May 15

Last night I had 4 students in my spinning class, each doing something different.

I had Brenda test spinning about 10 different fibers from several breeds of sheep – everything from coarse East Fresian to baby-soft Cormo.  She even learned how to spin from the fold on some extra long Teeswater locks.  Brenda also has about 2 pounds of Merino to spin up for a couple of different projects.

Caeli is now spinning long-draw with some very colorful BFL that she will Navajo ply for a sweater vest.

Lori, who likes artsy yarns, is now spinning some Crosspatch Creations batts for some really interesting, nubby textured yarn.

And Debbie is doing very well spinning up her Pomeranian fur into a soft yarn with lots of halo to it.

It was such a fun time, all of us talking, me helping them out and the time passing far too fast, as usual.

Tonight, I will get the car packed for the trip to Kentucky this weekend.  That will just leave packing clothes and food, and getting the price signs for the spinning fibers finished tomorrow night.  We are getting there.

May 13
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Sandy and I worked for several hours yesterday, getting the rest of the tie-dyed items pressed, tagged and packed.  That part of it is done and it is a huge check mark off of our list.

Tonight, I’ll start packing the car.  Tomorrow night, I have a spinning class to teach, then Wednesday night, the real packing will begin.  Boy, oh boy, do we have a lot to get into Bettie!  At least, this year, Sandy is taking all of the spinning fiber down in her car, and the rest of the items can go down in mine.  With our having a 10 X 20 booth to fill, there will be a lot of stuff to pack.

The closer it gets to time, the better I am feeling about it.  I still have several things to finish up before they can be packed, but, as of right now, I am pretty sure I can get it all done in time.

May 12

Today is Mother’s Day.  I know I am not alone in that this is the first Mother’s Day without my mom.  It is my brother’s first Mother’s Day without both Mom and Wife and his kids’ first Mother’s Day without Mother and Grandmother.  It is my dad’s first Mother’s Day without his Wife, the mother of his two kids and who shared nearly 50 years in marriage with him.

Today is not going to be an easy day on any of us.  I know I miss my Mom very much and just knowing I cannot talk to her today and hear her voice is very hard for me.  I know that where she is that she knows how much I love and miss her.  I know my brother’s wife, Lori, is standing right next to her and that they are loving all of us from Heaven.  Still, the tears that are running down my cheeks and the ache in my heart are real and it almost feels like I am losing them all over again.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and Lori.  Your family left behind here on Earth have you in our hearts today and we honor you as God wished us to, and more.  Without your influences in our lives, we would not be the people we are today.  The love you shared with us during your lives have been reflected back to you thousands and thousands over.  You are sorely missed.  I love you!

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May 10
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Time is pressing, or, actually, it is time to press.  I have over 100 items to get pressed (thank heavens you don’t have to press socks) and get ready.  I have a new double-level garment rack that is going to be getting its first workout today.

So, while it is cool and rainy outside, it’s going to be hot and steamy in the studio.  🙂

May 9
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The countdown continues!  The closer we get to our first real show of the year, the more frantic the preparation pace.  Due to some changes in the weather, the schedule for finishing things up has been shuffled a bit, but we will persevere and get everything done.

Nearly everything that we dyed last weekend has been washed out and the dyes set.  The next thing for them, then, it get them all pressed and the clothing on hangers with price tags and ready for inventory.  That part will come tomorrow for this batch.  Sunday morning will see the final batch of clothing dyed and that will be that until later this summer.  Next week will be the final washing out, pressing, tagging and packing.  Just one more week to get everything done.

Items are being gathered and purchased and being made ready to pack.  Thank heavens we made a list!

May 8
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With everything coming down to the last minute, Sandy and I decided it was time to sit down, make a scaled drawing of our booth, and decide how best to set it up so that everything fits and people can fit in the space to shop.  Making a drawing and guessing at the sizes of everything is good to begin with, but getting the scale right can mean changes, and it did.

For the most part, our plan seems to work well, but, of course, there will be some alterations once we get there.  Finding room for three 6-foot tables, two clothes racks, two mannequins and our cash table means being very careful where everything goes.  And where do we hang the price and sample cards for the bags of processed wool?  What about the shoe laces and the Fiber Binder Club information?  And we have to have room to put the scale up so the fiber can be weighed.  What should the mannequins wear?  There are lots of things to consider.

And  then there is The List of things we need to take with us and who is responsible for which item.  That was done yesterday, too, and we are hoping that everything has been remembered.  There are so many little things for unexpected contingencies that need to be covered, like binder clip and tape and extra pens and scrap paper and safety pins, because you never know when one of these will be needed and if you don’t take them, you will be left scrambling for a substitute that doesn’t work nearly as well.  We know this from experience.

