Thursday, February 14, 2019

More from Lambing 2019 + Happy Valentine's Day

Here are some photos I took over the last couple weeks at the lambing barns. 

There is something so reassuring about little lambs and mamas together - watching the mamas take care of the new ones.... watching them grow and flourish and become teen lambs... moving them out onto pastures to see them grow larger and figure out the world they are born into.  

Enjoy everyone and I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Brand new twins. 

Another brand new lamb.

Getting ready to feed one of the big bales inside the barn. 

Gotta be careful with that big tractor. 

Those twins from the first photo outside on their second day. 



Nice cushiony bed.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

New Life Here at the Farm

We are almost mid-way into February. Since I have posted here, we have had THE weather. First below zero for several days....... two snowstorms..... then a big melt-down. All through the weather events, life goes on. The lambs keep coming. Lambing started out rough this year but things have gotten better over the last few weeks. Here are some recent photos from the barn. 

The earlier born lambs are starting to pick at the hay. 

They love to snuggle down into the hay. With the rain and melting snow, it is difficult to keep the barn dry so the remnants of hay bales help dry things out a bit. 

So sweet this little one.

This black mama actually had a set of twins. The white one is hiding behind her. We have been waiting for a couple weeks for her to lamb - she just kept growing bigger. She is an awesome mom. Do you see her bug-eyes? That is because she was being protective of her lambs and didn't want me anywhere near them. We let her out of the pen and they are doing great. 

Another sweet one - probably about a week old. 

In this photo you can see the size differences. 

Here's The Farmer feeding one of his bottle lambs. This little guy's mama doesn't have enough milk for twins so she gets supplemented with a bottle and lamb milk replacer. 

More cuteness.

At the end of the day the sky was turning a pretty pink. 

That's it for today. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

A New Crewel Pillow for My Sister's New Condo

I've been meaning to share a project I just finished. It is a hot pink crewel work pillow for my sister Lynn who just moved into a new condo. Lynn is a real color lover and artist in her own right. I wanted to make something punchy and happy for her new home. 

I used a Hot Pink Linen Fabric Square that I sell on my website - links at end of post to purchase. I made a foam stamp in the shape of an ogee with pointy ends and printed the fabric all over with dark brown Jacquard Textile Paint. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of the linen before I started stitching. Oooooops. 

For stitching, I used the Crewel Wool that I sell on my website. I always travel with an assortment of colors so that I can pick and choose as I go. My process is very improvisational. With an assortment of colors, I just pick and choose as I go. I keep my PDF pattern - The Circles Sampler - on my phone so that I can refer to the 26 stitches that are included in case I want to try a new stitch. That pattern is available for download on website here

My first step was to outline all the ogees with yellow stem stitch. Above you can see that in progress. 

After getting that bit of mindless stitching done - which I personally love doing - I worked on each ogee separately. Some were more complicated than others. I love improvising like this with needle and thread - it is so free and easy and totally fun. 

Below I am sharing each ogee with the stitches I used. All stitches are taught by illustration in the Circles Sampler PDF Download. 

French Knots • Palestrina Stitch • Straight Stitch • Fly Stitch

French Knots • Laid Stitch • Cross Stitch

French Knots • Chain Stitch Packed very close

French Knots • Fly Stitch to create diamond grid • Chain Stitch up middle • 
Running Stitch on top of Chain Stitch

French Knots • Chain Stitch Stripes with Running Stitch up each stripe •
Diagonal Straight Stitches with Couching to anchor them to fabric in between Stripes

French Knots • Fly Stitch worked in Stripes leaning opposite each row. The Fly Stitches were worked in 3 colors. 

French Knots • Chain Stitch Stripes with Running Stitch up each stripe
Lazy Daisy Stitches worked perpendicular to each stripe

Here is the pillow top before I sewed it. 

Here is the back side of the work. 

And below is the pillow finished. 
To make the pillow, I use a technique that makes a easily removable pillowcase with no zipper. You can find a tutorial on the Blog HERE for that

On the right of the photo, you can see my Hexagon Afghan. There are Free Instructions for that project HERE on the blog

The super fun thing about a project like this is - 
It travels well!
Each little ogee can become its own bit of experimentation.
You never get bored because the combination of stitches is endles..

Here are the items that you can purchase from my web shop. The linen comes in many colors - including new shades of off white, flaxen, sunflower, coral, fawn, and grass green. 
The Circles Sampler Kit - includes thread, yarn and a chenille needle - If you would like an alternate color from the Turquoise linen featured, leave a note on the order. - $46.00
You can take a Crewel Embroidery Class with me over on Bluprint (formerly Craftsy)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Lots of Snow + Lambing Mid-January 2019

We had a pretty big weather event on Saturday through Sunday here in western Massachusetts. It snowed and snowed and we got 12" of powdery fluff here at our farm. We are used to snow in the winter - in fact, it isn't winter without it. But then the temperature dipped very, very cold to 10 below zero for a couple days. That is no fun and it is tough for the little lambs although they do keep themselves huddled together in the hay. Only one had to spend a couple days in the bathroom! That is good compared to some years. He is back in the barn now that it has warmed up. He was a bottle lamb so the stint in the bathroom didn't pull him away from his mama - thank goodness. 

Here is a good article by Kim Goodling about how sheep stay warm in the cold. She lives with her flock of Gotlands in northern Vermont. 

Today it is weirdly warm and pouring down buckets of rain. There is nowhere for the melting snow to go. I'm thinking it is all going to freeze on up and be a giant mess. Better go pick up some more sand and salt at the Town Garage. Will definitely need it tomorrow. 

Here are some photos I took the other day in the middle of the snow storm just after chores. The sheep and lambs are doing great - even with the bad weather. I'm glad I got these shots before it turned into a mudhole.  Enjoy everyone. 

This is a long view of our 100 foot greenhouse. There is a wooden manger to feed hay down one side. 

On the other long side of the barn, we set up temporary pens using hog panels. The newborns, or those that aren't doing fabulously, stay in the pens until they are strong enough to compete out in the open barn. That can be anywhere from one day to a week. The bottle lambs stay in one pen so it easier to feed them. 

These are last year's lambs picking through the snow. 

Here are some mamas doing their job - feeding their lambs. 

During the storm, most of the sheep stayed inside. There are always some though that like to take an adventure. 

Here are some super cute lamb photos. These little guys were so new, they didn't have the paint on them yet. The day of the storm there were seven lambs born. Something about snow and labor and the barometric pressure can cause sheep to go into labor.  

More from Lambing 2019 + Happy Valentine's Day

Here are some photos I took over the last couple weeks at the lambing barns.  There is something so reassuring about little lambs and m...