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Twist Collective Blog

Guest Post: A Big Win for Barbara Parry

by Barbara Parry

I was a guest at Barbara Parry's Springdelle Farm this past weekend ahead of my hanging out at Fiber Twist, and while there I found out that there has been some lovely developments for her this late summer. So let's check in with our Yarn Farm columnist, shall we?

Exciting news on the wool front: our Cormo ram, Teaberry, won the Champion Purebred Fleece Show at the Eastern States Exposition Fleece Competition on Friday! That's his fleece, the tall white one in the center. And it's a beauty!


Last Wednesday Holly and I delivered a carload of very special fleeces from this year's shearing to the exhibit hall at the Eastern States (a.k.a.  the Big E), the largest agricultural fair in the Northeast. This show, held every September in West Springfield, Massachusetts draws competition from all over the country. I reserve the best of our best to enter. 

There's a division for Purebred fleeces and a division for Handspinning fleeces. Within each division are classes for specific breeds. I spent hours last week dithering over which Cormo fleeces best represented the breed and which ones might be deemed worthy of an award in the handspinning category. Each farm may enter only two fleeces per class, so it's important to choose wisely. I ended up taking four Cormo fleeces, one Border Leicester fleece, and four cross-bred fleeces, including two for the colored wool category.

It was very exciting to see Teaberry's fleece awarded the purple rosette for the Purebreds. Kind of like watching your kid score a winning goal in a soccer match or get an A+ on a science fair project.

The flock was well represented. Tea's son, Cody, took second place honors in the Purebred white Finewool class (with Tea taking the blue ribbon). Verbena's fleece captured a red ribbon in the white Finewool Hand Spinning Fleece class. Arcadia's locks placed third  in the Border Leicester class and this was the BL National Show. We had some 5, 6 & 7th placings as well in the Handspinning Division. Not bad.

You can celebrate with us in a special contest. Describe a milestone or success, either yours or someone close to you, in the comment section. On Friday, October 9th I'll draw a winner from all commenters for a basket of my hand-dyed Cormo Silk Alpaca yarn, which happens to be made from the wool of many Teaberry offspring.


Tea's doesn't understand all the fuss — he already knows he's hot stuff. Here he is, looking rather George Clooney-esqe in this photo taken last summer. All it takes is field of grass to make his day. That and my Cormo ewes. What a guy. 

Soon it will be time for him to try his luck with the ladies. It's hard to believe, but we've reached that time of year again. I'm reviewing the flock list, deciding how many and which ewes shall be bred. You can read more about the thinking that goes into breeding for good wool in my article for the fall issue of Twist Collective: The Ram is Half the Sweater.

Another busy week. Time for our Sheep Shares members Foliage Open Barn this coming weekend (and time to reserve shares for 2010 soon). Then the New York Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck comes up mighty quickly, where we have double-sized booth this year in Building A. I'll be sure to bring a lock of Teaberry's wool for fondling.

Somehow, we must finish haying in between the fall fiber festivals. I counted the square bales in the barn yesterday and we're still short of what we need to carry the flock through winter. Making hay in fall is challenging. The dew dries off the field late morning and begins setting again by 3:30 in the afternoon, as soon as the shadows creep across the fields. That doesn't leave much dry time for raking and baling. It takes a good 4 days for mown grass to dry well enough for baling at this time of year and we're just not getting that break. The pattern has been one or two sunny days wedged between periods of overcast and drizzle. It's maddening, really, with so much to do here. If you see a four day window of decent weather, you'll know what we're up to. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

A Drumroll for More Prizes from Elann

Wow, we're not done with the Anniversary celebration I guess, because at the bottom of the party hat, we found a few more lovely yarn pack prizes from the munificent folks at Elann:

Karin M. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Petal.

Diane H. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Little Liza Jane.

Beth G.will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Cinquefoil in color #1, and

Suzanne P. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Cinquefoil in color #2.


Once again: Thanks so much to all our customers and to our generous advertisers. 

Twist About: Knit Wit, Fiber Twist & Slater Mill Knitting Guild

Julia here.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Anna and her peeps at Knit Wit in Portland, Maine.  It is a charming jewlery box of a shop, and we all managed to squeeze along the aisles where I hung the sweaters for a fondling session.


The most charming little sights are all over the place, like a hand knit "open" sign in the front window, and the little felted hearts on the front door.  You have to find your way here if ever you are in the neighborhood.


