Welcome to Sweet Tree Hill Farm! Founded in 2007 in Central Virginia
Home to Hilltop Shetland Yarn, 1910 Socks, Landscapes Dye, and about 40 Shetland Sheep, 7 Angora rabbits, 45 chickens all on our 20 acre farm. Our specialty is simply processed fingering weight yarn, in 8 natural colors and 10 plus dyed colors for stranded Fair Isle, lace and sock knitting. We are writing patterns and all are available in our Farm Store, at the 3 Festivals we attend and now in your local yarn shop.
Sweet Tree Hill Farm is located in the hills of Central Virginia, in Cumberland County. We arrived Christmas, 2007 and have been working hard to renovate this 100 year old property of 20 acres with many old pecan, walnut and pear trees, hence the name of the farm. The old house is a bungalow style farm house which overlooks an 8 acre 20 foot deep pond.
The pastures were over grazed and was littered with bits of an old chicken barn that had burned down. But over the course of a few years, we have made many repairs, added our cashmere goats and later began raising registered Shetland Sheep and angora rabbits for the wool. And built a barn shaped dye studio.
Our mission is to provide you with American raised Shetland yarn, with unique original patterns, artisan quality clothing such as socks made on the farm where the wool is grown.
Our line clothing created on the farm, our 1910 Socks. We have several knitted up, but you can custom order them as well:
So join us on our journey as my family and I shepherd these beautiful sheep, and plant our garden, gather eggs from our chickens and bring our wool products to market. Visit our farm store and my blog, WoolFarmGal, as this middle-aged shepherd lives her woolly dream!
Today is the first day of summer, and many knitters will often put their needles down in favor of more summery activities. I have a different idea. Why not turn your knitting to smaller less time consuming projects and celebrate a summer theme. So in that vein, I offer you to follow along with a mystery knit along cap with a garden theme. We will explore Fair Isle knitting, a traditional technique associated with Shetland sheep’s wool and yarn. I will post directions and charts for each step. Once a week, on Fridays, I will add another step. The fun part is that we can share our questions and tips and updates on how the project is going.. on the Sweet Tree Hill Farm Facebook page. And for all who comment on the 1st KAL post on the Facebook page, they will be entered to win a kit, including Hilltop Shetland yarn and printed pattern, to make the Mystery KAL Summer 2019. The sheep (who grew the yarn) and I will announce the winner LIVE, from Sweet Tree Hill Farm on Friday July 12th. So comment and share with your friends so they can get in on it!
Ok..let’s get started. So to get you thinking Summer and Garden…here are some inspiration pics from our gardens. These colors and insects inspired the hat you are about to knit.
The garden has many interconnected members, the flowers and vegetables with bright colors. These colors attract needed partners to aid them in their purpose…to be pollinated for procreation. And to create…to make..that is what knitters do. So in this hat…we will be celebrating the colors of the garden, but mostly, the makers. The insects that keep the garden humming (hehehe).
The yarn needed is fingering weight Shetland wool. There are 5 colors in this hat. The colors I have chosen for the example are my choices, but several color combos will work. I selected 2 possibilities from the color choices available in the Sweet Tree Hill Farm Store. The five 200 yard skeins are enough to make 2 hats, or a hat and a matching cowl.
So we will use the 1st group for our hat example. And needles needed are #3 16 inch circular and later, #3 double pointed. The gauge is about 9 sts to the inch unblocked. For reading the charts:
Yarn A = Black Yarn B = Rosehips Yarn C = Butternut Yarn D = NorthernLights Yarn E = Fawn
Here is the first chart for the brim of the hat:
This is a knit 2, purl 2 rib stitch pattern. Begin with Yarn A and cast on 140 stitches onto the circular needles. Join, being careful not to twist. Beginning the chart with Row 1 reading from right to left working the 4 stitch repeat 35 rimes across the round. Continue working Chart A changing colors as indicated until round 12 in completed.
As you can see, only 2 different colors are worked in any given row. I usually choose 1 yarn I hold to the right and flop over the needle and the other hangs to the left. Now ideally, one yarn is worked with the left hand continental style and the other worked with the right hand. But I have not mastered continental and work both yarns with the right hand. I just keep yarn organized in the back this way so my hand can find each yarn. This also helps to avoid twisting.
So this completes the first step of your hat. Next week we will continue our garden themed hat. Check back next Friday!
And don’t forget to leave your comments and questions on this KAL announcement on our Facebook page to enter to win the hat kit in the colorway of your choice!
