Monday, December 24, 2018

Baba Tree Baskets

I received this awesome email from Gregory at Baba Tree Baskets earlier this month.  I just had to share the highlights. 

From Gregory:

We will be undertaking a big project starting ASAP. 

We need more space to work and for storage. Some of our weavers work in cramped conditions which I find unsatisfactory. More weavers want to come and work here and we can't accommodate them owing to a lack of space.
In addition, if it rains we have no where to pack orders.

We have no room for dedicated teams to work on new designs and designs that have been submitted. We need more space.

A few weeks ago, the UN Scientific Advisory Council issued a statement that humankind has about a dozen years to get it's act together in order to mitigate the effects of climate change on this incredible organism that we refer to as planet earth. Predictably, the amount of debate and discussion around this statement could only be referred to as 'paltry'. Being the good old fashioned - albeit, heartbroken, idealist that I am, this is of grave concern to me. What am I to say to my beloved 11 years old daughter, Precious? Let's face it...we have screwed it up. We have made a right mess of this planet that sustains us so beautifully, so patiently and so miraculously...

We have just got it wrong...our planet is not a happy one...we've missed the point...

What on earth are we doing?

The Baba Tree has a small sum of money. We will be using that money to get as much of our operations on solar technology starting with our dyeing process. Presently, we use fire wood to heat our dye pots when we dye our straw.
I have never been comfortable with this. My dye people look like shit at the end of a day of dyeing breathing in smoke from fires and the fumes from the chemical dyes. The people from whom the Baba Tree buys its firewood are cutting down trees - or limbing them - when we should be planting trees. Many trees...
We also have to come up with an effective way to deal with disposing our dyes. At the moment, we do a ghastly job of it. I'm not sure how to go about it...However...mea culpa.

There is a population explosion in and around Bolgatanga. At the Baba Tree, the number of pregnant women (some with many children already) and women with much loved babies and or toddlers is astounding. The government will have a difficult time keeping up - infrastructure wise - let alone the the fact that the amount of arable land in this region for growing foodstuffs to feed the growing population is dwindling. When time permits, we'll have a sit down with our women to see if they need, or want, assistance with 'family planning' and take it from there.

Plastic is a huge problem in Ghana as it is all over the world. It's everywhere. It is strewn about the river behind us and piles of it sit near our property. People then gather it together and burn it - and the surrounding fragile bush, creating a toxic atmosphere - especially during the Harmattan. We have suddenly dropped our tools many times in order to put out fires in our area. 
On a couple of occasions, the Baba Tree crew - about 150 of us - have gone about picking up trash all around our neighbourhood and filled large dumpsters that were then taken away by the local sanitation contractor, Zoom Lion. This isn't a solution. We have already powwowed with the local government regarding this crises in order to put a stop to people, businesses (including monied churches) and monied schools (so much for teaching practical knowledge) dumping plastic in the river and surrounding environs and hope to be putting money towards appearing quite frequently on local radio stations in order to talk about, and find solutions to this quagmire. We have to stop people using plastic. 
The Baba Tree will possibly be fitting a concrete platform on our property that will hold a skip that the neighbourhood can use to dump their garbage. Again, this is not a solution to the crisis we find ourselves in because there is no 'away' to throw the garbage.
Baba Tree employees are not allowed to bring plastic bags to the compound. There are many sellers of fruit, dried fish, ju-ju, night power medicine, and clothing that come to the compound and they are not allowed to serve their goods in plastic bags.

Earlier this year we installed one 40' container, drilled a borehole and put in a water filtration system that serves clean water to all at the Baba Tree and the surrounding neighbourhood. After the second 40' container is installed, we will build a roof over the two 40' containers and the solar system will be installed on that roof - starting with a hot water system first.

We will take our first baby steps toward researching and utilizing natural dyes. The dyes that are predominantly used in Bolga for dyeing straw are not natural despite the fibs that other websites will tell you. The straw that we use is not an easy material to dye. If all goes well, we will make available a range of products that are naturally dyed. Initially, they will be available for retail on only and as we become organised, we will make these products available for wholesale.

Further down the pipeline we want to build a dedicated area for mothers, infants and toddlers to be whilst their mothers weave. A 'madame' in the form of an early childhood educator will be hired to take care of the children. Trees, fences and composting toilets (a very simple version) are in the works too.

