Aug 31

My coworker, Colette, owns a thoroughbred mare whose sire is Point Given.  Point Given won two legs of the Triple Crown (he came in second in the Derby).  The mare’s name is On the Point.  She bred this mare to a former race horse named Strong Hope, and, together, they made a filly named Defining Hope.  Defining Hope was born in April, 2014, and has spent this spring and summer being broken and trained to race.  Folks, this filly loves to run!

Yesterday, at Indiana Grand racetrack in Shelbyville, Indiana, Defining Hope ran her maiden race with 11 other horses.  She drew the #9 position.  The rest is history.  In her first race ever, Defining Hope won by 5.5 lengths!!!


Here is the positions and the odds at race time.  You can see Defining Hope started at 5/1, but at race time was at 7/2.


And here she is crossing the finish line.  She breezed past the other horses like a true winner, and she didn’t even go as fast as she could.  There was a kick up a gear toward the end, but the afterburners never had to kick in.


And, this is showing she won.  I placed a $6 Win/Place/Show bet on her and won $24.40 for my faith in her.

Colette spoke with the trainer this morning and Hope is behaving like nothing happened.  She is eating, in great spirits and seems ready for anything.  She will be given a 3-day break from training, then it is back to business for her.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Her next race is scheduled to be on September 14th.

I know this isn’t fiber related, and you may not care less about horse racing, but I love Colette and am so happy for her.  I love seeing my friends succeeding in their life’s passions and being happy.  And the best part yet?  Yesterday was Colette’s birthday.  What a fantastic birthday gift for her.  Thank you God for giving this to her!!!

Aug 30

While Sandy and I were at Michigan Fiber Festival, Alaina and Anita Richert from Richert Ranch stopped by with a 3.6 pound Lincolnfolk fleece from a ewe named Mini Marshmallow.  We have purchased this ewe’s fleece before so we know it to be lovely and lustrous. So, we bought it.

Now, looking at this fleece, I knew that washing it was going to be a bit of a chore.


As you can see, the tips of the fleece were pretty dirty.  Because of the size of the fleece, I decided to split it in half and wash it in two parts so plenty of water could flow through the locks and the soap could do a better job.  First thing, though was to cold soak it to get as much of the dirt out as possible and to soften up the dirt in those tips.


So, I filled up my handy-dandy $5 tub from IKEA with cold water (no soap during the cold soaks)…


And added the fleece.  See how dirty the water is already?  This is just after pushing the fleece under the cold water and making sure it was all wet.  Already, the cold soak is doing its job.


And this was the color of the water I dumped out after only 12 hours in the cold soak bath.

I refilled the IKEA tub, squeezed out as much dirty water from the fleece handful by handful, and it is now soaking in fresh cold water.  As dirty as this fleece is, it will soak at least 48 hours, getting changed every 12, then I will take handfuls of the dirtiest parts and swish them briskly in a tub of clean water to dislodge the majority of the dirt from the tips.  It is time consuming to do this, but the results are worth it.  And because the water is cold, you don’t have to worry about felting.

all clean

See what I mean?  There is still a bit of veg in this fleece, but Ohio Valley should be able to get the majority of it out with the picking and carding processes.  And look at that shine!!!

Again, I am using Unicorn Power Scour and Beth Smith’s technique of washing fleeces, and I am very happy with the results.

Once I get this Lincolnfolk fleece washed, next up are a couple of lovely Polypay fleeces that I plan to dye.  They aren’t all that dirty, so I am hoping that 24 hours cold soaking for each will be plenty for them.  I love seeing a dirty fleece become all clean and usable.

Aug 29

Aug 25

I tried Unicorn Power Scour for the first time last night.  This is a BFL fleece from a sweet ewe named Beatrice.  We picked it up at at Michigan Fiber Festival at Moons Shadow Farm, and their tent was flooded during the torrential rain/tornado warning on Saturday.  Since this fleece was already wet, I decided to go ahead and wash it.

First I let it cold soak for two days.  By cold soaking, I mean just that.  Cold water and trading out the water after 24 hours (for a very dirty fleece, I will trade out the water every 12 hours).  I wish I had taken a picture of the first soak so you could see how much dirt came out of the fleece.  This is the second soak.

2nd soak

This was never a very dirty fleece, and the first dump water was cafe au lait in color.

I hot washed the fleece using Beth Smith’s method that she discusses in her blog.


This is getting ready to go into the first rinse.  Let me tell you, these tubs from IKEA for $5 are the best thing for washing fleeces.  They will hold about two pounds of fleece and are easy to maneuver and dump.

last rinse

This is how it looked during the final wash.  This was such a joy to look at and touch.  It was like watching a cloud.

all clean

And look at how beautiful this washed up!!  So what did I use, again?


