May 28

Last night, in the Spinning II class at Starstruck Cat Studio, Tina arrived first and could not wait to show me what she had been spinning.  To say this lady practices is an understatement – and it shows.

For starters, she loves lace-weight yarn and it has been her goal to spin and ply a nice lace-weight.  Here is what she has so far:

tina's white

I think she said this was Shetland.  Pretty good, isn’t it?  it hasn’t been washed, yet, so I can’t wait to see it after it has been to see what the yarn does.

tina's black

I don’t remember what this is, but I really like it.  I’d love to see this washed and knitted up into a lacy swatch to see how it looks.  Update: Tina just emailed me and said this is the Lincoln lamb that we sell at Dyed in the Wool (Shetland Lamb Roving – D-RV-13-0026) and she is wanting to spin up enough for a shawl.  

Tina's pet

And, this is Tina’s pet.  She fell in love with the purple in this and plied it with the same single as in the first picture above.  I don’t think it will become anything and remain a ball.  I can understand as it is a lovely bit of yarn.

Tina and Marta had homework for this month’s lesson – to spin two 2-plies with each single being a different color and to spin a long single with different colors in it.  The two 2-plies were used to do a cable ply:

marta's first cable ply

Didn’t Marta’s cable turn out great?  She said it is her new favorite plying method and she just loved the yarn.

learning to navajo ply

And Marta getting the hang of Navajo plying.  I can see lots of left over singles being used to practice Navajo plying in the future.

Next month’s home work is to spin a single each of superwash BFL and a normal BFL, ply them together, then mistreat them by working them in hot water, shocking it in cold and beating the yarn up to get the BFL to shrink to show the difference between it and the superwashed version.  Then knit up a swatch.  Sound familiar? Yes, the Spinning III class recently had the same homework.

Also, next month, I am going to show them how to spin flax and how to spin using a long-draw.  What fun this is!

As a parting note, I am still experimenting with painting my nails with sheep.  This is the best one this week.

grazing

I love how the sheep is grazing on this one.  Still more ideas to work out before Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in June.  This weekend, though, I intend to be sporting Saturn-themed nails for Indy PopCon here in Indianapolis.  I hope you can come and check out all of the wonderful comic creators with us in Artists’ Alley.  We are in booth 341.

May 27
New (to us) sheep
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Sandy and I visited a farm in west central Indiana, yesterday, that has Clun Forest sheep to look at a couple of fleeces she had for sale.  Clun Forest is a breed we have never had before and we were pretty happy to find a local breeder, Brenda M.  In fact, she coated a couple of fleeces for us and they were lovely.

svarrta fleece

One of the ewes (named Svarta) is a rare registered black Clun Forest.  Her lamb fleece was much darker, and Brenda decided to keep it (can’t blame her), but she coated Svarta last year for us and we were able to buy her second fleece.  It’s still a nice light gray, and I am looking forward to having it processed into roving.  In case you want to know how rare black Cluns are, this was the first registered one in nine years.  Svarta’s fleece this next year looks like it is going to be nearly as white as the rest of the Cluns.  Too bad, because I really like the gray we bought from her.

The other fleece we bought was from Faith.

faith

Isn’t she pretty?  Brenda is going to coat both these ewes again as well as a couple others.  Yes, Clun Forest sheep are mainly raised for meat, but Brenda also is working on getting nice fleeces out of hers as well.

bottle lamb

This is one of her bottle lambs – one from an older sheep who decided she wanted to raise just one lamb this year, and it wasn’t this ewe lamb.  She is super sweet and friendly and followed Brenda around closely (and probably wondering if it was bottle time yet).

quad

And this is her other bottle lamb – one of quads – born about a month after the one above, but very lively.  Getting her to hold still long enough to get a picture was a challenge.  What a sweet face!

andtheyreoff

They they are off!  They came running out of the barn like thoroughbreds breaking from the gate at the beginning of a race.  Their guard llama was a bit more stoic about the whole thing and he kept a close eye on Sandy and me. 🙂

So, we will hand these two fleeces (as well as a couple of Cheviot/Perendale crosses, a couple of Shetlands, and who knows what else we end up finding) off to Ohio Valley at Michigan Fiber Festival.  We should get them back sometime in November or early December.  As soon as they get back, I will get them up into the shop because these are fleeces you are going to want to take for a spin.

