Dye Day! …Results…

I may have posted of my intention to go to Dye Day, but I’m pretty sure I did not…Here’s a quick recap.

I have been emailing another weaver in TACA about dyes, dyeing warp, techniques, etc. She’s been absolutely wonderful and answered my many questions! If you aren’t familiar with Vickie Vipperman’s work, you should totally check it out! Everything she makes is beautiful.
Anyway, Vickie mentioned in one of her emails that she and Teresa Hays host a Dye Day every year for the Handweavers Guild of Nashville (HGN, a division of Handweavers Guild of America). She said it would be at her studio and that I was more than welcome to come. And that it was FREE. All I had to do was bring my own yarn? Free dyes? Free food? Company of other weavers?! YES, PLEASE!
I woke up at 6am on Saturday morning to start milking my cows so I could leave in enough time to get to Ashland City by 9:30. The cows were not cooperating, but my husband (who is the most wonderful man in the world) took over milking for me so that I wouldn’t be late. :’) What a sweetie! I took a kale Caesar salad that I threw together 5 minutes before I had to leave and grabbed some pre-wound skeins and warp bouts and drove off. 
It was a LOVELY day. I won’t post the pictures I took of the studio but let me just say, it’s beautiful! At one point Teresa caught me drooling over all the shelves of yarn. Vickie has dyed warp bouts hanging everywhere and a huge selection of coned yarn. She has two lovely looms, a small portable one (looked like a Schacht Wolf Pup, maybe?) and a Schacht Mighty Wolf. Her dye kitchen is well stocked too (More drool!!). Vickie uses the furnished basement of her house as her studio. It’s probably around 800+ sq. ft. Totally jeal! I do think I can make my little one room studio work well for me though! Being able to see how someone else sets up their studio helps me think about how to set up mine. ANYWAY, you’re probably waiting for the pictures of COLOR!!

6 warp bouts, 3 warps, 9 scarves in the making.

Lovely space dyed skein, all balled up.

Probably my fave of the two skeins. Love that rich navy and chocolate-y brown.

I love my results! I have been meaning to start dyeing all that Tencel yarn but have been too intimidated to do it because I’m just not sure how to go about doing it in a home environment. I haven’t done a lot of dyeing outside of school and I have kind of lost my confidence. This helped me get the dyeing bug again. It’s especially good for a summer project since the weather is nice.

I’ve decided to start dyeing on the weekends. I’ll probably dye on Saturday afternoons, batch the yarn and rinse it out on Sunday. I’m actually really looking forward to this! I mixed dyes while I was at mom’s house briefly on Tuesday. I mixed smaller quantities since I don’t have any way of refrigerating them right now…(since my freaking refrigerator is still on back order!! Just ship already!!) I can’t wait! I think I’ll probably dye mostly skeins for now so I’m not tied to using the yarn for a specific project. I need to get winding skeins!!


The big news!

I still feel slightly apprehensive about announcing this but I can’t sit on it anymore! Ready?!


What else could it have really been?? I have been researching this loom and searching for it for probably close to two years now. It’s a Macomber CP loom (Baby Mac). 20″ weaving width, add-a-harness currently with 6 harnesses and room for two more! Here are the pictures the lady sent me:

All folded up!

Opened up.

As you can see from the photos, it’s pretty small. I wanted a loom that I could devote to narrower projects instead of having to put everything on my big 48″ Mac. Although I still love my big Mac dearly, I am  beyond excited to be getting a small one as well! But the good news does not stop there.

Okay here’s the story:
I have been checking craigslist fairly consistently for the past 2 months looking for a portable loom. Ben and I decided I really needed another loom after the last TACA fair. Anyway, I found an ad for a portable Macomber loom on craigslist. The only issue was that it was in Ft. Myers, FL…I was disappointed. Why? About 2 months ago I emailed a lady in Lawrence, KS about another Baby Mac loom. I was extremely interested in buying it from her but I couldn’t drive all the way out there to get it. I asked if she was willing to ship it but she said absolutely not. It had to be pick up only. 😦 Naturally, when I saw the ad for the loom in FL, I assumed they would say the same thing. Pick up only. Not willing to ship. I decided to email them anyway and just ask. I replied to the ad and waited…A week went by so I emailed again to see if the loom was still available. Still nothing. I assumed the loom had sold and they were ignoring emails regarding the ad. Bummer. Over the next week I kept looking for looms. The ad for the Ft Myers loom wasn’t expiring or being deleted and no new Baby Macs were coming up. …Actually, I think one did but it was more expensive than the loom would be new so I didn’t email about that one! On a whim I decided to email one last time basically PLEADING to know if the loom was still available because if it was, I was VERY interested in buying it! I think it was either that evening or the next morning but I got a reply! It WAS still available! I quickly replied and asked if they were willing to ship as I was in TN and couldn’t drive 14+ hours to Ft Myers to pick it up. The lady was very willing to work with me on shipping and was even kind enough to offer to ship it via Greyhound bus because she had done that with some furniture for her son and said it was cheaper! I thanked her but said that since I live in the country it would make more sense to just ship it UPS so I wouldn’t have to be at a bus stop an hour+ away from my house at a certain time.

