New products, updates, and big news (soon)

Good morning,

Somehow my entire summer slipped away. I keep thinking that things are far off but they aren’t really. I figured Fall was several months out. Well, it was at the last time I posted. Market season and a full-time job sucked the time away and all of a sudden it is Fall. The leaves are turning, summer market season is done, and there is a chill in the air. The weatherman is even predicting a chance of snow this week.

That means it is the season to get working on the projects. Before we know it Christmas will be here. The best part of all that is that with the snow comes time to hunker down and knit, spin, crochet, or work on some other project.

I’ve added some things to my shop that help with those projects. One of my favorite things is the scissors I found through Merchant and Mills. They are the scissors I have been looking for my whole life. I used a pair like them while I was growing up and of course my mother, being the smart woman she is, wouldn’t give them up. Meaning I had to find my own. I found these 8″ Tailor Scissors that are almost identical to the old pair my mom has. I like them so much that I had to get them for my shop. In addition to those scissors I added several other styles of scissors as well and some of the other sewing notions.

Another product line that I have added is from Lantern Moon. I don’t have everything yet but mostly I will carry their handmade knitting needles.

Now too, I carry Unicorn Power Scour and a few of their other lines of fiber wash. I am always looking for products to help care for wool and other natural fibers and these guys fit the bill. I am considering adding an entire section of laundry care.

Lots of work and planning happening right now as we change seasons. I will be adding even more products soon. There is big news in the works, but I will have to keep you in suspense a bit longer.

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Summer schedule

Holy moly! Summer market starts next Saturday on the 4th of June!! Yikes. When did we get so close to the start. I’m in a minor panic of getting things ready. I will be spending my long weekend prepping.

My to-do list:

  • wash table cloths
  • get labels made
  • replace ripped labels
  • get inventory organized so it is easy to load and unload
  • shape baskets and get a spray bottle of water so I can shape baskets at market
  • make sure I have change, and my card reader is working

I was hoping I would have a new batch of notions for opening market but it isn’t looking like that is going to happen unless they get here early in the week. Ah well. Such as life. It will have to be something to add later in the season. I also keep debating investing in a tent and weights (because we get lots of wind here) but I haven’t needed it yet because my market space has been under the cover. Now, I’m not sure if I will be under there this year. I might be. I guess I will find out next Saturday.

I’d better get rolling on this stuff. It always seems to take longer than I anticipate.

 

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Not gone.

I am not gone. I have had to take a hiatus from publishing on a regular basis though. I got a full-time job in town so I can build up some savings for the dream of opening a brick and mortar store. It has taken all my time and energy to have that, run my market booth, and run the farmers’ market.  It all means I’ve let some things slide onto the back burner. My blogs are one of those things.

A few fill in the blanks:

I resigned my market manager position at the end of the 2015 season. I found I just couldn’t have my own business, work for someone else, take care of my kids, and give the market the attention it needed. So, that is in someone else’s hands now.

My market booth has been a wonderful thing for me. I love the market. Even though it is work to maintain my booth and keep it stocked etc. I treasure those Saturday mornings that I spend with friends among good food and great products. Not to mention it gives me about 3 hours to spin on and off. Wonderful stress relief.

My cashgora goats went down the road. They were ornery and their fiber didn’t legally qualify as cashmere. The combination meant they went to someone else.

I’ve been spinning like crazy when I get the chance which isn’t as often as I would like but enough to keep me mostly sane.

I got to attend Interweave Yarn Fest!! I’ll have to do another post on that. What a good time. Thank goodness for a full-time job so I can pay for things like that for now. Someday I’ll be able to make those a total business trip.

I think this brings us mostly up to date. I have plans of saving my money from the full-time job and eventually opening a brick and mortar yarn store. It may be a crazy idea that the market research may or may not support. I think it will. I’m seeing more and more people from the area getting into the crafting and arts and that means a desire for tools and supplies. Our area has no local yarn shop. The other area towns have no yarn shop. We have a few big box stores that sell a little bit of yarn, but no smaller shops.

Now I just need to figure out how to make the business work. Lots of planning to come. Planning, saving, research, and prudent shopping for shop supplies.

 

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Cashmere?

I just harvested the first ounce of fiber off of my goat Chamomile! She has started to blow her coat just like a dog does in the springtime. She wasn’t exactly thrilled to get brushed, but I’m guessing she’ll be the easy one. BB thinks everything and everyone is out to get her.

Now that the harvest has started I need to go back through my email and see what it will take to get my fiber tested. I would love to be able to legally call the fiber cashmere not just Cashgora. Cashgora being the breed of goat. They are a cashmere angora cross.

I don’t think I mentioned it but the fiber is sooooooo soft. Alpaca is lovely. Wool is amazing. But my goats? So soft and fine. I have my husband clamoring for a pair of cashmere socks. We shall see…

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Winter Planning

Winter is a time for planning, for re-vamping, and for snuggling in by the fire. Our winter here has been strange. Yes, we got snowed in, and that led to some lovely spinning and knitting time. Since about Christmas when that happened, we have been going back and forth between cold and abnormally warm. We’ve even had a couple of 70 degree days! Craziness I tell you.

