions makes them extremely interesting.  I used the chart on the Wild Bird Watching site to try and get the size appropriate.  I am hoping to do more to dress up our and other wildlife neighborhoods.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Knit a Great Spring Coat

Long Hooded Cardigan
Probably most of you have enjoyed this wonderful, although strange for the midwest, winter. We have had so little snow and so much sunshine, all I wanted to do was sit on the porch and soak it up. Reality did set in a couple of weeks ago when our first lamb for the season was born. We now have 6 new babies in the barn and probably one more ewe to deliver.

Now today is typical for Michigan, light snow and cold, time to look ahead to the season I love best.  This looks like the perfect spring coat; for the cool days and evenings you can wear the hood up and pull the coat closed to snuggle in or on the occasional warmer days, drop the hood to your back and open it up more as the picture shows.

The pattern comes from the designers at Knitting Pure & Simple and is knit with worsted weight yarn from the hood down. Instructions are for 5 sizes.  You can read more details about the pattern on the webpage.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy 175th Birthday Michigan

On January 26, 1837, President Jackson signed a bill, officially making Michigan the nation's 26th state. That makes January 26th, 2012, our 175th anniversary.

We are very happy to join the celebration organized by Buy Michigan Now   You can go to this website and find events happening around the state in support of the anniversary.  There is also a link to officially join the event on Facebook and then invite your friends.

One of the things I love living in Michigan is the beautiful winter season.  Yes, it is cold and that is part of why I love it.  I can then more fully enjoy the miracle fiber -Wool.  It is natural that at Marr Haven we are celebrating Michigan's birthday with free wool felt pieces you will make by wet felting our Michigan raised fine grade wool roving.

You can make and take home a cat toy from organic, chemical free wool roving or a coaster for your coffee cup.  Come on out Thursday, January 26th, 2012 to at 11 am to 2 pm to learn more about Michigan wool and wet felting and help us celebrate.

The Twitter updates are posted with #Mich175

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yield to Mother Nature - Good News/Bad News

The good news is...this is January 11 and we have only had one snowfall this year.  New Year's Day we received about 6 inches at the farm.  The rest of the days have been very mild temps, mostly daytime 40's, with sunshine.  This is Michigan, this weather has been most unusual and appreciated.

The bad news, a winter storm is forecast to begin at noon tomorrow.  Since our first nuno felt scarf class was scheduled for 1 pm, I am yielding to Mother Nature and canceling tomorrow's class.  Fortunately we did have a 2nd class scheduled for Wed. January 25th from 1:00 to 3:30 pm also at the Pickle St School Studio. 

Maybe another good news could be for those who weren't able to plan for the first class, will be able to attend the 2nd class.  Sorry for the change but just let me know if you would like to be included on the 25th. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dyeing Scarves for Nuno Felt Class

This weekend I will be dyeing the silk gauze for next week's Nuno Felt Scarf Class. I'm thinking mostly pastels for the coming spring wardrobe. If you have a particular color you might like for your scarf background color, let me know and I will try to come up with it.

This is also a reminder to me that I should have noted "Pre-registration needed" at least, helpful. I want to make sure I have enough materials for everyone so if you are thinking about attending, please let me know.

I did add some driving directions from Allegan to the web page. I think you can also take the US 131 exit at Wayland ( 135th St), go west and the road makes a jog south and becomes 134th St.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January Class Schedule

Winter has arrived in southwest Michigan, the wind is blowing with probably 4 inches of snow on the ground. This is the time I like to have something to anticipate.

With that in mind, two nuno felting scarf classes will be held at the PICKLE STREET SCHOOL STUDIO Thursday afternoon Jan.12 and Wed. Jan. 25.

This is an example of a Nuno Felt Scarf.

The Pickle Street School Studio is located at 2980 134th Ave, between Allegan and Hopkins, Michigan. It is a working art studio located in scenic Monterey township offering a variety of art and enrichment classes.

The Nuno Felt Scarf Class will be from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. You will create your own one of a kind Nuno Felt Scarf (aka Laminated Silk Scarf) somewhat like the one shown above. The materials provided include a 10 inch x 60 inch silk gauze material, either hand dyed by me or white. Your unique design will be made with merino wool fibers and silk fiber. Class fee is $50 which includes all materials.

You may contact me though this blog, on Facebook, phone 269-673-8800 or by e-mail at or contact Joy Richmond at 616-896-9090 to reserve your place. Class size is limited. This will be a fun and creative afternoon to brighten our winter. I am looking forward to it and hope you will as well. The Farmers Almanac forecast both dates with clear skies, are you ready to give yourself a gift?