Apr 26

This is one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make for a long time.

The last couple of years, preparing for Dye Day has gotten harder and more expensive and has become more of a hardship than it needs to be.  This week, while washing out the dyepots for a friend to use for a class, I discovered that every one of them has a hole or a slit in it that causes it to leak.  They were all put into use at the same time and they are all failing at the same time due to the high heat of the fires they have been subjected to over the years.  This means an outlay to me of about $500 to replace them, which I simply cannot afford.

On top of this, dyes like cochineal, which everyone loves, has gone from about $50 per pound to nearly 5 times that, which makes it prohibitive to me to buy.  And other dyes that we all love are getting harder and harder to find due to conservation of the trees or plants in their country of origin, which I support.

In the beginning, I had people who volunteered with helping Scott and I set up Dye Day, but their lives have changed, and no one has come forward the past couple of years to help start fires, help fill the 15-18 pots or get them going.  Two years ago, I had to do this alone, and it was hard on me.  I was completely wiped by the end of the day and worthless the next day.  Even with Scott’s help, it is not easy.

Also, there are other factors involved that I am not prepared to discuss that has added to the decision to discontinue hosting the annual Dye Day Event effective this year.  I am sorry about this, and I have lost sleep agonizing over this decision, but I really have no choice. I took this event over believing I could continue it for many years to come, so, in a way, I feel like I am failing to uphold a tradition.

If there is someone who wants to continue this tradition here in the central Indiana area, I am more than willing to volunteer as a consultant.  If so, please contact me.

Please pass the word that Dye Day that was scheduled on Columbus Day in October in Pendleton, Indiana, has been cancelled.

Apr 25

Man, if you want your website hit numbers to go up, just mention giving stuff away on it. *:-? thinking

That being said, I hope you all have a nice weekend.  My goals this weekend are yard work (tomorrow) and closet clean out beginning Sunday.  We’ll see what all I can find for you guys.  I have the feeling this is just going to be the tip of the iceberg.

Apr 24

Okay, already I have a taker for my doll making supplies and bag making fabrics.  Woohoo!

Scott and I had a good, long, hard talk last night about what we want our future to hold, and none of this extra stuff is included.  In fact, more than I thought is going to be finding new homes.

We have given ourselves a year to whittle down our belongings to the bare minimum of what we actually want to do and use.  At the end of that year – or sometime next summer – we will take a look at what we have and revisit this to see where we want to go next.  The fact that I am finding homes so readily for some of this stuff leads me to believe that God’s hand is in this and that He is getting us ready for something.  Maybe just simplifying our lives, maybe something else.  We will see when the time comes.

Apr 23

No, I am not going to start talking about hot flashes or wanting to eat everything not nailed down (been there, finished with that, thank heavens), but this post is about the change in my creative tastes.

Over the years, I have made everything from dolls, to quilts, to clothes, to cloth, to…  You get the idea.  And there has been a lot more things I have wanted to try, but just never got around to doing, but have the supplies anyway – like basket weaving, soap making and so forth.

Well, it is time to face facts, know that I am never going to do anything with them and push them off onto new homes.  And that means, I am going to give you guys the first dibs on all of this.  For the cost of the postage, I will happily send to you the items I will be listing over the next few weeks.

Sunday afternoon, I am going to dig into my doll-making supplies (books, patterns, shoes, wigs, stands, cloth, buttons, zippers, you name it) and get some of the stuff up here.  If you are a doll maker or know of a doll maker who would like these things, please let me know.  I have an entire closet full of stuff and I’d like to end up with a shoebox of those items I have earmarked for special projects I know I am going to make for myself only.  I will take pictures of what I have and either send them directly to whomever contacts me or post them here for anyone to take.

Over this summer, I want to dwindle my stuff down to what I actually use and what will fit into my studio easily.  Of course, I’d rather have it all go to those who will use it rather than just drop it off at Goodwill.

And, I expect I’ll rediscover things that will make me go “So that is where I put it!” or “Gee, I forgot about that!”

I’d like to change from a full 4-bedroom house, to a 4-bedroom house with lots of extra space so that we might say, “Why are we living it such a big house?” and move to someplace smaller and easier to keep clean.

Apr 21

Saturday saw Sandy and I in Greencastle, Indiana, home of DePauw University, attending this year’s Fiber Event.  This was the best year ever there.  For starters, the weather is usually abominable with freezing rain, sharp winds, snow, rain, whatever the worst that spring in Indiana can throw at it.  This year, it was sunny and got up into the low 70’s by the time we left.  In fact, the light jackets we took with us came off very quickly and were happily stowed away in the car.

We took five fleeces down with us to drop off at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers for processing – Three white Horned Dorsets, a rare black Horned Dorset and a lovely Coopworth.  We ended up leaving 10 fleeces with them!  We bought three more of those lovely white Cormo fleeces from Westfield Woolies (one of which was last year’s state fair champion) and two beautiful silver-gray (they even have a blueish cast to them) alpaca blankets from Windchimes Alpaca farm.  Windchimes is the farm we bought the great black alpaca last year (Ethan) that has all but sold out already.

