Friday, January 12, 2018

Loving These Colorful Crochet Hexagons

I started a project I have been thinking about doing for a while. When working on my last book project, I discovered the versatility of the hexagon shape. I know - I know - late to the party considering all the people who have made Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilts over the years - including my Gram Frieda. (I have yet to do any English Paper Piecing.) In my new book, I used the hexagon motif in several of the designs (more on that soon). 

Several years ago, I saw the movie Nanny McPhee written and directed by Emma Thomspson. Every holiday season, I re-watch it. It is a sweet story but the real joy in it for me is all the fantastic color, set design, interior scenes and the fabrics and clothing - so many of them handmade. 

Here are a couple blurry photos I took as the movie was playing. I fell in love with the afghan. Every time I watch the movie I notice something else about the colors, the art and the fabrics and costumes. 


Back to the new project. I looked through books and the web to find a hexagon stitch pattern I liked. There sure are a lot of them out there. I wanted one that looked like a granny square but with six sides. I wanted it to be easy to remember so I can knock these things out over and over without thinking. 

Here's what I have done so far. 

These are finished including weaving in the ends - 31 so far. I think I need hundreds. 

These need their ends woven in.

I'm still deciding if I want to add an extra round of crochet to the hexagons so they are a little bigger. I may do. I plan to sew them together by hand. I love to sew by hand so it won't be a chore for me. When I made my last Granny Square afghan awhile back I edged all the squares in a chocolate brown. I am contemplating having the same color go around each edge. Still deciding if I want it to have a cohesive design or an allover crazy colorful look. I'm leaning towards the crazy color. 

This project will probably take me a couple years but at least I started. I sure do have enough odds and ends of my Color By Kristin and Julia yarns to make several afghans. 

Have you made a crochet granny square afghan yet? Are you totally addicted? I found this one by blogger Erika Eckles. I think the colors are stunning. Read about her project and check out her tutorial for half hexies for the edges here.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Looking forward to 2018

Welcome everyone to 2018 here at Getting Stitched on The Farm. I'm just finding my mojo again after a lovely holiday season. I hope you and yours enjoyed a good break and found time to spend with friends and family. 

We here in western Massachusetts, like so many in the US, had some of the coldest weather ever recorded for the past two weeks. I don't know how people live in Alaska. It was all we could do to keep the house heated so the pipes didn't freeze. We have an oil/wood furnace and when it is really cold, we burn so much wood just to heat up the house. It was almost a full-time job hauling wood in and down the cellar stairs and stoking the furnace. Wood makes nice warm and cozy heat but it is so messy. If I were a neat-nik, it would drive me absolutely mad but I'm not so I put up with the mess. We burned at least a cord of wood in the past couple weeks and our supply is dwindling and will run out before the heating season is over. 

Our house is old and the old windows, even with storms, are drafty. When it is really cold, I put pieces of foam insulation in the windows to keep the heat indoors vs evaporating out through the windows. It's a bit of a solution but it looks so ugly. You probably know I am not a fan of ugly. Clutter is fine but ugly drives me a bit crazy. And I really hate not having light pouring into the house. I find myself depressed and moody. Luckily, the weather has warmed up and 20 degrees feels like a heatwave. I still put the foam in the windows at night but at least I can let the sunlight in during the days. To keep the kitchen pipes from freezing, I keep 100 watt bulbs lit in the cabinet under the sink so the pipes don't burst. Knock on wood, that hasn't happened yet but I do know people who have had that happen and it is a real mess and inconvenience, never mind the expense. So far so good. 

The Farmer has been busy just trying to keep the sheep fed. You can't imagine how the severe cold impacts the farm. The diesel tractor wouldn't start for days. The frost free water hydrant froze. The bales of haylage were frozen solid. Luckily his brother also farms just across the road and they can help each other out when one of the tractors is broken or the water is out. And he had put up some dry hay so the sheep were able to eat that. Amazingly, the sheep and Great Pyrenees Guard Dogs don't mind the cold nearly as much as the humans. They just continue along as if normal. 

Julia is off from the local community college for another couple of weeks. She is signed up for classes again next semester and seems to be enjoying her classes and the professors quite a bit. 

That is it from here. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and are looking forward to 2018. I'll be back more now that I have started up blogging again. I've got to get myself organized and plan the year out. What do you have planned for 2018? 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Holiday Good Wishes 2017.....

