Friday, August 31, 2007

Homestead Wool and Gift Farm

I've just taken a look at Sandy Ryan's Farm journal and see that things are coming together for them at their farm.  The house is up on blocks and plans are underway to rebuild a foundation and basement.  I really want to applaud everyone who has jumped in to help them get back on their feet.  When all is said and done, it's love and friendship that's what matters my humble opinion.  A fiber update on her website should happen soon, and I hope I get there before things are all sold!  One can never have too much fiber, yarn, fabric, or chocolate, que no?   Have a great weekend!  ---Martie

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Anice's debut

Once again, Rene Dickey of has performed her magic on my knitting. Cyaniceback
Anice arrived day before yesterday, all washed, blocked, ends woven in and transgressions repaired.  I spent yesterday hauling her out onto the counter every time some one I knew came into the shop.  Here she is, on Connie (who could make a trash bag look like haute couture).  Color me proud!  ----Martie

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Nancy shawl

The Nancy shawl is finished and today I found Joan Sunflower dressed in the perfect clothes to model it.  I thought we'd be really cool and photograph her modeling it out by the old wagon.  Very cool.  What I wasn't grokking was the concept of where to stand to get the light right (I know, I know, I need to read the instruction book for the camera, at minimum).  I got some reasonable photos and one great photo of the shawl across her back.  I just put it into Photoshop, selected the featured area, and cropped it,Img_1066_2
and here's what I got...and unfortunately, it was the best photo of the bunch.  (Of course, it's already deleted from my camera's memory card.)  If anyone has any clues about how I can retrieve this photo, once again I am appealing for your help (boy, it never ends, does it?).

I managed to salvage another, though, so here it is.  We love this shawl!  It's a perfect size for almost everyone...light and soft...just right for that little extraImg_1063
over your shoulders to cut a chill.  Not that a chill is anywhere in our futures (unless you're leaving in a different hemisphere)' still plenty warm here.

Thanks for all the response on my posting about the flood damage to the Ryan's homestead.  It makes my heart just about burst at how good people are.  You're pretty  wonderful, and I wish I could give you all hugs in person.

Off to get in an hour's knitting before bedtime...I've just started the "Modern Quilt Wrap" from Mags Kandis' new book, Folk Style.  This is a pretty cool book, if you haven't already checked it out...I highly recommend.---Martie

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fiber friends

If I've learned nothing else during these years of weaving, spinning, and knitting...I've learned that people who work with fiber are *the* nicest people I've ever met.  There's a bond between us that's always there...whether it's in the forefront or the background.  Like waiting in an airport, working on your knitting...and suddenly the person across the way mentions that she's a knitter, or her mother or grandmother knits.  Before you know it, you're off in a conversation that makes you feel as if this person has been your friend for some time.  I just love when this happens.

Likewise, in harder times, we're there for each other...I've seen it time and time again...and this is what I'm writing to you about today.  My dear friend Sandy Ryan, who owns Homestead Wool and Gift Farm, has been hit by the horrible floods that have been plaguing the midwest this last week.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Homestead, it is a no-kill farm owned by Jim and Sandy Ryan in Monroe, Wisconsin.  Along with their son Ross, they provide a safe environment for injured or otherwise non-marketable farm animals to come and live out their lives with lots of love and respect.  The Ryans neither kill, breed, or eat their animals.  Read more about them  in Lexi Boeger's new book, coming out later this fall.

I have been worried all week about Sandy and not until this morning did I get the news that the floodsSteubenwi
actually tore away the foundation of their historic farm house.  She told me she will never ever forget the sound of the two foot thick stone foundation of their basement just ripping apart.  They are among the fortunate, if you can decide who is and who isn't...their home can be saved and will be put up on blocks until a new basement and foundation can be built.

Until then, Sandy is her usual happy, optimistic self.  They are being cared for by the Red Cross and some wonderful neighbors, who are providing water for the animals (all of whom are safe, by the way).  They are able to camp out with the aid of one power cord fromCarinflood
another nearby building.  She told me that FEMA is in the area, there will be help eventually, and their wonderful families are stepping up to the plate to help.  She hopes that after the house is stable on the blocks this coming week, they'll be able to move back in (so long as they don't do jumping jacks!) and she's anxious to get back to her business.

And that's where we come in.

