Two Of Suzy’s Shawls In Process

Suzy’s wool for a new shawl.

As I wrote yesterday Suzy is working on some new shawls.  She sent me these photos of the wool combinations she’s planning on using.  You can see the blue and purple or Tanzanite locks in the lower right corner.  And she’s already spun two of the purples, one mixed with white, but she still has to spin the green roving.

I’m already thinking African violets and lilacs.

In the bottom photo, you can see Suzy’s next shawl on her knitting needles in process.  The handspun yarn has so much character and adds a texture you can’t get with machine-spun yarn.  Notice the light blue locks.  They look like they’re spun into the white wool.  I’ll have to ask Suzy if that’s correct or if she knits them in.

Now I’m trying to imagine what each of these shawls will look like.

My Friend Suzy

Sam and Isaac hanging out with Rose and Fanny and Lulu at Old Bedlam Farm in 2009

I can see it so clearly in my mind that I was sure there was a photo of me and Suzy sitting on the front step at Old Bedlam Farm the first time we met. It was 2009 and Jon had invited Suzy Fatzinger, her husband Joe, and their two sons, Isaac and Sam to the farm.

I don’t remember the story of how exactly that came to be, but I know it had something to do with Issac and the Yankees.

Jon and were together for about a year at the time and he told me about Suzy and thought we’d get along.  I was recently divorced and had lost a lot of my friends in the process as often happens. So I was eager to find new ones.  A lot of people went through our lives in those days, but few of them stuck.

Suzy is one who did.

I don’t remember what we talked about that first day.  I didn’t have sheep at the time, but I do remember being very comfortable with Suzy. Since Suzy and her family live in Pennsylvania, I imagine we kept in touch through email.  But again, I have little memory of those early conversations.

I remember that Suzy made the effort to keep in touch. Even showing up at one of the few craft fairs I attended early on when she and her family were vacationing nearby.

Eventually, texting made communication easier and I came to realize, over a conversation about crayons, that Suzy and I viewed feelings about things like colors and textures in a similar way.  When I got sheep I named one after Suzy and we began talking animals and wool as well as creativity.

Suzy brought her spinning wheel to one of the first Bedlam Farm Open Houses and spun her wool through the weekend.  She began by selling hats and cowls. Over the years she moved on to fingerless gloves, scarves, and shawls.

I sometimes forget that there are always new people coming to my blog and they don’t the whole story.   So when a couple of people contacted me, curious about Suzy and her shawls, I thought I’d write a little about her and our friendship.

I didn’t realize that Suzy and I had been friends for so long till I looked on Jon’s blog for a photo. I thought there might be one of Suzy and me together.  I didn’t find one, but I did find Jon’s blog post about the Fatzinger’s first visit to the farm with the picture of Sam and Isaac. (Rose uncharacteristically let Isaac pet her).

I know I was, in many ways, a different person in 2009 when I first met Suzy.  But I think our friendship grew as I did.  So in a way, she got to know me as I got to know my true self. And apparently, she likes the person I’ve become. Or maybe she always saw me for who I really am.

I do love working with Suzy.  It’s always a creative joy when she sends me photos of her shawls and I get to delve into their essence and write about what I see in each one.

Suzy has a few more shawls for sale that I’ll be posting for sale in the next couple of weeks.  I know one of them has some gorgeous purple wool in it because she sent me a video of it drying on her porch.  And she also has some blue and purple locks called Tanzanite (like the gemstone) that she got at the Rhinebeck Fiber Festival which will end up in a shawl too.

But that’s all I know for now.  I’ll just have to wait, like everyone else, till she sends me a photo to see what beauty she creates next.

You can click here to see some of the shawls Suzy has made in the past.

No Llama Wool This Spring

I had quite a few people who wanted Vanilla’s llama wool.

Unfortunately, it was too long for Deb at the Vermont Fiber Mill to process.  So I won’t have any llama wool in the spring.  But thanks to Susan, one of my long-time readers and fan of my wool as well as Carol’s art, Vanilla’s wool will not go to waste.  She is happy to have the wool to  try out some new ideas with.

It makes me happy to know that Vanilla’s fleece will be used well.

Suzy’s Shawl, “Here I Am” …Sold

Here I Am is 62″x 18″ and is $150 + $10 Shipping.  You can buy it here.

Maybe it shows that Suzy made this shawl in the summer. It shouts “Here I Am“. And I keep thinking how wonderful it would be to have those breathtaking colors wrapped around me on a cold winter’s day.

The combination of bold Chakra colors is joyful in a deep and enriching way.  Suzy’s Here I Am Shawl is a wonderful way to bring color to the gray days of winter.

Suzy has been hand spinning and hand knitting shawls for years.  She started selling them at our Bedlam Farm Open Houses and I have continued selling them on my blog for the past three years.

Each of Suzy’s shawls is a unique creation. Most of the wool comes from her angora goats, Alice, April, Ruth, Lucy and Larry.  (You can see a video of them below. Willis also makes an appearance.  He is a pygmy goat)  When she finishes a shawl, Suzy washes them in a natural solution so they are as soft as they look.

