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Solstice Advent 2023 KAL

Sarah has been working on a free advent pattern collection for the holidays this year! She has designed a bunting pattern with motifs inspired by the Robert Frost poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening on one side and an assortment of plaids on the reverse.

We will be releasing a bunting pattern a day, for 12 days, for the winter solstice. Starting on December 9th and ending on December 21st. The patterns also include a blank template. Sarah has also made a charted alphabet to go with the pattern.

Made with our Foss sport weight yarn using 65 yds (59.5 m) of each color. One of our Polkagris yarns sets will make 1 bunting. This is the perfect pattern to make use of yarn advent calendars or stashbusting as each bunting uses under 100 yds of each color.


We will be running a KAL starting on the 9th of December and ending on the 1st of January.


We would love to see your progress. Please use the hashtag #subitofarmkal on instagram so we can see your WIPs!

Check out our ravelry group for chatting with others on the KAL and sharing progress pics.


We have 3 prizes of fair isle yarn bundles in our Foss yarn which contain 5 skeins of 45 yds each and 75 yds of natural/gray wool Cormo yarn. Shown below, we have 2 in the primary colorway and 1 in the blue/purple colorway.

How to Enter

To enter to win please fill out the entry form with an image of 1 completed bunting. If you are having difficulties with the form just send us the image with your name and address via email.


Your bunting must be knit within the time period specified above. Feel free to use any yarn. You must enter your bunting photo by January 1st. Each completed bunting will count as 1 entry. Winners will be chosen at random from the entries. The winners will be notified on January 2nd via email.

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Provence Part 2

Day 6

After breakfast we drove down to the scenic bridge overlooking the gorge. Unfortunately the kayaks aren’t available until May so we didn’t get to paddle down the gorge. We drove around the lake before a delicious lunch at La Bastide de Moustiers. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the town above the lake.

Day 7

Leaving bright and early we drove west through agricultural fields to Roussillon where we visited the Ocre Center. We took a short hike through the ochre landscape with its brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. After buying some watercolors we drove to L’Isle sur la sorgue and caught the tail end of the Sunday market. This town is known for its antiques and we wandered through some antique shops. It was an interesting mix of French country style and mid-century modern furniture. We finished the day driving to Chateauneuf du Pape where we were staying for the next two nights.

Day 8

We headed to Avignon at midday and visited the Palace of the Popes. The frescos were stunning! After wandering around Avignon for the afternoon we drove over to the Pont du Gard to see some Roman ruins.

Day 9

After checking out of our hotel we drove south to Arles. Did you know it has the second largest surviving Roman arena after the colosseum? It also has an amphitheatre and the remains of a bathing complex. After a day spent in Arles we continued south to our final destination in the Camargue.

Day 10

Today we rode some Camargue horses around the place we are staying where they farm Camargue cattle. We then drove over to the small town on the opposite side of the marshlands, but didn’t stay too long as there as there was an event happening in the arena. We finished the day with a local wine tasting before returning to the hotel for dinner.

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Provence Part 1

Day 1

We left rainy London early in the morning, taking a bus to get to Heathrow, forgetting it was a bank holiday and the trains weren’t running that early. Arriving in Marseille it was sunny and warm. We drove around the St Victoire mountain stopping in Puyloubier for a bite to eat and to take in the gorgeous views. We ended the day at Le St Esteve for a delicious Michelin starred meal. 

Day 2

After the requisite french pastries for breakfast at our hotel, we drove to Aix to check out the market. Aix is known for Cezanne living in the town and his works of the nearby St Victoire. We visited the Granet museum which has lots of Cezanne, Picasso, and Giacometti, and an exhibition on David Hockney. After stopping for lunch we ended the day visiting Cezanne’s atelier just up the hill from the town center.

Day 3

Today was a travel day. We stopped at Plage de Jean Blanc to see our first taste of the Mediterranean. The water is turquoise blue, the sun bright in the sky. We drove on to Chateau de la Napoule. The hardscaping in this garden was amazing. We then finished the day by driving to our airbnb outside of Nice.

Day 4

After picking Madeline up at the airport bright and early, we went to Menton and visited the Serre de la Madonne garden. As we were there early there was practically no one there and it was a verdant paradise. The hardscaping and fountains were amazing. We ate lunch by the beach and spent some time afterwards searching for seaglass along the beach. After an afternoon nap we had dinner in Nice at Le Negresco, an old sea side hotel.

