Sunday, December 31, 2006

Now really, a PENGUIN on the FARM???

Yep, you heard right! A penguin really DID land here! ha! I got a deal on this little used wheel that is actually named a 'Penguin' spinning wheel, manufactured by Prairie's End Wood Crafts of Katy, Texas - how about THAT??

I love to spin on my old 'kick' spindle (left) but it takes some finagling and oomph--and patience which I don't always have lots of....

I have always wanted a Taos wheel so I could pedal AND spin from the quill--just like the old walking wheels, but better! Cost has kept me from justifying that one but this little Penguin is just the best!

Great for spinning bulky OR fine yarns--AND those great novelty yarns that have fun 'stuff' spun in that is too large to fit through the openings on my other wheels....

I see many fun afternoons spinning wool out with the sheep thanks to the light weight and snazzy carry handle on this wheel! Can't wait!

Gees, can you believe shearing is getting SO close?? Have to call our wonderful shearer to set up hair cuts for the poopsies in March! Bwwaaaaaa hahahahahahaha! Happy New Year everyone and thank you Frank and Claire for the Christmas Penguin!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Chale Bleu - the tale of the blues shawl!

Been a weird fall season around here, lots going on around us that led to a few 'blue days' believe it or not.... Hard to have those with all these smiley sheep around here but did manage to eke out a few! During one of those days, got the sweetest cheer up packages and holiday gifts from my good friends--some who did not even know I had the blues!

All the fiber I received had shades of blue--a variety of fibers that I plyed with beads, french novelty yarn and more!-- so I took a day to myself and spun them ALL! AND, amazingly, kept most for me myself and I! Never do that! The yarns include fiber from my good friend Carolyn, Lexi, James and Laurie--all dear people!

So, what is the plan you ask? I have a currently empty triangle loom that is begging for another weaving project! SO, the saga began with a few blue days, moved to a great day of spinning yarn that is amazing and beautiful (stories and friends involved long distance) and now, on to a beautiful crazy quilt style shawl--will post more pictures as the weaving progresses--promise! Never know what will come from a few blue days right?

We are having very weirdo wimpy winter weather here in WI but the sheep are enjoying being able to camp out at night-- they have sprouted some gorgeous wool and I can't believe shearing is technically right around the corner!! Hope all is well and will post tomorrow about my new spinning wheel--yes, another one!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fleece on Earth!

As I sit here wondering where the heck another year has gone in my life, I can't help but feel blessed with our life and all of you who are part of it! We have made friends through our web business we never would have found--even though we may never see many of you face to face--and all of you are SO important to us--and the sheep!!

We hope all of you can look back at your year and see the good you have done for those around you, AND the great opportunities waiting for you in the new year ahead.

May all your holidays be merry, spent with those you love--and of course a little woolie!!!! Happy holidays from the Homestead..... (and thank you to my sister Jenny's dog Mason and our not so little any more Cosmo for modeling for this post!!) Cheers!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It really is true--my little Southdowns CAN run!!

Trevor & Brinley are our little sweet pea Baby Doll Southdown twins. They are beyond cute (mainly the reason they are here!) and I just adore their smiley faces! They are always sure to cheer you up if you are having a blue day.....

These are their lamb pictures, they have not changed or grown much, just more muscled and round! This breed of sheep is popular in Europe. They are turned loose in the vinyards and orchards to keep weeds and brush trimmed--they are not tall enough to reach the fruit so are a perfect combination for clean areas. They also LOVE to eat windfall apples and fruit--we have several apple trees in the pasture they are in and they are always checking to see if one may have fallen when they were not watching.

We have to giggle at them, they are the most laid back sheep ever, very sleepy, sedate and thoughtful of what they should do next. They like to lay about and nap, and their short little stout legs do not like to move fast! They also have a funny habit of sitting on their hinders like dogs before they get up--almost like they have to be sure the effort is worth it!

We always joke that they never run but yesterday, they proved us wrong--I saw them both, with my own eyes galloping about and chasing the other sheep around the old pig barn..... Way too funny--they don't go fast but they get where they are going--gotta like that!

Hope you all are having happy holidays, watch for new posts of roving, yarn and fiber coming soon!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Charkas For Africa!

Our friends Reenie and Angela at are busy raising money for a wonderful cause--if you have something to donate, please get involved! The funds raised by sales and donations will provide charkha spinning wheels and hand carders for women trying to better their family's lives through their beautiful weaving and fiber art. We will be adding a donation of yarn and spinning fiber from the Homestead shortly-- can you help a great cause?? Too fun how the web can get us all in touch across the world-- check for lots more info!

Also, don't forget to send your handspun yarn AND finished item pictures and website links to it is a beyond fun way to show case your fiber art with a fun bunch of people from all over the world! The Scharfs are doing a great job building a site that will be a fun visit for anyone interested in fiber art! More soon! Happy Holidays from the sheep!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Way too fun-Lash Yarn on the Loose!

