French Alpine Sweater

A few colorways ago there was one called “French Alpine”. It was part of the series that benefited The Heifer Project. I spun my lot into thick and thin singles and set about to make a chunky funky sweater. I finished it a while ago but left it sitting on the blocking board and forgot about it. The last time I talked about it, it looked like this:


Sad little thing without arms. I couldn’t decide if it needed sleeves and then I decided that indeed it did:


3/4 sleeves are my new favorite. It’s way too hot to wear this sweater right now so it’s sitting with the most recent Less Is More waiting for some love and cooler weather. I’ve started 2 new sweaters in the meantime.

Marnie from Twist Collective in SE yarn Victoria in the colorway Envy

This cute boxy sweater from Tidal Yarns – in their yarn!

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Bizness – Run it like one.

Every so often I get asked for advice on how to run a business or how I get all the things done. I can tell you that I don’t get all the things done. My lists are always at least twice as big as any human can get done but I try. You never know, today might be that day. I’ll talk about lists another day. If you want to get started on lists in the meantime, check out my post on The Bullet Journal. I still use this to make lists but I have changed it so I’ll talk about lists again and you can see why my journal looks like this:

Back to the subject at hand. Run your bizness like it’s a business.
I started my self employment life back in 1998 when I was doing pottery full time. There were things I learned in that business that immediately got implemented in this one. Some things that worked in that one that won’t work for me here. I’m going to make a list of sorts. Some of it might be helpful, some might not. I think one of the biggest, most important, and hardest things to run your business smoothly is to be very conscious of what’s working, what isn’t, and how to make changes. Or in the case of when things are working, how to keep them rolling. But that’s not even really what I’m talking about here.

Run your business like it’s a business.
If you want to have a hobby part time thing, run it like that. If you want to have a business, run it like a business. Hobby businesses are usually more fun that a business business. Also, running loosely might work for you. If it does, stick with it! Stick with what works. I’m only posting here for those that think what they’re currently doing isn’t working. Don’t change the things that work, only change the problem areas.

1. Have a boss. You can be that boss but if you’re the only person in your company, you’re the boss and employee. It can be a hard mix but at least part of the time, you need to be the boss. The one that sets the rules and speaks reason. You’ll see me at times complaining about “my boss”. That’s still me but it’s the inner me that sets the rules. It helps to complain about her sometimes because that’s what an employee does. Allow yourself the space to be both…and a little crazy if you need that.

2. Get dressed. PJs, workout gear, and lounge clothes signaled to me that I could quit whenever. I’m gonna pop into the “workmode” and then I can pop out whenever. Sometimes I would start out answering emails and then PJ town would take over and I’m having a grand ole time windowshopping on the internets. ooops. Maybe you can work just fine in your PJs, I am not one of those people. I have some outfits that are as comfy as PJs but they’re put away in the closet in the work pile and that’s what I wear them for. Silly? Maybe, this was one of the biggest lightbulb momments for me. I can’t stay at work if I’m in my lounge clothes.

3. Schedule your time. You don’t need to be super duper rigid but if you don’t schedule things at least somewhat, how do things happen? Regular businesses have a schedule. It can be flexible but there is a time to work and a time to play. I straddle the world between uber schedule and fly by the seat of my pants. There are things that I hate to schedule yet other things that I HAVE to or they don’t get done. Figure out what those are. Here’s mine:

Days: I have 4 days each week the shop is officially open. I teach private classes and make product on 2 others and I have 1 day off. That one day is a family day and can get bumped (meaning I don’t get a day off at all that week usually) if I’m doing a festival (teaching or vending). That’s right. This can mean there are periods of time that I might not get a day off for a month or more. It’s not my favorite but sometimes these things happen. Occasionally I actually take off one of the days that the shop isn’t open. Or part of it to run errands or do something with the kids. On those days I still have a set list of things that need to be completed before free time can happen. This means there is a little bit of flexibility in my schedule but not much. For me, this is how things get done.

Hours: My day starts at variable times (animals need some treatment, I need to make a grain run) but almost always by 10 and usually lasts at least until 4. Yes, there are times I’m a typical employee and I watch that clock move like molasses around the face until it hits 4 but I try to keep the work day, the work day. Of course, on days we’re open it’s a definite start at 10 and I’m here until 4. I added the qualifiers “almost” and “usually” up there so I’m not lying at any point but I can tell you that 99% of the time if it’s a work day when I’m not “away”, I’m here between 7 and 8 then staying until 4 or 5. And I work those hours. Why? Because I’m not in my PJs. I have times for social media, snacks, lunch etc but I try not to take too many or my day isn’t productive. We all have those days of course but if you have too many in a row when things need to get done….

Time off: I know I mentioned up there that I don’t always get time off. This is true. My vacations are usually 2 or 3 long weekends each year. I try to make sure to get those in. They get scheduled though because it means the shop will be closed and I will need to find someone to farm sit.

