Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

As part of our 2010 cyber-reorganization, we are moving and consolidating our cyberhomes.  You can get to our website at http://www.fancyfibers.com or just http://fancyfibers.com.

Our Farm Blog is now on that site instead of in a separate place! 

Please continue to follow the news from the farm by going to our newly designed website (on a different hosting service), click on the latest blog post, and SUBSCRIBE!  There is an RSS feed link down at the bottom.  When I figure out how to add other feed readers, I’ll do that, too!

We hope you’ll check it out and watch our new site grow!


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Cold? Knit Yourself a Hat!

Aaron’s Hat

Originally uploaded by Fancy Fibers Farm

Crazy knitters, spinners, and crocheters are sitting in their houses making beautiful things in whichever fiber craft catches their fancy while watching the Vancouver Olympics (or not). Those who are hooked in to the Ravelry social network are entering their finished goods in the Ravelympics and receiving virtual medals for their efforts.

This is my entry in the Hat Halfpipe competition. It is called “Aaron’s Hat” not because I made it for some guy named Aaron, but because that’s the pattern name! It’s actually going into inventory as I prepare for next fall’s round of craft fairs and art shows.

What’s next? The matching cowl neckscarf, of course!

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A good many of the people reading this note (including DD#2) will disagree with the title. For those people, knitting gives them a headache. 

But not for me. For me, it’s the perfect headache remedy, one that I took full advantage of this evening. 

I came home from work with a monstrous headache, that all-over-but-particularly-in-the-back-of-my-neck throb that I clearly recognized stems from tension.  One too many days of The Odyssey. One too many days of trying to get high school freshman to learn a style of formulaic writing that will serve no purpose in their lives other than to help them pass the state assessment in one month’s time. One too many parent emails telling me all the special things that I need to be doing for their little darling to help him pass 9th grade, yet completely failing to mention that their child has any role or responsibility in the matter whatsoever.  (My girls graduated from high school, thank you very much, and it wasn’t because I asked their teachers to raise them for me.) 

In any event, there is only one treatment for headaches like this: Dr. Pepper, an undisclosed amount of ibuprofen, and knitting.  

For a person who has knit as long as I have, the motions are second nature. The repetition quiets the noise in my brain. My fingers move in and around, backwards and forwards, unbidden by conscious thought. The process is slow, deliberate, rhythmic, yet still fulfills my somewhat compulsive desire to accomplish something with every moment of my day. 

My super-bulky oatmeal colored yarn was as soft on the eyes as it was easy to use. Large needles let me relax my fingers and slow down the pace. An easy pattern shown in the semi-darkness off my computer screen. The pattern was something I was already familiar with; I knit guided more by intuition than by instruction. 

A broken needle and a slipped cable required that I find the super glue, but by then I felt better, so it didn’t bother me much. 

The room was quiet — no television allowed. The only noise was the sound of Bear’s deep barking from the far edge of the pasture fence and the hum of the refrigerator. 

In a few hours I finished my piece.  A cabled cowl. It matches the hat I made last night.  

My headache gone, and the tension mostly worked out of my neck and shoulders, it’s time to call it a night. 

But not without a couple of totally gratuitous baby bunny pictures! 

Breakfast time!

Hercules discovers hay

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I had about 50,000 things I was supposed to do today and I did about 5 of them <sigh>.  Ken and I got up early, cleaned the rabbit cages, filled water jugs and feed bins, and turned the air conditioner on in the Bunny Barn.  It was hot, and going to get hotter.  Ken cleaned the chicken coop and (surprise!) found an egg that had fallen (or been pushed) out of the nest.  Thankfully, our chickens produce hard-shelled eggs and it wasn’t broken.  I started some laundry, started cleaning up the upstairs (we’re trying to sell our house.  ugh.  Different story), and ran out of energy. Sadly, it wasn’t even 10:00 a.m. yet.  But my throat was hurting. So I piled up in my big chair and had my own pity party, with my knitting.

I’ve been on a “market bag” kick lately. I found a pattern on Ravelry for a knitted market bag, and decided to give it a try.  I wasn’t crazy about how the pattern was written, but when I try something new, I usually knit it once actually following the instructions before I change things and do it my own way. There was no gauge – it’s a market bag! who needs gauge, right? So I put together the needles in the suggested size (I LOVE my Knit Picks Harmony Wood needle set!) and knit away until I had the bag part finished.

It was enormous! Beware of patterns with no gauge! It was so big around and so deep that if I had actually filled it up with vegetables of any substance, I would have thrown my shoulder out carrying it! Honestly the picture (below) doesn’t do it justice!

So I ripped it out. Actually, more accurately, I ripped it back so that instead of the middle section being 11″ long, it was only about 8″ long. Then I knit the bottom part again. I also decided to go from 1 handle to 2 in my favorite length (so they have an 11″ drop).