Day 5

We got up early to visit Castle Hill before we left for the mountains. We drove up as far as we could and managed to get a parking spot. The views are fabulous! After a lunch along the Promenade des Anglais we drove north to the Verdon Gorge. The drive through the mountains was amazing, taking us over woods, fields, and through scenic vistas.

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Embroidery Advent Calendar 2022

This December Meaghan is doing a free embroidery pattern advent calendar. Each day of December she will be releasing a free digital download of a pattern for a 2 1/2 inch hoop to make a cute ornament or holiday decoration. These are great for stash-busting but if you would like specific recommendations for materials see below.


  • The samples were made with 2.5 inch hoops that seem to only be available through amazon.
  • If you don’t want to support amazon, I would recommend sizing up to a 3 inch hoop, which are readily available online and at local craft stores.
  • One final option is to stitch your design at the 2.5 inch size in a larger hoop and finish using a circle of cardboard. I will be posting a video of this method on instagram and facebook so stay tuned for instructions.


  • The samples were made using this linen from Ulster Linen. I like this linen a lot because it is quite fine and soft making it quite nice to stitch into. One yard would be enough to complete all 26 designs and have extra left over.
  • Alternatively you can use any linen or fabric you have available to you I like the natural background, but I am positive these patterns would be cute on any number of colors or even patterns.


  • The samples were made using our own Estabrook yarn in Poppy, Spruce, Natural, Goldenrod and Slate. 200 yard skeins in each color would be more than enough to complete all of the designs.
  • Another great option are moire wool threads, I tried out a couple of the patterns with them and with two strands together the designs worked out perfectly! Heather at Needle and Purl has put together a listing for us for the 5 colors used in these designs so you can easily pick them up here. I love the colors she picked the green has a little more yellow in it than our Spruce yarn so it gives the patterns a little bit of a vintage vibe.
  • One final option is to use your stash! The patterns were designed in our Estabrook yarn, which is a sport/ DK weight yarn so anything similar should work great!

Needles: If you use our Estabrook yarn or a similar sport/ DK yarn i would recommend a size 20 chenille needle. Or any needle that suits the thread you picked out.

Finishing: To hang the hoops I picked up some vintage silk ribbon in holiday colors, but you could use any 3/8 inch ribbon. Additionally you can cover the back of your hoop with a circle of felt attached with hot glue to give them a more finished look or leave them open if you want to try new designs next year!

I hope you will join us this December for our festive stitching! The first pattern will be released on Thursday December 1st, but if you are a newsletter subscriber you may find you get it a couple of days early! You can sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our home page. Once the patterns start to go live you will be able to find them here.

Happy Stitching!

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On the first day we went shopping and had afternoon tea before going to the theater.

On this day we visited Epping forest.

The next day we took the train to revisit RHS Wisley. It was peak dahlia season and their World garden was spectacular with all of the ripe fruits and vegetables.

We spent the next two days in the Cotswolds driving around and visiting Kelmscott Manor, William Morris’ summer home.

We then drove down to Cornwall and spent a magical evening at the Minack theater. The next day we drove up to the Lost Gardens of Heligan which had an interesting mix of formal and tropical gardens.

We spent some time on the east side of the coast, which seems to have cliffs down to the ocean. Like Scotland, the animals are part of the scenery.

We drove north to visit Tintagel and then down along the coast to St Ives. Instead of shells, seaglass is what washes up on the beaches.

St. Michael’s Mount. A tidal island with a causeway that is underwater at high tide. Beautiful terraced garden, uphill all the way!

Dartmoor National Park

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Cindy’s Spring Trip to the UK Part 3

Gravetye Manor

Gravetye is a private hotel garden which can be toured in addition to lunch reservations. This is a guided tour with the head gardener and was a wonderful way to discover the garden. The back of the building is terraced and looks out on the wisteria walk. Up to the right is a bowling green and across the road is the ubiquitous walled kitchen garden. This is a garden of two halves, part pleasure and part working, as the kitchen garden supplies food for the hotel restaurant. The food was amazing, the dessert shown here was an apple souffle.


Wakehurst, home of the famous millennium seed bank is part of Kew and is a wild botanical garden. There is a small area of formal gardens, but the focus here is on trees and shrubs from around the globe.

Penhurst Place

Penhurst has the feel of a secret garden as it is broken up into rooms, sometimes within rooms, surrounded by hedging. Peonies are on show here, planted in long beds edged with box. They have a rainbow themed double herbaceous border as well as many other formal elements. We almost missed the lily pond, so well hidden was it.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. The gardens were designed in the early 1900’s to display a collection of Italian statuary. We arrived bright an early. Walking down the drive the castle appears in front of you to the left. In some ways this garden is all about water. The castle is surrounded by almost two moats. You walk down the length of the Italian inspired garden with statuary on one side, grass in the middle, and a trellised walkway on the other side. As you get to the end of the garden there is an Italian fountain and pond edge. On the other side of the Italian garden is a rose garden and herbaceous border. An interesting mix of the old and the new.

