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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Holidays

Christmas has come and gone for another year leaving us at Thistle Cove Farm releaxed, refreshed and renewed. We choose to not get caught up on the trappings of the retail part of Christmas, choosing instead to focus upon Christ and His birth, the trip to Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt and the return journey back to the land of His parents. The actual day was spent just the two of us, surrounded and cozy with all the animals, wonderful ancient church music on XM radio and lovely munchings as opposed to a sit down meal. The horses had flakes of alfalfa with corn and carrots as a side dish, the sheep were given hay and corn, cats were given tuna and dogs given chewies. Christmas is always a big hit with the animals and the humans.

Just the week before Christmas I went to two on stained glass and the other on books. I've always wanted to make books and have now had my chance. It was loads of fun and my small journal is definitely a keepsake as is the stained glass butterfly hanging in the kitchen window.

Last night we had snow and now, two days later, it looks like the "traditional" Christmas. It's cold, finally, and the temps are in the 20's and not expected to climb much higher.

I've been working on the Jan/Feb issue of Fiber Femmes and e-mailing things to Leslie to put into our e-zine format. If you'd like to write for Fiber Femmes, please visit our e-zine for submission guidelines. We would like not only articles but guild reviews and photos of fiber animals, folks, events and happenings.

Best wishes for a happy 2007; may the worst of 2007 be from the best of 2006!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Appalachian Crafts

There's a new shop in the county, Appalachian Arts Center, and it showcases crafters and artists from a wide area of southern Appalachia. I'm especially proud of the name for I suggested it and feel it suits our area and representational crafts of Appalachia. The AAC is on Route 19, west of the county seat and just before reaching the line between Tazewell and Russell Counties. Sarah Romeo is the director and she uses the old country store to present the wares in a comfortable and cozy setting.

Several times a year, special exhibits display talents and offerings such as this quilt exhibit. All quilts were made by a woman who lived in the Cove Area of Tazewell County which is where Thistle Cove Farm is located. There's a continuity in a quilt, the work of women's hands. So much of what we women do is fleeting but absolutely necessary to the survival of the species. A meal cooked over an open fire or cooked on a stainless steel stove takes days to think about, buy the ingredients, prepare the food for cooking and baking and then the actual stove time. A quilt, lovingly made, one stitch at a time, with time enough to pray for the people who will sleep under its warmth. Mrs. Elswick made clothes for her family and the scraps were saved for quilting. She would pour over Grit or other family and farming magazines and find pictures of patterns she liked. Her husband would take those tiny pictures, sometimes nothing more than an advert in the back of the magazine, and, painstakingly, with pencil and paper make a pattern to size. Mrs. E. used a quilting frame on ropes and during the dark winter days she would lower the frame, stitch on her quilt and, when it was time for bed, the frame would be raised to the ceiling until next time.

The work of her hands, her legacy to her family, loved ones and even those she never knew, lives on and we are all grateful beneficiaries.

Other women made dolls for their girls, another time honored tradition. These dolls are hand crafted beginning with the muslin cloth which is dyed with tea or coffee, and ends with the giving of the name. Each doll is given a name, the name's meaning and signed by Ica. Each doll is a work of art down to the hair which is wool from the sheep on my farm.

My friend, Charlie, makes the lap dulcimers and they make beautiful music as well as being beautiful. Lap dulcimers, like the banjo, are supposed to be truly Appalachian in design, but with the roots in other countries. Lap dulcimers are said to be similar to the stringed instrument played by David in the Old Testament. Banjo roots are in Mali, Africa; I believe that's the correct spelling.

I don't know who the painter is but I like the detail and it makes me think of John Henry, the steel driving man. There's a statue just across the state line in West VA; John Henry was a real man who is now a legend and difficult to separate the legend from the man. This painting does him justice, I think.

Crochet is lovely work and one doesn't frequently see work as beautiful as this. I know doilies aren't popular but I still like and use them. Antimacassars came into being because people didn't bath everyday. Water and time were precious resources and women would use antimacassars to cover the backs and arms of sofas and chairs to protect from body oils and dirt. Antimacassars used to be more solid in design in order to offer the most protection from dirty shirt sleeves and hair. Doilies came about as functional decorations and were used to protect table tops from being scratched by coffee mugs or ash trays, etc. Now they deserve to be framed and hung on the wall, a reminder of gentler and harsher times.

On my way home, I passed a barn with a Christmas wreath...just lovely! I adore when people use simple decorations in honor of the Christmas season. Simple decorations add dignity and deorum, a sense of orderliness and propriety that enhances the season and keeps one focused upon the reason we celebrate Christmas. No, I dare say Dec 25 isn't the day Christ was born but it's as good a day as any to celebrate, to hold near and dear those in my life I cherish, to share the joy as well as the reason for Christmas. To believe, not in Santa, but in the life everlasting first brought to us by a babe in a manger. Please, slow down this Christmas season and stay true to those things that matter most in, friends, Christ.

As I top the mountain, "my" valley is cast before me in all its beauty!I always have to stop and admire the view and think about the verse, "I cast mine eyes unto the hills from which cometh my help". No matter where I rest my eyes, there's beauty and more to see and share. If you live in the mountains, you're lucky enough!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Donna Druchunas, Fiber Femmes Guest Blogger

Blog readers are in for a treat...Saturday, November 11, 2006 Donna Druchunas will be a guest blogger at Fiber Femmes.

Donna, author of The Knitted Rug, 21 Fantastic Designs has a new book.

Arctic Lace: Knitted projects and stories inspired by Alaska's Native knitters is now available and features fifteen beautiful projects and photographs. Donna writes of her visit to Alaska in search of one of the world's most luxurious fibers, qiviut, fiber from the musk ox. She also writes of The Oomingmak Knitter’s Co-op, the Yup’ik and Inupiat People, the Musk Ox Farm and designing your own patterns.

Her article ties in with her blog which you'll want to visit...the sooner the better!