I bought it from The Woolery while I was at Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.  I bought the 16 ounce container.  I only used three tablespoonfuls total washing this fleece, so it doesn’t take very much.

Now, I have a very dirty Lincolnfolk fleece cold soaking.  I’ll let you know how this works on a tougher cleaning job.

Aug 24

So, for those of you keeping up with Shaanti, she left England, visited Vicki in Newfoundland and is now in Manitoba visiting Pat.


Aren’t they so cute together???

And look where Pat took Shaanti.


I absolutely adore the life jacket.  Shaanti was looking at minnows and marveling how big they are.  She is having the journey of a lifetime, isn’t she?


Aug 23

So, Sandy and I went to Michigan Fiber Festival to get people hooked on lovely fiber in breeds of sheep they have never tried before.

Saturday morning was busy from the minute the festival opened at 9AM until a little after 1PM when the emergency alerts on everyone’s cell phones and the local tornado sirens went off simultaneously. The PA came on and the announcer said, “There is a tornado warning for Allegan County.  There has been tornado debris sighted in the air southwest of Allegan and the storm is traveling northeast in our direction.  The safest place to take shelter is the restroom building.  Thank you.”

When no one started to leave and continued shopping (and Sandy and I were winding wool and writing up orders as fast as we could wishing we had a third person to help us), the announcer came back on and said, “Let me clarify my earlier announcement.  Tornado.  Go to the bathroom.”  At that point, one person (Sheila from Never Cast Off Podcast) paid for her order but said she’d pick it up later.  Debbie (also from the Never Cast Off Podcast) said she’d pay when she got back.  Then the place cleared out.

Sandy and I took this time to finishing filling the orders left with us, pulled the sold-out sample cards from our sign, and straightened up the mess we had made trying to fill all of the orders.  We kept one eye on the radar and one eye on the weather outside (it was dumping rain), listening for any hail landing on the metal roof above us and seeing if we could feel any change in air pressure, but none of these happened.  The radar showed the storm in a U-shape around Allegan, so we didn’t feel threatened.

Now, you have to know this.  I vividly remember the April 3rd, 1974, tornadoes that clobbered southern Indiana, northeastern Kentucky and southwestern Ohio.  Since then I have been terrified of tornadoes, and any mention of them at home leaves me cowering in the closet under the stairs with one ear plastered to the weather radio.  I have nightmares where armies of tornadoes are chasing me.  But I never once felt fear on Saturday.  I just felt God watching out for us and trusted that feeling.

Unfortunately, the festival pretty much cleared out after the warnings expired.  Those who placed orders with us came and got them, but it was pretty quiet the rest of the day.

Still, Sandy and I sold out of a lot of the spinning fiber we had and there were several holes on the sign where sample cards had been.


See?  This was before Sunday when we took off a few more sold-outs.

I have updated the inventory in the shop, so that is back online.  In a couple of weeks, I hope to pick up some new processed fleeces so we will have more for Yellow Springs the weekend of September 17th and 18th.  Also, we picked up three new fleeces (BFL, Lincolnfolk, and Romney).  I am currently washing the BFL, the Lncolnfolk will be next followed by Polypay and Cormo.  The next three weeks will be very busy washing and skirting fleeces getting them ready to take to Ohio Valley.

And, I will be doing some dyeing!  The BFL I am washing now will be dyed as will the two Polypay fleeces, a couple of Dorset fleeces and maybe a Corriedale or two.  These will be available starting in 2017 for those of you interested in naturally dyed wool to spin.

After the festival was over for the day, Sheila, Debbie, Sandy and I went back to our hotel and, in the little sitting area, recorded the Never Cast Off Podcast and a short section for next The Fiber Pusher Podcast.  That was a lot of fun.  They are great ladies and I hope to do a joint podcast with them again one day.

Aug 16
Michigan Fiber Festival
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Dyed in the Wool will be vending at Michigan Fiber Festival this Saturday and Sunday in Barn 8A.  Please come and pay us a visit.

With that in mind, Sandy and I will be putting the shop on hiatus beginning Wednesday morning (August 17) through Monday (August 22).  If you would like to place an order before the fiber fair, please do so before tomorrow morning.


Aug 15

Let’s take a trip to Brenda and Heather Yarns!!

Aug 8

This concludes the 5-part Weaving Workshop.  Please complete the poll below so I can decide whether I should teach more classes on the podcast.  Thank you!!

Aug 1

Okay, I have completed the Beginning Weaving Workshop using Podcasts 68-72.  Basically, this is as close to the actual workshop I have taught over the years as I can get with no live students to ask questions as I go, or to monitor and help along with suggestions while working.  I have spent many, many, many more hours with each of these podcasts to make them as complete as possible and I would like to know if this workshop made a difference to any of you who are interested in learning to weave.  So, I am putting a poll in here to see if I should continue recording and posting workshop and class videos.

[poll id=”3″]