Pashley Manor

Pashley is a nice compact landscape, incorporating sculpture into the garden. Featuring herbaceous borders, a rose garden, and swimming pool it was a quiet an peaceful garden.


Sissinghurst lives up to the hype. The famous white garden was looking good, although the white rose on the pergola was not in bloom yet. Everything here was a riot of color, happy and healthy. It was busy and looking back on this photos I am impressed how much I was able to get without people in the photos. I would visit this garden on a monthly basis if I could.

Great Dixter

Great Dixter was designed and lived in by garden designer and writer Christopher Lloyd. This is a garden that is bursting with life. You enter via the path to the entrance of the house. Off to the right is a sunken hot color garden abutted by an old barn. To the side of the house is a Mediterranean area followed by a formal topiary space. Along the back of the house are old shrubs and trees covering much of the facade. Continuing around the house is a hedged ovoid garden with narrow paths with plants and exotic shrubs towering over you. This garden feels like the plants are in charge.

Great Comp

Great Comp we added last minute and I’m glad we did. This garden is filled with little areas of follies, like the ruins and the Italian fountain shown above. It is also home to a salvia collection and nursery.


Wisley is a fairly recent RHS garden. You can tell there has been a lot of money spent on this garden and it is designed to educate and be a public space. There is a massive rose garden designed to meander down a hill. At the top of the hill is the wildlife garden and world food garden. There is a spiral viewing area perched on top of the hill, planted with lavender and rosemary. Water, glass house, formal gardens, if you can name it it exists at this garden. This was a great garden to finish our tour of Southeast England gardens.

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Cindy’s Spring Trip to the UK Part 2

Hinton Ampner

After visiting Gertrude Jekyll’s house we went to Hinton Ampner. Driving up a hill you enter through walled kitchen garden to the tearoom and the house. Walking around to the face of the house there are gorgeous vistas of the surrounding countryside with sheep dotted as the landscape slopes downhill. The gardens have been terraced to deal with the slope and create long borders that one can walk back and forth winding one’s way downhill.

Arundel Castle

We arrived bright and early, and a good thing too, as people were already lining up to get in. The gardens here were a magnificent mix of hardscaping and planting. As you enter you walk around the castle, perched atop a hill. As you walk away from the castle the chapel and church are on your left with the entrance to the gardens shortly after. There is a stunning mix of tropical and traditionally British planting, everything you could want from a garden, water features, levels, walls, and a kitchen garden intermingled with perennials towards the back.

West Dean

West Dean is working college as well as a garden. Entering through the shop and tea room the walled gardens are on the right full of peonies and clematis. A second walled area holds glass houses mostly being used to grow fruit. Walking across the drive there is a pergola covered with wisteria looking out on the building of the college. Then paths wind their way back and forth over a small stream to a more wild area further on.

Petworth House

This was a landscape designed by Capability Brown. More park than garden, the house was more interesting than the gardens as the owners collected Turner’s and other artworks. Shown here is the grand staircase and the North Gallery.

Borde Hill

Borde Hill is a garden built around a house that has changed hands multiple times throughout its life, as such, there are lots of different designed garden areas. As you enter there are rectilinear herbaceous borders, the clematis were in full bloom when we were there. There are huge tree peonies that had already gone over as well as roses. Continuing to the front edge of the garden there is a wall with fields beyond on one side and entrances to garden rooms on the other. There is a beautiful swimming pool with the surrounding shrubs and trees giving the area a Mediterranean/African feel. After the pool is a sunken water garden with its own stand of bamboo. At one time it connected to the next area which was originally potting sheds, now ruins covered in greenery. There is even more around the backside of the house with large mature shrubs and understory trees.


Nymans was hopping! As it is a National Trust garden, anyone who is a member goes for free and it is a garden aimed towards families. You start by walking downhill and follow alongside a sheep fence line. On the right is the partial ruins of the house. As you walk through, it opens on to several connecting lawns with an Asian inspired garden to the left and the wisteria walk directly in front of you. Behind the house are the traditional walled gardens. Continuing on there is a large circular walled garden to the left and a rose garden to the right. As you approach the end of the garden there is a long double herbaceous border as you walk to the exit.

