Check us out at the local Farmer’s Market

We began selling last Saturday at the local market in Grass Valley and what a great opening day it was for the market!  The market is located at the historic North Star house in Grass Valley, located at 12075 Auburn Road, from 8 AM to 12:30.  This historic mansion served as the superintendent’s house for the North Star Mine, a historic mine that’s been closed since the end of World War II.  The market features many local growers, as well as artists such as ourselves.

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As you can see from the picture above, Barbara demonstrated spinning to the public, as well as a preview of our Sierra Wools California yarns.  Barbara has been dyeing many of  the new rovings and yarns, and has some wonderful colors to choose from, in addition to several natural colored wool yarns and rovings.

This Saturday’s market, April 22nd, we will feature a demonstration of our Swing Arm Wool Picker, which has been a successful new product we sell on Etsy.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/SierraWools  We will also feature some other new products, such as Barbara’s homemade lanolin-rich soaps, an unscented sheep design in addition to her Gardeners’ Lavender Bar.  We have another new member of our wooly bear family, this one is named “Cocoa Bear”.

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This Saturday being Earth Day, we are celebrating by offering 2 market-only specials. First, all of our wooly bear family, Dexter, Baxter, Lulu and Cocoa, which are handmade by Barbara from re-purposed  wool clothing and will be for a special price of 20% off.

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Second, Mark has a special on his Adirondack chairs made from recycled wine barrels; regularly $299 each, at 2 for $500.  They are stained red oak color and varnished for protection.  This really brings out the rich colors of the french oak used in the wine barrels. They are comfortable as well as sturdy and a beautiful addition to your garden or backyard.

Happy Fiber Trails and hope to see you at the market!

A Skein Winder Made from Recycled Wine Barrels?

It’s wool processing time again, and as I began to put skeins of yarn and roving together realized I had a problem.  My traditional skein winders are not sized to measure yards of material easily.  And too small to create longer skeins, which I prefer.  So I put my husband to work on it, and he designed a winder that meets my needs; providing 2 yards per revolution of the wheel and perfect for my needs.  Shown below is a video we made of how to use this skein winder:

Winding your yarn or roving into skeins is a snap with my new winder, which sells on our website sierrawools.com and comes in table top or floor models.  And happy skeining!

How to Choose and Use the Right Type of Yarn Every Time

We found this great whitepaper on Craftsy that helps with choosing the right yarn for your project.  This includes a guide to yarn weights, from lace to bulky, a metric conversion guide for knitting and crochet, and tips, tricks and photo tutorials from three experts in knitting.

Click here to sign up for the download, which is free.

You can also go to our website, SierraWools.com where we have a yarn sizes chart and real examples of different size and colors of yarns we well, both machine and handspun.  capture

Happy knitting!

Celebrating 41-derful Years!

My husband Mark and I just celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary by doing what many married couples do.  We ate out at a local restaurant and exchanged cards.  OK… there was a necklace involved, but the emphasis in later years has been more on the celebration via eating out, and discussing how in the world we accomplished so many years together.  Ultimately we believe in shopping local, and totally enjoy exploring our fine local restaurants and shops.   (See http://gonevadacounty.com/events/ )

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We remain best friends after all these years, and recently started a small business together, Sierra Wools (www.sierrawools.com).  I have long loved all things fiber, and in the past had a small wool mill operated our of our farm in rural Arizona.  This new business operates as an online shop, and also gives us the opportunity to attend trade shows in the western US, in places we love and which many customers share.  So here’s to the next 41 years together!

Knit Your Way To Good Health

Thought we would share an article we found about “what knitting is doing to your health that you probably knew about“.   If you knit you probably already know about the therapeutic value of knitting.  It keeps your hands busy and is soothing, right?  And you can knit almost anywhere I’ve learned.   A hobby that is productive, creative, and you can take anywhere, including those boring teacher education days we had to endour (as a 20-year veteran science teacher I know).  The article listed the following benefits…

1. Knitting relieves stress. Forget yoga or jogging, grab some yarn and knitting needles and get to work. Listener reports that 73 percent of people who knitted three times a week (or more) felt less stress and were able to organize their thoughts better.
2. Knitting relieves symptoms of depression. Knitting stimulates the brain and can help relieve symptoms of depression, according to the The Washington Post. A study actually discovered that 81 percent of knitters felt happier when they were done with their knitting sessions.
3. Knitting helps slow cognitive diseases. The Washington Post also reports that neurological activity produced by hobbies such as knitting actually reduced the effects of some diseases and slowed cognitive decline.

4. Knitting improves motor function. Using knitting needles could help improve motor function for patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to The Washington Post. This is likely tied to strengthened muscles and muscle memory associated with knitting skills.
5. Knitting eases anxiety. According to the Listener, the rhythmic nature of knitting helps your body produce serotonin (a body chemical associated with calmness and happiness). Additionally, using two hands requires your brain to focus entirely on the job at hand so you can’t think or worry about anything else.
6. Knitting can help with weight problems and eating disorders.One 2009 University of British Columbia study found that women who knitted could turn their attention away from eating and weight loss, so it can be very helpful for anorexia patients. It might also help people who want to lose weight: Since it keeps you busy, you don’t have the time and you’re not bored enough to keep munching.
7. Knitting could boost your memory. Psychology Today reports that moving your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds at a time every day can boost your memory, and knitting definitely requires some serious eye movement!
8. Knitting is therapeutic for mothers of premature babies. Some hospitals encourage new mothers to try knitting a hat for their premature babies. The act of knitting helps relieve stress, and it keeps mom’s hands occupied. This is particularly helpful for moms who can’t hold their little ones for several weeks, according to The Washington Post. But it even helps fathers. A dad of a preemie daughter told The New York Times that “learning how to knit preemie hats gave me a sense of purpose during a time that I felt very helpless. It’s a hobby that I’ve stuck with, and it continues to help me cope with stress at work, provide a sense of order in hectic days, and allows my brain time to solve problems.” Knitting can also help to cope with other types of health crises.
So join me in knitting your way to good health.  Check out our list of yarns at our website www.sierrawools.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just sharing a wish for the upcoming holiday.  Thanksgiving has it’s origin with early settlers in the U.S., and along with colder (and wetter!) weather, brings to mind the need for warm clothing, hearth and home.  As for us, we are blessed to be visiting family this year; and yes, they will be doing the cooking!  We wish you and yours the best of holidays, and be sure to stay warm with lots of firewood on the fire, and wool garments.

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Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

Sierra Wools…

-Barbara and Mark Engle