Fiber Art Feed

Around here....

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inside

  • saying "good morning" with wild blueberry scones
  • meal prep for the week ahead 
  • a little bit of experimentation (dried tansy in a dye bath)

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outside

  • A little bit of wandering - trying to soak up a little sunlight during this dark time of year.  We lost a lot of our snow during a stretch of rain last week.  Today we got a dusting over a layer of ice that has accumulated.  Temperatures are below freezing, so there is some hope that our lakes will start to freeze and we will gently transition into our true winter.

Wishing you a good start to your week, from my little corner of the world to yours!


snow day projects

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IMG_5060When we were not outside playing in the snow, we took advantage of our bonus 'snow day' at home to do some projects.   We're big fans of audible, both the mama and the kids had an audiobook going on and off throughout the day.   I spent time away from my responsibilities of home and made time for some hands-on creativity: making a batch of soap, spinning and knitting, making some jewelry and guiding my daughter in her own soap-crafting efforts (making bath bombs).  

I am a homebody at heart and days like this, where I can just soak up the experience of being at home with my four children are so recharging for me.  And it was quite a productive day as well!


Bumping up my spinning game

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Fall is the time I like to focus more on spinning and knitting.  Lately, I have been playing with wool fiber and roving.   This past week I have been spinning some yarn - dyeing it (lately with food coloring for bright colors) and this evening I figured out to ply yarn.   Like any new experience there was some....learning.   But I figured it out and was able to create some fun balls of yarn that I am excited to knit into something purposeful.   I was gifted a lot of roving so I have a supply for experimentation with color and form.  

As of today anyway I feel I have bumped up my spinning game a bit, and I have the proud feeling of accomplishment of finding success in a process I was able to learn with a little bit of experimentation and determination.


::an experiment with natural dyes - lupines

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A couple of days ago I tidied up our art cabinet.   I sorted through craft supplies, yarn, needles and thread and was reunited with some roving and hand spun yarn I had not touched in a while.  I decided to do something with the yarn.  I checked out the lovely book Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgess from the library which clearly outlined the processes for dying wool with items from nature.   Inspired by the material in the book and the abundance of lupines near by, I decided to do some experimentation.   In Harvesting Color lupines are not featured, but there were very clear instructions for the mordant, a general master dye bath, and an afterbath.

Here's What I did:

Lupine2First I collected lupine petals.  The lupines are blooming in abundance in my neck of the woods.  Many are starting to go to seed.  It was easy to pull off the petals in one quick swipe down the stem and it took my kiddos and I just about 20 minutes to fill up this large basket and 2 gallon bucket with petals.

IMG_3490For the mordant I presoaked my fiber in an alum and water mixture.  I then hung the fiber to dry.

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I created the dye bath by boiling the lupine petals.  I packed in as much as I could without the dye bath boiling over.  I let it boil for over an hour then let the petals soak in the dye bath overnight.  The lupine petals in the water for over 24 hours to create the dye bath, which was a deep purple color.

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After I strained the plant matter out of the dye bath.  I put the fiber in the pot.  I let it sit overnight before I took the yarn and roving out to dry.

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I was anticipating a purple color, but what I got was a beautiful shade of green!

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I am so very pleased with the results!

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I am excited to get this yarn on some needles!  (I am planning on spinning up the remainder of the wool.)   During the process I also dried some lupine petals in our dehydrator. I have hopes to share this process with my kindergarten students during the school year.  I also am planning to use some of the petals in my soaps.

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This was a fun and successful experiment with natural dyes!


bunny yarn

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I have been harvesting fiber from our bunny "Checker" since we got him late last Spring.  Today I put a new spool on my spinning wheel and started spinning some super-soft bunny yarn!

This afternoon I carved out just enough time to spin about half of what I have been collecting so far.  My plan is to add to this spool until I have a usable amount, then dye it and knit it into something simple and functional like a hat, shawl or scarf.

It is great to have hobbies like this to lean into on cold and rainy afternoons, and it is ever so meaningful to have the fiber sourced from our own little fiber bunny.


bunny love

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We are enjoying our bunny "Checker."  Tending to him is easy.  He spends most of his time outdoors in his coop, we do take him in for frequent snuggles - sometimes accompanying us during our evening story times.  On a recent grooming we even able to harvest a little bit of fiber from this little guy, which I am collecting in my fiber bin for future use with plans to spin it into yarn.

He is proving to be a great addition to the homestead. 


::new addition - mr. fuzzy lop

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We have a new addition to the homestead! Today we adopted a rabbit.  

I have had an interest in raising an animal for fiber ever since I started spinning. Fiber rabbits have been appealing, due to their size, low maintenance - and general cuteness.

I have been looking on Craigslist and checking out different websites, and out of the blue a co-worker asked me if I would be interested in adopting her bunny.  That bunny just happened to be this perfect little guy, who was delivered to our home this morning with his hutch and a bag of food.

All day we have been cuddling and brushing him - giving him lots of love and attention.  Zeke, our German Shepherd pup is learning about our new addition as well, figuring out pretty quickly that he is going to be sharing the back yard and needs to stay out of his hutch.

So yes - a welcome new addition to the family - and a new adventure with harvesting fiber.

 


::deep freeze

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We've got snow and cold around here.  Yesterday was one of those days that hurt to breathe it was so cold, dipping to -40 (yes below zero) with wind chills.

Those of you who may be wondering, in our school district we have to consider close to -50 below before our school day gets impacted with a closing or late start - so school went on!

Even when it is this cold, life goes on.  Dogs and people need a bit of outdoor exercise, chickens need to be fed and watered and eggs need to be collected - before they freeze.  But it is quite possible to maintain our lifestyle with these extreme weather conditions, especially knowing that it is temporary.  Seed catalogs are welcome additions in our mailboxes this time of year.

As you may relate, sharing pictures of myself is not something I always go out of my way to do, but I wanted to show-and-tell my completed hand-spun hat!   I am very pleased how it turned out and was surprised with the natural variegation of colors in the yarn that formed the stripes when I knit it up - adding a little flair to our North-woods style around here of snow pants, bulky down jackets, scarves and hats! 

I am also guest posting today over at The Conscious Caterpillar at Xan Holyoak's blog based in Australia....where it is summer temperatures are close to 100 degrees.  Check it out, and stay warm - or cool - wherever you may be!