Make a note to return tomorrow and read Donna's guest article

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Julia Roberts & Knitting & Crochet News

The buzz in recent news articles says actress Julia Roberts has signed as both star and producer for the film, "The Friday Night Knitting Club". Her production company, Red Om will tell the Kate Jacobs story of a single mother who raises a teenage daughter while running a Manhattan knitting shop.

"New School Knitting: The Influence of Elizabeth Zimmerman and Schoolhouse Press" and other knitters of renown will be at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology's Gallery of Design. Molly Greenfield's exhibit also chronicles women's history, the women's movement as well as the history and design of knitting in the USA.

In Canada this month, a biotech enzyme fiber process has been developed by Naturally Advanced Technologies. NAT provides sustainable, environmentally friendly fibers and fabrics and has developed CRAILAR and will launch it in 2007. CRAILAR was developed as an alternative fiber to fiberglass and cotton and is designed "to unlock the economic potential of industrial hemp".

United Kingdom fiber news - Rachael Matthews has a new book, Garden of Eden, with design items including candle stick holder w/candle, fruit, tea cup, saucer and spoon...all made in wool yarn.

The Wool Clip is located in Caldbeck, UK and is a group of 15 women including farmers, spinners, dyers, knitters, crocheters and other fiber artists.

In Hassocks, a new shop has opened: Catchpenny's Wool and Gift Shop and offers classes; among them "the Happy Hassocks Hookers workshops - sounds like Fiber Femmes FUN!

Do you have knitting, crochet, dyeing, spinning, weaving or other fiber arts news articles? Let us know and we'll share the news.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fiber Femmes, SAFF and autumn fun

Fiber Femmes November/December 2006 issue is now on-line with interesting articles, fabulous photos, great reviews and loads of fun!

SAFF has come and gone. Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair is the only fiber festival in the southeastern region of the USA and it's the last one in October. SAFF has grown quite a bit since the Winston-Salem, NC days and it now boasts a fine collection of vendors as well as some excellent contests and a great place for folks to show their animals. It's small enough so one can easily get around to visit every vendor and, if one hasn't dawdled too much, another trip can be made before day's end. Even so, more than 5,000 people visited this year and plans for 2007 are already in the making.

Carolyn Blalock and SAFF volunteers deserve accolades for a job, most exceptionally, well done!

Fiber Femmes sponsored the Skein Competition this year and there were many lovely skeins of hand spun yarn on display.

The Southeastern Felter's Guild had a booth and several people demonstrated wet and needle felting. Some members had wonderful felted items for sale and display. Cynthia Mollenkopf had felted Santa's britches...very cute!

Leslie, of G
reenberry House, Chris of Wooly Buns, and Linda of Goin' Up Cripple Creek and I had a delightful visit at SAFF and are already planning for our 2007 meet-up. Next year, we'd like to rent a house and have a huge p.j. party; that would be icing on the cake! I was reminded of elementary school when we would "show and tell" but this time the "show and tell" were fiber purchases and we each were winners.

Leslie, on right, and Chris at the *beginning* of SAFF...this taken just a short while after they arrived! Those gals looked TOO tired but it had been an exhausting drive from Meadows of
Dan. They reported it rained buckets all the way but it was a safe drive and that's a blessing.

I visited with the gang from Columbia, SC and while they knitted, I plopped. I was exhausted from teaching "How To Increase Farm Income" so I just enjoyed their company and caught up with their lives. Millie, knitter extraordinaire, took a "spirit woodworking" class and started carving a walking stick. The best news...Nancy is recovering from cancer and looks great!

It's finally getting cooler at Thistle Cove Farm and I'm getting caught up on winter prep chores.
Linda and I are getting together to do some natural dyeing. I've got walnuts, Osage Orange sawdust and fruit, fungi and I need to get some sumac fruit. Linda is my apprentice for the Virginia Folklife Program; I'm teaching Traditional Fiber Arts, and we've several visits planned over the course of a year.

Life is always good on the farm and each season brings a joy of its own. Life is cyclical and revolves around the seasons and the animals. The sheep are growing some mighty fine fleeces and I'm looking forward to making felted chair pads from some of the 2006 clip. I'm doing some charity knitting - Red Scarf project comes to mind - and enjoying the time allotted to me.

Mom called last night and Mrs. C. passed away. She was a lovely woman, 94 years old, and every time I saw her she had thankfulness in her heart and praise on her lips. She was always looking forward to "going Home" but enjoyed her earthly days as well. I saw her two Sunday's ago and she told me of God's goodness in her life and exhorted me to "keep the faith". I'm sure that today there was shouting and rejoicing in Heaven the likes of which haven't been seen for a while. She was a blessing in my life and my life was richer for having known her.

Two things are brought to mind when I think of her...she gave me her iron frame double bed many years ago. I had told Aunt Bonnie I wanted to sleep in an iron frame bed so Aunt Bonnie checked around. Mrs. C. had an iron frame bed, that she and her husband had bought as their marriage bed in the late 1920's. Just as soon as they could afford a "nice wooden bedroom suite" the iron frame bed was put in the shed and stayed there many decades. When Mrs. C. heard I wanted an iron frame bed, she graciously gave me her bed. I've slept in that bed for about twenty years and always thought of Mrs. C. just after snuggling in and just before sleep.

The other thing I think of was what she told me at church one Sunday. She had gotten sick and had to go live in Maryland for a short while...just until she recovered and could return home. She lived at home until a few days ago when she became ill and had to go to hospital. She was praising God for getting sick and having to go to Maryland. She said, "Why, I never would have gone to Maryland on my own so God sent me there. He knew those people in that home needed to hear about Him so he sent me. Isn't that wonderful?!"

What a lesson...always be ready and always be thankful. Mrs. C., you and Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Clarence and Grandfather Lipscomb save a seat for me. Sooner or later, I'll be coming on home.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Romania & Autumn

Life on a farm is hectic most days but especially, or so it seems, during the autumn months. Getting everything ready for the snow, wind, rain, cold; making sure the animals have shelter, getting the last of the hay put up. All this and more take up time, lots and lots of time, and still everyday living has to be scrunched in there as well.

