wool to wood

i am back from SAFF the experience that lasted 5 days including travel was full beyond description:  educational, informational, inspirational, overwhelming, delightful and exhausting depending on the moment. we, my two younger children and two apprentices, spent the days in the mountains of western north carolina with 162 other vendors, 7000 attendees, and countless sheep, goats, alpacas, rabbits and llamas. the venue was full to the brim with all types of fiber, fiber animals, fiber artists, fiber enthusiasts and EVERYTHING you need to knit, spin, weave, crochet, or felt just about anything.


i drove the miles home in an overtired excitement, feeling a sense of subdued accomplishment just for having executed the endeavor at the end of a long growing season. i was humbled by my first foray into fiber madness and thankful for the generous welcome long time SAFF vendors, attendees and teachers offered our product and presence.


then, i plunged into the woodshop. yes, true. packed up the wool and jumped right into the final push to make my man ready for his entry into the Nashville crafts scene. yes, this very saturday we will set up not one but two stands at the nashville farmers market. the 16 year old set up for hill and hollow csa and on the north side of the market, paul will set up hill and hollow farm’s wood working for the first time at the nashville scene’s crafts and drafts:  hand made baskets, trugs, blocks, toys, stools, vases all from reclaimed wood will adorn his stall.



i have a couple of long days ahead, so i will end here. the wool is packed up


the woodworking is in it’s final stages


and i will sleep next week.

the whole process.

It started out looking like this…IMGP0394And slowly but surely, became this…IMGP2305From sheep to baby blanket… It’s the first time I’ve ever accomplished the whole process from start to finish in many many years of wanting it to happen! 

(The pattern is Concentric Squares Baby Blanket by Fiber Fiend, http://www.fiberfiend.com)

In between the beginning and the end, there was a whole slew of processes. If you’ve been following along with our stories in this space for some time now, you may recall the tending and shepherding of the sheep all through the cold winter months. Or even before that, my family’s trip to Pennsylvania to fetch my flock of Shetlands and then being crammed in the truck like sardines for the long haul. Then spring arrived and shearing needed to happen. Remember when the Hill and Hollow crew came to save the day with their electric sheep shears? And remember not quite as long ago when my family had an overnight stay in a hotel and as my luggage I took a dirty sheep’s fleece for scouring in the hotel bathtub? And the borrowed drum carder? And all of the spinning? And then the indigo dyeing? (Which was a whole process in and of itself with the seeding, weeding, growing and harvesting!) Finally, my favorite part of the process, the hours and hours of knitting… knitting while the kids swam in the creek, or in the early gray mornings, or while I waited for supper to cook, or while I accompanied Eric for chores (but not being able to walk and actually help out with chores because of my leg. Moral support is good too!). It is a long-winded process I will admit! But it’s also incredibly satisfying…IMGP2307(You can see the color change between dye lots… I wasn’t totally thrilled with this feature and did try to overdye the whole blanket to make the blue more consistent, but alas, there is still a definite line. Oh, well. Maybe next year when the indigo is ready, I will try again.)

When I finally finished the baby blanket, the kids asked me how much I would charge if I were to sell the blanket. I just had to laugh. 

So the blanket is all finished. Now I just need a baby to wrap up in it…IMGP2310


two girls, two sweaters

IMGP1804 In addition to all of the baby things that have come off my knitting needles lately, I’ve not forgotten my two girls that also love mama’s hand knit garments. Or at least they give me that impression so as to not hurt my feelings. Whatever the case, the girls each scored a new sweater during this time that I’ve been out of commission. Not that they really need wool sweaters when it is 95 degrees outside, but hey, surely the heat won’t last forever. IMGP1805 I saw this sweater pattern and absolutely loved it, particularly the sweet little pockets that are worked into the hemline. Just right for little shy hands or precious loot. The pattern is “Puddle Duck” by Melissa Schaschwary. {http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puddle-duck} (I am still having trouble with my hyperlink function, but if you want to look at my Ravelry notes, my handle is bugtusslemama)IMGP1806The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. We get that catalog in the mail and I let the girls pick the color they wanted from the broad palette of colors in the glossy catalog picture. Opal poured over the choices for a very long time and settled on gray. “Gray?” I asked… “Yep, gray” was her sweet reply. Livi looked at the selection for all of two seconds and quickly jabbed her finger on the Rooibos heather and walked away. I’ll say, those two small gestures are very indictitive of their two very distinct personalities…IMGP1808