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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

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 😘
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

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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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 😉

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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 lady😉
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?! 😉)
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

Well I was working a couple Saturdays ago and in front of the shop there was this surfer-ish guy putting his kid in the car. I really liked his style. He had this knit hat on that was super cool. It really wasn’t the hat it was the yarn. A ombre sunset-esque , probably wool. I loved. So what does a knitter do?? You know! Make one!! I’m on it, in P Town we get really chilly evening nights. This will be an all summer long hat.
I grabbed some Noro to get the Ombré look and I plan to do a knit 1, purl 1 rib… Check out my Ravelry page and ill update as soon as I finish!

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This is not the hat or the man I saw… But he is a surfer in a beanie. Swoon! A cute surfer😉 (Keith Malloy)
Happy knitting
xx
Ash
*and the original pic sans the pink arrow is from Patagonia.com

I love to write list a good list. I will call it a hobby. My favorite kind is a “bucket list”, checking things off is the best part- feeling accomplished.
My recent ’29 before 30′ list inspired me to ask: what makes me happy? What improves my quality of life? What do I love to do? (Besides write lists 😉)
Family, friends, exercise, – Yes I love it!, adventure, and crafting. Not solely these things … But these things for sure. Anyway before I had my daughter I started a knitting group. I basically recruited my friends and taught them to knit so we could have a knit night. (He he- I made my own knitting army!) Then we’d meet once a week at Knitterly and gab about life and kids and knit. I looked forward to it every week. And it was the for sure thing that got me to knit, out of the house, and time with my friends – sans kids.
Then life got “busy”. Ugh! What a lame excuse – my least favorite to be honest. I still hang out with my friends often but knitting is not on the repertoire and kids are usually present and demanding most of the attention. I don’t finish projects quickly – at all -these days and rarely have time to knit. Unless its the butt crack of dawn or late at night. It’s so important to not be “too busy” for life’s pleasures and to make time for people you love – who make you happy.
We have woman who have been coming to Tuesday Night at Knitterly for years. They sit and talk and knit and sometimes people don’t need much help – It’s more social, but its every week which makes it easier. Like going to a class at the gym, it’s harder to cancel when friends are counting on you to be there.
With social media like Ravelry, there are new friendships popping up in our shop. Regular customers who never previously met are finding each other on Ravelry and then meeting at Knitterly. One Saturday two regular customers came in, Knitterly, together. I knew them both and didn’t think much of it. They sat down on some cozy chairs and started pulling projects from their bags. Both woman were really excited, laughing and chatting. they stayed quite a while. Before they left they told me they had met in Ravelry!! What?! These two woman had definitely been in the shop at the same time over the years – and not even realized! They met on Ravelry, shared the same LYS (local yarn shop) Knitterly and decided they should me in person. Loved it! They had started a friendship based on a mutual love for knitting and Knitterly.
I recently had a birthday (29 thank you! It’s going to be awesome!) I made a “29 before 30” list, 29 things to do before 30.
“#28. Start knitting night again” is definitely worth going on the list and definitely worth making time for. It’s also an excuse to have a ladies night regularly! A time separate from my- awesome munchkins, to just be Ash.
I highly recommend starting your own knitting group. If you don’t have a knitting venue, every Tuesday we have “Tuesday Night” it’s a semi class. For $10 you basically get the ‘backstage pass’. The shop is open 6:30-8:30 and there are teachers to help if you need, supplies for sale and a pretty great atmosphere for a knitting group.
My dear friend, Kit, who has had her knitting group for years gets together with her friends every Wednesday to knit. Every week they rotate someone’s house. I love this! The host makes snacks and drinks – its like a mini knitting party, every week!

If you have friends who knit start a knitting group and rotate houses, meet at Knitterly (there are chairs all over and you are welcome to knit in the shop anytime), hang at a coffee shop. I think knitting should be a prescription for good health. So I’m writing one for you..

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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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