Gift Idea

How about a hand made yarn bowl filled with a skein of luxury farm fresh yarn?  Take a look at these beautiful combinations for inspiration…

For those who like colors….

 

and those who like natural colors….

Skeins can be wound into center pull balls for knitting or rug hooking convenience at no charge, just ask!

Wendy Kastan’s yarn bowls can be found on her website WendyClay.com She also makes beautiful buttons.

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Chair Seats – Cats Who’ve Owned Me Series – 4

This chair seat is called “Cleaning Up” and features Sandy taking a bath.  The design is based on my photos of him.  I’m still experimenting with different colors and textures of yarn to find the best for picturing a cat. This time I used white and tan yarn and hooked the stripes explicitly.

I used my homespun and millspun hand dyed yarns, all of which are wool/ mohair blends (details).  The backing is 100% cotton Monk’s Cloth.  I used 13×13 epi cloth.

The wildflower patches are millspun yarns that were hand painted after the yarn was spun.  The background fields were done with yarns that were kettle dyed before spinning.

Back of Chair Seat

Sandy

Front of Chair Seat
Before Finishing

 Learnings

Good contrast in the colors chosen and work with scissors after hooking to arrange the lines as hooked makes the details much clearer.  Sandy’s face shows clearly on the back of the chair seat but still needs some work on the front side.  Since the colors are so close in value, it is hard to see his face details unless the lighting is bright.

I liked the look here of generic blobs of color versus trying to hook detailed flowers or grasses.

Yarns Used

Info on the yarns used is given below.  The picture links to the full description and creation details for the yarn where available.

 Wildflower Patches in Background: Coreopsis Yarn  Coreopsis – hand dyed (after spinning) 2 ply millspun – 50/50 mohair/wool.   This yarn is shades of yellow with sections of yellow and white designed to stripe.
Mardi Gras Millspun Yarn Mardi Gras – hand dyed (after spinning) 2 ply millspun – 50/50 mohair/wool.
Wildflower Meadow Millspun Yarn Wildflower Meadows- hand dyed (after spinning) 2 ply millspun – 50/50 mohair/wool.
Iris Millspun Yarn Iris – hand dyed (after spinning) 2 ply millspun – 50/50 mohair/wool. The same yarn was also used for the edging.
Gravel Path: Yarn Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leciester Wool - By the Pound Natural Dark Grey  and Light Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester Wool.
Yarn Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool - Sold by the Pound I used natural DWF white mohair/ wool yarn for the rocks along the gravel path (same yarn as for Sandy’s body). Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool.
Background Fields: Pearl Green kettle hand dyed (before carding) millspun.
Forest Dreams hand dyed (before carding) millspun. Designed to look like a forest at a distance for use in weaving and rug hooking.
Aquatics hand dyed (before carding) millspun. Designed to look like pond water for use in weaving and rug hooking.
Green with Envy hand dyed (before carding) millspun.
  Sandy: Yarn Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool - Sold by the Pound I used natural DWF white mohair/ wool yarn for most of Sandy’s body. Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool.
Yarn Tan 3Ply Millspun 50% Adult Mohair 50% Shetland Wool 2.5 Oz Skeins Tan DWF mohair/ wool millspun was used for Sandy’s stripes.  3Ply Millspun 50% Adult Mohair 50% Shetland Wool 2.5 Oz Skeins
  Edging: Iris Millspun Yarn Iris – Hand Dyed (After Spinning) Millspun.  The same yarn was also used for wildflower patches in the background.
 Lettering:  A small amount of hand spun, turkey baster hand dyed roving (white with small amounts of orange and blue) was used.

A ball of roving was soaked in water for an hour, then injected with colors using a turkey baster, heated to boiling for 30 minutes to set the colors, then washed before hand spinning.

 

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Chair Seats – Cats Who’ve Owned Me Series – 3

This chair seat is called “Rori Shows Her Belly” and shows Rori on a rug in a typical “scratch my belly” pose.  The design is based on one of my photos of her.

