Episode 80: Wool Party

ep80.05This episode includes the following segments: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Chin Waggin’ (with String Theorists Selene and Courtney), and Off the Shelf.  Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with me since the last episode. It is wonderful to receive your messages, packages, comments on the Ravelry board, Instagram likes, and other communication. There is so much to look forward to this summer. I’m eager to have more hours available for adventures in making things, and I look forward to keeping YAYH listeners updated on my progress.


LISTEN:


The Back Porch

Hane by Kirsten Johnstone

Hane by Kirsten Johnstone

knit in Shibui 100% linen (clay)

knit in Shibui 100% linen (clay)


The Front Porch

Stash Dash Progress

Tour de Fleece Progress

plan your project for the Asymmetri-CAL (August 1 – September 30)


Chin Waggin’

Courtney's weaving

Courtney’s weaving

Selene's spinning

Selene’s spinning

Knitting a Community Together article & video

Handwork program at Philip’s Academy Charter School video


colorOff the Shelf

Our second read-along is based on the non-fiction work Color: a Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay. Of the four titles I suggested, Color received 42% of listener votes. We will begin on June 24 and conclude on September 1. I will provide a reading schedule for the chapters and include a bit of discussion about the book during podcast episodes this summer.  Post comments, questions, and ideas for discussion by responding in the comment box below or by participating in the read-along discussion on Ravelry. I plan to record my thoughts about color using #yayhcolor on Instagram.

Episode 79: A Good Day to Dye

cover79It has been too long since the last episode, but I’m pleased to provide dedicated listeners with an update on my fiber-y adventures. There has not been nearly enough progress on projects, but I have managed to complete a skein of 3-ply yarn from Haven Fiber. Our June session of Sheep to Shawl consisted of a more comprehensive look into dyeing with plants. We’re talking about the fridge for #powerpantry this month, and I want listener input about my summer reading and YAYH’s second read-along.  Plus, I announce the winners of the Me Made May contest on Instagram.


LISTEN:


The Back Porch

Corriedale 3-ply (and a mini-skein of 2-ply) Haven Fiber

Corriedale 3-ply (and a mini-skein of 2-ply) Haven Fiber

rust-dyed muslin drying at Yin Hoo

rust-dyed muslin drying at Yin Hoo

rust-dyed fabric is perfect for a bento bag

rust-dyed fabric is perfect for a bento bag

this one holds all of the hand spun and naturally-dyed fiber and yarn I've completed for my Sheep to Shawl course

this one holds all of the hand spun and naturally-dyed yarn I’ve completed for my Sheep to Shawl course

bento bag tutorial https://www.pinterest.com/pin/27795722676887949/

click the photo above for a bento bag tutorial


Sheep to Shawl

Chris provides an orientation to the biodynamic dye garden

Chris provides an orientation to the biodynamic dye garden

harvesting madder

harvesting madder

the roots of the madder plant provide a range of color from pink to red

the roots of the madder plant provide a range of color from pink to red

rinsed and chopped madder is heated to make a dye bath

rinsed and chopped madder is heated to make a dye bath

we also started some sun dyeing experiments

we also started some sun dyeing experiments

weld on polypay fiber (top) and Jacob handspun (bottom) madder on Jacob and Hog Island handspun (center)

weld on Polypay fiber (top) and Jacob handspun (bottom) madder on Jacob and Hog Island handspun (center)


Off the Shelf

I’m relying on podcast listeners to provide some direction for my summer reading. Vote for your favorite choice in the Ravelry POLL.  A read-along for the top pic will begin on June 24th and continue until September 1.

Vote for your favorite on Ravelry, or leave a comment on this post.

  1. Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  2. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald
  3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Episode 78: At the Same Time

cover78This episode includes the following segments: On the Porch, Ever-expanding Skill Set, and Off the Shelf. The weather has been beautiful, and I’ve been gardening, cleaning up, and spending time on the porch with a variety of projects. I provide an update on my fiber arts progress. I’ve developed an interest in rust dyeing, which seems like an ideal project for the summer — this week I began what will be three different experiments and I’m eager to talk about them. There’s also a review of a new book on my shelf, Embroidery Workshops by Rebecca Ringquist.