The barns are almost finished being re-sided and they look great. The stables dates to before the War Between the States while some of the other buildings are a bit newer. We're quite pleased with the results and are now working to get some lofts ready for hay, a small fiber studio prepared for winter, some run-in shelter's for one open pasture and a few other things.

One things for certain, work on a farm is never completed. One just reaches a stopping point and then...stops. Rest, relaxation and worship are just as important as work, perhaps more so when one is weary or faith is wavering.

Leslie and I traveled to McLean, VA for a small festival last weekend and it would have been a much nicer venue had the weather cooperated. We had cold, wind and rain and the turnout was quite small; probably fewer than 500 people...much fewer. It was disappointing, especially considering the twelve hour round trip drive, week of preparation, loss from home and job and all the other things that go lacking when I'm off the farm.

Last week I dyed some of the Romney Shetland blended yarn, some Romney Shetland Mohair yarn and some plain, as in down breed, yarn. The natural colored brownish gray Romney Shetland blend had the richest depth of color. The brown, gray and black blend from both the Romney and the Shetland sheep had such a sheen and lustre and the light virtually dances across the yarn. For most of it I used Jacquard dyes but for two skeins I used walnut with an alum mordant. That result was simply beautiful! There's a dance going on with the various browns that leads the eye on a merry chase.

I'm in process of gathering more walnuts which are abundant around here. There are several trees within a mile and all I have to do is take a bag and gather the nuts before the squirrels get to them.

A closing teaser for you...the photo of the Granny spinning from a distaff on a drop spindle was taken in August 2006 when I took a fiber trip to Romania. I'm working on an exhibit of historical fiber artifacts such as antique drop spindles, shepherd's vests, distaffs and other items with photographs to travel across the USA. Stay tuned for more photos and a travelogue on Romanian Fiber Femmes and, if you're interested in taking such a trip to see a quickly vanishing way of life, let us know. We're in process of putting together an intimate Romanian Ukrainian Fiber and Craft Tour for August 2007.

Please visit the September October 2006 issue ofFiber Femmes. While you're there, sign up for our FF Newsletter and talk about Fiber Femmes on your blogs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fiber Femmes & tip

What Works for Me Wednesday has a good idea about Wednesdays being used for tips and hints.

The major hint I have (for me, actually) some time in to update this blog! I'm woefully behind and have lots of lovely photos of Romanian women who are spinning (using drop spindles and distaffs), weaving and doing all manner of fiberish things. The photos are downloaded, now I just need to update this blog.

In the meantime, Fiber Femmes is current (thanks Leslie!) and is our "second-best issue". the task at hand...speaking of tips, we're entering Autumn here in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia. I farm and have rare breed, hypoallergenic American Curly horses and rare breed Shetland, Romney and Merino sheep. My hands are usually a wreck but there's a mini-spa treatment I give myself that not only makes me feel special, my hands receive the majority benefit.

Into a cupped palm, pour two or three tablespoons of sugar. On top of the sugar, pour two or three tablespoons of olive oil and scrub. The sugar acts as a mild abrasive, wearing away those, hopefully, small bits of torn skin and worn cuticles. The olive oil acts as both lubricant and sealer making the skin soft and smooth.

In the winter I use this treatment several times a week, sometimes once a day. It just depends on what kind of day I've had. If I've had to break ice in the horse/sheep water troughs, this treatment quickly makes my hands feel warm and loved. I usually wear gloves but there are some things that have to be done with naked hands...cutting twine on bales of hay for example. No matter how careful I am, I usually end up scratching one, or both, hands on stubbly hay.

That's my best tip, for today at least. God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Good Sabbath one and all...

It's a beautiful day here at Thistle Cove Farm --- the sheep and horses all graze peacefully on the hillsides; the kitten is playing with his toy, the dogs are taking naps and the older cats are snoozing or keeping watch.

A kitten would think, with as many livestock as I've helped castrate, I would know a male from a female. And I do, except when I'm in a hurry it's terribly easy to make mistakes, some of which are drastic and others just funny. This is a funny mistake - the kitten, Rascal, isn't a girl. Rascal is a boy...all boy. We took him to the vets to have his first shots and an examination. The vet flipped Rascal on his back and proclaimed, "a nice boy you've got here." My eyes widened and I took another look, this time not a quick peek but a slow look. Yep, Rascal is still a cutie and he's a boy.

At any rate, some mistakes are funny, some are drastic but they all provide fodder for the mill stone. The men are here delivering more hemlock lumber and the barns are looking great! It's nice to watch pros at work and know these old barns will still be here when I'm long gone.

I'm out of pocket for a while and it's unknown if I'll have computer or internet access. If I do, your Fiber Femme Foreign Correspondent (thanks Leslie!) will send a note from here and there to yon.

At any rate, be safe and live with God's blessing.

Friday, July 28, 2006

VA Highlands Fest

This weekend is the 58th Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA. The first festival was held in 1948 on the "Marthas' " (Martha Washington Inn) front porch in conjunction with the Barter Theatre (State Theatre of VA) founding. Robert Porterfield wanted to celebrate the cultural heritage of Abingdon while preserving at the same time. The Highlands Festival has grown into a regional festival and is touted as one of the top 100 festivals in the USA. Throughout the year, more than 100 volunteers beaver away making this Festival one of the finest in the country.

The Fiber Arts & Quilt Show is one weekend only on July 29-30 and Leslie Shelor and I will be in the Grand Hall at the Virginia Higher Education Center.

This is a fabulous festival, run by dedicated volunteers, and is always a great time; come on out and visit us at the Higher Ed Center and then go to downtown Abingdon to see the rest of the festival. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The unicorn is the symbol for lost and wayward animals. It's said anywhere a unicorn is, other animals know that place to be one of Sanctuary, Peace and Rest.

