Someone Else Did All The Work..Our Fiber!

I had to share the photo I received from one of our customers. She had purchased this Alpaca yarn from us and made these gloriously warm mittens.

Don’t ya just love it when you have the opportunity to see the end result of a yarn that you’ve produced! With all of the snow and cold weather they are calling for here this weekend..these will be a welcome addition to her winter wardrobe.

I’m out of here to go buy bread & milk, cinder blocks, a clothes dyer heating element, drain cleaner and a zillion other things. Also, delivering an emergency order of soap to Gather and making a trip to the bank..jingle all the way!!

Participating in Fiber Arts Friday.

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Successes

I’m sitting here looking out the window at yet another rainy day thinking how wonderful it would be if it would rain like this in the Spring and Summer when crops are in the ground, or better yet..why isn’t it snow? Today is my birthday and over the last 53 years, it has actually snowed twice on November 23, in Virginia, maybe more but I can only remember twice. It’s been a good day. I won a contest so I’m receiving an Italian Stitch Dictionary which will be so cool. It looks like I might be doing some freelance writing but I don’t want to jinx this one by saying any more. I had to run errands so I took myself to a “to me from me because I love me” lunch (an only child will get this one first!) and I’ve spent some more time working on the website..all in all, it’s been a very good day!

The title of this post is Successes. Basically, I wanted to share with everyone how my last two events went. Last Thursday, I did a “Ladies Night Out” event hosted by Ashwood Gardens. It wasn’t super great but we did OK. Yesterday (Sunday) we did a private Holiday Open House and it was great as usual. Sales were down considerably but it was wonderful to see my once a year friends and spend time enjoying the fellowship that comes from being part of this community.

With me, success is not always about the dollars and cents earned in our business but the people that have become part of our extended farm family (wish I could put a shovel in their hands and introduce them to “mucking”). We have friends that are genuinely interested in what we do here at the farm. They enjoy the stories and share in our good times and sad times. Some of them love our works and our products, some of them are just friends that give us the emotional support. A lot of people don’t get it, they don’t realize that when they see us standing at a table full of soaps, lotions and the many handmade items, what goes into what they see. The ones that do are not only customers but friends. They want to buy from us, they want to be a part, in some small way, of what we are doing. Once that level has been accomplished..success is measured. Make no mistake about it..we brought in the bucks too but luckily we brought in so much more.

On a very sad note. One of our wholesale customers is Grayhaven Winery in Gum Spring, Virginia. Max and Dion are wonderful people and the whole family is actively involved in the Winery..including their dogs. “Mona”, one of their little “Frenchies”, who has been a member of their welcoming committee and over all good will agent, was run over by a truck yesterday and killed. Our hearts are broken for them and wish them love and hugs during what will be some hard days. Cheers little Mona!

Just Chatting!

Every year with the excitement of getting ready for events, we are always met with some of the same questions and logistics problems while preparing. It seems like each year the truck gets smaller! We never can quite get all of the necessary display stuff, products and the handtruck in at the same time. I honestly don’t know where all of this stuff comes from (could it be that I’m working my butt off making it?)..it seems to grow over night. Luckily, most of the events that we do are local, so we can drop off and run back to the farm to pick up more if need be. Did I happen to mention, everything seems to get heavier too? I know, I know, goats milk soap and lotion are heavy but fiber arts aren’t, unless I’m carrying a sheep!  This getting older thing is definitely not for whimps!

This year, to make matters a little more tedious, my Mother is ill and has been in and out of the hospital. Being an only child seems to make it a little worse on me because I have no one to share responsibilities with, so I am spending a lot of time looking through the windshield. I am thankful that she only lives about an hour from here. She is at home now and I am recruiting her to help out with the packaging process. I though her helping might make her start to feel a bit better and I think I’m right. She normally works 8 hours a day 5 days a week and the really cool part about this..she’s 76! So being at home or in the hospital sick just about drives her crazy (and takes me right along with her!). I am hoping that this time, after almost 12 months of ups and downs, the Doctor’s have finally gotten it right.

So if you see or hear little from me over the next month you’ll know that I am running the roads, making product like crazy, taking care of Mom and doing events. If you’re driving down the road and happen to see a black F-150 that looks like it should be included in a “Pluggers” comic, blow your horn and say hi!

If you’re local, think about coming out and seeing us at some of the Events we have coming up..would love to see you! Check out the Events Page to see what’s happening between now and Christmas.

Cheers All!

Truly Sheep To Shawl

We have several sheep that are a very light shade of gray and I love to over-dye gray wool, so I found a pattern for a shawl that I really liked (wish I could share the pattern with you but I can’t seem to find it!) and decided that I would do an honest to goodness “Sheep To Shawl” project. Armed with 3 pounds of fleece from our sheep Ivy, I set out to find the perfect color..ta da! It was Landscape’s Salmon. I dyed the entire fleece and I fell in love. The spinning process was rather lengthy because I only have time to work on my own projects when I’m not spinning for an ordered or making goats milk soaps and lotions. It took almost six months to finish spinning the yarn..once the singles were done, I had to ply all of it..another month!

Finally, after setting the twist I was ready to start knitting. It took almost a month to complete the knitting process but I have to say, I am very pleased with the result. The next step was to add the fringe and these really cool hand painted wooden beads that I found at a vintage clothing store.

Now that it’s done, I’ve decided that it really isn’t a personal project after all and have made it my feature garment of 2009 to sell as a Christmas gift and unveiled her at the Fall Festival last weekend. I had a couple of skeins of yarn left over, thinking that someone might want to make a hat or mitts to go with it. The first person that walked up to our table bought the yarn to use for a lacy border on a blanket she had just finished knitting. The shawl did not sell but it probably will before the end of the Holiday season.

Here are a couple of photos that I’d like to share.

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Participating in Fiber Arts Friday..click on the link and join in.

Ahhh! The Weekend

Next week I will be participating in a 2 day Open House and a Harvest Festival. This time of year I like to have items other than our goats milk soaps, lotions and socks. So any yarn that hasn’t sold during the year I use to make items to sell at events like these coming up. This year I have very little yarn left over..so, it’s going to be a hats season. This box of yarn is representative of what will become those hats.

Future Hats!

Future Hats!

Several of the skeins left over are handspun and include a little mohair and silk in the blending. The others are mill spun skeins left over from the CSA shares from last year and are all wool. All of the yarn is handpainted by me and I think the colors have turned out pretty nice this year.

Remember, today is Fiber Arts Friday, so click this link and join in:

http://www.alpacafarmgirl.com/2009/10/fiber-arts-friday-using-a-drum-carder-video/comment-page-1/#co

As you can see I have added an Events tab to my Blog. Over the weekend I will be adding events, so check back often to find out where we will be and when.