Feb 27

Finally, I have two minutes to call my own.  These past couple of weeks have been busy to the point of frantic and I have done little besides work and sleep.  I have told Scott that my intention is to rest Sunday morning before getting up and getting started on our taxes, cook and do laundry in the afternoon.  I am going to need it.

The Winter Woolen Workshop in Kokomo was more than just Dyed in the Wool selling what we sell.  There were other vendors selling a wide variety of hand-crafted items and supplies for the hand crafter.

www1

Hand dyed yarns and ribbon

www2

Hand dyed balls of fluff and fabric for rug hookers.

www3

Lovely handwoven baskets and hand thrown pottery.  See that wee bowl with the brown brim in the bottom left corner?

pot

The one that is in the center of this closer picture?  Yes, I bought that.  It was only $8 and the perfect size for a scoop of ice cream.  I kept going back to it all day Saturday and looking at it, picking it up and feeling it and admiring the workmanship in it.  Sunday morning, it was still there and I went back a couple of times to look at it before I decided that I needed (yes “needed”) that small bowl.  So, now it is mine forever, Bwah-ha-ha-ha!  Ahem…  I love, love, LOVE hand thrown pottery.  I wanted that wee pot next to it, but could not justify getting it when I had no real use in mind for it.  Besides it being lovely to look at, that is.

www5

Hand made soap and lotions – I am a sucker for hand made soap and got one bar of Honeysuckle, one of Lavender/Vanilla and a bar of Lilac.  None of these are strongly scented, which I like.  The honeysuckle is the next bar going into the shower.  I am so ready for spring!!!

www4

Hand made mittens and bags (from recycled materials).  I got a pair of woolen mittens that are the warmest I have ever had.  They are fleece lined and the wind does not penetrate these at all.  Heritage Alpaca Farm was there, which is where we got the Suri Alpaca fleece (Gabriella) that we sell.

www6

Some of the happiest and cutest ceramic items.  Sandy got a sheep with a great set of horns.  I’m jealous. 🙂

www7

Felters (this lady’s felted pictures were beautiful), clothing makers, jewelry makers, too.

And that was just the house I was in.

www14

In this house next door was all of the classes and demonstrations.

www11

Polymer clay artist.  I have her business card and will put a link to her site here when I can because she was very good and very nice.  She and I sat and talked for about 20 minutes and I hated to leave.  She definitely is a kindred spirit.

rose

This rose she was just finishing was a beautiful work of art.

 

www13

Knitting demonstrators

www12

Rug hooking demonstrators

www10

Smocking demonstrations – isn’t this dress adorable?

www15

And then there was the woodwork in these houses.  Just look at that stairwell!  A pain to keep dusted, but so beautiful.

www9

Even the stair case in Sandy’s and my area was beautiful with lots of hand carved elements.

I think Scott and I may have a trip back to these houses (they are museums) in the works in the near future so he can see them in person.  He loves mission style and he really wants to see these houses first hand.

And last, but not least.  On the way to the houses to set up Friday night, Sandy noticed something that I did not see because I was looking for street signs.  So, she surprised me Saturday.

mantis

Isn’t he cool?  He’s 17 feet high and the detailing on him is wonderful.

mantisvillain

Doesn’t his face remind you of an old-time movie villain with curling mustaches?

That sums up the weekend pretty well.  It’s an event that I would do again in a heart-beat and I hope we get asked to come back next year.

Feb 26
Cut to a Commercial!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 02 26th, 2014| icon31 Comment »

Sandy and I will be at booth 41 at:

Craft Fair

I know I promised you more pictures from last weekend, but I have been super-swamped at work and I been working many extra hours.   I will get them up for you to see in a day or so.  In the meantime, I hope to see you Saturday.

 

Feb 24

Kokomo, Indiana, knows how to put on a fantastic event.  The Winter Woolen Workshop was a great way to start off 2014 for Sandy and I.  We took everything in the shop with us, tie dye and spinning fibers and we are glad we did.  A full 90% of what we sold was fiber and people were buying several of them by the pound.  If you check out the Spinning Fibers department, you will see one sold out completely and several inventory numbers are quite a bit lower than they were on Friday.

ourshop

Here is our booth.  The layout could not have been better as people had plenty of room to shop and we could separate the fiber from the tie-dye for the most part.

priceboard

We started this year’s shows off with 36 different fleeces in just about every natural color available.  The most popular here were the alpacas we brought.

soldout

This one sold out really quickly, and out of 4.7 pounds of the black alpaca (Ethan) we brought, we have a pound left.  One lady bought two pounds of the Cormo/Columbia to spin and knit her husband a sweater.  I’d love to see that sweater when it is done, because of all of the fibers I tested for this year, it was one of my favorites.

