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The sidewalk sale is always a ton of fun! Today is the last day of this years sale. It’s been fun and our awesome customers have come from in town to out of state to build a mountain of a “stash”.
We still have a couple bags…

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Kits…

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And fabulous yarns to move on out before fall calls on the yummy winter yarns.

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Yep there is Alchemy, Rowan, Tahki, and lots of the best in there.
Hope to see you all today!

Happy “Stashing”!
xx
Ash

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All You Knit Is Love is flying out of the shop! Cheryl made the lovely baby pants in the picture and is on her second pair (this time circular!) she knit them beautifully and said the pattern was easy to follow. She’s trying out knitting them on 8″ circulars to avoid seaming. I love them! The book is an Isager book and written to use Isager yarns. Cheryl used Isager “Alpaca 1″ and Ecobutterfly Organics “Pakucho Lace”. *held together*
Last week I sold more copies of the book and saw a sweater a customer had knit from it. The simple and classic designs make it a no brainer. And the yarn is perfect for the parents who want their baby in warm, cozy, knits.
We have lots of baby yarn! Mom- Shelli- is trying to get it out and looking awesome. But she’s selling it before she can even stock it.
Oh My and Heaven, by Plymouth, just arrive! And Oh My is right!! The softest SINthetic ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s ok – its machine washable and even you will want to snuggle up. I swear! (Well, shop girl, Heidi won’t ha!) But I adore it๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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(Couple more yarn/knit shots)
Happy Knitting!
xx
Ash

Sometimes we need reminders. Stop and smell the roses. Listen. Put your naked toes I’m the grass. Enjoy your life it’s the only one you’ve got.
My friends and family are great reminders of this. Young and old and in between ๐Ÿ˜˜
Today our good friend Mary came to show us how to let loose Twirl style!

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Meet “Tid-Bit” a cute baby Shetland, pot gut of pure adorableness.

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Tid-Bit learned to slide today! It was an exciting adventure but one he dare not try himself. For being a tiny pot gut sheep with slippery hooves… He just thinks It won’t end well. So he let Mary hold him and he took several turns with his Mamma (Mary of course) and Waylon and his buddy, until he became famished and demanded requested the children hunt for green and yellow leaves. (Which were very specific in color and tenderness)

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And when his “pot” was good and full he told us funny stories about his travel to Petaluma with his Mamma. And how the Twirling Fatties kept tickling his nose! He had us rolling on the grass.

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We are happy to call Tid-Bit a friend and greatly appreciated the time he took from his busy schedule, of guest speaking at schools and summer camps, to visit us at the park today!
Thank you Tid-Bit (and Mamma Mary too)
xx
Ash
*Come in and see all the beautiful colors of the Twirling Fatties we just had delivered!!*

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I am one blessed chick! We have a great Knitterly family. I have been fortunate enough to meet some creative and inspiring people. And I have had the pleasure of befriending Mary, her Hubby Chris, and their lovely family at Twirl, in Napa.
Mary excitedly agreed to do an interview with me… Enjoy it and check out, knit, touch, and smell TWIRL. They are local, leave a smallish foot print and love what they do!

Ash: You live on a 2,000 acre ranch surrounded by beauty. Is this where you always saw yourself? On a ranch with hundreds of animals by your side?

Mary: No, I would have never dreamed this in a million years. It is so much better than I could have ever imagined.

A: You attended college before becoming a ranch woman what was your major and where did you go?

M: UC Davis, with a degree in Design (emphasis in textile design) and minor in art.
UC Berkeley for Masters degree in Visual Design. The time I was there Berkeley was the center of the universe for fiber. It was wonderful to be there.

A: Twirl is such an amazing place to visit and you live there… What’s the best part about your day?

M: Each day is different. No two are ever the same, so it has never gotten boring for me to be here for 34 years.
I love surprises, and every day is one – the animals make sure of it.

A: Favorite fiber to dye?
I know it is hard to imagine, but I love dyeing my yarn. I guess I made it so.

M: Favorite fiber to knit?
wool

A: Tell me a little about your dye?

M: I love most natural dyeing, because it is always a little bit of surprise. Each time of year, each plant, the soil, the weather, the fiber blend, the mordant all decide the color. It usually is a more subtle color, and I really like the quiet energy of those colors. They are deep, and rich. They are truly an exercise for keeping an open mind, because if I really have an intent on a particular shade and color, it is JUST right next to it, but never exactly the same.
That being said, I do love color – bright ,vibrant, saturated color that the acid dyes offer. I dye that way with an intent.

A: People love local and knowing what they spend their money stays in the good ole USA, how do you stay local and keep such fabulous price points? And where is your mill?