Welcome to Part 2 of our Mystery Knit Along
I hope you are enjoying your project. Ok..now that your rim is completed, the next row is an increase round with Yarn A.: Knit 5, Make 1, repeat to end of round, 168 sts.
Here is the next chart to tackle. Or should I say part of the next chart, Chart B. Now we are getting to the meat of the project. Now we are getting the 1st clue about the heart of the design.
Using Color A, begin with row 1 and repeat the 24 sts 7 times to complete the round. In row 2, introduce Color B…Rose Hips or Fairy Dust if you are knitting with the 2nd color group. Continue to knit each round working left to right following the chart making color changes as the chart indicates. When you reach round 6, introduce Color E…Fawn or White if knitting with the 2nd color group.
Sweet Tree Hill Farm has many butterflies floating through the garden right now. They are attracted to purple cone flowers, the 3 white crepe myrtles, orange day lilies, and the hollyhocks. They are not only beautiful, but they provide the service of pollination. So this week we are celebrating this lovely garden helper.
Now I will give you a clue for next week. We are celebrating another garden helper…can you guess who it might be? Check back next Friday to find out.
Welcome to Part 3 of our Knit-Along!
Well, many of you guessed…the next garden helper we are celebrating are BEES! And what essential helpers they are. Without an army of bees visiting flowering plants, we could not eat…our plants would not bear fruit. And it goes without saying that the world would be less sweet without their amazing honey. Many of you know that bees are in crisis. Many theories exist as to why our bee population is shrinking. But we can all be mindful of doing all we can to promote bee health. We can make our gardens welcoming to bees and other helpful insects. Limit or don’t use insecticides, insert bee attracting plants into your garden, have water available, maybe even raise bees yourselves. And bring attention to the crisis online and by what you wear! So with that in mind..let us continue with our hat. I can now tell you that the name of the pattern is “Butterflies and Bees”.
Continuing Chart B on the same number of stitches. Use the color guide above. In this chart we are introducing Colors C, D and E. C is Butternut or Cancun…D is Northern Lights or Prairie Grass, and E is Fawn or White. For longer floats over 4 or 5 stitches, I recommend twisting the stitches every 4-5 stitches in the back of the work. This will keep the fabric intact and prevent the floats snagging on something such as a hair barrette.
And here is what it looks like after the 2nd part of Chart B is completed. Afterwards, time to repeat rows 1-12 of Chart B…the Butterflies part. And next week we will be going into the home stretch, the top of the hat. So get those double pointed needles ready!
***And do not Forget***
Leave a comment on any KAL post on our facebook page for a chance to win this hat kit including yarn and printed pattern, an $85 value! You have until midnight July 11 to enter, so don’t wait. The sheep and I will announce the Winner next Friday July 12th at 1PM !!
See you next week!!!
Welcome to Part 4 and Final Reveal of Butterflies and Bees Cap
I hope you have enjoyed working on this celebration of Summer hat. I have seen some pretty hats in progress online…so exciting! You are on the final lap of our project, the decreasing and the top. You will continue with your circular needles as you begin. But after 3 or 4 of the decrease rounds, you will want to switch to your double pointed needles. Divide stitches evenly onto 3 needles. So here is the last chart:
Please note, the blank spaces outside of the bold outlines are not knitted. I have added an additional key to indicate the decrease stitches. Begin Chart C reading from right to left and repeat the 24 stitches around the 1st round. Using earlier keys for color changes. Continue up the chart.
As you are knitting, keep ends organized inside the hat and combed downward so that they stay out of the way of your knitting. When working with double pointed needles, firm up the tension between the needles so that you do not have gaps.
Finishing: On the final round: Row 22: Using Yarn A only, K2tog 6 times. You will have 6 sts remaining. Break yarn. Take a tapestry with yarn threaded into it and pick up the remaining stitches and cinch close and weave the end into the wrong side of hat. Weave in your remaining ends and block hat. I use a hat form, but balloons work too.
So congratulations!! I hope you have enjoyed making your hat and the practice using Fair Isle. There are so many design opportunities using this traditional technique. And nothing does Fair Isle like Shetland yarn. Please head over to the Sweet Tree Hill Farm facebook page and share your progress, thoughts and ideas on this and other Fair Isle projects you are working on. And visit our farm store for a beautiful pallet of natural and dyed colors of our farm produced Shetland yarn. Your purchases support our sheep and family farm.
Here is the completed hat. I will have a printable hard copy of the pattern available soon. And stay tuned..later today I will be announcing the winner of the knitting kit to make this hat.