Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool

yarns ~ fibers ~ felting ~ sheep

Keep Your Needles and Your Heart Happy -Part 1

Kelly Corbett3 Comments

This is a very honest and sincere post. It comes from several conversations with creative and passionate and very hard working people such as myself who wear the many hats of an entrepreneur.    Please take a moment to think about what I am writing.   It is from 18 years of observation and working in this incredible industry.   It comes from my heart.   And it comes with a hope that you will finish reading my words and be educated a little more about the happiness, and the struggles both mentally and physically of this working mom.  It is meant to start a conversation and be honest about feelings that are so important to a entrepreneur who also takes her parenting job very seriously.   

I am 44 years old.   I was born and grew up on a small Island in Downeast Maine where the seasons change dramatically and just when it seems like you can't take another windy cold afternoon or foggy, muggy morning ... things change.  

I learned a good work ethic from a young age  -blueberry raking, boat painting, babysitting, caretaking houses, raking periwinkles off ledges, wreath making, you name it, I did it.  I learned that if I wanted some bad enough I had to earn it. And it wasn't easy in a small town without much industry not fishing related or seasonal.

Coming from a creative family, I had the need to be creative daily.   I painted and sewed, I made lots of crafty things as a kid, picking up driftwood and offerings from the sea.  I took long walks around the shore collecting materials in the summer.  Not many of my Christmas gifts to my friends and family came from store shelves.  Art class was my favorite class in High School along with English and Creative Writing.  All of my young life was creative and yet when it came time to choose a college or make plans for after high school, I was lost.   But I did know this ... I was happiest when I was being creative and I excelled when I was busy.

Fast forward ... after happily working 2-3 jobs at a time I'm now at home with my first child, going through the "new mom" adjustments, making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom rather than try and juggle my life and his and to make sure I had a child who grew up with the security of knowing Mom is always there when he needed her.  I continued this commitment to my daughter and then second son.    It was at this time in my life that I began to feel I was loosing me.  I needed more, but I also felt very obligated to my children and so with a few sheep in the yard, I began spinning their fleeces and selling the yarns from my garden shed.  

From here I found my place in life.  I was growing my farm, growing my business and growing my skills, all while working at home and being there when my kids needed me.  As they grew along with it all I was able to branch out to more shows and festivals.   I built my website, and began selling online as well as from my farm.   It was exhausting some days, but very fulfilling other days.   It was never organized, always chaotic and ever changing ...and I loved it.  

I took a few business classes, but mostly learned from reading and watching videos and tutorials.    Most importantly I watched, read, listened to and learned from people in the industry.  I listened to my customers and learned from them.  There is so much more in between, but this gives you the basics.  I have been watching the industry from the shepherd's, hand-dyer's, retailer's, wholesaler's and a consumer's side for 18 years..   I have watched trends come and go, watched businesses come and go.  

Now I'm seeing a change in the way we reach our customers by maybe relying too much on social media that changes weekly and leaves us a little lost.  It's very time consuming to keep up but because it is the quickest and easiest way sometimes, I, and many others, continue to use the "free" sources.  Not just because they are free, but because they are quick and easy and let's face it ... fun.    I'm grateful for the reach I have through social media and the  friends I have made and how we can all chat from waaaayyyyyyyy across the country and even to other countries!  But is this a little bit of the demise of the LYS?  Along with the fast paced life and the lack of time, are we so comfortable with our screens that we are replacing our friend's faces?  Do videos that fit our time schedules replace the fun classes?   I am just a guilty!  There is a knitting group that I can walk to and I have yet to make it there on a Tuesday night.  

Is there an age group that we can welcome into the world of fiber arts?  Are the younger generations interested?  If I look at the analytics of my fb page, my website, my instagram feed and twitter, I see that you are mostly women between the ages of 34-68.   Are there young mom's who could use the night out to create an express themselves and learn not only skills but wisdom from us who have lived just a little longer than them? :)  How about college students who would enjoy learning how to create their own scarf or hat in their school colors?  Though I don't believe our current knitters are going anywhere are we gaining any new ones?  Is there an interest?  

Tell me your thoughts! They are important to me and the industry!  How can we as yarn producers continue to keep your needles happy?  

In my next post I am going to tell you about being sad and how it consumed me and how I am slowly allowing myself to be okay.   I think its important to be honest with yourself in life and that maybe sharing it can let others know that they are not alone and that Superwoman cries every now and then and it's okay.  

till then

xoxo

Kelly

 

Fire Up Your Needles!!

Kelly Corbett1 Comment

And they are off!  And on their way to you!  One skein of hand-dyed-gradient-speckled-vibrant- super-cool NIMBUS, one skein of lovely, classy, natural white NIMBUS, a charming little summer stitch holder ( mostly for fun ) and a little note you must read before you start. :) 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am excited to have you along for my first KAL.   Those of you who know me know I am a "quick project" knitter, as my attention span is about as long as a tiny, muppet-like dachshund's whisker ...   So as I was toying with the idea of gradient colors AND speckled yarn, I worked my confusing unicorn magical powers into a slightly time-consuming dye process   -sounds technical right?   The end result is just so fun and unpredictable and dare I say  ... magical? :):)

My hope is that while you are knitting FIREWORKS, you will feel little urges to keep knitting, keep seeing what each row brings, and watch the color soften and then a little POP of color happens.:)   The pattern is simple, no need to keep referring or counting rows, the yarn does all of the work for you and surprises you as you go!   

As I knit the fist shawl sample, and I actually refer to it as a skinny shawl,  I watched the ends start to curl and thought how perfectly this wraps around you!   The two skeins make a flowing garment that can easily be worn as a scarf, shawl or even a cowl!   The white edge can be the top or the bottom and it's just so classy!   I have samples knit in size 6, 7, and 8 needles, it is beautiful in each one.  