If you are looking to purchase registered Clun Forest sheep, Brenda has 2 or 3 ewe lambs still for sale.  Contact me if you are interested in talking with her about them and I will give you her email address.

May 23

I can hardly believe it is the Memorial Day weekend already – or as the City of Indianapolis thinks of it “Race Weekend” since the Indianapolis 500 runs on Sunday.

And, yes, I have a busy weekend ahead of me, but all good things.  Normal things like laundry, mowing, cooking and cleaning, but, also, fibery things like picking up some fleeces, dyeing and washing fleeces.  A day to work, a day to play and a day to … err… play!

I hope all of you have a lovely weekend!

May 22

Last night was the scheduled, monthly Spinning III class.  Unfortunately, it also corresponded with a severe thunderstorm that dumped rain and hail over much of central Indiana.  Flash floods were pretty bad and I had to change my normal route to get to Starstruck Cat Studios – and it took me two hours for a normally one hour drive.

Only one student, Brenda, was able to make it due to the flooding, so we had a one-to-one class.

First she showed me these:

brenda's socks

Her first wearable project made out of hand spun yarn.  It is 50% silk and 50% Merino so they ought to be warm and long wearing for her.  I am very proud of her.  And, yes, she purposefully knitted them up to be opposites.

While at The Fiber Event, she bought three fleeces, a lovely Teeswater that she washed to keep the lock structure, a Cormo and a Cormo/Border Leicester cross.  She also bought a small hackle.  I showed her how to comb out the Teeswater locks on the hackle so she can spin it up and retain that wonderful luster that Teeswater has.

With the Cormo and Cormo/Border Leicester cross, we decided to hand card them for a potential project.

The home work this month is to find a pattern for a wearable item like a sweater vest.  Then they are going to begin spinning the size of yarn required for the pattern, calculating yardage, how much will will be needed, getting the right yarn to knit to gauge, and being very careful to keep the consistency just perfect for an entire project.  And it is to be a three-ply.  Daunting?  Maybe, but as I explained, they have learned to spin for a reason and that is to knit or crochet with it.  Now is their chance to do just that.  Whether Brenda decides to use the fiber she bought for this project (she should have enough) or to choose something else is up to her.

I am very proud of my students.

May 20
Inventory gone!
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Last night I spent two hours getting the inventory updated on Dyed in the Wool from what sold at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival.

What sold best? Well, unlike previous years, it was all across the board.  The Cormo/Columbia – both white and gray – were very popular as was Rufus the 2013 Indiana State Fair Grand Champion Cormo.  The developing breed of Dor Galen sold out completely (I managed to swipe about 1 ounce for Sandy and I to play with) and there are several that are nearly gone. The Romeldale, Shetland, the mixed breed dark brown wool, Teeswater locks, BFL, Corriedale and East Fresian all sold very well, too.

It was very interesting what all people were planning to make from them – everything from needle-felted animals to sweaters to woven rugs.  I just love all the creativity going on.  We asked several people to send us pictures of what they make from what they purchased from us, and I really hope they do.

Check out what is left before we go to Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival on June 6 and 7.  Once we are past that, I am going to revamp the inventory completely, and those with very little left may go away to be made into something else.  So, if you have been looking at something specific, I wouldn’t dawdle because I won’t promise how long it will be there.

And talking about Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, Sandy and I will be in Scott Hall this year, which is great.  It is the one building that is air conditioned!  See you there.