I used my homespun and millspun hand dyed yarns, all of which are wool/ mohair blends (details).  The backing is 100% cotton 13×13 epi Monk’s Cloth.

The rug Rori is laying on is made of 4 different green millspun yarns.

Back of Chair Seat

Rori and Sandy

Front of Chair Seat
Before Finishing

 Learnings

Details came out better with the more enlarged size of the cat.  Also, contrast is key to making small details visible.  The 13×13 epi Monk’s cloth worked much better than the looser version designed for embroidery.

Yarns Used

Info on the yarns used is given below.  The picture links to the full description and creation details for the yarn where available.

Rug: Pearl Green kettle hand dyed (before carding) millspun.
Forest Dreams hand dyed (before carding) millspun. Designed to look like a forest at a distance for use in weaving and rug hooking.
Aquatics hand dyed (before carding) millspun. Designed to look like pond water for use in weaving and rug hooking.
Green with Envy hand dyed (before carding) millspun.
 Rori:   Since natural black isn’t readily available in mohair (black mohair is  dark grey at best) I bought a skein of  Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted Onyx from Alpaca Direct as they had the best price when I was shopping.  It is a USA made 15% mohair/ 85% wool single ply yarn.
Yarn Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool - Sold by the Pound I also used mill spun natural DWF white mohair/ wool yarn for Rori’s tummy patches. Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool.
Coreopsis Yarn Eyes: Coreopsis hand dyed (after spinning) millspun. This yarn is shades of yellow with sections of yellow and white designed to stripe. I used a small amount from a section of yellows.
Yarn Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leciester Wool - By the Pound A small amount of  Natural Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester Wool was used to create depth around the chin line and between the toes.
  Edging: Iris Millspun Yarn Iris – Hand Dyed (After Spinning) Millspun
 Lettering:  Ooops!  Forgot it on this one so  embroidered on the back.

 

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North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival 2016

Had a great time at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in Ridgewood this week. I met so many interesting and kind people (vendors and attendees!).  Here’s a pic of my setup thanks to Wendy “Clay” who does gorgeous clay buttons and yarn bowls!

 

Dancing Waters Farm Booth at NJFAF 2016 Ridgewood NJ

Dancing Waters Farm at NJFAF 2016 Ridgewood, NJ

I got to show quite a few youngsters (and their parents) how to make yarn starting from a sheep/ goat haircut.   Lots of felters and a few hand spinners attended.  Weather was gloomy outside but we were pretty lively inside the building!

 

Chair Seats – Cats Who’ve Owned Me Series – 2

This chair seat is called “Nap Time” and features Sandy and Rori napping against the night sky.  The design is based on my photos of the two napping on my bed.  I’m experimenting with different colors and textures of yarn to find the best for picturing the cats.

I used my homespun and millspun hand dyed yarns, all of which are wool/ mohair blends (details).  The backing is 100% cotton Monk’s Cloth.  I used 8×8 epi cloth since I’d already washed the fabric and drawn the design on this cloth found in my stash.  The next chair seat will use the new 13 epi cloth I ordered as it is designed for rug hooking and should make the hooking go more quickly and efficiently.

I designed Starry Nights roving with various blues, purple and black with bits of yellow to look like the night sky in weaving and rug hooking.  This “rug” used a lot of it as I went with a fairly simple background so the one skein I had spun was not enough!  Had to stop and spin another skein when I was nearly finished.  Oh well, it means I’ll have some ready for another fiber project.

Nap Time - Chair Seat

“Nap Time” in progress. Moon, sky and part of Sandy shown.

 

Starry Nights Roving

Starry Nights roving and 1 ply on bobbin.

 

“Nap Time” Completed

Back Side Showing Closeup of Modified Cat Faces

Sandy and Rori

Sandy and Rori – the cats being depicted

Closeup of Cat Faces on Right Side Before Re-hooking

Learnings

For this size “rug” (roughly 16″ x 14″), the subjects need to fill the space as much as possible for any detail to show and look right.  I’m trying to find an easier way to enlarge my drawings than redrawing from scratch based on a grid.  I looked at buying on overhead projector or enlarger but they are fairly expensive and my scanner/ copier doesn’t enlarge.  Still working on this.