Another favorite of mine is the Teeswater/Cotswold fiber.  Sandy asked when she should spin on her spindle while there and I chose this fiber.  And look at what she is getting out of it!

sandyspinsteescots

She wants to spin up about an ounce in total and make a lace swatch from it.

coilsoffiber

I love how Ohio Valley Natural Fibers puts the pin drafted fiber into the bags.  It made weighing it out very easy.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you what else was there as well as take you on a tour of the mansion where the demonstrations and classes were.

Feb 17

Sandy and I have our first show this coming weekend – Winter Woolen Workshop in Kokomo, Indiana.

Winter Woolen Workshop

Yesterday, we worked all day getting several items for it finalized and experimented with new products we are working on.  The experiment worked beautifully, and we crossed several items off of the list.

I wish I could tell you what we are making, but I can’t yet.  We have several more experiments to do before we are completely satisfied with everything, and we have until May to get them all done when we will be debuting them at the Kentucky Sheet & Fiber Festival.  But I will say they are pretty.

The weather here this week is going to be weird.  Today high of 34F with freezing rain this afternoon – they are already announcing early school closures for today.  And Thursday it is supposed to be 58 with rain.  Mind you, I am going to welcome the weather on Thursday.  Let that rain and warm temps melt a lot of snow around here.  Some of the snow piles around here will take some melting to get rid of, too.

 

Feb 14
Shooting Star
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 02 14th, 2014| icon33 Comments »

On the way to work this morning, I saw a shooting star.  It lasted a mere tenth of a second, but it thrilled me.  The last time I saw a shooting star was over 30 years ago and I still remember it, too.

There are times when I wish I could be a stay-at-home house wife and take care of my house and keep busy doing all of the things I love, then this shooting star comes along and I realize life is as it should be.  If I hadn’t been on my way to work, I’d have missed it, and there are many, many other things that have come my way due to having my day job.  Sandy for instance.  If I hadn’t had to work, I’d have never met her, and look at all the fibery fun we would have missed out on.

Speaking of fibery fun, the Dyed in the Wool shop update is complete.  There are lots and lots of different spinning fibers to chose from for all kinds of different projects.  By test spinning everything, I know I have fallen love with several of them and may have to buy some myself to spin up.

Teeswater-Cotswold

Like this Teeswater/Cotswold cross.  Goodness it makes a sweet yarn.

Cormo-Columbia

Or this Cormo/Columbia cross – Soft and crimpy like Cormo, but with the loft and bounce of the Columbia.  Fun to spin, and I can’t wait to dye some of it up.

Windchimes Alpaca

Or this alpaca.  The yarn from this is silky-soft and it is a true black.  I may have to spin some of it up and ply it with the white alpaca we have in the shop.

So much fiber, so little time…

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  May your day be filled with lots of love.

Feb 13

I have five more new spinning fibers in the Dyed in the Wool shop.  Tomorrow, I’ll upload the final seven and the shop will be all caught up.  If I remember right, there are 36 natural-colored and white processed fleeces in total along with the few batts we have left.  And, soon we will have new batts and roving up that will be in all kinds of colors, but they aren’t ready, yet.

I know there are several of you waiting for the shop to be completely updated before placing your orders so you can choose from the complete collection, and tomorrow should see everything we have done up in the shop.  Whew!

Also, just to let you know, I do test-spin every fiber we sell so Sandy and I can know which shepherds and breeders to go back to and which ones to avoid.  If it is something we don’t like to spin, we don’t sell it.  It’s that simple.  We want to spin the best we can find and we sure as heck aren’t going to pass anything we don’t like on to you.  Our spinning projects are worth the best, don’t you think?

Also, when I say something is next-to-the-skin soft, I have tested that as well, too.  I place a piece of each fiber in turn against my skin and wear it there for an entire day while I work.  If it is forgotten and only remembered when I get undressed for bed at night, it is deemed next-to-the-skin soft.  If it itches me or drives me nuts, then it isn’t.  Again, I want to be as honest as I can be when I describe the fibers we sell.

For example, the black East Fresian fiber we sell?

East Fresian

It is a good, true black, but it is not next-to-the-skin soft.  In fact, it is pretty coarse, but knits up into great mittens.  You don’t want your mittens to be made of something soft that won’t wear well.  The East Fresian is awesome for mittens.  My hubby says the mittens I knit for him make his hands instantly warm when he is cleaning his windshield on a -16F morning.  That means everything to me.

Remember, there is no such thing as bad wool.  There are bad uses for certain wools.  Some are meant to swaddle a newborn baby, some are meant to be shawls, some are meant to be blankets, some are meant to be sweaters or socks, some are meant to be mittens, some are meant to be house insulation, and some are meant to be mulch.  You just need to pair the right wool with the right job.

Have a warm and wooly day!