My good friend Karen is a knitting whiz--no patterns, she just sits down and knits what she sees in her mind! Just beyond amazing. She shared this picture of her shop window, complete with a hooded, floor length cape created completely with our handspun wool lash yarn! The cardigan next to the cape is trimmed out at the collar and sleeves with the same yarn..... Way too fun and thank you for sharing the picture Karen!

As you may have noticed, we have had some issues with our fiber art gallery page on the site so it is only showing the smaller thumbnail pictures now. We had a computer melt down that 'ate' lots of our info, one of them the larger pictures. SO, if you can, please be sure to send us pictures so we can update the gallery page! We love showing off your creations! Happy holidays all!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Have you seen the new Spin Off???? News news!

We have more congrats to send to our friends Graham & Margaret Phillipson!!!! The most recent Spin Off magazine is hot off the press featuring an article about Cheviot sheep--complete with pictures of Graham & Margaret's North Country Cheviots, their working Border Collie Jimmy and a few Scottish Black Face sheep too!!

The NCC wool is definitely a favorite of mine and everyone who has tried it so far has had great feedback to report. We have Graham & Margaret's fleeces available on our website so be sure to try them out--we purchase them every spring and they generally do not last long!

Pictured today are several members of our own flock that have made their way here from G & M! left-to right-Frasier, a sassy British Suffolk cross; Brenden, a curly Blue Face Leicester cross; Casey, a beautiful North Country Cheviot girl; and Jim's little Devlyn, a Scottish Black Face lamb!

There is a lot that makes the G&M sheep so special--including Scottish genetics from Europe, acres and acres of pasture and lots of special care.

I hear tell a future issue will feature the Scottish Black Face wool (and more Littledale sheep!), another favorite wool that is much more diverse than many think! We will keep you posted--for more about Graham and Margaret and their beautiful sheep, visit them at !

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving--Socrates style?

Happy Thanksgiving all! Today I am grateful for many things, including our family, sheepy family, our wonderful customers and friends. However, the greatest gift I could have received is actually living in my little laundry room ICU.

Some of you may have heard that we have been fighting to keep Socrates (our 6 month old Wensleydale lamb) from leaving us for 'greener pastures'. He has a unique dental problem that involved some tricky dental repairs by our very talented Vets Ray Pawlisch and Jason Mertens--and lots of tears and hope by us that we were actually doing the right thing for Socs.

I was not sure last night that we had done right by putting him through a surgery of sorts and expecting him to come out of it eating with his funky teeth--things were not looking bright at all for Socs. However, I got up again at 2 this morning to check on him, and the best sight greeted me ever! Socs had pulled his bag of Sun Chips off the shelf and stomped a bunch into his carpeting, tipped and played in his food AND was working on tipping his water bowl! Woohoo--very typical lamb behavior the little imp! He has finally decided that Quaker Oats are his 'thing' that he can eat lots of with out having trouble chewing.

This Thanksgiving day, we are hoping he has turned the corner and is going to be with us a long long time--what more could we ever ask to be thankful for?! Right now he is looking back at me like, 'hey, what's the big deal???'

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Welcome Old Stage Alpacas!!

We are so happy to be able to sell some great Alpaca fiber for our good friend Jen! She has a wonderful place and spends her time with her purchased and rescued Alpacas! They have acres and acres to romp happily and are now safely home....

All the proceeds from the sale of the fiber will go directly to the flock's care. We will be offering colored Suri and Huacaya fleeces that range from no debris all the way to some that may need some extra work--they are all stunning! If you are searching for a specific color, please email, we have lots here to tempt you with!!

There are already several fleeces added to the site today so have a look! Her prices are very reasonable! Hope you all checked out the yarn museum? Lots of great categories to submit pictures for--including finished items!!! More soon!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Check out the Yarn Museum!!!

There is a great new opportunity for fiber artists to showcase their unique fiber art!! You can visit the museum at . Way too cool and the site just went live yesterday so be sure to keep checking back-the site will be including more and more all the time! Visit to see how to submit your artwork and be part of a very fun project that revels in the fiber/spinning experience!!!

We are also excited to be part of a new section of the hands on exhibits at Mt. Vernon! Some of our wool will soon become part of the handspinning activities at the museum that will allow people to card the wool, then learn to spin it on a drop spindle. I hear the kids love it lots! If you are in the area, be sure to stop in and visit--here is their website: --the sheep are SO excited!!

Be sure to keep an eye on our site for lots of fun gift items from 3 Chic Knits! More to follow--happy day to all!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Marshall Fields Display Sheep!

We recently received a sweet, wonderful gift from friends of my parents! This little family of sheep is one of only two sets of sheep created in Germany for a 1970's Marshall Fields holiday window display. Nobody knows what happened to the other set so this is the one and only as far as we know! Too cool! The wool is actually sewn onto fabric, then was added to the wooden bodies of the sheep--papa, mama and baby. Too cute! We plan to put them to 'work' modeling hats, scarves and shawls--specially since our family of sheep highly objected to the modeling and would not cooperate! Silly sheep! Watch for their pictures on the 3 Chic Knit page! Lots of new yarn heading for the site again this week, and some new dyed mohair fiber. Planning a day of wool sorting tomorrow so keep a good eye out! More soon!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

New yarns posted!!! Fiber to follow!

