Welcome to the Farm

  Hilltop Shetland Yarn  1910 Socks 

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.

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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 Farm House

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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.
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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:

See our order form and order your custom 1910 Shetland Socks.

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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!

 

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Missy, a moorit ewe

        Gwyneth and her lambs

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Simply Fingerless

As Summer begins to wane…and we soon will be slipping into the busyness of Fall, my thoughts and fingers start to plan and begin small gifts for the coming holiday season. It is still hot, so a small quick project is ideal. Thoughts that cool temps are right around the corner is comforting. So a quick project, when an art yarn does all the design work is a fun idea. The genius is that the knitting needs to be kept simple so the yarn can shine. I have been spinning up some different colorways of Wool Paint roving I have dyed, for just such a project. Several skeins are now in the Farm Shop.

Artisan Handspun, “Camo”

Fingerless gloves only require one skein, so why not make a few pairs? I will try to make it easy. So if you have not knitted gloves before, or have not knitted in the round. I am providing a little tutorial here. We are using worsted, or light worsted yarn, and set of 5 size 7 double pointed needles. Also, have a couple of stitch markers handy, some waste yarn and a good size tapestry nedle

Cast onto 4 needles.

Cast on 32 stitches, dividing evenly onto 4 needles, being careful not to twist.

Rounds 1, 2: Purl. Rounds 3-5: Knit. Rounds 6-7: Purl . Rounds 8-12: Knit.

The Pattern Stitch is simple: Round 1: *K3, sl1 (purlwise): repeat from * around. Round 2: Knit.

Hand

Knit rounds 1 and 2 of Pattern Stitch 10 times. (20 rounds total.)

Hand knitted with Pattern Stitch

So as you can see…this is a simple stitch and the variegated nature of the handspun yarn creates interesting transitions. You can’t get this result from millspun because each ply of the yarn changes color at random. This is the fun part, watching the colors emerge as the glove is being knitted.

Now it is time to begin the thumb gusset.

You will be increasing 2 stitches for the thumb gusset every third round while continuing the 2 round pattern stitch.

Round 1: K1, place marker (PM), k1, PM, k1, sl 1, continue with round 1 of Pattern Stitch to end of round.

Round 2: K1, slip marker (SM), M1R (=Make 1 right slant-with left needle tip, lift strand between sts from back to front, knit lifted st through the front.), knit to marker, M1L (=Make 1 left slant-lift strand between sts from front to back, knit the lifted st through the back.), SM, continue with round 2 of Pattern Stitch around.

Round 3: Knit to 1st slipped stitch (slipping markers), sl1, continue established Pattern Stitch around.

Round 4: Knit around

Round 5: K1, sm, M1R, k to marker, M1L, sm, k1, sl1, continue with round 1 of Pattern Stitch to end of round.

Round 6: Knit around. Round 7: Repeat round 3.

Round 8: Repeat round 2. Round 9: Repeat round 3.

Round 10: Knit around. Round 11: Repeat round 5.

Round 12: Knit around. Round 13: Repeat round 3.

Round 14: Repeat round 2. Round 15: Repeat round 3.

Round 16: Knit around. There should be 11 sts between the markers.

Gusset in progress
Gusset stitches on waste yarn, beginning finger area

Finger area

This part is when the glove really starts to take shape. So grab about 10 inches of waste yarn.

Next round: K1, lift strand between first st and first marker M1R, place the 11 thumb sts onto the waste yarn using your tapestry needle, removing the markers. Join yarn, k1, sl1, continue with round 1 of the Pattern Stitch around.

Next round: Knit around.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 of the Pattern Stitch 6 more times. (12 rounds total.) Bind off purlwise.

Thumb

Ok..into the home stretch…place the 11 thumb stitches onto 3 dpn needles-4 sts on 1st needle, 3 on 2nd, and 4 on 3rd.

Round 1: Join yarn and knit 11 sts on needles, pick up and knit 5 sts in the thumb hole space. (16 sts total.)

Ready to begin the thumb.

Round 2: knit 11 sts, ssk, k1, k2tog. (14 sts)

Rounds 3-7: Knit around.

Bind off purlwise. Weave in loose ends, paying attention to any gaps at the base of the thumb cinching up those gaps. And now you are ready to repeat the whole process for the 2nd glove. And as you notice..with art yarn, the 2nd glove will not match exactly. But that is part of the fun.

First glove finished! WooHoo!

This little pattern is so fun and quick, you will have oodles of pairs done before Christmas. And you might get bold and come up with cool modifications…like maybe a different cuff or stitch pattern. But keep it simple with art yarn. A complicated stitch pattern would be lost in a variegated yarn. ..So get those needles clicking and feel free to share your results on our FaceBook page. Or you can also ask your questions there as well. Happy knitting!

There is now a printable PDF available.

Mystery KAL Summer 2019

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.

Black, Rosehips, Butternut, Northern Lights, Fawn.
Silver Streak, Fairy Dust, Cancun, Prairie, White

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.

The back side of the work.

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.

1st 12 rounds of Chart B

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.

Round 12 of Chart B complete-Butterflies!

Butterflies!

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”.

Rows 13-32 of chart B

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.

Part way through Chart B
The floats on the back side
Bees are finished!

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!

Hat after Butterflies and Bees finished, ready for last step.

***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!!!

Happy Knitting!

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.

First few rows of Chart C knitted
Using the double pointed needles

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.

The top of the hat completed.
Another view of the top.

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.

Thanks to our sheep shearer Charlotte for modelling our hat!
The completed Butterflies and Bees hat.

Note…Here is the link to a printable PDF for this pattern