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Plans for a shop!

After coming up with a lot of building plans to hobble something together down at the hay field, Will suggested I just use the hobbit hole. We don’t have guests that often and it isn’t like my weaving studio shop will be high traffic. We’re going to give it a try. During the winter, Will uses the living space at the front of the HH as his office, since there is only a heat pump in his actual office. Once he moves back out of there, I’m going to set my little shop up. It won’t be anything fancy but it will be nice to have. I’ll have it open a few mornings each week and by appointment. The great part is, I won’t have to just sit there if no one is coming by. I can be in my studio creating unless I hear the driveway alarm! I’m sure I won’t get nearly as much traffic from that as I will at festivals but I figure if I do a few festivals a year and make sure people know about my shop, perhaps it will work out. Hopefully people will enjoy the chance to see how my weaving is made as well as the finished products.

Expect more info on this in April 2020!

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Visit from Maine Features

Today we met a wonderful woman. Her name is Elizabeth and she is working on an ambitious and respectable project. Her plan is to visit every municipality in the state of Maine. She is picking one place, a bit off the beaten path, to visit and feature from each of the well over 400 municipalities in the state. How flattered were we to be chosen for her Washington, ME visit?!

She arrived this morning to a frozen parking area. After the careful walk into the Hobbit Hole (the studio/ guesthouse/ office, for those unfamiliar) she got the not-so-grand-tour! When she entered my fiber studio, she uttered the magical words I adore hearing, “I don’t know much of anything about weaving, can you tell me more?” Music to my ears! I may have been too eager in my explanations. Hopefully she enjoyed my enthusiastic, detailed demonstration as much as I was thrilled to share it.

Next, we made the clumsy journey up the snow-covered hill to the smithy, then to the barn. There she met the sheep and chickens. I explained far more than she bargained for about Icelandic sheep too. She may very well put a warning in her story about us, to not ask me any questions with keywords, like “what is a landrace?” or “how does it go from wool on the sheep to yarn in my rug?”. Haha. After the barn visit, we looped around to the house, then down the driveway back to her car. I thought that walk would be better than going back down the hill to the Hobbit Hole. I was wrong; the ice hadn’t melted as much as I’d thought. It was a nice walk, with great conversation though, and no one broke a hip. 😉

Elizabeth was a joy to converse with. Her desire to meet people and hear their story is genuine. We look forward to following her journey around the rest of the state, as well as seeing how the story goes about our farm. I do hope our paths cross again! To other small businesses in Maine, if Elizabeth requests a visit, you won’t regret saying yes! 🙂

Here is the link to her article! https://www.mainefeatures.me/blog/washington-maine

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Fiber Goals

I still have a great deal to learn about weaving. At times, when I make a mistake, or something of that nature, I have to step back and remind myself, I’m still, and will always be, learning this craft. I am trying to pump out some products to have things for my booth in this upcoming fiber show season. I don’t think I’ll be doing more than a few shows this year but I don’t want an empty booth! Once I get some inventory, my plan is to dial it back and work on really mastering one type of weaving at a time. I’ve never been a quantity over quality type person and don’t intend to change that now!

Aside from those goals which are specific to weaving, I’m also beginning another project. Our youngest daughter, S, and I are going to learn how to dye yarn using plant based dyes. We want to start a dye-plant garden, as well as forage our woods for other ingredients. I have a book arriving today so we can begin studying and planning. My goal is to eventually only use natural yarns which I’ve hand-dyed, using plant-based dyes, the ingredients of which were obtained from our farm. This way I can also only dye the amount of yarn needed for a particular project, greatly reducing the amount of wasted yarn. This is likely a 2 year goal, but perhaps we can get there sooner.

Do any of you use plant-based dyes? Any suggestions? How did you learn about them?

Until next time!

This is the book we’ll be using.
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Starting Over

I’ve always wanted to write, but then I realize I never turn that “want” into something I actually do. I can’t even keep up with a blog, for goodness sake. I decided I should at least give this thing a go. We’ll see how long it lasts. I don’t pull out my laptop very often anymore so this entire attempt may quickly flop.

Where are things currently with the farm? Let’s see. We just returned our borrowed Finnsheep ram, Thorn, to our friend, Mary’s farm. We aren’t sure if he sealed the deal or not. He wore a marking harness and plenty of ewe bums were marked. The problem is that the ladies seemed to continue to cycle right up until he left. One ewe in particular, Freyja, our moodiest ewe, remained *ahem* unspoiled by Thorn. She ran and ran from him, with success, for the entire month he was here. Oh well. She is a proven ewe, having given us twins last year. Hopefully we didn’t transport Thorn back and forth and feed him for nothing. As with most things, time will tell. Of course, the wethers will likely let us know if anyone cycles again long before their potential due dates arrived. Fingers are crossed!

The chickens are annoying. Will built them a new coop which is attached to the barn. There is the indoor part and the covered “yard”. Obviously they decided to roost in the rafters of the “yard” portion, instead of inside their coop during a big temperature dip. Now quite a few have frostbite on their combs. They haven’t laid any eggs in about a month now. I had to buy eggs a few weeks ago for the first time in 2 years. It hurt a little. The worst part is having to remember to take an egg out of the fridge to get to room temp before baking. After 2 years of storing them on the counter in a skelter, I’m not used to that extra step in baking. I know, cry me a river.

The holidays are over. We had a nice visit with a few family members who came to stay with us. We are always thankful to those who are willing to travel all the way up here to share their time with us.

I’ve been trying to crank out some weaving. Part of the joy of weaving is that you can’t really crank it out though. It is a time consuming, thoughtful craft. The minute you rush, is the moment you make a mistake, which takes longer to fix than it would have to just calmly done it correctly the first time. Given that preface, it won’t be shocking to learn I’ve spent some frustrating hours undoing mistakes lately. So I’m back to slowly creating the things I dream up. I just finished a few rugs, some mug rugs and a small table runner. I’m also still working on the Celtic knot baby blankets. I should also mention the table runner I made and am now unweaving. Grrr. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be and I don’t have enough of our flock’s yarn to waste any, therefore, I shall backtrack. We. must. save. the. yarn! I’ll take my sweet time with the next project.

It is hockey season and our youngest daughter (13) is on 2 teams this year. One is a local, house hockey team and her travel team hasn’t been as busy as they were last year so it hasn’t been as bad as I’d expected. Alas, it does keep me from my loom quite often.

There is more happening but I’ve typed enough and am tired.
Until next time, be kind to one another.