Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time for the Dye Class is Almost Here!

Hello all!

It is just about time for the first Dye Class of the season! I'm so excited. I love working outside but rarely get the chance. My work room fits one person perfectly, so when I teach the art of dyeing I have to move the work space outside!

This is the side yard where the tables will be set up. It's semi-shade so no one will get a sunburn while working on their Merino Masterpieces.

In that side garden are a few "friends" who will watch from the safety of the weeds.

I even used this as a chance to replace some of the chairs. Great color, huh? I purchased three of them and after my eldest kid put them together, I found out that they are collapsible! Score! These babies will not sit out in the snow this winter!! If I had thought about it I would have repainted the deck a better color. But I'll have to wait until later in the season when we move the hot tub. (thats that blue thing in the left hand corner)

When we take a break to steam our first batch, I'm planning lunch out in the back lounge area. Comfy seats and some shade. It will be swept by then and have some fresh flowers in the jug....

Lunch is going to be what my family calls a "French Nosh". Sliced grilled chicken, grapes, dried apricots, Brie and bleu cheese, baguette, cut veggies and this great Kabota Fig Preserve. Plus cold lemonade and the necessary bottle of chilled Chardonney for any one who is interested. Hey, what-ever gets your creative juices flowing.......

I was hoping to get a few more rings on the fire pit - each year I add a couple. But time is running out. They will get on but the girls won't get a chance to see it. It is going to be way too warm for a fire anyway!

The dog is Lego, he will be locked in my room. He looks all cute and cuddly but he is a man eater. I don't want him eating any of my students.

Oh yea the class. Everyone is going home with their own "Dye at Home" Kit. Its a plastic box that has a locking top. For those chefs out there its a blue "fish tub". Inside are Merino buns, the handouts, some small bottles of dye, gloves, and a small bottle of vinegar. It will also give them a way to carry home the wet rovings. No matter how long we spin them they are still going to be damp when they leave. Everyone will have a chance to dye their 8 ounces of merino but I'll also have some other fibers to try out!

What FUN!!! I know you wish you could be here. Next class I'll make sure you all know about it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And What are you Wearing......?

Hello All!
I have been experienceing a wee bit of split personallity disorder lately. You see when I go to work at my "Day Job" I have to dress in regular office standard. No Jeans....No high sandals....no boobs falling out of your shirt.........You know, the "standard".

Well where I work at my "Night Job" I'm allowed to be a bit more relaxed.......

Here I am getting ready for my preferred job. You can see right off the required glass of wine. No wait, actually its the comfortable shoes that are required. OK OK, I know I sound old and I guess I am but I couldn't do half as much as I do in that workroom without those Klogs. A throwback from when I cooked (food) these shoes ROCK!!!!! No slippage, rubber (no splatter worries here), and com..fort..a...ble. Can't beat them. The pants are sweats, now don't get the wrong idea, I'm not working from home to be a slob. But in some circumstances you need to protect your nice clothes and wear a...... a...... ...a....uniform of sorts. The splatter dosen't happen offen, but when it does it is usually the bottom falling out of one of the dye jars. Ohhh, that stuff goes everywhere. The heat and cool weakens all of the glass, so you gotta expect it. Then there is "The Climb". My workroom is in the basement, the stovetop and steamer are in the kitchen, on the first floor. My hot pads can simmer water but that's about it. Great for mixing dye but dosen't work when heat setting the dye. So On a good day, up and down I go, often.

I look happy and ready to go right? As you see my Apron is KEY!!! My Sister Jenn purchased it from Magickal Stitches on Etsy. What a creation. I love this thing! Gorgeous colors and then it has, like, this vinyl coating. Sorta like the outer covering on a picnic table cloth. Fuzzy inside but impervious to spills on the outside.

Now remember this is the BASEMENT we are talking about. During the winter it rocked! The wood stove and my "warming" room is down there. But during the Spring-Summer it is butt cold. All of the cool winter/spring air left in the house is settling down into the natural air conditioner. Mid-Summer I will be regaleing you with the bonuses of having your work space in the basement, but for now I'm dealing with frost bite. So I have to put on multiple layers. A sports bra - remember the stair climbing! - a comfy shirt - willing or already splatt kissed - and either a sweater or a demin overshirt. this keeps off the chill and allows me to continue to function as my core temperature plummets........... Ok that was my ploy to darling hubby for a space heater, ignore me.....Back on track.

We are getting close to the top. Funky earings. Yes, I dress like a scrub for work but I can still express my unique/moodiness with my jewelry. Yes well..earrings really anything else gets in the way. These are also earings that I LOVE but am too chicken to got out in public with them on. They inspire me. Different earings give me different attitudes......Different works of art. Sometimes I'll wear the latest shawl pin that I'm in love with. I play with fimo too. But that is for another day.

Well, I hope this gives you a small glimpse into who I am and makes you smile.

"Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened."
-Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here's Romney!!!

Hello All,

I have got to shout about the latest fiber I've been working with! Romney! Man if you haven't tried it yet, you really have to. If you'er a spinner who loves Merino you will LOVE Romney.

I just dyed 8 ounces in these great peaches, and berry colors and it is wonderful to work with. It is sort of a cross between the fineness of Merino and the workablility of the BFL. It feels like merino, but big puffy merino. It drank the soak water up thirstily, alot like a BFL.