M: I do it for love, not money. I want my yarn to be used and enjoyed by everyone.
I do a lot of the labor myself, so it keeps the cost down.
The wool mill I use, and love is Yolo Wool Mill, run by Jane Deamer. I love the people who work there – they are brilliant.

A: One word to describe you?

M: I hope *quirky*

A: Who are the guardians and what do they do?

M: I could not live without my guardians….
First, the dogs….. some stay with the sheep and goats, others patrol the boundary. It is the chorus…. 12 in all.
Then, the llamas (Masami, Dolly, Wally, Grommit, and Toni) guard one group, on the terraces.
And, the Alpacas – some stay with the sheep day and night, and others are out, 46 in all. Their shear mass approaching a strange visitor usually makes it leave.
And finally, my two donkey girls, Rose and Estelle (Pistelle). They came to me already trained as sheep guardians.

A: What is your biggest threat on your ranch?

M: the Coyotes, and the Mountain Lions. Coyotes are out of balance right now and causing me grief.

A: How self sustainable are you up on the hill? You are a ways out… How much do you rely on your home for food?

M: I have milking goats, and a few dairy cows. When I am milking, we get fresh raw milk, yogurt and sometimes, but not so much now, I make cheese.
Then we eat our own meat, because I know exactly where it has been, what it has eaten, and know it has had a good life here.
And, we have a big garden, with zucchinis right now we have to really keep track of!
When the kale gets too big, I use it for dye!

A: One word you strive for?

M: Magic

A: Advice to a person who dreams to love animals and make beautiful fiber out of their fluff?

M: Do it now, don’t wait.

A: If you had one super power what would it be?

M: Make time stand still, so I could get caught up on things

A: What’s in your record player/ I pod/ CD player right now?

M: A tie between M. Ward, Josh Ritter and Xavier Rudd.

A: The seasons must affect your dye process, what is your favorite season to dye?

M: Spring and Summer are the best for me

A: Do you have anything exciting coning soon we should look for?

M: Bunny and Muffy!

A: What part do you play in the local Fiber shed?

M: Mostly as a producer. But, I am also on the board. Also I like to support and participate in the sheep in schools program.
It is important for kids to know where meat and fiber really come from.

A: Why Twirl? How did you come up with that?

M: When you spin fiber into yarn – Twirl
It is the spinning wheel.
But, also, I imagine the sheep out in the pasture at night twirling under the stars.
One of them, for sure has the music, and another a tutu.

A: What’s your Moto?

M: Invite in magic.

I love this! Hope you do too!
xx
Ash

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I had so much fun dying this yarn. We left our yarn in ziplock bags over night. Then let them dry completely, mine hung from a tree in the shade for a whole day. Then I put them back in some water with vinegar to “set” the dye (Mary didn’t tell us to do this part) then I rinsed the yarn until it ran clear. Then back to the shady tree spot to dry completely.
One of the dyes was super stinky… Woah where is the dirty diaper kind of smell ;) – but after the second time drying it smelled fine. I’m not sure if that was because of the vinegar or because of rinsing it.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my yarn. I want it to be something awesome because I had a hand in the process … But I think I want to dye more!
I’ve been gardening a lot and I looked into “dye gardens” a little. It’s so fun to go pick flowers or herbs, sticks or leaves to put pretty color into something. Growing the plants, picking them, making a dye bath and mortar by just using a copper pot or copper scrub brush?! It’s seriously cool.
I’m pretty into researching self sustainability and came across the site Mother Earth Living, which I liked because it sounds like Martha Stewart Living (which I love!) there were a list of herbs to plant and which color they will give you.
This is my yarn all wound and ready to knit. It smells nice, is pretty soft and I really like that I stuck it in the pot myself๐Ÿ˜

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Happy dying knitting!
xx
Ash

We are so excited to head back to Reno! At the end of the month my folks and I are taking a trip to JBW with the kiddo’s. (I’m sure we will have lots of kid photo’s in the “yarn tub”)
Here are some more shots of the shops transformation.
Have a great weekend!
Happy Knitting!
xx
Ash

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So our little Miss picked out our Sweetie Pie hat to wear with her fabulous outfit today. It’s such a fun hat. She chose to wear it herself- too stinking cute!