Cats aren’t brown, but orange isn’t right either.  I may have to design a roving or yarn that will give me the greyed orange with cream stripes that says tiger cat to me. In the first chair seat I used tweed yarn and it gave a nice random tan and white color to the cat.  In this one I used a hand spun with random brown and white color changes.  The way the colors fell gave a stripe to Sandy’s back and mostly brown elsewhere.  With some planning I could create stripes where they are wanted but it would take a bit of work.

Black is also tough to re-create as mohair isn’t really black except in new born kids, it turns to grey, so it would have to be dyed to get that color.  Additionally, shades of black would be needed to allow any details of the cat to be seen.  The size of the rug makes the addition of whiskers pointless – they would either not be visible or take up a disproportional amount of space versus the rest of the body.  The eyes were an issue too because of their proper size in relation to the entire body.  Since the smallest object that can be hooked is 3 punches with the needle, that fixes the eye size in relation to the rest of the design.  In this case the eyes seem too big for the body.

On to Chair Seat number 3!

Yarns Used

Info on the yarns used is given below.  The picture links to the full description and creation details for the yarn where available.

Sky: Starry Nights Roving Starry Nights hand dyed (before carding) roving. Designed to look like the night sky (variegated blues, purples, black and bits of yellow) for use in weaving and rug hooking.
 Moon: Coreopsis Yarn  Coreopsis hand dyed (after spinning) millspun.  This yarn is shades of yellow with sections of yellow and white designed to stripe.  I used a small amount from a section of yellows.
 Cats: Brown and white random color hand spun skein from a (stash) roving grab bag for Sandy.

Since natural black isn’t readily available in mohair, I bought a skein of  Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted Onyx from Alpaca Direct as they had the best price when I was shopping.  It is a USA made 15% mohair/ 85% wool single ply yarn.  I used this yarn for the black cat (Rori).

Yarn Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool - Sold by the Pound I also used a mall amount hand spun natural DWF white mohair/ wool yarn for Rori’s white paws and stomach patches. Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool.
Yarn Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leciester Wool - By the Pound A small amount of  Natural Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester Wool was used to create depth in Rori, around the chin line and the inside of the ears.
  Edging: Iris Millspun Yarn Iris – Hand Dyed (After Spinning) Millspun
 Lettering:  A small amount of hand spun, turkey baster hand dyed roving (white with small amounts of orange and blue) was used.

A ball of roving was soaked in water for an hour, then injected with colors using a turkey baster, heated to boiling for 30 minutes to set the colors, then washed before hand spinning.

 

 

 

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Chair Seats – Cats Who’ve Owned Me Series – 1

Since I can’t take the afternoon heat lately, I’ve been working (finally) on a set of chair seats in honor of cats who have owned me.  The first one (described in this post) is Sandy and Rori looking out the window.  I used my homespun and millspun hand dyed yarns, all of which are wool/ mohair blends (details).  The backing is 100% cotton Monk’s Cloth.

I designed Blue Skies yarn with variegated blues and a bit of white here and there to look like the sky in weaving and rug hooking.  Similarly I designed Forest Dreams with primarily greens and a bit of blue to be used in weaving and rug hooking for broad expanses of trees or a forest with just a hint of sky poking through.  Here it is used for carpeting or a reflection of the outside grass.

 

View from the House Chair Seat

“View from the House” Chair Seat

View From the House Chair Seat - Closeup of Sky, Clouds and Bird

Closeup of Sky, Clouds and Bird

View from the House Chair Seat - Closeup of Grass and Edging

Closeup of Grass and Edging

 Learnings

For this size “rug” (roughly 16″ x 14″), not much detail will show.  Next in the series will  be designed with less detail and the lettering will be made larger to show more clearly.

