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Dye Day

This morning was the day I had set aside this week for dyeing some wool batts. Most of them are 100% Corriedale, but there were a few mixed breed rovings I had made that I threw in different pots just to see what might happen. 

Small batch, hand processed and hand dyed Corriedale batts

I had learned a lot about dyeing here at my house today. Previously, I had thought I was just really bad at it. My colors were always muddy, or too pale.  I figured out today I just need more acid than normally called for in dyeing instructions.  1/2 tsp of citric acid does not get me the bright sharp colors im looking for; however, bump the citric acid up to 1 tsp and Wow! I am much happier, and looking forward to dyeing many more batts in the future. 

Love this Spicy Red and Amethyst rovings.


Fiber Christmas was good to me!  I had a wonderful time, my classes were fantastic, and Sean spoiled me the entire weekend!  The only down side was I was just getting over a mild case of pnuemonia and Friday after my class I was exhausted. I had to skip the dinner and the guest speaker, go back to the hotel and sleep. 

My first class Friday afternoon was Fiber Blending with Judy Crouch. She did a fantastic job teaching us why we might want to make a fiber blend, and how to get good results. We were encouraged to use all the fiber tools available to experiment with our own fiber blends. I used 5 pitch combs to blend teeswater (I think) with angelina, hand cards to blend wool top with silk noil, and my drum carder to make an art batt out of wool, silk roving, and other things. I don’t remember what all was in there. I learned a lot and can’t wait to start blending some of the angora I have from my rabbits with other things. The knowledge I gained from that class will surely serve me a long time.

 My second class was Solar Dyeing, taught by Dawn Riden.  It was meticulously taught. Her mastery and instruction of the subject extended to regular dyeing as well, I think it will really help me get better results in all of my dyeing. We got to prepare three dye jars with fiber to take home. 

All the jars made by students of the Solar Dyeing class. Pic by Dawn Riden

Then of course it was cloudy and cool for the next several days and I could not get the dye to strike until yesterday.  Finally, though, results! 

From left to right, Cherry Red, a combo of Honey Mustard and Saffron Spice, and Hot Fuschia

Sean bought me way too much stuff while I was in class. The first day, we got back to the hotel and I found these two batts waiting for me, on top of the spindle he’d already bought me while we were perusing the vendors.

Then the next day, we came upon a wool picker. It was practically brand new, and the price was reasonable. However, when we went back to look at it after class, it had been sold. Oh well, there were lots of plans for pickers on the internet, and we were sure we could build one ourselves, given enough time.

Then I went to get my stuff out of the back of the van, and there was the picker! Sean really likes to pull off surprises and he really succeeded that time!  Look at the beautiful cloud of fiber ready for carding! 

This picker does not have a makers mark that I can see, but looks exactly like a Fancy Kitty swing picker. They haven’t made this model in 7 years, but this one looks brand new.  

I had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back next year! 


Fiber Christmas is this weekend. I can’t wait. I am taking the Solar Dyeing class and Fiber Blending.  I would have taken more, but the classes I wanted were all at the same time. I think that will be enough for my first year. I can’t wait to see my friend Jane Deason. 

I washed more fleece today,  a gorgeous Shetland fleece from shepherdess Kaley Sheldon from Missouri.  

I really spent too much time playing and not enough time getting ready for Fiber Christmas, but it was fun. Now I am the good kind of tired! 


I always have so much trouble thinking of titles for posts!  Since I don’t have much time this morning to think of catchy titles, Felting will have to do.  Mainly because it’s the only thing I have had time to do all week. 

It is VBS week at church. Always lots of fun, if a little weird this year now that all three kids are graduated and out working. Reagan may go with me tomorrow, I am providing lunch for the youth workers, and it would be nice for her to go, since it’s going to be a tight squeeze time wise between the time my class is over and time for lunch. I have a plan though, so it should be fine, 

Since Christian Youth in Action are teaching the actual lessons this year, I have just been observing. It is hard for me to just sit, so yesterday I cast on a felted bag to hang on my spinning wheel. Fiber Christmas is coming up at the end of next week and I wanted a nice bag to hold all my essentials so I was constantly digging through my spinning box.  I knew it was going to knit up fast before I had gotten very far, the knitting was just flying.  I had the main knitting done by the end of my class, and I finished up binding off and the I-cord after my nap (even observing preschoolers is pretty exhausting!)  I felted it while I was cooking dinner, and voila!..

The only thing I might change is I might over dye it. The color is not the bold, saturated color I’d like. However, you use the yarn you have, and this is what I had.  The bag holds my WPI tool and card, an extra whorl,  the screw driver for the tiny screws on the footmen, and my oil bottle. I might add enough linen cord for another drive band, if I can figure out a way to keep it from getting all tangled up in there.  I think it turned out so nice. I have another skein of plain grey yarn from the same brand, and I am thinking about knitting a slightly larger bag and using it to hold a knitting project on the go. 

So, now I am ready for Fiber Christmas in July.  I just have to wait a little over a week!! I have lots of fleece coming in the mail though, so I think I’ll have plenty to do to fill the time. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you on that front soon!

Its been a long time since I posted to my blog.  The kids have all graduated high school, and as that day approached, I found that I had a lot of questions about what I was going to do with my life.   I thought about a lot of things. I need to have a “job” that is portable, because Sean would like to travel.  I really want to make things, beautiful things, with my hands.  I wanted to use the skills I already have, instead of having to learn an entirely new set of skills.  If I can teach occasionally, that would be great. 

