Posted by: Mare F | August 28, 2016

Summertime blues

It’s been a very busy summer here and I’ve fallen behind on so many things. My summer work at school is always very physical and I’m just not as quick about it as I once was. It also seems to take a bit more out of me each year and this summer was the second hottest on record so far which also added to my lack ambition. However, the nights are cooling a bit, very much appreciated in my world, and I’m starting to pick up the pace a bit.


work table 001

I found this table last week and thought that it was perfect for my studio. I got it home and Doug helped me haul it up to the deck. Yesterday morning I sanded the top and the drawer fronts because both of those finishes were rather beaten up. I decided to just give the sides and legs a good cleaning. Last night I put the first coat of Tung oil on the top and drawer fronts after we moved it into the studio.

early studio picture 001

This is what I found when I went in to check on the table this morning! I swear that this was the work of imps and had nothing to do with either the first show of the season last week or the hurried shifting of things to get the table in last night. How could this happen?? Guess what I’ll be doing today?

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Speaking of the first show of the season, I was deeply gratified to have a few repeat customers at Elihu Burritt Day in New Marlborough, MA last Saturday. The weather was lovely, as usual, if warm, and overall the day was delightful. I’m looking forward to the Colebrook Fair this coming Saturday and hope that the weather will be just as nice!


Posted by: Mare F | August 1, 2016

Tour de Fleece 2016

Well, I fell down on this one. Between the summer work at school and the high heat and humidity – leading to more hand watering of the garden beds – I got very little yarn spun and I never did get to the Navajo plying. Not one of my outstanding events.

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I do hope to get more spinning done as the summer progresses and I also want to become more proficient with the drop spindle as I have high hopes of drumming up a group of students to spin during Spinzilla this year.

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That’s my tale of woe. Hope that your week has been more productive.


Posted by: Mare F | July 28, 2016


Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing with cotton shawlettes. I’ve started with a simple knitted triangle shape, because honestly, I haven’t found a solid crocheted triangle shape that I like, and then I’ve chosen a different edging to crochet onto them. I had originally gotten this cotton for an order, but the colors didn’t suit so when I found it again this seemed like a good idea.

001This is the first one that I did. I wanted something feminine, but not too fussy and I think that this worked out rather well. I’m also trying to add more cotton items to my stock for people who are allergic to animal fibers.

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This is the edging I chose for the second shawlette. I still have to finish writing up the patterns…not my favorite thing to do, but since they really are rather relaxing to make and use both knitting and crocheting stitches it just seems like a good idea.

shawlette 001

I couldn’t resist making one up for myself out of a lovely hank of yarn I found in my stash. I love it when surprises work out this well, don’t you?

shawlette 002

I will post the edging book that I’ve been using for these shawlettes next week…I wasn’t quite that organized this week. It’s been put away….sort of…. Do you add crocheted edgings to knitted items?

Posted by: Mare F | July 25, 2016

Dyeing party

A week this past Saturday we had our first dyeing party of the year. It was a humid, hot day with very little breeze which made it a true act of love…or craziness. I discovered that my lightweight canopy doesn’t do well stored in the car in hot weather. The plastic connectors lost their rigidity and it became a free-flowing nightmare in the yard. Happily one of the wonderful women attending brought her canopy so we had  more shade. Really, only two women did any serious dyeing and it was great to see what they brought.

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This is avocado chunks making the dye. She used a rhubarb leaf mordant, of which we were all very cautious around as it is toxic, and the results were very interesting. Some of the yarns were dyed in just the rhubarb and some were dyed in the avocado.

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These are the results from those two dye sets. I love the variation. Another woman brought natural dyes and they were great fun to watch as well.

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This is a madder combination to dye deep read. I didn’t believe that a natural dye could really pull off a deep, rich color, but I was very much mistaken. I’m looking forward to getting some of these dyes to work with next time. Oh, and I’ll actually have some wool prepared to dye…thought I had some, but I discovered that morning that I was  mistaken.

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This is the end result of the madder dye. It’s lovely and she also took a gallon jar home with yarn and a blue natural dye home for solar dyeing which came out quite nicely as well. I’m hoping for nicer weather for the next party so that we aren’t melting into our chairs and keeping our distance from the dye pots. It’s too much fun to waste on a steamy day!


Posted by: Mare F | July 21, 2016

Reading Corner Thursday

This past Saturday we had our first dyeing party of the year and I’ll post more about that on Monday. The reason I mention it today is that one of the delightful women who attended, and well prepared she was, gave me a copy of Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

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I got lost in it on Saturday and of course this lead to me starting a tea cozy on Saturday night. I love the simplicity of the directions and the accompanying photo. I can see quite a few new tea cozies developing from this wonderful addition to my crafting library. Thank you, Jenna!!!