There has to be a Unicorn residing somewhere on Thistle Cove Farm! While it's true human eyes have yet to see this Unicorn, nevertheless, it's here. Just ask any of the many lost and wayward animals who have made their way here and are now happily ensconced members of the family. Like this kitten whose name we believe to be Rascal. She came strolling up the walkway one dusky evening last week just about the time the household was being put to bed. Dave was the first human she saw and that had to have been planned by either Rascal or the Unicorn. Dave is the one who has final say in whether an animal stays or goes; he's the one feeding us all so he gets the majority vote.

I didn't actually see her until 4:00 a.m. when the dogs decided a bathroom break was in order. I let the dogs out, saw a silhouette and went on the porch to investigate. She got up, stretched and began purring as soon as my hand touched her nose.

Amazing! I've been owned by cats for more than four decades and this is only the second cat I've known to walk in from the elements, claim her home and her humans and put down stakes. The first cat was Rings, an old friend who lived with me for more than twenty-one years. Rings had a sweet nature and, willingly and lovingly, traveled with me, state to state, good times and bad and never once complained. She was always grateful to have food, shelter and companionship and I was grateful to her for her gift of love.

Perhaps Rascal will be a similar companion although I'm hopeful our roots go deep enough not to be transplanted from the farm. I've been asked if I'm a dog or a cat person. That's like asking which child do you love best. Love isn't love when it's divided; only when it's multiplied is it truly love and makes all parties whole and complete.

The horses are staying cool by staying in the barn during the heat of the day and going out early mornings and late afternoons. They are a beautiful sight as they race across the pasture.

More chores to be done, calls to be made and I want to get a dye pot going before dark. Work is never finished but we find a stopping point and then call it quits for the day.

Carpe Diem - pluck the day and make it yours.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Happy Sabbath...

Psalms 50:10 - "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."

Matthew 7:16 - "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

Luke 12:27 - "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Proverbs 15:17 - "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

Psalms 121:1, 2 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."

Genesis 1:11 "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth."

Job 14: 1, 2 "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not."

Song of Solomon 1:2 "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy July 4th, USA

On June 28, 1787, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of complete rupture. For over a month the delegates wrestled with the issue of representation with no breakthroughs, and now patience was wearing thin, emotions were on edge.

A somber George Washington, presiding over this assembly, began to despair of seeing success in the Convention. But the oldest delegate in attendance, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, asked for permission to speak.
This was unusual. The 81-year-old Pennsylvanian up to this point wrote out his remarks and had some one else read them due to his infirmity. But this time he was stirred to rise and address the delegates himself:

"The small progress we have made after four or five weeks... with each other... is a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding... In this situation for this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?

"In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor... Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire could rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it (Psalm 127:1)." I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.

"I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning...and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."

This speech marked the turning point of the Convention.
Within a year the Constitution was ratified by eleven states to establish the first Christian form of government in history.

Ref: America's Providential History, pages 171-173.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Emerson once wrote, "The man who has seen the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight has been present like an archangel at the creation of light and of the world."

It's an awesome thing to ponder upon Creation and the Creator. To know my mind is so finite I cannot comprehend, this side of the veil, what it must have been like there, at the beginning, when all was void. I close my eyes and see darkness and think, "is this void or is this only darkness?"

I've seen "the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight" and gasped aloud at the sheer beauty. In the summer I regularily get up at three in the morning to hear the mockingbird sing. There's a piercing sweetness at that dark hour that can't be found after the sun rises. There's hope for all mankind, peace for the moment and enough joy to carry me into the day.

Every day there's so much beauty a lifetime can hardly hold it and yet, it keeps coming, rolling like the waves on the ocean shore. Beauty and more beauty for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

I've come to realize just how much I need, crave, have to have my daily portion of solitude. It's a drug and I'm addicted; I only want more and never less. It's only when my cup of solitude overflows that I can be a help meet to my husband, a, sometimes, dutiful daughter and daughter-in-law, a good friend. There's so much clamor in the world, so much going to and fro it's no wonder there's a surplus of anxiety and stress in the world.

My life is a quiet life meaning there's very little non-natural noise. My life is spent surrounded by the voices of the horses, sheep, dogs, cats, cattle and birds. Never is the radio used and the television perhaps a couple of times a week. Voices are natural and not canned. I can hear at any given moment what is going on in my world...if the animals are peaceful or at odds with each other, if someone or something needs my attention. I live at life's pace, the pace of the seasons and usually have time to take the dogs for a walk or sit in the sheep pasture and knit. Most of the time we eat slow food, fresh food lovingly prepared and offered as a gift to our bodies. We attempt to treat our bodies like a temple and not a tent.

Annie Dillard wrote, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

In addition to the above, I'm now spending a portion of my days in partnership with Leslie Shelor, Greenberry House. She and I have begun a new venture, Fiber Femmes, an on-line magazine dedicated to supporting, encouraging, promoting and publicizing women the world over involved in the fiber industry and arts.

Leslie has great strengths in many areas, including web and blog design. She has a great talent for understanding computer language and templates and settings and high tech things. She's steady, patient, kind and a never-ending source of strength and, even better, believed, and continues to believe, in the dream of Fiber Femmes.

Leslie and I are the original Fiber Femmes and have united our trust and faith in each other and in a common dream and goals. We're encouraging, supporting, promoting and celebrating each other; in turn, the strength that is two can encourage, support, promote and celebrate Fiber Femmes the world over. Individual and united we're

Fiber Femmes - Great Women Building a Gracious World

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer & A Trip

We've reached and passed the Summer mark for 2006...the longest day of the year, the day with the most sunlight (if you didn't have rain that is...) and it's all "downhill" from here.

How is it the most wonderful day of the year brings the most sadness?

Farm folks live by a seasonal calendar and not by a monthly calendar. If the weather is good and the hay needs to be cut...we cut hay. We've been known to have frost every month save August and this year has been very cool and wet. A really good month for most growing things, especially weeds and wild flowers, but it's been a little dicey figuring out when to cut hay.

