Heaven is a Cold Day at the Farm

February 8, 2010 - 3 Responses

Yesterday my mom and I ventured up to Marlow, NH to Mack Hill Farm as I wrote about last week. We were wholey underprepared for the awesomeness that is Lisa’s farm but wow were we happily surprised. After getting lost trying to find the farm we pulled into Lisa and Frank’s driveway to see a pile of pigs — literally a pile.

I have used the phrase pig pile a lot in my 25 years but to see a steaming pile of the biggest pigs I’d ever been near was something else — welcome to Mack Hill Farm indeed! We had seen about 4 other species of animals before we stopped the car, beautiful turkeys, roosters, dogs, and sheep too of course.

When we tallied it up Lisa is singlehandedly caring for about 130 animals. Her Icelandic Sheepdogs had seven puppies just the other day! She has two horses, Prince (above) and Pearl, 50ish chickens, two cows, 30 sheep, turkeys, pigs — everything you can imagine. The best part is that Lisa is so good to her animals, taking the time to talk with each of them everyday and connect with them. They flocked (no pun intended) to her no matter where we went. That socialization was so wonderful — when the pig would walk right up and shove his snout in my back or the turkey would try to preen the flap on my boots or George, the sweetest of all the sheep, just wanted a hug. This is a farm and yet the temperment of the animals is one that allows them to help Lisa as much as possible.

Look how cute they are! I had never seen pigs this color before, Lisa has named them all largely out of the Harry Potter books, which is awesome. They are so sweet, will come right up and nuzzle you — a little scary as they’re HUGE but so so wonderful that they’re not afraid!

Now the part that you’re all anxiously awaiting I’m sure. The sheep! Lisa has about 30 Icelandic Sheep, which I know I mentioned are known to be the Triple Threat of sheep. Their fleeces are the feltiest and are so soft. In addition they’re low in lanolin so the loss is less on their fleeces. They were gorgeous, everything I’d hoped they’d be.

They were so friendly that I just fell in love. Lisa scattered a tiny bit of grain on the ground and there they came, hanging out with us for as long as we’d let them. We learned about their relationship with Maggie the big dog, who was the boss of the sheep from the sheep perspective and so on. We learned about how George goes off on “dates” with area sheep (read between the lines here folks) because he’s just that good.

Some are beautiful and reddish, with names like Miguel and Selina. Some are dark greyish black like George and others are creamy and beautiful. It’s so funny, clearly some of the sheep are the princesses of the group having kept their coats cleaner than the rest, regardless they were wonderful to be around. They didn’t seem to mind us and we knew these were the sheep for our yurt!

We went inside for tea and snacks, totally unecessary but so so welcome, and talked wool. Lisa has about 180 pounds we think. The next shearing is going to be in April and we’ve committed to take that too. Lisa’s husband Frank is even going to skirt it for us, which is awesome as that’s been the bottleneck thus far in the process as we learn what we’re doing. So now I can sleep at night again, we have ALL the wool for the yurt I think — I’m going to check my math but the idea of locally sourcing all of the wool has become a reality and in the process I’ve made an amazing new friend.

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Peabody Essex Museum

February 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

At the Peabody Essex Museum yesterday we saw some amazing woolly pieces I had to share. We drove up there around lunch time to see the Iris Apfel exhibit before it closed this weekend — which was a great decision, her clothing and style is inspirational! The museum had organized the exhibit into five theme rooms one of which had to do with outfits for winter weather. It wasn’t my favorite of the five but it did have the wonderful coat below.

How wonderful is that big woolly coat? Honestly, it looked like roving that was lightly felted and sewn into a jacket…I imagine there was more to it but I have no idea. So beautiful! We also went to another exhibit that was up, Trash Menagerie, which was all artwork made out of trash/recycled materials and low and behold I was able to see one of my favorite sculptors, Michelle Lougee’s work up close! She appears to also be making very similar amoebic mini-yurt-esque wall art pieces but out of knit or crochet plastic bags, both black and white — they’re amazing!

What a great day! Now up to NH to work on the yurt!

Mack Hill Farm

February 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

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!

787 Mini Yurts

January 18, 2010 - 2 Responses

I was just able to initiate the fund transfer for the yurt — after all of the transactional debits  and donors that couldn’t make the commitment post-holidays the yurt will be made with 4,860.60, which is AWESOME! I’m excited to get working on everyone’s rewards now before the wool gets cleaned and ready for felting.

I can’t even begin to tell you how daunting this process is but I have to make 787 mini yurts for all of my wonderful donors! Ahhhh — I’m going to be crocheting night and day — just the way I like it! Look out for emails coming from Kickstarter in the coming days so that I can get everyone’s mailing addresses and preferences for things!

Yurt Reality

January 1, 2010 - 2 Responses

Today is New Year’s eve — I’ve completed my move to Boston, I just had dinner with my parents, we’re sitting around our tree and listening to the Beatles. Things couldn’t be better because I’m no longer counting down towards my funding goal for the yurt — we’ve far surpassed what I need to acquire the wool and get it ready for felting!