Some people say that the Baba Tree is too expensive and they can buy our designs elsewhere at cheaper prices. Do other producers that copy us by lifting our designs and shapes straight from our website and social media have the same overheads that includes a staggering amount of money that goes to medical expenses and school fees? I doubt it...But these outgoings we fork out every day. It's our life. It's what we do...
We have no interns or volunteers (otherwise known as 'free labour') and we don't get any grants from any government organisations nor NGOs. However, in terms of technical advice around solar energy, we might have to enlist the services of an NGO. 

It's been a while since I droned on so I thought now was a good time to lull you into a catatonic state through a good rave. I must go. The Baba Tree compound is grooving while the sounds of laughter and industry fill the air. A beautiful dance of the masculine and feminine...I kinda' like it that way.

Thanks Gregory, we love your Baskets, we can change the world with little steps! One basket at a time!
It took a month to get this done!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sheep to Shawl

Last January Marg visited the shop and we got chatting, it happens a lot here, we both are weavers and spinners and knitters. 

Then we made a plan, invited Beth our friend and inside person with the Orono Fair committee., and Orono Sheep to Shawl was born, 

Beth asked the board if we could use the empty space in the Poultry Barn on the Sunday of the Orono Fair and she contacted Mitch and Naomi to see if we could get a fleece when the sheared their flock in April. Everyone said yes, people don’t say no to Beth!

Emails back and forth, we put together the loom that was in pieces in Marg’s basement, that was a huge learning curve. Fortunately I have the bigger version of the same one at home. 

Volunteers came willing, we expected them to take 2 hours shifts, they stayed all day!  All the right people were there!

The loom was moved into place a few days ahead of the event. It proved a bit difficult as we only had time to warp the loom.  Sue rescued the threading error and ‘The Boy’ fixed some the of engineering issues.  

The response from the Fair visitors was positive, they asked great questions and everyone had a great day!

Thanks to Marg and Beth for helping to arrange all this and also to Gwen, Regan, Terry, Karen, Frances and Sue for making it a perfect day! 
If you have never seen the work of tireless volunteers at a local fair, you really would never appreciate how much happens behind the scenes.

The shawl is still on the loom as we ran out of steam about 4 pm. It will be finished soon.  There are ideas of what to do with it, but we need to assess its quality first.  It was a demonstration, we just wanted to show how the process was done, I think we accomplished that!

There is a Facebook group for our event: Orono Sheep to Shawl. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Real Quick

It’s just about the end of August?

How did that happen.

So much happened during the summer and it will take al long time to tell you about everything.

There was Summerfest! The weather was perfect!

We had a Yarn Snob Sale, we don’t sell Yarn Snobs, but we create them?  

We went on road trips, I could knit!

Spending time with the Farmer includes visits to either barns or places with tractors, preferably the green kind!

Handmaiden produced another collection, this time featuring a bucket list of destinations. 

There were a couple of Knit alongs, this one is Jacinta knit with Koigu KPPM!

The Grandpuppy came to visit a few times, sometimes The Boy came too!

There was that one day we went to the beach!

Bluesberry Yarn Yard Sale gave some the opportunity to get rid of some stash and others were able to acquire some nice odds and bits.  Knitted Knockers of Canada will received just over $150 to go towards their expenses!

There was so much more and we will catch up!

Thanks for dropping by, see you soon! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


There is a pretty Fruitwood cabinet in the shop filled with Koigu KPPM.  I love this cupboard! I love using Koigu, I can’t really explain why? Is it the colours? Is it the beautiful base? Is it because it’s made by talented women, who raised sheep and are located in the middle of no where? If you love what you do and are prepared to work hard you can be successful where ever you are located.

I always love an excuse to use Koigu.

A new batch of the mini skeinettes arrived in April.  

The colours ispired this. 

Colourscape Cowl

April 21st was LYS day, Local Yarn Shop Day. We celebrated by having special clearance sale, draws for prizes and Koigu created a special colour just for the event.  The colour sold out very quickly, I didn’t get a chance to grab one for myself.

There is always a Koigu project in my WIP’s. 

Well that was in April, we will catch up with July and August next time!

Where does the time go!

Today we are closed for Holidays? I am doing things today to catch up. Yesterday I added all the shop samples I made from the past year into Ravelry, there were 19!

Let’s talk about a few:  

One of the most popular Yarns in the shop is Sweetgeorgia.  The Tough Love Sock is great for socks but even nicer for garments. The colours have life to them.  The semi solids blend well and the batches are pretty consistent. 

