Archive for the ‘Material’ Category

Big News…All of the Wool is Clean
September 4, 2012

Wow, since the last time I wrote many things have happened. It’s been 18 months and just this weekend, while in NH for Labor Day, I went and picked up the last of the clean wool from the Fiber Dreams Mill. It’s amazing, and daunting. Over the last 2.75 YEARS, Jennifer has been faithfully cleaning the Icelandic and commercial Dorset wool I brought her. There were set back with a slight moth occupancy and of course, my wool was only some of the work that Jennifer was doing over this time period. But, at last, it’s clean, beautiful and ready to get Yurty. Also, my brother had a baby, Jack, who I dubbed Yurt Baby this weekend after throwing him in the pile of clean wool.

As my parents have been picking up a lot of the wool in installments, it has come to live in many of the far corners of our NH house. It has to be kept out of the way of prying mice and moths and not underfoot of my folks either. This is doable but when I went to organize it all in one place this weekend I discovered bags of batts in basically every closet, as per the above picture. Ultimately I got a bunch of it out of the house, but not nearly all of it. It’s so hidden that now I’d have to move furniture to get it out and that seemed a bit much for a photo opp. But hopefully the below photo gives everyone a sense of scale.

I’m all settled up with Jennifer (Thanks to all my Kickstarters) and I’m now trying to figure out the timing to get this going. I can’t start until I have the time to finish since I want to work with all of the felted cording while it’s still a bit damp….so I’m thinking next Summer I can plan for a month of straight felting and make this yurt dream a reality. Who’s with me?  Ahhh, anyway, it’s great to feel like there is progress again on this, I was starting to have self-doubt but I feel great now!

Agata Olek
March 28, 2011

As I twiddle my thumbs (around my crochet hook of course) and wait for the snow to melt so I can get felting, I can’t help but respect some other really awesomely huge knitters / crocheters like Agata Olek who has been making waves lately with her sweater for the Wall Street Bull.

Even though the bull was a tough act to follow as her holiday gift to NYC, Agata recently knit herself an apartment, literally.

Agata did this as an installation at the Christopher Henry Gallery, but it’s still livable as Curbed points out! Stay tuned for more updates on my yurt once the wool’s available as well as an upcoming book the yurt’s featured in!

The Yurt Alert Goes on Vacation — Guatemala Style
July 16, 2010

Pardon my absence from the blog — I’ve had a remarkably busy summer so far! Last week my mother and I traveled to Guatemala with my non-profit of choice, Build a Nest. We went to visit our micro-bartering groups in Guatemala City and the Lake Atitlan region. While Guatemala has low numbers of sheep and artisans work mostly in cotton I still managed to find me some sheepies to hang out with.

Aren’t they cute! They’re pretty big, right? They live int his little wooden hut that the group built for them up in the highlands! We met so many groups, some who were seamstresses and sewers in Guatemala City and some that are traditional backstrap weavers.

I had never seen backstrap weaving before and it is intense. I have no idea how they keep their tension right and sit light that on their knees for hours and hours. On our last day we went to the city of Antigua and visited another loan recipient of sorts, the Indigo Artes Textiles Center. We learned all about organic dying, weaving and more! And the funniest part was there was a group down there at the same time from Harrisville Designs where I buy all of my yurt rewards yarn!

Overall it was an amazing trip with lots of textiles-related activities! Now I’m back at work and trying to finish up my rewards for everyone — it’s taken much longer than I thought!

Massachusetts Sheepshearing Festival
April 28, 2010

This past weekend, back in Boston obviously, was the Massachusetts Sheepshearing Festival out in Waltham at Gore Place. Similar to the recent Woolapalooza event there were sheepshearing demonstrations of both the electic and old-school variety. There were also sheep — everywhere!

Look how cute that little guy is after he got his haircut! It’s interesting because some people I’ve met in the yurt process don’t know that sheepshearing in fact doesn’t hurt the sheep — they are just getting their hair shorn off and given the timing of the shearings it’s pretty in keeping with them needing to cool off in the summer time.

The gray ones are pre-shearing and the white ones are post-shearing and, look, they’re all okay!

As some of you will notice this is the same sheep shearer as was at Woolapalooza — he is awesome. He works so fast but is very delicate with the sheep and very calm, they don’t resist whatsoever, I think they kind of like it.

There were also Alpacas, baby goats, little lambs, etc. It was a very animal-centric day!

And look at all that beautiful roving! It was all I could do to not steal it…though with those colors I’m sure I would have been caught. We also saw a neat sheepherding demonstration but I think the puppies were tired by the time we got to them! Overall the whole day was great, it was gorgeous out here in Boston and it was great to spend a day with my mom and dad again! My dad even bought me, for my upcoming birthday, a “piggie bank” that is actually a “sheepie bank” — it’s so cute!

