Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Farmgirls Just Do It - So Should You!

Almost every day after school, Julia and I head down to the sheep barn to visit the new arrivals. Often there is a just-born lamb, like there was yesterday.

Sometimes we get to witness the birth of a baby. Lambing season is the most exciting time to be living here on our farm. We have to put up with the cold and the snow but as long as it isn’t several degrees below zero (the tractor usually won’t start when it is that cold), it isn’t bad. During the day, the greenhouse barn is really quite warm. It’s amazing to me that mostly the sheep and the lambs prefer being outside during the day. They laze around in the sun, pick at the hay and generally do nothing. The babies do a lot of sleeping, just like human infants.

The photo below shows Julia checking out this new lamb to see if it is a ram or a ewe lamb. You can see the iodine on its umbilical cord.

By the time Julia and I arrive at the barn in the afternoon, the sun has gone low in the sky and it has gotten much colder. Warm and wooly hats sure do make the difference when we are doing chores or visiting.

This week we have added giving Eeyore the Donkey and Jeremy the Llama apple snacks. Most of our animals are not very tame. They are used to the three of us and the noise of the tractor. Catching a sheep is always pretty difficult – except for Cora. We are hoping that the apples will make our two guard animals a little more friendly. Time will tell. It’s easy to pick up the little lambs during the first week but after that, they are really speedy.

Today Julia was wearing the newest PDF pattern that is available here on my on-line shop – The Farmgirls’ Stocking Cap. I wrote about how the cap got its name about a month ago here on this post. Read it if you are new to the blog because this was really a great story! That is our neighbor Kayla with the Farmgirls' Stocking Cap on riding her steer Ferdinand.

The Farmgirls’ Stocking Cap is knit in my Julia Yarn and a great project if you are new to working in Fair Isle knitting. It is knit in the round so you will only have to work on the right side of the knitting. This means that you will not have to purl any sts when working in the colorwork design! To create the colorwork design, you will follow a small graph, working from right to left knitting with the color specified in the pattern.

The stocking cap shaping of the hat occurs in the solid color garter ridges which makes shaping very easy. To work a garter ridge in the round, you’ll have to knit one round, then purl one round. The decreases happen in the knit round - they are what gives the cap its distinctive cone shape. The garter ridge is completed to make its characteristic bump by purling the second round. Each Fair Isle stripe is separated by two garter ridges. Trust me, it is very easy! You all have to get over your Fair Isle Fears!!!!!

I have been getting the nicest notes over the last couple weeks about how much people are enjoying my new book Color By Kristin. It seems the bright colors are really resonating with everyone now that we are in the midst of winter in the northern hemisphere. I am amazed how many people though are writing to say they are scared to knit my Fair Isle designs! Oh, please everyone – just give it a try.

Like with everything you learn, knitting in Fair Isle is difficult at first. With every project, your skills will improve. You have to start somewhere but the most important thing is to get over your Fear of Fair Isle and just begin! Start with a small project (like the Family of Slipper Socks from the book -read about them here- or this Farmgirls’ Stocking Cap). You will feel a real sense of accomplishment AND make something beautiful. In the Farmgirls’ Stocking Cap Pattern, I give you some good practical advice and in my new book there is lots and lots of practical instruction.

So go for it! You’ll be glad you did. You can order Color By Kristin directly from me here on my website and I will sign it and ship it right out to you. Selling books direct to you the knitter helps keep this little farm a-humming so that I can keep making books. But by all means, buy my book from your local yarn or bookstore if you are lucky enough to have one close to your home.

Today's Lesson - Be a Farmgirl and Just Do It - Knit Some Fair Isle!


carol said...

My daughter bought three of your books for Christmas for me! I'm really looking forward to starting something Fair Isle. I love your colorwork.

loonyhiker said...

Just wanted you to know that this "city girl" has really enjoyed your lambing stories! I even make my hubby look at the pictures! :) Thanks so much for sharing!

Deborah said...

I always love to see the new lambs. The hat is fun and looks good on everybody! I'm on the last two motifs of the Extra-Long Scarf. I've used all stash yarn, but I'm to the end of the dark pink and have to dive into the stash at work to see if I can find enough to finish--if not, then I'll add something else. That's the beauty of Fair Isle!

Beth said...

Dear Kristin,

I have your Kristin Knits book and I love it! I'm going to try to figure out where to get Julia yarn, and check out the farm girl hat pattern and your new book. I love your sense of color. love, Beth

Sara said...

The farm girl hat is adorable! I love it. Your book is on my wish list.

Michele in Maine said...

The new lambs are sooo tiny and cute, I can't stand it. I know each one brings extra work but the cuteness is probably what pulls you through (just like with real children!).

Andrea said...

The colors ares stunning! Thanks for your inspiring designs and great farm pics... they always cheer up a dull day.

Traci F said...

I love the pictures of Julia. Her smile always reminds me to stop and enjoy the moment. She is so beautiful!

Diana Troldahl said...

LOVE the pics of Julia in her hat, especially the last one.
Two of my nieces had a grandpa who raised sheep, and they did the whole 4-H thing with them, too. Now one raises goats, so I made her a fair isle goat hat based on an old Egyptian pattern. (but in bright yellow, pink and green). Learning to knit Fair Isle is easier than it was for anyone to learn to knit the first time they picked up needles, and SO worth the effort.

Bonnie said...

Today's photos are just terrific and the hat is great! Thanks for a fun post.

Willow said...

AND you have a two page spread in KnitPicks' new catalog!

fracksmom said...

I love your pictures. your photography skill makes me feel the lambs are so real and touchable.
your daughter is a great model, she looks so happy.
I never miss your blog it always brightens my day.
Thanks for sharing

Deborah said...

For Christmas my husband bought your latest book (I already own the others and had it on my Christmas wish list). Apparently before I received it as a gift he had spent a little time looking through it and said to me "That is quite a book with nice patterns" and words to the effect of he could see why I had requested it. I thought you might enjoy that. I also wanted to say that I have been following your blog for as long as I can remember and my favorite picture of your daughter is the one with the cat. That is such a great picture! Hope you are having a good day.

inadvertent farmer said...

I think your book would make a super gift for my 22 year old son who loves to knit! Your photos made me smile...and snuggle closer to my woodstove, Kim

inadvertent farmer said...

Just purchased your hat is beautifully illustrated and the instructions are terrific, thanks! Kim

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I am with you on colorwork. All new things seem a little scary at first, but I am a color fanatic and could not put it off long. My 10th pair of socks (I knit over 30 pr the first year) were stranded colorwork. I didn't enjoy it that time, both because of the stitch pattern and because I misunderstood some advice I'd been given.

However, for pair 13 I used 4 colors of yarn (only 2 per row). I designed the charts myself (did not realize others might not do it that way) and I loved both the process and the resulting pair. Hooked!

I tell students, it's just one stitch at a time, really. So you find the color you need, and you knit with it. Then the next stitch is whatever color, and that's what you knit. It's so entrancing, watching the colors grow!!!

I have your stitching book, Kristin Knits and Color By Kristin. Have been playing with a little embroidery lately.

Also, I'm working on a fingerless version of Mother-Daughter mittens right now. Photo on my blog at

LOVE your work. Thanks for sharing your life as well as your creative products. Much appreciated.

amy said...

Beautiful! I love that last photo so much that I included it in a blog post. Really nice work!