High Beeches

High beeches is more of a landscape than garden and there is no house attached to this property. Described as a woodland water garden you start at the top of this garden and walk down and around the brook that tumbles down the middle of this garden. Mature specimen trees and shrubs are everywhere in this landscape. This was a quieter garden that is only open in the afternoons.

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Cindy’s Spring Trip to the UK, Part 1

We started our trip in London, visiting Hampton Court Palace, the Sky Garden, Westminster Abbey, Eltham Palace, and the Chelsea Flower Show. From there we rented a car at Heathrow and travelled southeast to visit the first of our week of garden touring.

Savill Garden

Savill garden was created in the 1930’s by former owner Eric Savill. It is now run as a part of the the Crown Estates. The rose garden is a relatively recent addition, planted in 2010. This garden is divided into different area including a Bog garden with enormous Gunnera, an Azalea walk, the summer gardens which include the rose garden a herbaceous borders, and more.


Painshill is an 18th century landscape garden created by Charles Hamilton. This is a large garden in a man-made landscape, there are meandering paths around a lake, that was dug out and engineered to be fed by an adjoining river. Hamilton had an image of creating living painting in his landscape. He designed a number of follies to visit along the route including a grotto tiled with crystals.

Munstead Wood

Munstead Wood is the home and business garden of Gertrude Jekyll. This garden is held in private hands and as such is available to tour by appointment with the head gardener. This is a garden that is lucky to be in existence at all. It was sold in three parcels after her death, the gardens were grassed in the 1950’s by a subsequent owner. The most recent owners have recovered the original gardens along with their neighbors. From the tour we discovered the garden functioned very much as a show garden for Jekyll’s clients, she had a trial garden area, and she sold plants and seeds from the potting shed. Almost ironically the garden looks similar to how it would have been in her lifetime because of the effects of man.

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January 1 2021

I fell apart on my blog posting in the second half of 2020. There was a lot going on. The building of the studio was going on which kept me busy with decisions to be made. I had also made it half way through my 24 sweater challenge and could see that it would be possible to complete it. In January I had on a lark decided to make two sweaters each month. One from my very deep stash of handspun and one from commercial yarn that would tentatively be destined for publication. I finished the 24th sweater on the 30th of December.

Meaghan has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to take a photo of all the sweaters and went out and took photos yesterday morning. She posted the photo below on instagram and Sarah posted it on redit where it apparently garnered some notice.

It’s a great photo. However most of the sweaters are original design yoke sweaters so an awful lot of the work and creativity is lost in this photo. My plan today or some time this week is to photograph them in a circle so one gets a better idea of what was actually knit.

2020 turned out to be a pretty productive year for me. The studio which until this summer had only been an idea actually came into existence. I completed my 24 sweater challenge. This certainly doesn’t take away from sadness and horror of 2020. I am looking forward to 2021 and actually seeing people again. I’m also hoping to get back to posting more regularly on the blog.

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July 31 Indigo Summer

A good part of this month has been spent playing with my raised beds of Japanese Indigo. On a whim back in March I spread the seed heads I had collected from last years small attempt at growing and dyeing with Japanese Indigo. Much to my surprise all of them came up. I pricked some out and potted them on and eventually the crop ended up in two raised beds hastily constructed from leftover lumber and a pile of topsoil intended for bear spots in the lawn.

With such an abundance of riches I started experimenting with the indigo a the beginning of July. First up was fresh indigo dyeing which is simply leaves, cold water and ice in a blender and strained. Put your wool or fabric on and wait 20 minutes. Instant satisfaction.

This was followed by a series of experiments with a washing soda/hydrosulfite vat. We eventually had successful results but it’s clear why vat dyeing has a reputation for being tricky. The fact that we were working with fresh indigo instead of powder added to the difficulty factor I think

After several days break we when back to a somewhat unsuccessful vat and got great results after reactivating it. This time we did some shibori dyeing on muslin squares and some yardage.

We attempted a lime fructose vat that we’ve thus far been unsuccessful with. I moved on to a cooked leaf enzyme vat that isn’t really a vat at all but a variation on the fresh indigo method using cooked indigo leaves for the majority of the indigo and 10% fresh strained indigo for the enzyme to kick start the reaction. I was able to dye 376 grams of yarn with 240 grams of indigo and get the color below.

I’ve dried some indigo for use later in the year and there will be more experiments until frost shuts us down. It’s been fascinating so far. I’m very impressed by the amount of color that I’m able to get from fresh leaves. At this point the fresh methods seem easier, more ecologically sound (you only add water), and give great colors. They are fleeting and can’t be used again or saved. I want to try a fermented vat and perhaps going from leaves to powder or a sludge for future use.

