It has been a good couple of months, gaining ground with some leisurely reading and knitting – nourishing my soul.
Gaining Ground found its way into my hands a couple of months ago. Through its pages, Forrest Pritchard tells of his journey to reclaim his family’s farm. One would think that such a book would most inspire the “farmer wanna-be” or encourage the current farmer who is trying to make a go of it. However, in the forward, Joel Salatin suggests that it is the “seeker” and “adventurer who will never farm” that will most enjoy Pritchard’s story.
…those of us out here doing the real work of farming desperately need the rest of the world to come on this journey with us. ….farming determines the landscape our grandchildren will inherit. Farming determines the quality of our food, the humane handling of our animals. Every time we eat, we participate in farming. This is why everyone needs to take this journey with Forrest, to vicariously enjoy this adventure with him. We cannot escape our responsibilities to, nor our interactions with, soil, air, and water-the basic ingredients in the farmer’s alchemy.
Acquainting ourselves with the ecstasy and the heartache of farming creates integrity in our food decisions, common sense in our land-use policies, and appreciation of the effort required to correctly massage our ecological womb.
It is for this reason, so perfectly stated by Joel Salatin, that we invite you on our journey of farming. We open our lives and farm to over night visitors to share our farmhouse with us, providing them with the opportunity to experience farm life, and to make connections between their own lives and the land that we work. It is for this reason that I write this blog, sharing our farm story. It is for this reason, that I teach fiber classes right here on the farm, with the sheep grazing outside the studio windows. Our farm has provided food for our family and a few neighbors for many years, and has provided farm raised wool yarn to hundreds of knitters. But more importantly, it has provided priceless life lessons for our three children, as well as for individuals and families all across the globe. These lessons will go with them into their lives, shaping how they view the world and the decisions they will make.
There is no greater pleasure than knitting with wool directly from your own flock of sheep, knowing the name of each sheep, their personalities, and the trials and tribulations involved in raising them year round. There is a special bond between a shepherd and her flock and it only seems fitting that the very back that toils to care for the sheep should be warmed by the very wool from those sheep. So it is in our family…
As soon as Hanna Maciejewska released her Vermont cardigan sweater, designed with our Gotland wool yarn, I could hardly wait to cast on. Hanna wrote the pattern with directions for a classic cardigan as well as a cropped version with short sleeves. As I knit, I could not decide which version to knit first. It was my yarn supply that made the decision for me. Afraid of not having enough yarn to finish the full cardigan, I knit the cropped version with short sleeves a little positive ease.
It seemed only fitting to use Vermont hand crafted buttons. I chose pewter flower buttons from Danforth Pewter. The little cardigan has wonderful drape and subtle warmth.
No photo shoot would be complete without showing the sheep the lovely sweater knit from their own wool.
Now I am ready to cast on in a lighter shade of our Gotland yarn and knit the full length cardigan!
Click here to read an interview with Hanna and learn more about her design process.
Click here to order some of our Gotland wool yarn so you too can cast on! Type in “KnitLocal” in the coupon code and enjoy a 15% discount on your purchase!
Click here to read more about the community you support when you purchase locally raised yarn.