Getting ready for a show is time consuming and being away from home means taking everything but the kitchen sink with you.  But we are looking forward to seeing our friends again, making new friends, talking fiber and yarn and knitting and weaving and other creative projects with everyone.

And I do hope the vendor who makes the home-made root beer and red cream soda is there again this year.  I don’t eat sugar anymore, but I will break that for one of his red cream sodas.  Once a year I deserve a sugary treat, right?

May 7

When I got home from work last night, I spent the next 3.5 hours cutting rubber bands and washing out most of the tie-dyed samples.  By the time I went to bed, the first two batches was in the third washing with the dyes being set with vinegar, and the second two batches were in the dryer from having the excess dyes washed out.

I love looking at the patterns and colors of what Sandy and I do.  We get bored with the traditional “swirl” type of folds, so we tend to experiment quite a bit.  Some of the odder folds have produced some of the neatest patterns.

This time, we had fun with the colors.  Oh, we used some of the typical turquoise, lemon yellow and fuchsia dyes, but we had some fun playing around with different greens (bright green, forest green and teal), plus violet, bright orange, coral pink, hot pink, red carmine, an intense blue, and rose brown.  Whenever we would run out of a dye, we’d chose another out of the stash and give it a try.  This is how we find other colors we like and eliminate certain colors we aren’t interested in using again.  The intense blue is a keeper, but the rose brown… meh.

Also, this time I tried a different technique of dyeing than anything I’ve done yet – parfait dyeing.  I used plastic Folger’s Coffee containers and layered in socks with dyes.  They came out very cool, looking marbley with the way the colors blended.  And this time, rather than just do women’s socks with a few mens thrown in for good measure, this batch of socks were baby and young children’s socks (from size 0 to 4), girl’s socks (size 10 – 4) and men’s socks.  We’ve sold the men’s socks quite well and only had one or two pairs left so more was needed.  I definitely will do more dyes with this technique.

And we are almost done with the dyeing.  This Friday, I will finish up the remaining T-shirts, as well as get all those that are finished pressed, tagged, in inventory and on hangers.  We will have enough tie-dyed items to warrant a second clothes rack at the fiber shows.

In fact, yesterday, Sandy and I sat down and worked out the layout of our booth for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival.  And, it’s a good thing we did, too, because we went through several permutations before we landed on something that worked with what we are taking.  I still need to do a “scale” drawing to make sure everything fits.

Friday also will be the last day of dyeing until later this summer, and I have taken it off work to finish things up.  It’s hard work getting ready for these shows, but it is very worth it.  The people we get to meet alone make these shows worth while.

If you are going to be at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival on either the 18th or the 19th, please come by our booth and say hi.  Remember, we are Dyed in the Wool, and just look for the tie-dyed clothing and accessories – we are hard to miss!

May 6

Eleven more prep days until we leave for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival on the 17th.  Those eleven days are going to be full ones.

Yesterday, Sandy and I spent several hours dyeing the shirts we already had tied.  In fact, there are six full trays and two full half trays of colorful baby items, purses and T-shirts for kids and adults.  On top of that, there are two containers full of socks being parfait dyed.  Tonight I’ll get the first round of washing them out done.

Saturday, besides prepping the dye area for Sunday, I discharge several tied black shirts.  They turned out very interesting looking and I can’t wait to see what people think of them.  Of course, I still have to press them, tag them and add them into inventory, but at least they are ready for that part.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Kentucky in two weeks!

 

May 1

Monday night was the final beginning sock class for this group of students.  One student wasn’t able to make it, so I have offered to work with her at the spinning class next Tuesday night if she wants to come.  The other three though came and were doing very well.

suzannesock

Working hard on her sock.  She didn’t quite get done, but finishing it will be no problem for her.

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This one was actually ready to bind off by the end of class, but it is destined to be completely frogged out.  The owner decided she wanted to add in another yarn and make a “hunter’s sock” with her yarn.  So, the next time I see it, it will have some hunter orange added to it.

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And the third student got hers all done and was looking forward to starting her next sock.  Already, she was talking about making her mom and aunt socks, too.

I think all three who were able to finish the class will be making more pairs of socks.  I hope the fourth student comes next Tuesday so I can help her finish.

The funny thing about the class Monday night, though, was all three students wore clothes that matches their socks, and non of them realized it until I mentioned it.    People are so interesting!

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