I'd like to ask all of you to consider helping Sandy in some way.  For those of you who already know her, you know that this is a woman who is always the *first* one at the plate to help others but would never ever ever let us know she could use some help herself. While she's painting a rosy picture in her e-mail, I can well guess she had losses she's not telling me about and could use some help in getting her business back on track.   Here are some ideas I have for us to help:

  • If you're a fiber person or hand spun yarn shopper, visit her site and start buying things to support her business (please remember to leave a little bit for me!).  She also sells lots of knitted items for almost nothing...knitted out of hand now for holiday presents!

  • If you know Sandy already, and don't need more fiber right now, drop her a check (you probably already have her address).

  • If you don't know Sandy but want to show a sign of support for a fellow fiber artist, drop a check in the mail in any amount you can spare:  please make your check out to Sandy Ryan and mail it to Taos Sunflower, P.O. Box 506, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514.  I'll see to it Sandy gets all your checks and cards and notes of support.

I've taken the liberty of sharing some photographs I found on the news wires to illustrate the gravity of this situation.  These are photos  taken in Wisconsin, just one of many areas severely impacted by  the storm.  I've spent the last two weeks crabbing about how hot it's been here in Taos...shame on me, when there are people with real problems.  ---Martie

PS:  As Holly EQQ says on her blog, Sandy's server is having problems, so you may not be able to access Homestead's website just yet...but keep trying.  Despite all that's going on, she's hoping to do a fiber update just can't keep that girl down!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

C'est fini!

After pulling late hours every night last week, Miss Anice finally slipped off her needles at approximately 11 p.m. Friday evening.  I was so giddy, I was telling our dog and cats what a momentous occasion it was (needless to say, they were not impressed).  Today the shawl should have arrived safely into the hands of Rene Dickey, sweater finisher treat to let her catch the four dropped stitches and block it professionally.  Soon as it's back, I'll post a good photo of it.

Monday I started a shop sample...the Nancy Shawl from Schaefer Yarns.Nancy
Using one skein of their gorgeous yarn (Nancy, mais oui), it is, compared to knitting Anice, like taking a speed boat vs. rowing.  Here's a photo of what I have started...using the color named Indira Ghandi...this is yummy stuff.

What's after that?  Well...I have at least three or four lace patterns I'm slurping over...but am behind on knitting shop samples for now, so it may be mid winter before I find lace time again.  I'd love to hear what you're all knitting, all you lace knitters out there...and many thanks again to all of you who helped me in so many ways.  We're a team!  ---Martie

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The countdown

The P of P has managed to find her way through two more weeks without getting The Shawl finished.  It's not that I just hang out eating bon bons...if I'm not working at the shop, I'm on the full tilt wool hustle here at home...and my knitting time, like my  reading time, is relegated to after dinner, when I'm usually too tired to be very focused.

The problem appears (to me) that lace knitting is not a social activity.  I am falling in love with it, and have some more projects lined up, but have no idea how to fit that kind of knitting into my life on a regular basis, unless I learn to get up in the wee hours and adjust to that schedule.  Last time I tried that, it took me days to recover.  I would love to hear how you all manage to fit this into your lives.  Or better yet, tell me that eventually I'll get so competent that I'll be able to do this while watching television, movies, or chatting with Mr. Sunflower.  He'd like the answer to that, also...he knows now he can only talk on purl rows...not conducive to fluid conversation.

So anyway, here's what I've done...I've written to Rene Dickey of (see our sidebar) and made a reservation for her to give it the final touches.  I have sworn it will be in a FedEx envelope, winging its way to her, on Tuesday, August 21.  She will then lovingly catch and repair the two dropped stitches I've found and block the entire shawl to make it look beautiful.  I have told her this will be like the icing on the cake for me, and I'm very appreciative...she is a miracle worker. It will then zoom its way back to Taos, I'll take photos to share with you, and before we turn around twice, it will be adorning the shoulders of the bride.

I have no more excuses.  Mr. Sunflower is leaving town today and I intend to spend the next two days doing nothing but knitting and getting this puppy finished.  I swear.  Stay tuned.

