Jun 17

This week, it was a little tough for me finding time to take pictures, but I did manage to get a few.


I started with the most important part of my day – Caffeine!!!


And then the most important person in my life – Cartoonist Scott Story.  And, yes, he’s using his own hand as a model for what he is drawing.

container of art tools

Scott’s Case of Art Tools.  Actually, if you look really hard, you can see the man has thought of everything in here.


Crowder Boys Telling Tall Tales.  This is my Uncle Ernie and my Dad on Saturday.  I love the characterization in this picture and it makes me wonder just what the heck was Dad telling about!


Curious Cat.  This is Dylan.  I tried my best to get a good one of Pete, but he is my ADD cat and getting him to sit still long enough to get a picture of him is almost impossible.


As a bonus, this was the best shot I could get of Pete.  The tongue cracks me up!

Sandy O’Brien from Arizona doesn’t have a website, but she wanted to contribute as well, so she sent me the following as her “A” shots.

Arizona Alpacas

Arizona Alpacas


Attitude!  Obviously a positive one, too.

Check out Cindie’s A Photos and B photos from Eweniquely Ewe.

And Roxie has some “C” photos.  You’ll have to go down the page a bit and stand on your head to see them.  🙂

I’ve already gotten a start on my “D” photos, so next week ought to be better.

If you are part of the challenge and what your photos linked, please let me know and I’ll get you added in to the list.

Jun 15

In case you have missed out on what is going on, we have a challenge going for taking photographs concentrating on different letters of the alphabet, in order.  A couple of weeks ago, I started out with the Letter A, and last Monday, I put up my Letter B photos.  I am starting the week on Mondays, ending it on Sundays to post that next Monday.  Clear as mud, right?

So, if you want to join us, get your camera out, take a look at the world around you and focus on things that start with A, B and C, and catch up with the rest of us.  This is C week.  I tried to get a shot of the menacing clouds this morning on the way to work, but my camera just isn’t good enough to get them very well.  I have the rest of the week to go, so I will get in some cool shots before the end of Sunday.

Also, check out Cheryl’s Letter A and Letter B shots!  I especially love the bottles and the buttons in her B series, and she has made me want to work even harder to improve my own photography and how I see the world.

So, are there any others joining us?

Jun 14

Personally, I love babies in tie-dye, and the newly updated baby shop on Dyed in the Wool has lots of things for the baby in your life.  Check out what we have and dress up that wee one in colorful, one-of-a kind items.

Jun 13

The Fiber Binder Club on Ravelry is getting together a team for the Tour de Fleece.  This team is for the Fiber Binder Club members, so if you would like to join us, please consider joining the Fiber Binder Club.  There are just a few new spots available in the Fiber Binder Club, so join soon, or there won’t be any spot left.

What is the Fiber Binder Club?  Rather than just send you to the FBC page on the Dyed in the Wool website, I’ll explain it to you here for those of you who do not know.

The Fiber Binder Club is a limited-membership fiber club aimed at spinners and those people who are interested in increasing their knowledge base about all those wonderful natural fibers from sheep, goats, camelids, bunnies, silk worms, plants, etc.  Members will get a binder, divider labels, and each month, they will receive a sheet all about that particular fiber.  On the sheet will be a color picture of the source of the fiber, all sorts of information, a history of the breed/plant and three samples of the fiber – one raw, one washed and the third one with enough of the fiber for members to spin for themselves and attach to the sheet.

We are looking for the finest types of these fibers to help those members with their own searches for fleeces and processed fibers.  We have lined up several breeders already in anticipation of this club and we are having so much fun putting it all together.  And once a year, we will be sending out something very special for you to try.

If you are interested in joining this Fiber Binder Club, please email us at dyedinthewoolbiz@yahoo.com.  Like we said, we are limiting the number of members to something doable by us in a timely fashion and to give everyone enough fiber to spin a decent-sized sample to test it and record their thoughts on it.

The price for each membership is either $10 per month, or if you want to pay for one year up front, the cost is $110 per year, so you get one month for free – all payable through Paypal.  If you do not have a Paypal account, you can pay with your credit card through their services as well.  The price includes everything – the binder, the dividers, the samples and information sheet each month, enough fiber to spin a sample up for your own testing, and the shipping costs to get it there.  The only thing is that this price is for the continental US only.  If you live outside the US, please contact me, and we’ll see how much the additional postage would be to ship this to you each month.