Sooooooo ... very important.   When you receive your package.   There is a piece of yarn tied to the end of the speckled yarn.   This is the dark part of the skein you will be casting on with.  You will need to wind it into a ball starting with the other end.   

Your package includes a tag with a CODE on it to use to download the pattern for FREE.  There also is a CODE for you to receive $5.00 any new order incase you might like to add a third or fourth skein, or for any order you like. My personal THANK YOU to you!!

  • Please share your progress on Instagram using #romneyridgeKAL.
  • Join our Facebook Group and share your progress as well.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1525995054390795/
  • SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! :)

Remember we don't start until July 20th so that gives everyone time to get their yarn ready.          I cant WAIT to see your progress!!!!  

xoxo

Kelly 

 

 

 

FABULOUS FIREWORKS KAL!

Kelly Corbett1 Comment

The craziness started two days ago.   I had experimented dyeing some of my favorite little NIMBUS skeins in a well thought out way that was a combination of the very popular speckled yarns and the very popular gradient yarns.   What if I could pull the colors out of one packet of dye, stronger on one section, then fading away gradually until you have the base yarn shade?   I prepared the white bases, consulted the Unicorns in my head, took a leap of faith with my skill, and BAM!  .... pulled these out of the dye pots! 

Then, I sat and looked at them.  I walked by them many times, fought the obvious, then made a command decision, they needed to be knit in garter stitch ... why did I fight it?   Its such a pretty stitch!  So, having been on a knit-a-million-triangles tear, creating a bunting for my wool wagon, I picked up a set of size 7 circular needles, cast on 13 stitches, and began.

 I only increased twice on the 4th stitch on each end by knitting into the front and back of the stitch, until I had 67 rows, then I increased on every 4th and 10th stitch on each end  -increasing by 4 stitches per row.  When I switch to the next skein, I will continue the 4 stitch increase.  

So here is the progression of The Fabulous Fireworks Shawl! 

Now comes the fun part, the part where I want to share!  This is a very, very, very simple pattern.  You only need to know how to cast on,  knit and increase -kfb, and bind off! Thats it! I checked Ravelry and Pinterest and of course this is a common pattern known as a crescent shawl.   But what makes this one really fun is the way the yarn works up!  You won't want to stop knitting as you watch the colors lighten, speckle, and then fade away!   It's addicting! :)

 

SOOOOOOOO .... I invite you to join a Fabulous Fireworks KAL in JULY!   If we start them now we can share them at UNWIND!   

I'll set the date to start as July 20th so we can have something to look forward to for relaxing after the 4th.  Take it to the beach!  Throw it in your car! Its a small enough project to take on the go! 

 

KAL RULES

Hop on over here to order your yarn asap as I will need all pre-orders and sign ups by July 6th.  All yarns will be freshly dyed based on your orders! Fresh yarn! yesssssssss!!!                          

Color Choices are:

  • Black Speckles
  • Peacock Blue Speckles
  • Cherry Speckles
  • Emerald Green Speckles

You will receive one Speckled Skein of your choice and one natural white - 332 yards total.       

The pattern will be FREE on  our website. :)

  • Pre-order your yarn and sign up by July 6th ( pattern is free ). 
  • Join our Facebook group to share your progress.
  • Share on Instagram using #romneyridgeKAL.
  • Finish your Fabulous Fireworks Shawl by September 1st to be entered into a drawing to receive a $50 gift certificate to Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool!
  • Everyone who finishes by September 1st receives $5 off any order from Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool! 

SUMMER IS HERE!   Let's have some fun!  Share with your friends especially the beginner knitters you know, as this is so easy and will keep them motivated! 

I'm looking forward to seeing your success!

xoxo

Kelly

Hi I am Kelly, and I am curvy.

Kelly CorbettComment
IMG_6903.jpg

Hi I am Kelly.  Mother of three, working mom, sorta-kinda runner, biker and wanderer.   I'm a knitter -far from the best, but I am always learning.  I have knit hats, scarves, cowls, mittens, fingerless mitts -all small projects.  But I have never knit a sweater.  Oh I have collected many patterns and stockpiled yarn and talked myself into starting one, but I have never committed.  Why you ask?  Well these have been my excuses over the years ....

I hate sitting.  Every time I sit down I think, "But I should be doing something work related."   It's a  double-edged sword being a business owner who loves what she does.   I am surrounded by the beautiful yarns I create, but I cant justify making something for myself ... silly I know.

I can't start something that I have to leave and come back too a lot.   My attention span is ....welll .....oooo look pretty clouds .......

And here is my #1 excuse.   I have a very curvy shape and the patterns I like rarely look like they will fit me, and even if modified, I don't see them as what I need to "cover my flaws".  

So I thought long and hard about it the past few weeks.   I am the first to admit I am not happy with my shape.   But I also won't refuse a plate of nachos and a nice cold IPA if set in front of me.  :)  I accept  that I am 44 years old and though I am very active, things start to slow down and gravity becomes harder to fight ... but I am still hand-made sweater worthy!:)

So I am committing!   And here is what I think needs to happen to make me follow through and finish!   It has to be simple!   It has to have color!  It has to fit my shoulders and not pull up when I put my arms up and I don't want to keep pulling it down over my butt, so it needs some increases as I get to my hips.  It needs to be simple stitches where I don't have to count much.  I will measure as I go so it fits me now as I am ... who I am. Not when I think I am going to drop a few more pounds.  I am not a size 10.   My sweater needs capped sleeves not full sleeves.  I'll get bored ... lol!   

I look at all the patterns and I see very few designed for me ... I AM CURVY! :) 

 So Cast on, Knit, Purl, M1L, M1R, Increase, Decrease, and Bind Off.   Simple simple.  Make it up as I go!   Time to finish that swatch! 