Had some fun this past week plying some funky yarn! Both are available on the website, along with some other great choices--including our single ply Crazy Quilt yarns! The flowered yarn is a blend of our Treasure's Border Leicester wool, during carding Shari added white Scottish Black Face from our friend's flock, and some dyed orange Cotswold wool. Spun it into singles, then plyed it with a matching thread hand strung with lime green glass beads and pretty pansy flowers to top it all off! The second yarn is mystery wool that I spun, then plyed with a strand of wool yarn hand strung with seashells, seahorses, star fish, sand dollarsa and oh, of course sea colored glass beads! Too much fun! We will be posting dyed fibers and rovings this weekend so keep an eye out. The sheep are enjoying the cooler weather and we are expecting a light snow tonight--yee ha!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pigs in the pumpkin patch????!!

Oh my! Not really though! Peanut (pictured) and his friend Pal are our Pot Belly Piglets. They spend their time mowing lawn for us around the house and lawn--do a better job than a mower! Ross snapped this picture of Peanut sunning the other day when the temperatures were just right for a pretty fall day.... Taking a break with our Miss Libby the Border Collie keeping faithful watch for any movement that might require her expert herding abilities (?)! Actually, she keeps a very respectable distance from the piglets, Peanut is definitely king of the yard! He doesn't tolerate silliness like herding.....
We are keeping an eye on our Abrianna sheep, she was very old, missing her front teeth and in rough shape when we took her in this Spring. She has taken a turn of sorts lately in the colder weather but this morning, she was looking pretty spry and begging to go outside. NOT going to happen today, it is windy and cool so she is on strict 'hospital' orders to stay inside, warm and EAT! Hibernate-ha!
Our sheep on the farm sign has more than the moon to jump right now! Jim grew pumpkins so gigantic in his garden we almost had to use a wheelbarrow to move them! Too fun and looks very 'decorated'!
We will be posting new yarn, fiber and wool this weekend so keep an eye out-- been a little behind on work these days so trying to catch up. Just great cooler weather for visiting sheep and being outside getting them ready for colder days. Sun for naps and cool enough that the sheep can sleep outside comfortably so they are not too warm with all the wool they have sprouted this past month. Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Spin To Knit!!

Have you seen it yet? The new Interweave Press book called Spin To Knit by Shannon Okey features lots of our friends --and a very nice mention of our farm! Thank you Holly, a long time friend of the site who is also featured- and was kind enough to include us in her bio!! You can find Holly at - she is a very talented artist and fiber artist!

The most fun I found about this book is that it features handspun not only as a yarn for an entire project, but also for embellishment. It is a great way to add texture and individuality to your projects with out having to decide on a single yarn for each project. This is great when planning a large project too.

We are working on a bit of an update to the website so keep an eye out--hoping to have it 'live' early this coming week! Happy Fall!!!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Introducing our new yarn!!!!

Today we are so happy to announce a new yarn you can find on our website! This is our FRANKEN YARN - Bwaaahaaaahaaahaa! It is the combined spinning soul of two good friends-- one being yours truly (a truly sassy spinner) and the other my friend James (aka Dr. Franken Fiber as he is known for his wonderfully cool batts!)--who lives so far away in Virginia! We each spin up a fun ply of yarn, then send it to the other to be completed with another ply of our own choosing and fun. It is so fun to get the yarn in the mail to see what he has done with it-- and then of course we each keep half to knit, weave or sell. A long distance spin-in of sorts!

This is not a new idea, actually I think the first people I saw doing this were our friends Angela and Reenie of with their Ying & Yang yarns.... Thanks for a great idea you two!

We will also be offering new yarn called Peas in a Pod yarn, created by me and my good friend Carolyn of Michigan. I am on the hot seat with this offering as Carolyn's single ply is sitting here waiting for me to decide what to spin with it! Watch for more yarns as we get them spun up!

Hope you are enjoying some nice fall weather--it is great weather for sheep!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hooray for healthy (finally) Goaties!!!

Here we have our beautiful older goaties, Shimmer (right) and Magpie (left). They arrived here at our farm two years ago in horrible condition, absolutely crawling with bugs, very under weight and their age was not working 'for' them.... Their owner of 8 years was told that their fiber was no good any more (??) and she just dumped them. They are now 11, before they got to us, Shimmer was left on her own to fight pneumonia in the middle of winter, she did make it (no thanks to any outside intervention) but did lose her right ear to frost bite. A sad sad story HOWEVER, we sheared them last week and we are so happy to say they are now at the most healthy we think they can be!!!! Hooray! Two years it took but they are definitely worth every second....

A lot of fussing went into getting them healthy, they are fortunate to have their front teeth, which helps them maintain weight easier, Shimmer is the one I wish would gain just a few more pounds before winter but with her arthritis, it would probably be just as fine for her to stay a little on the light side. Magpie looks like a more middle age goat now, she is quite perky and happy!