Posted by: Mare F | July 18, 2016

A surplus of baby woobies….

It seems to be that when I get an order for something I then focus on making several of the same thing for stock, but I always seem to run out of certain items just the same. I’m not quite sure how or why this happens, but my latest restocking binge is for baby afghans. I’ve sold 3 in the past few months…all of which I had to make up, so my goal now is to make at least 6 to have on hand. We’ll see how that goes.

woobie 2 dones 001

I’ve also decided to do a couple of different sizes. My go-to pattern for years was  a crocheted carriage (pram) cover which is approximately 2′ x 4′ and big enough to keep mom and child warm during wee small hour feedings and stay with the child until age 4 or 5 at least. I’ve also added a slightly smaller version for a crib blanket that won’t be bunchy or bulky in the crib and will fit nicely over a car seat. It just felt like I should be giving choices to my customers…

stock afghan 001

Traditional colors have also been the norm for me of late, although the pink is for girls and blue is for boys was originated in the  1940s or 1950s I believe. I like doing brightly colored afghans for children, but it seems that most people are looking for the pastel standby. Maybe when I’ve hit 6 afghans in sedate colors I’ll make a wild one or two and see how it goes now.

baby woobie 001

I’m almost there!






















Posted by: Mare F | July 11, 2016

Tour de Fleece – week 2

It’s not gone quite as well as I’d hoped this past week. Between being back to work after 2 1/2 weeks off and the hot, humid weather we experienced, my expectations far exceeded my capabilities. I did, however, manage to finish up spinning the roving that I started around Christmas. How did I get so distracted from spinning that it took me that long???

finished 001

My plan was to try Navajo plying for my first challenge, but after watching a few YouTube videos on the process I decided that I liked the singles that I had spun too much to rough them up through a learning process. Off I went to the stash room for solid colored roving.

roving 001

I can remember looking through the baskets and thinking when I saw this one, “ooohh, I like the colors.” I got it downstairs and unwrapped before it dawned on my that the goal was to get a single color roving. I am soooo predictable at times. Back upstairs I went.

roving 003

This is the roving I finally chose. It’s a lovely natural Blue Face Leicester and deliciously soft. I think it will be the perfect single to start Navajo plying and now I just need to get it spun before my next challenge day….I should probably check up on that one.



Posted by: Mare F | July 7, 2016

Gardening chores

So far I’ve fallen down on all of the marvelous plans I had for my dyeing gardens. I’ve managed to get a dozen marigold plants –  both lemon yellow and orange – into the vegetable bed. I still have a rose/peony bed full of weeds, a bed with sage and campion pinks amid the weeds, and a front bed with lovely irises and nothing else.

gardens 002


I have had the past 2 weeks off so I’ve managed to get a good deal of the yard work caught up and went on a delightful and unexpected adventure to buy plants. The beds should be much improved by the end of summer and downright amazing next year. I still haven’t managed a dye garden so I will have to be content with my marigolds this year, but there is always the option of black walnuts so all is not lost.

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Do you have a favorite natural dye plant?

Posted by: Mare F | July 4, 2016

Tour de Fleece

Tour de Fleece 2016 started on Saturday so I hauled my wheel, spinning chair, and roving to the deck bright and early. We’d had a patch of hot, humid weather, but a cold front moved through Friday evening and not only gave us some much needed rain, but also brought cooler temps and a brisk breeze. Perfect, I thought for spinning on the deck!

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Once I settled into my spinning I realized that the breeze was a bit more than brisk, it was downright aggressive. There was a rather soothing hum produced by the wind through the spokes, but it was becoming a bit tiresome watching the spinning with one eye and monitoring the roving in the basket with the other. When the wheel began to spin in the opposite direction I gave it up, but was pleased that with the lulls I had managed to spin for over an hour on the start day.

deck time 005

I managed to add a bit more to the yarn I’d last spun over a month ago and my goal right now is to get this bobbin loaded up so that when the first challenge day comes, I think next Saturday, that I can try my hand at Navajo plying. Are you spinning for this event?


Posted by: Mare F | July 2, 2016

Reading Corner Thursday

Filet Crochet by Betty Barnden is a little treasure I found at my local library. It has wonderul charts of both animals and all over patterns that has just inspired me to dig through my crocheting cotten and bead to make up some lightweight summer scarves. I’ve been itching to try this but couldn’t locate the the patterns that I wanted all in one place. I love it when everything comes together.



There will be update as I want to make some filet crochet curtains for my kitchen also….So many projects, so little time….

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