Friday, November 15, 2013

Spent Some Time With a Hooker With a Heart of Gold

Yeah, I've been wantin' to say that all week.

This week, I went to a meeting of the Little Lakes Rug Hooking Group at a charming shop called Liberty Cottage, in Canandaigua, NY. Liberty Cottage is the place to go if you're interested in classes or supplies for primitive needlework projects like rug hooking, embroidery, punch needle, and wool applique. They offer classes, and the classes are very inexpensive. I love also that they understand the need to get away from time to time - check this out:

THE LAST MINUTE HIDE OUT -   Dec 19th                       5-8 pm             No Charge

All the shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking and errands are finished and all you want is a little bit of time to yourself.  Most of us have put aside our handwork projects during all the build up to the holidays and we need that little bit of time to regain our self balance.  Now that you have completed the gifts for others, “Come HIDE with me”.  Bring your current project, plan a new one for yourself or just relax and do nothing but enjoy good conversation, holiday treats and punch (by now even my baking is done) and share the spirit of the season with new and old friends.

I'm thinking I'd like to take the Penny Rug Class when it comes up again. Penny rugs were made from scraps of felt (from clothes), generally cut into circles (using coins as the template). Over time, they've become quite elaborate. This blog article from Little House gives a lovely description of these rugs.

I am slapping my head in frustration for having thrown out my lifetime collection of panty hose. I saved my panty hose for years and years, thinking that somehow there would be a craft that could make use of them, but never found one and finally threw them out. Liberty Cottage is of course offering a class called Grenfell Hooking - this unusual type of rug hooking uses dyed nylon stockings instead of the more common wool fabrics, yarn or roving. 

So anyway, my friend Cindy (my former high school art teacher) is big into rug hooking. And the rug hooking ladies have quite a sense of humor, which explains my blog article title. Cindy is planning on teaching classes on rug hooking, so she brought me a kit to get me started, and showed me the nuances. The kit included an embroidery hoop, the fabric that you hook to, a hooking tool, and strips of wool, ready to be hooked.

After years of teaching art, one thing Cindy understands is that you don't start a new student off with the Great American Rug Project. You start small, so our goal was to do a coaster for a coffee mug.

My first start was uggggg-ly - yes, I made a flower. But after I got home, I pulled that out and started from scratch, and came up with these:

I call this "Tweedy Brown Sheep on a Stormy Day"

Hearts and Flowers

I've finished my sheep. I made my projects larger than they were supposed to be, so I need to get some more wool to finish off my hearts and flowers project.

All in all, I like rug hooking. I'm convinced that if I continue to do handiwork, meaning work like drop spinning and rug hooking and such that keeps my hands moving, I'll ward off the familial tendency toward arthritis. I have a pinky finger that freezes up when I'm not spinning.

If you're interested in taking a class with Cindy, drop me a line. She's an excellent teacher. She tells you what you need to know and then lets you run wild.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why We Love Cindy

Some of The Design Team, Denise, Channyn, and I, made it over to the annual Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.

It was a dark and stormy day. Everyone at the festival agrees that while we have had one festival that was freakishly cold, this is the first one that rained. It rained a lot and we were not happy about the rain, but the tents and barns held up. It is too early to tell if it will rain all day today as well, but it seems cooler today, so wear a coat if you go.

But back to Cindy.

Cindy was our high school art teacher for Denise, Linda and me (Channyn, unfortunately, is too young to have participated). Wildly creative. Back then, there was no Square 1 Art, in which every child makes exactly the same project with minor variations and then brings home a brochure - not the art, mind you, that comes home much later - filled with tchotchkes that you can purchase with the artwork on it. No, this was the 80s. We tried everything. I remember learning how to solder to make jewelry, batiking, macrame, tie dying, drawing, painting, water color painting, scratch boarding, making color wheels, and baskets! Oh my, the baskets. The art room had this supply closet that seemed a million miles long, filled with treasures, including big balls of yarn. In fact, it was only 2 weeks ago that I finally marched down to the basement and brought the 35 year old woven baskets that my mother used for her plants this whole time and, well, threw them away.

Cindy told me this lovely story. She has granddaughters, and she has an art workshop at her house, and they all get together to craft. And one of the projects was a fairy mailbox. So I'm thinking, "Wings on a mailbox?" Nope, they decorated the mailbox for the fairies, and Cindy explained to her 5 year old granddaughter that the fairies can't speak, but they'll bring you gifts. And you can write notes to them. They don't have money or credit cards, but they'll bring you gifts from the forest. Amazed and beguiled, her granddaughter was treated with a rock, a pinecone... Ahhh, now that's fun. That's just beautiful.

