Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hand-dyed sock yarns

Dyeing in Living Color

Wednesday was a very fun day (as in an adult feeling like a child again.) I always love dyeing yarn, because it reminds me of dyeing eggs as a child. The whole kitchen was busy with jars of dye, yarn, and just a hint of vinegar. I usually kettle dye, but I wanted more distinct color separation this time and a less mottled look. Using old cookie sheets, I placed the yarn in a circle and proceeded to dye three to four inch segments of colors. On one yarn, I purposefully left a little white showing to finish off the colors that I had in mind.

I then placed the hand-painted yarn into the oven at 300 degrees and let it bake for a half an hour. Yes, I did say bake. Wool is naturally fire resistant and the heat helps every last bit of dye soak into the yarn for rich vibrant colors. The dyes I use are completely colorfast and will not fade with normal use.

Although the yarn is of a weight that is commonly used for socks, these yarns would make great hats, scarves, gloves, or whatever project you have in mind.

This brightly colored yarn can be purchased here:

This yarn is my husband's favorite.

It can be found here:

And finally, this yarn is my favorite with the deep rich colors and a subtle silken sheen.

It can be found here:

For those in the Tacoma area, dyeing, spinning, basic knitting, and crochet lessons are available. Contact naturallyspun[at] for details.

Monday, August 3, 2009

ArtRageous was AWESOME!

On July 25th, I was honored to participate in ArtRageous in Auburn, WA. The day was full of wandering apes, recycle and upcycle art, painting, drawing, beading, and spinning. At times there were 20 folks standing or sitting in my booth watching and learning to spin. The children were fast learners and kept me on my toes all day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Garden Time

The past four days have been absolutely gorgeous here in the Pacific Northwet (misspelling intended.) The garden has been roto-tilled and the early crops are in....we will see how this goes over the next couple weeks. Some of the seeds were from a year ago and I hope they will grow. If not, two weeks from now is still good for replanting, if necessary. I bought several different heirlooms seeds that will be so fun to grow. The tomatoes and okra are in wall-of-water teepees and should start out fine. The soil inside the mini-greenhouses is a nice 65-70 degrees :) The spinach, carrots, leeks, lettuce, onions, bok choy, broccoli, and cauliflower are on their own.....:) Normally there are no heavy frosts this late in the year, but it was snowing a week ago, so who knows.

I diagramed the garden and noted the dates in case I have to replant. There are still several rows available and I am waiting on another order of seeds to arrive. Once it warms up more, there are squash, salsify, peppers - the super hot ones, eggplant, melons, basil, and this year I will try corn....

The hardest part will be keeping the over-zealous CoCo (1/2 shepherd and 1/2 chow) out of the garden. I will just have to learn to tolerate her "bored" eyes, and one of the guys will have to take her for a walk more often.

My hands are dirty and my soul is happy :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Library Classes

What a great group! Look at these intensely interested newbies completely unaware of their new fiber addiction ;) And then there is me-the enabler :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So Many Things

Yes, the blog has suffered tremendously over the past three and a half months. December was of course the holidays. We had a great time with the family. The first part of January was spent spinning a bunch of new navajo-ply sock weight yarns. The listed skeins are around a 100 yards or less, although I am currently working on a skein that should be enough for a pair of socks :)

Mid-January I began teaching a series of classes with the Pierce County Library system based on the book, "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin. This book tells Greg's story of a failed attempt to climb K-2 that brought about new schools in the SWAT Valley area of Pakistan. Ironically after all of this hard work and meeting with the Taliban to ensure that the schools would continue, news was released in February that most of these schools have been destroyed and the young girls have been forbidden to seek an education. Sad news after all of the hard work by so many people.

My class is not literary of course, but based on the fiber animals native to the region. I have been giving a brief description of general domestic fibers, the fiber properties and uses, and then sharing information about Camels, Yaks, and Cashmere goats. My favorite part is now I have these wonderful fibers to spin when there is finally time. The class then leads into each person being able to try spindle spinning. Several folks have attended the class and left with big smiles because they had tried spinning before and failed. I start everyone-even the guys-on a smaller lighter weight spindle using BFL wool and the park and draft method. This allows everyone the opportunity to have a few yards of fiber to take home as a sample, and I feel that giving the sense of accomplishment eases the anxiety of learning a new task.

A few weeks ago, a new laptop came to live at our house and I LOVE IT! Finally, I am able to inventory, and keep good business records. The past few years have been spent wondering how to expand when everything was so disorderly. So instead of expanding my two businesses, I had just muddled along adding new items every now and then and not really promoting anything. Now, within the next few weeks, everything should be inventoried-down to the last thumbtack and I will be a happy camper.

Last Saturday my grand-daughter's dad built new cubbies along the far wall of my bedroom/office/studio. It is a big room 12' x 24' with more than enough space for now :) All of my merchandise is tagged and ready to photograph, but the skies are dungeon grey (the flash would probably go off outside) today, so that will wait.

Am I afraid to try to grow my business in this economy, NO. Crocheters, knitters, and felters will never give up their craft. Will I have to be savvy-yes. Will I have to pay attention to trends-yes, some. Will I have to use effective marketing that is penny-wise, YES!

I know that times are tough and I should probably be saving money for that rainy day, but I live in Washington State and nearly everyday is a rainy day. HaHa. My hubby has a secure job with an agency that thrives in bad economies. The recent stimulus bill insured funding for two of the three major programs that the agency runs to help low income and disabled persons with a variety of need-based assistance. I suppose that if things had been different and the news were shaky in our household for future income, then I would have made different choices about the laptop and expansion......or maybe not :)

Please remember to check both of my stores on Etsy often:

and follow me on twitter as: naturallyspun

I am also on Ravelry, indiepublic, and facebook as naturallyspun, although I rarely check these social places right now due to the time that it is taking to organize.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been up to and HAVE A GREAT DAY~

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And The Winner Is.....

The contest is over and I truly appreciate each of you who stopped by and participated in my blog questionnaire. FairySari has won the prize drawing and I will be making up a special custom prize for her according to her favorite fibers and weight of yarn. This is going to be much fun and I look forward to making this special prize package. I will post pictures of the final prize after FairySari receives her gift, cause I want it to be a surprise for her.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Creamy/Yeasy Potato and Brussel Sprout Soup

7 medium red potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 lbs of brussel sprouts
1/2 head of cauliflower
3 small eggplants
2 medium leeks
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of dried basil or about four leaves of fresh
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tblsp of vegan margarine
1 16oz container of soy milk- plain
3 cups of water

sea salt to taste and ground black pepper to taste

Yeast Mixture:
1 cup of nutritional yeast (to add after all veggies have cooked)
3 tblsp of potato or corn starch
2 tblsp of tamari or regular soy sauce-add this directly to the soup when adding dry ingredients.

Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Cut ends from brussel sprouts and remove any damaged leaves-Cut in half. Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Slice eggplants and leeks into 1/4 inch slices. Press or slice garlic. Add all ingredients (except yeast) to large soup pot and bring to a rolling boil. Note that the soy milk will most likely become foamy and separate, but this will not matter after the yeast mixture is added. Lower the temperature to low or med-low and cover. Once all vegetables are cooked to your liking stir in yeast mixture and return to a higher heat long enough to thicken the soup slightly. Serves 8