Sunday, November 05, 2006

Calvin Adopted

Great news! Calvin was adopted!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

dog blog

Just have to share the new dog blog from our local no-kill shelter. (I can say that this is fiber related because from time to time a really nice fiber dog will show up at the shelter...and I try to get the word out about them, though most locals aren't spinners and don't know about cheingora.)I used to be on the board of Sewanee Animal Rescue League a few years ago before it merged with Frankin County Humane Society's Animal Harbor. I cleaned the shelter (an alpaca barn donated by a community member) twice a week and really got to know the 20 odd dogs in the process. I can remember dog's names when I can't remember people (blush) and can tell the difference between members of a litter of 10 identical black dogs. It's amazing rewarding work, but also very stressful. When a my parents needed me in California, I resigned from the shelter. Now that I have a little time, I've been volunteering again in the best of all ways...socialization. I love to visit the dogs, spend quality time and get to know them one on one. Although the marvelous shelter staff gives them plenty of love and attention and even some training, the day often goes by before they can spend a lot of time with each individual, so I've started a little bit of rudimentary training to support the staff. There are several dogs at the shelter now that have been there for a long time. They are wonderful dogs but have just been passed up time and time again. Both Sarah Doyi and I have started working actively to find homes for these long timers, so I started the dog blog. Here we will post our experiences with these dogs in hopes that prospective adopters will take a closer look at our friends in need of a forever home. End of sermon.
PS: That's Calvin in the photo.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Got Fiber?

Harrisville Designs is now carrying my handdyed rovings. Check them out, especially if you are in the neighborhood. For more info, see wool etc.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

cult classic

Seems like my workshops are destined to be cult classics. Get a load of this display of unbridled enthusiam from one of the knitting world's current major attractions, a one mizz Jillian Moreno.
Check out Workshop Central for the scoop.

Monday, July 03, 2006

We're Baaack

Sandy and I returned yesterday from our first Shakaerag 2005 Reunion workshop in Crane Hill, Alabama. A good time was had by all. Not only was it a great class, but the Red Rooster Retreat was a marvelous venue, complete with good food, a pool, and a beautiful lake. Jim the proprietor took us on an hourlong cruise of the lake on his pontoon boat. It was a sultry summer evening with distant rosy thunderheads and that Alabama glow on green water. Nothing better than messing about in boats to soothe after a busy day. We'll just have to go back there again.

Sandy will stay till the 5th, so we are now busy eating ourselves silly in preparation for the 4th. A dear fraternal alumnus and his friend have arrived from way deep in Alabama with great frigging wadges of seafood and slabs of meat, coolers of refreshments, stacks of music. We have turned the house into Seldon Hall and won't let up till it's burned to the ground. I'm hoping I'll still be able to stagger out to the annual Mutt Show ring with Monk tomorrow morning to perform the fancy little trick we've worked on all year long. Last night we dined on juicy steaks the size of basketballs. Sandy survived the transmogrification from hen party to boys nite out with flying colors. Way to go, Sandy!!!

As summer wears on all my classes are full except for Taos. Sandy and I will be teaching Spinning for Colorwork Knitting Wed, Oct 3-Fri, Oct 5th. Check out for schedule and details, and check back here after the 4th for more details! Be there or be square. (sorry...just had to say that...)

Friday, June 02, 2006

do I hear thunder?

Long time no post. Life happens.

Tansy: a perennial aromatic herbacious plant with yellow umbel flowers; a dye plant yeilding greenish yellows combined with copper; a stimulant, a catalyst; warning Will Robinson.

We have a flower bed that is in dire need of something besides Tansy. I planted it there a few years ago because it was one thing that does well here. But I should know that anything that does well here does too well to the exclusion of all its neighbors. The tansy took over. All I needed was an excuse to dig it up and throw it in the dyepot.

So when I recently found myself beside an enormous pile of composted horse manure with a shovel, a tarp and a pickup truck, all I could think of was the tansy bed. I was going to dig that succer up and really make something good out of it. Little did I know I would awaken the jones.