Feb 12

It was -9F when I left for work this morning, but it is a sunny morning and there is no wind, so it doesn’t feel as bad as you would think.  Mind you, I’d not stay outside without lots of layers, wool socks, mittens, scarves and hats.  One of my co-workers has even been wearing double socks to work because of the coldness of being next to a window.  For once, I am glad I am in an inner room where it is warmer.

I taught my beginning spinning class last night and had 5 students – 2 newbies and 3 returning ones.  The new ladies were a mother and daughter and both worked for a while on drop spindles then worked on the wheel (a beautiful Kromski) that they brought with them.  Both did very well and I gave them homework for this next month.  I can’t wait to see how they progress by the next class.

The three returning students were ready to up their games.  One was ready to begin spinning true worsted yarn from combed top and she picked up on it nicely.  She spun a nice, smooth, consistent and fine yarn (fingering weight when it will be plied and washed) and took more top home for her homework.  I should have taken pictures of the yarn she brought in that she had completed since the last class.  She practiced Navajo plying and spun up the sample carded batt we made on the drum carder.  Beautiful!!

The other two students were ready to spin finer and more consistent yarn, so I worked with them and by the end of the evening, they were doing great jobs – much finer than they had been doing.  These ladies are such a joy to work with and their enthusiasm is contagious.  Also, they learned how to ply from a center-pull ball, and one lady was talked out of throwing her newbie singles yarn away because it plied up much better than she thought it would.  It will make a great hat.

Lastly, I have loaded five more new fibers into the Dyed in the Wool shop for you to see and purchase.  Yes, I know that everything I have been loading has been white, but there are some natural colors coming, including a sweet black Alpaca and a nice black Merino/CVM cross that is to die for.  Getting good black fleeces isn’t easy, but we are looking for them for you.

Stay warm and have a lovely day!

Feb 11

I just uploaded the first batch of new spinning fibers on Dyed in the Wool.  Go and check it out.  There are going to be many, many more going up in the shop this week, including more Champion fibers.

By the way, it was -16 here this morning.  If you live just about anywhere in the US right now, these new wool fibers will come in handy.  We need the added warmth.

 

Feb 9

Yesterday, Sandy and I made a trip to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers to pick up 13 bags of process fleeces (containing 16 actual fleeces) and some other goodies I will show you later.  It was a fun, laughter-filled trip.

When we got back to Sandy’s house, we unloaded the car, then set up my photography studio equipment and proceeded to take pictures of all 36 different fibers we have as well as set aside samples to be spun up for our price board.  Since our first show is in less then 2 weeks, we have a lot of work yet to do.

During this next week, I will work on processing the photos and posting all of the fibers we have for sale on the Dyed in the Wool site.  Some of the ones we picked up are so luscious that we are rather loathed to part from them.  They are beyond drool-worthy.

Today, though, I set out to a weaving student’s house to help her get her own loom warped and ready to go.

winterdriving

It was snowing on the drive there, and I just took my time and was careful.  Actually, Bettie is so good in the snow, that is was a fun drive and the fresh snow falling from the sky was pretty.

suesscarf

Once there, Sue and I twisted the fringe on her scarf and I laid it out to measure it and get pictures,  While her beat still needs work, her selvedges were nearly perfect.  In fact, it went from 13″ to 13.25 inches along the width and it was a perfect 55.75″ all the way down.  I was pretty proud of her for her first real weaving project. So, we washed it and fulled it and it is destined to be a table runner.  And, yes, Eddie had to inspect it.

Suessampler

Sue had already washed her sampler and it was interesting to see how the different yarns shrunk.  The part that shrunk the most was rayon chenille in 1/3 twill.

backispretty

Some fabric is prettier on the back than the front.  I loved the pop of the white floats on the back of this better than the pattern on the front.  The front is the section in the center of the sampler.

suesnewwarpchains

While I was there, Sue measured off her new warp, sleyed the reed and had about 1/2 of the heddles threaded.  I’ll go back Thursday evening and help her get it wound onto the loom and ready to weave.  This new project is destined to be fabric for a vest.  I really love that she is thinking of finished items rather than just towels or scarves.  She is going to be proud to wear a vest that she wove the fabric for.

I love weekends like this one!!

 

Feb 7
Sheesh!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 02 7th, 2014| icon32 Comments »

-10 F (-23 C) when I left for work this morning.  Bettie was a decidedly creaky car on the drive to work and it took forever for her heater to warm the car up.

Darn that groundhog anyway.  I am so ready for spring.

It’s a good thing I love wool.

Speaking of wool, guess what Sandy and I are doing tomorrow.  Yep! Picking up those 16 fleeces we dropped off last November.  I can hardly wait to show you what we are bringing home.  This lot includes two Reserve Champion and one Grand Champion from the 2013 Indiana State Fair.  My fingers are itching to dig themselves into that incredible fiber.

Stay warm!

« Previous Entries