Mack Hill Farm
February 1, 2010

The Yurt Alert has done it again — helping me make woolly connections left and right! Last week I began emailing with Lisa over at Mack Hill Farm in Marlow, NH. Turns out she has wonderfully fluffy, amazing Icelandic Sheepies whose wool she is willing to share for the yurt project! I studied up on the breed and they will be totally felty for the project! I’m so excited to meet them this weekend.

How good looking are they!?! If you want to learn more about the breed I advise checking out Lisa’s website or the Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America page. They have milk, meat, soft wool, and they look nice too! More to come after I meet with these little guys!

Sheep Philosophy
November 29, 2009

Another piece of yesterday’s adventure included a trip out to The Yarn Tree in Brooklyn with my mom to buy some more roving for her scarves. Turns out The Yarn Tree is now also selling meats that are locally sourced, additive/chemical free, etc. We got talking about meats as my mom and dad have begun getting theirs from local farms in New Hampshire — the most recent was a half a pig — and so are into this whole localvore movement. I turned around and spotted this sign on the wall and had to take a picture.

I think that that could sum up a portion of the Pokorny philosophy of life! Interestingly the owner of The Yarn Tree has a large scale project of her own with Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road efforts — might not be a bad idea to tell him about the yurt!

A Yurt Would Be Easier
November 23, 2009

Today over at Funtasticus they posted a slew of knitted bodysuits…seriously. It inspired me to post because I think of the yurt as a woolly alternative to literally knitting or crocheting yourself into a human shaped suit!

I mean, this guy does look quite warm but not quite as mobile as he could be.

You can’t help but laugh to see these guys in their suits — they must be so snuggly but I still think a yurt might be more fun!

Yurt of Dreams
October 12, 2009

If we build it people will definitely show up…

That was what we learned this weekend at the NH Wool Arts Tour:

We went to five of the six stops on the tour, met with Jennifer from the Mill, got some great ideas for where to source our fiber from AND learned there is a wool shortage in the area so we’re going to need to work fast!

While the weekend was intended to skirt all the wool we already have (200 lbs) that wasn’t possible to complete as we didn’t know the cut off for too dirty to clean…but fear not, we have until January/February to get it all done — I have faith that that’s plenty of time!

Thanks to everyone who is sending the Yurt Alert around the internet — I couldn’t do this without you!

Pics to come tomorrow when I’m back in New York — keep telling your friends!

Hooks of Choice
September 12, 2009

When it comes to crochet hooks, size matters. In starting this project I thought to myself, I’m going to need a really big crochet hook. I went to Home Depot and bought their biggest wooden dowel, a rasp and a sander sponge.

Above is a picture of the dowel, the resulting hook, a hook I had previously thought was pretty big and the green hook that I carry with me just in case I have time to get a little crochet in on the subway. When we finished the cord I realized if I was going to crochet with a hook it would have to be made from a tree trunk! After some experimentation I found that using my hands was better since crocheting that dense, huge cord it more like wrestling.

Above is a close up of the hook I whittled in July. It can only crochet about a 3/4 inch piece of rope. I went back to Home Depot, the employees there think I’m a little weird, and bought a bunch of hiking rope to experiment with. As my first foray into single item oversized crochet I was really excited to find that it works!

Above is the result of those efforts — as my mom pointed out it looks like a hiking rope wreath. If anyone knows an adventurous sports fan who wants a recyclable, reusable, non-plant based wreath for Christmas just let me know, I’ve got a gift for them!

September 12, 2009

Before I started felting I wanted to commune with the sheep, meet the wonderful shepherdess and mill owner I’d heard so much about, and talk sheep at the wool design studio nearby.


Is this not the happiest sheep you’ve ever seen? This little guy lives at the mill where the wool I’m getting will be cleaned, carded and turn into wonderful, easy to use batts! These sheep I couldn’t hang out with one-on-one so I promptly went to the petting zoo down the road.

Big Sheep

At the petting zoo the sheep are smarter than the visitors — they give you a feed bag when you get there and guess what, the sheep know what’s in the bag when you walk in the pen. For someone who loves sheep of all varieties I was alarmed and embarassed to be running away from some seriously large sheep. Luckily it happened so fast it didn’t get caught on camera.

Tongue Sheep

Yeah, the sheep’s sticking it’s tongue out at me — it got the feed, end of story. The history of domestic sheep is a good one — they were one of the earliest animals in history to be domesticated — they show up in artwork dating back 6000 years. Most people believe they come from the Mouflon, which now only exist on Sardinia, Corsica and Southern Iran. Currently there are over 200 breeds of sheep and even more hybrids — all that fleece has different qualities including feltability and weight — the two most important ones for the yurt.