The Monk’s Cloth used was found hiding in my fabric stash (price was right!), but since it was 8×8 epi it was difficult to use for rug hooking.  The design came out but it took more time and yarn than it should have because the yarn did not always stick into the fabric evenly.  It was also hard to get the tension correct.  After some searching I located 12-13 epi cotton Monk’s Cloth and ordered some for the rest of the series.  The best price I found was from Earth Guild at $14/ yard (60 inch wide).  The 8epi cloth was $4/ yard!  It was not easy to find the right epi cloth because most web sites don’t list epi in the description.

Yarns Used

Info on the yarns used is given below.  The picture links to the full description and creation details for the yarn where available.

Sky: Sky Blue Millspun Yarn  Sky Blue Hand Dyed (After Spinning) Millspun. Designed to look like sky with variegated blues for use in weaving and rug hooking.
 Grass:  Forest Dreams  Forest Dreams Hand Dyed (Before Spinning) Millspun. Designed to look like trees/ forest with variegated green and a touch of blue for use in weaving and rug hooking.
 Cats:  Yarn Worsted Tan White Tweed 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Wool - Sold by the Pound Tan White Tweed (for Sandy) Natural Color Millspun.
Since natural black isn’t readily available in mohair (black mohair is  dark grey at best) I bought a skein of  Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted Onyx from Alpaca Direct as they had the best price when I was shopping.  It is a USA made 15% mohair/ 85% wool single ply yarn.  I used this yarn for the black cat (Rori).
Clouds: Yarn Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool - Sold by the Pound Small amount hand spun natural DWF white mohair/ wool yarn. Sport White Millspun 2 Ply 59% Mohair 31% Shetland Wool.
 Edging: Iris Millspun Yarn  Iris – Hand Dyed (After Spinning) Millspun
 Birds: Yarn Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leciester Wool - By the Pound  Natural Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester Wool
 Lettering and Cloud Outlining:  Small amount of hand spun, turkey baster hand dyed roving (white with small amounts of orange and blue).  A ball of roving was soaked in water for an hour, then injected with colors using a turkey baster, heated to boiling for 30 minutes to set the colors, then washed before hand spinning.

 

 

 

 

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Farm, Goats and Mohair – Corrymoor Socks

The Corrymoor Farm web site says it all re mohair!

Their socks are all mohair with nylon added for stretch.  Rare in this day of mostly plastic fabrics!  Ohhh and the goats are gorgeous too.

Corrymoor Farm

Cool in summer, warm in winter.

Any moisture is quickly wicked away. This is true… we aren’t just saying it. It does mean that you can wear them for a considerably long time without washing them!

Good for your feet

Mohair fibres are naturally smooth which makes it difficult for foot bacteria to build up thereby preventing foot hygiene and health problems. Chiropodists and podiatrists recommend Corrymoor Socks. We find that people with sensitive skin or who can’t wear wool can wear our socks.

Hardwearing and will last for ages.

Mohair fibres are 3 times more resistant to rubbing than wool fibres.

Source: farm, goats and mohair – Corrymoor Socks

Secret to making no-smell socks is kids’ play, says Devon farmer

Nice article from the Guardian….the strength, smoothness and gorgeous ability to drink up dye are well known mohair properties but I’ve never heard about anti-backerial properties of kid mohair!


‘Steve Whitley uses the fleece of his young angora goats in hosiery that ‘can be worn for as much as a year without washing.

Mohair from angora kids is said to prevent bacterial buildup by drawing sweat away from the skin.

A Devon farmer is claiming to have invented by accident socks that don’t smell and don’t need washing.

Steve Whitley said the fleece of angora kid goats does not trap smelly bacteria in the same way as scalier wool or cotton fibres, and his mohair socks can be worn for as much as a year without washing. Originally he sold the socks for their comfort and durability, and it was only the feedback from astonished customers that alerted him to their unique selling point.

“Customers began telling us that they could wear them for days without them becoming stiff or smelly,” said Whitley, 65. “It was the men who were more forthcoming about this, but then women began writing in. One orchestra leader boasted that he’d had his for a year without washing them.”