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Oh my! How cute is this?!
It’s a sweet pattern that also comes with instructions for booties.
We love Be Sweet Yarn and patterns. The yarn Bambino Taffy for this project is soft and color changes with bright summer colors, patriotic red/ white/ blue, and a watermelon ish one as well.
Perfect cotton hat for all year round.
The pattern changes and color changes in the yarn keep it interesting.
Happy knitting!
xx
Ash

Mary Mary Pettis-Sarley how does your garden grow? With alpaca, sheep, and little goats. And coriepsis all in a row…

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So last weekend we had a dye workshop up at Twirl in Napa, CA. The weather was perfect… Sunny, hot with a nice breeze and lots of cool shade from the grape vines.
We learned about natural dyes, mortars, and that duplicating a naturally dyed yarn is near impossible ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Mary loves her animals and treats them with such kindness. She glows when she talks about her bummer lambs or Celeste or Cupcake, Peanut Butter, or Carolina the cow.
She has respect for her animals and likes to honor them by naming colors or yarns after them.
Twirl is a magical place with creatures of all shapes, sizes, and talent. The day was fun and relaxed and we all left with four beautifully dyed yarns!
1. 100% wool tan
2. 100% wool white
3. Alpaca blend brown
4. Alpaca blend darkish grey
The fibers all took the dyes differently. I put the two lighter yarns in the “pink” pot and the colors are pretty different shades. Same dye but different fibers.

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Dying is completely new to me. Aside from mixing some Rit in my washer and tossing in wet clothes?! I have no experience. Mary is very whimsical about her dying and doesn’t waste time with worry. She loves all the colors she gets and tends to avoid trying to force a color onto a fiber. Which makes for a happy dye lady๐Ÿ˜‰
While we were at the ranch Mary sent us off in all directions foraging for dye materials. Including Chris driving a “Mule” (which is like a 4WD golf cart) to another part of the property. She wasn’t hovering or pointing to a specific branch or flower. She was laid back, willing to let us explore and pick at her garden. It was a generous welcome!

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This little squirt was searching for left over pastries

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This one found a yummy bush!

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Mom tried to pick up a grouchy gopher snake – he wasn’t having it.
And after the tour and getting to pet a LESS than one day old baby alpaca, we hiked back, collected our yarns in baggies, and said our good byes. It was such a good time. The atmosphere was relaxed, the company was wonderful and Mary and Chris are so welcoming it was easy to feel at home.
And Mary made these parting gifts for all her students!

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I am doing more dye research and even looking into a “dye garden” I will share what I find and can’t wait to share my interview with Mary here on the blog! Yee! For those of you who haven’t met Mary or seen her with her animals – you will get to know her a little. I love our local yarn farm!
Happy creating!
xx
Ash

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Saturday we had a dye workshop at Twirl in Napa, CA. The most amazing views!

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Some coffee and pastries

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We all talked and some brought knitting (smarty pants! I wished I had some) and Mary gave us the skinny on her experience and how she came to live on the amazing (seriously! Amazing!) 2,000 acre ranch in Napa. Surrounded by all the wonderful animals she loves and names.

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She shared her love of fiber and could barley hold back from just tossing the soft fiber on us (wishful thinking??) it was so soft and really white.

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Then we “foraged” for dye.. And by we I mean I gabbed away and watched all the happy dyers cut, pick, and pluck, for the dye baths.

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(Heading out in the mule to hunt)

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A soon to be dye!!

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We had four fiber choices to choose from. We could choose two from each table… I chose one of each fiber.

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We all picked a little something to put our yarn in..

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Then we plopped our yarn in the “vats” which all varied in sizes and materials. Bowls, pots set on camping stoves, and a huge iron pot on a fire (hot people).
While we waited for our yarn to have a relaxing tub of color we had a nice tour of a small part of Mary’s home.

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So much to see and do and to be done out here. It’s truly a hard working duo that keep this ranch running. The animals are loved and cared for and the garden is beautiful. It’s a peaceful place to be and a great way to disconnect from the phone and enjoy your surroundings.
I will share more but I’m leaving this as a “to be continued”. I took photos of my yarn and will be collecting photos of other dye day ladies too. Can’t wait to share!
Happy knitting!
xx
Ash

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(a pretty wildflower the Pops picked for the Mom’s on the ride to Reno – BTW did you notice the knitting needle?! ๐Ÿ˜‰)
My Mom has a real good eye for fibers, knitting, gardening, color and well finding the finds! So it only makes sense other shop owners would want to work with her. Laura, who is so cool (and YOUNG!) and my Mom have been working together. Laura helps her with the online world and my Mom helps her set up a rockin’ knit shop!
Here are some photos of last weekend in Reno at Jimmy Beans Wool


Welcome!

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Oh and it’s a beautiful drive

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Something about evergreens – life, fresh air… Mmmmm (this was Almanore… My folks went there after JBW – too pretty not to share)

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More beauty…

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Okay and here’s what ya really want!

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It’s so much fun to decorate and recreate a space! We can’t wait to share the finished shop in all it’s awesome decor!
Happy Monday! Happy Knitting!
xx
Ash

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