 

May 19

Each year, Sandy and I think the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival can’t get any better – and we are always wrong. This year was no exception. Saturday, it was swamped busy from the minute the gates opened to the public and didn’t let up until nearly closing time. It was so busy, in fact, that neither of us got to do any shopping ourselves until Sunday morning.

booth

Our booth was 10 X 30 this year, which was just perfect to hold everything. We had a fiber department on one side

busy1

and the tie dye department on the other

busy2

with us in the middle to be at hand to assist in any way we could in either area.

And, boy oh boy, did we sell fiber this weekend. We are completely out of several fleeces and there are a lot of bags of wool that have very little left in them. Getting the remaining wool, plus the 17.3 pounds of processed Cormo we picked up from Ohio Valley, into Sandy’s car to come home was a cakewalk. She had a lot more room in there going home than she did getting to the show.

And we also sold enough tie-dye that the second tub was empty enough that I packed up several things that had to go in separate containers down, freeing up room in my car as well. In fact, I threw away three boxes that I no longer needed to get things home in. I’ll get the shop updated tonight so, please be patient with me.

Of course, the kids loved the colorful tie dye clothing and accessories and we had some really cute kids make purchases.

hat girl

We had only one kid’s hat for sale (I need to dye up more) and it didn’t last long. This was sitting on our baby doll’s (George’s) head and this wee lass wanted it. Isn’t she adorable in it?

And do you remember these three young men from two years ago?

Well, they’ve grown quite a bit and were back for new shirts.

three boys

In fact they brought friends and they not only bought shirts, but socks, shoe laces and book covers. They each had their own money and they carefully picked out what they wanted. Not only do we love repeat customers, but getting to watch kids like these grow up is just wonderful.

Kentucky much raise some pretty special young men. In the afternoon, yesterday, we had a most pleasant surprise given to us.

joey & Conner

This is Joey and Conner. See that batt they are holding? Well, they made it for Sandy and me because they liked the rainbow of color that DyeAnna, our mascot, pulls from the dye pot on our sign and shirts. They absolutely blew Sandy and I away. We let them pick out shoe laces as a thank you and they loved that.

Sunday, I finally got to walk around a bit and take some pictures. We were in the main building this year, but there were plenty of tents outside to shop from as well.

show1

show2

And then there was the building with all of the fiber animals in it. In the back of this picture you can see Sara from Punkin’s Patch’s tent where she had the fleeces from her sheep for sale – and where baby Baaxter was sleeping between ba-bas. I bought Graham’s fleece again this year (it left with Ohio Valley Natural Fibers to be processed along with a couple of Babydoll Southdowns we purchased), and I nearly bought Hershey’s fleece, but another lady wanted that fleece even more than I did and I let her go ahead and take it. But I am keeping his name on my list for next year, along with another one that Sara told me about.

show3

There were quite a few fiber animals there, and, on Saturday, there were sheep shearing demonstrations going on, too.

Oh yes! Before I finish up, I want to show you what Sandy and I did Friday night to make this weekend even more fun.

sandys nails

These are Sandy’s…

my nails

And these are mine. We giggled the entire time we were painting them in our hotel room Friday night and people really loved them. We will be doing this again before Hoosier Hills. We decided we need to start a group called the Sisterhood of Sheep (or SOS for short). So, if you want to create sheepy nails, take a picture of them and send it our way. We’d love to see our other Sheepish Sisters handiwork.

And I did get one stash enhancement item, but I forgot to take a picture of it, so I’ll show it to you tomorrow. It is prett-iful!

If you were at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival, I do hope you had a good a time as we did!

May 15

Not quite a month ago, Sandy and I dropped off several fleeces at the Ohio Valley Natural Fibers trailer at the Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana.  Most we were quite happy to wait until Michigan Fiber Festival to pick up, but there were three beautiful Cormo fleeces that we really wanted done by the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival, which is this weekend.  Ginny Ferguson said she would try, but there was no guarantee that they would be done in time (we had them blended into one big bag to save them time and us money).

