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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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You know when you can feel that something will be a life changer before it happens? This trip to OR this last weekend, was one of those. I’m really not into to flying- I would rather drive across the country to clam dig in Maine than get on a plane. And this one was tiny…. Chest tightening, ohhh no! It’s not a coffin, Ash it’s a plane. Mom did a good job of distraction by talking as the plan took off. The flight was so quick! Before I knew it we were on a train and heading to our friend, Sheri, who was picking us up in Portland. (mental note… Visit Portland!)
I was so excited when we hit the road and headed to Imperial River Co. the lodge where we were staying. Holy cow!! Right on the Deschutes River! A seriously amazing place. We grabbed our room key, dropped our bags in the room and almost ran to the river edge- where it was rushing into some rapids a little ways down. So amazing to think people of the ‘Oregon Trail’ crossed all of this (rapid rivers) on foot, horse, or wagon – pre bridges. Those were a strong bunch people.
Anyway Saturday was our day at Imperial Stock Ranch. The drive was gorgeous. The scenery was nothing like I’ve seen before. Vast expanses of flat land covered in sage brush and other short bushes and flowers that require minimal water. Sage green bushes, yellow, white and purple flowers, fields of crops that seem to shimmer in the wind, and dramatic skies (up until the morning we left)

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The town was called Maupin, OR (Jeanne pronounced it mop-in) what a cute sounding name -for a cute mini town.
Once we got there we were greeted by a couple pooches. The ranch was so much prettier than any picture I had seen of it – but at first look could have been just another ranch. Definitely not the case. I wish I had a video of our visit that you all could watch. This has been a working ranch for over 140 years and non of the history has been lost. Though the ranch has changed families the care and the process have not changed. It’s really amazing and very admirable. To stick – in a modern time of technology- to a 140 year old process.
There were several structures that were built in the 1800’s and still serve their original purpose. No imported materials, no power tools, 100% USA made with 100% man power. We are talking before cars, engines… Just hard work. I was blown away.

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The original barn

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This is the original corral for breaking horses… 1800’s!

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This was so cool. It was a giant grain bin inside the big barn. They still use this. Barley treats for the horses.

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Salted hides.

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This was in the sheep shearing barn. The wool was so clean and smelled yummy! What knitter wouldn’t love the smell of fresh wool?!
They are so resourceful and ‘waste not want not’ seemed to be the unspoken Moto of the ranch. The bags used for stuffing and sending out the wool were reused many times and not because of expense. Purely because the ones they had worked just fine.

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Jeanne climbed into a “chute” with one of the giant bags attached to the bottom. She gave us a demo… Someone tosses in the wool while the person in the bag stomps it down. Reminded me of stomping grapes for wine. She stomps the wool until she’s literally able to walk out of the bag. Everything about being a rancher is physical.

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We seriously loved all the bummer lambs! Holy moly! The cutest, cleanest, lambs we had ever seen. Thanks to the vegetation and lack of mud these babies stay clean.

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Inside the “Hinton” house was super cool too. From its winding stair case wrap around porch (with swing!), fun wall paper…. And did you notice?? It’s the Imperial Stock Ranch official yarn shop… It’s where the magic (the yarn magic) happens.

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Jeanne was a wealth of knowledge with a passion for the ranches history. She is a real pioneer woman with a twist of modern business woman. She is a woman to strive to be like. Hard working, funny, and full of life. I can’t wait to go back!
I wish I could translate the energy and the magic that we experienced on the ranch. It was hard to leave, to say goodbye and head back into a faster pace of modern life. The experience was enlightening and I am craving more! I wish I could be a fly on her boots and follow her around all day to see what it’s really like.
There is this natural urge to want to know all the crafts and skills of being self sustaining after visiting a place like Imperial. They literally would survive without a town, or help from anyone else for a real long time. Jeanne her Husband, Dan, all the ranch hands, family members, and yarn girls work hard to keep the traditions of the ranch and the local economy going. No importing to get them along. Purely USA, and not without struggle. Especially in this time where it can be hard and expensive to find products local or from the USA and fast and easy to order online and overseas.

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I have lots of info and an interview to share with you all… But I wanted to share these photos and give you a taste of the experience. It just doesn’t translate with words.
I want to rope the land like Paul Bunyan and close the divide between us and Imperial Stock Ranch. I feel like I’ve made a life long friend and I plan to visit again! I keep trying to think of a way that is practical to get me back there ASAP. KNITTING!!! he he
Can not wait to go back!
Happy knitting
xx
Ash

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Coffee, morning treats, steaming dye pots, lots of awesome animals, gorgeous view? Who’s in, right??
June 1 from 10 …. ( to whenever – because there is a time warp at Twirl we all will be sucked into!!) Mary will be hosting a dye day!! We are super excited about this. The space is limited for this event so sign up asap (we are closed today so call tomorrow 707 762 YARN)

Deets:

Cost: $75.00
Time: 10am – whenever
Where: Twirl (adventure) Ranch, Napa CA
What: Coffee and breakfast treats will be served in the AM
We will be dying two skeins of her magical yarns
pack a brown bag lunch and water..