Cindy, it turns out, has bought a wheel. And she's bought fiber. LOTS of fiber. She showed me two bags of wool just waiting to be spun up. Now she needs to learn how to use the wheel.

Cindy, we invite you to join The Design Team. We'll set up a date to teach you to spin shortly. Make sure you sleep well the night before; our meetings are workouts. You'll be breathing hard at the end and wondering how you lived so long without us in your life.

Next, we were beguiled by Pat. Pat knits. But the true details of Pat's intriguing nature came out over dinner at the Hot Pot in Henrietta, where she explained that she likes to take old pictures and use Photoshop to change their context. Intriguing, I say. Pat, we welcome you to join The Design Team as well.

But back to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.

What did we buy? I bought a crochet stick. Don't mock me. You may recall that Denise taught me how to add borders to my blankets a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't find the crochet hook that Ed's Aunt Evelyn gave me, so I ended up using that thing you use with a spinning wheel to pull your yarn through the hole. Sadly, the girls keep telling me the parts of a spinning wheel, and it all sifts right out of my head because... well because I just don't care. I spin with a spindle, not a wheel.

Anyway, I wanted a wooden crochet hook. Now, you're going to want to know what size, aren't you? I wanted a wooden crochet hook that would go through the edges of my knitting, and catch the thread nicely, and not be too thick or too thin and have a hook that seemed like it wouldn't drop the thread. So I bought, for $7, a vintage wooden crochet hook. Back then, they didn't put numbers on crochet hooks. So you'll have to settle with knowing that I am quite satisfied with whatever size it is. And that, my friends, is that.

What else did we see? We were seeking inspiration, because, at the moment, we all have a satisfying quantity of fiber in our stash. Channyn bought a shawl pin. Channyn makes beautiful shawls. Denise bought a spindle that had a vintage bracelet around the rim by Miss Lucy P. We were intrigued by the idea of using old jewelry or jewels to decorate spindles.

This spindle is made from a vintage broach
We saw Christmas tree ornaments at the Nistock Farms booth - clear plastic round balls with lovely fiber stuffed inside - why, you could decorate a whole tree with that. I am quite sure I have heart-shaped ornaments in the basement just waiting for such a purpose.

We sampled some deliciousness at the Healthy Sisters Soup and Bean Works. What a wonderful charity, whose purpose is to help women receive job training, earn a stipend, and develop self-confidence in order to enter or re-enter the workforce. Guess what I'm serving up for dinner tonight? Curried Lentil Soup Mix, packaged by Juana. I'm going to use my first ever chicken soup stock, which I created this week, as the base.

I love this winner in the fiber competition - Jan Delles won the Nylah Syed Memorial Award for Best Use of Silent Auciton Winnings.

Nylah is Denise's eldest daughter. She passed away a few years ago, and we miss her so much. I know that Nylah would have adored this basket - it is so clever and original. Of course, now I want to make one just like it. One of Nylah's favorite events to go to was the Genesee Valley Handspinning Guild's silent auction, held in January each year. You buy raffle tickets, and members bring stuff from their stashes that they don't want anymore, and you put raffle tickets in bags and hope to win something. Nylah's tastes were always esoteric. I took her one year when Denise could not, and we had absolutely the most fun ever.

Denise and Channyn are headed back to the festival today to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, The Yarn Harlot, speak. I, in the meantime, will spend the day filling boxes that my son prepared for me yesterday, as we are preparing to put our house up for sale and need to condense our treasures.

By the way, I've come into quite a quantity of bleached white tussah silk. If you'd like to buy some, it is $3.50 an ounce. All proceeds go to cover gas to go to the grocery store to convince the bakery to give me more empty frosting buckets to hold the dyed silk and alpaca after The Design Team spends another wild weekend creating.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It was Mayhem, I tell you, Mayhem!

I LOVE it when the girls come to do crafts. This Saturday, though, they came with some prerequisites. First, no huge dinner prepared by my husband (last time he made us a double batch of his world famous Spaghetti a la Bolognese). Channyn claimed that they wanted to bring some food and were "hoping to eat light." Oh, and Denise, tired from a stressful week, didn't want to do anything big this time.

Bua ha ha ha ha.

Come to my house, my friends, and it's wildness and mayhem.

