Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Shearing at JMF

What a BEAUTIFUL Fall day!  Fall Shearing at Juniper Moon Farm is always more low key then Spring Shearing.  For one thing only the goats (and this year the colored sheep) are sheared, as they are clipped twice a year.  Also, this year, Susie has been travelling all over the USA promoting her new yarn line with the Juniper Moon Label.  (It is FANTASTIC stuff!  Ask for it at your local yarn shop.)   Attendance by JMF "aunties" (as the Farm Groupies are can meet us on Ravalry) is lower and it just feels like a family get together. Family that you sometimes have never had the opportunity to meet In Real Life!!   Instead of tents Susie set up her Farm store in the garage, with a space for my table of JMF pottery. (Available also on her website here.) She had honey from her own bees this year too!

There was FRESH pressed cider from the Farm's new cider press and popcorn.  Lunch was potluck as usual. An amazingly relaxed and uneventful day!   Here are a few pictures....

Charlie.  Or maybe it's Churchill???

Before shearing.....

The amazing Emily.....(she's actually been judged as one of the best shearers in the country.)

After the haircut.  It's amazing how dark the colored sheep fleeces are.  The tips bleach out in the sun, so it's easy to forget how chocolatey brown they really are!

Greg with my JMF pottery....wouldn't be a show without him.

Jerry the llama makes a friend.

LOT'S of chickens.  They were all just little peepees at Spring Shearing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dye Day

So in the midst of the pottery, the shows and the Weaving Guild here in Charlottesville had a dye day!  I do love dyeing but rarely do it by myself.  It is just so much more fun with a group.  Maybe it's all the knowledge shared or maybe it's just because some things have to simmer for quite awhile for good color and its nice to have someone to jabber with while I wait!

It was a glorious Fall day. Joanie, the current president of the Guild, had us out to her farm to set up. An AMAZING place. A big beautiful old house with gorgeous grounds. And animals!

Lot's of hard work.....

.....and waiting and talking...
Leads to beautiful results!!
Both these skeins were OVERDYED, meaning dyed in another color and dyed again, with indigo.  Unfortunately I don't know what the first color was (yellow for sure on the right, so maybe goldenrod or annato....)  But what fantastic results!

I prepared for the day by measuring out a warp of alpaca in sections to be dyed in different colors.  This will become a scarf.

From left to right: 
 Walnut, indigo, tumeric, hibiscus overdyed with a weak indigo, and annato.

My colors did not turn out as vivid as some. But natural dyes can be amazingly bright.

While at Fall Fiber Festival I managed to slip away to peek at some of the other vendors. When I saw the glorious colors of Black Twig Farm I was amazed! And knew I had to make a purchase. Generally I try to avoid buying yarn (since I spin and don't knit much!) unless I plan on weaving with it. But I couldn't walk away from her beautiful examples without taking some home with me.

These yarns are mill spun of Churro, a navajo sheep raised on Rachel's farm outside Crozet, right here in Virginia!

The colors were created with natural elements with a "mordant" added to modify the color:
From left to right
cochineal (a dried beetle that is ground up) with tin, coreopsis with tin, osage orange with alum, madder root with alum and black walnut with iron

Back home I have 25 bookmarks on my loom!  Nearly half way finished.

(Blogger is driving me CRAZY today.  Pictures everywhere, that frame line showing up where I dont' want it.  This post took WAY more time then it should have. GRRRRRRRRR.)

This weekend it's Shearing at Juniper Moon Farm and Greg will be home for 5 days!

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's all about the shows.....

I can't believe we are already half way through October.  OCTOBER.  Fall is truly here.  The rains continue, the leaves are turning and the breezes have brought us those chilly nights I love so much.  Along with October comes a restocked Etsy Shop, Fall Fiber Festival, the Fredericksburg Spinners and Weavers Guild's "Stitch In", the start to Greg's new job and Fall Shearing at Juniper Moon Farm.

Greg armed with The Square ready for big sales!

Fall Fiber Festival was a great success!  Despite the week of rain, the crew managed to find enough dry land to set up the tents, no one got stuck in the mud and sales were GREAT.  Last year was the first year that the board accepted pottery vendors to the mix.  I jumped at the chance to be part of a festival that I have attended for YEARS and was so happy to be accepted.  The festival is ALWAYS well attended.  It is a date reserved a year in advance by most every fiberista in Virginia and the plan is nearly always to SHOP.

The weather cooperated, being cool and a bit breezy Saturday and, well, overcast on Sunday but NO RAIN.  To make the weekend even better my friend April came up from NC to lend a hand.  So with Greg taking money and April helping me set up I had lots of time to talk with customers.  It was an awesome weekend.  As I said, sales were great (even sold several of my woven towels) and I picked up a couple of easy commissions (more of what I already do) and some wholesale opportunities.  VERY satisfying.  I tell ya.  Fiber people are just the friendliest bunch.

The following Saturday I packed up the truck and drove to Fredericksburg for the FSWG Stitch In event being held at  LibertyTown Arts Workshop (my alma mater!).  This was a charity knitting and crocheting event.  Well attended the goal of the day was to promote charitable knitting (and crocheting) for the homeless, hospital patients and others.  There were demos, short classes and donated yarn and needles to get you started.  A small group of us agreed to be vendors.


If I'm not going to knit with it I may as well sell my handspun so someone else can!

Baskets of donated yarns!

Nekkid bears waiting for clothes....

All dressed and ready for policemen to give to kids...
My friend Lisa from Maranatha Alpaca Farm

I rushed home Saturday to get home before dark and to help Greg pack up for his move to Fredericksburg on Sunday.  Ya'll will be glad to know that he is tucked into his temporay place and has since finished his first very busy week of work.  He's happy!  BUT this apart stuff is not too fun.

My sights are now set on the list of things that must be accomplished here at the house in C'ville to ready it for sale in the Spring.  Painting, (I put up a new light fixture today!) a kitchen update, bathroom heat....with time for throwing pots in between. 

 I have decided to take a studio at LibertyTown again starting in November.  This will hold my largest loom and lots of pots!  I plan on continuing to throw in a home studio.  I love the control of my time and the kiln.  And by spending time at LT I will still have access to tons of creative energy.  Greg will move into a small rental house in November that allows dogs so Layla the wonder dog and I will be spending some time each week in The Burg starting in November.  It will take some planning to balance my time between my pottery studio at the house in C'ville, and Greg and LT in Fredericksburg.

Here's hoping for a quick sale of the house in the Spring.....