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June 30

The June sweaters are almost finished. This month I worked on a worsted weight yoke sweater and take two of the buckthorn sweater. I was looking to add more color, improve the fit and fabric of the buckthorn sweater in the second version. I still have the ribbing to finish but I’m generally happy with the result below. The yarn is hanspun horned dorset or crosses from Clark Farm in Carlisle making the sweater a truely locally grow (wool and dyes), washed, carded, spun and knitted.

I had to take a detour in the middle of the knitting to dye more pink with buckthorn bark. All of the colors in the sweater come from buckthorn, hence the name buckthorn sweater. The detour into buckthorn bark dyeing led me down a bit of a rathole. I always attempt to improve on what’s gone before so I looked about the internet on new ways or ways I hadn’t thought of to deepen the color of the pink. I stumbled across a blog that had great photos of wool dyed overnight, at 140 degrees F and 176 degrees F. The wool dyed at 140 degrees F had the best color. I had previously dyed at room temperature so I thought I’d try 140 degrees F. The blog also said the bark used was glossy buckthorn bark , alder buckthorn or rhamnus frangula. I am fortunate to have both rhamnus frangula and rhamnus carthartica growing near me. They are both considered invasives where I live and abundantly available. Rhamnus frangulas grows in my yard and along my fence line and I had some I needed to cut back so I did. I stripped the leaves, boiled them and dyed three skeins mordanted with alum and got.

Then I did a sample of the alkaline extraction of the bark and didn’t get the color I expected. I left it over night and got a brownish color. I heated it up to 140 degrees F and got a slightly darker shade of brown. In short there was no pink at anytime. This actually was what I had faintly recalled but thought perhaps I was mistaken. I’ve been dyeing with buckthorn for over 5 years now and done a lot of experimentation. So I did and extraction on some of the rhamnus cathartica bark that I’d saved from the previous year and got a range of lovely pinks. Below is a photo of the plant and the colors that the plant dyed.

The plant on top that dyed the pinks I would identify as Rhamnus cathartica. It has thorns, toothed leaves and is more of a small tree than shrub. The plant that I was only able to get a brownish color I would identify as Rhamnus frangula. It has no thorns, smooth leaves and forms a shrub. Buckthorn bark that is sold on the internet for dyeing and medicinal use is widely identified as Rhamnus frangula. If what is sold on the internet is indeed rhamnus frangula than what is the plant at the bottom?

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May 13

This is a photo of the first three sweaters in the seasons sweater series that I’ve been working on. You can see a bit of the fourth sweater at the bottom of the photo. The middle sweater with the trees and bunnies is the winter sweater in the series and I knit it in March. The oak and acorn sweater is in test knit right now. I’m hoping to get the remaining three sweaters into test knit this month. Drop us an email if you’d be interested in test knitting. I’ve started on the first of the May sweaters yesterday.

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May 1

I seem to have totally missed April. I’m still working on my two sweaters a month challenge and am nearly done with my sweaters for April. The photo of the sweater above is the hand spun sweater from March. The fleece is Dorset fleece from Clark Farm in Carlisle. The design is a reknit of the first sweater I attempted on the knitting machine that came out too small generally and with some other sizing issues. I liked the design so I decided to reknit the sweater in another batch of hand spun yarn. The blue was dyed with acid dyes. This was the hand spun sweater for March. I hope to post about the sweater from commercial yarns from March and the hand spun and commercial yarn sweaters from April soon.

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March 31

This is the February sweater from our Estabrook yarn. I’m working on a series of four seasons sweaters. The first was the autumnal sweater with the oak leaves and acorns. This is the spring sweater with snowdrops. I’m hoping to get this into test knitting soon. I’ve been working on March sweaters instead of writing the pattern. I’m nearly finished with March’s sweaters though and hope to get both the February and March sweater patterns in the Estabrook yarn written next. If you’d be interested in test knitting send me an email at

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March 28

This is my hand spun sweater from February. The grey is a Romney merino cross that I purchased at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago. The white is a Montadale fleece I purchased a while ago. I had never spun Montadale before and enjoyed spinning it quite a bit. The pattern is mine with the yoke being knit by hand while on my travels in February to visit my brother in Napa Valley and my sister on the big Island in Hawaii and the body and sleeve knit on the machine. The resulting sweater is very comfortable and lovely to wear.

