Three years ago, my life took a radical change when I leaped into Sheep Keeping and Creation of my Own Life and Business here at All One Farms. I had only the vaguest idea about what that Business would look like, but I knew that it would be based in Cooperative Independence and Self Sustaining Practices and in the nurturing of my Creativity. Throughout 2008, despite some external 'distractions' (the Evil Divorce Proscess), I persevered and though I ended 2008 nearly penniless I moved forward with the encouragement and support of friends and loved ones. My resolution for 2009 was to get the Fiber Business off the ground and, indeed, I feel that I accomplished that goal. The year ended with great feedback and sales, and great opportunities for continuing to grow. More details on all the great things coming up soon. For now it is a time to set some broad goals and make resolutions/visualizations for the year and decade ahead.
So the broad goal this year is to grow this business by being more productive, carrying through on my creative process, and publicizing what I do more boldly and frequently. So here are three big announcements:
Big Announcement Number One: I am now the proud owner of this:
In the last week of December I purchased this 7 Drum Cottage Industry Carder originally made by Patrick Green for his wife Paula Simmons. I believe that this was the prototype for a few others he made after that. I only know of 2 others in existence. I am the third owner of this wonerful machine and it has been kept in pristine condition by Therese Cruz of JumpSheep Studio. This beauty is designed to prepare 'high quality long fiber wool for production spinning'. It can card Ten Pounds of Wool or more per hour into lovely roving which can be wound into balls or rolled into bumps. Check Therese's blog for pictures of what can come out of this baby. I am so excited to get my new toy set up and running. As soon as the cottage floor finish is dry, it will be going in and be ready to process the lovely wools I have been collecting.
The etching on the bar says: Paula's Rover No. 1.
This is a view of the inside with one side panel removed. Some serious mechanics going on in there! Five major drums include the giant Swift, the Doffer, The Fancy, The Worker and the Stripper plus the upper and lower Nippers.
Big Announcement Number Two: The Cottage will be come the Wool Processing cottage with the Paula's Rover and my Fancy Kitty Bench picker. I will have space to organize the various wools by color and type and stage of production. I will also have space for my favorite perch, my cream colored down sofa and one or two spinning wheels for me and guests to work on. I plan to have mini workshops here as well. I do not intend at this point to do processing for others on any large scale although I am thinking that I can make the carder available for processing in a limited way. That part is still in development. The hope is to find a Cottage Industry Spinner to accompany the Rover. I know it is is out there. Here Spinny spinner...come to mama!
Big Announcement Number Three: I have been fortuitous to find a tiny shop in downtown Elizabethtown that is affordable and beautifully located. Although, until 5 weeks ago, I had not planned to open a brick and mortor shop off the farm, the universal forces are moving me there and I am accepting the challenge and the opportunity that has presented itself. It feels perfectly in line with the work that will be coming out of the Cottage Workshop with the Paula Rover. In addition to my own handspun and hand felts, I hope to carry the yarns, fibers and creations of other local and regional fiber artists. This will not be a traditional 'yarn store' but a Studio/Gallery/Shop/Learning place. This is also in development. My hope is to support the community aspects of Fiber Arts including Spinning, Felting, Knitting, Crochet and related handwork. Share your ideas with me. I would love to hear them.
So doesn't this feel like a very auspicious year? Like the completion of one phase and the beginning of something new? Join me on my journey into the adventure that is ahead.