Now, for some fun: Library0013
a couple of days ago, one of our sales reps (that I had not met before) stopped in to say hi.  Check her out!  Meet Maryann and her husband Frank...this rep rocks.  She actually knits socks on 4" needles while they travel.  Aren't they cool?  I am loving this.  It reminds me of EZ, knitting behind the Gaffer, and the little scene at the end of one of her instructional videos where they get pulled over because she's knitting without a license.  Also, I must admit a particular love of Harleys...and I won't get too far into that discussion, except to say they played a rather colorful part in my long ago life, and despite my having chosen a more traditional path after my explorations, I still have the sound of a Harley ranked as one of my favorite sounds in life.---Martie

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A blissful day

The stars must have been lined up just right yesterday, because I sure got a lot done.  I managed to dye up quite a lot of wool, samples of some I share here with you as eye candy. Library0018
While this was happening, I raced madly back and forth to the house to tend the washer, which was happily cleaning the fleeces that will find their way to the dye pots later this week. 

Just to make sure I had no spare moments...we brought this wheel home from the shop so I could spin outside.
  Heaven!  Here's a picture of what I managed in between the other things.  I wanted to share this with those of you who don't do all this crazy stuff.  Please note:  not included is the smell of dirty fleece (which I am oddly attracted to) and the dye pots (which I find repugnant).  Off to work now...hoping to get more of these good things done in the next few days.  ---Martie

Sunday, August 5, 2007


In the parts of Southern California that I lived in, clouds Library0001
(or at least, interesting clouds) were a rarity.  Moving to New Mexico has now filled that hole in my life.  Library0013
I'm not a big fan of summer, but the afternoon thunderstorms are well worth enduring the rest of summer's symptoms...wildfires, heat, and everyone's favorite, the no-see-ums.

I just came indoors after taking about 30 pics of this afternoon's clouds and decided to share some with you. Library0020
The ones with the trees in the foreground are looking north, towards Red River and Questa. Library0015
The others were hovering just to the west of us.  Let the rain begin!  ---Martie

P.S.  I am now headed outdoors to work on The Shawl in the last light of evening, and watch the sky show.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Summer stuff

I have now passed my August 1 deadline to have the Anice shawl finished, but am up this morning in the wee hours to get in some more rows before the others wake up and I head off to work.

A message came yesterday from a neighbor that the bears were rooting around some of my neighbors' yards this week.  It's surprising they'd bother, as we've had a nice, rainy summer and the orchards in the valley just below us should be starting to produce lots of good, healthy, bear snacks.  Thelittleone
I'm thinking someone has left garbage out.  Last time this was a problem, several years back, some of my neighbors had their cars broken into, no doubt because of food left in the cars.  These are Black Bears, ursus Americanus, and are not, to my understanding, aggressive unless provoked.  I've seen them lumbering through the yard over the years, headed down to the orchards.  I've seen more on the news than in person...when they end up in someone's yard (in the city) and have to be relocated.  I don't have my own photo to share, but I found this on the web.  I was looking for a photo of an adult but couldn't pass up the baby...

Speaking of babies:  we have more at the shop that we're caring for.  Turtle, the mom (far right)Lastroll02
was captured and neutered just after having the babies.  She successfully nursed them to kitten hood and a few weeks ago, finally brought them to meet us.  There are two orange, one black, and one little tortoiseshell.  The young adult male,
who we've named Chester, is either Turtle's love interest and dad to the kittens, or her new best friend.  They are feral, although when the food dishes are put down, sometimes you can scratch a back or two.  I am hoping to have them neutered this month.  Library0048_2


My last "baby" picture is my new puppy.  He is 18 mos. old and a rescue from another shelter in the state (he was scheduled to be euthanized).  In keeping with our tradition of our Rottweilers having German names, he shall be called Horst.  He's being trained now, and I hope to bring him home in another week or two.  He's tall and has huge feet and goofy looking legs...not a good specimen for a Rottweiler...but he has THE most loving nature, I know he'll be a wonderful addition to our household.

He is currently living at New Mexico Canine Rescue and Safeguard, a no-kill rescue shelter owned by my dear friend Vee Adams.  NMCRS takes dogs and cats from NM shelters that have no more options in the system...they are given medical care, good food, lots of love and training to be someone's beloved companion.  Many of these dogs are sent to adoption centers in Colorado (where her dogs have enjoyed a 100% adoption rate) and the rest are adopted out either locally or through her website.  We are in the process of developing her website now, and please check it out if you can.  Donations of any amount are always welcomed...she is doing all this (mostly) on a wish and a prayer.---Martie