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February 29

Happy Leap Day.  I spent most of February traveling to visit my brother in California and then my sister in Hawaii on the big island.  I brought my knitting with me.  I completed or nearly completed two yokes that I’m still working on the bodies and sleeves for.  One is hand spun and one is from commercial yarn and destined to become a pattern, I hope.  The photo above is neither of these but a design that was finished before I left for my travels.  The pattern is currently being test knit.  With so many sweaters on the drawing board and under construction I’m hoping to post one each week in March.

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January 13

Happy new year! I’ve been spending time converting some of our accessory patterns to commercial yarn so we are able to offer yarn that goes with out patterns.  At the same time I’m still spinning.  The photo above is my most recent handspun sweater.  I purchased the fleece at the Fiber Festival of New England.  The fleece is from the Northampton Smith vocational and agricultural school. It came with a note letting me know that the ewe’s name is Pumpkin and her lamb is Pie.  Pumpkin is a Romney ewe with a pretty consistent grey fleece.  I’m a sucker for a grey fleece but often the color has many shades making if difficult to spin an evenly colored yarn.  Pumpkin it turns out it a pretty even grey.   She’s also a pretty dark grey.  I originally had planned to knit a sweater that was grey and over dyed grey with mustard but the over dyed grey with mustard didn’t create enough contrast.  Even the navy over the grey is still fairly muted but I was pleased with the level of contrast with this pattern which is fairly busy.   The photo shows the fleece to finished object with the washed fleece to the left, the carded fleece at the top, the handspun yarn to the right and the finished sweater.    With my designing focused on commercial yarns I’ve decided I will try and spin and  knit a handspun sweater a month to make use of the yarn I’m still spinning.  We’ll have to see how this goes, especially when you add new design work and re-knitting.  Always good to have a goal though!

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October 13

It’s been forever since I’ve written a blog post.  The last couple of months have been spent preparing for the fall and winter shows.  I wrote and had the Stars in the Summer Sky sweater test knit and add a hat and mittens to go with it.  At the Adirondack Wool Arts Festival I started on a sweater for myself from my handspun.  The yarn is from a lovely almost black Romney fleece and the white is from a Montadale fleece.  The first of that breed that I’ve ever spun.  The wool was lovely to spin.  The sweater pattern is based on a hat pattern that I designed years ago.  This will hopefully be my Rhinebeck sweater for this year.   We’re nearly ready.  Stop by and stay Hi if you’re at Rhinebeck.

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July 5

I totally missed the month of July. I was in the garden. My passion for gardening is at least as strong as my passion for spinning, knitting and designing so at this time of the year I take a break from the fiber. The clematis is Betty Anne Corning. It’s a favorite. As the weather begins to heat up it’s less fun to work in the garden and I begin to return to the fiber. I’m just up from knitting in the garden in a small shaded stone patio down the steps and and to the left.  I’m working on a new sample of Hedgie’s socks in our new hand dyed commercially spun yarn. The journey from handspun yarn to commercial yarn in our samples and in the yarns we sell has been interesting and educational.  I am a hand spinner.  I love the process from raw fleece to finished garment.  I love my handspun and that has had an effect on the commercial yarns I find acceptable. To start with as a team (Sarah and I) have agreed that we want wool that is raised in the US and spun in the US.  It goes beyond that in that I prefer yarns that are two ply and not overly processed while still being soft.  This means the wool is probably from a finer breed of sheep like Cormo, Merino or Rambouillet. It’s not right, wrong or the best it’s just what I like and imagine in my designs. At this point we’ve sampled a lot of yarns and settled on three that will allow us to support our current designs with yarn sourced and dyed by us. As I mentioned several posts ago the yarn so important in achieving the finished garment that you want.

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May 27

The garden is captivating this year.  Above is a photo of clematis Montana Odorata putting on quite a show. It’s fragrant and smells like vanilla to add to its appeal. Right now I’m spending all my time in the garden.  We’ve finished our shows until September. I’ll get back to designing in a few weeks time when the June garden peak has passed, but right now it’s hard to get me out of the garden!

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April 30

I have almost missed April altogether.  It’s that time of year when my interests turn to gardening.  So when the sun has been out and the weather is warm I’ve been outside mulching and poking and planning.  I’ve also been doing fibery things on all those rainy days.  I finished another sweater from handspun.  A lovely grey Merino/Romney cross and a stunning black Romney yearling fleece. And last week we vended at Gore Place and had a great but very cool and windy day.  We’re looking forward to vending at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival this weekend. We are very excited to be vending there for the first time!

