Thursday, March 16, 2006

Getting Stitched Down on the Farm

I live with my husband Mark and daughter Julia on a farm in the hills of western Massachusetts. My husband is The Farmer – he grew up just across the hill from this place we bought 8 years ago. If you know any farmers, you know that genetically there must be something in their DNA to keep them farming forever. (Mark too has a real job.) Primarily, we raise sheep. But along with the sheep come fences, haying (so the sheep have something to eat in our long winters), lambing (in the midst of winter when no human in their right mind would “drop” a lamb in 0 degree weather), shearing (we hire a great guy named Kevin Ford who blade shears – that’s right – no power – just hand muscles and some sharp metal), border collies (to collect the sheep – we have two - Phoebe and Ness) and lots more.

We (me that is) also raise chickens (for their eggs, meat, and entertainment), pigs (with my partner in swine Mike, the baker), and we all grow an amazing patch of sunflowers which we sell by the side of the road when they bloom in August.

I’m Kristin Nicholas and I design “things” for a living – mostly textile and yarn related, write non-fiction books about making things, work with companies on new textile-related products, take care of the gardens, try to keep the dirt and clutter under control (I have pretty much given up) and entertain my precocious daughter Julia.

Julia is seven and she is a “cat-farmer.” She is crazy about all things “cat” She (we) has 7 cats right now – Vera, Charlie, Sebastian, Boo-Boo, Lily Pons, Cookie, and Ginger plus a barn cat named Ella who “arrived” last September and hasn’t left yet. It helps that we feed her. Julia likes to draw but mostly, if you ask her, she’s a social butterfly and will talk anyone’s ear off.

My goal with this blog is to bring you into the daily workings of farm life, living in the country, and to update you on what I am creating. As I travel (infrequently) around to promote my books and work, I often hear people say “boy, what I wouldn’t do for your life.” So hear it is – the good and the bad – the funny and the sad. And I promise I’ll throw in some creative tidbits from time to time.

I’d love to hear from you too!


Addie Lee said...

Kristin, I found out about you after purchasing my first Embellishment magazine. Great article!! I have a brand new sewing machine, my first since jr. high. That was a long time ago!! I'm an artist wannabe. I love to garden and cook. So far painting and mosaics have been my avenues of expression. But there is something about sewing that has been calling. I even tried my hand at knitting a few dishrags, but I'm not too coordinated!

I think I envy your farm life, but having not lived it, that may just be a romantic dream! I have always wanted chickens, but my husband says not in the city.

I'm going to check out your book, colorful stitchery. Last 4th of July we went to my husband's family ranch in the Panhandle of Texas. I took a bunch of scraps of various materials and tons of embroidery floss. The idea was to have random shapes with free-form embroidery. Everybody there participated and we stitched it all together for a haphazard wall hanging. It turned out great and everybody loved working on it! I hope to get more ideas from your book.

simmyb said...

I've just come across your blog and I wanted to say welcome to blogworld. I've really enjoyed reading your posts about your farm, the animals, your work and about maple syrup. It reminds me of 'Little House on the Prairie' the closest we've got to America in our house (along with the Betsy Tacy books). Looking forward to more inspiring posts from you.....