Nov 12

I know I have been quiet, but I have been working on so many things I am slow in getting them all done.  Still, here’s where I am at on a few items.

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Let’s start with the embroidery.  Slowly, but surely, I am making progress.  I am enjoying this so much, but it’s hard to find time when the lighting is good to work on it.  I am planning to rectify that by replacing the ceiling fan/light combo in my room because the light just sucks.  Also, I need to replace my bedside light as it is too much a focused spot than giving a good, all-over light.

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It needs blocking, snaps and buttons, but I have the base sweater done for Heather’s baby girl to be born this February.  I am really pleased with it as the colorful yarn is my handspun Merino/Silk in the Watermelon Tourmaline color.  I have plenty of the handspun and black yarns, so be expecting more items from them before February.

I have something else done, but I need to take photos of it, so I will show it off later.

Life is just too busy right now.

Oct 17

Almost 50 years ago, my maternal grandmother taught me how to embroider.  She started with a simple line drawing and a simple running stitch, but through this medium, she taught me to make tiny, even stitches that were straight and true.  Of course, she taught me this by making me rip out over and over those stitches that weren’t to her standards, but she had shown me some of her own mother’s, my great-grandmother’s, embroidery and they were works of art to my 8-year-old eyes.  I wanted to be able to make something as beautiful one day.  While I might have resented each time I had to rip some stitches out, I knew I had not been as careful as I could have been, and the experience made me work harder to try to emulate what Vada Ambrosia Cotner Gillum had once done.

About the time I got married, life became very busy and I stopped doing much handwork.  I sewed, made clothes and dolls, but the only embroidery I did was the dolls’ faces, but I haven’t even done that for over 20 years.  Life just got in the way, I ended up working multiple jobs, and going back to college to work on an accounting degree.  But, in the last couple of years, I have been itching to pull out my stash of DMC threads and some cloth.  Not to do cross-stitch as that is too constraining for my current tastes, but to just have fun.  As I cleaned out my sewing closet over the weekend, I came across several items that just struck the right chord, and I went to JoAnn’s Monday night just to look around.  And I bought this:

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Now, mind you, the suggested way to embroider this is not how I am going to do it.  While I do want to practice different stitches, I want a filled-in, completely stitched picture that I can frame.

So, here is what I did Monday night when I got home:

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So, some satin stitches, some running stitches to fill in an area, and I started couching the blue circle.

And last night, I did this:

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I finished the couching, did another section of satin stitches and a chain stitch around another circle.  While I am not up to my grand-mother’s standards again, yet, I have the feeling that, by the time I finish this, I will be well on my way to having my stitching chops back.

I already have my eye on another one at JoAnn’s that I want to stitch.

Sep 20

With Friday being the last day of summer, and the fall equinox falling on Saturday, I think it is very interesting how the change in the weather is happening right on schedule.

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High on Friday of 85 degrees, and a high on Saturday of 68 degrees.

And what do I say about that?  BRING ON THE AUTUMN!!!!

Sep 19

Remember the Coreopsis tinctoria I grew this summer?

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Well, now look at the stage it is at.

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The wool is soaking while I am at work today, and tonight is the night to see the results of my summer’s work.  I can hardly wait!!

Aug 28

Let me introduce you to Pocket’s Daughter.

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Isn’t she lovely?  Her mom is a North Country Cheviot/Dorset Cross (Pocket) and her Dad is a Cotswold cross (either Jared or Rocky).  She’s soft and shiny and so beautifully wavy.  She’s cold soaking right now with the intent to dye her fleece with the Coreopsis tinctoria I have been growing and saving all summer.  If all goes well, I will get a rich, burnt orange by shifting the pH to a slightly alkaline level by adding just a pinch or two of washing soda to the vat.

First, though, I can’t wait to see how white her fleece becomes as I wash it.  I have the feeling she’s going to be a brilliant white when she is clean.  I’ll let you know.

This is from Tring Farm in Kentucky.  I have 8 total fleeces from her 2018 clip, but this is the only white one.

Aug 13

You must think that all I do is work in my garden and wash fleeces.  Well, you wouldn’t be far from the truth – at least in what spare time I have.