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March 24

March has been a quieter month.  We had our last show at the Wayland Winter Farmer’s Market Fiber Days and I did a program for my spinning guild on blending for a gradient.  Mostly I’ve been knitting for myself.   I made the brown sweater in the photo above.  The brown is a from a fleece from Black Brook Farm that I’ve had forever of unknown breeding and the white is from a Border Leicester fleece that I acquired several years ago from a horse acquaintance.  I’ve had the idea of a yoked brown sweater in my head for a long time.   I’m not totally sure I’m in love the the yoke pattern but the sweater fits wonderfully and will be a great addition to my wardrobe.

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February 6

I made it through January.  We had three shows in three weeks.  It was a lot of work but fun at the same time.  We met lots of wonderful people and sold lots of patterns and yarn.  My job for February is to work on a magazine article and prepare for a workshop I’m doing for my spinning guild.  It will be a good change from January.   At the same time I’m continuing my re-knitting journey.  The cross country skier mittens are some of the first mittens I designed.  The original pair has actually felted and shrunk from so much use cross country skiing.  They’re a nice warm pair of mittens with long cuffs to keep the snow out of your jacket.  I’m knitting them in green and white instead of the original red and white and liking the way they’re coming out.

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January 15

I have been re-knitting some of my patterns in commercial yarns so that we will be able offer yarn to go with our patterns.  After sampling lots of yarns we’ve settled on a yarn from Cestari that’s 100% merino that’s sources in the US.  It’s the closest thing to my handspun in weight and character that I’ve found.  The photo above is of Annie’s mitten’s being knit in the new yarn.  The plan is to have yarn to go with some of our most popular patterns at our next show this weekend.  If you’re near Pawtucket RI this weekend we’ll be at Slater Mill Knitting Weekend.  Hope to see you there!

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December 12

It’s all about the Yarn

After reading Kate Davies post about needle size being immaterial this week I thought I’d take another crack at my post on yarn.  As a hand spinner and someone who still struggles with gauge I would agree that needle size is immaterial.  Needle size is just one of three elements that effect the fabric and resulting garment when you knit something.  The second is the yarn.  The third is the pattern/design whether it be a pattern that someone else has written or design you have in your head.  Of the three of these the yarn is the most important.  You can’t make Selvoubotter mittens with chunky yarn that actually fit a human hand no matter what size needle you use.  And it’s not just about the size of the yarn.  If the fabric you are desiring for you project is drapey it’s going to be hard to achieve that with a bouncy elastic Merino or Targhee yarn.  And finally the quality and type of yarn will effect the look and feel of the finished garment in imperceptible ways.  Think about how different a fair isle garment looks when it’s knitted in Jamison and Smith as opposed to some other kind of yarn.  Stay tuned for my next post on why “It’s all about the yarn”

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December 3

I totally missed November it’s been so busy. For anyone that’s making and selling the last quarter of the year is always so busy because you’re selling and if you’re like me you’re also still making because you didn’t make enough earlier in the year. I made this wet felted pillow earlier this fall and it sold. I hope to do some wet felting this week.

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September 10

Flax has been harvested!

I pulled all the flax from the flax patch yesterday. I’m kind of winging this whole flax thing. My flax patch was kind of weedy.  There were a wide variety of heights of flax but I do thing I’ll have enough to process and hopefully get enough to spin. The flax is drying on my dining room table right now. And then it will be on to retting, the tricky part.

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August 5

It is a difficult time of year to to keep things blooming in the garden. Lots of things have gone by until next year. The garden phlox in the background are going strong and there’s still a bit of bee balm left and a daylily or two but you can kind of see autumn coming.  Albert is a great gardening companion.

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April 18

If you’re in the area of metro-west Boston and want to participate in our community flax to linen project stop in to the Carlisle Artisans in Carlisle, MA and pick up your free seed available for planting now. Participants will grow and harvest and dry their flax. In late summer we’ll come back together at the Carlisle Historical Society’s Heald House. During several of their open houses we’ll process the dried flax. This will include retting, braking, scutching, spinning and weaving. All are welcome.

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March 30

I have been working on a sweater in exchange for the fleeces I got from the 2018 shearing at Clark Farm a local organic farm in Carlisle. The sweater is made of handspun Horned Dorset yarn from Clark Farm. I dyed the yarn with natural dyed from my yard.  The grey blue is buckthorn berry skins. The yellow is buckthorn leaves and the pinky purple is pokeweed berries in a cold acetic acid dye bath that should prevent them from fading. The pattern is a highly modified version of Jen Steingass’s Telja. It doesn’t get anymore local than this. Everything from the fleece from the sheep to the dyes and the labor to create the garment came from Carlisle.