Type A: Sometimes, I like to schedule certain days to do things. ie – Monday is billing, Tuesday is dyeing, Wednesday is orders and prep, Thursday is batt day…. etc etc etc. Obviously those things may not fill up a whole day but sometimes it helps to put off an activity but also make sure it gets done by saying “I can put off doing bills this week if I make sure on Monday that I get it all done”. Don’t over schedule, though. I mean, you can schedule out your time really to a pin point if that works for you but be realistic. You know that dyeing is going to take you an hour to do – don’t schedule it for 30 minutes. You know you get into a groove making batts, don’t only give yourself an hour at the carder. Get the idea? Be realistic with yourself. If you’ve never scheduled before and you think it might help you, start out loosely and have “extra” tasks on a side bar that can fill in dead spaces. Write down the times that things take you so you get an idea of what you can reasonably fit in a day.

Yearly: I’ve gotten better at scheduling. It’s not my favorite thing to do but when I’m contracting out to teach and to vend places, I need to do this. I mess up sometimes but I try to keep everything organized to the best of my ability. I’ve been booking contracted dates into 2016. My 2015 has been filled for a bit now. This means my work days are pretty well filled in and also that my days off are pretty well set too. I’ll be hard pressed to find an extra full day off in my schedule. It might happen but there are times that get blocked up with what needs to be done.

I’m sure there are a whole bunch of things that I’m leaving off and my bullet journal is really important to me in getting things done. But remember, if you’re running a business and it’s not broke – don’t fix it! All my ideas that work for me, won’t work for you. It’s one of those things that’s pretty neat about being all different people. Maybe some of my ideas will help you figure out what works.

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Sewing – 15 minutes at a time

It seems like lately I can’t eke out a full hour or 2 to get some sewing done. Then again, even when I manage to find the time, I have a hard time focusing on just one project start to finish. It might have something to do with working in short bursts and having a bunch of stuff started. Or that I allow myself the luxury of flitting around from project to project.

Let me tell you about the past few months of sewing. I have 30 minutes this week. Next week 45 minutes. 3 weeks from now, an hour…. This is how it goes. Bits and pieces of time. What do I do with that time?

15 minutes: I’ll pick up a piece of mending that needs to get done. There is almost always mending that is needed. Maybe I left the last project with a couple of hems that need to be finished or a pocket to be sewn. I can get that done in 15.
30 minutes: I’ll cut out a pattern or maybe piece something today. Maybe I’ll heat up the iron and slap on some interfacing that needs to be done.
45 minutes+: I’ll do all the things I can cram in. Cut, piece, finish…but I probably won’t iron because I’ve found all this time and who wants to waste that on an ironing date?

Last night I had 45 minutes. This morning, I had 15. That’s a whole hour of sewing!!!
I managed to mend a couple of pairs of shorts then I pieced together the bodices on a couple of shirts and capped it all off with finishing the hems. This morning, I managed to finish the hems on a third shirt! I also managed to use up all the serger thread in one bobbin so the next time I get to sew, the first 15 will be spent threading, re-threading, swearing and then re-threading that thing. Still, I managed to get three pieces all done and wearable!!!


First up is the last finished. It’s a Dress no. 2 from 100 Acts of Sewing. I think I mentioned cutting out more of these and also buying the new Dress No 3 pattern. This one, like the last one of these I showed off is made of Linen. Unlike the last one that I knew needed pockets, I am undecided about this one. One pocket or two?

Next is one of my favorite patterns and maybe I’ll talk about that again some other day as I’ve made a bunch of things from this pattern. It’s McCalls 5106 (discontinued). I made it with a particularly lush piece of batik that I’ve had in my stash for a while.

Finally is the one I chose to wear today. New Look pattern 6871. It’s the second one of these I’ve made. The last one was a little short. This one fits nice and I do like it much better. I just wish I had had enough of the fabric to add on pockets.

And we can all thank my teenage daughter for the hilarious photos.

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I neglected to tell you about the last birth on this farm for the year. Or maybe I should last planned birth. You never know when an accident might happen and I don’t want to anger whatever law/rule/god it is that presides over farm woopsies. Buster was the final planned birth on the farm. He’s the son of my favorite goat, Gypsy. He reminds me of his mom as a kid so much. He’ll follow us around and nibble at our legs then run off. He’s also got gorgeous curls and and really just wants to be pet.
It’s hard to tell how wee he is but his mom isn’t a giant either.
His favorite pass time really does seem to be jumping into what ever hay bin he can. Every chance he can get. If he sees edible hay, he is in the feeder. Stinker.

