Maine Fiber Frolic 2017 Poster
MOFGA Common Ground Fair Poster

Shop Small Saturday

I would normally not support creating a new holiday,much less, a new “Day”. If you check a detailed national calendar you will find that every day of the year has been designated as a special day for some organization, plight or cause — e.g. National Cheddar Cheese Appreciation Day, Eat Bananas Day —

As a matter of fact, by this point most dates have multiple celebrations attached or affiliated. And, let’s save discussion of all the special weeks and months (National Wear Leather Boots to Work Week, Plant a Mountain Laurel Month) for another rant on another day (National Rant Day?)

color graphic: Get Ready for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a GOOD IDEA. That the day after Black Friday is designated makes a lot of sense. People, that is just about ALL of us, and especially the news media, are talking and thinking shopping.

I begrudgingly have to credit the American Express folks with coming up with the idea and getting behind it. AMEX is definitely NOT small business. I lump the credit card companies right in with the large banks and oil companies as NOT having the well-being of you and me and ours as their top priority. I guess we’ll just have to thank American Express for taking a little time off from all their usual skulduggery and skeeviness  to do something important and beneficial.

Bottom line: Go wild this Friday. Break through the crowd barriers at your local Wal*Mart at midnight, log into your “Wish List” at Amazon DOT com — do some serious shopping — it IS good for the economy. But, save some of your disposable funds — maybe half! — and go out on Saturday and visit some small businesses — the more local the better.

Doing the Math: 2 x One of Two-of-a-Kind

I thought fiber folks might be interested in seeing pictures of a couple of rare “One of Two-of-a-Kind” Hatchtown tools:

  • a square-shafted low whorl spindle and
  • nøstepinde-sort-of-thingy that is both a Wraps Per Inch gauge AND a 6″ ruler.

The spindle and the thingy date back to the mid-90’s. In both cases I had been commissioned by a customer to turn something unique — a special order. I have trouble remembering what it was like to have spare time enough to consider accepting special orders! LOL

Explanation: “One of Two-of-a-Kind”
— Any time I’m making ONE of something my instinct is to make a SECOND to keep as a physical record of my efforts. Having two widgets “in process” also protects me in the event my gouge slips spoiling the work on the lathe. Furthermore, even though I always tried to exactly follow the customer’s design constraints and guidelines, my having two “versions” left it to the customer to decide which was closest to their mental image. You know, the customer is always right!

A Square-Shafted Low Whorl

color photo: full view square-shafted Walnut low whorl handspindle

Length: 13 3/8" -- Whorl Diam: 3 1/4" -- Weight: 1.35 oz

As I remember it, the thinking was that the square shaft top would provide maximum grip ensuring a strong twist initiating super fast spindle spin. The customer, a gentleman handspinner, preferred half-hitching and was not concerned that the generously sized shaft top would set the yarn too far off of center generating wobble.


color photo: underside of spindle's whorl

color photo: close-up of shaft's square working end

Square working end

Nøsty-Thingy — Six Inch Ruler AND a Wraps per Inch Gauge

As remember it, the customer in this instance was a knitter who wanted an elegant ruler to measure the width of the folded up section of the watch caps she was knitting. She had come up with the idea that the tool might look like a Nøstepinde. That a couple of the ruler’s sections could measure wraps per inch was my contribution.

a 2" gap for measuring bulky yarn's "Wraps Per Inch"

Welcome to WoodShop News

Zebrawood Kaari high whorl spindleIf all goes well this will be the first post (yes, this is really a blog, but we’re not calling it that cuz it might scare folks) in the brandy new Hatchtown Farm “words from the woodshop” page on the website.

Testing …Testing Can you hear me now.

Maine Fiberarts Tour Weekend at Hatchtown Farm

!! Fiber !! Fiber !! Fiber !! Fiber !!


Check out the Hatchtown page at the Maine Fiberarts website.

Fri., Sat. & Sun.
August 5, 6 & 7
10 am — 5 pm

Hatchtown Farm is either No. 67 or No. 15
Now, if you have the large, glossy Tour Map that Maine Fiberarts printed up a couple of years ago, or are viewing the Printed Tour Map on the MFA website, we are No. 67 on the Pemaquid peninsula. But, if you have the smaller flyer printed this summer, you’ll find us as No. 15. So! ..if you are really going to come on down it might be the easiest for you to jump over to the Contact page right here on our website for all the information you might need. The webpage lists all the specifics and particulars …phone number and such. You can even have the Google Map folks work up a set a of customized directions with maps just for you.

Shearing Day…Spring is on the way!

This morning it’s snowing  just enough to brighten up the grey piles that pepper the landscape, but the other morning when I opened the door, I smelled Spring…a welcome change from the all familiar wood smoke of Winter! And last week, our cat was stalking a Robin that was flitting around in one of the apple trees.  A Robin…?  I know,  it seems a little early to me.  But I guess Spring really is coming… thank goodness!  We’re ready for it…even the inevitable boot-sucking muck!    

shearing grey

a little taste...

Another sign — SHEARING…the big reveal…our Spring Harvest!  It’s all happening on Saturday, March 5th.  Emily, our wonderful shearer, will get started at about 9:30AM and will finish up when the sheep are naked…probably about 4PM.  Come by for a fleece preview.  We’ll give you a job if you’d like one or you can bring a chair and just hang out.  Stay all day or for just a little while. We’ll be happy to see you !!  Can’t wait to see those fleeces!  It might be a little too early to see signs of lambs but maybe we’ll get lucky.

snow sheep

Waiting for Emily...growing yummy fleece!

I’m going to make some chili &/or soup & bread for all who’d like to stay afterwards. And we’ll have drinks on hand.  Please let us if you’re coming so we’ll plan enough food for all to enjoy and  please bring a little something to share (hints: chocolate is a big hit and I don’t bake). It’ll be fun to relax and chat after a day of fleece and sheep handling!