Sheep Checkup!

posted in: sheep, Uncategorized | 0

shetland sheep

Yes, there is always one sheep turned the wrong direction.  I should tilt the sides of the chute to keep that from happening I guess…  All the sheep are healthy and happy.  Waiting on lambs in Feb/March.

fleece

fleece

sheep

sheep

Washed Fleece and…

I have been washing fleeces.  Soon, I will be stocking the shop with locks and carded batts.  Today, I washed a light morrit Shetland lamb fleece.  The wool is next-to-skin soft.  I spun a small sample straight from the locks (no carding).  Nothing fancy, just a quick spin and a bit uneven (as I prefer it to be.)

shetland fleece

The kids’ kids (Nigerian Dwaft goats).

My daughter’s Paso Fino mare…an early Christmas present.  🙂

 

 

 

 

How to Cut and Sew a Hat

posted in: Knit, Machine Knit, Uncategorized | 7

I recently took an online class from Olgalyn Jolly.  Olgalyn is a knit textile and knitwear designer in NYC. She also teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Textile Arts Center.  When I saw she was offering an online class, I quickly signed up.  Her class answered my many questions about sewing knits.  I highly recommend her class if you want to learn about sewing knits with a sewing machine and/or serger.  When I say, “knits,” I am referring to sweater knits, not the thin commercial knit fabric.  To learn more about Olgalyn’s class click here.

This tutorial is for simple cut and sew knit beanie hats.  I have always wanted to make cut and sew hats.  They are simple and quick.  This is also a good way to use up leftover knit fabric and swatches.  I knit these hats (in photos) with a Passap E6000 and Silver Reed SK840.  Single bed fabrics are thin and pliable while double jacquard fabrics are thicker (warmer).  The thickness of the fabric may affect the seams.  The thicker the knit, the bulkier the seam.  This is not a concern, just something I thought I should point out.

You can use any knitting machine to knit your fabric or even use hand knit fabric.  You will need a rectangle of knit fabric which is wide enough to go around your head (minus ease), and tall enough to reach the top of your head/crown.

Use a flexible tape measure to measure the circumference around your head just above your ears.  Also measure from the middle of your ear to the top/middle of your head.  Once you have these measurements, you will know what size rectangle you need to knit.  Since knit fabrics have stretch, you will need to add some negative ease to your head circumference measurement to make the hat tight enough to stay on.  I am not going to go in detail about how to get gauge/size for your hat.  This information can be found easily online or in hand knitting books.

Hats are best when the fabric has some stretch.  Avoid 100% cotton.  It has no stretch.  Wool works very well.  Synthetics are also good.  Remember the seams are more visible on thicker knits like bulky knits and double bed jacquard.  Below, all the hats are double bed jacquard except for the green/gold which is a single bed fair isle.  I do find that wool steams very well and the seams tend to be nearly invisible.  The hats shown below where knit with mill end yarns/synthetics.  I did not pay much attention to pattern repeat or matching.  If you want a more invisible seam, be sure to have a perfect pattern repeat (this can easily be adjusted in DesignaKnit) and pin the back hat seam carefully.

Below is a rectangle of fabric knit in double bed jacquard knit on a Passap E6000.  This size is good for a women’s medium hat (See ruler measurements in the photo).  A starting point for cast on may be to make a swatch 50-0-50 with 100 lock passes (for Passap DBJ).  Make a swatch on your machine and figure gauge.  You will then know how many stitches to cast on and how many to knit.

I have the fabric laid out with the raw edge at the top and the cast on edge on the bottom.  The cast on edge will be the part of the hat above your eyes.  The raw edge/live stitches will be the crown seams.  In the photo below, you are looking at the right side (patterned side) of the fabric.  You need to fold the fabric with the right sides (patterned sides) together so you will be looking at the back (wrong side) of the fabric.

The photo below shows the fabric folded.  Right sides are together with the open edge on the left.  Be sure to match the edges up good.  Pin if necessary.  Be sure to sew starting at the cast on edge to ensure the seam matches up perfectly.  Take your fabric to the sewing machine and sew the seam from the cast on edge to the top live stitches/crown.

Below shows the seam sewn.  Steam open the seam to flatten.

Photo below- Now you need to use something round to mark the corners of the crown/live stitch edge.  A plate of any size will work.  Place the plate by the corner and mark the round edge line.  (I am using a yellow chalk marker to mark my lines.). Mark both sides.  Then sew on the line.  There will be an open gap that is not sewn (see note on next photo).  Use a serger or a zig zag to sew another stitch line by first line to reinforce edge for cutting.