Each month, about the first of the month, I will send an invoice to those who are on the monthly plan to make their payment and as soon as it has been posted, their new month’s package will be shipped.  For those who pay up front for the entire year, we will automatically ship the package on or about the 1st of the month.

Does this sound intriguing to you?  Just email us to get on the list, and you’ll begin leaning about and playing with some fibers that you might never have had the chance to work with before.    And no matter when you begin the club, you will start with Month 1 so there is no missing out on any of the wonderful fibers that have already gone out to members who have been with us longer.

And, then join us on Ravelry and sign up for Team FBC for the Tour de Fleece beginning June 29th and going through July 21st.  The more, the merrier!!

Jun 12

This is proving to be a very busy summer.  I have something planned for each weekend (and several week nights) from now through the middle of October.  No wonder my house is a pit!

Still, here is my current Work-in-Progress report.


I am knitting some new socks for my sister-in-law.  This is from A Good Yarn and Maryann calls it her End of Day yarn because it is using up all of her left over dyes.  There are several colors in here and each color is only about 6-8 inches long, which makes this a fun knit because you never have the chance to get bored with a color.  The last socks I knit, the gray areas were a bit long and I was more than ready for a change in color by the time they came.


New delivery of things to be dyed, plus some new dye colors to play with.  Sandy and I have a dye session coming up on Sunday.  We are low on several items in the shop, like shoe laces, hats, draw-string bags and scrunchies, plus we have some custom ordered T-shirts to do as well.  With the Indiana State Fair coming, and our updating the Dyed in the Wool shop with new items, we will need plenty of stuff dyed up.


And speaking of dye materials, Sandy O’Brien from Arizona sent us some dried rabbitbrush and pecan hulls to dye some wool with, and I can’t wait!  The rabbitbrush smells wonderful, too.  It reminds me of some of the teas I drink.

The “extras” part of this post is about the spinning class I taught last night.  I had 8 students (a really full class), consisting of 5 new drop spindlers, one relatively new spinning wheel and two returning students.

The new person to the class with the spinning wheel was Marta whom I taught at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  She had a couple of bobbins’ full, so she plied them together, and we niddy-noddied it off, soaked it and danced on it while it was rolled in a towel.  It will be dry before you know it, and I have asked her to knit a swatch with it so she can see how it looks in a finish product.  She took home lots of new fiber to play with, too.


Three of these are new spindlers (1st, 3rd and 4th going from L to R).    Look at those looks of concentration on their faces.  And look at that foot driven spindle…


In fact, let’s get a closer look at that supported spindle.  We all found this one fascinating, and I would love to have something like it.  She just used her foot to spin the ball at the bottom and that kept the spin going.  So cool!!!


This is a mother-daughter team.  Lori, the mom on the right, has been spinning for a few months now, and I had given her some Crosspatch Creations to spin up because she likes artier yarn.  She had one bobbin completely full and was working hard to get another one full.  She did, and we made her a shoe-box lazy kate and got her to plying what she had spun.  Because of all of them seeing how Marta and I set the twist in Marta’s yarn, Lori will be able to go home, finish plying, wind off her yarn and soak it to set the twist.  I can’t wait to see her finished yarn next month.  If it is as nice as her singles are, then she’s going to be pretty happy.

I did not get pictures of the other two new spindlers and I apologize for that.  With 6 new students, I was kept hopping pretty much the entire time.  Again, I shoved lots of information at the new students, but I assured them that there was no quiz and that I didn’t expect them to remember everything.  Just hearing things for the first time will mean it will be familiar to them the next time they hear it, and, by the third time, it should begin to sink in.

spinning silk

Brenda brought the silk cap she stretched in a class at The Fiber Event as well as some silk hankies.  Here she is learning how to spin silk.  Silk is not my favorite fiber to spin (I usually end up with a blister on my thumb), but it has its uses, especially in lace and as one ply in handspun sock yarn to add strength to it.  At least that what I use it for.  I know there are lots of other uses for silk, but I will admit that I am a wool girl through and through.