The have a special Goat Condo and pasture they share with our Vincent Van Goat and Bella La Goatie-- who are also very old goats. This way, we can feed them special feed, keep hay in front of them and keep them dosed up with special supplements of MSM, Glocosomine and Chondroiten. We also add a little touch of Bute paste (pain reliever) for them when the weather is cooler and we see them getting stiff and sore. We are lucky to have these sweet goats and also the pastures and housing to keep our groups of critters in the best situation for them to be happy and healthy! They are our blessing!

Hope you are all enjoying lots of fiber art, spinning and fall weather--this is our favorite time of year-- great sheep weather! Watch for our update this weekend featuring our new 'Franken Yarn'! More soon!

Friday, September 15, 2006

A little sheep and his pile of 'leaves'!

Our little Frasier sheep was an orphan this spring at our friend Graham and Margaret's farm. His mom passed away when he was very little and he is still VERY little--about the size of a --oh-- cocker spaniel? And he is now about 6 months old! He is the sweetest little sheep and has a much bigger attitude than his size! He loves to have fun and bunks with our old babysitter Kelly, who needs a slower paced bunch of sheep due to an injury in her past (before she came here) that has left her arthritic and sore. She is older and prefers to watch over our lambs so Frasier was a perfect fit for that tiny group.

Frasier is a cross of a British Suffolk and a Blue Face crossed mama so we really do not know what type of fleece he will have--just beyond cute for sure! His favorite trick right now is to play 'king of the hay bale' with his friends Brenna the Corriedale lamb and Miette, our baby Angora goatie. It is a mad dash as we carry the bales through their pen to feed all the sheep on that side of the barn. As soon as we put the bales down, Fraiser launches to be the first on standing on top-- often trying to do that while we are carrying the bales too!

The other morning, he made a leap onto the bale but I had removed the twine already--resulting in a very confused little sheep! He fell in! Now it is his FAVORITE past time in the morning, really reminds me of a little boy with a fresh pile of raked leaves--remember how fun that was? He is quite a cutie and if he wouldn't take such offense, I would love to keep him that small and have a house sheep! hahaha! Good thing he still likes to snuggle with me right? Off to sleep for a while, one more show this weekend, sounds like Sunday will be a rain out but tomorrow should be lots of fun--if you are near Monroe, stop in and say hello at Cheese Days!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Congratulations Graham & Margaret!!!

We are just home from the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival and proud to mention that our friends Graham & Margaret won second place in the double coated spinning fleece category with a beautiful fleece from one of their Scottish Black Face lambs! It was the first time any of their fleeces have been shown and we are so proud! The sheep pictured is our Devlyn who my hubby adopted this past spring from Graham & Margaret's flock. He is a great example of the quality sheep (SBF) that they raise on acres and acres of well cared for pastures. They also raise North Country Cheviots, British Suffolk and a few crosses of the breeds that are called 'mules'.

We are lucky to purchase their wool each year and just love spending the day there at shearing time in the rolling hills that surround their farm. They also raise working Border Collies so it is a great treat to see them at work moving the sheep about on shearing day. And of course being around a ton of lambs is just a day in heaven for me too!!!! ha!

We got to visit with lots of our sheep friends and even met some of our website customers that we have never met in person before--it was just way too fun to have a booth there with so much going on to see and do! Off I go to get ready for one more show this weekend--if you are in the Monroe area this weekend please pop in and say hello! Cheese Days is a great way to spend a day--lots of fun activities and of course CHEESE!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bless our neighbors!!!

We have the most wonderful neighbors--in fact the only ones on our side of this little county road! Mom and Dad are very dedicated to their six children and all are homeschooled with the exception of the eldest who just started high school last year. I cannot say enough about how wonderful these people are, their kids are great, polite and the entire family just enjoys life in the country--and their critters! If you need anything, any time they are right there to help and we so appreciate them all.

I am mentioning them today as people I admire for a number of reasons, but in this time of high gas prices (which elevates animal feed prices), they have adopted four older horses to give them a total of 6-- almost enough for them all to trail ride together! The horses had been outgrown by their former family and were too much work for the parents to handle on their own. They needed a home and are lucky to be retiring of sorts on a 15 acre pasture, with lots of people to brush them, take care of them and just love them always.

Two are older than 22 and needing some special care to get back on track but the other two are around 10 and seem to be doing very well. They join two other horses who we love to see go by--one reminds me so much of my old Crissy horse....

They rescued a little donkey this past winter who needed desperate attention to his poor feet and months later, they just got the word from their shoer that he was ok to start riding again--the kids are elated and oddly enough, so is that donkey! He loves attention and follows those kids anywhere! Grateful?

Anyway, we are lucky to live near this wonderful family who has opened their farm to some needy critters--again! There are hard times forcing some tough decisions in the farm/animal world and we are seeing a big reduction in sheep flocks in the area too as hay prices sky rocket.

We are getting ready for our last two shows of the year so if there is something you don't see on the website right now, always email! I am so behind I don't know if I will ever catch up!!!! ha! Off to visit the sheep.....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Please Help If You Can!

Today I am sad to report that a very special rescue group in Chicago is closing its doors. After many years of hard work placing many many grateful dogs, cats and guinea pigs, the organization is planning to be done by October 15 of this year. The link to their site is and if you know of anyone who wants to adopt a great dog or cat, please pass this post about!