First through the door was our friend Linda, carrying a cage. Followed by two dogs. Followed by another dog. Followed by Denise and Channyn, three children (we actually have 12 children between the three of us), two spinning wheels, and several collections of in-progress projects. Let us not forget the food. In the end, they actually forgot to bring two apple pies inside. I thought that was pretty funny.

We toured the current stash, and reviewed the giant frosting buckets full of dyed fiber. Channyn set to spinning.

Channyn's project
And then Channyn cooked an amazing meal. Which was not light. Not the least bit. Then Linda also started spinning. Denise reviewed my project and came up with a solution that absolved me from learning to crochet, bless her heart. And then she got to thinking that a wee project - nothing big, mind you - just a couple of ounces of silk, space dyed in the kitchen, wouldn't hurt. The space dying took longer than expected because we had to go into the basement and garage a few times to find the officially designated "craft microwave oven", which I eventually found inside a dog kennel in the garage.

The girls were impressed with my recently purchased bakery trays. I can stack them!
Somewhere in there, Denise laid out her current project, which was bee-utiful, and the dogs concluded they wanted to sit on it. It is a testament to our maturity that we now think it a compliment when dogs want to sit on our work. Not so much when one of them peed on it, but one of Denise's children was kind and washed out the panel that was blessed.

Denise finished cleaning up all the loose ends on this. Now all that's left is sewing it together.

Here's my project. I am making a lap blanket for a man friend. But I am addicted to angora, so it is a lovely fluffy bunny lap blanket. Because I did not follow a pattern, I need a way to add on some additional strips of manly color (black) to the blanket, and thought that I would need to learn how to crochet to accomplish it. But Denise showed me how to knit a panel on from a different direction. I still have one more panel to go, but this came out amazing.


The addition of a black panel really made a big difference

By the end, Denise looked like she was going to fall over. Her eyes were almost shut. She went home with a bin full of carded fiber that I made up after our last dyeing adventure - lovely blue, lovely purple, and lovely aqua. I think it is enough to keep her busy for a year. Linda actually fell asleep on the couch in between attacks by the dogs and general rabble rousing. I think she found the spinning rather stressful. I tried to comfort her by showing her a big ugly ball of my early spinning, and I assure you that Linda's spinning was a million times better than my early work, but still, it takes a while to get your mojo when it comes to spinning.

Linda's spinning is coming along exceptionally well
Here's my example for Linda of how not to spin:

It keeps me humble

We also reviewed Channyn's Tweed, which was pronounced very nice but not Tweed. NOT TWEED! Yes, it seems I created Heather. I have no idea what heather is, but there you go. So I am back to contemplating how to get Channyn her tweed. I have a theory that if I were to make a bold colored silk - say, yellow or orange - and then blended that in with the over-dyed Barbie wool in it's 70-10-10-10 mix, that the silk would end up nobby (nobby apparently is a requirement for tweed), and then I might have something. So it is back to dying and back to the drum carder.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Channyn's Tweed

I imagine that there are people out there who devise a fiber concoction completely in their heads. "Hmmm, I'll put 2 ounces of this and 1 ounce of that and blend it all together, and bingo-bango-bongo, perfect fiber will be born." I, unfortunately, cannot develop that way. So instead, I try a little something, spin it up. Add some more of something else, remove something that I don't like, decrease the quantity on something that is nice but not in that quantity, and eventually I get perfect fiber for perfect yarn. Perfect, of course, being in the eye of the beholder. So I thought today I'd show you the evolution of yarn that we here at the house are calling "Channyn's Tweed".

I started with fiber provided by my friend Denise. She had come for a dyeing day with 10 pounds of fiber. Part of it was a lovely soft white wool, and the other was a bit harsher brown wool with some alpaca blended in, which came from a sheep she raised named Barbie. I had never tackled overdying (dying over another color) before, so my namesake's fiber was interesting. We separated it into 2 pound piles and dyed it with dark dyes - a dark blue, a maroon, a forest green. And then my friend Channyn said that she really wanted to see those dark colors blended into a tweed. So the recipe she wanted was 70% of something, and 10% each of three other colors.

This is the brown Barbie before we dyed it. It looks lighter in the picture than it looked in person. You can see it is nicely processed, which means it has been thoroughly cleaned and carded. This makes dying so much more consistent, because the dye doesn't have to fight with junk in the fleece.

This picture shows the two fibers that we were working with:

The maroon, dark blue, dark spruce green and purple are overdyed brown. Pink and aqua are dyed white Cotswold.