And that’s where we are for today.  Tomorrow, I have a fun announcement to make.  Those in the Fiber Binder Club already know about it, but I’ll tell the rest of you so you can join up and in if you want to.  See ya tomorrow!!

Jun 11

Dyed in the Wool finally has its new adult-sized tie-dyed shirts up for sale.  All that you see here are the new 2013 models, and you will see several designs that we have never done before.  Take a look, then buy some to wear this summer!

Jun 10

This week, photographing things for the letter “B” was much easier than last week’s “A”.  So, here we go to B!  I am going to attempt to put these in alphabetical order.

babbling brook

Babbling brook.  Warning, the vast majority of these were taken at Spring Mill State Park on Saturday.


Baby.  This 6 months’ old young man was the youngest member of the reunion, and is looking at his great-great grandmother who is nearly 100 years older then he is.  Talk about looking across generations!

back beam

Back beam of the loom in the Sheek House.  They weave rugs on this loom that are for sale at Spring Mill.

balance beam

Balance beam for the kids to play walking the plankballs

Balls for another game.


Banjo that my dad was playing.


Bars to hold the bike wheels in place.


Bass that was keeping the rhythm to the music going.


Beads.  Libby’s collection of them grew as the day went on.


Big Boy’s Bike.  I’m not sure who this belonged, too, but it sure was pretty.


Bicycle who wants to grow up to be like the Big Boy’s Bike.

bike rack

Bike rack.  Just like they had at the elementary school I went to a million years ago.


Blueberries from my lunch last week.  This was a pretty good salad, too.

blue-eyed boy

Blue-eyed boy.  This little fellow was riding his trike round and round in a circle around a big tree.  He was just so intense about it, too.  He’s such a cutie!


Bluegrass!  Mountain Jazz.  The high point of the day for lots of people.

big bonsai

Scott said this looked like a big Bonsai tree, and he was right.  The trunk on it was pretty twisted and I am wondering if that happened during a storm sometime in the far past.


Rows and rows of Bottles in the Apothecary Shop.  There are also books, bowls and bags here, too.


Bridge over the babbling brook.  When we were at this bridge, there was a group of kids upstream chasing a red flip-flop in the water as it floated down toward the bridge.  They finally caught up with it further down stream.


Brother – as in my brother.   I don’t get to spend enough time with him.

bulletin board

Bulletin Board – Keeping visitors straight with rules, maps and lists of activities.


Burrito from Sandy’s lunch last week.  Doesn’t it look like a happy hippo face smiling at you?


Busy.  Yes, Libby has found another treasure chest and is adding the beads it contains to her collection.


And last (and out of order) is my BasicallyBenita logo taken from my laptop screen.

And that is B week.  On to C week.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of you came up with on your photos.



Jun 8

This weekend, at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana, was the annual Crowder Clan family reunion and campout.  Scott and I drove down for the day and got to visit with various family members, meet new members, be shocked at how much some of the children have grown, and just plain relax and have fun.


Let me introduce you to the oldest member of the clan, my paternal grandmother.  Granny will be 100 years old in September, and she still lives by herself, although there is usually someone there a couple of times a day to check up on her and keep her company.  Her mind is still very sharp, and she knows everyone.  She is the queen bee of the hive, that’s for sure.

This year, they had pirate-y things for the kids to do.


I think my little cousin, Libby, wins the prize for best display of jewelry.  Goodness, she looks like her mom, whom I held the night she first came home from the hospital as a newborn.  I was 16 at that time, and here I am playing dress-up with her daughter.  Where has the time gone?!? Libby’s Mom is one of my dad’s brother’s daughters.


One of the games set up for the kids was to “walk the plank” with blue “water” and alligators ready to get those who fall off.  This little guy is Will, and he is the son of the younger sister of the mom of the kid in the previous picture.  Did you get that straight?  There will be quiz at the end.  By the way, Will is walking the plank backwards.


There is never a dull moment in our family, and you never know what is going to happen next.  My niece, Kristina, bit off a little more than she could chew when she tried to do something to Josh and he caught her.  I love it how Kristina is hollering and Josh’s young daughter in the wagon is oblivious to it all.  The little girl in the pink is the sister to the young man walking the plank above.  Remember, the quiz?