Okay the loom was GREAT. But the deal got better. The woman said she also had shuttles, books and a few other items that she was selling as well. Two warping boards (one LeClerc, one Harrisville Designs) as well as a drum carder! (A Patrick Green drum carder)

The many shuttles I’m getting!

Plus a stack of books!

Okay so 9 shuttles (3 of which are boat shuttles), two warping boards, a drum carder and a loom! It’s practically a whole studio! (minus a bobbin winder which I don’t need anyway) Normally I wouldn’t mention prices but all that for $652 dollars! Yeah. The loom new is $1,100. The warping boards are probably $150 each, the boat shuttles are $40 dollars each and the books are probably somewhere around $20 dollars each. I am STOKED! The sweet lady said she will be shipping everything out today and UPS said it would take about 4 days to get here. That means I’ll have to wait through the weekend but that’s okay. 🙂 It’ll be worth it.
I will likely be placing an order from Macomber as well for a few odds and ends. I’m not sure what dent the reed is that comes with the loom so I’ll wait and see what that is. Hopefully it’ll be a fairly normal size. 6, 8, 10 or 12 dpi. Reeds are a lot cheaper for smaller looms and so are the add-a-harness units. (Like half the price)

Well anyway, that’s the big news! I can’t wait for my little loom to arrive! I’ll have room for this little beauty right in my living room! And it only weighs 50 pounds so I can easily take it to shows and demonstrate right there! Or perhaps use it as part of my display. Maybe it will help people understand what it is that I actually do! A lot of customers come into my booth and they have no clue what part of my work is handmade. They can’t imagine hand weaving cloth. 🙂 I am so happy and excited about my Baby Mac! I can’t WAIT for it to be here so I can start weaving up a storm on it! I’m off to plan a project to put on it as soon as it gets here!!

Ssssooo excited!!

I have some news to share regarding my weaving business but I don’t want to spill the beans until I’m completely sure this is happening. Just know I am THRILLED beyond belief right now and I can’t wait to share this exciting news! 😀 Hold tight. Hopefully there will be an official announcement later this week. Stay tuned!

Weaving update!

Somehow in the midst of all the craziness this week, I have had time for weaving. Although most of this post is from events from last week.

If you remember, I recently bought 50lbs of Tencel yarn from a lady in CA.
Well the yarn came last week on Monday afternoon!

Yeah…lots of yarn…Monday afternoon was spent winding the yarn into a warp and winding a skein of yarn on my swift for weft.

Lovely yarn all wound up!
On Wednesday I soaked the yarn and prepared the dyes I would be using. I then put the warp and weft skein into plastic bags and poured in the dye. I let them sit for a full 24 hours.

Warp yarns on right, weft yarns on left.

I rinsed them out on Thursday morning before I had to get ready for market. The dye is a bit more inconsistent than I would have liked, but not bad. I like some serendipity in dyeing. It took TWO DAYS to dry but I got the warp on the loom and started weaving this week! The colors did not come out as different as I wanted them to so I’ve had to switch my weft color to something that will show the lovely twill pattern I’m using. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the fabric yet but I figure I’ll weave it and then sew it into something. We’ll see. I’m getting at least one shawl out of it and then weaving up the rest into just cloth to make shrugs or something with. It was a sample warp to test the pattern, dyeing, etc. Can’t wait to be done so I can get the next warp on! Hopefully I’ll be able to be more intentional about the dyeing this time…I think I just hate solid shade dyeing. I may try a painted warp for my next trick! 🙂

Busy week

I suppose every week is busy on a farm but this week seemed particularly busy! My brother and sister-in-law were gone all week at music camp. That left Ben and I and Ben’s parents to run the farm. It really does take all six of us for everything to run smoothly. Throw in that Ben and I started milking a new cow this week who is a first time milker that isn’t used to people and you have yourself an exhausting week! Also, it seems all animals have gone crazy this week. Naturally, our new milking cow seems crazy but that’s normal for her.

Monday night after we had milked all the animals and gone to settle down at our various houses, ALL the goats got out of their pasture. It was 9:30pm…We first had to run to our bottom ground garden to make sure the goats weren’t down there eating all our veggies. Thankfully, they weren’t down there. But then we still had to find all of them and get them back in the fence! In the dark…