Xoxo

Kelly

 

 

Cape Ann Capelet

Kelly CorbettComment
IMG_6936.JPG

If you are lucky enough to live near the coast, any coast in this beautiful world, and you re lucky enough to see the whitecaps on the waves and the gorgeous shades of blue that change with the seasons then you are indeed blessed.  I grew up on an island in Maine where the ocean is deep and salty and dark in depth of color especially during the fall and winter months.   During summer, the skies host the most amazing billowing clouds and breezes that reflect and manipulate the water.   It's gorgeous and earthy and I love to sit on the rocks and breathe it all in.   

This spring, when I needed a "deep ocean fix" I found a place called Fort Stage Park  -not too far from me in Gloucester Massachusetts.  I drove down with Cosmo and though it was too cold to really wander around much, the ocean was as I expected, bluer than blue and sparkling in the bright afternoon sunshine.   We continued around the area until we were in a place called Cape Ann.   The ocean meets the land with such power and force and carves its masterpiece in the cliffs and gifts us with the round and jagged rocks we find as we beach comb in the summer months.   

FullSizeRender.jpg

I returned to these beautiful places a few weeks back to see the shift from the colder months to a warmer time.    I thought about a sweet little wrap inspired by the colors of the ocean and the land.   A piece you could snug around your neck when it is cold and slip over your shoulders when it is breezy.  

I designed the Cape Ann Caplet in my head that day and came home to dye some North Shore fingering weight in a Summer Ocean Blue which combined lovely with Hops Green and then it happened, with a HUGE thank you to Zwitsa who took my idea and put needles to yarn to knit me a sample!  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_6890.JPG

The Cape Ann Caplete is the PERFECT summer, throw in your bag cover-up!  You'll receive two specialty dyed skeins of our North Shore Fingering-weight merino yarns and printed pattern!  

We chose this yarn for it's light-weight super softness and it's awesome elasticity, making it perfect for wearing the caplet as a cozy cowl or pulling it over your shoulders ... it's really two garments in one! 

You can order your Cape Ann Caplete Kit on our website and get started on this simple summer knit! Kits ship June 2nd!

xoxo

Kelly & Cosmo

To Market to Market!

Kelly CorbettComment

Summer is quickly approaching ... or shall l say it is already here in my neck of the woods.   Today it will be a quick hit if 90 plus degrees before sliding back into the more typical 70 degree range. Trees and gardens are in full bloom, I am happy to find a toad has taken up residence in mine, and it is almost time for Farmer's Market season to kick into full swing!   

Last summer, as I had just moved to the area,  I joined the Ipswich Farmer's Market in beautiful Ipswich, where I met some of the nicest people and began to find my place as a "local".   Its a lovely little market complete with music set up under the trees at the Ipswich Center Green near the River Walk.   

My dates there are:

June 17th & 24th

July 15th $ 22nd

August 12

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 6.41.40 PM.png

 

 

This year I will also be at The Cape Ann Farmer's Market at beautiful Fort Sage Park overlooking the gorgeous ocean!  My dates are:  

June 29th

July 13th

September 7th & 21st

October 5th

FullSizeRender 18.jpg

Both Markets have agreed to let me bring my trailer, so I will have a nice full selection of yarns and kits! 

Hope to see you there!  

xoxo

Kelly

Spinning Willie

Kelly Corbett1 Comment
Sweet Willie

Sweet Willie

There is no denying that this has been a rainy spring her in New England.   A peak of sun on Easter Sunday gave me a sunburn, then cold and wind chilled me yesterday at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, which I should be at right now, but I had chills so bad last night I decided to give myself a break today.   While the rain has me frustrated, mostly because I am tired of being cold, it has brought a beautiful palette of greens to the world, and the special gift of washing Willie.   

Willie was my victim a few weeks ago when I decided to shear my own sheep, though for once in my life I should have not have listened to my stubborn genes as I a not built to be a sheep shearer.  But alas, I needed to get my goats done and I have sheared them for years and well, waiting is not my strong point, so since I was there I tackled a few of them.   After the two little Angora goats were done, Willie was first, then Brian, and finally Mary before my hamstrings began to shake.   I came home with two white Romney fleeces, two Angora Goat fleeces, and Willie.   Aaron Loux will come in a few weeks and finish up my flock ... and clean up the not-so-show-sheep look I left a few of them with.  :)

Mercy, Willie and Gromit

Mercy, Willie and Gromit

So back to Willie.    His mama was a Columbia, and his daddy-o a Southdown.   He leaned toward his tall mama's side with long legs and a magnificent set of ears.   His fleece is a combination of the two down breeds.   

After laying the fleeces out to be skirted, shaken for second cuts, and to pick out hay and dirt, I stood and looked at the lovely fibers in the sunshine and had a flash back and that warm feeling inside of pride and happiness.  These are my babies, my friends, my peaceful companions.   I haven't even considered spinning them myself like I did many years ago.  Then I say to myself,  "Kelly ... wouldn't it be fun to go back to your beginnings?"   I left them out in the sun, then the next day I began washing them.   

Freshly shorn Willie.

Freshly shorn Willie.

Romneys.   Ahhhhhhh.   Why do I love them?  The list is long.  To me that are beautiful, I always come back to oooh and ahhhh over them at the fairs.  The wool is so beautiful, strong, lustrous, earthy, crunchy, farmy, wholesome.  Of all the wool I have ever spun it touches my soul.  Weird huh?  Maybe it's because it is my beginning ...   

But my mind and hands and heart have always been open to many sheep, purebred to mixed, my hands beg to touch their wool and rub their cheeks.  