Bear Grylls, Fiona Bruce and Stephen Fry were among celebrities who snapped up his Corrymoor Mohair brand, which he claimed “can be worn day after day, week after week, in extreme conditions without any problems from foot odour or discomfort”.

Mohair, shorn from angora goats, is prized in the fashion world for its strength, warmth and resilience. Less well known is that the first shearings from kids are highly absorbent and prevent bacterial buildup by drawing sweat away from the skin.

The products, which cost around £10 a pair, are good news for a nation which, according to new findings, loses 84 million socks a month in the wash. Research commissioned by Samsung discovered that the average Briton will mislay £2,528 worth of dirty socks over a lifetime.

Whitley said he wears the same pair of socks round the farm for up to a fortnight before entrusting them to the laundry basket. Grylls, Bruce and Fry were among a dozen celebrities who promised to report back on how long theirs can withstand the heat.

They have a challenging record to break. “We received a letter from a lady who had recently lost her husband,” says Whitley. “He was so attached to his socks that he asked to be buried in them.”’

Source: Secret to making no-smell socks is kids’ play, says Devon farmer

2016 International Heritage Breeds Week – How You Can Help

IHBW_Square_Ad
“1 in 5 breeds of the world’s farm animals is on the verge of extinction”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The easiest way to help is to use rare breed products and services!

Find a local farmer that sells fresh, healthy rare breed products. By giving these breeds and farmers a job, we help ensure their futures.  Help rare breed populations grow by purchasing products like meat, milk, eggs, and fiber from heritage breeds.

You can search for products by location on Local Harvest (then check farm listing for breeds raised) or on the Livestock Conservancy (members that sell heritage breed products).

I’m listed on both.  My eggs are generally sold out in advance but there’s always lots of fiber looking for a new home!

http://www.localharvest.org/dancing-waters-farm-M10518

NOTE:  the Livestock Conservancy product directory search is down for updates as of today (May 5, 2016).  If you join, members get a paper version of the directory.

2016 Livestock Conservancy Conservation Priority List

Good news for poultry breeds!  I love my rare chickens and am thrilled to be helping preserve these breeds for the future (Australorp, Chantecler, Delaware, Dominique, Favorelle).


Delaware, Australorp, Dominique, Ameraucana Hens

Delaware, Australorp, Dominique, Ameraucana Hens

Dominique Hen in Wildflowers

Dominique Hen in Wildflowers

Australorp Hen Meets Salmon Favorelle Chick 4 Weeks Old

Australorp Hen Meets Salmon Favorelle Chick 4 Weeks Old

Pittsboro, NC  [May 4, 2016] – Today, The Livestock Conservancy is releasing its 2016 Conservation Priority List, and is excited to report that overall trends in North America are improving for endangered livestock and poultry breeds. 25 breeds have improved in status, 12 have declined, and 3 have been added to the list. 2 breeds of chickens, Orpingtons and Wyandottes, now have secure populations and are no longer at risk of extinction.

The majority of changes this year have occurred in the poultry categories, because The Livestock Conservancy recently completed an extensive nationwide poultry census, which polled thousands of poultry keepers to determine the population status of more than 90 poultry breeds. It revealed that more than 25% of poultry breeds’ populations grew in the past ten years.

“Even with the progress we have made in some breeds, many others still have a long way to go” said Dr. Alison Martin, the Conservancy’s executive director. According to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, at least 17% of breeds worldwide are at risk of extinction.¹ In North America, the percentage of endangered breeds is much higher than average due to highly specialized agriculture, in which production is dominated by just a few breeds.

“The Livestock Conservancy’s priority list serves as the guide for our conservation efforts and shows us which breeds need the most help,” said Martin. “Some breeds like Choctaw hogs, Crèvecoeur chickens, and Caspian horses are actually much more rare than endangered wildlife species that most people are familiar with.” The Conservancy currently lists 51 breeds as Critically Endangered, meaning that they could easily become extinct without careful monitoring and breeding strategies in place. An additional 113 breeds are in less critical categories, but are still in need of conservation.
Source: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/conservation-priority-list