Tag Archives: The Yarn Garden

Hoarding For The Apocalypse: An Interview With Juniper Moon Farm’s Susan Gibbs.

Dateline:  Carlisle, PA.

Susan Gibbs, owner and shepherdess of Juniper Moon Farm, is chatting easily with patrons at the Yarn Garden.  She stands next to a long table covered with knitted cardigans, pullovers, armwarmers, and scarves, and excitedly invites everyone to try them on. “Oooh“s and “ahhh“s eminate from different corners of the Pomfret St. yarn shop as guests peruse the items and handle the skeins of colorful yarn that beg to be knit into something warm.  As the hearty assortment of cheese, wine, and desserts are being sampled, a guest casually asks about the origins of Juniper Moon Farm and its small but extremely versatile line of yarn.  The room grows quiet as Ms. Gibbs tells her story:

(I admit, I missed a couple of minutes of the discussion.  But I think you’ll get the gist.)

The conversation now breaks into small groups as friends catch up with each other and strangers compliment each other on their WIPs.  Everyone patiently waits their turn to speak with Ms. Gibbs, whose enthusiasm over sheep, goats, Maremmas, and, of course, yarn, is palpable and contagious.  Knitters head to the cash register in waves as their chosen JMF pattern books and yarn overflow their shopping baskets… or arms.  As the crowd thins a bit, the remaining knitters settle into the comfortable chairs and plush couches to knit, and chat… and listen.

(ok, a few things to remember.  I’ve never done a podcast before, so my recording mistakes are many… and sort of hilarious.  I really didn’t realize how very sensitive the microphone on my recording device was… I don’t really speak that loudly in person (do I?). Some background noises are easily explainable (door chimes, me coughing – sorry, my allergies are really bad right now), others… not so much, like that weird “chewing” noise.  Live and learn, right?)

As Ms. Gibbs folds and packs the trunk show into 2 large storage containers to be driven to Philadelphia, it’s hard not to feel a little more empowered, a little more self-assured, from listening to the stories of setback, more setback… then, success.  And who doesn’t like a happy ending?

(ok, so I don’t think journalism is in my future – I’ll leave that to the experts.  But I had fun while trying!)

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Cotton. Why’d It Have To Be Cotton?

Do you ever feel that, no matter how much you prepare for something, it’s just never enough?

On Friday, April 9th, I visited my LYS to pick up my special order of yarn:  Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed in colorway Zinc (#304).  That night I began knitting my test swatch, which took a couple of tries because it was really supposed to be knit in the round.  I don’t have a set of size 5 dpns (” …wasn’t I just at my LYS a few hours ago?“), so I had to knit the swatch flat, and therefore change the pattern slightly.  I even washed the swatch and remeasured my stitches/inch a day later… did I get gauge?  Well… kind of.  I was 1 stitch off.  But, hey, this was knitted flat, I’ll be knitting in the round, it’ll correct itself, right?  Right?

I began the actual project last Sunday.  And I’ve been rather consumed by it, having never knit a sweater in the round before.  “Is it really that much different than socks?” I asked myself.  Well… kind of.  For some reason, I had a really hard time conceptualizing where the heck I was in the pattern when it was time to join the collar and neck stitches in the round.  I think I got past it.

Gathered Mesh Polo, front. And upside down.

I’m just about at the point in the pattern where the upper body is complete.  I counted stitches after every 12 rounds or so, and used a stitch counter to make sure my increases were on target:  so far so good.  I also remeasured my stitches/inch every 6 rounds or so:  so far, so… uncertain.  Yes yes yes, I understand the obvious now: it’s hard to take an accurate gauge when your round work is still on your round needles. Maybe impossible.  I think I’m close.  I’m trying to relax my stitches a little since there’s no give at all with this yarn (“Cotton.  Why’d it have to be cotton?”).  So even though I took the time to swatch… and swatch as accurately as possible without size 5 dpns… and even washed the darn thing… I’m actually more nervous than usual about my gauge.  Because there’s only one thing worse than having to start a project over from scratch, and that’s… admitting you messed up… AND having to start a project over from scratch.

Pray for me.

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