Yes, that’s an image of counting sheep, however, I will sleep easy tonight given all of the amazing support of my backers. With the start of 2010 I’m excited to get going on making my rewards for all 101 people! How humbling and amazing — I can’t wait to get felting! If you want to get involved please drop me a line — this yurt dream is coming true in 2010 everyone — look out 😉

No Words

December 23, 2009 - 3 Responses

Well no words might be a bit of an exaggeration…I have words but they’d all end up in capital letters if I had my druthers! Today was a huge day for the yurt! I woke up this morning at my parent’s house in Boston prepared for a day of last minute shopping and seeing Avatar in 3D when I began emailing and answering queries on the yurt — low and behold, Ready Made magazine posted on their blog about the project by none other than the Editor-in-Chief. So exciting to say the very least especially as there are only 9 days left to fundraise [we’re at 82% and I have faith we will make it]!

We come home, make a big family dinner, we open our allotted one early present each, we hang out around the tree, which is Tim Burton-esque this year…the usual. My Blackberry gave me the dreaded “battery too low for radio use” sign and for the first time in years I thought, oh well, and put it away. Of course, karmically, CRAFT: then posts about the yurt too! Beyond.

I can’t believe the amazing, outpouring of support for this project — it invigorates me and my love of the yurt — I can’t wait to make it reality with everyone’s help. So humbling. Thanks to everyone and Happy Holidays!

Slow and Steady + Rewards

December 14, 2009 - One Response

Today I was humbled by my largest donation to date that brought the yurt to 70% completion on Kickstarter — so we’re getting there! 18 days to go. It’s interesting — I’ve watched countless other projects on the site grow over time — especially those that launched around the same time mine did. Some have been recommended by the site itself, others have gotten similarly amazing press, others are being conducted by previously established artists, authors, etc. who have online followings already — each one grows with its own style and pattern: really fast and successful off the bat, all at once and then ultimately unsuccessful, slow and steady and successful, or gradual without success. I like to think that my project will be slow and steady AND successful. I have 18 days left to raise just under $1,800 and I’m hopeful that the spirit of the holidays will motivate lovers of the yurt to pledge their support. By far the best thing I’m doing, which is actually motivating a lot of great conversations, is writing people one at a time and seeing what they think of the project and if they’d be willing to support, impressing upon everyone that every dollar helps, no donation is too small. That said, I wanted to post a little picture of one of the rewards, a little mini yurt that I made this afternoon in the monsoon that was New York 🙂

Isn’t it so cute! I know it sort of looks like a medieval helmet in this picture — I’ve been asking for a nicer camera for Christmas every year for 3 years…but it gets the point across. It’s a crochet little house — with a door! Imagine this guy 10 feet tall — how could anyone resist supporting the yurt 🙂 Tell your friends — lets make it a reality! Also, check out a great article on the project from Dornob Design today!

Woman After My Own Heart

December 9, 2009 - One Response

One of my favorite things is coming across people who are also crocheting/knitting with large “yarn” or things that they improvise as yarn! Via Design*Sponge last night I came upon Jean Lee of Ladies and Gentleman. Jean is making what she calls the Mega Doily seen in the photos below out of cotton rope.

Look how beautiful that is! It would make a great carpet for — you guessed it — the yurt!

As someone who tries crocheting with every cord she sees I feel like Jean and I would get along. Her pieces though are far more intricate than my mini-yurts!

Born To Knit

December 5, 2009 - One Response

Some articles written about our yurt project have called it a knit house, I’ve self-defined it as a wooly igloo, others call it a sweater house — whatever you call it I’m just glad everyone’s talking about it! So whether you know your knit from your crochet or not I really appreciate the support — as a diehard crocheter I still wanted to post this image as I support all things fiber!

Thanks to Wendy for sending along this awesome picture off of her favorite knit-related T-shirt!

Inside Outside Yurt USA

December 3, 2009 - Leave a Response

I’ve been looking at various ways of being able to light the inside and outside of the yurt when it’s complete (yes, I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself). I’ve reached out to a few companies, groups, and artists that work with solar and electro-luminescent materials. One option that I find intriguing is the solar harvesting textiles of KVA’s Soft House — picture below.

This fabric would act as a solar panel for the yurt and could power things on the inside with ease! The other material I recently discovered was electro-luminescent wire, which is flexible and, unlike neon, doesn’t get hot while it’s on. One of the women involved in the Institute of Figuring’s crochet coral reef project, Eleanor Kent, uses it to crochet jewelry and coral pieces so I’m thinking I can weave it into the inside of the yurt and have a few rows of light towards the oculus on the inside!A few of Eleanor’s works are below.

Another piece of her jewelry made out of the wire is below.

Thoughts? Suggestions on how to make this work? Ways to light up the outside?