It took in the dye easily and was willing to let it be moved into position. It dryed like an alpaca, a stringy nothingness while wet but springy, fluffy, cloud down when dry.

To all of you spinners who have yet to try this mana from heaven I highly recommend it. Dyers this is definately a fiber to check out!!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

What A Weekend!

Hello All!

We made it thru another weekend at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I just love going. I met some extraordinary people, Laurie and her daughter, Rem, Ellen and Marge. All of whom asked as their second question - do you have a Ravelry name? We sat in the shade, all strangers, sharing our fiber finds, knitting mishaps and upcoming projects. Such wonderful open people -the sisterhood of the wool.

The crowds, the classes, the food, THE FIBER! It was everywhere you looked. After my fiber diet, I was starved and can honestly say I went a bit nuts. Binged, would be the correct parlayance.

My trip down was bad, 6 hours in a Buick Park Avenue (OLD ONE) with no radio. Yup that is what I said, no radio, no CD, no cassette tape, no nothing!!! I spent the entire time talking or singing to myself. Thank god, most of the people passing me probably thought I was on the phone. Oh yes, and pass me they did, you see because to get the best gas mileage on such a long trip, I was required to go no faster that 70 mph. So there I am, grey haired, sunglasses, trying to see over the wheel (because the seat goes back to the lowest setting after about and hour and you have to re-set it) griping the wheel ( because this huge car floats all over the road), with a spinning wheeel and bags of fiber strapped in the back seat like precious children, talking to myself. Oh yes, I was quite a sight.

We went, like last year, with a group of like minded women, 6 total. That is an experience in itself. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. Definately not the steam bath of last year. I took two classes. One with Maggie Casey on Making My Old Wheel Do New Tricks, and any one who read this knows that this is my new wheel and any tricks I could learn would help!
I learned tons!!! What a wonderful lady. I know all sorts of things to tweak on my wheel to get it to make the yarns I'm going for. I evenspun some thin stuff! I was the only one in the class interested in fat singles. Most of the other women were working on fine, cobwebby stuff.

My Second class (on Sunday) was with Jacey Boggs and was Thick and Thin and Coils. If I had not taken the class with Maggie I would have been so far out of my league. Jacey is a fun teacher. By the end of the class I was able to produce a fairly consistent thick and thin and was working on plying (!!!) my coils. Again, I learned masses. Jacey has a way of chanting the steps to help you not only keep your rythm but to remember the steps.

Jacey was very nice to pose for this picture.

Fiber, Fiber everywhere!

Look at all the beautiful colors!

mmm Merino Tencel!

Tess' yarns - Love this vendor!

This is what the workroom looked like when I got home........

Starting from the back of the work table: a box from paradise fibers with merino (2 lbs) and merino-tencel (2.5 lbs), sitting on top of that box is the silk hankies (3 pkg) I bought, and in the paper bag is superfine alpaca (1.5 lbs) and alpaca/angora (1.5lbs) the baskets are left over from the Yarn crawl, I need to find a place for them to live. The smaller box is from Gritty Knits and is merino-tencel (3lbs) and merino (1 lb) and a HUGE hank of foot fetish undyed stuff! Snuggled in there are 16 hanks of Aslan Trends undyed yarn for me to work with for my up-coming TRUNK SHOW at Fresh Purls (more to come on that). The two plastic wrapped balls are Romney (2 lbs) and that ginormous bag inthe sink is some dyed and undyed fleece from my mothers sheep - yes VERY old - with two beautiful hand carding paddles. So when I have some down time (!!!!!) I'm going to try to card some of the fleece. What is that 15 pounds????? Heaven

Oh yea almost forgot the SCORE I made a Kraemer with that fat Bear Creek yarn. It's that brown stuff left hand corner of this picture. I can't wait to overdye it!

OK this is the workroom now, everything put away, everything inventoried and all ready to get to work. We started our Merino Fiber Club this month, I have some custom colorwork to do and get in the mail by Monday. No worries, I have fiber and I couldn't be happier!!!

Comming soon some up dates on the Trunk Show and I'm hoping to have a tutorial up on dyeing. For any of you in the Rhode Island area, I'm teaching a class about dyeing on June 4th if you are interested there are two spots left........

Happy handcrafting!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I am DESPERATE for fiber

Hi again,

I am going crazy, no word of a lie. I have been without new fiber to dye for two weeks now. Nothing in is nothing out. So I'm going crazy and the shop has nothing new.

Well I do have a few new things to show you, while I'm going nuts.

This is called Sonoma. it is a favorite of my friend Lia. Its greys, burgundy and purple. Looks really sweet in a lace weight, she made a shawl. Oh so beautiful.

This is deep sea, in Superwash. I love the stuff. It drafts ike silk and you CAN WASH what ever you make with it. Whoever came up with that is a genius! i make all of the kid stuff with it. Boogies, mud, food all get washed out!

OK I'm going to go back to moping about out the back orders. My mom says its because of shearing season, but come on! You didn't plan for that few months where there may be a strain?!?! I have a few things that are custom dyesand I feel really bad about making them wait for their treasure. But short of owning my own sheep (now that's an idea!) I am at the mercy of the suppliers. I'm going to have to bring that idea up with the hubby...... Hmmmm little white fluffy sheep clipping the grass.......

Let's see what happens

Have a great weekend