As I started snipping the tansy a devil of a natural dyeing jones stirred from its rip van winkle, peeling back one murky eye. Slowly the beast arose. I chopped the tansy into a copper pot. All seemed right with the world. But meanwhile and inner eye began scanning the garden for other potential dyestuffs. I added water to the tansy pot, suddenly remembering the ripening mahonia berries in the University quad.

A woman on a mission wastes no time. Students and faculty will return in a couple days, but now the quad was a ghost town. If I went now I could deface public property undeterred. Cottage cheese container in hand, bucket in car for surreptitious emptyings, I strolled non chalantly into the quad (non chalantly like ^*&^...furtive was more like it) and started stripping berries. I wandered behind the Bishops mine. A full bucket later I returned home, itching, sweating, mildly poisoned and happy.

I set up my electric hotplate outside. I put the pots on the eyes...such a lovely sight. I try to imagine the colors that will emerge from the slowly simmered fruits and leaves. The dyebaths are beginning to move, a whiff of steam skittering over the surface, a stray bubble...then a rumble. The blazing sun dims. Another rumble...far away but formidable. and another and another. Unplug, bring everything in. Torrents streaming down the windowpanes. Dangit.

The next day the same thing. Bubbles appear in pots, distant rumbles begin. Have I discovered the ultimate raindance? Unplug, bring in, more torrents. Natural dyes like to sit and sit...a good thing.

Not to be undone, I started earlier the next day and just got it simmered to perfection when the booming began. The tansy gave a soft golden green with an elvish shimmer. The mahonia berries? Amethyst...pure radiant amethyst.

Hmmm...Queen Anne's Lace is coming on, mulberries aroung the corner, more mahonia. I wonder if mowed grass gives color. After all, it stains.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Shakerag Reunion/Spinning for Colorwork Knitting

Last June I was fortunate enough to teach at the Shakerag Workshops in Sewanee, Tn. Shakerag is a new (two years) crafters workshop program created by Claire Reishman of St Andrews Sewanee School on Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau. Asst. Head of School for Academic Affairs at SAS, Claire is also an enthusiastic ceramic artist herself and a teacher of ceramics. Her vision was to provide a residential workshop venue where artists and craftspeople could completely immerse themselves in their medium. The campus of St. Andrews Sewanee, know to us locals as SAS, is perfect the perfect setting for studio immersion on the mountain. Dorms, classrooms, dining hall are all in place. Once the academic year comes to a close, Claire magically sets the stage for Shakerag.

My class came together from all over the country and then some. One participant even came all the way from England to join us. Twisted Mom Sandy Sitzman of Banks, Oregon and fiber artist Lori Lawson of San Juan Capistrano, California assisted to give participants a full spectrum of dyeing, spinning and knitting styles. Shannon Okey, author of KnitGirl, joined us for a couple days, photographing in every direction on top of dyeing and spinning up a storm. We spun, dyed, dyed, dyed, and knit. We even spotted a glorious yellow speckeled black king snake lurking under the vividly dyed rovings that were hanging in the sun. Shannon and Pam nearly caught him but...(eep)...he booked into the nearby woods. Smart fellow.

We soon began to breathe as a unit, so much so that we are having a one year class reunion this year. Since there is no room to do this at Shakerag, we're going to meet at the Red Rooster Retreat in Huntsville, Alabama. Red Rooster is a crafter's retreat that provides space for small residential intensive retreats for fiber crafters, mainly quilters, but there's plenty of room for spinners and knitters. I'll offer a two and a half day class in spinning for colorwork knitting. There is still space available for others to join us. Contact Blaine for more information.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Gorgeous handspun yarn spun from handpainted roving. Fiber is dyed before spinning to achieve clear colors Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This Year's Workshops

Welcome All:

I'll be teaching workshops in the following locations in 2006. Stay tuned for more information.

2005 Shakerag Workshop Reunion; Huntsville, Alabama:
June 29-July2

Harrisville Designs; Harrisville, New Hampshire:
Aug 7-Aug 11

Spinners Flock; Grass Lake, Michigan,
Aug 25-27

Taos Wool Festival; Taos, New Mexico
TBA: Oct 7-8 are wool festival dates. Workshop dates to be announced.