My sister and her fiance adopted their sweet Mason dog from this group and he is just the most wonderful dog! (that is his picture and I thought the sentiment would fit today too!) They also adopted a Great Dane mix just about a month abo from this group and Mason and Livi are fast becoming best friends.

This group rescued many many pitbulls and crosses from sad situations, often re-training and re-directing their little lives onto a more happy path. It is a very sorry thing that this breed or type of bully breed takes such a beating in the press. The dogs have every ability to be wonderful, safe pets, IN THE RIGHT HANDS! Unfortunately, they are often in the hands of people who brutalize them in order to make them fight. The torture they endure is beyond comprehsion and the ones who should be punished are not the poor dogs, but the people who continue to get away with abusing them. Stronger animal abuse laws should in my opinion be directed at the owners first.

No dog is adopted out lightly from any reputable rescue group, this group has fostered many of the dogs themselves to get be able to say to a future owner that they should not have a cat in the house, another dog or whether the dog is just agreeable to anything! Most are adults but please do not over look them--they are often over looked in shelters and such because most people go for the undeniably cute puppies! However, an adult dog still has wonderful love to give and would love to be in the perfect home to live out their lives.

A dog was recently adopted from this group and the new owner could not figure out why the dog seemed so blue. He had everything he could want, was spoiled, loved, walked but still seemed sad. A young neighbor boy walks each night with the dog and its new owner. He asked if the dog could do any tricks and the answer was 'not yet'. He asked if the owner had tried a Spanish word for 'shake' and guess what--that dog knows TONS of tricks and commands! That boy unlocked the mystery of that dog, who had been trained within the Spanish language--a fact that changed the dog's attitude instantly! He is now a happy, well adjusted, very smart dog who has had lots of great training from someone in his past--now that he knows his owner is on to the whole thing, his life is the best! Funny how that all worked out.....

We lost our friends at the OohMahNee Farmed Animal Rescue farm in Pennsylvania who closed their doors last fall. We hope that if you have a favorite rescue group, no matter what the critter, that you will help to support them through donations of not only money, but time too! It is a tough world out there for everyone and donations have become increasingly hard to come by for these little groups--anything you can do is always appreciated. A bag of pet food, treats, collars for newly adopted pets, walking dogs once a week or helping to care for any critters in the shelter would be a great start.

Not up for the emotional attachments involved with time donation? Most shelters need help posting fliers for events, creating advertising campaigns and maybe even some accounting services so if you are like me and would take every animal home each night, there are lots of ways to help--just call and ask/offer! Anything you can help with, no matter how small it may seem, will be greatly appreciated by both the staff and pets waiting for their forever home......

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ta-Da! Desk is done!!

Well, here it is! Done! I had a great time gathering up all my favorite little pictures, advertisements and such that I have been stashing about for years! I love to collect old post cards and pictures--sure hate to see the family albums and such hitting the trash 0r being unwanted. There are so many great farm pictures, spinning and weaving related pictures and of course the vintage ads are fun too! I decoupaged them onto the top of the desk and just love how it turned out. I am sure this will be one of my continuing projects, we used this as our desk at the show on Sunday and it was great--a great conversation piece. I plan to add some upholstery tacks to some of the picture corners and also paint our farm logo/name on the front panel. Too fun! There is plenty of room for more vintage 'stuff' to decorate with later--the fun of a collage!

The weather has been wonderful and almost like an early fall. The apples are getting ripe in our little orchard, although I have to admit that the critters have been enjoying the windfall apples (or a good shake of the tree treat) for weeks now. Specially our pot belly pigs Peanut and Pal.

We are going to introduce a new line of knit items on the site in the next few weeks so keep an eye out! My mom (Nancy Hilton, Wonder Lake, IL) has been busy in the winter time knitting beyond beautiful scarves for me with our handspun yarn--and some fun extras. We just drafted our best friend & talented knitter (Barbara Toren, Elgin IL) to start knitting mittens and hats with our handspun--her first box will be on its way this week! Too fun! Our new part of the website will be 'Three Chic Knits' and I am sure there will be plenty of great items for gifts and such.... more updates to follow!

The sheep are enjoying the fall like breezes, spending days out laying in the cool grass, watching the world go by--hope you get to spend some time like that too!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Antique Teacher's Desk 'Recovery' Project!

Working as close to deadline as humanly possible--as usual! Our first show of the fall is on Sunday Aug 20 (for time, directions click here) at the cool Milton House Historical Museum--located at the underground railroad station! It is a great show with lots of artists, a book sale at the library and a rummage sale at the church down the way. Lots to do-hope we see you!

My project has been lurking about here for some years. I found it in the basement of a local antique shop and since it had Albany painted on it after the name (our former home town), I bought it for a 'future use'. It is a very very old teacher's desk that this teacher would most likely have built him/herself and carried it from school to school as their jobs required. Mainly one room school houses. It was used to hold everything they could need to teach their students.

