Friday, March 21, 2014

All the way from VA, it's Susan Gibbs!

I wish I could tell you how long I've been following Susan Gibbs of Juniper Moon Fiber Farm.  

Susan has such an awesome story. At one point she was a network news producer in New York City. It seems like I read somewhere that it was a morning show... I'm quoting from her website, so I won't presume to elaborate, but clearly she was unhappy. She says she walked away from that in search of 'a more authentic life' and told people that. Reading the book Storey's guide to Raising Sheep inspired her to become a shepherdess. I'm like you, I wonder if there wasn't more to it than that, like 'ranching is in her family or something'. America is a big place, lots of people have done lots of things, so it's totally plausible. It's also totally plausible that a book was all it took.

I actually started following her farm when she was operating as Martha's Vineyard Farm... she moved from there to Virginia in 2009. I can imagine life is quieter there compared with Martha's Vineyard, trying to raise animals that need pastoral scenes in a tourist destination can not have been easy. The farm had a couple of unique pieces that I appreciated: 1.) Lambcam lets you view life on the farm from your desk.  The first year I listened to a lot of chickens strolling the pen... people who get to see a new lamb being born in the pasture are named Aunties and Uncles. I often have the lambcam on in the background on my computer and when the afternoon gets long, her dog will walk past the camera, BARK and wakes me up! 2.) Yarn Shares. You can actually buy an affordable share of the yarn crop each year, in either the form of YARN or the spinners share of FIBER. This is about as close to owning your own sheep without the having-to-shovel-sheep-poop part. It's funny that every yarn-crafter gets to that point where they wished they owned an animal that they could harvest their own wool, but the process of the care of the animal, sheering, cleaning, carding, spinning and dying the fiber are the unconsidered parts of 'adopting the puppy' that gets pushed aside in THAT dream ~ all done away with in this plan.

So, as you can see (I hope I've conveyed it) I have admired Susan and Juniper Moon Farm.  

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll remember my post about going to the Seattle Mariner's Stitch & Pitch and getting to meet Nicky Epstein. I don't think I realized at that time, how truly wonderful that experience was. I sought her out after she threw out the first pitch, and she was just waiting at a table in her assigned spot and THERE WAS NO ONE between her and I, so she could see me with my copy of her book from afar and how excited I was to get to see her. I was literally doing a little fan-girl dance and she did one, too. 

Susan threw out the first pitch at this last years game. I was there and tried to get up to the booth where Susan was greeting everyone but so was everyone else. They sold a lot of tickets to knitters and crocheters, so I have to assume all 3,000 of them were there to see her, too.

A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing posts from Susan on Facebook that she had a 'tour of the West' coming up. I watched those posts to see how close to me she would be, was it possible I could day-trip to wherever she would be? She posted a map of her route, and low and behold she was coming to MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I immediately researched all the shops in my area to see where she would be stopping for a trunk show (this is when a yarn vendor, author or designer brings their wares to show the patrons of a local yarn shop) and could not find anyone with this opportunity listed in their calendars or upcoming events. It wasn't until Susan or one of her helpful helpers posted the actual shops (I think it was in the Ravelry group for the farm) she would be stopping at, with their addresses and times that I figured out she would be at a local shop after I closed the office and made a mad dash downtown.
Susan Gibbs on the Right. I'm holding a skein
of Findley Dappled that came home with me
(it seemed to call me by name),
as well as another skein I hope to design a
brimmed summer hat with.

Naturally, I was in the office longer than most days. Naturally, I didn't give myself time to eat anything before I left the house like I should have, knowing my diabetes would try to get the best of me. Naturally, I lost my adventure buddy on the way there simply because I don't know this area still after being here 2 and half years. So, of course and NATURALLY, I looked awful. Don't look at the lady on the left very closely, if you don't wish to give yourself indigestion. But know this from my heart: When I walked up to her and put my hand out and said, Hi, Susan, my name is.... She screeched and recognized me over the sound of my own beating heart, and made my day. 

We have made plans to see each other again later this year...

I should, by now, have the thought of mind to put together a little something and come back to you with an interview or something. After all this time, admiring the work of someone for long periods of time and KNOWING they don't know us as well as we think we know them, it continues to blow my mind when someone says 'I see your posts on Facebook all the time and you keep me informed about everything knitting.' It was the same at Stitches West in Santa Clara a couple of weeks ago. Maybe someday I will get over my own smallness and have something wonderful to share with you. I'm not there yet. I will continue to stretch my self so that you have something wonderful to read about all things Happy Knitting when you stop by my posts. I just want to post at this time, I got to meet her, it was wonderful, and we will be doing it again.

Thank you.

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