LISTEN:


On the Porch

Hane by Kirsten Johnstone

Nunoco fiber — Summer Surprise Challenge hosted by the Jenkins Woodworking Lovers

Hobbledehoy Battlings on my Jenkins Kuchulu


Ever-expanding Skill Set

rustInspired by an article in the Textile Arts Center (TAC) publication that I discovered at Fiber Craft Studio, I’ve decided to make 2015 the Summer of Rust.  This weekend, I took advantage of the fine weather to begin a rusty dye bath, pre-treat some 100% cotton muslin fabric with a vinegar solution, and place objects to obtain a rusted pattern. It’s intriguing work, and satisfies my love of old and decaying things. I think the dye bath would progress more quickly with the addition of steel wool. Later, I will divide the dye bath and add strong black tea to half of it — that should yield a stunning graphite color. On the right, you can see a piece of fabric with rusty objects placed on one half. The fabric is folded over the rust2rusted objects and spritzed with a water & vinegar solution to keep it moist. To keep insects and plant debris off the project, I cover it loosely with heavy plastic. It’s important to allow some air flow around the project in order for oxidation to occur. As the rust penetrates the fabric, brilliant marks, stains and patterns begin to emerge. A salt solution stops the oxidation process so that the fabric doesn’t continue to deteriorate.


Off the Shelf

embroiderywkspRebecca Ringquist is the artist behind Dropcloth Samplers and the host of several embroidery classes on Creativebug.  I enjoy her design aesthetic and her playfulness, so I was eager to take a look at her first book, just released.  Ringquist describes her work as “fractured narrative,” and there is abundant evidence of the artist infusing her pieces with her own story and style.  As she says, “More is more” — there is an emphasis on layering, contrast, and juxtaposition. This book scores better on inspiration than it does on instruction.  It is not a stitch dictionary.  There are only a few stitches explained; there are no photographs showing you how to execute each stitch. Instead, there are drawings and quite articulate written explanations.  If you’d like more help with the basics of how to stitch, I’d recommend one of Ringquist’s Creativebug classes.  However, if you’ve already received an introduction to the basics, or if you’re not concerned too much with the “rules” of embroidery (the subtitle is: a bend-the-rules primer) and you just want to get going with projects — this is the book for you. The ideas are many, uniformly charming, and will result in unique works of art for your home or to give as gifts. This book is ideal for crafters who want to engage in projects that combine their many skills.  (It doesn’t hurt if you have a sewing machine and a stash of vintage fabrics and trims.)  A sampler is included inside the back cover so that you can get out your thread and needles and start stitching right away. Available via amazon and the dropcloth website.

Episode 77: Fill to the Rim

cover77This episode includes the following segments: Sheep to Shawl, Ever-expanding Skill Set, The Front Porch, And Sew Forth.  Oh, there was exciting activity at the Fiber Craft Studio during our May class session — we began our experiments in plant dyeing! I have reporting to do on the Clun Forest and Lincoln fleece samples; plus, I came home with Polypay, Romney and Navaho Churro in addition to more Jacob fleece. Are you wearing hand knits or handcrafted items in celebration of MeMadeMay? There’s an Instagram contest. Listen to learn more.


LISTEN:


Sheep to Shawl

ep77.08During our fifth class session of the year, we were introduced to plant dyeing techniques. Everyone had a jar and a hand full of Jacob fiber that had already been washed and treated with mordant. The choices for dye materials were: yellow and red onion skin, yellow cosmos, marigold, and madder root.  I selected red onion. My jar of fiber and dye material will sit in the sun for a week — then I will rinse and see the results. In the meantime, I purchased some alum and cream of tartar in preparation for more dyeing at home.

Instructors Chris and Sono introduce us to plant dyeing materials.

Instructors Chris and Sono introduce us to plant dyeing materials.

Jars in the sun with a lovely classmate spinning nearby.

Jars in the sun with a lovely classmate spinning nearby.

During our hand work time, I plied the Lincoln (L) and Clun Forest (R) and made rolags from the Jacob.

During our hand work time, I plied the Lincoln (L) and Clun Forest (R) and made rolags from the washed Jacob fiber.


Ever-expanding Skill Set

specialtyIn May, let’s discuss specialty ingredients. Maybe it’s a real financial splurge, maybe it’s something high in fat or calories, or maybe it’s just something simple that is special to you and your family. What do you keep on hand to make something impressive, or to chase away cooking doldrums?

Also, can you share sources for your specialty ingredients?

Chatter here and use #powerpantry to tag your posts on social media.


