Recently, we had several great groups of rug hookers spend the day around the big oak table working on their rugs. It never fails to amaze me how creative people can be. Sure, everybody starts with a pattern, but the way the rug unfolds is never the same for two people.
For example, this snowman rug was originally shown in very dark, un-snowman-like colors. But Lauren decided she wanted a more traditional, snowman-like snowman, so she picked wool to get her the feel she was after.
This artist chose a proddy technique for the border -- certainly not the traditional finish.
And what's an artist to do when she can't decide how she wants to hook her Santa rug? The only logical answer is to hook it twice, two different ways.
There was much discussion around the table as to the finishing of this pumpkin rug. What type of border should it have -- I am anxiously awaiting the final decision, but I have no doubt it will be beautiful.
These artists are going the traditional route for their Santa and chicken rugs.
And I have decided to leave out a few design elements in the bee skep rug I am hooking.
If you look closely at the edges, you'll see the pattern calls for a zig-zag line all the way around. And while I think the addition of the zig-zag would look nice, it would probably kill me to hook it and cause the completion of the rug to be delayed even longer! So out goes the zig-zag and in goes plain background.
If you're new to rug hooking, or if you're just looking for a group to hook with, join us at our next open hooking day, Wednesday, December 11th between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
I want you all to know that a miracle has occurred. An honest-to-goodness miracle.
I have finished a knitting project.
Sure it's a simple scarf/cowl that most normal knitters would have had finished in about two days. But I would say I'm not your normal knitter. In fact, I might be the world's slowest knitter.
I can put a project down and it can stay down for days, weeks even. I guess if I'm being totally honest, I'd have to say I can put it down for months.
Now don't get me wrong. I love to knit. And I certainly have more than my share of beautiful yarn at my disposal. What I don't have is time. Long, uninterrupted stretches of time that can be filled with knitting.
But this past week, I gave myself a talking to and said, "Sit down. Grab your knitting. FINISH SOMETHING! You have too many half-done projects hanging over your head!" Surprisingly, I listened to myself.
So out came the Fred and Michaelangelo yarn and one project moved from the To Do list to the Done list.
Fred and Michaelangelo are my two favorite goats and this yarn is 100% mohair.
Fred has gone on to live in greener pastures so this is the last of his yarn, making it all the more special. Fred deserved to have a project completed out of his yarn.
But something very odd happened while I was knitting.
The knitting "bug" bit and I can't/won't/don't want to stop knitting. I've moved on to another cowl called the North Market Neck Wrap.
I picked up this pattern a few months ago at Knitter's Merchantile in Columbus. The designer is local and every finished piece I picked up and admired at Knitter's Merchantile was from her. If you are a Ravelry member, you can find and purchase her patterns under the name NorthbrooKnits.
One day into my new project, and I'd say I'm moving along nicely.
This yarn is a blend of llama and merino and is super soft.
So this afternoon, I think I'll head out to the patio with my knitting and a radio to listen to the Cleveland Browns game (They are actually winning. Think I may have just cursed them putting that in writing!) and spend a few hours working on another project.
Two completed projects in one month. I might be becoming a knitting addict.
The bees were not happy today.
I thought this was close enough for picture taking.
It's late in the season. The bees are giving it their last ditch effort to collect pollen. They are serious and mean business and you had better stay out of their way.
It was a good day to take this sign seriously. I love the bees, but only on happy days. On angry days, somebody else can love 'em.
Today was a day to concentrate on the goats. Goats are never angry. Always curious, but never angry.
The alpacas were on the mellow side today as well.
They just wanted to hang out, eating grass. No anger here.
And while most of the farm is still green, the woods are beginning to show signs of fall.
I'm going to try to keep this day in my head so I can come back to it on those mushy, cold, muddy days of Winter.
Sunny. 70 degrees. Bright Blue Sky.
If you weren't an angry bee, it was a pretty nice day to be on the farm.
For That'll Do Farm, the last full weekend in September is always reserved for National Alpaca Farm Days. It's the weekend we throw open the barn doors and welcome visitors to show them what life on an alpaca/sheep/goat/bee/produce farm is all about.
We've always had great weather, (you know I've now just jinxed it for next year!) and this year was no exception. Visitors were lining up to see the alpacas.
