Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 23 Farm’

Some may be substituting knitting needles for their wintered garden tools, but I never quit knitting over the summer—although it was a challenge in the 90 plus degree heat we had.  From grubbing in the garden, to picking up my needles, the summer was wonderful.  Now the garden has retired, and the needles are clicking overtime.

Along with a precious Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Dylan, the above photo features a fresh-off-the-needles shrug which incorporates a pattern I created with easy lace stitches and beautiful yarn which I spun from a blend of three gorgeous rovings. The fibers are shetland and mohair, dyed and combed with a touch of glitz by Laura Matthews at Psalm 23 Farm, near Kiel, Wisconsin. 

The embryo stage of the shrug and a closeup of the yarn are pictured below:

It appears (and actually is true!) that my very favorite fashion statements begin with an “S”—Shrugs, Scarves, and Shawls.  I’m currently doing a potato chip scarf for a friend who loves a combination of blues and greens.  (I also love those analogous colors—actually, most any combination of colors—analogous or complementary.) 

Awhile back, I posted the next photo to illustrate how I now put a button hole and funky button in all scarves and shawls—so they don’t slide off shoulders and onto the floor (which I’ve always found to be very annoying):

Since anything to do with knitting produces a lot of hits on this blog, I have the audacity to post fiber photos again!  I think there are three re-runs on this entry!

Finally, here’s a sample of a button hole/plus button in a shawl.  The button hole discovery (so easy to do!) is turning shawls and scarves into comfortable, practical, and wearable delights—at least one for every color chord in my closet!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

NOTE:  Here is the potato chip pattern, courtesy of Ravelry’s free downloads:

Any size needles and any size yarn.  Any number of cast on stitches.  I’ll give the minimun, although I tend to include extra stitches at the ends, and decrease around the neck as the flare is becoming to most of us.  I like #7 or #8 (US) needles. My handspun tends to be quite fine, between sock and DK.  (Worsted is way too bulky for my taste, and I only use it for children’s outdoor wraps.)

I knit the Potato Chip in garter stitch, but that can be varied.  Some prefer the look of stockinette in this case.  Patterns would not show up very well, but they could fly if so desired.

Cast on 20.  Knit across row before beginning the curls, to stabilize the work.

Row 1:  Knit 8, Turn; Knit Back to Beginning;  Knit 6/Turn/Knit Back; Knit 4/Turn/Knit Back; Knit across entire row.

Row 2:  Same as Row 1, only from other side.

Knit the two rows (each one containing 3 short rows and 1 full row) back and forth, for as long as you like. 

End with 1 row of straight knitting to stabilize the other end.

For a button-hole and button scarf, I position the button hole a few inches from the bottom edge on what will be the right side of the scarf.  It’s fun and funky to make the left side longer than the right. 

Decrease however many stitches needed for the size button you have selected, and increase those stitches back on the needle on your return trip.  To employ a couple of silly clichés, a button hole is easier than falling off a log and the greatest thing since sliced bread!!!  🙂

Things to remember: 

1)  The curl doesn’t appear immediately; it takes from 15 to 20-ish rows to begin to discern a potato chip, as that many increases on the edges are needed for the waves to set in. 

2)  There will be tiny holes in your work, due to your turns and knitbacks.  At first this nearly drove me nuts, until I realized that the holes are uniform in their repeating sequences of 8/6/4—consequently a pattern is created by them.  So I got over it!

Enjoy your potato chips.  I guarantee you won’t be able to stop at only one scarf!

Read Full Post »

What a joy, to sit outdoors and spin in the September sunshine!  Just as wonderful as spinning by our (electric) fireplace, on a bitter cold winter day.  It’s a joy to spin, anywhere at anytime!

Our gardens made it through the drought, and are still blessing us with roses (blooming for the third time around this summer), foxgloves, hydrangeas, black-eyed Susans, echinacea, hostas, dahlias, and those ubiquitous and gorgeous ever-blooming snapdragons.  I spin to the ambience of a fresh and colorful garden—replete with the blended fragrance of herbs which thrived in the hot, dry summer:  lavender, mint, lemon thyme, sweet basil, oregano, sage, chives, and garlic chives.

I spin to the chirping of birds and the scuttling of chipmunks—one of whom pauses to watch me sometimes.  (That must be the little fellow who let me stroke his silky back a few weeks ago.)

I spin!  Now I have the most amazing source of dyed roving, ready to spin:  Psalm 23 Farm, near Kiel, Wisconsin.  The farm belongs to a family from England.  One of the daughters, Laura, is in charge of the sheep and wool—and this young lady is an absolute artist at dying and blending colors.  With Laura’s (pictured above) combination of Shetland wool and mohair (hair from Angora goats) I’m currently spinning the most incredibly beautiful yarn I’ve ever made in all of my thirty-two years of hand spinning on my trusty wheels.

As I spin, people walk by on our condo community sidewalk—or on the park path just up and over the berm.  Occasionally someone will pause and wonder what I am doing.  One woman walked by yesterday, turned around to take a second glance, and smiled.  She said, “My mother used to do that!”

More often, though, the walkers pass by in their “ingrown toenail world” created by cell phones, a Blackberry®, or whatever.  I hear the pedestrians talking, and I see them texting. 

Others jog past me, buffeting their bodies—with their hands cupped in front of them, exactly the way groundhogs wear their paws.  These hardy individuals look sweaty and miserable.  I have never seen a jogger who looked happy, and I always wonder:  do they hear the birds, and observe the awesome cloud formations in the sky?  Do they even notice the subtle seasonal changes?  Do they realize we are now in that poignant, bittersweet month of September—experiencing the dying gasp of summer? 

Normally the talkers, texters, and joggers fail to notice a contented old woman sitting on her doorstep—a living anachronism.  But I’m not sitting and spinning in order to “be noticed”.  I’m sitting and spinning in celebration of an abundant, hands-on life.  The yarn is growing on my bobbins, and turning into a sweater on my knitting needles.  What a joy!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

NOTE:  Years ago, when Joe and I toured the back roads of Scotland, I expected to see spinning wheels everywhere.  Indeed there were sheep everywhere, but the absence of spinners was a shock to me! 

Then we stopped near Perth, to visit the factory which produced the spinning wheels I was selling in my home fiber arts business.  The owner of the factory treated us to tea and biscuits (cookies in our language). 

Over the refreshments, I asked him if there were any spinners left in Scotland.  He explained that, although traditional fiber artists were still spinning in touristy places like the Orkney and Shetland Islands, for the main part women in Scotland were too close to memories of abject poverty.   Most of the spinning wheels produced in his factory were sold to America and Australia.

For centuries, the fiber arts filled a need for survival rather than a penchant for pleasure.   A sobering thought!  How blessed we are in America to have the freedom, leisure time, and prosperity to live a hands-on life by choice!

Read Full Post »