Blackberry Winter was late this year; very late and very, very cool. That means a good blackberry season though and Daddy and Mother report a gallon can be picked in twenty minutes. If one wants to move more quickly in this heat (surely not!), a gallon can be picked in even shorter time. They live in central VA and their season is a couple of weeks behind us. They should have more blackberries than they can use by end of July. Daddy has a beautiful garden and orchard and raises all manner of vegetables and fruits. My vegetables aren't doing as's been too cool at night so I'm hopeful with the increased heat of summer, the garden will catch up.

I've missed a couple of appointments due to farm conflicts. As noted, we sheared sheep and they are happy campers all. Even the older sheep (and there's more than a few oldsters!) have been witnessed cavorting and leaping in the pasture like lambs. Everyone is elated to be rid of their winter coats and, even so, are still panting like dogs in the heat.

Today, the Sabbath, sees everyone quiet and calm. We've already had several storms and more are expected today and the rest of the week. It's good for the hay field and I can see a daily difference in the increased growth.

Today is a day of rest, relaxation and recreation, a time for reflection. Just a few short weeks ago, Daddy, Mother and I met at the West Virginia cabin and enjoyed the company of friends and relatives. I love going to the cabin; it's on a road that was paved several short years ago and it's only been in the last six or eight years telephone service went from party to private line. Electricity has been extended up the river and now almost everyone boasts electric lights instead of camp fires and candle light or flash light only.

The view from Steve's front porch:

We visited my brother's farm in Randolph County and it's a beauty! I'm so proud of Steve and his accomplishments...he's a gifted person and hard worker and anything he puts his hand to is successful. This old fence forms the property line between two farms.

Daddy's family is Bennett and Hamrick but they married with the Mills over on Mills Mountain. We decided to visit the old school house (pot belly stove and inside of the one room school house above), church and graveyard. It was an hour's drive, across several mountains, just to get to the forty minute drive on a dirt road, across a couple more mountains so we could pay our respects.

They had no electricity no Mills Mountain and lighting was provided by oil lamps hung high on walls.

They did have a girls/women/ladies and boys/men/gentlemen bathrooms but visitors didn't tary in the winter and had to remember to check for snakes in the warmer months.

These facilities serviced the church also so I guess some male child was given "snake duty" upon first arriving for services.

Washing up was done at the pump, just outside the school house and a respectable distance from the outhouse. Having many years of practice, Daddy grabbed the pump handle and started pumping away. In just a very few seconds, cold refreshing mountain water sprung from the "tap". It taste a lot like iron and a bit like sulfer as does most of the water in this central part of Appalachia. No priming was required of the pump which surprised me.

We visited the church, next door, where the original lighting is still being used (although now electrified) as are a lot of the other furnishings, including this beautiful print of the Lord's Supper still in its original frame.

Further down the road was the cemetery where family lore has it Daddy's Grandfather is buried. Mountain people were, by necessity perhaps?, hard people and Grand-Daddy, Ernest Ray Bennett was put out on his own at age eleven to make his way in the world. It's easy to judge, especially from a distance, but in the late 1800's Appalachian times and people were hard and tough. Being cast into a frosty world at such a tender age didn't dampen Grand-Daddy's spirit and he's remember as a kind and gentle man who, although small in statue and short in frame, stood as a giant among men.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people who got their start in life due to the encouragement and generosity of Ernest Ray Bennett. One of the largest landowners in West Virginia, now owning more than 100,000 acres, got his start with a $1,000 loan from Grand-Daddy. God only knows what that $1,000 represented to Grand-Daddy, him with a family of thirteen children and whoever else needing a bed to sleep in and a hot meal.

The cemetery is full of now un-marked graves. Time and the elements have worn away the hand chiseled names and dates. Like Daddy always tells me, "Mother Nature and Father Time will make dust of us all."

We visited on Decoration Day and, even in that remote corner of the Appalachian Mountains, people remembered. Flowers and flags decorated graves of those fallen in war, children who didn't get a chance to suckle and those living a long life and dying a natural death.

My favorite though are the wild honeysuckle, mountain laurel and rhododendron planted by people who have, in all liklihood, gone on before. Those who knew that time erases all memory and yet by planting the wild flowers ensured those silent sentinels would stand the test of time. While those of us left behind on earth might forget, God in His heaven would forget only when the East stops meeting the West.

Angels, and a great cloud of witnesses, stand rejoicing, waiting on us all.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Storms, Good-Bye

And it rained and it rained and it rained.

Anyone remember Andy Griffith's "What it was, was football"? We had a beautiful light show complete with sound effects around 3 a.m. this morning. I would have enjoyed it more except the dogs were trying to sleep under me, beside me, on top of me. The main reason I didn't enjoy the storm more was sheep. Sheep as in we were going to finish shearing this morning but I forgot to put them up last night and wet sheep cannot be sheared.

Oh joy...not.

So, my darlings are carrying Lord only knows how many extra pounds of wet fleece and I'm still up against the question...when will we finish shearing? It's totally my fault and I feel foolish. I should have put them in the barn last night but I forgot. By the time we got the mare and her colt loaded in the horse trailer and then I finished evening chores, I simply forgot. I did spend two hours in a tub of HOT water, trying to alleviate the pain of a pulled shoulder muscle. I've noticed the older I get, the more attention I have to pay to pain and find ways of alleviating and dealing with it. When I was younger, I would work through the pain and it would, eventually, dissipate.

Some of my time has been spent on a new venture called Fiber Femmes that Leslie Shelor and I have started. Fiber Femmes focuses on women world wide who are involved in all aspects of the fiber industry. We'll showcase, promote, publicize, have fun and, hopefully, make some money, with this new on-line e-magazine.

In order to help promote Fiber Femmes, we've got a blog where we talk about what's happening on our farms, with our animals, our fiber projects, interesting things, etc. We've having a lot of fun and think we'll fill a very large niche market. There are lots of magazines for knitters, crocheters, some for weavers, some for fiber but none that cover all of the fiber industry.

We're looking for folks to write articles, send in photos, buy advertising and join in our fun. If you're interested, check out the Fiber Femmes and let us know.