And they did it!  I just received my invoice from them saying it would be at KS&FF for us to pick up and the rest would be ready by Michigan.  That was fast work on their part, because, let’s face it, spring is a very busy time of year for them since everyone is shearing and getting their fleeces processed right now.  I am so happy right now I would do a happy dance if I wasn’t such an uncoordinated person.

So, for those of you who come to the KS&FF to buy Cormo from us – we have plenty this year at the Dyed in the Wool booth.  We have a Grand Champion fleece (Rufus), and ribbon winner (Willow), and now a 17.3 pound bag that includes the three best fleeces available from Westfield Woolies – and that includes last year’s Grand Champion winner – Rufus.  Cormo really just doesn’t come sweeter or softer than these beauties.

So, thanks and kudos to Ginny and the gang at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers for making Sandy and I the happiest people around today.  God bless them all!

May 14

Last night, I finished all of the pressing of the newest dyed items for sale this weekend at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I have a steam press and how handy the thing is.  In two hours, I pressed 30 pairs of shoe laces, 12 T-shirts, 4 hats, a purse and I don’t know how many draw-string bags.  Luckily, you don’t have to press scrunchies – rather defeats the purpose of them, actually.

And they all all packed up and ready to go.  Sandy and I will have to get them tagged when we get to Kentucky (unless I feel more energetic tonight than I think I will).  Tonight is “pack the car” night and everything except my suitcase will go in there.  I love packing the car for a show.  It is like building a 3-D puzzle in a confined space.  And I love those kind of spacial puzzles.

The last five of the Fiber Binder Club Volume One boxes will go with us, so I will be taking them out of inventory for the weekend, as will the remaining sock kits.  I have yarn on order for more kits, but, until that order arrives, I want to make sure  no one has to wait too long to get their kits after they order it.

Any of the new items that do not sell this weekend or at Hoosier Hills June 6 & 7 will be added to the inventory in the Dyed in the Wool shop just as soon as Sandy and I get get pictures of them taken and inventory done.  There are some really cool designs in there.

 

 

May 13

Both Trip Up The Nile and Walking Through China  sock patterns are now available through Ravelry for those of you wishing to purchase the pattern there.

I will be adding more patterns soon – I have two more nearly ready to publish.

May 12

This weekend buzzed by me so fast that it all seems like a blur.  And it was incredibly productive – both professionally and personally.

Personally – I got caught up with the laundry.  You might not think this is a big deal, but this past tax season was so busy, that I was happy that we both had clean undies and socks when we needed them.  Between last weekend and this one, I got caught up, down to washing blankets and getting them put away for the summer.  I can find clean clothes easily now without having to rummage though baskets of them.  Goodness, it is good to see things hanging in the closet once again.  Also, I mowed the grass (2 acres), did the shopping and errands running, and cooked enough food to last for several days.  And I ran into some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while and that was just the icing on the cake for me.

Professionally – I packaged up and got ready for the PO many, many boxes of my sock kits that people have been ordering.  Thank you everyone!  You have taken me from “Does anyone like these besides myself?” to “Wow! People are really liking my sock designs!”  In fact, I have had to place another order for more yarn, because I only have enough yarn for 4 kits of the yarn for the Walking Through China sock kits.  And I have to thank the Yarn Harlot’s website for getting the word out on my kits.  Also, I have signed up several more people for the YARNO game, dyed many more shirts, bags, hats, scrunchies and show laces (and gotten them washed out and ready to be pressed and tagged) and began packing for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival this weekend.  I am really looking forward to that.

This is going to be a rainy, but busy week.  I have a class to teach tomorrow night, more cooking and packing to do, and off Sandy and I go on Friday to get set up in our big booth.

Scott and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday.  What did we do? Well, he had to work (10-6), so I worked on part of what I mentioned above.  We’ve had better anniversaries, but at least he and I are in this thing together and that made it a good one.

 

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