We also purchased two Cormo/Border Leicester fleeces that we are washing by hand.  These two sheep are changing colors as they are getting older and there is a definite stripe in the fleece as the color changes (and, no, it is not a break in the fleeces as they are very sound).  There is no way we can lose this lovely happenstance by processing them commercially.  These are going to spin up so beautifully if they are spun lock by lock.

While there, I was looking for a tahkli support bowl, and I found one!

bowl&spindle

The glazing on this one caught my eye, and while it is not my usual style, I had to take it home with me.  I’m not a animal stripe kind of person and this looks zebra-y to me, but I tend toward earthly types of glazes.   But this one is simply striking and the earthly-toned ones didn’t get a second glance.  It was at The Woolery’s booth.

In one of the buildings, a booth selling fleeces and fiber had two wee Shetland sheep lambs in a playpen.  These are bottle lambs and they had no choice but to bring them along.  They were 3 days old.

shetlandlambs

And, needless to say, they were the hit of the place.  They were so cute!

sweetbabyface

Just look at that sweet little face!  Why were they bottle lambs?  Their mom had 4 babies and just could not feed them all, so these two are being hand-reared to give the other two a better chance with their mom.

All in all, I had a wonderful weekend.  How about you?

Apr 18

In the Spinning III class Wednesday night, we each sat with different fibers and test spun on the spindles Pat brought, plus a couple that I had.  Here are the results of my experiments:

1.            Russian Spindle – YouTube has several videos on how to use it.  This spindle weighed 1.85 oz.

russian spindle

I have to admit that this is not going to be one of my favorites.  For one, it was hard to keep the already spin singles from slipping up the shaft because the things is so smooth and slick.  Also, I need lots of practice with it.

Russian

This is what I ended up getting with it.  Because of the weight, it wanted to spin a thicker single, which I plied back on itself to create the 2-ply.  This is BFL (Graham  to be exact).  There are easier ways to get yarn.

2.            This spindle is a top whirl with the coolest rotating notch at the top.  Pat got it off of Etsy and I am going to have to look for one.  It weighed .70 oz and spun wonderfully well.

2nd notched spindle

notched1

This, too, is Graham’s BFL fiber and I love the soft and easy spinning that boy is.

3.            The next spindle is a simple on made with a dowel rod and one of those wooden wheels you can get at hobby stores like Michael’s.  It weighed 1.75 oz.  And I forgot to take a picture of it.

I think one of the reasons this spindle spun so well was the lacquer finish.  I think it had so little “drag” that it spun forever giving you plenty of time to draft.

largeshiny

Again, this is Graham’s BFL and this was one of my favorite spindles of the experiment.

4.            This spindle says it is a Nordic Spindle, and the Whirl is a separate piece that can be removed.  It weighed .85 oz.

Nordic spindle

I did not find this one to be the easiest to spin on mostly because it didn’t want to spin for very long.

nordic

Also, with as light a weight as the spindle is, I was surprised that the yarn I spun wasn’t finer.  Maybe this one just needs a bit of working with to figure out how it wants to spin.

5.            This tahkli type of spindle is made from a $1 coin and was purchased on Etsy, too.  It weighed .55 oz.

dollar takli

It spun like a dream for me when supported on a ceramic base.  I loved it and the yarn I got.

lgtakli

This is the first yarn I spun with it.  It is a merino and came out to be a superfine yarn.

lgtakli2

Again, merino, and, again, superfine.  Loved this spindle!!!

6.            This spindle was like #3 above, but was lighter only weighing .95 oz.

small shiny spindle

 

Just like #3, this spun very smoothly and for a very long time.

small shiny

And, I loved how Graham’s BFL wool came out on it.  This spindle was gifted to fellow spinning student, Brenda, by Pat and Brenda was so thrilled to get it.

7.            This spindle was a carved bit of bone on a Clover DPN – Clever!  It weighed .35 oz.

bone spindle

Now this spindle spun very well when first started, but the bone part was not perfectly round and it wobbled as it slowed down.

bone

Still, it allowed me to spin a very fine yarn from the BFL and I think I could just get used to the “wobble.”  It is a lovely spindle.  Though, if I were to buy one like this for myself, I’d want to make sure the balance was better.

8.            This spindle was identical to #2 above and it spun just as well.  As soon as I get my tax refund, I am going to have to take a tour of Etsy.

notched2

9.            The next was a large Turkish spindle which weighed 2.1 oz.

Due to its size and weight, it did really well making a heavier yarn.

lgturkish

I got a good fingering weight from 2 plies, but anything thinner wanted to break while spinning.  But that’s okay.  I like fingering weight yarn.  Pat gifted me with this spindle and I am looking forward to spinning more with it.

10.          Baby Turkish spindle – This is the one Lizzie is holding in yesterday’s post.  I did not weigh it because I would have had to remove what yarn was already on it and I didn’t want to do it.

babyturkish

This is merino and I really enjoyed spinning it.  I may have to find some “doll-sized” spindles to add to my arsenal.