Tuesday was pretty normal. I did my weekly milk deliveries to Cookeville and ran errands. Things didn’t get stressful until the drive home. I usually get a hay bail for the cows on my way through Sparta on Tuesdays. Well it so happens that the boys we get our brewer’s mash from also called and said they had six barrels of mash ready to be picked up. The brewery is pretty much just down the road from where I get the hay so we decided that I should grab both on my way home. For those who don’t know, most round bails of hay weigh 800lbs+. (usually more like 1000lbs) And the barrels of brewers mash we get are about 200lbs each. So here I am with my little trailer and “petite” Ranger truck (as a friend once called it) and I’m supposed to pull somewhere around 1,600lbs of weight up “Boil Over Hill”. If you’re not familiar with the hill that goes up into Spencer, it’s steep. We’ve had our vehicles overheat on it many times over the years. My truck is a stick shift (so for all you manual drivers out there) and I generally downshift to 4th gear to get up the hill. When I’m pulling a hay bail, I have to shift to 3rd…I had to downshift all the way to 2nd pulling all that! I really wasn’t sure if my truck would make it. Pulling a trailer with that much weight stresses me out a bit, as you may imagine. So I was pretty beat when I got home…And I still had to milk our crazy cow…To put it in perspective, we named this cow The Shining after the movie because she’s so completely insane. We call her Shiny most of the time though. 🙂

Wednesday was perhaps the most exhausting day. It is our biggest market day and we had our first CSA delivery that day too. (meaning even more produce had to be harvested) Ben helped me milk and then went to help his mom harvest at our three gardens. (one garden close to our houses, one in our lower pasture area, and one garden at my father-in-law’s mother’s house next door.) All the produce has to then be processes. Beets have to be washed and put into bunches, lettuce has to be washed and bagged, spinach has to be washed and bagged, cabbage leaves have to be pulled off, etc. In addition to all our lovely produce, we also sell free range chicken eggs. Just so you know, eggs are not beautiful, clean, oval-shaped white things. Whether or not they are clean depends on where the chicken lays and how long the egg sits there during the day before we can get to it. We gather eggs about 4 or 5 times a day, trying to get them as soon as they’re laid. But nonetheless, we don’t always get them in time. We have several chickens that have decided the mineral feeder for our cows is a laying box so all those lovely, dusty, (sometimes sticky) minerals must we washed off the eggs before they can be sent out. I cleaned….33 DOZEN eggs that morning. For those of you who are counting, that’s nearly 400 eggs. It took probably two and a half hours. Meanwhile all the produce was being packed up and getting ready to be taken to market. It was rather stressful and exhausting. After the in-laws left, Ben and I just collapsed and watched an episode of something on Netflix before we started working again.

Thursday is another market day as well as a few CSA deliveries. I am the designated Thursday market girl so I’m used to this. Ben went with me this week since Molly (my wonderful helper…Sometimes I feel like I’m  the helper!) was away at camp. It went pretty well but we were all so very tired afterwards! Thursday also happens to be weekly dinner at my mother-in-law’s parents house. (CONFUSING! …Normally I’d just say grandma…) It’s wonderful because we’re all usually really tired by this point in the week and we don’t have to cook dinner. 🙂 Well most weeks I don’t get home until 7pm from market. Dinner is at 7:30. Cows are supposed to be milked between 5 and 7 each night. Usually my sweet brother-in-law, Byron, helps me out by either doing all the milking chores or at least starting them for me on Thursdays so we can make it to dinner by 7:30. Since he wasn’t here this week, it just had to wait. This was sort of the beginning of animals gone crazy. Sometimes the cows just don’t want to come into the barn for milking. And of course when we are running late, they really don’t want to come in! I managed to get one in and start milking her while Ben and his dad tried to get the others in. I got halfway done with the second cow (who does not normally get milked second) and Dana came in and said they needed me outside to help immediately because something bad happened. Ben doesn’t have great ankles. He’s sprained, twisted and rolled them many times and that just makes for weak ankles. He had just twisted his ankle last week and we thought he was doing better but when I came outside, he had twisted it again and it was worse this time. We managed to get the crazy cow into the loafing shed (the “waiting room” before milking) but then we had to get her into the milking room which she HATES doing. So Ben’s hobbling around trying to get her in, I’m trying to tempt her with grain and Brad has a rope clipped to her halter which he is pulling on to get her in. This is typical of milking a first year cow. I don’t really know what all happened but I ended up with a huge rope burn on my right arm. But we eventually got everyone milked and were only 45 minutes late for dinner. (Which is really impressive)

Friday. Got up, milked, worked on house, awesome stuff happened with the house! We have lights on the ceiling now! FINALLY!! They look lovely! Byron and Molly got back from camp, yay. Pretty average day. Ben had just finished installing the lights and we were standing back to admire the general splendor of our new pendant lights when Molly came running down to tell us that our cows which we keep a mile down the road on a neighbors land were in our bottom ground! We rush down there and tried to get them to go back the way they came. That took about a half hour or more. More tired. We got them semi-secured in Brad’s mom’s field and left them to do evening chores. So here I am milking the cows and I get a call from Byron who came home a bit later than Molly. He says our cows are out on the road walking towards our driveway. Oh good. Finish milking cow, let her out, run up driveway, frantically wave arms at oncoming cows, herd cows into pasture with tempting buckets of grain, slam gate shut on cows, return to milking…Milk crazy pants cow. More market packing, dinner at our house (pork roast, mashed taters, Precious, Asian green beans and snap peas with peanuts), BED.

It’s Saturday morning, I just finished chores and I’m quite tired. But hey, just another typical week on the farm.