And to maybe meet one up-close-and-personal . . . even if there was some initial fear.
One of our Fiber CSA knitters finished her "Charlie's Angel" sweater in time to wear it to the Open House and to model with the animal that produced the beautiful yarn.
Alpaca and sweater got along just fine.
The bees behaved themselves nicely for the event as well.
Visitors were able to see the queen on one of the frames.
We even had a visitor whom we have dubbed the "Bee Whisperer" for obvious reasons.
And no, she did not get stung.
However, most of the crowd decided to tour the bee yard from a more respectible distance.
The goats, as always, were a crowd favorite.
Within five minutes of the first guests arriving, the goats figured out if they stood by the gate and bleated like babies, they would soon get acorns and scratches on the head.
Goats can work a crowd like nobody's business.
We are lucky to have a group of dedicated knitters that spend the last Saturday of every month knitting with us here at the farm, and the Open House happens to fall on the last Saturday of the month. These ladies are prolific. Sweaters, socks, scarves, blankets . . . you name it, these women knit it and knit it well.
They showed visitors what they were knitting and told them the ins-and-outs of their projects. I think we may have hooked a few new knitters! We're always happy to introduce newbies to a brand new addiction . . . I mean craft.
So a great big thank you to all who came out to tour the farm. We appreciate your support and your interest in the farm.
Hope to see you next year!
It's a beautiful fall weekend. Come on out to the farm.
We are having an open house today (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tomorrow (Sunday) from noon to 5 p.m.
Meet the alpacas. Feed a goat. Tour the gardens. Play with a dog or two.
Take a walk out to the hives with the beekeeper each day at 2 p.m. to see what's happening in the hive.
Bring the kids and your camera and spend a day in the country. We do ask that you leave your own dogs at home.
If you could bottle the weather we had today, you would be one rich bottler. Sort of sunny, sort of overcast; warm-ish with no humidity and a slight breeze. Perfect.
The chickens were out hunting for apples that have fallen to the ground. They found enough to keep them busy all afternoon.
The goats were happy our CSA customers headed over to feed them as they were picking up their produce baskets.
Don't let the stink eye fool you. Nothing makes these goats happier than acorns.
And we will have plenty to carry them through fall.
The bees were very active today, hitting up the goldenrod. Goldenrod honey is deeper in color than our Summer honey and it has a slighty spicy taste. If Fall had a taste, it would taste like Goldenrod honey.
The crabapples add a nice touch of color to our still mostly green landscape.
As do the New England Asters.
But I know all this late Summer beauty will come to an end soon when I wander over to the neighbor's soybean field and see all that green turning to yellow seemingly over night.
Seems like a day or two ago when we were putting all the plants in and were excited to watch the farm green up. Every year I say it and every year I mean it. Summer sure goes by quickly.
The Northeast Ohio Yarn Discovery Tour starts tomorrow and we are ready with more yarn than you can knit in a month of Sundays.
That'll Do Farm, as part of the Ohio Natural Fiber Network, (ONFN) will be one stop along the tour.
ONFN is a group of small-scale farmers across the state raising alpacas, sheep, llamas, rabbits and goats for their fiber. Each farm retains its individual identity and sells it's own farm products, but we come together for fiber shows so that you can get a feel for the variety of locally grown fiber.
The Yarn Discovery Tour is not just for knitters. We would never leave out you spinners.
We have art batts, pencil roving, raw fleece, hand dyed roving and natural colored roving.
Love the look of handspun yarn, but don't want to spin your own? We've got you covered there as well with handspun yarn.You can tell everyone you spun it yourself -- we'll never give away your secret.
Looking for breed specific yarn? We can do that. Chances are you can even talk to the farmer that raised your yarn and learn a bit about the sheep, alpaca or llama that grew it for you.
Or talk to the dyer that hand dyed your new-found yarn. All the skeins dyed are dyed in small batches, giving you a unique, artisan yarn.
We'll be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. We are located at 34634 State Route 303, 1.5 miles east off of Route 83 in Grafton. Come on out and see us. Visit with the animals. Talk to the farmers growing your yarn. You'll find yarn you won't be able to find anyplace else.