I haven’t washed it yet, which should fluff it up and shrink it a bit (at least until I get veggies in it and stretch it back out), but other than that, it’s done.  I like it, and after all, it’s for me!  Here are the pictures (original size and smaller size).  Plan for next time: use smaller needles so it doesn’t come out quite so big, or quite so holey.

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All the fiber and a great bunch of fiber people came out to play on Memorial Day Saturday at FancyFibers! With an eye Skirting Tabletoward offering everyone an opportunity to play with fiber in multiple ways, we set up a Seating areaspinning and knitting area inside, a sit and visit area outside under the tent, put up the skirting table and drum carder, and set up the dye paraphenalia. We were ready for anything and it was a good thing!


 Nell AnnSpinners and knitters got comfortable in the living room and swapped introductions and stories. Nell Ann put us all to shame by effortlessly spinning 100% angora  yarn from Carter’s beautiful fur.  Her first time spinning angora!  

Peggy brought her bead knitting. She’s making a beautiful little purse. Honestly, I don’t know how Peggyshe even sees what she’s doing!



Sue and MichelleThere was more knitting…

                                                                                         And more spinning …Liz, May, and Nell Ann

  Ken grilled hot dogs and gave garden and chicken  tours …KenCathy and Maxine

While over at the drum carder, Cathy and Maxine were creating beautiful batts of fiber and sparkley angelina!

Amber had brought an alpaca fleece that we skirted and then walked over to the prep sink for a good wash and rinse.

Of course, everyone toured the bunny barn. Christine of Spinning Straw Into Gold gave the two Satins I bought from Spinolution Bee Wheelher a good once over while I nervously awaited her judgment. She was satisfied with their care and development, so I passed inspection! Whew! It’s can be nerve-wracking having more experienced rabbit breeders come visit! 

Christine also brought her SpinOlution Bee travel wheel with her.  I drooled – I’ll admit it! This wheel is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and folds into a very compact package weighing only 13 pounds! Christine is the Texas dealer for these wheels. Give her a call or send her an e-mail to find out more!

Although no one took me up on my offer to dye, there was plenty of  fiber fun!   If you don’t already get our newsletter, sign up to find out when we’re going to do it again this summer at the new place (with the addition of alpacas and goats!)  in Farmersville!  See you then!

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I finally found an app for my iPhone that I might actually use! Okay, the Facebook and Twitter apps are handy for when I’m not near the computer. But most everything else I downloaded (for free, thankfully), I’ve never used! In fact, just browsing the App Store gives me a headache. There’s too much there! And most of it is pretty useless to me.

But this…. this …. NOW you’re talking my language! check it out: http://www.knitbuddy.com/

If you find you can’t live without it, it’s only $4.99. The link from the website will send you directly to where you can purchase the app via iTunes, so you don’t have to search the App Store.

Need some moral and technical support once you get it? Join the Ravelry group by the same name. After all, we’re all in this together!

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It was a beautiful day today, a beautiful day for baseball and for shopping! Technically, we were in Bradenton today, not in Sarasota. Bradenton is the next suburb over (north) from Sarasota. That’s where Ken’s baseball game was today and, as things turned out, where I spent the day as well!

After dropping Ken off at the baseball stadium, I headed for the 1st of 4 yarn shops on my list. Why go to the local yarn shop, you ask? First, St. Petersburg, Florida, is the home of Prism yarns, so I was hoping to find some at a reduced price here in Florida. Second, you just never know as you travel around the country what you will see that you haven’t seen before. Just as clothing stores stock different items in different states, so do yarn stores stock what is appropriate for their customers. Third, one can never have too much yarn, even if it means you have to ship it home, which I have done on more than one occasion!

I never made it to yarn stores 2, 3, or 4, because I hit pay dirt big time at my first stop. A Yarn Outlet is a new store to the Brandenton area, at only 4 months old, but it is the place to be if you want beautiful yarn at great prices! Owners Jimmy and Debbie Petti have turned a small house with enclosed porch into a heart-stopping yarn paradise. They carry all the latest and greatest yarns (yes, I found some Prism there, as well as Cherry Tree Hill, ArtYarns, and other hand painted delights), as well as tried-and-true classics (Encore, Cascade 220, etc.) Not only are all of their yarns priced at below normal retail price, but they have a clearance room containing both name-brand, nice yarns and patterns. No junky old stuff here!

Of course, tucked in around the yarns are all the usually notions and needles, as well as beautiful Lantern Moon goodies, hand-made scarf pins and more. I was there 3 hours trying to make up my mind; had I not had to pick up Ken after the baseball game, I would have sat on the sofa out on the porch and knitted until they kicked me out! Thank you, Jimmy, for making me feel at home! Don’t let the fact that Jimmy runs a fence business from this same lot fool you; if Debbie isn’t around, Jimmy can tell you all about the yarn!

Once I had collected Ken and we had a bite to dinner, it was back to the hotel where he picked up a book and I picked up my needle and new yarn. When the light is better, I’ll take some pictures!

Tomorrow, we go home. We’re both ready. This is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here!

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