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As you can see, the flowers are doing very well.  The bees are loving the extra pollen, and I am loving the harvests I am getting.  I have 2 full (and I do mean full) large freezer bags of Coreopsis flowers and a partial bag of sunflower petals.  There are more sunflowers coming in the future, so maybe, just maybe, I will have enough for a pot large enough for a few skeins of yarn.  As for the Coreopsis, there’s going to be more than enough for at least one fleece, although I do want to dye some yarn.  And, don’t forget, I have some ragweed plants in the freezer as well.

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And, yes, there has been more fleece washing.  The black bags contain a CVM fleece and the gray and blue bags contain two Shetland fleeces that are similar enough to combine.  They have been cold soaked, and the Shetland has been hot washed.  The CVM will be hot washed this week.  As of right now, there are no fleeces soaking due to Sandy and I vending at the Michigan Fiber Festival this next weekend.

Speaking of Michigan Fiber Festival, Dyed in the Wool will be in barn 8A.  Please come and see us if you  are going to be there.  We have several new fibers, as well as other items for your learning and making needs.

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I finally finished a pair of socks.  The first sock was finished back in June while I was staying at the hospital with my dad.  The second sock was started about the time he passed away, and it was been hard going back and working on it.  While, they are pretty, and knitted with West Yorkshire Spinner’s yarn, which I love, I am glad to see the back of them.  They were gifted to my co-worker, Colette, for either her mom or her daughter, whoever claims them first.  I may not knit socks for a while.  I knitted three pair while Dad was sick, and I just need a break from them.

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While working in the lighting department at his work, Scott found a glove to be used to install lamps in a fixture.  He already had a couple of spare ones from other fixtures, so he brought this one home as a joke for Sandy.  You see, Sandy is a huge Michael Jackson fan.  I think she approved.

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The only time I am tall.  Love the long shadows of the early morning.

Aug 8

This past week has been incredibly busy – which seems to be the norm for me.  Besides the normal day job, washing fleeces and trying to keep up with laundry and the like, Sandy and I are working hard to get ready for Michigan Fiber Festival the weekend of August 18 & 19.  Yes, this means, we have one more weekend to get everything done.  YIKES!

So, I am spinning samples up for the sample cards.  Sandy and I are revamping them so that they have more information on them to help people make the right decision for their spinning project.

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If you look closely, you can make out a darker yarn under the top light gray.  I am spinning each sample concurrently, just making sure there is enough color difference between each type to tell them apart when I go to Navajo ply them.  This top one is Hershey who is a Cotswold cross from Equinox Farm and he spins up like a dream.  While not next-to-the-skin soft, he would be great for a beginning spinner and I had a hard time stopping when lunch hour was done.  I may have spun way more of his fiber than I needed, but I was enjoying it so much.

The fun one to spin today is this one:

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This is a Lincolnfolk named Marshmallow, and it was dyed with red and yellow onion skins.  This is the second fleece of hers I have dyed this color, and the reason is it sells out almost immediately at the first fiber fair we take it to.  That will be Michigan Fiber Festival in a week and a half in case you were wondering.

And here is last year’s fleece all spun up:

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Looks like pure gold, doesn’t it?  This is a three-ply, fingering-weight yarn, and I loved spinning it up.  Again, this isn’t next-to-the-skin soft, but it will knit up into an awesome cowl, shawlette, or something – maybe with beads!!!  Add some sparkle to that gold.

And speaking of gold!

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See the bee as she gathers up her pollen quota?  I love the gold and orange of this sunflower so much.

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And this one, too, has a bee on it.  I am looking forward to dyeing with the petals of these sunflowers.  Once the bees are done with them, I am gathering the petals and freezing them until I have enough for a pot.  I have the feeling I won’t have enough for a fleece, but at least for a few skeins.  The joy these bring me is amazing!

And of course, the Coreopsis.  I have a full, gallon-sized freezer bag and another one that is about 3/4 full.  When I drove away this morning, I realized I might be filling that second bag with this next harvest, if not more so.  I do so hope I get to dye at least two fleeces with these lovely flowers.

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Love these happy flowers so much!

 

Aug 1

It has been raining for several days, now, and everyone is complaining about headaches and foggy brains.  I know I need an extra cuppa this morning.

Still, I have managed to get more fleeces washed and will be boxing up 5 to be sent off to the mill for top and yarn.  Slowly, but surely, I will get these all caught up.  I am hoping before the end of the year.

