1) Maegwin (comment)
2) Desiree (public follower)
3) blendab1 (Rav group member)
Congratulations! Please contact me at email@example.com to collect your prizes.
My favorite kind of yarn is yarn that makes me smile, and this giveaway's indie dyer definitely does just that with their beautiful yarns. Meet Hearthside Fibers. Look at all the fun colors that are so smile worthy in their Etsy shop. I especially like all the speckled colorways! Here's a fun interview for you to read. Enjoy!
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My husband, our son and I live on the family farm (it’s been in the family since the 1950’s), where we raise sheep and goats and have a fiber dyeing business. We have had the sheep for over 10 years. We raise primarily Shetlands, but have had or have Icelandics, Polypays, Coopworths and Angora and Nigerian Dwarf goats.
Our background is not in farming - I was a business major in college and my husband and I both have a background in hotels and retail. But when we ended up living on the farm, we decided to make some use of the land that surrounds us. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to learn how to spin my own yarn. Of course, the natural progression led us to buy a few bred ewes - Shetlands, since they provide wonderful colored wool and they are small (I’m 5 feet tall) and easy to handle. That led to our building our flock up over the years to about 100 sheep (assorted breeds), - more during spring lambing!
While some of our sheep were raised for their meat, my primary interest has always been the fiber. I spin and knit and love hand dyed yarns and rovings. So, again, the natural progression for me, was to start dyeing my own yarns and rovings. And what better way to pay for my habits than to start selling my fibers to others.
One thing I do want to mention, is that while this interview is with me, and I do the "creative" work for Hearthside Fibers, my husband, Larry does a lot of the other work. He's the muscle, the numbers cruncher, he builds the displays for our festival booth, he skeins and reskeins yarn. I couldn't do it without him.
2. Your hand dyed yarns that you offer are very pretty and the colorways are so unique. Can you talk a little bit about what inspires you?
I see color everywhere. I found myself waiting in a doctor’s office one day, thinking that the colors in his carpeting would make a nice yarn! I look around myself outdoors and see colors in the flowers, the trees, I see colors in magazines and fish tanks and paint swatches. And I talk to customers to find colors that grab them.
3. Do you have a favorite colorway or yarn that you offer?
I do have some color ways that I prefer over some of the others. I’m partial to blues and “peachy” colors. I love the way some of the brown tones dye up, although I really don’t like to wear brown myself. And, in spite of the fact that I always tell people I’m not really a “purple” person, I seem to be drawn to that color lately.
I really like the bamboo blend yarn that I have sent for this giveaway - our “BaaBoo” line of fingering weight yarn. It is soft and lustrous - it dyes up really nicely and produces a nice knitted product in the end.
4. For budding new yarnies out there, what's the one piece of advice you have?
Well, to quote Nike, “Just Do It”. I have a tendency to hold back, in fear of failure. But you’ll never know if you can do something, or like to do something, until you try. If you screw up a batch of yarn, what’s the worst that can happen? Even if you end up with a yarn color that you don’t like, you can always blend it in with another yarn or, if nothing else, cut it up and put it out in the spring for the birds to use in their nests.
5. What will be next for you? Do you have yarns or colorways in the works that you can share with us?
We do have some new yarn lines that we will be introducing at the fiber shows this spring. We have a thick and thin, bulky weight yarn that will give your knitting some nice texture. And a single ply wool yarn that I think will work out nice for felting projects. We’re always on the lookout for something new and different, while keeping our tried and true lines available.
Always new color ways. I love experimenting with color - when I have colors that people like, I will most likely repeat them, but I’d get bored doing the same colors over and over.
6. I always like to ask, why do you knit?
To use my handspun yarn. At least, that was my initial motivation. My husband used to tease me about all the handspun yarn we had sitting around the house. So I decided I needed to learn to knit, just to use up some of that yarn. But now, I find it relaxing and exciting all at the same time. I think I’m more of a process knitter - while I do finish projects, I enjoy the actual knitting more than the finished product.
7. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
Which time!?! I first learned to knit about the time I wanted clothes for my Barbie dolls. That didn’t last long, but then I picked up the needles again when I was in college. Again, a short lived adventure. But this latest time, was sometime in the last 10 years, after I started spinning.
My mom showed me how to knit back in my Barbie days, but this last time around, I just picked up the “Stitch and Bitch” book - they had instructions for Continental style knitting - and I just followed the diagrams. And, after I knit a garter stitch scarf, I decided socks couldn’t be too hard - and then I tried lace and some garments. And it’s worked out pretty well!
8. If you were to knit and live anywhere in the world, where would you knit and live?
Well, believe it or not, I love the Midwest, so I’m pretty happy here in Wisconsin. But I do like Great Britain, so maybe on a nice sheep farm there. Or smack dab in the middle of London.
9. What's been your worst knitting or in your case it could be a yarn dyeing disaster?
I don’t have a really good disaster story (yet!). I do sometimes have a color that doesn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned - but the minute I say something about “what an ugly color that turned out to be” someone else admires it and buys it! Thank goodness we don’t all like blue - what a boring world it would be!
10. And last but not least, if you were enjoying a favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
Well, normally when I am online, I have a cup of coffee by my side. Maybe some Berres Brothers coffee (the local coffee) - black, strong, no fancy flavors!
Hearthside Fibers has been kind enough to send three skeins of their BEAUTIFUL BaaBoo (how cute is that name?!) skeins for three followers to have a chance at winning. This stuff is pretty fabulous in person! Now, I have not knit with it myself, but the texture and softness of this yarn in it's skein form really makes me want to cast on with it. I think it might be the bamboo content that I'm loving so much. Check it out...
There are two skeins of the dusty lavender purple colorway called Purple Haze, and a skein of Annie's Snowy Mountain, which has that fun speckled look to it that makes me smile. I know the three winners of this giveaway will be very happy!
I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 2/26/12. Hearthside Fibers wants to know:
"Larry and I were talking last night - we were wondering, as we break cones of yarn down into skeins - do knitters prefer sock yarn in 50 gram skeins - 175 - 200 or so yards per skein - where they have to buy two for a pair of socks? Or 100 gram skeins that hold over 400 yards - where you can get a pair of socks from one skein (unless you are making really big socks)? Or would they rather have access to sock yarn skeins that go 500- 600 feet? 125 - 150 grams?"
What a cool question to steer the comments this time! Just in case you wanna know my thoughts on this subject... personally I like 100g or larger skeins. I use sock yarn mostly for shawls and I would hate to have to add yarn midway through; however, for sock knitters, smaller skeins maybe just what they like. I'm curious to see what all you say!
I'll randomly pick the winners in 2 weeks and post the results along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.