We are planning a new use for it, it needs a good cleaning, some elbow grease and paste wax, then I have some 'decoration' in mind (more pictures later!) so we can use this at shows to hold the money box, extra receipts, bags, etc--all that little stuff you forget to pack if it is not in one spot! The washing has already taken place so as soon as it is dry again, I will break out the elbow grease and ideas and will post pictures when it is done......

We are currently enjoying a wonderful break in the weather so new fences are going up, hay is coming in again and we are working toward getting through our shows so we can concentrate on our fall Angora goat fleeces--and the first ever fleeces from our little Wensleydale lambs! Hope everyone is having as nice weather as we are here!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Meredith Your Yarn Is Done-- Please Email!!!!

Lots of fun yarn spinning going on around in this humid weather! However, I hope our new customer Meredith reads this post! Your yarn is done and thanks to our computer crash, I do not have your email to contact you with--- WAH! SO, please email us so I can get your cool yarn on its way!

The yarns pictured are on left, our Sophie and Louis' 'strappy' button yarn. I spun up a single ply of yarn that includes Sophie's natural black/bay Rambouillet wool and stripes of Sophie's wool combined with her brother Louis' white Rambouillet wool. When I plyed it, I strung some very pretty buttons and gems in random spots--a very soft, fun yarn. I also spun up matching single ply yarn and some other creations with their wool so take a peek and see what you find!

The yarn on the right is a departure from my typical choice of fibers--it is some pretty vintage fabric that was 'strappy' and I spun it up with a variety of novelty threads. It would look great as stripes in a tote or purse?? Very fun to spin!

I should explain the term 'strappy'! My younger sister (when we were much younger) had a pair of brightly colored striped socks, toe socks no less--that were her absolute favorite. She wore them all the time but they were not striped, not stripey, but STRAPPY! Thereby, the basis for my self striping yarn names! Hope the weather is cooler for all and keep an eye out for more fiber, yarn and wool postings very soon!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to an Angel!

Wanted to tell the story of my amazing life time friend Charisma, aka Crissy, who would have been 32 today. Unfortunately for us, we did lose this angel of a horse three years ago. She was probably my first 'rescue' and she was given to me when I was 11, she was approximately 5 months old at the time. By the time Crissy arrived in my life, all I could think about was a horse of my own. I was busy shoveling stalls out and brushing other people's horses just to fulfill my need to be close to them. The place my mentor Ruth boarded her gigantic Saddlebred Pinkie at- raised Egyptian Arabians that were more beautiful than words. One night, their papa horse (imported from Egypt no less) went out to 'visit' the older Quarter Horse mare they owned who lived in the pasture. Thereby, Crissy was born! They did not want her because she was not a purebred and were looking to give her away--a fact that filtered to my Dad through Ruth.

My Dad had promised my Mom that if I could have Crissy, he would do all the driving involved with an 11 year old who would want to spend every waking moment at the barn with her horse. Mom wisely knew that this would not be the case as Dad was a busy, dedicated teacher and she did end up doing most of the driving--for years til I got my own license. Even though she was busy working evenings at the hospital as a nurse AND raising three very active girls! I think there are halos for both of them too!

I will never forget the wonder of having such a beautiful horse just GIVEN to me. I had no idea the arrangements were in the works until my parents told me about it when things were final. We could not afford board so I worked cleaning stalls and such to pay for her keep.

That gift was the most precious I have ever received and one that kept me close to home, out of trouble and learning every day. I was lucky to have Crissy (named to irritate my sister initially--her name is Kristie), but my horse's full name was Charisma--and it fit. Crissy had miles and miles on her, I am sure if she ever had a pedometer, it would have broken long before its time. She carried me on countless adventures, many with my friend Margaret and her horse Smokey. We galloped up hill and down pell mell, taking the horses to splash in the pond to cool off, then eventually wander home after eating our sack lunches out in a long grassy meadow.

That horse put up with more 'stuff', from carrot cakes on her birthday to mittens on her ears to make her look like a reindeer at Christmas, she always had grace and style- no matter what we braided into her tail or mane. I trained her myself- since I had never done so before her, I trained her 'all wrong' for showing and then went about re-training her. This led us to a very successful showing career, ribbon after ribbon for a beautiful, red haired horse with the blonde mane and tail--and as my son called her when he was very young-- Crissy with the white nose'.

Words cannot tell how much I miss Crissy, she was my friend, my peace and always there for me to work through everything by pouring out my heart to her. All she ever wanted in return was a safe place to sleep, lots of treats (of course) and a good brushing to keep her shiny and clean. She was a scamp too with a wonderful fiesty spirit. I miss her but am convinced she is healthy now and keeping a good eye on all the pets and critters that have gone before--until we meet again.

Her best friends here were our Diamonte and Casper. Diamonte the now 27 year old polo pony from Australia and now that Crissy has gone, Casper has taken over as Monte's best friend so he has company and a good friend. Do not discount the effect that a pet of any kind can have on your children-- A child attached to an animal and given the room to learn and expand their horizons through them is gifted and blessed! It will never leave them! Crissy is definitely my angel!