A local group of Girl Scouts, working on their Gold Award, came out to the farm today to learn about sustainable farming and all that it takes to make small farms like ours viable.
We started off in the garlic patch, digging up the last of the garlic we'll harvest this Summer.
And dig they did. (Really, it was just our way of getting them to do our work for us!) I think they will never look at a simple piece of garlic bread the same way again.
Next, we moved on to digging potatoes. First, Michael showed them the beautiful purple potatoes we've been harveting this season.
Then he introduced them to the shovel and they got to digging.
They seemed pretty happy with their haul.
All that digging created some hungry Girl Scouts, so we stopped at the apple trees for a snack.
And the blackberry bushes for another snack.
Then it was of to the hives to learn about honey and beekeeping.
First, Michael smoked the hives to confuse the bees and make it easier to pull the frames from the hive. Smoke masks the bee's alarm pheromones giving the beekeeper time to work the hives.
He showed the girls the capped honey cells and explained what is involved in removing the honey from the frames.
We're not sure if they were horrified or just scared to death of the bees.
We thought it would be a good time to move on to our good will ambassadors, the goats.
What's not to love about a goat.
They are really just taller dogs. With horns.
And an insatiable appetite for anything in the grain bucket. Or anywhere else.
And no visit to the farm is complete without at least one picture of the chickens.
Everybody loves a chicken. They are the gateway farm animal. You start with a few chickens. Move on to bees. And before you know, you've got yourself some alpacas, sheep and goats.
After touring the farm and discovering what is involved in the production of their food, the girls were off to a local restaurant that makes a point of using food grown at small, local farms.
And while I don't think there were any future farmers in this group, I do think they have a better understanding of the food they eat and how it is grown.
Knitters, Crocheters, Spinners -- this is what you've been waiting for. The sixth annual Yarn Discovery Tour kicks off September 6th and runs through September 21.
That'll Do Farm, as part of the Ohio Natural Fiber Network, is excited to announce that we will be a stop on the tour this year.
The Yarn Discovery Tour (YDT) is a "shop hop" with 17 yarn stores across Northeast Ohio participating.
Rules for this year's event are similar to previous years:
1. Purchase a $5 passport from any shop listed and receive a YDT tote bag.
2. Spend a minimum of $10 at a participating shop from September 6-21, get your passport stamped, and receive a free pattern and entry in a drawing for that shop's prize basket ($100 value).
3. Get your passport stamped at multiple shops and qualify for drawings for prize baskets full of hundres of dollars of yarns and accessories:
-- 5 shops: Cool Prize Basket
-- 10 shops: Awesome Prize Basket
-- All 17 shops: Grand Prize Basket
4. Passports may be used on any of the 16 days of the tour, during each shop's regular business hours. In addition, all shops will be open during the following common YDT hours:
-- Thursdays & Fridays, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
-- Saturdays & Sundays, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Complete hours for the That'll Do Farm store are as follows:
-- Monday & Tuesday: Closed
-- Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
-- Thursday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
-- Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
-- Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ohio Natural Fiber Network member farms will have their products available at That'll Do Farm during the tour. Shop locally produced alpaca yarn, rovings, art batts, hand made soaps, honey, hand knit and crocheted pieces, fleeces, and so much more.
The tour is a lot of fun and this year, more stores than ever before are included.
Grab your friends. Get your guild together and make plans to shop your local yarn stores this fall.
Please call 440-440-263-2668 with any questions.
Last year, we had heat and drought.
This year, cooler temperatures and lots of rain. And while all that rain might not be good for the tomatoes and peppers, the flowers sure are loving it.
The farm is in full bloom this month. The sunflowers are beginning to pop.
The beautiful true blue of the borage flower, with its red stems, looks striking in the garden. Did you know you can eat both the flowers and the leaves of the borage plant. They have a cucumber-like taste. Borage is really an herb, but it masquerades as a flower.
The zinnias are going to town in the flower garden.
And, while they are not flowers, the ripe elderberries are so showy they could be.
We're picking these today to freeze for pies (next to pumpkin, there is no better pie on earth than an elderberry pie!) and to make this elderberry liqueur. The liqueur is a deep, rich purple color and makes great Christmas gifts -- if you can bear to give it away.
More rain is expected today and while some of the veggies might not need it, it sure makes for a pretty farm.