.... from our farmhouse to yours. Here's to the important things - spending time with family and friends, enjoying a good meal, and cookies and sweets. May you be warm and cosy and safe. 

I wish you the best and thank you all for your support, friendship, encouragement, and kind words. May the coming year bring you creativity, health and happiness. 


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Last Minute Holiday Knitting Ideas

Thought I would take time today to share some of the patterns I have designed over the years that are perfect for holiday gift knitting. I know it is last minute but there is still time. 

First off - a free pattern called Elves, Gnomes, Wizards, Santa + Leo Tolstoy. It is a cute little project perfect for leftover wools. After knitting, felt it in the washing machine - then add a bit of fleece for a beard. Perfect for the top of a wine bottle or as an ornament or gift topper. Get the pattern HERE. 

I have two fantastic Christmas Stocking Patterns. They each offer many options and variations. 

Buy on Ravelry here or via my website here. $12 PDF download.

This Colorful Christmas Stocking Pattern is a bit easier with only 1 color per row or round. 

Buy on Ravelry here or via my website here. $12 PDF download.

Stocking caps are perennial favorites for holiday knitting. A bit "Seussical" some folks have said, here's Julia modeling the Farmgirls Stocking Cap. It is sized for kids and adults and will work for both boys and girls, women and men. 

Buy on my website here or on Ravelry here. $6 PDF download.

For your four legged friends, here's a fantastic garter stitch dog sweater. It is sized in 8 sizes from little dog to very large. 

Buy on my website here or on Ravelry here. $6 PDF download. 

Lastly, one of my favorite patterns to knit - The Quarters Cap. Sized from babies to adult men, this is an addicting pattern to pump out for holiday gifts. 

Buy on my website here or on Ravelry here. $5 PDF download.

I hope these photos have inspired you to pick up your needles and begin a new project. Happy knitting everyone! 

Friday, December 08, 2017

Kristin's On-Line Pottery and Tea Towels Now Available

A quick note today to let you all that my On-Line Pottery and Tea Towel Etsy Shop is now re-stocked. 

Here is the link to my Etsy Shop. 

Hop on over and check out all the colorful pottery including vases, mugs, platters and more. I've also designed and sewn some new patterns of tea towels that are also in the shop. 

Here are a few of the items now for sale.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email at kristinnicholasATgmailDOTcom

A note on the freight charges - I make a guess on postage. I ship via US Postal Service. If I have overcharged, I will refund the amount in excess of $2. When combining orders, the freight charges will likely look higher. Thanks for understanding. All my pottery is different sizes and weights and there is no way to standardize as each piece is different. 

Happy shopping at Kristin's On-Line Pottery Etsy Shop

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Photos from the 3rd Holiday Open House

We had a fantastic weekend here at Leyden Glen Farm. So many folks came to the 3rd Holiday Open House and it was great fun to meet people who follow my blog, our farm, and/or my design work. We also had a strong show of support from people we know from our two farmers markets venues in Amherst and Northampton. Thank you everyone for coming! So fun to meet you all on our home turf. 

As per my usual, I totally forgot to take any photos. My excuse is that I was distracted -- as I should have been -- welcoming folks to our home and chatting with them. It's a bit of a weird experience doing this but everyone was so nice and interested in the decor and my art. It was so much fun to share it with people and hopefully they went home inspired to try something new in their home. 

Deborah Garner and Alicia Hunsicker were on the porch sharing and selling their work. Gail Callahan was in the library with her gorgeous hand dyed yarn and silks and her color grid. She took a little video that she shared on Instagram here. Farmer Mark spent the two days outside greeting people, talking sheep, and selling our pasture raised lamb - now he has to catch up with various chores and get ready for winter. The sheep and dogs were a big hit with visitors. Unfortunately no photos though! 

I took these photos before breaking down all the displays. You can see the rooms and how they were set up. 
Thank you to the two angels - Jeanne and Kathy - who arrived a little early and helped set up the food table and lay out some project samples. Also thanks to Andrea and Clara for running the sales table on the kitchen island. It takes a village!

Julia had a successful couple days selling pom poms and glitter ornaments and pine cones. It was very encouraging for her. 

Thanks to everyone who picked up Christmas gifts or bought things for themselves. I still have a good stock of my handmade handpainted pottery left and linen/cotton canvas tea towels. I am in the process of uploading them to my Etsy site. Boy -- it is time consuming - taking photos, copy to write, postage rates to guess (the post office seems to keep raising their rates on me and you). I'll keep you apprised of the re-stocking and opening of the Etsy shop here on the blog, on Instagram, Facebook, and my newsletter. Gee - aren't there a lot of things to constantly update when you run an on-line business. It is pretty mind boggling. 