Friday, July 28, 2006


Well, today I need a little bit of our Abigail's wisdom and peace! Our new computer managed to EAT and DESTROY every bit of saved info in the dratted thing--again! We had most of the info backed up and saved seperately however, we are missing our email files and email address book--and having some miscues with the website.

SO, if you have not heard from us and you are waiting on an order, total for an order, or just plain anything else, PLEASE re-send your email to us! We appreciate your patience while we work this out, we apologize for any inconvenience this causes..... aaaarrrgggh!

Otherwise, also know that if you call and do not reach us right away, please leave us a message-- this hot/humid weather is requiring the animals to be put first on our list no matter what needs to be done. They are very fragile in this heat and we are spending all of our free time outside, lugging water and hoses about to keep everyone safe and cool. Monte (our horse) is a fan of a good shower and that is always great fun for everyone involved. I tend to get more wet than Monte as he loves to hold his big noggin over the end of the hose!

Have two shows coming up in the next two months so if you are in the area, please stop by our booth to say hello! We will be at the Milton Historical Society show on the lawn of the Milton Underground Railroad museum (very cool place) in August. In September, we have a two day show at Monroe's Cheese Days--good food and lots to do! Hope all is well and COOLER in your part of the world!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fun New Yarns!

Twisters and Lace--some combination! Been spinning lots of lace weight single ply for all of you that are trying out the new lace patterns that are available now--so many fun projects to choose from! The yarn pictured at left is from our Louis' soft Rambouillet wool. I dyed is some soft pinks and rose colors and then during carding had it blended with some softer than soft natural black Suri Alpaca fiber I purchased from a friend. It is so pretty and I could see a beautiful shawl or capelet from this yarn....

The yarn pictured on right is my new 'twister' yarn. It is spun as a single ply, the core fiber is spun and at the same time 'wrapped' with other pretty novelty threads and sparkles. Too fun and it knits up beautifully!

We will have new roving available soon from our Sophie Beatrix (natural black/bay Rambouillet girl) and her brother Louis (creamy white Rambouillet). Their wool is much more like Merino and has been pindrafted into easy to spin roving. The natural colors are carded side by side-- can't wait to get into my part of that run!

We just completed a new 'assisted living facility' for our four oldest goaties yesterday. After a day in the sun (thank goodness for less humidity and a breeze!) we got their new chalet assembled in a sheltered, shady spot across the driveway from the house--next to the chicken house. They have their own pasture now and will be able to have specialty feed with MSM and Glocosimine added to help them with their arthritis. Vincent Van Goat (he has very teeny ears), his good friend Bella and two little Angora goats named Magpie and Shimmer are now living in luxury--food in front of them at all times and all the comforts they could want. Magpie has lost her front lower teeth (sheep and goats have no upper front teeth) so she needs more time to eat now days... Pictures to follow and hope you all enjoyed a sheepy, fiber or knitting weekend!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bippity BOBBITY Boo!

Well, hopefully it is not as humid and ungoshly hot where ever you all are! It is just amazingly hot here this week and it is requiring me to stay away from the sheep so they will stay in a cool spot--not my favorite time of year I am afraid! The sheep (and everyone) are so fragile and over heat very easily--and since they are so nosey and interested in what we are up to outside, we try to limit our visits to early morning and late evening to do feeding, with several water/hose runs through out the rest of the day.

On Tuesday a good friend came to visit us and we spent the day visiting the critters and talking yarn and knitting--she is SO inspiring and we hope to start offering some patterns created by her soon--that are created with our yarns in mind! She does such beautiful work--almost always with out patterns! She is the knit 'whiz'!

While she was here she took lots of pictures and the two you see today she was kind enough to share with use! Bobbi Simone and Andrew Sipowicz are our Great Pyrenees dogs that guard half of our flock. We named them after our favorite characters in the TV show NYPD Blue--they are our 'beat cops' that keep the coyotes and pests out of our flock! They do a great job and while I never ever planned to have outside dogs, they enjoy their 'work' and I think with out a job they would be quite miserable. They do tricks and love attention like any pet, but their first concern is always 'their sheep'.

Bobbi is the 'tracker' of the pair (they are brother and sister) and she is always on the march to be sure she doesn't miss any activity. When she takes off in the pasture to see what is out there, Andy puts himself between the sheep and her and waits for her to 'say' things are all clear. Then he goes ripping down to see for himself! They are truly a marvel to watch and we learn from them all the time. Bobbi will climb fences to 'tell' me something is wrong or that she needs us to come check on something.

She is very very protective of her sheep with strangers and they will not allow strangers in the pasture with their sheep unless we are with the people visiting. When my friend was here, although Bobbi knows her, she still worked very hard to keep our sheep at a 'safe' distance (as seen in the picture of her with our Speedy sheep)--even though she knows things are ok. She does not take any chances--they are my kind of dogs! They have protected our sheep from the many coyote families that roam this area and we do not have to worry about roaming dogs either.... I would hate for anything awful to happen here ever and am always glad we purchased the GP's!

Off to spin some more yarn, hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Llama Shearing Day!