After washing the two lightly greased ( meaning low lanolin ) Romney fleeces using a combination of the rainy weather, a good soak in Cosmo's pool and then a wash in small batches in the sink with warm water and soap, I let the random sunny days we have had dry them and now I anxiously wait for a chance to card and spin them.   

Willie was next.   I have read, learned and heard about many methods of washing wool without using hot water, ( though for years I washed them in my washing machine on soak and spin settings ) but instead letting the wool soak in cold water then draining and repeating until the lanolin separates from the fiber.   A not so hard task with Romney's, but Willie's fleece is much more greasy, and such a different texture, so I started with the cold wash and will continue with he warm after this nasty Northeaster passes.   And then what?  

Well I have 9 more fleeces to get through.   Romney and Southdown crosses like Willie.   Should we have a Spin In?  Would you like to join the process with your own Romney Ridge, lightly washed, deliciously, sheepy-smelling wool share and card and spin with us through the summer?   I will have Handsome Mike, Athena, Truffle, Jack Black, Mary, Mercy and Brian's Romney fleeces.  Then Gromit, Madeline, Blizzard and Willie's Southdown-cross fleeces.  I also have Paulie Walnuts and Thomas mohair to spin if you'd like to try that too.   Do you have a spinning wheel?  Can you come spend a few Sundays with us this summer learning and creating?  Tell me you thoughts! 

xoxo

Kelly

UNWIND! Let's do it again!

Kelly CorbettComment

What can I say.  My heart has been very full after last weekend.   Not only did I have the most fun I have had all winter, but I learned, I laughed, I was inspired, and I loooooooooooooooved the relaxed and fun atmosphere of our first UNWIND weekend.  THANK YOU cannot be said enough to my teachers, my vendors, my students, and all of the wonderful people who stopped in and shopped and visited and laughed with us.   And THANK YOU to St. Mary's for hosting us! 

IMG_5960.JPG

Were you able to make it last weekend?  What did you think?  What could we do to improve UNWIND and grow?  Can you help spread the word when we have the dates for our second event?  Would you like to teach? Vend?  Shoot me an email and let me know! :)  Hope you will join us again!!  xoxo

You can watch a slideshow of our weekend on the website.  

As we UNWIND ...

Kelly CorbettComment

A few years ago I had this idea for a very casual weekend of sharing, teaching, shopping and just enjoying a fulfilling few days with old friends while making new friends and sharing it as well with the outside world.    I love to share, and I love to teach and mostly I love to see people let themselves give in to their creativity and experience joy and excitement the feel when they finish!  

I realize there are events similar to this, but what I hope sets us apart is the uniqueness of our classes.   From hand-dyeing to rug hooking, knitting custom socks, designing your own shawl, knitting new stitches with yarn you create, and learning how to needle felt -we have such a nice array of very unique classes as well as very special teachers.   I'm so pleased that they have agreed to come and teach!  I could not do this without them!   Each class gives the student basic knowledge then the freedom to go wild! :)

Let's dye some yarn! 

Let's dye some yarn! 

Lets create with the yarn you dyed!

Look what you can make! 

Look what you can make! 

Custom size your own socks! 

Custom size your own socks! 

This is your yarn ... what will your shawl look like?   

This is your yarn ... what will your shawl look like? 

 

Simple techniques make this cute little fox!

Simple techniques make this cute little fox!

As the UNWIND Weekend approaches I am soooooooooo excited!  This will be our first year on the North Shore!    We have a wonderful variety of local vendors bringing their unique products, and St. Mary's Church has welcomed us with open arms offering their huge space for our weekend of creativity!   So THANK YOU everyone who is making this possible!   See you soon at UNWIND! 

xoxo

Kelly

Behind the Scenes

Kelly Corbett3 Comments

We often hear things said such as "behind every great man is a great woman" or "behind the scenes" .... truth is what's behind greatness is often quiet and oh so cherished.  We all need special things, people and creatures that help motivate you and excite you and those who share in your passions.    Quite often I start my day looking at the list I made the day before of the things I needed to do.  I try and finish the unfinished and add to the list and in between the many "distracting" moments of the sunlight shining through the trees just right, or the flock of crows gathering on the lawn across the street, or maybe the the soaking wet skeins of freshly dyed yarns I hold and let the water drain out of watching the colors change as the fibers begin to fluff up ...... you get the idea, I think of my "behind the scenes" and the "greatness" that helps me in this creative journey and that put the ideas in my head into finished.

I have always said that  I have never met an artsy-fartsy person I didn't like.    Now this doesn't mean they have to be knitters or spinners, hookers or weavers, but it is many times what has caused us to meet.  :)
 

IMG_0071.JPG

First, Roberta.   Roberta and a group her knitting friends visited my farm in Maine years ago and we all knit and laughed and they even got a chance to experience Romeo my goat who, at the end of the day, hoped up on the food table and helped himself to the left overs!   For several years now she has helped me put my ideas into completed pieces, knit samples for me and given me expert advice as well as sent me little surprises here and there. I love you Roberta!  Thank you!!  xoxoxo  

 

Adam.   I met Adam last fall when he contacted me to see if I could teach him to spin.   He arrived at my farm with a homemade apple pie and the sweetest smile I have ever seen.   He shared his beautiful knitting talents and at the end of the day went home with a new appreciation for farm produced yarns.  He is enthusiastic and encourages me and I, in turn, drive him crazy with my endless ideas and changes of direction in the middle of our conversations! :)   Being a successful business owner himself, Adam understands the challenges and excitement and true love of the entrepreneur.  Being an artist he understands the beautiful mess I become when I get excited and have new ideas.   Without him I would not have my Unicorn Sock samples finished for years  -yes I can knit, but time is not on my side with other aspects of running my business and I do not have the skill he has.    Adam has taught me to look at my business and my yarns in a different way, and most importantly to embrace the new changes in my life.   xoxo my friend xoxo!