In the meantime, I've got to get to farm chores and then prepare some food. A dear man passed away and his wake is tonight. Clyde Woods was a gentleman and beloved friend; go in peace, Clyde. We loved you well.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Komi Kids

The Komi Kids Yarn Project started from a 2004 trip to Russia taken by Dave and I when I was hired to travel to three Russian regions as a Rural Tourism Consultant. While we were in the Komi Republic, Siberia, in the city of Syktyvkar, we visited The Children's House. This is home for a few dozen special needs children, who will stay until age twenty-five and then leave to make their way in the world. All children are taught basic home making skills; the girls sewing, knitting and crochet and the boys woodworking and gardening. Some children also learn computer and other skills that will help them earn a living in the outside world.

Dave and I came home determined to help...somehow, someway. I'm the resident farmer and shepherd at Thistle Cove Farm and use the fiber from both American Curly horses to spin, knit and weave. I'm also on several fiber lists and decided to ask folks if they would like to join me in sending the girls yarn. So, in 2004, the first of several boxes of yarn were sent to Syktyvkar, The Children's House. In 2005, we sent more boxes of yarn and in April 2006, Woman's Day magazine published a "Reader's Snapshot" of the KKYP and a photo of me bottle feeding lambs.

People all over the USA have responded out of their love of fiber and the knowledge they could do some warm good in this, sometimes, frosty world. The Komi Kids Yarn Project isn't a not for profit organization; it's simply two people who saw a need, told others about that need and dozens have responded. Because we're simply two people, we, probably quite often, don't move fast enough for some. We live on "farm time" and it's a slower pace than "city time". The needs of farming, shepherding and the animals take up the greater portion of my time. Dave's soon to be 93 year old mother lives with us and she requires a great deal of care as well.

All that to say, we still ship boxes of yarn to Russia and we meet with Russian visitors and give them knitting supplies to hand carry home. We care deeply about the people whom we will never meet who also care about children in Russia whom they will never meet. It gives a nice circularity to life that's quite appropriate to farm life.

I've spoken with the most amazing people, heard the most heart rendering tales and been blessed well beyond my deserving. All, save one woman, have been gracious, kind, generous and have given out of an overflowing heart. They have given knowing they receive nothing in return except the knowledge some girls in Russia, in frigid cold Siberia, will be warmed twice...the first time by the loving gifts of yarn sent from America and the second in wearing the garments they knit and crochet.

Suzy, in CA, has become a friend and not only a friend but a shining example of how God is in the details. The Pelican Knitters, in FL, chose this as a project and rounded up skein after skein of delightful yarn to warm the children's hearts and fingers. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School in Elma, NY kindergarten class in NY chose this as their Lenten project. The stories become more beloved in the telling and warm the hearts many times over.

Thank YOU for reading and hearing about the Komi Kids; for responding out of the generosity of your hearts. My prayer is for God to give you, the giver, ten times over, the love, spirit of sharing and generosity you have shown to girls you and I will never know. I ask God to bless you, abundantly and overflowing with His goodness, grace and mercy, that your lives will be so full of His blessings you'll continue to respond to the needs when He pricks your hearts. And, when people misunderstand you and seek to cause harm against you, I pray their efforts will be to no avail.

The Bible tells us to cast our bread upon the waters and it will return to us. Scripture, in holy wisdom, doesn't say whether good bread or moldy bread but it promises to return that to us which we have broadcast. Some call it karma, some say what goes around, comes around but this I know from life's experiences...we reap what we sow.

Following are names of people who have given; by the way...this list is in no particular order...just as the boxes tumbled. I've only given first names, last initials and city/state when available. Sometimes a box arrived with no name, just a city/state; sometimes with no first name. In all cases, God knows who you are. May His blessings upon you, yours and the work of your hands.

Howard, Greenville, SC
George & Mickey B., Cedar Rapids, IO
Dianne N., Indianapolis, IN
Carol K., Bensalem, PA
Jean L., Waynesboro, PA
Amy B., Champaign, IL
Bronx, NY
Gloria H., Wellington, FL
Gail S., NY, NY
Carine N., Oakton, VA
Iris S., Coral Springs, FL
Melinda H., Silver Spring, MD
Festa, Springboro, OH
Thompson,Centerburg, OH
Charlene S., Moore Haven, FL
Becky O., Bellevue, NE
Pelican Knitters c/o Cynthia G., Sanibel, FL
Marie W., Isanti, MN
Lorraine T., Indian Trail, NC
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School, Elma, NY
Leslie S., Meadows of Dan, VA
NEFF, Skillman, NJ
Bott, Edgewood, MD
U. Burr, Denver, CO
J. Silverman, Cincinnati, OH
Janice C., Coldwater, MI
Katherine T., Hoboken, NJ
Frieda B., Elk River, MN
B. Promiser, Leominster, MN
Bond, Barrington, IL
L. E. Bruce, Evanston, IL
Kellie N., Jessup, MD
Terri Y., Philadelphia, PA
Jim & Marilyn M., Miamisburg, OH
Mrs. Niespodzinski, Elma, NY
Mrs. Doyle, Elma, NY
Mrs. Gary, Elma, NY
Mrs. Anstett, Elma, NY
Audrey, Elma, NY
Emily, Elma, NY
Angelina, Elma, NY
Joshua, Elma, NY
Chelsea, Elma, NY
Chris, Elma, NY
Hale, Elma, NY
Charlie, Elma, NY
Skyler, Elma, NY
Mark, Elma, NY
Amber, Elma, NY
Tia, Elma, NY
Alexia, Elma, NY
Chanel, Elma, NY
Patrick, Elma, NY
Libby, Elma, NY
Frank, Elma, NY boxes arrive they are re-packaged and addressed both in English and in Russian to be sent to The Children's House.

