Archives for posts with tag: farmhouse fibers

Once upon a time, there were three women, elliphantom, hapagirl (go check out her amazing new sock pattern!), and yours truly, who went to visit a llama farm named Yellow Wood Llamas.

They made fast friends with an incredibly friendly llama named Michele.

And brought home some of her wool–fine and silky soft, caramel-brown with bits of white.

The wool became singles:

And then the singles were plied together into a nice two-ply:

And the wool was skeined and washed:

and it became ever so beautiful.


(~4 oz./176 yards/11 wpi)

There was also a 1.4 oz silky black batt from a llama named Kona.

It looked really creepy, actually, like a matted head of hair, so it got spun up really quickly to avoid the feeling of a decapitated head lying on the couch. It was a little harder to draft smoothly, so it was a little lumpy-bumpy, and ended up as a shiny Navajo 3-ply (only about 42 yards):



And the two yarns sat waiting patiently for a handsome, charming pattern to come along and sweep them away to finished object-land, where they could live happily ever after.

The End.

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We moved into our new place in Madison on Saturday!

After saying goodbye to my knitting friends in Bloomington, we packed up our apartment… here are some photos of the goodbye knit night, at our regular venue (the Pour House) and a nearby bar called the Root Cellar:

Elli + Korknisse:

Kalani + Korknisse:

The gang at the Pour House… from left to right, back to front: Sara, Kalani, Norma, Katie, me, Nicole, Elli

Knitting with raspberry beer at the Root Cellar, which is located in the basement of a fancy restaurant named FARM:

Elli and the wall of bedpans at FARM. Apparently these bedpans really freaked out her husband, who didn’t realize that they were meant to designate the area where the bathrooms were located and were not just there on a wall in a restaurant for the hell of it. So I had to take a picture of her with the scary decor:

In the first half of the move (from Bloomington to Rahul’s aunt and uncle’s house in Illinois), our car was packed to the brim:



I had to huddle cross-legged on the blanket nest in the passenger seat, clutching a bag on my lap, for the entire 4-hour drive–and this was already after getting rid of a ton of stuff that we just had to buy again as soon as we got here (like paper towels, a microwave, a coffee pot, etc.) sending a van-and-U-Haul trailer load with Rahul’s parents, and leaving a van-load of stuff with a friend in Bloomington for later pickup. We made kind of a strategy error by packing the less important stuff with Rahul’s parents in their van and leaving just the most important stuff to take with us in our car. They left, and we were wrapping up and packing when we realized we wouldn’t have enough room–but we really needed to keep everything else we had with us. Hence the clown car full of blankets, clothing, computers, and guitars.

We stayed in rural Illinois for a week and had some long and pleasant bike rides through cornfields and tiny towns–the longest ride we did was about 30 miles and I had a great time because we rode on a nice, flat dedicated bike path instead of along the side of the road with cars. Here are a few of the sights along the way…

The two stores in downtown Owaneco, Illinois (a meat store and a wine shop):

A log cabin in Pana:

A pause along the bike path:

The second half of the move went smoothly. We were able to redistribute our stuff into the van when we met up with his parents in Illinois, so we could actually see out of the back when we drove the next 5 hours of the trip. We were able to get our stuff moved in within a few hours on Saturday morning, and had some nice Thai food and unpacked for the rest of the day. We only put things together backwards a few times while assembling furniture. A success overall.

So the new place is cute, though we have no driveway or garage–something we didn’t realize would be a problem initially, since we knew we could get a residential parking permit, but we found out today that Madison requires you to change your residential street parking spot every other day, or every single day in the winter, between November and March (park on the even-numbered sides on even-numbered days, and vice versa). Since neither of us is going to be driving on a regular basis, this is a colossal pain in the butt. Also, I won’t have internet access at home until Friday, which feels odd and crippling in a place where we don’t know our way around yet–all this calling 411 and consulting paper maps feels very strange and archaic now.

But these things aside, our new place is cozy and cute (read: kind of small!), and in a great neighborhood, quiet and residential, full of huge old trees, close to Trader Joe’s and a record store and a branch of the public library. After a hellish afternoon shopping at big box stores yesterday, we took a nice long bike ride in the evening around the park (we spotted bison at the zoo through the fence), along the shores of Lake Wingra, and through the beautiful Arboretum. Today I’ve been sucking down lattes at a local cafe and working, and I stopped in at the record store at lunchtime and bought this album on an impulse. This band totally cracks me up.

In the meantime, I’ll continue slowly working through my backlog of blog fodder. Next up, my most recent finished object (I have been less than prolific in the past month or so).



Pattern: Branching Out, by Susan Lawrence, from Knitty’s Spring 2005 issue

Size made: n/a

Finished dimensions: long and scarfy? I thought I’d written this down, but I can’t seem to find it. I’d guess about 60 inches long by 7 inches wide.

Yarn used: Farmhouse Fibers/Yellowwood Llamas Super Silky 100% Llama in Lily, 1 skein (200 yards, sport weight yarn)

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 Addi Turbos

Date started: July 10, 2008

Date finished: July 16, 2008

Mods: None

Notes: As I explained in my post about the visit to the llama farm, my friend Molly and I have a deep affection for llamas dating back to junior high school days or thereabouts. We wrote a parody of a romance novel called The Mark of the Llama… I remember very little about the plot except that it featured a protagonist named Coriander who floated about misty manor lawns in a diaphanous white gown, and a villain who, at one point, threateningly pulled a shotgun from his sock and waved it around.