 

IMG_4250.jpg

Maryly.   Maryly is a true free spirit.  It shows in her work.  She is kind and giving and anyone who has taken her class has left with excitement and an new found talent within themselves.   She teaches you to step outside the box and to try new things.  She never allows you to say "I could never do that" as she shows you that you really can.   Maryly loves my colors and yarns and I love her vision.  She can turn my crazy multi-colored skeins into beautiful landscapes in a textured hat or a gorgeous color flowing patterned pair of mittens.   I so enjoy seeing her leave with a handful of my skeins and and returning with a masterpiece!  xoxo Maryly

 

Joyce.   I only recently met Joyce and am so happy she lives close so close to me!   She is  a multi-talented fiber artist, weaving beautiful rugs with an eye for color, and enthusiastically working with me on a new set of knitting patterns that I have wanted to get started for a few months!  We work between texts and over coffee and she sees things differently and the same as I do at the same time.   Thank you Joyce for you're encouragement and for listening to my crazy ideas!  I'm excited to work with you more and more! 

There are many more of you to whom I owe my gratitude, my customers, my friends, my kids, my little Cosmo who patiently waits for me to take breaks and walkies ... so many more.  Keep watching as the year  is just beginning, I have lots to share. :)

xoxo

Kelly

 

 

The Tale of Two Sweaters

Kelly CorbettComment

Often people ask me, "how much yarn can you get from one sheep?"  My answer is always, "Well, it depends on the sheep." ;)   So how does that work?  Fleece is mostly sold by shepherds by the pound.   Sometimes we ooooooo and ahhhhhh over the weight of the fleece that comes off our sheep but really it should be the size of the fleece we look at, and of course the breed has a lot to do with the yardage we achieve when hand-spin or have the beautiful fibers spun.   

Romney sheep produce a long, lustrous fleece, sometimes heavy in lanolin, sometimes not.  It can range from 4-6 inches and again, depending on the individual sheep, the amount of usable fleece varies, meaning if they have clean heathy fibers consistent in length all around the yield will be heavy.  Weight is not the best determination of yarn yield because you will loose 40 -50% of the weight after washing.  Remember the weight loss if from dirt and lanolin -not fiber.  

I judged fleeces for several years at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and I learned from many of the best shepherds and show judges.  I touched and examined hundreds of fleeces and many breeds and I have spent years working with mills, but my answer remains the same ... it depends on the sheep.  :)

Many years ago I began my sheep adventure with my first Romney sheep, Joe.   I brought him home when my kids were little and he was the sweetest boy who grew a large, beautiful fleece each year.  He started my love for the breed. I learned to hand-spin from his long silvery-gray fibers, and when he turned 12 I took his fleece to a mill and had it spun into a worsted weight yarn and put on cones.  He was very special to me, and I wanted his yarn to wrap around me for years to come even when he was gone.    His ~ 9 pound fleece yielded two ~ 2,000 yard cones of yarn.  

The first sweater I had knit from this yarn, was a modified pattern knit by designer Bristol Ivy.   It is much like a swing coat, long and cozy -as every sweater should be and I wear it with pride.  

Joe Sweater.jpg

 

After using the first cone, I held on to the second and waited for it to tell me what it wanted to be.   It sat and waited, and as time went by it changed.  I didn't know until I met my friend Adam, who offered to put its strands into something special for me.   After looking at many patterns and changing my mind many times, I chose the Waiting For Fall pattern by Isabell Kraemer after seeing it knit by my friend Hèléne as a test knit for the pattern in my Farm Blend.  

As the strands became stitches, the shade changed.  After the few years of waiting, even though it was safely packed and tucked away in my closet, the outer strands of the cone had lightened.   Wow.   I loved it.   And because it was knit by someone so special to me it makes it all the more wonderful to wear.  

Believe it or not there is yarn still left from Joe.   It will tell me what it wants to be in time.  I will always return to my beginnings when it comes to the yarn I create, even as I add different weights and types of yarn, Romney based yarns will always be the heart of my business. <3

 

Cozy Accomplishment

Kelly Corbett1 Comment

Accomplishment.   It's such a great feeling.   Looking out my window at my shiny new trailer and finishing the inside and planning events ahead are very exciting.   And it is all because of good friends who helped me, not only by donating, but by believing in my idea and encouraging me to take a leap of faith ... many, many xoxoxoxo's to you!! 

It's funny how waiting can be so frustrating yet so helpful.   Getting time to work on the finishing of and set up of the inside has been a bit of a challenge after coming back from a very busy New York Sheep & Wool Festival and getting ready for The Fiber Festival of New England  has taken quite a bit of my time, and today the much needed rain slows me down a bit.  But so far I have chosen and installed the floor, picked up paint for the inside walls, and perused Pinterest a million times to make sure everything inside is secured yet moveable to suit shows, classes and whatever else the fiber world brings me.:)  

Neutral colors for the floor ....

Neutral colors for the floor ....

As I work on the installing the shelving and dye station, and then stocking the shelves I am excited!   I'm adding new yarns to my inventory, working new patters with designers, and my calendar keeps filling with shows and events!   Be sure to check the CLASSES & SHOWS section of my website to see where I will be and what events I have planned for the winter!    

One you won't want to miss is the Grand Opening on Small Business Saturday -November 26th!   Come and see what our new mobile yarn shop has to offer, do a little early Christmas shopping and be entered to win some fiber prizes!   Keep watching for details! 

Fat Sheep Bulky knit on size 15 DPN needles in Fisherman's stitch. 

Fat Sheep Bulky knit on size 15 DPN needles in Fisherman's stitch. 