Some of the kids brought scooters and one of my dad’s brother’s, O.D., had to try one out.  It was pretty funny, especially later coming down the hill a bit faster than he had wanted.


While I was sitting there, I finished knitting that pair of socks I showed earlier this week.  They came very close to being exact matches, but I think I got off just a wee bit on the toe decreases (it was hard to concentrate on the decreases with all of the activity going on around me), so one toe tip has a bit more white than the other, but they are close enough.


Mama Sharon admired them, so I gave them to her.  As you can tell, she was just tickled pink.  Sharon is my brother’s late wife’s mom – Lori’s mom.  Our reunions always include extended family members, so Sharon and Leroy were Crowders by proxy for the day.


What’s that we hear?  Someone is tuning up the fiddle?


And away they go!  My family is very musical and bluegrass and old gospel flows through all our veins.  That’s my dad playing the banjo, and he and the others played song after song for a couple of hours.  I took some videos of them playing and I’ll get them uploaded to YouTube in the next day or so and post them so you can hear them play, too.  It was wonderful and brought back so many memories of my childhood.  Music was a part of every get together.


We sure know how to fill a campground.  And I noticed campers from campsites nearby sitting outside their campers and tents listening to the music, too.

After the music ended and I had gotten a ride in my brother’s new pick-up truck, Scott and I decided that we would have to leave soon, and we still wanted to see the Pioneer Village.  So, out came the T-shirts and we all gathered together for the clan pictures.


Mama Sharon had my camera.  That me on the far left, crouching down slightly because I thought there was someone standing behind me and I didn’t want to block their view.  Not everyone is here as some of them had scattered to the pool or to the village or one of the caves to explore.  The rest of them will get their pictures taken tomorrow and their picture will get added to this one.


Sharon also took this one of my portion of the clan.  That’s Kayla, my brother Clinton, Kristina, Dad, Kurtis, me and Scott.  BTW, tiny Kristina and long-drink-of-water Kurtis are twins.  She got the spunk and he got the height.  The only one missing is Kim, but she had an educational opportunity that she really couldn’t turn down.  She was missed very much, though.  Of course, Mom and Lori were missed very much, too.  It seemed really odd their not being there.

After pictures were taken, Scott and I headed to the village.  Before we got into the village proper, we passed a couple with a street organ.  This was made by hand in Germany for them about 8 years ago.  I got to play it, too, and the videos from it will be uploaded to YouTube with the rest.


The organ was beautiful!!!  I enjoyed talking with the couple and asking questions.  The history of them and this organ was very interesting.

The first house Scott and I stopped at was…


…the Sheek house.


The Sheek house houses this loom.  This loom and this house once belong to ancestors of my former college roommate, and when my friend, Sandy (different Sandy that my Dyed in the Wool partners Sandy) found that out, I took her down to see it.  To know that the house and the loom that once belonged to part of her family are still in existence and use made her very happy.


Tools of the weaver’s trade.


Of course, the mill is the focus of the pioneer village.  This mill is still operational and grinds corn meal, flour and works a saw mill.


When the wheel is turning, it creaks and groans and the sound of the water splashing through it is all music to me.  I remember as a child standing and just watching that wheel go round and round as it turned the gears that were connected to it.


And speaking of gears.  When these are engaged, they run the saw in the sawmill.


This sawmill.  And, yes, it still works.


At one corner of the mill was this cool, old tree.  I had to take a picture of it because it was just too interesting to look at. And it was all leafed out!


I love old stone, mossy walls.  Unfortunately, this one had a bit of a poison ivy problem. 🙁


The scent of the nearby honeysuckle was heady, indeed.  I smelled it before I saw it.  Goodness, that perfume is one I could wear every day.

aquaduct & stream

The aqueduct and the stream that feeds it has always held fascination for me.  When I was in elementary school, I replicated this scene in miniature for a science project.  Mom helped me, and I was so proud of it and how it worked.


And look who we ran into while we were there.  Nut cases, every one of them.  🙂

I took lots more pictures, but you will have to wait until Monday to see them because they are all “B” pictures.

Okay, quiz time: How is the little boy walking the plank related to me?

