We’ve got a great group of ladies lined up to help me with out WIP series so I don’t go prattering on by myself! First up is the amazingly multifaceted Amber, who will show you what she made with the very limited-edition, unlikely-to-be-repeated Cormo Rusticus that we sold a couple years ago. I’m very excited to see her progress with this sweater, and I’m sure you will be, too! – Lauria


Hello there! My name is Amber, but if you’re active in the Juniper Moon Farm group on Ravelry, you’ll know me as HowdyPandowdy. I’m going to be doing some guest posting over the next few months to share my progress on Bláithín , which I am knitting with some luscious Juniper Moon Farm Cormo Rusticus,

JMF Rusticus again - in the morning light

JMF Rusticus again - in the morning light

and some stunning Gilead Fiber Farm Shetland (dyed and spun by owner Kristen Judkins).

Gilead Fiber Farm Shetland "Fuego"

Here is where I admit that I have a slight tendency to be a bit, shall we say, long-winded? So instead of launching into a fourteen chapter back story about all the neato connections between pattern, yarns, designer, etc, I will cut to the chase and present it all in list form. (You’re welcome.)

1) For some time now, I have had quite the knitting crush on the genius that is Scottish designer Kate Davies  (and especially her gorgeous color work). I could never quite muster up the courage to try anything before, but after my dear friend Lyn “gifted” me this pattern on Ravelry, it was time to dive in!

2) Kate Davies also happens to be one of the designers for The Shepherd and The Shearer. I managed to snag a spot before that announcement, so it was basically like being given an entire orchard’s worth of delicious cherries on top of what was already the best sundae ever.

3) In honor of Susie’s trip to Scotland, one of our group members on Ravelry suggested those of us stranded stateside should come up with some Scotland-inspired activities to enjoy, which is what spurred me to re-ogle all of my favorite patterns in the first place.

4) Shetland sheep (the breed I have to thank for the beautiful, autumn-colored yarn from Gilead) originated in the Shetland Isles. One of the tinier islands, Fair Isle, should be familiar to all knitters as the namesake of the popular colorwork style featured in many of Kate Davies’ designs.

5) And finally, Kristen Judkins, gifted dyer and spinner and owner of Gilead Fiber Farm, got her start as a shepherd when she won a flock of goats in a giveaway from Juniper Moon Farm!

So now you know that I play most of my life like some sort of bizarre Six Degrees of Separation game, but hey! At least you got the abridged version.

But anyway, swatching?


Because I am doing only two colors for my sweater and knitting the main body in the JMF Rusticus, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue the Rusticus right up through the yoke background, like so,

white background

or switch to the GFF Shetland.

color background

I decided I didn’t want to lose the nicely contrasting yoke background (which is one of the things that drew me into the pattern in the first place) and did a third swatch featuring the Shetland as the background color. This time, I tried holding the Shetland double (it’s a fair bit thinner than the Rusticus), and modifying the bottommost edge slightly to better transition my color change.

washed and lightly blocked

Doubling the Shetland makes a sturdy-without-being-too-thick fabric that I think will lend itself very nicely to the yoke structure, and the Rusticus washed up like a fluffy sheep cloud dream. (Technical description, of course.) Despite some pulling here and there, I think it came out nicely and feel confident in my ability to not destroy my finished product — well, not until it comes time for steeking anyway, but we’ll deal with that when we get to that point…

For now? Lots of knitting going on here, and hopefully I’ll have some good progress to show you next time!


Amber resides in sporadically idyllic Berks County, PA with her husband and three children.

She can most often be found knitting, making soap, sewing, or puttering around in her garden. She should probably leave her house more often.