Well here is the beautiful Chaquita--guardian of our little group of goaties here at the Homestead! She came to us from our good friends Kathi and Jon needing a job to keep her busy --and out of trouble! Suffice it to say she was much loved but she was not playing nice with their other llama Julia! She has been great for us, is very serious about her 'job' with the goats and this year she got an 'all over' shearing. She was very good while we waited, pacing the driveway waiting for our friends Jenny & John to get here to shear her--and our Dalai Llama. She actually can be a spitter when she is ticked but she only got upset when it came time to shear side two--so we were very proud of her patience! It only takes Jen and John about 20 minutes to actually shear them once they are securely tied so nobody (llama OR handlers/shearers) are injured. They have a magic tough with the llamas and I am always impressed with the kindness they show them.

Jenny is a dedicated rescuer of Alpacas and Llamas. She lives nearby and has been a friend for some time now. She had a little band of her own alpacas she started out with that has now grown to include many alpacas that needed a place to be. Some 'rogue' or naughty ( like the little black Alpaca that came with our Dalai who liked to shake sheep--not!) or just the unwanteds. Some have come from some very sad situations.

We are happy to announce that we will be selling the fleece from Jen's alpacas beginning this week (hoping to post them to the website tomorrow) so please keep an eye out for some beyond soft and beautiful fiber from very loved creatures at Jenny's farm--proceeds will go to help support the alpacas and llamas and their feed, medical and care expenses.....

Our first ever hay crop is cut and drying so it will be a busy weekend getting it all baled up and under cover! Pictures to follow this 'momentous' event--we have never had our own hayfield and the sheep spent many hours pouring over seed catalogs so we are anxious to see how things turn out! Off to work on the website!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A few of our favorite links!

Almost the fourth of July already--where has our spring gone??? Not sure we really had one for a very long stretch! Got the thistles mowed (thanks to our wonderful neighbors) in the boys' big pasture and used the little weed sickle to get them gone in the smaller pastures this past week--big fun huh? The picture at left is one of my favorites, we have a little Bantie rooster who is blind in one eye. He has taken up residence with Kelly who babysits our lambs. I am not sure but he may think he is a sheep? Or that those are funny looking chicks he lives with--ha! The sheepie girl peeking around the corner is Brenna--she lost her mom early on so is living with us--and Warrick, our Border Leicester lamb given to me by a friend for my birthday. They are sweet poopsies and I love catching them so relaxed and sleepy!

I thought I would post some of our 'favorite' links today, I am sure I will miss a few because we have so many so please do not be offended if I do--these are some basic places that you can find inspiration, special fiber and more!

Handpun Revolution- the website/home of our friend Lexi Boeger--a very talented hand spinner/artist from California. Take a look at her book Handspun Revolution--I highly recommend it! (I hear tell book two is in the works?!)

Apple Hollow Fiber Arts - Home of our good friends Kathi & Jon--they offer a great variety of yarn, spinning, carding and weaving equipment, books and videos. If you are ever in Door County, Wisconsin--be sure to look them up! They have a wonderful shop in down town Sturgeon Bay that I hear is just the best place for, lessons, coffee, knitting, spinning, weaving and lots more!

The Flying Ewe- home of our good friend Carolyn--a great place to find exotic fibers, yarns and so many great goodies!

I am sure I will have more to follow so keep an eye out! We are in the process of updating even more wonderful wool to our site so keep an eye out! Anywhere from Jacob and British Suffolk to Merino, Icelandic and Corriedale wools are on the way.... Hope you all have a great long weekend with lots of sheepy/fiber fun involved!! The sheep and their Ryans

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Oh where oh where has my little goat gone???

Here is our newest little tag along from our trip to a sweet flock's home yesterday (pictured on right)! She is Miette, which is French for 'sweet little thing' and is our newest Angora goatie to join our flock! She was a no brainer on my part, as soon as I saw her looking so like 'cousin it' on the Adams Family TV show?! Her locks are lovely and she has a very thick forelock of locks that spiral down her entire face, leaving only her little pink nose for anyone to see--just beyond cute when she peeks out at you through that lash of locks! She is a little sad that she is no longer with her mama but I am working on gaining her trust so she can have--you guessed it-- her first every hair cut this week when she is more settled in! She is 6 months old and just a sweet teeny girl who we could not resist. We also brought home two little Wensleydale lambs - a true treasure to add to our spinners flock--more about them to follow.

The picture on the left is from our friends Carl & Becky's flock at Cold Valley Jacobs--not far from our farm. The picture is of Spot and she is just one example of the beautiful sheep we are offering fleeces from. The Jacobs at Cold Valley are happy little poopsies roaming on acres and acres of pasture and watched over by our friends--who have worked very hard to put together bloodlines that provide spinners with beautiful, beyond CLEAN, very soft Jacob wool. We are happy to be offering their fiber again this spring and you can find them on our unwashed wool page on the website... We were lucky enough to purchase our little Jonte Jacob from Carl and Becky and he is such a sweet sweet boy--don't miss out on the family of fleeces from CVJ this year--they don't stay around very long!

We have been busy sorting fleeces so watch for more updates as I get things 'caught up'--a constant goal I seem to always be reaching for--ha!