So, despite the fact that there are probably hundreds of others out there trying it, I decided I would open an Etsy shop. I am going to start very, very small, and see what happens.  I knew I wanted to begin by trying to sell some hand prepped fiber, because I feel like commercially prepared top and roving has just had the life beat out of it.  There is nothing like working with  hand prepped fiber, full of the bounce and life wool has when it has been treated gently since it was shorn off the sheep.  

So, I have washed over 20 lbs of wool in the last few weeks, and have started processing it on my drum carder and viking combs. I have purchased dyes and the other things needed for new dyeing adventures. I have done a LOT of research. One question leads to another, and before you know it, you’ve rabbit hopped all over the internet finding answers to questions you didn’t know you had an hour ago. I love that adventure more than I remembered. It feels so wonderfuly freeing to be on that adventure for myself again; it is intoxicating!  

I want to talk about it, though. No one here, as much as they love me, is particularly keen to hear about how I figured out how to use the copper/ammonia mixture that has been percolating under the sink for the last 6 or so years to mordant fiber for natural dying.  They don’t care too awful much about seeing my dying notebook, or looking at the 12 beautiful Corriedale batts that are waiting for me to mix up dye stock and dye them so that they can then be turned into art batts.  So I have turned once again to my fiber blog. Even if I am just talking to myself, I will at least be sharing my knowledge, and that is important to me.  Let me know if you enjoy it!

no excuse

I didn’t make it through the entire photography challenge. Sigh. I don’t know what happened. The assignments quit speaking to me I guess. I couldn’t think of a way to make them interesting, and I didn’t want to do it if I couldn’t think of some way to make it original. Maybe I need a smaller challenge, like a once a week photo challenge, so I have more time to think of the details.

I have still been taking pictures, but I think I have hit the stage I saw on a graph about “how I feel about my photography” that simply says, “I suck” I don’t know if it is my aging but already poor eye sight or what, but none of my pictures are coming out very sharp. Also, the kids are refusing to let me take pictures of them any more. I need to find more things to take pictures of.

In other news, I just published a new pattern on Ravelry that also got picked up for KnitPicks IDP. The patterns name is the Anpiel Shawl. The test knitters really seemed to enjoy it, and that really made me happy.

I am working on some other knitting. I have four “baby” sweaters to knit. Only one of them is for a baby not already here, though. To say I am behind on my baby knitting is an understatement. I also have a hat to knit for my Uncle Rudy. Since hats are quick, I am hoping to get that done this week while the kids are doing school. I also have weaving to do, and sweatshirts that need cut up before I can complete that. As usual, I am having a hard time prioritizing, I want to do it all!! I told Sean the other day when I had a marvelous idea for someone into pottery, that as brilliant as the idea was, I could not, would not should not start another hobby. I’d have to give up sleep altogether, and I really like to sleep. If anyone knows of a potter who would like to make a ton of money selling things to knitters, though, I have a brilliant, genius idea.

Thought I would update the blog while the kids were getting woke up, before we get school started. I am going out to walk while they do their computer work, because I have decided that it is finally time to get this weight off that I have regained. Tomorrow will be weigh in day, and I think the first week went well. I managed to not drink coca-cola at all last week. I am eating better, and walking, so I’m excited that maybe this time, I will be able to stick with it. You all be praying for me!


Well, I got behind on the photo challenge. A day or two that stumped me, and then I fell behind, and I’m not sure I’ll catch up completely. I do intend to jump back in tomorrow, or rather, later today, since it is 4 am, and I am up with insomnia. Insomnia really bites.

I do have a good excuse for falling behind though, as the last couple of days have seen me putting the finishing touches on another pattern I am submitting to KnitPicks. The test knitters are finishing up, and the tech editor is done, and so I sent the final pattern and the sample knit off yesterday. I try to never feel like I am for sure going to have a pattern accepted by Knit Picks, but I really like this one. I hope they do too. Reagan was my model again for this one, and she was just so grown up looking and beautiful in all the pattern pictures.

The other thing going on this week is, I have tried to restart my diet. I have tried several times in the last year or so to jump start my diet again. I have lots of excuses as to why I haven’t been able to get back on track, and none of them are good ones. I just need to do it. I’ve done a LOT better the last couple of days, I just need to keep getting back on the horse if I fall off instead of just abandoning all hope and eating everything in sight. I know I can do it, but I have to actually DO it.

Hopefully I will be back later today with a photo post. I’m starting to get sleepy, thankfully, so I’m going to head back to bed……

To Weave!! Finally got new warp on the loom. To save money, I bought poly cotton warp. Never again. Took the skin right off my pinkys when I was tightening it after tying on. Ouch! It is pretty though. I can't wait to see it with weft!


Photo A Day August 12-14

I could not get the photo Sunday to load,Then yesterday I got busy and didn't take any pictures. So today is a catch up day!


Day 12: Spoon. This theme didn't thrill me at all. I could not think of one creative thing to do. I do love this spoon though, my mom bought it for me at the mountain State Art and Craft Fair!


Day 13: Simple. So many things in my life are simple. I like things the simpler the better. This is one of my favorites, simply sitting in the front yard, listening to birds and bugs.



Day 14: Arrow. This theme might have been easier in the city where signs with arrows abound. I ended up having to make my own! That's okay, though, I Love DIY.

It's finally starting to cool down a little here. Our high was below 90 degrees today for the first time in a very long time. It was such a relief! I hope there are lots more days like that in the near future.


You'd think there would be more purple in this house. Finally settled on this picture that honestly…I took a few days ago when it was raining. (!) I took pictures today, but they are soooo boring. Believe me, you're glad I posted this one!


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