The dark blue is the most outstanding result, to me. We would never have gotten such a deep blue from dying white. And the purple is interesting. The brown shows through in interesting ways.

So for Channyn's Tweed, I took the maroon, the blue, the green and the purple. I used 70% maroon, and 10% each for the other colors. Channyn's inspiration was a blog called Brooklyn Tweed. This site is very interesting. If you follow their link, you can see how they create the tweed yarn that they sell. It really is quite fascinating.

Anyway, Channyn wanted a yarn that would have a dominant color and then flecks of other colors peeking through. And Channyn did not want any namby pamby bunny fiber in her yarn. I love angora, because it makes things soft, but Channyn correctly points out that you lose your intricate patterns in the bunny fluff. So, I carded up one batt of Channyn's Tweed. She's been too busy to see it in person, and I don't want to risk making fiber she doesn't like, so I can't go any further until she approves or proposes an alternate fiber recipe.

 So, the question is, will it suit Channyn? I could always blend it more by putting it through the carder a second time. Or we could choose a different dominant color. Or, we could blend a different type of fiber in. I have mohair, silk, alpaca and angora. So, we'll just have to see what Channyn says. In the meantime, here's what it looks like spun up. Personally, I think I got the whole "flecks of color" thing to work, but it will be up to Channyn to decide:


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Frosting Buckets

When I was growing up, the best gift was a homemade one. So you can imagine the unbearable pressure placed upon my husband and son when a holiday comes up. They gently try to pry from me some hint of the elusive perfect gift. And they get nothing but flack back, because Momma wants something homemade. Or, if it cannot be homemade, then something that was obtained at a garage sale for an amazingly ridiculously low price. Yes, I am beyond the age of wanting jewelry. Flowers are frivolous unless purchased from Aldi's for $3.99. One of the best gifts my boys made ev-er was when they made me fudge for Mother's Day one year, and to avoid having to go to the store to get a card, they wrote the card in peanut butter across the top. Now, that, I tell you, is the true measure of their love and inventiveness.

So as we approach the holiday season, I've decided to tell them, in clear and certain terms, of the perfect gift. I'm even including a picture and instructions for how to obtain it.

I want frosting buckets.

That's right, you heard it here first. I want Walmart Frosting Buckets. My cousin Michelle brought a couple over as we were preparing to do a dying project. I looked at the label and was astounded that Michelle's family could possibly consume so much frosting. It's a five gallon bucket, after all. But Michelle says that if you go to a Walmart with a bakery, you can ask if they have any, and if they do, they give them to you for free. So, dear friends and family, that is what I want. I want frosting buckets. Cleaned out of frosting residue, preferably, but don't let that stop you if you have a chance to get me some. 

One can't help but wonder what it is about frosting buckets that has tickled my fancy so. Well JUST LOOK AT IT! With its lid on, you can stack them. It has a handle. You can't tell from the picture, but the plastic is a bit on the transparent side, so you can sort of tell what's in there. And so, with my stash of frosting buckets, I dream of storing my fiber inside neatly labelled frosting buckets. They are a perfect size for putting on shelves. They can be easily carried. It must be so clear now to anyone who looks at them that the frosting bucket is the most perfect containment system ever devised by man

So. If you REALLY love me. And, I think you do. Please go to Walmart and charm their bakery out of frosting buckets. And then steel yourself, because you are going to want to keep the frosting buckets for yourself. But you have to give it up. You have to give me the frosting buckets. It's that simple. And please don't forget the lids. I'm nothing without the lids.

I think my friend Hope thinks that if you're going to have an obsession with frosting buckets, then the least you can do is make them look purty. So here is my ode to Hope:

Please note that I thought myself terribly clever when I decided to include a sample of the fiber on the outside of the bucket.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

He Gasped

When I was dating my husband, I brought him to my parents' house for a family dinner. As we were sitting at the table, someone said something so amusing that he laughed. With industriousness. My brother commented afterward that he had never seen anyone laugh so hard that the dishes shook in the china cabinet.

So making my husband laugh became an important goal in our relationship. Occasionally I pull it off, and, of course, I am very, very proud.

It was not until 20 or so years into our marriage (yes, it is true, I have no idea how long we've been married... the calculator is too far away for me to reach it easily), that I first heard my husband gasp.

It was Christmas-time last year, and my Mom was in the hospital. When my parents were in the hospital, I generally collected up my computer and whatever project I was working on with fiber and slept, awkwardly poised in a chair with a blanket around me. So Christmas day came, and my husband and son came to see us at the hospital, and I was very excited, because I had finished making a hat. Hat #2, we'll call it.