11.          This Mayan-type of spinner is odd, but lots of fun once you get the hang of it. It weighed 1.4 oz, but I am not sure that it makes any difference since it is not “dangled” as you spin.

hand spinner spindle

It came from Fancy Kitty and there is a YouTube video on there on how to make it work.  I found out that if you hold your tongue just right, it helps.  Pat gifted me with this spindle, too.  I want to spin with it at the State Fair this summer since no one has ever seen anything like it before.

Mayan

The fiber in this is just plain old wool from a very mixed breed sheep, but it spins up beautifully and is soft.  I need to practice drafting with this better to see how fine a yarn I can get with it.

12.          The spindle in this experiment was made with a metal shaft and a lava rock as the whirl.  I forgot to get a picture of it, but it was heavey – 2.25 oz.

lava

Using the BFL, it spun a chunkier yarn, about DK weight when plied on itself.

13.          This spindle was just like #5 above but weighed .45 oz.

smtakli

I loved spinning on this, and, bless Pat, she gifted me with this one as well.

This has whetted my appetite for testing more spindles to see how they spin – also finding ones made from different materials and comparing them.  What fun!

Apr 17

Last night’s Spinning III class was a special one.  One of the students, Pat, brought her spindle collection, and I brought several different types of wool, and we spend the night testing the spindles.

Pats collection

What a great collection, right?

Lizzie Turkish
Even Lizzie got involved with testing a couple of them.  This teensy Turkish spindle really spins nicely and I got the finest two-ply yarn from it that I have ever gotten before.   But knowing it was coming, I had to bring Liz to photograph with it.  Isn’t it the cutest little spindle???

I am in the process of writing up a detailed report on each spindle I tested, including sample yarns, and will have that posted tomorrow.  Also, I will talk about this:

hand spinner spindle

A free Walking Through China pattern for the first person to guess what this is and how to use it.

Last month, I had challenged my students to spin a single of BLF and another of superwash BLF and ply them together, then wash it thoroughly to see what happens.

SW BFL vs BFL

The yellowish ply is the superwash BLF.  Brenda spun this, knitted it into a swatch and spent the last month washing it with every load (her washer doesn’t have an agitator, so it took a while to felt up) and this is what she got.

cloth

Excuse the puppy hair in it, it also got washed with a dog blanket.  But look at the texture!  The superwash didn’t shrink or felt like the normal BFL did and the resulting fabric is thick, soft and would make a great jacket to keep out the cold and wet.  But it is the texture that I love so much.  I wonder how this would dye up?

Experiments like this just make my job that much more fun.  Now I have a few ideas I want to try to see what else can be achieved.

 

Apr 16

As those of your who have been playing YARNO know, it has been on hiatus for a few weeks dye to tax season.  Well, now that tax season is over with, YARNO will be starting back up where it left off.  So, I hope you haven’t cleared your boards.  YARNO will begin again at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning and will go back to its normal, twice a day listing of new YARNO numbers.

I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the delay in the game.  I use to work for a CPA firm and tax season was always very busy, very long and very rough then.  This year nearly matched those bad old days.  For the past couple of months, I have had very little leisure time, and, I have to admit, what time I had off was spent catching up on my sleep.  I feel like I am waking up from a particularly bad dream.

So, tell your friends and dust off you game board.  As I have said before, it’s good to be back in the real world.

Apr 15

Apparently Old Man Winter is having some insomnia issues because he woke up yesterday, plunging temperatures and bring this to us this morning:

IMG_7729

It started as freezing rain, then changed to snow.  Someone please put the old dude back to sleep so we can get on with spring.

In other news, Walking Through China is up in the shop in both pattern and kit versions.  I am pretty pleased with both the pattern and the story that goes with it.

Stay warm!

Apr 14

Now that I have tax season under my belt, I decided to celebrate by completing the pattern and picture for the next sock pattern I am releasing.

You remember the first, Trip Up The Nile?  Well, the next is Walking Through China.

WalkthroughChina

It will be available at Dyed in the Wool and on Ravelry tomorrow if nothing derails my plans tonight.  The pattern will be $6.00 and the kit with the yarn and pattern will be $32 (there are 5 colors in this pattern, versus 4 in the first one, which is why is costs a bit more).

I know I should have waited to show you this tomorrow, but I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I am really proud of this pattern and the story that is told through it.  Story, you ask?  Why, yes!  These are sequential art socks and there is a story included with the pattern that follows the design of the sock as you knit it.  In fact, all of my designs have stories with them.

So, what do you think of the new design?  Also, just to give you a heads up, there will be matching mittens, hat and scarf patterns to go with each of the sock designs I create.  I am currently working on the Trip Up The Nile mitten pattern, have the scarf pattern nearly done and have a good idea about how the hat is going to look.  Once I get them done, I’ll begin on the same for Walking Through China.

It’s so good to be back into the real world once again.

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