Monthly Archives: July 2011

Hopefully, Today Is Better

I was writing a post yesterday and spinning on my new spindle when I heard the neighbour’s dog growling at my kids age 8 and 5 that were getting ready for a bike ride.  My bedroom window is right in the front and my window is broken and doesn’t shut properly.  I got out there before this dog attacked them but they were pretty scared and I calmly despite my nerves explained when the owner came out of his house that he has to keep his dogs on leashes (I reported him to the Town about this months ago).  He then called me a lazy bitch and I told the kids to go inside as this man yelled at me about what everyone in town thought of me (according to him).  It was loud enough that a lady who lives down the street called to make sure I was okay.  I was calling the police at this point as this dog has attacked other dogs and I am quite sure is not vaccinated against rabies not to mention was advancing and growling at my kids.  The police came and explained that he must have control over his dogs at all times.  Of course he went on about the state of my dog run (he is still going on about how the dog run was when the snow started melting) but the policeman said he explained that doesn’t matter to him but an aggressive dog does.  I phoned the nursing station to get some advice on dog attack first aid as I don’t know much about it.  Apparently the treatment for possible rabies is not very nice.  If my child needed to be in a hospital they would have to be flown out which means I would have to drive to Whitehorse with the other two kids in a real hurry.  We have nurses here but a doctor just comes to visit every couple of weeks.  I also phoned the Town and went on about what do I have to do to get them to enforce the bylaws my neighbour is in breach of.  I stated that I am beginning to think my children need to be attacked before they will do something.  The worst part is that isn’t even his most aggressive dog.  He has another dog that is worse according to someone who has been in his place.

So the blog post didn’t get finished and today is my spinning demo.  I will try to get a post up regarding spinning with pictures soon.

Another Indigo Vat

I made an indigo vat today.  I also made a cochineal dye bath but indigo is rather magical and much more interesting I think.  To make a vat you have to go through a series of steps to make a vat of “indigo white” which is a greeny-yellow colour and when you pull out the wool or other fibre the fibre oxidizes to blue.  You can keep dipping until you get a deep color.  You do not mordant before dyeing with indigo.  You can over-dye other colours and there is a saying in natural dyeing circles that goes something like “if you don’t like the colour just throw it into the indigo vat”.  Having said this I over-dyed the orange madder fibre I had and I am not convinced on the colour yet.  It might look better once it is carded up and spun.  Needless to say, I put many things into the indigo vat until it started raining.  Indigo stinks so I have to keep it outside.  The reduction reaction in the vat means it has that rotten egg smell.  I am going to rinse them out and once they are dry I will take a picture.  I have a number of greens now and some blues.  Green is a colour not found very often in natural dyes.  It is normally achieved with over-dyeing with indigo.  This is handy as yellow is the most common natural dye colour.

Inspired By Deb Menz

I watched the video download from Interweave called Color and Yarn Design for Spinners.  This video is fantastic.  I have watched her other video too but this one goes into colour and plying dyed yarns.  I find her really inspirational how she plays with colour.  I mean 12 colours in a yarn?!  I would have thought the yarn would be just crazy looking but they look great.


At one point she talks about how she started to use her hand spun yarns instead of commercial yarns and how instead of several projects she would just make one a year.  This is something that I get down on myself for all the time.  I thought about the tapestry crochet that I adore and how I want to do a larger piece but that it would take so long.  I have the socks and the blanket project.  However, isn’t it much more mindful and just better if I finished just one project a year?  Maybe more with a couple of pairs of socks and a blanket or tapestry crocheted piece?  Would that not be so much better.  I think so.


Anyways, I am going to mordant some wool I spent hours picking through and do a dye tomorrow.  I am thinking madder root but I am not sure.  I looked madder up in Cardon and it has such a fascinating history.  It got into Turkey Red and while rather repulsive it was rather amazing the impact this had on the textile world.  It is one of the oldest dyes and historically significant.  I often wonder if I should do little write-ups on these dyes as I have a number of dyeing books.  If any of you are interested in this kind of stuff let me know.  Cardon is an expensive book being the price of a text book but full of fascinating information.  I have another book completely on indigo.  Actually, I have one just on madder but haven’t read it yet.  I read more in the winter plowing through a book or two each week when I want to stay in the house more.  Anyways, if you want I can talk about them.  I am considering it anyways.


Well off to get the kids ready for bed and maybe I will pick some more fleece.  That is such a time consuming job.  Picking fleece just in case you don’t know is going through the fleece and manually picking out all the tiny pieces of hay and vegetable matter out.  It gets caught in the wool and commercially they use caustic chemicals to dissolve the vegetable matter (vm for short) and leave the wool.  Obviously, when scouring the fleece by hand I don’t use that sort of thing and therefore I have to pick it out by hand.  There are pickers you can buy but apparently they don’t really do things that much better.  They cost quite a bit of money too.  It takes me hours to pick through enough to make a pair of socks.  That is before I dye them or card it up let alone spin it.  No wonder the Industrial Revolution had a lot to do with the textile industry.  Note how recently synthetic dyes came along.  Dyeing textiles has been done for a very long time yet synthetics are a rather recent invention.  I find it all rather fascinating.

Just Another Fibre-Filled Day

Today, I washed some Icelandic fleece I got from a Yukon shepherd.  I also finally pulled the Leicester roving out of the dye baths and disposed of them.  I had everything nicely drying when I heard thunder but luckily it passed around us and the fibre was safe.


I am going to dye this fleece and card it up and have it for sale this weekend if all goes well.  I am doing a spinning demo and thought it would be nice to have some fibre if people wanted to buy it.  There is a mini-arts festival next Saturday.  I am doing a demo from 1 to 3 pm behind the Interpretive Centre.  I guess now that I have announced it on here I really have to dye the fleece and card it up.  Anything I have after will go in my Etsy shop.  I have never sold anything in my Etsy shop in case you are wondering why you haven’t heard me mention it.


I hope this weather stays sunny like it is right now so my wool dries faster.  That would help out a lot.

Inspiration….Why I love Crochet

I follow Carol Ventura’s blog about tapestry crochet.  A few years ago she posted about this lady.  I was remembering it and went back to find it and was again inspired.  You see, I don’t really knit or weave but do love to crochet.  I have this idea in my head about combining spinning, natural dyeing and tapestry crochet into something.  I am currently slowly (very slowly) working on a tapestry crocheted bag in a little design I charted out from a Turkish sock knitting book.  Anyways, I thought I would share this as I find Esther’s crocheting very inspiring.  She uses cotton but I would use wool.  In fact, I have those Yukon raised, Icelandic fleeces in the basement and I am wondering if I should experiment with separating the coats and trying tapestry crochet with the  the tog dyed by me.  Perhaps just blending the tog and thel would be okay too.  I see some experimenting in the future.  I was reading Sarah Swett’s website and love her tapestry weaving too which is what made me think of Carol’s post on Esther.  However, I am not really a weaver.  Anyways, if this inspiration does actually lead into something I thought I would start to document it.


Now I want to try doodling some ideas.  This is one advantage crochet has in that it is much easier to modify and change as you go than other crafts.  I think that is why I love it.