Dec 8

Both Scott and I needed a break yesterday.  The sky was clear, it was cold out, the snow was bright and sparkly, and neither of us wanted to be stuck indoors. So, we took off to our favorite, local antique mall – Midland Sash in downtown Indianapolis.  Two full floors of lots and lots of stuff.

Some of my favorites for the day:


Whenever we go to antique places, we end up seeing a “theme” for the day. Today’s was old exercise bikes.  Here is one that looks more like a torture devise than anything else, but I assume that if it had had a seat and a good oiling job, that it would have worked well in its day.


This one, on the other hand, has a small electric motor to help you exercise.  That’s more my style.


Scott got to meet a former president of the US.  In fact, when he rounded the corner and caught Mr. Kennedy out of the corner of his eye, he jumped and let out a yell.  Mr. Kennedy startled him a bit.


I love old glass bottles and this collection of old medicine bottles caught my attention.


This coat caught my attention, too, but mostly because of the lovely way it was woven.  I loved the way the colors seemed to meld from one into another.  I may have to try to recreate this.


Old band uniform coats. I love reflections and this one coat reflected in the mirror struck my fancy.


And, speaking of reflections, I managed to get on TV while there.

I hope your day was as fun as mine.

If you live in the Indianapolis area, please don’t forget to come to the


Christmas Bazaar in Fishers tonight.  Sandy and I will be there with Dyed in the Wool as well as several other local craftspeople and small businesses. We hope to see you there.

Dec 5


And, yes, I wore green to celebrate the book.

Dec 4

Leigh Tate with 5 Acres & A Dream has published a book based on her popular blog.  I helped edit this book so I definitely can say it is an invaluable addition to any library (I have ordered my copy already).  If you liked Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver or Sylvia’s Farm by Sylvia Jorrin, then you are going to love Leigh’s book.


Go and buy it – you’ll read it over and over again.  And if you are looking for good, solid information on creating your own self-sustaining homestead, Dan and Leigh’s experiences are a good place to begin.  If you just love reading how other people create a richer and more fulfilling life for themselves, then this book is for you.

And, go to 5 Acres & A Dream and congratulate Leigh on a job well-done.  She deserves it!!!

Dec 4

I joined this along with several other people.  If you want to help support creators of hand-made items rather than buy cheap, factory made stuff, then click on the link and see who all is there.  This would be a great way to give unique items for Christmas!


Dec 3
I’m hooked on the past
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Historically Speaking | icon4 12 3rd, 2013| icon31 Comment »

While I have been knitting on the closer-to-being-done blanket (2 more pattern sections and one more stockinet section, then the border), I have to have something to keep my brain busy.  I have listened to all of my audio books multiple times.  So, I looked around on YouTube for other things.  Some of the things I found I have shared in the past, but, lately, I have been rewatching Tales from the Green Valley, a 12-part, BBC program showing a working farm for a whole year as if it were 1620. Every time I watch these, I learn something new.  So, I thought I’d share them with you.  There is a lot of information that would be as useful today as it was back then.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

I have become quite a fan of Ruth Goodman through these shows.  The things she knows and can do astounds the mind.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Dec 2

Now December has began and there are only a little over 3 weeks until Christmas.  I have been doing some looking into how Christmas was celebrated in different time periods.  And the following is what I have found:

Victorian Farm Christmas – Part One, Part Two and Part Three

A Tudor Feast at Christmas

Wartime Farm Christmas (WWII)

If you know of others that you think we would like to see, please send me their links.


Yes, I know I still need to get my “Y” and “Z” shots uploaded, but I wanted to see if those of you who are part of the Alphabet Photography Challenge that has been going on the last 6 months would be interesting in ending it with one more challenge – What the Holiday Season Means to Me.  Take the next 3+ weeks to take pictures of what this season means to you and how you and your family celebrate it.  Then, during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, post those pictures and share this part of your life with the rest of us.

And, if you have not been a part of the challenge, but would like to join us with this last part of 2013, please do so.  The more ways we can share the holiday spirit with one another, the nicer it will be.  And, when you have posted your photos, please let me know so I can link to them.

And may the entire holiday season be one of blessings to you and your families.  Let us end 2013 with love and peace and good tidings.


Dec 1

Yesterday, Sandy and I left dark and early to go to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers in Sardinia, Ohio.  This is a bit over 3 hours away and the drive was pleasant.  We had the back of Bettie full of 13 bags with 16 fleeces total in it to take to be processed by Ginny Ferguson and her crew.  Also, we had 14 processed fleeces to bring home.  I’ll get these fibers up in the shop as soon as possible – maybe in the next week or so.  We brought home some lovely fiber including BFL, Bond, a sweet Teeswater/Cotswold cross, Dorset and many others.

While we were there, Ginny took us around and showed us the set up.  I took lots of pictures.  This is how they process wool into yarn.

First they wash it, but they do that at a separate building and we didn’t get to see that.  Having washed as many fleeces as I have, I didn’t need to see another huge tub full of wet wool. 🙂



This is the picking machine.  The washed wool goes through this to be pulled apart and to remove as much hay and debris as possible.

1st carding machines

The picked and clean wool goes into the first carding machine (the one on the right) and is passed through ever finer carding cloths.

close up of carding rollers

Here is a close up of the carding cloth covered rollers.  It looks much like a drum carder on steroids, doesn’t it?

carding rollers with fiber

And here is a close up of rollers with wool on there where it is in the process of carding the wool.  I really had to hold myself back from toughing that soft looking wool.

splitting for pencil roving

If you want your wool spun into yarn, then from that last machine, the wool sheet goes into this machine.  Here the wool is separated into little sections, which are moved along with each section on its own little conveyor belt to the next stage.

pencil roving machine

Once it goes into the back as thin sheets of wool, it is rolled gently into pencil roving and wound onto spools ready to be spun.

spools of pencil roving ready to spin

Spools of pencil roving ready to be spun.

spinning into singles

This spinning machine can spin 96 cones of singles at one time.  I have seen these machines in use on videos on YouTube.  They are fascinating to watch in action.

Most of the machines you have seen so far are from the early 1900’s and are still in use.  I assume as larger mills upgrade their equipment with the advance of technology, then smaller mills such as Ohio Valley can purchase their old machines and keep them in use for smaller-scale production. Isn’t it great to see these old machines still in use and not in some junk pile?

plying machine

Ginny said this machine is one of their newer ones and it dates from the 1960’s – so it is about the same age as I am.  It plies the singles and can produce 2, 3, 4 or even 5 ply yarns.

coning machine

This machine cones up the yarn between steps.  Customers can have their finished yarn made into cones or into skeins, their choice.  As a weaver, those cones would be very handy.

Sandy and I are scheduled to head back over there in February to pick up the clean and processed bags of fiber that we took.  Knowing what is in there, I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend has been as nice as mine as been.

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