I just emailed out the August issue of Dye-Anna’s Dye-Gest, so if you haven’t received it and are on the list, let me know.  And, if you are not on the list and would like to receive it, just email me at dyedinthewoolbiz @ yahoo . com and I will send you the latest issue as well as all future issues.  This issue is 31 pages long, and packed full of the kind of information I have always wanted in a magazine.

Now, where’s that cup of tea?

Jul 29

So, when I tell people that I have over 100 fleeces in my garage awaiting processing, I wasn’t kidding.  Yesterday afternoon, with the weather being in the upper 70’s and lowish humidity, I pulled all of the fleeces out of the garage, sorted and organized them, recorded them for a spreadsheet, and put them all back in in the reverse order I intend to process them.  On one side are the fleeces ready to wash, and the other side are the ones needed skirting before washing.  Unfortunately, the ones needing skirting out number those ready to wash by 3-1.  Luckily, the skirting table is set up and I can do a couple a night after work.  There were 119 fleeces in total, but 4 of them are currently coad soaking, so there are 115 fleeces in the garage.  I’d like to reduce that number to less than 100 by the end of August.

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That short row showing in the upper left are the skirted and ready to wash fleeces (they do continue behind the shipping boxes so you aren’t seeing them all).

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And all of these need shirted before washing.

It’s supposed to start raining this afternoon for the next several days, so my outside work will be curtailed a bit in the evenings.  I can get 2-3 fleeces shirted a night after work, which I will be doing.

In the meantime, I shipped 4 fleeces out Thursday and 4 fleeces out Friday to Stonehedge for yarn and top.  And I will have 3 more ready to ship out Tuesday after work.  I am hoping an additional 4-5 will be ready to ship out by the end of the week.

So, I have a lot of fleeces, and I can prove it!  They will look so nice up in the shop when they get back.

Jul 25

Basically, my title means I have been on vacation beginning last Friday.  Or, I should say stay-cation since I stayed home and worked on the house and stuff.  But, Sandy and I did make a road-trip on Saturday to a Merino farm in northwestern Ohio where we helped skirt fleeces as they were being sheared.

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Merinos are huge sheep!  This is the ram and just take a look at the size of him.  His fleece was super soft and super fine, but not the finest of the day.  We helped choose three fleeces for them to take to the Ohio State Fair – and we will be buying those same three fleeces to be made into top and yarn once their state fair is finished.

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A bunch of naked merino ewes.  These are all bred and will be having their lambs this fall.  They breed for a fall lamb crop and when I asked why, the answer was “Because it’s not 10 below.”  Can’t fault them on that.

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Then, this late fall, these lovely Rambouillets will be sheared, and Sandy and I are hoping to help with that shearing as well so we can pick out the best fleeces for the shop.

Other than Saturday’s farm visit, I washed three fleeces, worked on the house, and worked in the garden.

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The sunflowers are just beginning to bloom, and I am harvesting the petals for the dye pot.  I’m freezing them for the time being so I can save enough for dyeing.

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The same for the Coreopsis Tinctoria.  I’m cutting the flowers off and freezing them as well.  There are several hundred flower buds for more flowers, so I will be harvesting every day or two until they are done.  I really want enough to dye an entire fleece as well as 4 skeins of Polypay yarn that I have in reserve.

Another harvest I made was about a gallon’s worth of ragweed plants (they aren’t even close to flowering, yet) that were taking over a portion of the garden.  They are all gone, now, for which I am very happy.  Also, I found another plant growing in with the coreopsis, but I need to look up what it is before I decide what to do with it.  I am hoping it is another plant I can put into the dye pot.  I just put a new plant identification app on my phone, so I am hoping that will help me identify it.

As for the work on the house, I had the house power washed Monday, and it really needed it, especially the north side of the house.  Scott and I have installed drapes in his and my bedrooms, although I have more that need to be hemmed before they can be installed.  Also, I am going through my fiber supplies and books in anticipation of moving some of them on.  I do have some yarn in the Fiber and Yarn Destash 2 group on Facebook.  Sold all of the fiber yesterday, so there is only yarn left at this time, but keep an eye out as I will be putting up lots more.

I hope you all are having a great week.

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