Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I just finished my first foray into stranded knitting.  Thanks to Lisa for showing me the ropes! They were super fun and fast to knit; I'll definitely make more mittens. I also made several little project bags for Etsy. Hopefully, folks will like them because they are fun to make.......

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe another Thanksgiving is here. Time goes so quickly...I've been busy knitting mittens and hats,  washing and carding wool, and spinning and dyeing yarn. Oh yeah....a little cooking too.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mini Spinner Dust Cover

I have been meaning to make a dust cover for my Hansen mS for a dog's year.....I finally pulled out a sewing machine yesterday and got to work. This was an easy project. I made a paper pattern for the ends of the machine and just eye-balled the the rest. I did make the cover wide enough so that the cords and foot pedal can fit too which does make the table look a little neater. I'd say the whole thing took 30 minutes; that doesn't include the hour that it took me to get the needle threaded...........

Dyeing a Multi-Colored Yarn: Stovetop Method

I thought I might try to do some dyeing in mason jars on the stove. I love the look of hand- painted top that has been wrapped in plastic and steamed or micro-waved but I don't like using all that plastic wrap. The yarn that I used is a 2 ply Corriedale that I spun last week. It was such a pretty white that I decided to leave some showing.

First,  the yarn was left to soak in water with a glug of vinegar until  it was thoroughly wet(about an hour) and removed from the pot. Then, using two mason jars, I made a dye bath of brown and for the two with warm water, dye and a glug of vinegar  (stir well to make sure the dye dissolves). I added a  little violet dye to the pot for a third color.  Using a spoon (dedicated to  dyeing), I squished one end of the hank into one jar and the other end into the other jar. The remaining yarn was allowed to drape over the sides of the jars and into the pot. Next, I very slowly added water to the pot until it reached just under the lips of the jars; I wanted as much violet as I could get. The whole thing was covered and allowed to simmer for about 30 minutes.  

After it cooled, I hung the yarn to dry and here is a picture of the final product:

Overall, I'd say this worked well. It was less messy than laying out large sheets of plastic and it would translate to top or roving easily. A bigger pot would allow for more jars thus more colors. This also would work well to use up dye from other projects. It would be fun to try this with dry fiber. I used both Jaquard and Greener Shades dyes in this project.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Peg Loom Alpaca Rug

Kate, owner of Great Rock Alpaca's in Barre had some of this year's fiber spun into fun, core spun alpaca yarn. She asked me to give a go of using a peg loom to weave a rug. You may have seen both a peg loom and this kind of yarn at festivals in the last couple of years. Here rug:

It was a quick weave and a fun project; I'm pleased with the finished product.  It is so soft and squishy! Next I'm going to do a rag rug or two on the loom. These looms are fun and so easy to use. I think one would make great gift for a young fiber fanatic to be.....tee shirts, rags, roving, old bed sheets....I can think of a zillion things to use to weave on it.  Perhaps I'll do a how-to blog post.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Over

Fiber festival season that is. Here in New England, the first show is in early April and the last was this past weekend at the Big E in Springfield, MA. This is the 5th year for this particular show and it keeps getting better and better. We went on Sunday (me and my long suffering husband). There was a fleece sale that I resisted but I didn't resist a fleece. Here are a couple of pics of a Romney Cormo cross fleece from a sheep named Mercy that I bought from a familiar farm. 

The Cormo will make this fleece a little harder to wash because there is so much lanolin in it. The results will be well worth it. I bought a fleece from this farmer earlier this year and it is just wonderful. Now, I should have enough raw fleece to last through the long winter! (All told, that's over  14 pounds....)

Here are a few pictures from the festival:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Threading a Needle with Yarn

Whether you knit, crochet or do crewel work,  threading a needle with thick, fuzzy yarn is a necessity. Here's a little trick that my Grandmother taught me:

1. Wrap the yarn around the tip of the needle,

2. Pull the yarn into a tight loop over the point of the needle,

3. Pinch tightly and slide the yarn off the tip of the needle,

4. Thread the little loop through the eye,

5. Pull the short end through and,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


We went to Bartlett, NH in the White Mountains for a long weekend. If you haven't been, go! We had a blast. Well, that's except for the part when we walked to the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch. I'd forgotten how terrifically afraid of heights I am and the torrential rain storm didn't help. It is funny in retrospect. There is a lot that we didn't get to do so we'll definitely go back. Here are some pictures:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A good pig