Oh ....and BTW,  Take 10% off our new FAT SHEEP Bulky this weekend when you enter this code at check out!   CODE: COZYAUTUMN    Sale runs Friday at noon till Sunday at noon. :)

xoxo

Kelly

 

Rhinebeck Recap ...

Kelly Corbett2 Comments

There is an excitement that builds the weeks before Rhinebeck.   Special colors, sample knits, booth design, travel and most importantly seeing old friends and meeting new.    This year my journey brought me a little of everything I love about my job, my work, my life, my passion.   

I won't waste valuable screen space babbling on about how much I love you all ... :)   and how excited I get ... :):)     instead I will share the highlights of the weekend and the patterns, the people, and the the sights I managed to grab as this was my busiest Rhienbeck to date! xoxo to you all!!

First, I was excited to be able to feature Isabelle Kramer's beautiful Ready for Fall sweater knit in my very popular Farm Blend.   A HUGE thank you to Helene M. Driesen for expertly knitting the sample sweater and loaning it to me for the show! xoxo

Many Farm Blend colors to choose from! 

Many Farm Blend colors to choose from! 

Ready For Fall -Isabelle Kramer

Ready For Fall -Isabelle Kramer

Sweater detail ...  

Sweater detail ...

 

Helene and her friends also chose this sweet little Glimmers Fingerless Mitten Pattern by Ann Kingston to work on together while they enjoyed the weekend at the festival.  Using Farm Blend Mini's they each chose coordinating colors for their sheep and tartan patterns on natural Farm Blend.  Pattern link below.

Glimmers by Ann Kingstone

Glimmers by Ann Kingstone

This easy peasy pullover vest caught my eye  -well the yarn did first as I knew it was Romney :) Its is called Eria Vest and it is designed by Julliana Lund.   It calls for a size 7 needle and aran weight yarn, but I thought it would be easy to switch up gages and yarns and maybe even whip it up in my new FAT Sheep Bulky. 

Eria Vest by Julliana Lund

Eria Vest by Julliana Lund

Pattern coming soon! :)

Pattern coming soon! :)

Julia Farwell Clay stopped in to show me the hat she had been working on for a kit I will be carrying soon!   Her lovely Oak Leaf design in Thunder Farm Blend looked stunning on the Chartreuse background.    Julia is putting the details together for the pattern soon!  

So proud of you Tim!

So proud of you Tim!

I want to share this young man, Tim Walker who bought a chubby little lamb from me years ago.  Tim has grown his love of sheep into a beautiful Natural colored Romney flock -one of the nicest i have ever seen.  It's so good seeing him each year showing his beautiful Romneys at Rhinebeck.  You can visit him at Great Bay Wool Works on the web and at shows and markets throughout the year.  

I had to snap a quick pic of these leggings!  I didn't get to catch these ladies to ask them where they got them so if these are your legs .... please let us know! :):):)

blurryyyyyyyyy pic, but you get the idea. :)

blurryyyyyyyyy pic, but you get the idea. :)

Last but never least I want to send a million hugs and kisses to my friend and fellow unicorn Adam Huntley who feverishly knit up my Unicorn sock samples and mailed them to me in the knick of time!   xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo for your wonderful charismatic and much appreciated support! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

The weekend goes by so fast.   The weather was wonderful and I am very very grateful for everyone who stopped in.   I can't wait to see your projects and share more creativity and inspire each other.   

Here are the links for the patterns above!  Now back into the dyepots I go! :)

xoxo

Kelly

 

Ready For Fall -http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ready-for-fall-2

Glimmers Fingerless Mittens - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gimmers

Eria Vest by Julliana Lund -http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/eria-vest

 

The Emotional Connection To Creativity - PART 2

Kelly CorbettComment
IMG_0583.JPG

When I was pregnant with my first child I bought 3 skeins of Lopi yarn and some knitting needles. I bought a sweater pattern that was waaaaaaaaay beyond what a beginning knitter could ever hope to knit.   But my belly was getting bigger and my energy supply was getting smaller and I needed something creative to keep my mind and hands busy.  I had no sheep and very little knowledge of fiber let alone how to even knit my first stitch.   I bought the yarn for it's deep evergreen color and thick texture  -knowing myself well enough that my attention span would only allow me to work on something that I thought would come together quickly.  

The yarn became very special to me as I read the books that taught me the stitches as I awaited being a mom for the first time.  I still have it to this day, I knit the panels and started the sleeves and named it the 8 year sweater.   I never finished it, but I will never part with it, it is a part of my knitting history.  

Sometimes artistic projects connect us to places and moments, and some with very special people.   I have realized as I have been on this journey that I have had to open my mind to changes in my business if I want to continue to get up every day and do the work I love.   

Beautiful Farm Blend in Goldenrod

Beautiful Farm Blend in Goldenrod

My Farm Blend is at the heart and soul of my business.  It is the result of years of expirimenting, learning and growing. It is what I proudly produce every year from my sheep and I use that solid Romney foundation to create blends with Mohair or Alpaca or other breeds of wool.   I have learned the options for ways to spin, the best uses for, the best colors for white or grey bases, and just recently that a smaller needle changes the whole feel of Farm Blend in a way I would never had imagined.  I learn so much from my customers/friends.  

NIMBUS 

NIMBUS 

When I introduced NIMBUS last Fall, and then few weeks ago UNICORN, it was from a desire to try something new, and have a little different approach by adding to my passion, my lines of hand-dyed yarns.   I have, in the past, spun wool as just wool into a sport-weight yarn and I have learned that that isn't for everyone.   I have learned that being able to produce enough of a type of yarn at a price that makes me a good business woman is very important.  