The Front Porch

ep77.04I have never spun with Nunoco fibers, but I’ve heard about them and I’ve seen some spectacular yarn and finished projects, so when I learned that the Jenkins Woodworking Lovers were hosting a Summer Surprise spin-along, I had to join in. My fiber arrived and the colors were mostly WAAAY outside my usual palette. With input from my student spinners, I used my blending board and created a series of rolags that will become a two-ply yarn.  The spinning begins on May 15. It will be a thrill to see what other spinners come up with and the many blending and spinning techniques we use to make our yarn.


ep77.featherAnd Sew Forth

The feather skirt is complete! Months after beginning the project, I have finally finished the hem stitching to this eight panel skirt. Over time, the project grew to be a blend of the Yard Sale Wrap Skirt pattern by Heather Ross and the Birds of a Feather Maxi Skirt by Anna Maria Horner. Next up: Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated. I ordered the pattern, but I haven’t purchased the fabric yet!

Are you participating in Me Made May? All month, makers are invited to wear hand made garments and accessories and tag posts on social media.  Yarns at Yin Hoo listeners have a chance to win prizes when they use #yayhmmmay15 to post on Instagram. You don’t have to participate every day — just days when you show the world how talented and amazing you are.  Check the corresponding Ravelry thread for more details and information about the prizes!


ep77.festThe Sheep and Wool Festival at Fiber Craft Studio in Chestnut Ridge, NY is a family-friendly event with lots to see and do.

Episode 76: Farm Tour

cover76This episode includes the following segments: Yarn Lover at Large, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Gratitude Journal. You will hear all about my trip to Washington County, NY for the annual Farm & Fiber tour. Did you know that Washington County is the most prominent producer of fiber in the state of New York? I didn’t either, until Fernanda and I began our tour. From farms to mills; from sampling local fare to holding a baby goat; from shopping to sipping and making new friends, we thoroughly enjoyed our fiber-y weekend.


LISTEN:


Yarn Lover at Large

ep76.2Washington County Farm & Fiber Tour

One One One Main

St. Mary’s on the Hill

Ensign Brook Farm

Battenkill Fibers: Carding & Spinning Mill

Foster Sheep Farm

Amigos Cantina

Dancing Ewe Farm


Farm Tour Photos

Ready to visit the Cashmere sheep at St. Mary's on the Hill.

Ready to visit the Cashmere sheep at St. Mary’s on the Hill.

Goats are harnessed to a cart.  Each can pull up to one and a half times its weight.

Goats are harnessed to a cart. Each can pull up to one and a half times its weight.

Sister Mary Elizabeth sings to Sir Lancelot and friend.

Sister Mary Elizabeth sings to Sir Lancelot and friend.

Fernanda cuddled this baby goat, which fell asleep in her arms.

Fernanda cuddled this baby goat, which fell asleep in her arms.

The idyllic barn yard at Ensign Brook Farm.

The idyllic barn yard at Ensign Brook Farm.

"There's a sheep under here somewhere," said Joe the shearer, before he began shearing the fleece of this Romney.

“There’s a sheep under here somewhere,” said Joe the shearer, before he began shearing the fleece of this Romney.

Not only does a shearer need to handle the sheep, he needs to manipulate the fleece as he works to keep it on one piece.

Not only does a shearer need to handle the sheep, he needs to manipulate the fleece as he works to keep it in one piece.

The initial work of skirting the fleece is completed immediately after shearing.

The initial work of skirting the fleece is completed immediately after shearing.

Battenkill Fibers

Battenkill Fibers

Battenkill Fibers: spinning singles

Battenkill Fibers: spinning singles

Battenkill Fibers: plying

Battenkill Fibers: plying

Battenkill Fibers: full bobbins

Battenkill Fibers: full bobbins

Words to live by.

Words to live by.

The table prepared for lunch at Dancing Ewe Farm.

The table prepared for lunch at Dancing Ewe Farm.

Contented sheep munching at Dancing Ewe Farm.

Contented sheep munching at Dancing Ewe Farm.


 

Purchases

One ounce of cashmere and hand-carved napkin rings from Malawi.

One ounce of cashmere and hand-carved napkin rings from Malawi.

900+ yards Merino / Romney (DK) from Battenkill Fibers.

900+ yards Merino / Romney (DK) from Battenkill Fibers.

Beautiful DK weight yarn hand-dyed by Carole of Foster Sheep Farm.

Beautiful DK weight yarn hand-dyed by Carole of Foster Sheep Farm.


Gratitude Journal

With pen pal Fernanda.

With pen pal Fernanda.

After delicious Mexican food with Fernanda, Lisa, and Tracey.

After delicious Mexican food with Fernanda, Lisa, and Tracey.