Anyway, Molly has a wool allergy and always complains about being unable to find nice coats or dress pants for a reasonable price–they’re either cheap polyester or incredibly expensive cashmere. I’ve been encouraging her to learn to knit, and have been telling her all about No Sheep for You ever since it came out–it hasn’t quite taken yet, but she’s definitely intrigued.

More so, I think, after I gave her this scarf. I originally went to the llama farm with the intention of getting some 100% llama yarn to make a woolly, llama-y present for Molly. I could have gone with alpaca or cashmere or silk, but llama just seemed like the perfect fiber for a present for her. So I made this while I was in California, and presented it to her.

She was pleased and said it didn’t feel like burning. Her mom laughed and explained that this was what wool felt like to the rest of the world.

Anyway, now that we’ve moved, I hope I’ll be able to settle in quickly, find some new friends here, and get some more mittens made before the bitter Wisconsin winter comes. The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up soon and I’m hoping I can make it… Lord knows I don’t need any more yarn or fiber right now, but Briar Rose and Handspun by Stefania will both be there for the ogling, and of course lots of cute sheep and other critters. Maybe even llamas.

About two years ago, not long after moving to Bloomington, I was googling pure llama yarn with the intention of making a scarf for my friend Molly. We’ve known each other since I was five, and long ago, we wrote a parody of a romance novel together called “The Mark of the Llama.” Molly happens to be allergic to wool, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to sample some exotic fiber and also make her a nice little in-joke of a present.

This was before Mirasol Miski and Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama came on the scene, so it was a little hard to find something suitable–most of what I was finding was wool-llama blends, like Cascade Pastaza. One of the first hits that came up when I searched for “100% llama yarn” was Yellow Wood Llamas (or maybe it was their web store, Farmhouse Fibers), run by Fred and Laura Keller. When I looked at their site, I noticed that they were located in Martinsville, just north of Bloomington, so I inquired about the possibility of coming up to their farm to pick up my purchase (and meet the llamas) rather than having it shipped down. Laura and I emailed back and forth for a while but never managed to get the dates worked out, and the idea fell by the wayside.

Well, recently, since Rahul finished his master’s, it dawned on me that Molly was probably finishing her graduate degree as well, so I’d better get cracking on that present for her. I contacted Laura again and we finally set up a date for llama-viewing.

Thus it was that last Friday, Kalani, Elli, and I spent a gorgeous summer evening driving up to Martinsville to hang out with a pack of large furry animals. I loved the visit so much, I think my new life plan involves owning a llama farm at some point. They have so much personality and charm, I love their gigantic golf-ball eyes and long eyelashes, and their fur is soft and silky as can be.

We went into the backyard, past their pond bordered with honeysuckle and yucca plants, and home to fish, snapping turtles, and pesky muskrats, and as we started up a hill towards the pasture, a little herd of llamas ran up to the fence to see what we were doing. (There are dozens more of them, but the males almost all live in on a separate plot of land across the road.) I thought that might be it–interaction across the fence–but no, they took us through the barn and into the midst of many friendly and curious llamas. Cooper (or perhaps his name was Hopper?), a seven-month-old male, was especially friendly and spent so much time breathing into our faces and giving us kisses and nibbles that Laura took him away and put a muzzle on him so we would have some breathing room. Here he is, getting in Kalani’s personal space:

Michele is their ambassador llama, an incredibly good-natured and friendly creature. We spent a lot of time giving her back scratches and cuddles. She was very fond of Elli.

This enclosure was home to all the outcast camelids. In the back we have Phantom, aka Paco, the lone alpaca in the herd. In the front, Lewis, the spunkiest, toughest little llama ever. This guy has had a very hard life–born blind, he later broke his leg very badly, had it set with pins and plates to hold it in place–and then the leg got infected, so he spent a lot of time at the OSU veterinary hospital being patched up and tended. You can read more of his saga on the Yellow Wood blog.

On this side of the barnyard was also a three-legged llama–I forgot his name, but he got tangled up trying to jump a fence when he was a baby, and injured his leg so badly it had to be amputated.

He seems pretty good-natured about it now, though.

Here are more gratuitous llama photos (and more here):




And if you click on the picture of Paco below, you’ll get to see a video of an adorable inter-species greeting:

So we spent a good long time showering attention on the llamas and asking all kinds of questions, then we stopped in the barn where we saw a pregnant barn kitty:

and Kalani got to feed a llama named Captain Curry, and then we went into the house, where we were confronted with a beautiful room full of yarn and fiber. I didn’t think to take a photo of the room-o-fiber, but you can see me wallowing in yarn in Kalani’s post.

Here’s what I got:
A 1.4 oz. drum-carded batt of silky, glossy, jet-black fiber from a llama named Kona (this picture came out much too brown):

4 oz. of roving from our buddy Michele:

Super Silky sportweight in Plum, a delicate rose-pink semi-solid:

Super Silky sportweight in Lily, a beautiful turquoise/teal. This is destined to become a lacy scarf for Molly, probably Branching Out:

A skein of naturally colored dark brown sportweight shot through with green and orange angelina sparkles:

All of it is silky soft and beautiful, and I can’t wait to work with it. If you’re interested in buying some yourself, you can do it through the Farmhouse Fibers website. Of the yarns I didn’t end up buying, the Phantom alpaca-silk blend (made from Paco’s fur!) was especially tempting, as was the Sassafras worsted weight.

Fred and Laura’s business is primarily online, not brick-and-mortar, so I really appreciated their taking the time out to host us crazy, obsessed knitters for a few hours on a Friday night. It was really a wonderful field trip, well worth the 40-minute drive, and the handspun yarn from Michele’s coat will be one of the best fibery souvenirs of Southern Indiana I could possibly take with me when I move.