This will be so fun! Ahhh can not wait!

I will be there for sure
xx
Ash

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(Butt kicking Gaurdians)

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These tape measures are ah-doooor-able!

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Oh hello gorgeous Erika Knight yarn… Wait till you see the other yarn from her collection. It’s awesome!

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Ok knitters pride aren’t new but they are super fabulous and we just received a new shipment
We have so many fun things currently in the shop. New project bags by Hadaki, BlockHead Press, Chicken Boots, and Slip Stitch Studios.
New colors of Pencil roving by Imperial Yarns, new Imperial patterns, and we have re stocked our Columbia and Anna yarn as well. (If you haven’t yet sign up for the retreat- do it! It’s going to be epic!)
Coco Knits has some fabulous patterns out. The Weekend Wrap vest that takes #17 needles and drapes so perfectly?! Oh yes I will knit that, thank you.
The Necessary Cowl kits are flying out the door and this will be your last chance to get your hands on these, lustable, discontinued yarns.
We also have Classic Elite, Manos and Madeline Tosh on its way!

And check the website for class updates. Julie of Coco Knits, beginning knitting, beginning crochet, self fringe shawl, any time tank, top down sweater… Lots of fun classes!
This week I’ll be sharing some pretty fun knits. Erika Knight vest(s) adult and kid versions, my Imperial Stock Ranch sweater, what I did with the Shi Bui linen.
Happy Monday!
xx
Ash

I hope you all really enjoyed my interview with Helga Isager.
I am excited to say there will be more designer and company interviews coming!
I have so many fun things I will be sharing… Here is a teaser😉

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Happy Knitting and happy Easter
xx
Ash

Something’s are burned into us. By stories we heard, songs, images from books, or our own imaginations. My Great Grandmother, Thelma, shaped so much of who I am today and how I raise my own children.
She taught me to crochet, introduced my brother and I to Entemann’s, little Debbie, Bonanza and Davvy Crocket, baked cookies (often) taught us you can never know too much, be a proud American, stand by your beliefs, … She used to sing us to sleep with old cowboy songs and read us stories about horses and the frontier. I used to play “prairie girl” in the back yard. Ha ha
This is my segue into the Imperial Stock Ranch and how I can’t wait to play farm… In May! It’s so amazing watch this video and you will want to be one on the plane with us to this one of a kind retreat.
The ranch is run by a hard working family who believes in what they do. It’s amazing and inspiring and I just want to catch whatever it is they have!
The yarn is great, the view will be incredible, knitting classes, YARN, food prepared for us, yarn, just being in the beautiful country. I mean – come on – its knitting heaven, the quiet, gorgeous scenery, and knitting classes?!
Even the place we stay is run by the daughter and son in law of the ranch family. Knitting seems to be the bonus of the weekend 😉
I called to order yarn last week and had the nicest chat with the owner, sweet man. And his daughter in law, was so cool! She had to call me back (he didn’t know the low down on yarn orders and his people were out on lunch… He said he could have taken at least five orders while they were out) and she told me all about the ranch and how excited they are to host our retreat. She had me ready to drive on over and have some coffee☕
So I’m romanticizing about knitting on a porch with hot coffee as the sun comes up over -whatever majestic -mountain is painted in the backdrop of this beautiful place.

My friend Nicole (who totally ROCKS!!) has a vintage, Etsy shop Looks like Dynamite. (FYI: There is a really great faux fur coat right now. Mmm! Very cool!)
She works full time, is Wife, Mamma Bear, plays piano and some how manages to find awesome vintage pieces for her shop too.
Anyway I traded a mirror from Looks like Dynamite for a knitted hoodie scarf (before Halloween!! ahhhh) I am proud to say I finished it. Yay!
If I am not the poster girl for procrastination, I don’t know who is!
Getting things done is my goal of 2013. I have so many exciting things to share. Yeee!
Like the foxes I posted WAYYYY back here… (Sheepish smile happening over here) Well they are almost finished and will be making their debut shortly.
We offer a class on this version of the hoodie scarf. My Mom, Shelli, also the shop owner, teaches this-fun. You’ll want to make them for all your girlies😉 Its that good. There is also a version slightly different available in the book “Knit two together” (We have 2 or 3 copies currently) its a pretty cute book too.

Materials I used
4 skeins “flicker” by Berocco yarns.
Our Price: $11.00
Yardage: 189
Fibers: 87% baby alpaca/ 8% acrylic/ 5% glitter 😉
Color: 3320

1 skein Exquisitely Angora
Our Price: $22 (Remember this friend ROCKS!! Only the best!)
Yardage: 50 (of pure angora magic💕)
Fibers: 99% Angora/ 1% cotton
Color: Princess and the Pea (how much do you love that name?!)

Size #11 Dreamz (magical) interchangeable set

(p.s do NOT wash in any machine EVER! Ha I found out the hard way… Hand wash cold lay flat to dry, its still awesome… But very fuzzy!)

