Summer Love

The merry month of May is drawing to a close and I’ve got a few more yarns to add to the Yarn Shop. Below you’ll see a parade of Oak Barn Merino lace-weight yarns.

I’ve fallen in love with this merino yarn. It is my go-to yarn. This is the yarn I use for swatching because it has great stitch definition. My beloved Swallowtail Shawl is knit with this yarn. This lovely lace-weight knits like a dream, it moves sweet and smooth along a wooden needle. It has just enough grab that a dropped stitch won’t cause you to hyperventilate. Any shawl knit in this yarn will be light enough to float on a breeze.

Approximately 1000 yards for $30 is a pretty good deal, although no knitter would consider this a “cheap” yarn especially once they fondle it. Personally, I do the cheek test for softness. If it doesn’t feel good against my face – I’m likely to take a pass on a yarn. This yarn passes with flying colors. Oh the colors? You want to see those right?

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Oak Barn Merino in African Violet

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Oak Barn Merino in Tall Grass Prairie
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Oak Barn Merino in Blue Jeans on the Verge
 Oak Barn Merino in Grand Canyon at Sunset
 Oak Barn Merino in Cerrillos

Oak Barn Merino in Bacchus

The beginning of summer is just days away and lace is the perfect project for those endless summer days. Whether you’re going to a Stitch n’ Pitch, the beach, or just sitting on your deck, knitting a lace shawl is a lovely way to spend your time.
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Another OK Fiber Connection made – Heaven Sent Farm

In previous posts I’ve shown you a video of Cordero Farms and a link to Country Garden Farm, two of the Lost City Knits Oklahoma Fiber Partnership farms. A photo visit to those farms will be shared soon.

Today Chris is shipping off two more boxes of clean raw fiber to the mill for me to be spun into fabulous yarn for Lost City Knits customers. When those boxes return we’ll have East Friesian wool, llama, and alpaca yarn on hand! Some of it will be spun with bamboo, silk, or tencel, some hand-dyed and some will be offered in the natural colorways that represent the animals themselves. I’ve got more fiber left to skirt, clean and pick but I thought you might enjoy seeing what else Lost City Knits has been up to lately.

Recently I picked up more fiber at another Oklahoma farm, Heaven Sent Food & Fiber Farm in Welling, Oklahoma. Coleen, one of the owners, was gracious enough to give Chris and I the grand tour. Even before we met Coleen though these beautiful turkeys caught my eye. Aren’t they grand!

When I asked if I could visit, Coleen told me their farm was a work-in-progress. She and her husband moved to Oklahoma from Texas. I think Coleen is enjoying her exodus from the corporate world in a big way! I don’t know how she does it all – but Coleen is a dedicated food and fiber farmer. 
Here’s Coleen introducing us to one of the youngest members of the flock. 
These guys were basking in the sun enjoying the morning. They are part of the goal that Heaven Sent Farm has of living a fully sustainable lifestyle. 
This my friends is a merino. A merino in Oklahoma! Not that I’m any expert on who in Oklahoma is raising what kind of livestock, but this is the first I’ve heard of anyone raising merino sheep in our state. (And yes, we’ll be offering Oklahoma raised merino yarn in coming months!)
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How irresistible are alpacas? Look at those faces! Fiber lovers place a high value on alpaca yarn, and these sweet camelids have given up their fleeces for what I hope will be some gorgeous yarn. (yes these fleeces are on their way to the mill this week!) I’m looking forward to some alpaca and silk yarn…

Some animals just are naturally photogenic. This little guy is posing perfectly still for his photo op. 

While we as humans like to wear wool during the colder months, these sheep have to wear it year round. They’ve been recently shorn, but you can see that Coleen has found a breathable summer coat for her flock that helps keep the fleece cleaner (thank you!) even while the animals are outside enjoying our Oklahoma weather. 

After touring the pasture, Coleen invited me to check out a fleece she had drying. Yes, there was fondling of fiber and excited fiber geek talk going on. 
Good times. Good times. 
It’s my hope that we’ll have enough Oklahoma Fiber Partnership Yarn soon to be able to offer it for sale on this website for those people who can’t make it to the Cherry Street Farmers Market in Tulsa but have a sincere desire to purchase hand-dyed and natural Oklahoma yarn. 

We hope you check out the links to all of our Oklahoma Fiber Partnership farms. 
Coleen is an experienced spinner and offers not only hand-spun yarn but fiber for handspinners. 
She can be found regularly at the Tahlequah Farmers Market. 

Mid-May Adventures on the farm

Here on the farm we’ve survived a few heavy storms and it seems that the sunny season has finally arrived. Chris has been harvesting the first bundles of lavender, while I’ve been busy in the studio making soap, washing fleeces and dyeing like a woman possessed.

Late last week we picked up our food coop order in Tahlequah and on our way back decided to drive up into the high country of our farm, which means taking the back road in and crossing the creek into the lower pasture instead of the more civilized county dirt road. The intent was to discover if the storms had caused any damage and if there were any trees down that needed attention and to well…enjoy the view naturally. The view was gorgeous and although the back gravel road needs a bit of maintenance we didn’t see any trees down. We call down trees a windfall. Yep, for the fact in that the wind blew them down and that we can then burn them for heat next winter after they’ve been chopped and seasoned.