Stopped at Froloff Farm in Ware, MA to visit with the pigs and got a good pig pic:

Froloff farm is owned but the East Quabbin Land Trust.  Here's a link to their website: http://eqlt.org/?page_id=531

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lord Raglan

I was spinning at my dear friend Lisa's and telling her about the sweater that I'm trying to knitting. It has raglan sleeves and so she shared the story of the raglan sleeve. Turns out that Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, the 1st Lord Baron Raglan lost his arm due to injuries he sustained during campaign for Waterloo in 1815. After the loss of his arm, Lord Raglan had a difficult time dressing himself and ultimately his tailor designed a diagonal sleeve that had enough room for the Baron to get his remaining arm through more easily. Who knew?

Here's a pic of the sweater that I'm working on. The pretty blue yarn was hand dyed by my wonderful Aunt Polly of Tennessee Valley Fibers.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Sampling:

Feels like I haven't posted much lately but I have been busy. Here are a few pics of this and that:

Coopworth at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Fest

The same Coopworth; look at those curls!

The view at the Fest

Two ounces of Finnsheep ready to spin.

The Finnsheep on the bobbin. 

The last tomatoes from our garden. 

A short hike in Barre to see the face in the rock.

Peg loom weaving

More peg loom

Made myself a little hat from Icepick, the Jacob's, fleece.

Mom and babe at Great Rock Alpacas; did some spinning
there during the Backroads Tour.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Did you know...

why you should never cut yarn? If you do, the cut edges will poke out when you try to weave in the ends. Always break yarn so that the rough and ragged edges will disappear into your work.

I love these kind of little gems that my Mom, Aunts and Grandma shared with me. I'll try to post them as I think of them. If you know of a trick or tip but would like to the "why", let me know and I'll try to find out. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Columbus Day Sale

I can't believe Fall is here! That means it is time for a Fall sale. Please come visit my Etsy shop, Gardner Street , and enjoy 25% off everything in stock; no coupon code required. There is lots of yummy yarn waiting for that Fall project.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Winding Yarn

Clock reel gears
Winding yarn into a hank can be a pain, literally. A niddy noddy can be exhausting to use if there is a lot of yarn. Enter the antique clock reel. I found mine on Craigslist and it wasn't very expensive. The ones that I've seen range in condition from barn fresh to pristine. I'd say mine spent some serious time in the barn. When shopping, all you really need to check is whether the thing winds. It isn't hard to count and 2 yards is pretty standard for one rotation. Mine has a weasel that still pops and does so after every 40 turns (80 yards). It won't reset though so the pop is just a novelty. Don't discount these oldies; mine sees daily use and is still going strong. 

Clock reel

While we are on the topic of winding yarn, I thought I might provide a few definitions:

1. Hank: this is the yarn off of the reel; it is tied in several places and twisted for storage.
2. Skein: this is a mill spun preparation.  They come in cocoon shapes and may be center pull.
3. Cake: these cute little pats of yarn come from a ball winder. They are usually round tubes that are flat on the top and bottom.
4. Swift: As in the umbrella type. They come in many shapes but all serve the same purpose, to hold a hank of yarn so that in can be wound into a ball (by hand) or a cake (ball winder).
5. Clock Reel: see above. Finished yarn is wound onto these and the niddy noddy.
6. Niddy noddy:  Turned wood (or other material; I made one from PVC pipe) in the shape of a capital "I" that fresh yarn is wound onto and into a hank.
7. Ball Winder: Used to wind yarn from a swift into a usable preparation like a cake. Different winders may make different shapes.

Many of these definitions and tools are used interchangeably. Here's one way to remember: Yarn is spun onto a bobbin, then wound off onto a clock reel or niddy noddy and into a hank. The hank goes onto the swift and is wound into a usable preparation with a ball winder.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Place for Everything

Coat rack for project bags
And everything in its place. Well, I've made a few more steps in my seemingly endless attempts to organize.  Organize might be too strong a word, declutter might be a better description. In any event, I can't work when there is a mess around me. Here a few of the things I've done to confine the clutter; maybe you can use one or two:
Metal shelves for bags of fiber and yarn
(Yeah, in the dining room)

Rolling table for the mS

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Sterling Fair

Mt. Wachusett in the background

Joshua the Camel

Giant Veggie Contest

Sid the Ox