SOCK yarn -Unicorn Lipstick

SOCK yarn -Unicorn Lipstick

 

I had such a desire to grow, so keeping my Farm Blend as the base of my line,  I found these lovely wool and wool/nylon bases and will continue to introduce new quality yarns from Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool and I will tell you the stories of their purpose and work with you on designs and projects and in the process I will gain knowledge and an emotional connection for you, my customers who I also very much value as my friends. 

xoxo

Kelly

 

The Emotional Connection to Creativity .... Part 1

Kelly CorbettComment

What makes good yarn?   What makes yarn worth spending your hard earned money on?   How do you choose when a wall of colors towers over you and beckons you to buy one skein or an armload?  What influences you to buy?  What project are you about to spend time on and how do you envision your project to make you feel?  

Seems complicated, you are just shopping for yarn right?  ... but I'll bet you have had many of those thoughts run through your head.  

Do you choose warm or cool colors?

Do you choose warm or cool colors?

Yarn is a medium.   It is an investment.  Much like painting or sewing, knitting it's a emotional and monetary investment.  Do you smell it, and pet it, and squeeze it when you pick it up?  Do you rub on your neck or wrists to see how it feels on your skin?  Do you hold the colors up to your face or place them on the counter in particular order to see what looks good together?  Did you spend hours looking for just the right pattern or do you let it tell you what it wants to be when you get it home?  Do you choose a skein to try a new technique?  Whatever way you do it, whatever way you choose your choice it is dictated by your emotions. 

Lovely, colorful Farm Blend.<3

Lovely, colorful Farm Blend.<3

I like to call myself a "yarn engineer."   I learned years ago through shepherds, wool grading classes, volunteering at agricultural events, serving on boards, by asking questions, visiting mills and talking to the creators themselves -the knitters, crocheters, weavers and felters, what purpose each yarn serves.   I have sorted though thousands of pounds and many, many different breeds of wool and learned it's secrets.   And from that learning and I have created my Farm Blend and Downeast yarns, yarns that come from my farm and the farms and people I know and love.  It's what I like to call "yarn with a purpose" and it is the core of my business.  

Zeus. Handsome and sweet.

Zeus. Handsome and sweet.

Romney is at the heart of my Farm Blend.  It is the breed I chose to raise years ago when I first built my hand-spinners flock.   I fell in love with the sheep, and the people I met that were raising them, and the fiber was so beautiful and strong.   I started as a hand-spinner, and  I couldn't get enough.  My emotions chose the sheep and built my passion for the yarn.   I learned what beautiful yarns their beautiful fleeces could become and what it was best suited for.   Romney is strong, lustrous and resilient, perfect for pieces that will last a lifetime, though it may not be for some who are super sensitive to wool.    And that's where emotions dictate choice ... and knowledge dictates appropriate use.  

 

Joe my first Romney

Joe my first Romney

Hats, mittens, sweaters, pieces that get hard wear and heavy use are perfect choices for Farm Blend.  My Joe sweater, knit for me by knitwear designer Bristol Ivy several years ago is still as beautiful as the day she knit it.   It is 100% Romney from my beloved boy Joe who was my first Romney.   I can wear just a t-shirt under it and be cozy on a chilly day, it has a collar that lays down and does not touch my neck much so I do not feel the wooliness as I am a little sensitive around my neck area.  It wears like iron, and I know it will be a staple of my winter sweaters for years and years.   And because it is Joe, it is all the more special to me.  

My beautiful Joe Sweater.  

My beautiful Joe Sweater.  

Next up....  NIMBUS and my new Unicorn sock yarns! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes, Unicorns & Fat Sheep

Kelly CorbettComment

What would life be would be without changes?  In New England the bigest changes we see are in seasons and weather.   As we experience these hot summer days, we know snowy cold winter days aren't too far off.   But in-between the crisp air will return and Mother Nature will grace us the beautiful colors of Fall.  Changes in life and surroundings and  even business are necessary to succeed.  A stagnant pool fills with despair, but a flowing, ever changing stream sings a song and spreads joy -yep, I made that up, pretty deep huh? ;)

So into my ever changing stream, I am adding new yarns, new colors, new dyeing techniques and along the way inspiring myself and learning new skills and remembering old.  Like my NIMBUS Yarns, these yarns are outside sourced, meaning American grown & spun.  Of course I will continue to produce my Farm Blend Yarns from my sheep and Angora Goats, and locally grown wools and fibers, but what kind of a business woman would I be if I did not continuously grow and change and embrace the new and enhance the old?  It's exciting to bring in the new lines and work with new fibers.  It's exciting to create with new dye techniques, and it's fulfilling to be able to offer my customers more options for their creativity.  

Knit some warmth with Unicorn Sunshine RR Sock Yarn! 

Knit some warmth with Unicorn Sunshine RR Sock Yarn

Keep watching! I have new color ways and ideas just bursting out out of my brain! The Unicorns and the sheep have joined forces and what they have in store is truly brilliant! :) 

Beautiful, warm, soft RR Fat Sheep Bulky 

Beautiful, warm, soft RR Fat Sheep Bulky 

Some of these yarns are available now along with my traditional Farm Blend and NIMBUS.  Take a look on my website if you like, and be sure to visit the EVENTS page for upcoming, markets, shows and classes!   www.romneyridgefarm.com

xoxo

Kelly

Hello Sunday ....

Kelly CorbettComment

Hello Sunday.  Hello last week in July.  Hello change in colors! Hello August!   

Golden colors of August

Golden colors of August

I was watching the storms blow through last night, thinking about how the summer months bring us such beautiful drama in the sky.   The dark omnious clouds slide across the sky and bring life giving water that we are in such need for this year in the northeast.   My new home is an old colonial that has been given new life by it's owner.  She grew up here and is in the process of revamping the gardens and eventually the barn.  I am renting the left side of the house.  It's a nice, quiet street full of friendly people and lots of dogs.  A perfect place for me to rent while I take my time deciding where exactly I want Romney Ridge Farm to come back together.   