Here I Am is 62″long x18″.  It’s $150 + $10 shipping. It’s sold You can buy in in my Etsy Shop, just click here.

Here I Am
close-up of the yellow locks knit into the green of “Here I Am”

Something Different From This Falls Wool

Vanilla’s wool. Fanny and Lulu were pretty unhappy when I brought Vanilla’s wool to the farm and was skirting it.  They picked up his smell and probably thought I brought a llama home.

Tomorrow I’ll bring my wool to the Vermont Fiber Mill to be cleaned and combed and turned into yarn and roving that I’ll sell in the spring.

This batch is not going to be like the others because I have Romney wool from Constance, Merricat, Robin and Lori.  And guest Llama wool from Vanilla.

Last year Lori’s wool suffered from the stress of being pregnant and giving birth to Robin as often happens with sheep.  Her wool that grew over the summer is as soft, long, and as luscious as the wool of the three younger sheep.

My plan is to mix Lori’s wool with Suzy’s  Border Leicester wool as I did in the spring.  But Lori’s wool is much darker than it was then so I don’t think I can dye it.  I’m counting on the combination of wool being a dark gray.  I’ll make half into yarn and leave half as roving for spinners and felters.

I’ll keep Constance’s black wool natural.  I’ll do the same with Robin’s wool, making it into a bulky yarn.

I’m going to mix Merricat’s white wool with Liam and Kim’s.  I’ll keep some of it natural and dye some.  I’m thinking of a light blue because it will go well with all the natural colors.

And this time I have a bonus wool that I’ve never had before and won’t have again.

Yesterday my friend and Batik Artist Carol Law Conklin gave me the wool from her llama Vanilla.  It’s a mix of soft brown and white. Since Vanilla is old it took him three years to grow the wool Carol gave me and he probably won’t live long enough to be shorn again.  Carol isn’t going to be using the wool so she asked me if I wanted it.  It’s very soft and longer than the wool I usually bring to the mill so I’m hoping it can be processed by their machines.

I’ll keep Vanilla’s wool natural too and have it made into yarn.

So next spring I’ll have a lot of natural wool to sell.  I’m excited to see what the wool from the young sheep will look and feel like.

If any of this wool sounds like something you think you might like to look forward to getting in the spring, let me know, I can put you on my Wool List.  That means I’ll contact you before I post the wool for sale in my Etsy Shop and you’ll have a better chance of getting the wool you want. Just email me at [email protected] .

Vanilla is a proud llama. He’s threatened to spit at me in the past, but a treat usually wins him over.   Photo by Carol Law Conklin

Skirting Wool With Lena And Fanny

Me, Fanny, and Lena skirting wool. And Striker in the background.

“Look,” I said to Lena and Fanny as I opened the barn door and showed them the screen I made for skirting my wool.   They were both impressed remembering from the spring when they last helped me that the old screen didn’t seem to work.

We put Merricat’s wool (which is very soft and has a wonderful crimp) on the screen.   Lena took one end and I took the other and we shook it.  Fanny looked to see if anything fell out.  It didn’t look like much was happening.  But later I texted with Suzy and she said we probably just couldn’t see it,  that when you shake wool like that the smallest particles are released.  Next time I’ll put a canvas under it and see what happens.

Fanny told me it was a year ago today that they moved to Cambridge.  They said they missed their friends but otherwise, they liked it here.

While we skirted the wool, their horse, Striker,  stuck his nose in the barn no doubt smelling all the fresh hay.  I closed the door so he wouldn’t be tempted by it. Then Lena grabbed a handful of hay and held it up to the horse’s nose.  “What to do think of this, Striker?” she asked as his nostrils flared taking in the smell.

It was nice to see Lena’s connection to the Striker.

In the spring Lena and Fanny told me the story about their uncle who was a paraplegic.  He had a horse who he loved so much and trusted to take him where ever he needed to go.  Their bond was so strong that he cried when the horse died, which I gather is not something most Amish men do.

At one point Fanny looked up at a car passing on the road.  “There goes Jon,” Fanny said recognizing his car.  “We like to tease him about not walking on his bad foot,” she said with a smile.

Lena who loves to sew asked if I was working on a quilt, so I invited them both into my studio.  As she did last time she visited, Lena squatted and looked closely at the beginnings of the quilt laying on my floor. She had some questions then she and Fanny saw my Corona Kimono hanging on the wall.

They were fascinated by it, looking at every entry and all the details, reading it like a newspaper.

Then Lena sat at my sewing machine and when Jon showed up she pretended to be sewing.  Of course, she couldn’t really try it because it’s electric.

It took Lena asking me three times if we raked leaves to get the message that she was offering to help. Lena will be twenty-one next year and will be able to earn her own money so she’s beginning to look for work outside the house.  Until then the money she and Fanny earn goes to the household. So when all the leaves are off the tree, Lena and Fanny will be back to help with the raking.

That’s another job I’m glad to have help with.


Full Moon Fiber Art