He’s a little bigger now than in the previous photos and his black fluff is being sunbleached a pretty chocolate brown. By this age, Gypsy had started to grey.
He’s gaining on his mom fast. He’ll be two months on Monday. Just look at his sweet face!
We do plan to keep him but because of his relation to all the angoras, he’ll have to have his manhood altered. Monday he gets separated until he’s old enough for the procedure. My inquisitve happy little boy will get all fixed up and then he can be a goober with siblings Misty and Bleu, once again.

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Least to Most

Once upon a time I had some minty green linen. It wasn’t my color but it was on sale. I knew I could dye it so I set about with some shibori like dyeing and did it up with a little darker green.
Only it didn’t cover it all as it wasn’t supposed to. I thought it would be good enough.

I made myself a dress/smock out of it and hated it. I couldn’t even finish the hems and pockets. I disliked it that much. So overdyed in a really dark green. That didn’t do it. I overdyed it in deep blue. That didn’t do it. I then dyed it in black. Still not right. I had thoughts of tossing it in the trash and we’d never speak of this thing again let alone take pictures and show you all. Then I decided to do one last thing. I took a spray bottle of bleach to it.

The bestest most favorite smock I own.

And ya know, in all my dyeing efforts and tirades, I had ripped a little hole in the back. Not all is lost folks! I made it a patch that makes it even better still.

More dresses coming up. When there is a success it always fuels more. Right?

Sonya released a new pattern yesterday. I’m hoping to get a couple more of “Dress No. 2″ done by the time No.3 gets here.

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Less Is More

The title up there is for the sweater that I actually finished knitting though it might apply to my blogging. To me, Less blogging means more other things are getting done. Though I couldn’t tell what that more might be. I thought of posting a “catching up, I’ve been gone 2 months” but I couldn’t really come up with too many momentous things that have happened in these past 2 months, though someone will likely remind me of what I couldn’t remember right this minute.

I taught some stuff. I vended at a couple of shows. I cleaned some barns. We have another baby goat. School has ended for one kid but the one that’s being homeschooled is definitely still dragging her feet about doing her finish up work for the end of the year. Obviously I’m not all that tough with her. She’s the one that will be missing out on her summer if she’s doing schoolwork so I’ll let her drag by a bit longer to teach her a lesson in procrastination.

Oh. I also made some yarn and did some knitting. I had a run in with one of the sheep and I hurt my hand which is still bothering me so knitting has been precious and slow at times. Which makes a finished sweater a tiny miracle. I am a champion project starter, not so worried about finishing these things so actually, any finished project is a tiny miracle some times. Still, I thought a new sweater might be cool instead of starting one. No, wait, I wanted to start one too. So I started one and then I decided to finish one. A little backwards from most people but it worked out because I finished a sweater.

We’re not going to talk about the started sweater today – just the one that’s finished. I’ve already stolen enough of it’s spotlight.


It’s all 2 ply handspun.
Top to bottom:
1.Spunky Eclectic Fibers – Standing Stones
2. Hello Yarn – Still Life
3.Southern Cross Fibres – Gunslinger
4. Southern Cross Fibres – Yellowstone
5. Spunky Eclectic – Black Forest


I adore this sweater. I’m not usually a pull over person but this one isn’t thick, it’s long and it fits really well. I made modifications to the Driftwood pattern beyond the Less is More coloring. I didn’t follow the stitch counts exactly because I like to knit 2 different sizes at once. Though I’ve been working on it long enough and made so few notes that I can’t tell you exactly what I did. I would absolutely recommend this pattern though to anyone that wanted to make it.

And just so you can see me looking all bonkers:

Thanks to my teen for the 40+ pictures of me with crazy eyes or moving.

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Just this past Monday while I was still driving back from the Yarn Cupboard Retreat (which was awesome by the way), two baby girlie goats were born here.
We bred our Cashgora Rosie to a lovely Angora buck just to see how her udder would shape up (would she be a milker?) and what the fiber would be like on the 75% Angora babies. We also bred our full Angora girl to the same buck. She’s due in a few more weeks and I’m sure you’ll see another blog post about her.

What’s Cashgora fiber? Cashgora is a fiber that results from crossing an Angora goat with a Cashmere producing goat. As of this moment there is no specific breed of goat labeled Cashmere. It’s being worked on and there are certainly goats that put off a more reliable coat of cashmere. When a goat breed is named officially then it’s possible this type of fiber would get renamed or the definition shifted. This is also like Pygora. Pygora is specifically Pygmy and Angora. Nigora is specifically Nigerian Dwarf and Angora.

Anyway. Baby pics. Rosie belongs to my 9 year old and she’s already named the 2 babies:
Who likes to hide a lot

Who is curious and in my face (or the face of the camera). She’s also the healthier of the two. Misty had a hard time on Monday but Bleu is rip roaring and ready to go. Hopefully Misty will catch up quickly.
These two are darn cute when they can play together.

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