There were some issues.

Hat #1 was my first attempt to use circular needles and double-pointy needles. I got through the hat quite nicely. At the end, my mother said I needed to use double-pointed needles, or whatever you call them, so I worked my way as far as I could before the needles started falling all over the place. I didn't want to bother my Mom with pesky details, so I took a darning needle and darned the top of the hat. I think my friend Channyn would be appalled. It looked ok to me, though. I figured I'd learn the fine art of finishing on the next hat. Here's Hat #1:

If everyone would agree not to look too closely at the top, we'll be just fine, thank you very much

But back to Hat #2. My friend Edie had taken some yarn that I made by plying homespun orange and pink wool with some fancy brown commercial yarn and made a sample so I could see how it would look knitted up. It looked good to me, so I thought I would make it into a hat. If you look closely, you can see her sample has a strand of hot pink, a strand of orange, and then this brown commercial fancy yarn that I suppose you might call eyelash yarn:

So my husband and son showed up at the hospital on Christmas morning, and I was a bit bleary eyed from a night sleeping upright in a chair. I got all excited and said, "Oh HONEY, you have to see the hat I've just finished. So I ran into the bathroom, plopped it on my head and whirled around.

And that's when he gasped.

Something I've never heard him do before.

In something like 20 years. Maybe 25, if you count the 5 in which he claims he was dating me.

OK, so, admittedly, the hat was too big for my head, had four double pointy needles hanging off the top, and strands of orange and brown flopping out from various parts of it, because I didn't have scissors or a darning needle....

So for his punishment, here is my Sweet Sweet Patookie, wearing Hat #2, which fits him quite nicely, if you ask me. My friend Channyn picked up all the dropped stitches and finished it off, presumably to keep me from getting out the staple gun to make the top all tie together:

For what it's worth, yes, I do know it looks awful.

Too Hot to Handle?

I finished my first round of wild yarn using the fiber from the Central New York fiber fair. It seems my efforts to learn to spin thin have taken such an effect that making lumpy bumpy art yarn was more difficult than I expected. You'll recall from my blog entry Inspiration / Perspiration that I was working with some wild fiber with lots of blues and sparkly stuff in it. I made up that yarn, and thought, "well heck, this needs a little more somethin' somethin'." So I dug around in my bins and found a coordinating commercial yarn, and then found some commercial eyelash yarn (my sweet husband saw the eyelash yarn and wanted to know if I had taken to cutting up my Dad's old silk shirts, but nope, I haven't gotten that far yet). So I plied the coordinating turquoise commercial yarn with the art yarn, then tied pieces of the eyelash yarn in every 12 inches. My friend Denise says I can ply the eyelash yarn in instead of tying it, so I will look into that for another project. It might be more secure to ply it in, because it will slip around a bit tied in the way I did it.

So, I started with this:

And ended up with this:

What can you do with bulky colorful yarn like this? I say, hat, scarf, or purse. A hat would be pretty wild looking. There's only about 68 yards of the final yarn. I have leftover eyelash yarn, and then leftover commercial blue yarn. It would be interesting if you could come up with a project that would use all the yarn, including the leftover yarn. So if you've got a vision, let me know. In the meantime, it's into the apothecary jars for this!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inspiration / Perspiration

Last weekend I got a bee in my bonnet when I saw something on Facebook about a fiber festival being held in Bouckville, NY. The CNY Fiber Artists & Producers were putting on an event, complete with lots of free demos and lots of tables under tents. Bouckville is near Oneida, where some friends of mine live, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm not good at estimating, but they had 7 or 8 really big tents and at least 40 different vendors. I concluded it was well worth the trip, and I'm putting it on my list for next year.

So my original plan was to meet up with my friends at the fair, but then I thought, maybe I can kill two birds with one stone and do the festival and then go do crafts with my BFF Becky, who LOVES to do crafts. So I scoured the festival for my inspiration, blissfully found and purchased it, and then headed up to Oneida to see what could be done there. Oh, and I've taken to toting complete craft projects around with me, because you just never know when you'll find a like-minded soul who's in the mood to do some creating.