Blizzard gives Romney Ridge South 2 hooves up!

Blizzard gives Romney Ridge South 2 hooves up!

My sheep, goats and pony are safely tucked away, all together at my friend Lynne's on the south shore we happily call Romney Ridge South.  I am so thankful for her and even more that they are all together.   I couldn't ask for a better, kinder, safer place.   Lots of xoxo to you Lynne.

Sooooooooo excited!

Sooooooooo excited!

So what is up this month?  Well the waiting period for the funds for my Kickstarter Campaign will end on the 30th.  That means your wonderfully supportive donations will go through and I will order my trailer.   Then the inside construction will begin and all the pieces will come together.  I expect it will be a month or so, but taking my time putting it all together will be smarter ... rushing is never a good thing.  :) I will also be putting rewards together and shipping them as they are dated for. Thank you again soon soon much! 

Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool coming together!

Romney Ridge Yarns & Wool coming together!

I will finish up my little shop area this weekend, It is small but I think you will be surprised with the design and how much I have been able to fit in without feeling too crowded.  I'll give you a little video tour on Facebook and here as soon as  I finish up hopefully by tomorrow, and I 'll announce my OPEN HOUSE in a few days.  

I have a few classes coming up, you can lean about them here.  There are still a few openings in them both.  

I will also begin the Ipswich Farmer's Market and have more dates at SoWa coming up.  All info is on my EVENTS page.   

ANNNNNDDDDD I would like to get at creative group started in the ROWLEY/IPSWICH area where we can get together and share and create together ... but that may have to wait until I say "help last week in August." lol!

Just a quick reminder.  If you follow Romney Ridge on Facebook,  Be sure to check ALL ON in the Notifications section ( hover your mouse over the LIKED button and you will see it in the drop down ) to be sure and see us every day in your newsfeed! 

HAPPY SUNDAY!

xoxo

Kelly

 

 

 

Kickstarter UPDATES!

Kelly Corbett3 Comments

Cosmo and I just sat and sorted through all of the orders we just received.  On top of that we tallied all of the Kickstarter rewards we need to put together, and then he made me eat almost a whole container of Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Hummus ... lol.  It's HOT outside and through the window I can see it is breezy,  but in front of the fan is the place to be until the sun goes down and we can take a night time walk before bed time.   

The next few days will involve collecting addresses, organizing the rewards, ordering dyes and just getting everything pulled together.   I am still very humbled by the response I received even up the the last few hours of the campaign support came in.  I can't wait to put the backers banner together and see your names every time I look at it.  Your support gives me such a kick start to the next phase of my business and I am sooooo BEYOND grateful. <3<3

Most rewards will be a few months coming, some a little sooner.  I have some dyeing to do based on choices, and the Farm Blend yarns will be freshly spun and beautifully dyed.  The 2017 calendars of course will ship in late November after they are printed, and if you chose the Mitten Pattern Collection as a printed reward, I will just need to have them printed and packed.  

So bear with me, because somewhere in between I need to order my trailer and custom build the inside! :):):):) Thankfully I have a few volunteers ready to roll!  

Happy Creating! 

xoxo

Kelly

 

 

Beyond Grateful .... <3

Kelly Corbett9 Comments

How does it feel to put on a sweater, a hat or a pair of mittens made from wool? It's  beautiful, warm, cozy .... heavenly.   For me it's more than that, because my yarns have for many, many years come from my friends.   My peaceful, sweet, beautiful sheep.   My inspiration.  

This morning I woke up to a message fro Kickstarter.  Ready? Set? Scream! Your project hit it's goal!  CONGRATULATIONS!  WOW!  How do you say thank you enough?  How do you let the people who support you know how much it means with a sincerity that comes through?  I have plans.:)  You will see soon.   After the work of making this project road and market ready, after all of the rewards have shipped, after the markets and shows are attended.  I have some ideas to "pay it forward" as they say.   

So for now, I have a lot to wrap my head around and get organized and some reward dyeing to do!   I"M SOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!  THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Kelly

 

Finding Your Happy Place.

Kelly CorbettComment

You know the best place in the world to be is your happy place.   For me its in the middle of a flock of crazy spoiled close-talker sheep.  That was my farm, built from a few chosen, some unwanted, and several "okay, drop em offs."  They all fit in, they all serve a purpose and I love them all.   

The earliest plan was a few sheep to provide me with wool for my own enjoyment.  But I fell in love and I remember saying to myself one morning as I was finishing up feeding my small flock of four, "I wish I had more to do."   I loved caring for them and being outside and enjoying the peacefulness they brought.   

Now as I am making changes and expanding I am hopeful that the Kickstarter Campaign I am running will be fulfilled ... and WOW!  ...I am so close.  Only 4 days to go. As of 6pm tonight I am only $1778 away from my goal.   I hope I've been very tactful and polite in the ways I have shared and reminded folks that I am running the campaign ... none likes a nag :)  I also tried to choose enjoyable rewards for my backers.  I am so GRATEFUL for the support so far.  So what can you do to help at this critical point?  It's simple ...SHARE.  

  • Ask your friends who support small farms, and small business if they might contribute,  I realize not everyone is a knitter, but maybe they know someone who is and could use a reward as a gift.  
  • If 355 people pledged $5 each we would be fulfilled! 
  • Share with your Guilds
  • Share with your friends
  • Ask a friend to match your pledge.   
  • Get a group of friends together and back the BLOCK PARTY where we felt and dye and laugh and learn! 

It's final push time .. only 4 days to go!   Please read about my idea again and know its an plan for teaching, sharing, and promoting fiber arts and small farms like mine.   The sky's the limit! :)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/romneyridge/romney-ridge-yarns-and-wool-pop-up-shop

xoxo

Kelly