Jun 6

Beginning Monday June 17th and for the next two Mondays (June 24th and July 1st), I will be teaching a beginning sock knitting class at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana.  The class is from 6-8 PM and is $45.  Starstruck Cart Studio is giving a 10% discount for students of this class for supplies.  Students will need to bring a set of size 2 double-point needles (preferably wooden or bamboo ones) and a skein of sock or fingering weight yarn.  For more information or to sign up, please contact Susan DellaRocco at susan@starstruckcatdesign.com.


Come and join in on the fun of knitting your own socks!

Also I will be teaching a three-day, beginning weaving workshop at the Starstruck Cat Studio July 12-14, 2013, from 9 AM until 6 PM.  This class is not a rigid heddle weaving class.  It is taught on 4-harness floor looms.

The student will come away from class knowing all of the parts of loom, how to calculate yardages needed for a given project, how to measure the yarn and set up a loom for weaving, how to read patterns, and will complete a sampler and a scarf during the class.

The cost for the class is $195 for all three days and include everything the student will need except the yarn for the scarf.  This yarn can be purchased at Starstruck Cat Studio and there will be a 10% discount given for students of the workshop for this yarn.


For more information or to sign up for this workshop, please contact Susan DellaRocco at susan@starstruckcatdesign.com.  There is limited space available, so sign up soon or the class will be full.


Come and join us to learn this wonderful new skill!

P.S.  If you are unable to use a floor loom, please let Susan know.  I have a 4-harness table loom that can be used as a substitute for someone without the ability to use the foot treadles on a floor loom.



Jun 5
Work-in-Progress Update
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Work-in-progress | icon4 06 5th, 2013| icon35 Comments »

I haven’t shown anything in the Work-in-Progress category for quite a long time, so I thought I’d show you what I am working on at this time.

The first thing I want to show you is something that I have been working more off than on over the last couple of years.  Finally, I decided to just finish what I had and see where I stood with it.


This is 100% Merino – one ply of a random choice variegation and one ply of chocolate brown to tie it all together.


This close-up actually shows off the real colors better.  There is everything in here from bright green to pewter gray, warm and cool colors all put together in no particular order and in not in the same lengths of each.  Some colors run a couple of yards and some run 20 or more.  As I wound it off onto my clock reel last night, it clicked 12 times.  At 80 yards per click, that is 960 yards and a little over, but not enough to come up with 1,000 yards.

I still have about 2/3 of a bobbin full of the variegated single (it was spun on a Woolee Winder bobbin which holds more, at least it does for the Lendrum version), so need to spin more brown to go with it.  Also, I still have a small basket full of the variegated colors all in sections ready to be grabbed up and spun in whatever order they come.

My goal with this yarn is to combine it with a commercially spun, fingering-weight dark brown Merino and weave with it.  Right now I am leaning toward a plaid in 1″ wide sections, but I am also considering taking this one step further and weaving it in the pinwheel pattern since I have an 8-harness Baby Wolf that this would be perfect for.  After that, if I have enough fabric, it will be a vest for me.

The only other thing I am actively working on right now is a pair of socks for me.


There’s a funny story about this sock yarn.  As I was knitting on the first sock, Sandy was eye-balling it and saying that the yarn looked familiar.  Well, it should be.  She had pulled it out of her stash about a year ago and now has socks very nearly like this. It is from a different dyelot, and she knit the pattern in the opposite direction from mine, so our socks are sisters, but not twins.  So far, my socks are matching spot on.  Well see if the toe of the second sock ends up with that little bit of white.  I’m trying really hard on these to make them match.


See my needle protectors?  They came with a British knitting magazine that I pick up once in a while.  They hold the dpns perfectly and I love the Owl and the Pussy Cat theme of them. These are my Knit Pick Harmony needles and they are my current favorites.  Nice, smooth, pretty and a really good, sharp point on them.  Bonus is that after knitting four pairs of socks with them, there is no fraying and I’ve not broken one.  These are good needles!

So, that is what I am currently working on.  I’ll have these socks done by the end of the weekend.  I have another skein of hand-dyed sock yarn from A Good Yarn that reminds me of a tropical parrot and I’ll start a pair for my sister-in-law with it.  They are very bight and cheery, so she will love them.

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