Episode 75: Not Only, But Also

ep75.1This episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Sheep to Shawl, The Back Porch, Yarn Lover at Large, Double Happiness and Gratitude Journal. I announce the winner of the TurtleMade Contest and introduce two student fiber artists. The photo on the left pictures nine different fibers my Fiber Studio classmates and I were invited to sample: (clockwise from top) Romney, Merino, Lincoln, Columbia, Clun Forest, Wensleydale, Angora goat, Huacaya alpaca, and Angora rabbit. I chose some Clun Forest and Lincoln to spin at home.


LISTEN:


Ever-expanding Skill Set

ep75.5In April, it’s all about condiments, and there is great conversation and recipe sharing going on over on the Ravelry board.  Lately, I’ve been craving Thai chili paste in everything. I put together a quick rice dish with sautéed leeks and Swiss Chard, topped with crispy grated ginger and garlic and a fried egg. To boost the flavor of the rice, I stirred in some chili paste.  Yum.  This dish is an adaptation of Jean George Vongerichten’s Ginger Fried Rice. It’s good as a side or on it’s own for a quick supper.  Tag your creations with #powerpantry.


Sheep to Shawl

ep75.9April’s session was the best yet. There was so much learning and working that I can’t believe we fit it all into one day.  We began by discussing a reading, which I’ve excerpted below. This was followed by a lesson on the drum carder, and then we were off to Eurythmy class. It was my first and I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed it.  So later, naturally, I looked it up to learn a bit of background. Eurythmy is expressive movement as taught in the tradition of Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf education system. It uses movement and color to express sound and meaning. During much of the class, as we were repeating rhythmic movements, the instructor was reciting lines of poetry. Our work has been focused so far on wool from Jacob sheep, but this week our instructors placed before us a variety of nine types of washed fiber, and invited us to take some and experiment. Photo above: (clockwise from top) Romney, Merino, Lincoln, Columbia, Clun Forest, Wensleydale, Angora goat, Huacaya alpaca, and Angora rabbit.

Patient repetition — doing again and again procedures that only seem to be the same, entering ever more deeply and intimately into the qualities of the material — this trains the will. The movements of a hand worker are measured, harmonious, well-considered.  It is not only the unevennesses in the substances that are smoothed out, but also unevennesses in character.  The result of his work the product of his own hands, shows a person how far he has progressed in his schooling.
                                                                       from Dr. Gerda Kramer “A Preamble about the Crafts”

ep75.2After lunch, class participants engage in several hours of handwork, trying new skills under the guidance of the instructors and sharing ideas with classmates. This is my favorite part of the day.  The beautiful space of Fiber Craft Studio hums with energy and industry and a constant flow of stories and laughter. I used the hand carder to make three batts — carding together some Hog Island fiber, and hand-dyed fiber on sale at the studio. Someday, I will figure out how I want to spin these batts; right now I’m just having a lot of fun gazing at them.


The Back Porch

reliquary5Our first major assignment for the Sheep to Shawl course was to use some of the yarn we’ve processed and spun so far to design and knit a small bag or pouch.  Inspired by the beautiful variations in the color of Jacob fleece, as well as the transient nature of Ruth from Housekeeping, I came up with a design for a small amulet.  As I designed, I took photographs and recorded my pattern so that I could make it available to others.  Reliquary is available on Ravelry; it includes line by line instructions and a photo tutorial. You can use very small needles and fingering weight yarn to make a tiny little amulet, or thicker yarn and larger needles to knit a small pouch. Decorate with fringe, beads, and a one-of-a-kind button to make a special keepsake.


Yarn Lover at Large

tourNext weekend, I’ll be touring some of the farms in New York’s Washington County.  The farm and fiber tour is free and each farm hosts some kind of interesting event or learning experience. Are you going? You should go! Here are some of my intended stops:

Battenkill Spinning Mill — Greenwich, NY
St. Mary’s on the Hill — Greenwich, NY
Ensign Brook Farm — Greenwich, NY
Dancing Ewe Farm — Granville, NY
Argyle Brewing Company — Greenwich, NY
Dish Bistro — Greenwich, NY


Double Happiness

I’ve been talking about the possibility of recording my student spinners for awhile, but last Monday, at our String Theory club meeting, we actually took the time to record a short segment. Selene and Courtney are experienced crocheters, and now they’re learning to spin. I think you will really enjoy hearing their comments in this segment. We talked about their history as crafters, how fiber arts help them deal with stress, and their fantasy projects.

Courtney's spinning

Courtney’s spinning

Selene's spinning

Selene’s spinning

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Gratitude Journal

This week I read “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.