Back to work - have a great day everyone. Enjoy the photos and thanks everyone for coming out! 

Sadie the welcoming committee

Some of the tea towels I design and made

Friday, December 01, 2017

Moving Sheep + Counting Down for the 3rd Holiday Open House

Busy week it has been. Tomorrow and Sunday are the 3rd Annual Open House here at Leyden Glen Farm. (Specifics at end of this post.) I've been making like a crazy woman - just ask my family. But before that, I helped The Farmer move the sheep out to their late autumn grazing on Eden Trail. 

The sheep know where to go - they have done it for years. But there is always lots of disorder when you are moving 200 animals on a road with cars who might be on their way to work. And then there is the temptation of fields of green grass to be sampled. Here are a few photos of the move. You can see Kate as a tiny speck. 

Kate is coming along. She isn't near the dog Nessie was but she gets stronger and smarter with each big move. She really needs more practice so this was a great opportunity for her. 

Beau and I brought up the rear. Here he is with his flock. He stays with them keeping them safe from wild things. He is such a sweet boy.  

Here are a couple of photos of the pottery I will be selling. I'll also have my books, notecards, and tea towels of my own design - this is the only place you can purchase them!, some yarn and crewel wool supplies. Julia is still making ornaments. Gail is arriving this morning with all her Kangaroo Dyer products. Deborah arrived last night with her gorgeous textiles and jewelry. And Alicia hung her fine art on the walls of the porch. It is going to be a fun event. Lots of fun and individual holiday gifts. Hope some of you can come. 

3rd Annual Holiday Open House at Leyden Glen Farm
Saturday and Sunday December 2 + 3
Hours - 10 to 4
31 Glen Road
Leyden, MA 01301
Find directions at Google under Leyden Glen Lamb.
If you are lost, ask for the Duprey Sheep Farm
or call 413-774-6514

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Come to our Holiday Open House this Weekend!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday here at our farm with many of my family members arriving. The Farmer hitched up the haywagon and we enjoyed a ride up the hill and enjoyed the amazing view. I hope you and yours had a nice holiday too.

This coming weekend December 2/3 my family and I are hosting our 3rd Holiday Open House here at our Leyden Glen Farm. Hours are 10-4 both days. 

I have been working like a mad woman painting pottery and firing it in my kiln. 

Here is a load that is still cooling in the kiln. I will need to add the glossy glaze after these pieces cool and then fire them again. 

This week, I am sewing tea towels which I had printed with my very own textile designs. Fingers crossed my sewing machine doesn't break down. It is more than 40 years old. 

Julia has been keeping me company in my studio with her very own bit of holiday making. She is rocking the pom poms. Tomorrow she is breaking out the glitter! 

There will be sheep to visit and of course our farm raised lamb will be available for holiday meals. My friends Gail Callahan (aka The Kangaroo Dyer) and Deborah Garner will setting up their incredible wares. And this just in - my neighbor Alicia Hunsicker will be making a special appearance on Saturday with her amazing art. 

I hope some of you can make it to the farm. We are two hours from Boston, 1 hour from Hartford and 3 1/2 hours from NYC. 

Find directions here. We are also on Google as Leyden Glen Lamb if you are using GPS. 

Hours are 10 to 4 both days.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Around the Farm

The weather has changed and it officially feels like we are deep into November. Chilly evenings, frost in the morning and days that go from cold to warm and then back down to cold at dusk. The light is disappearing fast. And the color is almost gone. We are left with lots of gray and bits of burnt orange in the form of leaves left on the oak and beech trees and bittersweet climbing and strangling the trees. 

Here are a few photos of my garden as it descends towards the deep sleep of winter for several months. This blog is such a fantastic place for me to chronicle our farm, the garden, my artistic and creative life and more here. I hope you enjoy seeing what it looks like outside our cozy farmhouse. 

This is the end of the sunflowers a couple weeks ago. 

Then the cold came in and darker days. The sunflowers continued to decay and will continue over the winter. I don't till them in - they provide lots of food for the critters all winter long. 

The kale doesn't mind the frost. We will eat it until the deer do it in. 

The sun sets on the hill beyond my pottery studio. I planned the orange door to pick up the autumn colors of the leaves.