Monday, May 15, 2006

10 Fiber Pleasures

1. Planning a project
2. A new skein of yarn either bought or hand spun
3. A new fiber related book or pattern
4. Designing and/or writing a pattern
5. Getting started - fleece prep, spinning, knitting, crocheting
6. Knitting in the pasture with my sheep, dogs, cats and horses as companions.
7. Visiting a yarn shop or fiber festival
8. Taking a class - dyeing, knitting, felting...anything fiber
9. Sheep Shearing Day and skirting fleeces
10. Finishing a project

Sunday, May 14, 2006


From Angi, the 7x7 list -

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:

1. visit every continent, especially Great Britain (home of my kith & kin)
2. finish house & farm restoration
3. learn to saddle my horse and ride by myself
4. knit a difficult lace shawl
5. knit something for each family member
6. help put T. through college
7. finish & publish the two books I've begun

Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1. change anyone other than myself
2. convince anyone else to forgive others
3. carry a grudge for very long
4. carry a tune yet sing unethusiastically
5. shear a sheep
6. be deliberately cruel
7. pretend to like someone when I don't

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Husband:

1. his excellent character
2. he's kind
3. he's thoughtful
4. he takes care of his women
5. he's very smart
6. he's supportive
7. he's a man of his word

Seven Books That I Love:

1. The Bible
2. The Mitford Series
3. Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine by Joe Dabney
4. Almost any fiber related book - knitting, spinning, dyeing, etc.
5. everything by Karen Valentine
6. everything by Jeanine McMullen
7. the next good book

Seven Things I say:

1. I love you
2. Please
3. Thank you
4. God bless you
5. You can do it
6. Why not?
7. Be safe

Seven Movies I Have Loved:

1. Chronicals of Narnia - BBC version
2. Whales of August
3. Harold & Maude
4. Fried Green Tomatoes
5. Trip to Bountiful
6. Calendar Girls
7. Woman of the Year

Ladies To Tag: Leslie, Linda,

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ten Simple Pleasures

1. A cup of hot milky, sweet tea or flavored, milky coffee on a cool morning
2. Iced chai tea on a hot afternoon
3. Calm in the household
4. A new knitting magazine or book, a project begun and/or finished
5. Fiber festivals and yarn stores
6. A hug from Dave
7. Stolen afternoon naps on the bed with all the humans, dogs and cats
8. A telephone chat with one of my family or friends
9. Anticipation
10. Any day, any time at Thistle Cove Farm

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Knitting Simply

Paulette Lane, Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar 2006 graciously accepted a couple of my knitting designs for both the 2006 and the 2007 calendar. I suppose reading the wonderful new knitting books and magazines gave me the push I needed to try my hand at design work. A few years ago, I taught myself to knit and it's been hit or miss, pretty much, ever since. I once told somone I had taught myself to knit and she replied, "we're all self-taught". I concede she has a point but I don't think she's correct. There's something totally different about sitting down with a book or magazine, needles and yarn in hand than sitting at a table with other students and a teacher. When any of us knit alone, we miss the energy that group knitting brings to each of us. We miss the dynamics of the social activity.

My designs are quite simple and suited to beginners or knitters needing some quiet time from a more complex pattern. Simple suits my knitting style and my life style. It's hard to find knitting time when I'm also a farmer/shepherd and I enjoy knitting simply for the sake of knitting. There's a calmness and quiet to the act of knitting that brings renewal to my spirit. There's hardly every been a time, since I began knitting, it didn't bring me pleasure. Even the act of ripping out stitches is, mostly, gratifying because I know I don't have to rip out stitches. I can just leave the mistake in the knitting. And, at times, have done just that.

At any rate, one of my favorite things to knit is jewelry and I've played around with different knitted bracelets. My favorite stone to use is Unakite, a green and peachy pink stone found in Scotland and Appalachia and other places in the world. It gives me a feeling of continuity knowing Unakite is found both in where my roots lie and where I now live.

This bracelet is knitted with two strands of 24 gauge gold wire and glass beads. 24 gauge wire is easy on the hands but tends to be very stretchy and will, with heavy use, lose its shape and stretch out. When that happens I either put a few extra twists and kinks in it or I'll rip it out and re-knit.

The KPAD Calendar costs around $14 USD but is well worth the price. There is almost one pattern per day, an amazing number of patterns for a small sum of money.

If you're interested in free patterns a quick Google search shows the Free Knitting Pattern Ring and more patterns than I'll ever have time, or skill, to knit on this lifetime.

One last bit of really good news...Mission Falls is back in action...HURRAH! Their primary designer (maybe their only designer???) Mags Kandis has the most fabulous patterns. As if that's not, wait...there's MORE! Their 1824 Cotton and 1824 Wool are interchangable in their designs! WHOA Nelly! Simply sublime.

While you're knitting simply, be sure to knit happy as well.

Friday, May 05, 2006

O Happy Day....

when a knitting or spinning print publication arrives in the mailbox! Interweave Knits came today and I've spent some pleasurable moments looking at all the things I'll probably never make . Generally, I use magazines and books to give me design ideas, to read the ads, to find out what other Fiber Folk are doing. Interweave always has cutting edge patterns, good color photography, useful ads and a great ending on the inside back cover. This most recent issue, Summer 06, Amy M. Swenson writes of her Trans-Siberian Stash Enhancement experience in Kazan, Russia. She did find some yarn to buy (read the article) but wasn't sure of the fiber content.

Her article brought back some nice memories. When I was in Russia in 2004, I found a wool mohair blend as well as some wooden knitting needles. The yarn was mill spun in Italy and imported into Russia to be sold in a department store corner. While I was standing at the counter, several women were making selections but there was none of the sensual tactile experience such as we have in the USA. No cute yarn stores with cushy, cozy overstuffed arm chairs. No tables and folding chairs to group knit. No nothing. All yarn and materials were kept behind a huge glass counter and when I wanted to fondle the yarn (Do WHUTTTTT?!!!) I had to ask.

Needless to say, fondling was kept to a minimum.

On Wednesday's Dye Day @ Leslie's, I took the following two books and we had a blast going through both of them.

Have you seen the Wendy Knits blog? It's a fun site with loads of information, free patterns and photos of Lucy, resident cat. She has between 3 and 4 million (depending on who is telling the story) blog readers a MONTH! Go visit her blog - NOW - and you'll sell why. The woman is a knitting dynamo and shows no signs of stopping, much less slowing down.