So I concluded that the most inspirational fiber came from a place called Spin-Culture, owned by Eleanor Thomas. You can spot more of her treasures on Facebook and Etsy, and she has a blog at Here's what caught my eye:

Wild, don't you think? For a brief moment, I wanted to slap my head, because my latest project is... well, it's GREY. Not hot pink and gold and orange and glitter. Grey. So, we'll call this my first round of inspiration for the day. One must be sure to reward inspiration, so I bought two rounds of this lovely fiber:

Stay tuned to see what lovely yarn this turns into. If you look closely, you can see lots of firestar, strands of sari silk threads, and short pieces of yarn. I saw another booth that had pieces of silk tied into art yarn, which made me think that since I have a ton of my Dad's old silk shirts, I might be able to come up with some really interesting concoctions.

After the festival, I moved on to Oneida, where I got my real workout. I showed up with t-shirts and pillowcases, already batiked with a tjap imprint of a fish that I've been using a lot lately. I brought along my carcinogens - dyes, urea, baking soda, paint brushes, and eye droppers, and set to work with my friend Becky on batiking. Now, you'd think that we'd get through maybe one or two shirts, but Becky was UNSTOPPABLE. We did every shirt, every pillowcase. And they all came out different, because she has a real eye for color, and she's the ultimate partner in crime, because she builds on ideas and adapts them and improves them. The results were amazing!

That's me, Becky, and Becky's mom, Cathy. If you're wondering why my hair is standing on end, it's because Becky worked me so hard!
Becky is also on my list of things to go back to. I'm thinking silk batiking... or maybe it's time to teach her to spin.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

If I Were a Moonshiner, I'd Make Very Smooth Shine

Nope, I don't own a still. But I do like things smooth, so this week I've been working on my e-lectric Patrick Green Drum Carder, making up some exceptionally smooth, soft fiber.

Let's start with my recipe. I filled up my little green produce cartons with half an ounce of dark black alpaca and half an ounce of super super soft angora. Look how shiny the black alpaca is.

You might wonder how I decide how much yarn I'm going to make, and I have to admit, I follow a pretty simple rule of thumb on that. I find my fiber and I consume it all. So in this case, I had 3 big hanks of this black alpaca, so that's how much alpaca I carded. I have tons of the white angora, so I just consumed what I needed to deal with all the alpaca.

I experimented a little on blending and tried putting all the black down and then all the white, but I didn't like the effect, so I settled on this - lay down some alpaca, top it off with angora, and lay another layer of alpaca on top. It goes through the carder easier if you don't have the angora all by itself.

Here's how it looks all carded up, before I pull it off into rolags:

And here are the rolags. Not all of them... by the time I took this picture I had already started spinning up the yarn:

Living in a male-dominated house, I do have to make some concessions about how best to display my completed work:

Here's how it looks as I'm spinning it. It is sooo soft. Very soothing for the soul.

And here's a closeup.

At this point, all the yarn is single ply. I could ply it to itself, but I'm thinking of making up a batch of 75% white angora, 25% white wool. Let me know what you think!


In order to get through life, I've concluded, you have to have rules. And if you have a fiber fetish, then you have to have some serious rules. Like, everything has to be sealed in a container to keep the moths out. And, only take cash to fiber festivals.

So a couple of weeks ago I convinced my Sweet Patookie to be my Wingman and go along with me to the annual Shepherd's Market in Rush, NY. Wisely forgoing the credit cards, I scoured the house and found $6 in my coat pocket and $18 on the floor next to the couch. Unfortunately, I got a little hungry on the way, so we stopped off and bought a bagel, leaving me with a mere $22.

What to buy, what to buy? Well, the rules are:

1. Whatever it is, it must be soft
2. It must be a color combination I don't already have, since I do a lot of dyeing myself.
3. It must cause my Wingman to put his damn phone down and contribute some enthusiastic Wingman chatter.
4. It cannot be for more money than I have.

Ultimately, we found this:


Our vendor, Black North Fiber, from Hilton, NY, was kind and gave me 6 ounces of this luscious concoction for $22. It is 40% Wool, 40% Dehaired Cashgora, and 20% Alpaca.

Another of my rules is that new purchases do not become stash. They must be immediately consumed and pickled. So from the 6 ounces I ended up with 3 single ply balls:

There's a lovely dark purple vein going through all the green-ness, so I thought I'd try to make a complementing yarn to ply with it. I had purple angora and purple wool in my stash, so I carded up 50% wool, 50% angora and got a lovely super-soft single ply from that, but it is light purple, not dark purple, so I can't quite convince myself to put them together:

Nope, that just doesn't do it. See that other color in there?

I thought maybe this luscious pygora that I bought from Pat Gesler at Firefly Farm, but even that isn't quite pulling on me. 

So, for now, back into the jars it goes. What do you think?