*For classes check out schedule or call the shop 707 762 YARN (9276)*

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Happy Knitting!
xx
Ash

We have a new class at the shop this month! Our fabulous shop girl Gayle is teaching this delicate looking scarf. It’s so awesome. At first glance it looks basic, drop stitch, Stockinette… But it has a crazy diagonal thing happening. The Stockinette side is so pretty.
The next session starts tomorrow Feb. 13 from 6-8. It’s a two part class, the second class is the following Wednesday Feb. 20 from 6-8pm. Sign up asap! The class is filling up.

Gayle used Tosh merino light, which is gorgeous and soft. The scarf is also long enough to wrap around a few times. I just went in to the shop and gayle was wearing it wrapped up like a cowl, so cute!
And look how much FUN it is to wear!
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Last night I taught a new beginning knitting session. I can’t tell you how much I love to teach knitting! It was such a fabulous class with awesome ladies.
Everyone should have a hobby that they feel good while doing. I feel like I have so many. Knitting, reading, baking, making jewelry (back burner these days) writing, drawing, working out, sewing, cooking, decorating, writing lists (yes I do believe this is a hobby), selling Stella & Dot, styling clothes…
Whatever you love make sure you do. Carve out time to create. Creativity is soul food and I’m positive you’ll live a happier, healthier life exercising your creative muscles. Life is what you make it… So chose to create it!
Have a wonderful day
Happy knitting!
xx
Ash

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My awesome friend @ Looks Like Dynamite sent me this photo. It’s from the amazing magazine Where Woman Create (which my Mom has been published in 😉)

The new year is here, and for many people that means it’s resolution time. If your resolution involves brushing up on your knitting skills, we can help! We have a full line-up of classes that will teach you a new skill, or help you learn a bit more about one you already know. Here are a few upcoming highlights from our 2013 class schedule. You can view the entire calendar of events and sign up for classes on our website by clicking here.

Learn basic stitches in one of our intro classes.

Learn basic stitches in one of our intro classes.

FOR NEWBIES

If you’re just learning how to knit or crochet, or if you’re trying to introduce a friend to the class, our Crochet Basics and Beginning Knitting classes will be a huge help. Crochet Basics is taught over two class periods, and at the end of each week there will be a take-home project to practice on your new stitches. As a bonus, you’ll the crochet cast on for knitting! Beginning Knitting is your class if you’ve never held knitting needles or if you learned long ago and need a refresher. Taught over two Saturdays or three Wednesday evenings, you’ll master four basic stitches: cast on, knit, purl, cast off. You’ll also complete three projects and learn about yarn, needles, and an intro to pattern reading. Once you’ve mastered the basic stitches, our Knit Next Step, Confidence Building class will take your stitches to the next level. You’ll learn increasing & decreasing for shaping, more advanced pattern reading, lace, and cables.

Crochet Basics: January 6 & 13 OR March 3 & 10 | 12:30pm-2:30pm | $40

Beginning Knitting: January 5 & 12, 10:00am-1:00pm (weekends) OR January 9, 16 & 23, 6:00pm-8:00pm (evenings) OR February 2 & 9, 10:00am-1:00pm (weekends) | $60

Knit Next Step, Confidence Building: January 5 & 12 OR February 2 & 9 | 1:00pm – 3:00pm | $40

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The Clapotis

FOR ACCESSORY LOVERS

Everyone loves a good hat or scarf! Accessories are the perfect project because they’re often quick and they’re the perfect place to try out new skills or techniques. In our Basic Hat Class you’ll learn the skills to make a custom beanie style hat. You can then use these skills to make hats in any size and a variety of styles: a slouchy beanie, ribbed beanie, fitted beanie, or even a beret! If scarves are your thing, join us to knit the Clapotis. This is one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry (almost 20,000 projects made!), and we’ll help you create your own unique version. If you’re curious about the sock-knitting craze, our Socks 101 class is the perfect primer. In the process of learning to knit socks we’ll show you how to use double-pointed needles – a skill that’s also very useful for hats and sweater sleeves!

Basic Hat Class: February 17 & 24 | 12:30pm-2:30pm | $40

Clapotis: January 23 & 30 | 6:00pm-8:00pm | $40

Socks 101: January 20 & 27 and February 3 | 12:30pm-2:30pm | $60

Don't frog that project - we can help!

Don’t frog that project – we can help!

FOR TIPS & TRICKS

Once you’ve got basic stitches and shaping under your belt, the fun really begins. As you’re exploring different techniques, you’ll want to add a few handy skills to your knitting repertoire to ensure smooth and painless projects. Our monthly How Do I Fix That? class will teach you all of the little extras you need to tackle whatever your knitting throws at you. You’ll learn to pick up stitches, fix dropped stitches, change a knit to a purl, knit a twisted stitch, and connect in the round. There’s no such thing as a dumb knitting question, so bring them to this class and clear up all of those technique skeletons in your closet.

How Do I Fix That?: January 17 OR February 14 OR March 20 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm | $25

There are lots more classes on our schedule, so browse the listing on our website and we’ll see you in the store. Happy 2013!

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