Saturday found me in Greenfield, Masachusetts at the fifth annual Franklin Country Fiber Twist. There is a concentration of fiber talent in "the Valley" as the folks kept referring to where we were, which was made clear by the vendors and demonstrators present: Kristin Nicholas was proudly displaying her new book Color by Kristin and a freezer full of lamb from her Leyden Glen Farm 300+ flock, Barbara Parry was vending her luscious Foxfire Fiber yarn and candy bags of silk/cormo rovings, Leslie Wind made and sold glittery silver goodies like sterling orifice hooks and shawl pins all day long, the "Woollies of Shirkshire Farm" had a buffet of natural dyed Coopworth batts, Glastonbury Glassworks sold those sweet hand-blown glass sheep stitch markers, and Barbara Goodchild of Barberic Farm had some gorgeous Romney farm yarn for sale. There were many other yarn folk, as well as a whole collection of rug hookers, but I spent the day answering questions at my table loaded down with sweaters, so I had almost no time to meet anyone else.  


Pardon my less than artful photo I took during setup.  There was much to appreciate and photograph, but it was not my day to be the artist. I did host a Twist Collective fashion show at noon, which was both a lot of fn, and a warm up for another fashion show, this Wednesday the 30th at the Slater Mill Knitting Guild in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. If you are able to come, please do, because this will be the last show we have scheduled for awhile, and certainly the last viewing of the sweaters in New England this calendar year.  Hope to see you there!

The Envelope, Please

Here at last is our list of lucky winners from the August Anniversary contest.  Winners should have already been notified, but if you think you see your name here and haven't heard from us, please check the email address that you use for PayPal to be certain.  If you have questions, contact Cynthia at twistcollective dot com.

Thanks to all of our enthusiastic customers and generous sponsors for your participation in our party. We couldn't do this without you.

From Ariadne Knits, pattern and yarn packs for Niles and Cleo: Megan E. and Isabel Q.

From Briggs and Little, the yarn and pattern for M'Gonigle: Trudy B.

From Briggs and Little, the yarn and pattern for Roo: Stacey B.

Hand blown glass sheep stitch markers from Glastonbury Glassworks: Laurie M.

From Green Mountain Spinnery, a copy of their new book, 99 Yarns: Glenna E.

From Interweave Press, a copy of Sock Innovation by Cookie A.: Theresa M.

From Interweave Press, a copy of Simple Style by Ann Budd: Sheryl L.

From Interweave Press, two books by Marianne Isager, Japanese Inspired Knits and Classic Knits: Shirley TC.

From Knitpicks, a Zephyr interchangeable needle set: Karin S.

From Knowknits, a sterling silver stitch marker necklace: Carrie W.

From Kollage Yarns, an ergonomic square circular needle and a free Twist pattern: Janet B.

From Kollage Yarns, the yarn and pattern for Peyton: Christine L.

From Kollage Yarns, the yarn and pattern for Lorelei: Anne J.

From Lantern Moon, a set of Sox Stix each: Cassandra K., Paula I., and Dallas S.    

From The Loopy Ewe, a Sheep Soap, and a free Twist pattern: Kim H.

From Potter Craft, Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up: Raquel H.

From Potter Craft, Knitting and Tea by Jane and Patrick Gottelier: Barbara W.

From Signature Needle Arts, one set of single point Signature needles: Linda D.

From Spirit Trail, the yarn and the pattern for Cherry Fizz: Jane M.

Two free Twist Collective patterns each: Nicole A., Dorothy A., Susan H., Olaf D., Pamela L., and Edith S.

Twist Tote and tape measure combos: Michelle N., Christine P., Weronica L., and Merja T.

From Unwind Yarns and Gems, pattern and yarn for Tiveden: Kris M. and Alison P.

From WEBS, the yarn, needles, and pattern needed to make Laredo, plus a gift certificate for a future purchase: Shannon B.

From WEBS, the yarn, needles, and pattern needed to make Urbanite, plus a gift certificate for a future purchase: Mary C.

From WEBS, the yarn, needles, and pattern needed to make Paula, plus a gift certificate for a future purchase: Patricia K.

From Yarnmarket, a $50 gift certificate: Katherine K.

Sneaky as Ever: A New Pattern Arrives

Observant Twist readers had written to ask about why the Table of Contents lists Margaret Mills among the designers included in the Beauty is Whatever Gives Joy story (it's a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay, the poet who wrote the book our model is reading in the story).  Ah hah, clever knitters.  You found us out.  We had another pattern up our sleeves and the clue was right there in plain sight. Now here's your reward.

maire jacket

The Maire Riding Jacket by Margaret Mills is now ready for your consideration. A flattering length and silhouette, knit in Yarn Market's Caledon Hills Worsted in the color Heart Lake, we think it would also be stunning in a wardrobe neutral, or your own favorite color. We do hope you think it was worth the wait.