While I am thankful for the warmer weather and a chance to get outside and do some of the yard clean-up from last Fall, the warm weather is uncomfortable. Not in the actual physical sense. In that way it is quite lovely. But in the sense that this is not normal. January and February are supposed to be cold and the time to withdraw to inside chores. There was even about a week where we didn’t build a fire in the stove. Just strange to be outside in short sleeves digging in the garden or cleaning chicken coops while I would normally be inside planning the garden, baking, or making something with wool.

I did manage to make good use of the weather and got some wool and some alpaca washed up so I can work on that. I still have a ton to go but every little bit helps. I’ve been trying to catch up on some spinning as I traded a bunch of my yarn for my guard puppy. This was wonderful, but it means my inventory is way, way, down. Somehow winter is just about to slip away and all my plans of building my inventory have not come to fruition. Just the opposite in fact. That is good though. That means I’ve sold and traded goods and now it is time for new stuff. That is a beautiful thing.

Today our weather started to turn cold again and reminded me to get the last of my hay from my hay-man. It feels good to not be down to the last bale anymore.  Now I won’t worry so much about my goats. The goats are about to be ready to harvest fiber from. I’ve noticed some of their hair showing up on a lot more fence posts and barbs. Time to catch and comb the goats to see if they are earning their keep. I’ll also be trimming their feet at that time. I may as well get everything done in one catch. At least as close to it as possible.

Time to work on planning a spinning class I have coming up and I suppose my human children would like to eat dinner as well. I guess I’ll have to get that taken care of. First things first you  know.

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be inspired!!

Love this. Be inspired! Fight your way through and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It will come eventually.

Sheepy Hollow Farm

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Little by little I’m working on washing fleeces and alpaca blankets. I only have a bucket or two that I use so I can’t go too crazy with the amounts. It isn’t like I can throw an entire fleece or blanket in and get it all washed at once. I’ve tried in the kiddie pool and it just doesn’t work. They don’t come very clean. I prefer washing wool to alpaca. Alpacas get all dusty and that dust sticks in the fiber like crazy. Yes, wool is greasy with lanolin but it actually washes out. They both do really, but I’ve worked more with wool so I’m more accustomed to getting the gunk out of wool.

As far as spinning the two fibers I haven’t figured out what I like better yet. They both have their merits. I love the crimpy feel of the wool. It has more elasticity than alpaca and doesn’t droop/hang like alpaca. Sometimes that is what a person wants though. Alpaca is lovely for a drapey (probably not a real word but seems to apply) fabric. I think I like the blends best. This way you get the benefits of both fibers.

Soon I get to add my goats’ fiber into the mix. I’m excited for that. I must say though that these goats had better make some really nice fiber because I am not thrilled with their attitudes. The older one is a royal pain. Neither are very friendly to humans or each other. Sure they like food and I can kind of bribe them this way, but that is about all they like. Food and causing trouble. Cami (the older one) was chasing BB (the younger) around yesterday. Not just chasing, but chasing to then head butt her. So ornery. Cami will also hit the fence after my one dog. The fence doesn’t get hit now that the electric fence is up but it still gets half charged at. The new pup doesn’t seem to get this response. I wonder if it is because the goats have been around guardian dogs before, the dog is just a puppy, and she is the same color (and about as fluffy) as the goats. I’ve even seen Cami take one of my cats. Poor cat was just following me while I did chores and she got slammed by a goat. Geez! Talk about not a fun thing to have happen.

The other goat, BB, is so unfriendly to humans that even though I can now catch her, sometimes I’ve had her butt me and even try to bite me. I had a really good bruise on one knee for awhile after one time and last time I caught her was when she decided that biting was the way to go.

There are ways to handle them without getting nailed for sure. Mostly they need handled more. They have a big D-day hanging over their heads though. No fiber or not good fiber then they go down the road. With the little kids I don’t need livestock of any kind that is not fun to handle. I don’t want animals that are a royal pain to be around. I do like having them around but I don’t see any point in feeding and housing a critter that isn’t half-way pleasant. I try to work with them often enough that hopefully they’ll get better. I do really want to have the animals around.

As far as the rest of the farm goings on…Luna the puppy is proving herself to be a great little (soon to be big) pup. Kyra has accepted the pup quickly and loves having someone to play with. The cats and chickens are giving the pup wide berth. Chickens crack me up. They see the pup and act like they are saying, “Oh dear, oh dear!” The cats just give the pup the evil eye.

We’ve had some crazy warm weather so everyone has been out enjoying the sunshine and getting rid of the cabin fever. Almost all of our snow is gone. I’ve even managed a couple of days in the garden.

I need the weather to turn though so I don’t feel bad about spinning a lot.  I really need to spin a bunch of yarn. I ended up trading yarn for the puppy so I’m more-or-less out of yarn to sell. My day is well on its way to being another busy day so I’d better get rolling and spinning.

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