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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

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 πŸ˜‰

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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 ladyπŸ˜‰
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

Woah Mamma! yesterday was so windy. I avoided at all costs. Thankfully it was chilly enough to turn the oven on and bake up some yummy (sheep) cookies. The kids watched a movie and I got to thinking about my ‘Dunlin” shawl, from the Bird Collection by Helga Isager. I had taken it out… forever ago and I haven’t put it back on the needles. Until last night. With the Twirl ‘Dye Day’ on my mind I dug in my stash and found the exact colors – in Twirling Petals- I was using in the Isager yarn, eh hmm, my name is Ashleigh and I like love Pink. The Twirling Petals is a softer wool. It’s sweater worthy. The colors are so fabulous. I have a dark grey “Twilight” and a soft Pink “Cochineal “. It’s a light yarn with a luscious blend of alpaca, suri alpaca, kid mohair and soft lambswool. Her yarns are minimally processed (from her very own animals) and the color ways are fun. If you have not yet, I highly recommend trying both Twirl and Twirling Petals.
I was originally knitting ‘Dunlin’ with the Alpaca 1 on a size 2 (the pattern calls for a size 4) but the Twirl is bigger so I upped the needle to a size 5. I busted out the Dreamz Interchangables with a 24” cord. These are my favorite ever! (We are currently sold out)
The ‘Dunlin’ pattern is so cool, it’s knitted from the neck down. I have made the self fringe shawl before and basic corner to corner shawls but this is made similar to a top down sweater. It’s already going really fast (i said that last time too ;D) and I am hoping to share it with you by the end of the week. You know when you aren’t ‘feeling’ a project and something needs to be adjusted? Well that was me and ‘Dunlin’ ;D so now its readjusted and hopefully the next time I bring it up it will be a finished product on my shoulders. Come in check out the yarn and get your spot for the Dye Day at Twirl Farm!
Happy Knitting!
xx
Ash

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β€’SO good!!

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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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Remember when we had this book signing for Knit Notes with Nadine from Be Sweet yarns? Well I heart my “note book” and I’ve been writing my knitting love story since the holiday season.
I paste or tape my yarn labels, write down what changes I’ve made – and there is always something- to patterns, recommended yarns or whatever else I add or subtract from a project… I also write the needles I use. Which will probably always say “Dreamz” interchangeable … Because they ROCK. And I just got them from my main Man on Hearts Day.
I always like seeing other people’s creative notes, something fun about handwritting/ scribbles that are made with the thought that only your own eyes will see.. So I will share a couple of mine. I am definitely recommending this book. It’s so fun – like a year book, only your knitting hopefully wont haunt you like my sophomore year high school photo forever haunts me.
You might forget a project and go back and see the photo/ drawing/ or yarn label and be reminded of who it was for or how much you loved or loathed (you wouldn’t do that right?! πŸ˜‰) knitting it .
There are even pages with great general information and a few on inspiration and how to make the most of the book. Check it out and make your own knitting love notes πŸ˜‰πŸ’•
Here are a few of my knitting notes….

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We all have dreams and goals of what we want to put into our lives and what we want from what we put in. I really think motivation is key in attaining a goal, any goal. If you aren’t excited and just itching to accomplish it… Well it will probably just become an idea or a quote you posted or something you ‘Pinned’. So I am here to motivate you. Want to knit a sweater? Socks? Join a knit-a-long? Start a knit night with your buddies? Do it! What better way to accomplish a goal than to join a class, get your friends interested. Classes are great for getting things done. And what a fabulous feeling to get a compliment on the sweater you knit, or meet a new BFF in a sock class.
I have been knitting for over ten years and still have many knitting and crafting goals. With Presidents day Monday I have been thinking about Thomas Jefferson. Such an intellegent man. I love this quote by him; “an honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second”. We should never stop trying new things or learning and teaching.
I have been thinking so much about time and education and what I should teach my kiddos (Deep – I know) and I have said before not to waste time knitting things that aren’t enjoyable or spending, precious, time doing something you hate. For example knitting something you want to launch across the room, waste of time ;D I have new goals like; grow our own veggies, fruit, and herbs. Sew and knit more toys for our kids, run marathons, teach more classes, learn new skills….
Something, I think I inheireted from my Mom, that I like about myself is that when something loses the ‘fun’ or becomes more of a chore than a pleasure I change things, I learn something new, change my perspective. Not to say when you don’t want to go to school or work to bail or quit. I ask myself ‘Why did you pick that in the first place?’ Job, major, knit project… Whatever it is. Which got me thinking, we have always talked about owning a ranch or living in the country. But we love the rental we live in and it has a large yard. So why wait to live our dream? Why not grow what we can here? Why not not ask if we can have chickens here? This can be our ‘Flint Ranch’ while we are here, now, in this moment. I think- let us all make the most of our time and spend it with people we love and things we enjoy and create the space we wish to have. Be who we want to be.
With this said I am going to segue into my next blog series…. Which is what I am currently working at, ‘Slow living’ letting the less important sit on the back burner and living the life I dream about. I am hoping that sharing my projects, discussing what Knitterly is up to (and holy cow I can NOT wait to share!!!), fill our InstaGram with gorgeous photos from our employees, customers and products we offer, and my latest ‘quest’ to make our home more ‘Green” I am hoping it inspires you too. I want to find the best and most enjoyable ways to stay local, make functional projects that last, and to get you all the info I can about our products and where they are from.
I will be interviewing company owners, visiting ranches and ‘sampling’ every lick of yarn and needle I can. So let the sharing begin! And 2013 will be OUR best yet.
Please leave comments or suggestions, I love to see them. Who do you want to know more about? What company inspires you?? What are your knit/ crochet/ crafting goals?

I will most definitely be writing about Twirl, Alchemy, Imperial Yarns and Stock ranch, Muench, EcoButterfly, Habu,Be Sweet and more….

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Leaving you with an inspiring image…
Knit, create, enjoy
xx
Ash

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