Crossing the creek can be an adventure sometimes. The bank erodes in spring rains and sometimes the slope can be quite dangerous, even in with four wheel drive. A few of the boulders that are placed as a water break have moved out of place too. This is Chris trying to make an informed decision on whether we should chance the crossing or return to the gravel road and go back the way we came in.
May Creek Crossing
All went well, although I admit to holding my breath and the ohmygawd bar!

Last night from the kitchen window I spied the culprit who has chewed the dill in my herb bed down to the nubbin. Cute little thing isn’t it? Well – it can have my dill, but it better stay away from the basil and parsley. Our kitchen window is a fabulous place to watch nature. It faces the herb bed and the north pasture beyond. When we built the house we enlarged the window in the kitchen. Who cares about overhead cabinets when you can have a great view?
Dill devourer

And for a little sneak peek at what’s been happening in the studio here is a sampling of yarns that will soon be added to the sidebar Yarn Shop.
Sneak Peek

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It’s all pretty simple really…

This thing we call life. It’s fairly simple. We can make it complicated, oh we can do that. But on this late spring evening sitting on an overturned galvanized bucket in a recently mowed pasture watching a gray heron cross overhead, and two of four dogs playing tag while the others watch, I am thankful for the simple life we lead.

It occurred to me as I was sharing the bucket with the one I love that I probably have never posted the name descriptions for the yarn line, except maybe the Oklahoma Fiber Partnership yarns. What’s in a name anyway? A glimpse into our little world…I guess. So below is a little glimpse into why I call our yarn line what I do. I hope you’ll enjoy knowing where the names are derived and a little about what they mean to me.

Keeping with my mellow and simple mood, tonight I’m swatching. I love a good swatchfest.

Lost City Silk
Six miles from our farm is Lost City, Oklahoma. Until recently, Lost City School was the only school where the Cherokee language was taught and spoken daily. Now all that remains is an abandoned school and an active cemetery. What better place to name a silk yarn after, both can easily slip away.

North Pasture Alpaca
Our north pasture has a zen path and an overturned galvanized bucket upon which dreams are spun. Just like the halo of alpaca, things tend to get a little hazy there.

Oak Barn Merino

Nearly every farm in rural Oklahoma has an old oak barn as does nearly every dyer have a merino yarn. Strong and warm, both are staples of our lives.

Tandem Wool/Silk

Riding a tandem or bicycle-built-for-two (ours is a blue Burley) is the idyllic dream of many people, and joyful when done by two well-suited to the task. The combined fibers of our wool/silk Tandem yarn are equally suited to bring you hours of wonderful knitting and a beautiful completed project.

Journal Swap!

See all the cool stuff? Those are from my journal swap partner. Her name is Jinn and she’s amazing. 
What pray tell is a journal swap partner? Here’s the skinny. On Ravelry there are groups for all sorts of hobbies and interests beyond just knitting. As some of you may know I’ve been keeping a journal forever. I first remember keeping a diary at age ten. There have been periods without journals or writing notebooks but not many. 
Back to the journal swap – once or twice a year a group organizes a journal swap. People post their answers to a questionnaire about their interests, needs, desires and type of journal they prefer. Now Ravelry is a knitting/crochet community so you know there is going to be yarn involved too. The organizer pairs up participants and they have 4-6 weeks to trade messages and get to know one another. 
My journal swap partner was a fascinating young woman in Wisconsin. We hit it off right from the start. She likes to travel, has musical talent, is a rock climber, is writing a novel, knits, does watercolor… See? Fascinating! 
I think our USPS packages passed somewhere in the midwest. What I sent her arrived a day before what she sent me. I was flabbergasted by my swap partner’s generosity and thoughtfulness when I opened my package. The wonderful purse-sized journals are eco-friendly and made from Italian paper and in colors I love. The paper – oh the paper is good! And one journal has graph paper, perfect for testing design ideas!  The yarn is a rich teal color lace yarn from Habu, and I do love Habu Textiles. This yarn requires much thought so I’ll chose the “right” pattern. 
And then…
She included a rock, and a framed photo. Strange? No – incredibly touching! She knew of my interest in Estonian knitting and my desire to someday visit Estonia. The photo is of a ruin in Estonia, and the rock is a memento from her trip to Estonia! Carried home in her backpack and now resting on my window ledge with other treasures. Estonia!!! 

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Summer in the Foothills

More than a week ago I bound off my Summer in the Foothills scarf late on Friday night. I quickly put it on the blocking wires after minimal soaking. I could have gotten one or maybe two more repeats of the center leaf chart but I was in a hurry. Why rush when there is yarn still in the ball? The next morning was a market day of course! The new Oklahoma Fiber Partnership yarn was a hit at the farmers market and I was happy that despite the calendar proclaiming it was the second week of May that I was able to wear my new scarf. We leave the farm around 4am on market days and my scarf felt fabulous wrapped around my neck. In fact I wore it all through the market!

My stellar photographer is in town today taking care of business but I was suddenly anxious to snap a few photos to share. So here it is, Summer in the Foothills, an original design, in colorway Cerrillos from the Oklahoma Fiber Partnership with Country Garden Farm, in a Llama/Tencel blend. One skein of 400yds (with leftovers). The second photo shows the colorway best I think.

edited to add: Summer in the Foothills pattern will soon be available in the sidebar!