Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winding On & Winding Down.

What a wonderful year for us at Farm Genevieve! In 2010, we saw many personal human and animal losses so we are incredibly thankful that 2011 has been much quieter in that regard and healthier. In fact, 2011 has been so busy, productive, and progressive, that we cannot wait for 2012 so that we can accomplish more!

In 2011, I finally made a commitment to eeking out a living from my fiber art which allows me to stay at home with our 55 animals! Actually, the decision became a necessity and "no brainer" after Walter almost hung himself in the fence when trying to eat a tree on the other side. The grass was literally greener on the other side of the pasture fence during our summer drought. It was just too enticing for a curious goat. Luckily, my husband was doing chores at the time and was able to save Walter!

Our Walter (Angora goat). Lovely fleece and personality!
Or maybe it was the day I came home and "someone" (surely Pierre) punched out a hole in the back of the barn and all the animals were frolicking in the cornfield (aka NOT our property!) behind the outbuildings.

Who me?
Pierre (Angora goat). "The baddest man in the whole damn town."
Or perhaps the decision was made when selling eggs was more economical then putting gas in my SUV and driving 60 miles round trip to work?!? So we added more chickens.

Here they are today at about 11 weeks old. They have about five more weeks of medicated chick starter food and then they can finally leave their confinement and join our other free-ranged chickens.

It's been a busy year for me in the fiber biz. I've been participating in a farmer's market since May, selling online at my Etsy store, and taking on custom hand spinning projects. Right now, I am spinning some very lovely alpaca for a new customer.

We (my husband and I) are also trying to make a real effort in our personal and professional lives to be greener, waste less, and consume less material goods. Therefore, I am trying to make it a priority to work with organic, recyclable, or sustainable materials even in the fiber world. Just remember, I said I'm working on it! I'm not there 100%, but I am trying!

As a start, I've created and crocheted plarn! Yes, plarn (plastic yarn) made from plastic bags. I think it is a great way to keep bags from filling up the landfill and decorating trees along the interstate.

My plarn rug in progress!
I've also discovered and am SUPER excited about t-shirt yarn. I mean seriously excited about it. I am in the process of making a bunch of red t-shirt yarn for a handwoven rug. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking how cool this rug is going to be--not kidding. I also take the time, during my nightly insights, to fret over things like: do I call it t-shirt yarn or tarn?!?! : )

And, finally, I made a commitment to myself to warp my loom by the end of the year. So, here I am, three days and counting and IT IS DONE! Yeah.

Now, I know you are thinking: Big whoop-di-do! But it takes me three days of planning before I even start weaving. Three days allows for all the "operator errors" to come to the surface. I mean, seriously, math is involved. And, I mean M.A.T.H. And not just addition and division, but calculations!

After I plan the project on paper, I wind the warp and dress the loom. Again, I do those on separate days to make sure that there aren't any counting or calculating errors. And, without going into too much detail, I will just say that I had to wind a second warp, because I messed up the first one. Not due to math, but due to a "not paying attention" error. Uggh!
The multi-colored warp was not a result of creativity but, alas, all that I had left in my stash!
After dressing the loom, I threaded the heddles and reed. And, to this weaver, there is nothing more beautiful than a clean shed. As a clean shed means your threading AND math were good! Phew.
A clean shed...ta da!
Finally, the actual weaving is underway! Again, in keeping with my determined 2012 philosophy to use what I have or recycle, I am weaving with fabric strips that I had in my stash.
The beginnings of a simple, plain weave, rag rug!
Looking back, 2011 was a bunch of small, successful steps...but they were all going forward. I am really looking forward to 2012. I promise to keep my eyes, ears, and mind wide open. I hope the same for you! Have a great new year with many successes--big and small!


  1. Carole Curry-WarrenDecember 29, 2011

    Thanks for the explanations, Cassie! I would love to sit and watch you make things! I recycle other items to use in my crafts. So, you and I do have things in common. I am so proud of your success and your unique lifestyle. This year, 2012, my goal is to become a woman you will not recognize when I walk up your drive again. Love to you both.

  2. I can't wait to see you again, too! Thanks for being my cheerleader. It means a lot! :)

  3. Ohohoh! Make reusable tote bags with the plastic bag yarn!

    And oh my do I love t-shirt yarn! I've been wanting to make a rug for ages, but I can't find the time. I did make Ellie a giant frog one year as my Earth Day project.

  4. I am totally in love with the t-shirt yarn. I'm weaving a rug with it right now. It's really an amazing fiber.