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February 26

We had a great time this past Saturday at the Wayland Winter farmers market at Russells in Wayland. We’d done a bit of dyeing to fill out the empty spots in our inventory. And I’ve spent a some time updating our website so the purple and blue gradient patterns and yarn are on the website. I’ve still got the Pleiades and pink gradient patterns and yarn to add and hope to get to it this week.

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December 26

Christmas brought snow so we dug out the cross country skis and went out for a short ski in park next to our house. There was ice still left from the ice storm a few days before so it was snowy and sparkly all at once. Hope everyone has had and is having a wonderful holiday.

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November 23

Happy Thanksgiving!

 We’ve recovered from our two big fiber shows and have been making stuff.  The top photo is of wet felted pillow fronts drying that I made yesterday.  They’re headed for the shop after I make them into pillows but if you’re interested you can send mean email and they can be yours. The white horse and cardinal pillow are $80 each and the small Dala horse pillow is $50. The second photo is of my first attempt at needle felting.  A group of us at the Carlisle Artisans volunteered to decorate a tree at at the Concord Museum’s Family Tree Exhibit.  The book is “Spring for Sophie” about a little girl looking for signs of spring. One of the signs is birds and bird song so I volunteered to needle felt some birds for the tree. Along with the cardinals, chickadees, and bluebirds I made some woodpeckers, blue jays and a gold finch. You’ll have to visit the museum if you want see them though as a I was so rushed to finish I forgot to take a photo. The exhibit runs through January 2 and you can find more about it here.

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November 6

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]W[/su_dropcap]here did October go?  We had a great time at Rhinebeck and the New England Fiber Festival. This is a photo from the New England Fiber Festival before we opened. Felted pillows in the middle fiber on the right and red and white yarn for to make the fingerless glove patterns that we just came out with. Red and white and blue and white. They were very popular at Rhinebeck and FFNE.

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September 21

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]P[/su_dropcap]roduction Knitting.  After playing all summer with buckthorn and natural dyeing I’m back to work making finished goods for sale a the fiber festivals and shops we’re a part of. The mittens are handspun shetland fleeces. The dark grey and white are the natural colors of the fleece and the blue is acid dyed. The body of the mittens are knit on our “hacked” brother 910.  The thumbs are knit on “sticks”.

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April 23

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]E[/su_dropcap]nter a drawing for a custom designed knitted sampler.  The sampler in the photos is composed of quaker motifs but yours could be inspired be motifs and messages that are important to you. You can enter the drawing by visiting the Carlisle Artisans at 13A Lowell St., Carlisle and filling out an entry.  The drawing will take place on May 15.

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February 21

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]B[/su_dropcap]elow is a photo of a Clark Farm Hat and cowl that I made in exchange for fleeces from the 2017 sheep shearing at Clark Farm. The wool is from the 2016 shearing.  The colors from from the buckthorn dyeing I did this past summer and the designs are mine.

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January 19, 2017

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]S[/su_dropcap]heep Shearing at Clark Farm. I came home with 6 lovely fleeces from the sheep shearing at Clark Farm in exchange for a new hat and scarf. I was able to give Olek the sampler I made for the birth of his daughter made from wool from his sheep and dyed with buckthorn berries.

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January 17, 2017

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]W[/su_dropcap]et felted Cardinal and Pussy Willow Pillow from the shop. I was sitting the shop this past sunday and took this photo of one of my wet felted pillows. The cardinal is a nice pop of color on a cold January Day.

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January 13, 2017

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]A[/su_dropcap]lbert and the antique spinning wheel. Albert turned one just after Christmas. He’s full of personality and quite a ham. I purchased the antique spinning wheel years ago after I just started spinning. It sat until just recently as and ornament and not functional with the leathers on the treadle broken off. Krysten repaired her  and got her running about a month ago.  She’s quite fun to spin on and I was very surprised! Krysten thinks she may have come from germany originally.  I purchased her on Cape Cod.

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January 11, 2017

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]W[/su_dropcap]ith the new year I’ve decided to give blogging a try.   Sarah’s been instagraming everyday  since the beginning of the so maybe this will become and extension of that. Today she posted a photo of some of the self striping hand spun that we have available for sale and headband that Sarah knit on the 910 from the self striping handspun and some white handspun.   We’ve been playing around with patterns and different yarns.  It’s amazing how different the same pattern can look when it’s knitted in different kinds of yarn.