Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Natural (dyeing) High

I am smitten with this practice of taking wild and cultivated plant matter, cooking it in water, adding a little wool and a little mordant (alum, vinegar, salt), and discovering the hidden rainbow hues from the most unlikely places. New dog Igby wants to taste anything that falls to the floor, so I am quickly whisking up stray fleece and leaves, hoping that I get to them before he does. He's so quiet I often don't know that he's there. For me, it's pure heaven when two dogs are dozing on the studio floor and I am absorbed with my dye pots or sitting down to the spinning wheel. Life truly is good at these precious times.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mother and Igby

We made the introduction this weekend. Igby was a hit. He also displayed a new physiological issue we will be keeping an eye on . . . reverse sneezing. When it occurs, it looks like he is having an asthma attack. Very unsettling. Maybe he's allergic to . . . us?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What a month!

I will let the pictures do the talking. Family and friends in Hillsdale, new dog (Igby), new experiments with washing and dyeing in the studio, and much more still to come.

Here we go. . .

Nino, Elaine and Mom.

Oliver and mom play a board game.

Mom and Adam (does he look like Dad?)

Silhouette of Oliver in the tree house.

The young Indiana Jones?
This is Igby.

The boys are getting along quietly.

Carrot tops are easy and fun to work with.

Testing out different dye bath recipes.

The stash is growing, and growing, and growing. Looks nice in mom's handmade baskets.

Drying calendula flowers.

SO EXCITED! The new picker! Chris and I are sharing it, and the fun of using it.

Self portrait.

Just love this book.

During a break, we played Jeric's favorite game -- Shred the Twig!
Food coloring-dyed mohair freshly picked. Note the before and after samples.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off to NOFA's Summer Conference

Four of us from the Guild met last night to discuss our presentation -- For the Love of Sheep -- at the annual NOFA Summer Conference in Amherst MA this weekend. On Sunday we'll give 1 1/2 hours of demonstration, discussion and encouragement to anyone interested in working with fiber. Betsy is our workshop leader, as she has had many opportunities to give demonstrations . . . and, she's good at it! This is the largest venue we will have appeared at as a guild. We've got the fiber map, a new business card, and plenty of samples and stories.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Old pics

Found these on my mother's computer from last summer at NOFA Summer Conference in Amherst MA. The sheep workshop had some hands-on opportunities, and I took advantage. REALLY need to look into finding a sheep shearing mentor. I just love being around the beasts.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oh, just a few more . . .

Couldn't help but post a few more scenes from recent wool-and-dog fun-and-games.

Here's Jeric with new-ish friend Beate in ME, and Jeric keeping an eye on our dye pot.

More sheep shots from the visit . . .

And, volunteer work at Worcester Animal Rescue League. Liz is a great dog adoption coordinator. Tulip and Zeus think so, too.

Ok, this is so bad . . .

My friend Sara's new blog The Salty Ewe is a wonderful read. Puts me to shame. Here it is AUGUST, and I actually have been fiber-busy, but who would know it? So, back to posting.

Some of my July and, now early August activities have included:

Meeting with the Guild women and experimenting with a new large drum carder, and a rather intimidating (think medieval!) wool picker. We made beautiful batts as you can see . . .

And, some nice mother-daughter time at the Hillsdale farmers' market . . . something we both enjoy doing together.

Of course, spending a few days a week volunteering at the Worcester Animal Rescue League remains important to me, and so rewarding. One of my favorite girls is Bobbie Lee, a banshee in her kennel and a doll on the leash. Just a gorgeous girl.

And,yes, time with dear friend Sara in ME last month was heavenly.Jeric and I slept in her camper, went for nice walks with Sara and Beate, and enjoyed the sights and sounds and smells of the sheep and their wool. Dyeing and washing on her porch in some the nicest summer weather we've had, was, in my opinion, a gift of a day.

Big plans for August include another dye day with Sara, giving a workshop with the Guild at NOFA/Mass' Summer Conference 2010, and much more picking and carding!