Wendy D. Johnson's new book, Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn, has just been released and it's a hoot. Yes, she's a great knitter but it's her delivery style that makes this book so much fun. She's not above telling of her foibles, her mistakes or "knitting partners" (not to be confused with partners in knitting) and in such a way you can just see the event unfolding on the subway. While the photos are in black and white they are on *real* (gasp!) people...what a novel idea.

Her style of writing is such you can almost imagine her as a old friend who agreed to meet you at Knit Happens
where she's been known to hang out and fondle yarn. While her style is cozy, her wit is rapier with a bit of edgy cynicism thrown in at opportune moments. Her patterns are well written, easily understood and she encourages the reader to pick up those needles and design, then knit, something. To build a foundation, she starts with simpler patterns, and then progress to more difficult patterns that uses the learned skill sets. This is one for the personal knitting library; my only complaint is her book tour isn't anywhere near me. I'd sure like her to autograph my copy of Wendy Knits.

Mason Dixon Knitting
is another great book, in color and came about as a result of a blog partnership. Kay Gardiner, NY, and and Ann Shayne, Nashville, met on a Rowen knitting board and now have their own "close-knit" community of more than ten thousand. These gals have a really wicked sense of humor and I can well imagine the increased sale of Depends when they hit town! (Cool button hole felted bag pattern on their site too.)

Linda and Leslie threatened to steal this book and Leslie crochets! MDK has FUN patterns, COLORFUL patterns and a cheeky tone that makes you want to read some sections out loud. In public, even. You simply won't care because this book is That Good.

From Chapter Two: Knitting Around the House - "My house isn't picky: it doesn't care if that afghan is a little too big or the wrong color. It is the most forgiving recipient of stuff I knit, and it will wear it until I get tired of looking at it."

You GO Girl!

Hmmm.... why did I think of all those people to whom I've given the gift of the work of my hands and they said, "how nice." How nice???? No, ejiit! NOT how nice. How Wonderful! I take my time, my energy, my knowledge, my money and I spent it on a cretin!? Quote the sheepies, "Nevermore!"

Reading through MDK makes me want to get the huge knitting needles out and just start making something. To cast on and see where purl takes me and then take pictures and post them on my blog.

So...what I actually did was print off a copy of the Buttonhole Bag from the MDK blog site. As it happens, I've got some Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn - at least I think I do and if I don't, I'll improvise.

Ain't knitting simply GRAND!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dye Day @ Leslie's

Great blessings were heaped upon my undeserving, but welcoming, head yesterday.

Leslie Shelor hosted a dye day at Greenberry House and Linda and I were the happy dyers. I've used natural dyes but never Jacquard dyes and it was great fun as well as a learning experience.

Linda had her first two skeins of handspun (one being Coopworth and I can't remember the other) and I had one skein of farmspun (blend of 50/50 wool mohair) and one of millspun Suffolk, a down breed. The wool mohair blend is 240+ yards and the Suffolk is 200 yards. The first will be used for a hat and fingerless mittens and the Suffolk will, probably, be overdyed and sold for socks. Suffolk makes a fabulous yarn where great warmth is needed as the high loft traps warm air and holds it close to the body. Linda and I make the decision to spot dye one of our skeins and to immerse dye the other skein. Leslie has a hand spun, hand knitted scarf she'll immerse dye and she graciously allows Linda and I to choose the dye colors of the day.

The three of us have a lot in common and one commonality is we all three love purple/violet. After all, it's the color of royalty and we three are Daughters of the King so purple/violet it is. Turquois and a pale yellow round out the selection.

Leslie uses Jacquard dyes which allows one to control the concentration of the formula. She uses about one tablespoon of dye powder in one cup of hot water and then mixes this in a sports water bottle with a nipple. We're hoping the nipple will make for more directed spot dyeing as we all forget to bring those little plastic ketchup bottles with a narrow top.

The skeins pre-so
ak in hot water and a drop of dishwashing detergent which acts as a surfacant. Doing this allows the yarn to more evenly soak up more of the dye. It's important to immerse the skeins into the hot water because if the hot water is allowed to flow over the skeins, the skeins may very well felt. Of course, the Suffolk isn't going to felt if you beat it with a stick and walk on it but the Romney Shetland wool mohair blend will felt if you look at it crossly.

After thoroughly wetting the skeins they are laid, somewhat evenly, on the countertop and we begin squirting dye onto the skeins. After the yarn is dyed to our liking, it's rolled up in a clear plastic wrap. First, it's rolled length wise and then rolled into
a ball and placed into a kettle with hot water in the bottom. We're using a canning kettle with a jar holder so the wrapped yarn can be laid atop the wire and steamed. The yarn is steamed about thirty minutes which sets the color and then removed, unwrapped and placed into another kettle of hot water into which one cup of vinegar has been added. The vinegar acts as a mordant, setting the color so it won't bleed in subsequent wearings and washings.

Our other skeins and Leslie's scarf are immersed in a kettle of hot water and dye, purple of course! It's allowed to simmer, not boil, for approximately thirty minutes and then lifted out and placed into another kettle of hot water and vinegar. Again, the vinegar acts as a mordant, setting the d

Linda, left, and Leslie, right, are holding the first spot dyed yarn. My two skeins are hanging on my fence with my sheep in the background.

I learned quite a few things and remembered other things as the day lengthened. Basic color wheel knowledge is important...both to know and to remember . I had forgotten when yellow is introduced to any kind of blue/purple, the resulting color My first skein came out quite greenish due to the yellow being used with the violet and turquoise. It's pretty but not as vibrant as I wanted. The second skein has a very vivid purple/amethyst color and is beautiful. I'm thinking a hat and pair of fingerless mittens from this skein and probably some left over. The first skein I might overdye and will be ordering some Jacquard dyes later today.

A most excellent day in the company of talented and gracious friends. Who among us isn't rich when we can count good friends among life's blessings?

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