Below shows after sewing.  Now cut off excess fabric.  Note: The top/middle of the crown seam of the hat is not sewn.  Only the corners have been sewn.

Below- Excess fabric cut off.

Below- Now you will fold the hat in half (the opposite direction) to sew second crown seam.

Below- Mark the seam by rounding both corners.  You will be sewing across the center seam to close the gap.  Be sure mark your sewing line so you do not leave a hole where the two crown seams intersect.

Below– After sewing the seam.  Be sure to sew the zig zag or serge the seam to reinforce the edge.

Below– Cut off excess fabric.

After cutting off excess fabric, steam the seams to flatten.

If you have any tips to share, please post in the comments.

Fall Weather and Riding!

Lots of things need to be done around the farm before winter sets in… but one of the most important is making sure there are no cold feet!  I have been knitting wool blend socks on my circular sock machine.  These socks are a basic pattern with a ribbed top and short row heel.  Knit on my Erlbacher Gearhart circular sock machine with a 54 cylinder.

 

circular sock machine socks

 

circular sock machine

csm

Yes, there is more going on than just sock knitting.  The cooler weather means lots more trail riding!

paso fino

 

Fleeces and Lambing!

posted in: farm, sheep, Uncategorized | 0

The 2019 lambing is not too far off.  I have been checking pedigrees and deciding which ewes I will be breeding this fall.  If you are looking for fine wool Shetland lambs, I will have some available in the spring.

shetland wool fleece

Here are a few photos of the 2018 fleeces.  I will be listing 2019 fleeces on my website (not my Etsy).  More info to come about that around shearing time.

shetland fleece shetland fleece shetland fleece shetland fleece

 

Summer Blanket

The last thing you need in the summer is a blanket, right?  Well, this was a special little blanket I knit for my nephew.  Knit on Passap E6000 4 color double jacquard and designed with DesignaKnit (DAK) software.  I have had quite a few people ask me how to design something similar using DAK.  In DAK, I open a blank stitch pattern in Stitch Designer.  I resize the pattern to whatever size (stitches and rows) I am wanting to make.  I then make my design on the blank canvas or import elements via Graphic Studio (DAK).  I know it is said DAK is very hard to use.  If you print out the instruction manual and work out using the tools, it is possible to teach yourself how to use it.  It just takes time and practice.

passap e6000 machine knitting

 

I bought some bright lights for my AVL loom.  They are a long strip of LED lights.  The strip of lights is sticky one one side.  You stick them on and cut off the excess.  They have a dimming switch which is really nice for times I don’t need the lights to be extremely bright.  I took the photo below with all the room lights off except the loom lights.

 

It has been quite a hot summer which means getting up even earlier to ride.  This is Atarah, my Paso Fino mare.  She has only been on trails for the last couple of months (former show horse) and she is doing quite well.

paso fino

Fancy Pots

posted in: Knit, Machine Knit, Uncategorized | 0

OK, from reading the title of this post you may have been expecting something really amazing... but no...sorry to disappoint you...  LOL!  I found a pattern on Knit Picks website for flower pot cozies.  I didn't like their colorwork pattern but thought it would be a great way to knit swatches and have a use for them.  I knit my cozies on my Silver Reed 840 standard gauge and used Designaknit for the patterning.  In Designaknit, I opened a new pattern of 30 stitches and 100 rows.  For the fair isle designs--I imported a vertical border and centered it in the middle of the pattern. (edit/import/vertical border).  The purple cozy was just knit in a tuck stitch pattern (not centered).

 

The cozy pattern is simple:

Cast on 15-0-15.  I used fingering weight yarn.  (You can use thicker yarn, but knit fewer rows of patterning.)

Knit 7 rows.

Place eyelets approximately every 4th stitch or so.

Knit 4 rows.

Set your machine up for patterning (fair isle, tuck, slip whatever you decide) and knit 100 rows.  (This is what I used for the small and medium terra cotta pots--adjust as needed for your pots.)

Knit 7 rows of stockinette.

Place eyelets approximately every 4th stitch or so.

Knit 4 rows.

Cast off.

Finish with heavy steam.  (I knit with wool yarn.)

Wrap cozy around pot and lace heavy cotton yarn through the eyelets (like lacing a shoe).  Adjust to fit pot.

 

 

Shearing Day

posted in: sheep, Spinning Fiber | 0

Summer weather seems to have finally arrived.  I sheared all the sheep and have been working through skirting all of the fleeces.  Many of the Shetland fleeces have really nice color variations throughout the fleece.  If you are looking for color, we will have lots of colorful fine wool Shetland lambs available next year and a few white lambs also.

 

 

 

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