Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book giveaway begins tomorrow, Sept.1st!

My Goodreads givaway for My Twelfth Christmas starts Sept. 1st and ends Sept. 30. Enter for a chance to win one of three copies being given away!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Twelfth Christmas by Linda Ash

My Twelfth Christmas

by Linda Ash

Giveaway ends September 30, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm getting a drum carder for my birthday!

I just bought this through an auction on eBay:

It's my birthday present! I can't wait 'till it gets here. I have a lot of fiber that needs processing. Ever since I gave myself tennis elbow while weeding dandelions from the front yard last spring, the combing with the wool combs has slowed down.

Carding fibers will produce a different end product in the spun yarn vs. combing the fibers, so I won't give up combing altogether. I'll still prepare fibers both ways, depending on what type of yarn I want to make. And I have lots of alpaca, wool, and angora waiting to be prepared and spun!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grow Your Own Clothes: The Fibershed Project

Read about The Fibershed Project, textile artisan Rebecca Burgess's one year commitment to wearing clothes made from fibers found within a 150 mile radius of her home, here.

And visit the Fibershed blog, here.

Truly inspiring.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Far Away Garden Update

Here's what my far away garden (which is what I call my community garden plot) looked like about a month ago in mid-July:

And here it is as of today, in mid-August (the plethora of tomatoes to the left are not mine - they're the next garden over; and the garden to the right of mine has been overrun with weeds):

I love my two rows of sunflowers. Someday in the not-too-distant future they'll bloom. I have two varieties, Mongolian Giant and Titan. They've gotten so tall!:

Here's a shot looking up between the two rows of sunflowers.

I planted pole beans with them so that the beans could use the sunflower stalks as poles. I've had a lot of Japanese beetle damage to my beans. They love bean foliage, especially if it's high up. I have to squat and move between the tall sunflowers in order to gather beans from time to time. I love being in there between the tall stalks. It's like having a little sunflower hidey-hole.

I'm getting beans and okra and peppers and tomatoes from the garden now. The corn will be ready to pick soon, and eventually the beets (if the deer leave me any). I've been cutting my marigolds as they bloom and hanging them to dry. I'm hoping to gather enough with which to dye some wool.

I've had some deer damage. They really love the beet tops and okra. I'm glad I planted three rows of okra. The first row is taking the brunt of the dear damage, leaving the other two to produce.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dyeing wool with elderberries

Yesterday, I dyed just about 4 1/2 ounces of wool with elderberries. I had about 1 pound of berries with which to make the dye bath. I mordanted the wool with alum and cream of tarter.

I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to the dyebath. I read that adding vinegar to the elderberry dyebath will strengthen the red/purple color, and adding salt to the bath will turn it more toward the blue hues. I was going for the red/purple. I knew that the final color would be much lighter than the bath color, and I didn't want the blue hue to end up more of a pale slate-blue/gray on the fiber.

I  almost-simmered the mordanted wool in the dyebath for an hour and then took it off the heat and let it sit in the bath overnight. This morning I rinsed the wool and it's now hanging to dry:

On the left is almost 1/2 ounce of wool from my Christmas fleece that I combed up during demonstrations last weekend at The Crooked River Fiber Fling. On the right is 4 ounces of superwash Bluefaced Leicester.

It came out a very nice color. The color on the superwash BFL seems more pronounced. Different fibers will take dye up each in their own way, and superwash will take up dye differently from non-superwash.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Crooked River Fiber Fling

Over the weekend my daughter and I sold our wares at The Crooked River Fiber Fling in Peninsula, Ohio. It was a hot and muggy weekend, but it was a lot of fun.

Here's our vendor booth - I was The Roving Spinner:

We displayed various fibers, spinning tools, and gave demonstrations (click on any of the pictures to make them bigger, then hit the back arrow to return to the blog):

I combed wool with the wool combs and Jessica demonstrated carding. Here she is loading the hand cards:

I also brought along my Kromski Fantasia wheel and demonstrated spinning. There were lots of wheels there amongst the vendors, spinning all weekend long:

Of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring my books along, a few of my salves, and my poison ivy itch relief spray. Here we are on the second day, taking a lunch break behind all of our non-fiber wares:

We had a great time talking with people about processing fiber and spinning, and my daughter was a great help. We sold quite a bit of everything, and on the last day, the last set of musicians who played over at the live music tent did a shout out for Linda over at The Roving Spinner. They played one of my favorite songs - Marie's Wedding. They had all come over to our tent earlier to ask all about processing fibers and spinning, and when they said they played Celtic music, I had asked if they knew that song. It was so fun to hear them play it for me!

There were animals there, too, alpacas, sheep, and angora rabbits. I scored three or four pounds of fiber - raw suri alpaca fleece, raw baby alpaca fleece, angora, Romney roving, and an angora/wool/silk blend. I can't wait to get spinning with all of it!