a long spring

This year is not quite shaping up the way that I had anticipated at its genesis. In February, we decided we were going to try to buy a house. And after 7 offers, 3 months and one drawn out conversation with our mortgage lender, we are walking away from that prospect for another year. But it took a lot of time and a lot out of us, and so many things have had to take a spot on the back burner. 

And unrelated, but I'm on my 5th pair of knitted socks for this year. Fifth! I never dreamed that I would knit so many pairs in 2016. It certainly was not on my list of goals for the year, but here we are. Magic loop method and friends who are beautiful indie dyers are to blame. They're quick and portable and I have read Cookie A's book on Sock design several times already thinking through the many ways they can be customized. So fun. 

There have been lots of good things this spring, the Mr. graduating from medical school, Nash surviving a harrowing vet visit, starting on my first weaving adventure and lots of time with those we love via family vacation. 

 

And so we arrive at June. And to celebrate, we are having a shop update this evening. Lots of lovely naturally dyed, handspun goodness. I'll be taking a little break and closing up the shop when we move next weekend, so be sure to scoop up everything you want before then!

Happy Summer everyone. It promises to be eventful, and wonderful. 

Weaver's Packs and a new logo

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As warmer months are approaching and I'm thinking about my fiber practices as I try to keep wool off of my lap, I have put together some natural weaving packs for Goodstitch Fibers! These were so fun to put together. Each one has three mini skeins included, a natural gradient pack, natural texture pack, and a love & chocolate pack. They contain handspun, naturally colored or naturally dyed yarns and come ready to gift tied with a ribbon. 

The raspberry-dyed yarn is beautiful and variegated, and no two yarns are alike. I can't wait to do more solar dyes this summer and experiment with different fruits and dye plants, and am creating a list of the dye plants I'd love to grow in my garden. In the natural texture pack are a few mini skeins of some Corriedale wool that has been raised and processed all within a 50 mile radius of my studio! They're the first products from the fleece that I am working with from Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty, NC, and are crazy textured, variegated grey. I love them. 

I have also been working recently with Julia of WoodFolk Knits to design a new logo for the shop. Her artwork is incredible, organic and expressive, and when I found her I knew I wanted her to work with me on this project. You should absolutely check out her work on Instagram and her online shop. Even her sketches seem like gorgeous works of art. 

Have a wonderful week!

shearing day

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Shearing Day, at Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty, NC. You could feel the excitement in the air - the culmination of months of waiting is this morning, when the 75 beautiful rams and ewes of Rising Meadow lose their fluffy winter coats and usher in spring. And the weather did not disappoint! Cloudy, but nearly 60 degrees. This is why we live in the South, for Februaries like these. 

The rams are being shorn today, and one by one they move from a holding pen inside the barn to their stage, a wooden platform where two strong shearers take on between 4 - 10 pounds of fluff. It is magical - seeing the outside of the coat be slowly snipped away to reveal, sometimes, completely different colors and textures underneath. The rams are atypically calm during this process, lying on their backs in strange angles, and yet totally at peace with this process. It's amazing to witness. The whole fleece gets picked up and carried out to the skirting table, where the fleece is picked over, weighed and bagged, to the delight of spinners and fiber enthusiasts roaming around, checking out all of the beautiful fibers for sale. 

There are CVM Romedale, Corriedale, Navajo Churro and Dorset, all with different locks, crimp, staple length, smiling eyes, and personalities. How am I supposed to just pick one fleece?! I decide on a heathery grey Corriedale, with flecks of tan, brown, black. I love the way that the lanolin feels on my hands, and at the same time I can't wait to get it home, wash it out and card it up to see what it will become. 

For lunch, we have lamb chili and homemade bread, sweet conversations and strangers becoming friends, neighbors reuniting. It was fun to experience both as someone new to the area and the community, and someone who felt instantly at home, even amongst folks I had never met. After saying goodbye to the llamas, alpacas, ewes, chickens and cows, hauling 4 pounds of Leah's fleece to my car and driving home with sheepy smells and fond memories in tow. For me, the banner displayed proudly on the shearing barn says it all: great wool grows in North Carolina. I am so happy to call this place home. 

handspun & naturally dyed: blackberry love

I want to start out this post by saying that this might be one of my favorite yarns I've ever made, and the pictures truly do not do it justice. A couple of weeks ago I started experimenting with solar dyes. I wanted to keep my fiber soft, and removing heat from the equation seemed like a good way to achieve that. Once again, I was surprised and delighted. Natural dyes are the best! 

This particular batch of dyes were made with local blackberries interspersed with the Rambouillet wool in a jar for about 3 days. The water turned this crazy, vibrant purple, but the fiber itself turned pale lavender, with pops of grey and bright purple and even a bit of pink. So wild! I love the patterning in this wool, the areas where the blackberries rested created this beautiful painterly effect in what would have taken many colors to dye chemically. After the fiber had time to dry, I spun it and plied it with a heathered grey eco wool blend. The subtle shifting shades of the blackberry dyed yarn pop out so beautifully against it, and I couldn't be more happy with how it turned out. 

The resulting yarn is drapey and smooth, you'd guess that it was a wool/silk blend, and not the 100% wool that it is! I'm so tempted to keep this skein for myself, but instead I'll hopefully have it listed in the shop sometime tomorrow. 

More solar dyeing is definitely in my future, and gives me a hope for spring during the freezing rain that is hitting North Carolina right now; the last bitter storms of winter that we'll likely see as March quickly approaches.