Thursday, February 10, 2011

janet's hat

I got an email from Cold Antler CSA member, Janet. She lives up in Nova Scotia, sews quilts, and supports small farmers like me just starting out by buying a share of wool in advance, and then waiting patiently for her booty to be mailed after harvest this spring.... She sent me email with photos and the project she created with the help of Maude and Company. The following post is from the email she sent me, and the photos of the project she knit from her first skeins. (Some members got two skeins to start, others got one. The number you got was based on how cold your area of the country was! All members will receive the same amount when the rest of the shares are mailed, so it will even out, promise.) Thank you, Janet. It is a special kind of satisfaction keeping people on the cold north sea a little warmer!

I had been following Jenna’s blog for about a year and enjoying her quest for a few acres of farmland on which to establish herself, her dogs, chickens, ducks etc, and quietly applauding her grit and determination.

At the same time I had been slowly building an investment portfolio of loans through Kiva, despite misgivings about the sustainability of some of the projects funded.

Mainly I had been concentrating on Africa and on women who were responsible for the future of children and grandchildren. I had been strongly influenced by Canada’s Stephen Lewis an advocate for both AIDS funding and the African grandma’s who were shouldering the burden of raising children orphaned by AIDS. So the concept of microloans to enable women for the first time to access funding for their business and agricultural pursuits struck home.

I knew that if I had had access to microfunding twenty or thirty years ago my future might have been very different.

When Jenna announced her plans to purchase a half dozen blackface sheep and form a CSA (community supported agriculture) cooperative through which to market her wool, I came right on board. In my view it makes a great deal of sense to receive your money upfront with which to finance your ongoing operation rather than seeking a bank line of credit (with its attendant control issues) and paying interest for the privilege of lining someone else’s pockets. Right now, the less we rely on and submit to the control of banks the better we will be…. After viewing the recent meltdowns in the US, Iceland and elsewhere.

To make a long story short, just before Christmas I received Jenna’s preliminary packet of info and wool from Maude and other 4-legged friends and the other night I wound some and chose a pattern I had enjoyed making up twice before – a funky, folky hat with huge tassels, designed by NavIne, I must say I am enjoying using this lovely soft wool, and that it knits up into an elastic, warm, yet lacy fabric. I think all Cold Antler Farm’s other CSA members will be as enchanted by it as I am.

I can hardly wait to receive next summer’s installment of skeins and roving – I see thrummed mittens, a traditional New England and Atlantic Canadian concept using roving knit into the inside of mittens to provide loads of insulation for cold days. As I say, I can hardly wait!

Jenna’s prices, from what I can see by cruising the web, are realistic for the quality of wool on offer. Now I need to learn how to dye wool! Perhaps even to spin! Being able to knit is not enough……

Attached is a picture of the hat I made with Jenna’s first wool CSA installment. Who to give it to? What would be more appropriate than to send it off to Jenna in appreciation of her grit and determination in developing a flock to help support her small hill farm? Perhaps she will use it to publicize her products when she appears at farmers markets.

I can hardly wait for the really big installment of wool to arrive – what will I knit with it? I’m busy scanning the internet and collecting patterns to help me decide.

Thank you Jenna for re-introducing me to knitting with wool, rather than blends and acrylic fibres.


Blogger Peter said...

Great. Nice to know that you have made someone so happy. Have you thought of a CSA for lamb? I would be interested in it if you were. I am close enough that I could pick the meat up.

February 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

You're gonna look too cute in that hat! Er, I mean foxy. A foxy farmer lady. ;) You'll be irresistable.

(I see you with a sweatshirt saying "Maude grew this" on the back, and a big upward-pointing arrow.)

February 10, 2011 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

That hat is really cute! And now I gotta look up 'thrummed mittens' which sound great.

I really like that hat. It's rather old-fashioned, I think. Can you get Janet to link the pattern?

February 11, 2011 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Sorry! It is linked.

February 11, 2011 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Actually, I like Janet's hat better; must be her talent and your yarn!

February 11, 2011 at 12:49 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Gorgeous hat made of perfect wool.

February 11, 2011 at 2:33 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

I can so see you donning that cute hat. I'll bet it keeps your ears extra toasty since it was made with so much care.

February 11, 2011 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger jen said...

Totally unrelated to this post...I just got your book, Made from Scratch, yesterday and am LOVING it!!

February 11, 2011 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

What an awesome hat, and wonderful story! I love the CSA model. Sadly not too many people have embraced it here. People are too accustomed still to getting exactly what they want whenever they want it. The lady that runs my veggie CSA says that a lot of people just don't *get it*.

February 11, 2011 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Toni aka irishlas said...

Nice to see inpsiration put into action.

And, nice hat, too! Wish I could knit!

February 11, 2011 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Paula: You asked about thrummed mittens - a pattern and instructions for them can be found in "Fox and Geese and Fences" by Robin Hansen, published by Formac Publishing Company Limited, Halifax, Nova Scotia (ISBN 0-88780-056-4) I think it can be sourced as well through Nimbus Books, Nova Scotia and Downeast Magazine and Books in Maine.
Glad folks like my hat - as more wool becomes available, I will be selling finished items through just look under "items for children" page.
Thanks for the kind comments.

February 11, 2011 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Earthdrummer said...

Love it!! Thank you for sharing what community came accomplish!! And please, let me know if there is any left, my crisis is over....and would love some good wool!!


February 11, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Curious to see if you have a waiting list for your CSA or maybe even an opening???

February 11, 2011 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger wende said...

Sorry, I published my comment on the wrong account, ugh. Again curious if you are taking anymore CSA orders?

February 11, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger E said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger E said...

That's a great story.

Why not get in touch with local knitters & weavers? They might be a good market for you wool and meat w/o having spend hours at the farmers markets.

February 11, 2011 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

Very cool :) Next time there are shares for sale, I may have to buy one for my wife.

February 11, 2011 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

What a wonderful story! And I love the woolen cap! That will keep you warm no doubt on a cold winter's morning.


February 11, 2011 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...


February 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger At Home in My Kitchen said...

I'm echoing another's question about a possible waiting list? I've got to get some of this yarn... I just finished Made From Scratch, and I am so pleased to have found it. What a great resource with lots of links to other great resources!

February 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Velma said...

this is what it's all about. wonderful.

February 11, 2011 at 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of you knitters of mittens should give Robin Hansen's
Chebeague Wet Mittens a go. They are in her Favorite mittens book. You knit them BIG and then felt/full them to fit. They are pretty much waterproof and incredibly warm.

February 11, 2011 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

The Chebeague Island Fishermen's Wet Mittens are also in the Fox and Geese and Fences book, I gave the particulars yesterday - a great book!
Janet further north

February 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

It really is the little things in life that makes us happy isn't it! A warm hat, warm mittens, and friends that we'll probably never meet! Priceless!

February 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

It is important for us all to give our farmers some feedback on the products they are producing for us.
I make a point of sending a nice email to all my farmer friends thanking everyone for their great meat, eggs, wool, whatever.
Way to go Jenna! Keep up the good work.

February 11, 2011 at 9:33 PM  

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