Last December I finished ‘Fine Tune’ by Joji Locatelli 
Fine Tune

The background colour is Birch. The stripes were made with the Party of Five Kit called Snapdragon.

There were a couple of issues, I zigged when I should have zagged in one section, which meant it needed to be frogged back. Then I ran out of the Birch background, even though I used the one included in the kit.  To get the required stitches I knit an extra row in the bright pink stripe just before the last triangle, there was enough. It would only require knitting the cowl a few stitches less and there would be enough.  Sometime I will have time to do the math.  

The other Party of Five kit Sample is Reverb Shawl.  It’s a free pattern created by Felicia Lo.  It’s also made with the Rusted Party of Five.  (We have a lot for some reason)

This project travelled with me quite a bit. The pattern makes suggests for the number of rows for each garter stitch section, my numbers varied a little as everyone knits slightly differently and each skein may not be exactly the same length.  Be prepared to adjust.  Be careful that you don’t make the first section too big, it will distort the pattern, leaving  you with a very  narrow last colour.  This sample is good to show you how the depth of each section gets narrower as the stitches increase.  Sometimes adding another ball of yarn to a large triangle isn’t worth the trouble or money. 

It’s a start, the day is muggy and I am glad to be somewhere cool.  

Friday, March 23, 2018

Yarn Challenge 2018

Blog difficulties continue:  We are voting on our Yarn challenge entries. Voting continues until Tomorrow?  Oops!

It’s back!  It took some time to decide the Yarn and colour scheme for this year’s challenge!

Packages will be ready on Saturday, there will be only 15 produced as that seems to be the best number for voting and display.

Contact the shop if you would like to participate.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Where did it go? Now its nearing the end of February:

This is a post I wrote a while back:

The cold weather has kept everyone thinking about keeping warm. It also makes us long for Spring and warmer temperatures.

Spring and summer yarn have been a small part of this shop. We find that our warm weather season is very short. We go from extreme cold to very warm sometimes in a matter of hours.  

This new yarn from Berroco was a nice find. The palette is true Berroco, they know colour.  Great for summer garments, but also as a staple garment for those who would like to use a cotton blend.  It’s a DK weight so there are many options for patterns, 

They promised a sample garment, we hope it come soon!

There is snow in the forecast today, so get our those warm mittens, scarves and hats!

The A-B-C sale continues, today my goal is to mark down Bags! 

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram too! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lost Again!

I am not sure if it’s part of my Dutch heritage or that I just don’t like wasting anything.  I don’t consider myself ‘cheap’ but I do like to make the best use of my money.  

For that reason I play Yarn Chicken a lot. The frugal person in me likes to use every inch of the ball of yarn. 

When making this newest shop sample I pushed the limits and estimated the number of repeats needed to use the skein efficiently. I lost. Not wanting to pull all the knitting back to redo the work I decided to just leave it to remind me and you that I make mistakes all the time.

The pattern is No Brainer One Skeiner , I used one skein, but 2 would make a great sized scarf/wrap.

The pattern was easy to follow and a great Knit, the Yarn was lovely to work with too!

See you Soon

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A*B*C Sale

The shop is in its 10th year! We have accumulated a lot of yarn, there is new yarn arriving every week and we are doing inventory. As we go down the list there is yarn that needs to be discounted so we have decided to choose a letter and head down the list.

Last week we began with the letter A, all the remaining Alpaca Sox left the shop as did the Alpaca Dk. A few A’s remain and there have been some B’s added.
Balder, a Superwash Chunky wool is now just $4.00 for 100 grams,

Boston Mix a chunky hat yarn is also 5.00


Bravo Big, a super Chunky yarn is just $5.00 for the 200 Gram skein.

and the remaining few skeins of

Baby Alpaca Sport is just $5.00 as well.


Keep checking back as there are some great yarn deals coming up next!

Monday, January 15, 2018


Well, I can explain?

As ‘The Farmer’ would say:

‘You are addicted to your IPad.’

Well it is the best way to communicate with you.  For some reason the app disappeared and blogging  could only be done through the computer? 

So we are back, 

There is so much to tell you and I promise to try and keep you up to date.

This is kind of a test, as you can see I have been spinning a bit? It’s been a huge learning curve, but that’s a good thing as learning new skills keeps your brain sharp!  

Let’s see if I can work my way around this new app, another new thing!

See you soon