Spinning, Dyeing and Spinolution Wheels!

I’m so glad that spring is almost here! It has been an unusually rainy season here in Northern California. It has been wet, windy and gray. I can’t wait for the sunshine to warm up my cold head.

I went to Dharma the other day to get some dyes that I needed and I also ordered a bunch of fiber stuff to gear up towards my dyeing sessions. I miss my dye pots! As soon as the weather warms up a little more and the ground feels a little more solid, I will be spending more time in my studio. On one of those stormy days, my car got stuck in the driveway when I went to pick up packages. I called AAA to rescue me. Thank you very much!

I’m rather out of most of my hand dyed fibers in the shop and I think it is about time to start restocking them.

I would like to officially announce that I’m a new Spinolution dealer. TA-DA! It just seemed like a logical move for me. I have owned my wonderful Mach I since the company launched their first spinning wheels. It has been my work horse wheel.

Mach III

For demonstration purposes, I will have the Firefly, (I’m beyond ecstatic about this electric wheel), the Pollywog (a great starting wheel) and my Mach I if you are thinking about trying any of them. If you are interested, just send me an email located on my contact section, or hop on over to my online shop for more info.

Patricia

Traveling Guatemala

Long time no see! I spent a couple weeks in Guatemala with hubby plus 12 more people that came along with us this past February. The route was amazing. We started the trip in Guatemala City (just one night which was plenty) and then we flew to Tikal the next day. Keith was leading a bird watching tour, and so I got to enjoy the great outdoors of this wonderful country. We tend to go to places off the beaten path to look for birds, but it’s unavoidable to visit “the must to go” places like walking through the markets or the streets of Antigua (one of my favorite cities). After several years of not visiting the country, I saw how much this country is changing rapidly, the technology is being embraced by the Guatemalans and it’s going to stay forever. One thing that struck me the most, was the heavy traffic in the city that I don’t recall as being this bad before. Nevertheless, it’s always amusing to watch the chicken buses passing by with their colorful load of all kinds of vegetables that they carry on the roof.

One of the mornings while we were in Tikal, we went up to Temple IV at 4:00 am to watch the sunrise. We could see the Temples I, II, and III and even Temple VI off to the right. It was an amazing experience even though the sun never showed up, but it was very special to watch the jungle wake up. First we heard the howler monkeys with their loud voices calling to each other and then we heard the first bird calls of the day including the Great Currasow  and Laughing Falcon. Yes, that’s their real names.

Tikal

 We also spent a couple nights near the Caribbean side of Guatemala in Livingston. One of the most memorable meals I had while I was there, was a traditional dish of the Garifuna (descendants of the West Africa people) named Tapado which is a seafood stew made with coconut milk. It has every single imaginable edible sea creature that you can think of plus pieces of banana and yuca. Even though the dish was superb, because of the size, I had a hard time finishing my meal.

Tapado

We visited other wonderful places, looking for birds, but I couldn’t wait to get to Antigua and Chichicastenango because I get to spend time looking at the textiles and the woodwork. Chichicastenago has a wonderful array of masks that I’ve been collecting over the years.

Chichicastenango Masks

Chichicastenango Masks

Is fun to watch the locals shopping or selling their wares.

Women in Chichicastenango

Flower Girl in Chichicastenango

Flower seller

Textiles in Chichicastenango

Textiles in Chichicastenango

The market is just alive and fascinating. There is so much color everywhere you look!Mercado de frutas y verduras

 Mercado de frutas y verdurasYou can practically find anything you need. From hand made cigarettes…

Hand Made Cigarrets

To hand made tortillas.

Women Making Tortillas

I was happy to find a couple stalls at the foot of the church’s steps, selling spindles!

Spindles

Of course I bought 15!

Another place that we visited on this trip, is the area around Lago Atitlan. San Juan La Laguna is a town located near the lake. In this town there are a few co-ops where they do demonstrations on natural dyes.

Cotton yarn dyed with natural dyes

Hand Spun Cotton Yarn

This woman here is showing how she spins the cotton.

Woman Spinning Cotton

She also showed us how she prepares her dyes. Here she is grinding Achiote (Anato seeds) that yields a nice orange color.

Woman grinding Achiote

I hope to be able to go back to Guatemala soon. There are still so many places that I would like to visit!

Swing

Patricia

The Mother of the Bride

I had to admit, at some point I felt a little panic during the production of this dress (just a little). I tend to think about too many “what if’s” and I have to remind myself that I will be fine. I was checking my emails a few days ago, and the first email from The Mother of the Bride was on October last year. I met her in December and I agreed to design her a dress for her daughter’s wedding. Talking about a little pressure, right? I worked on it really slow and I took my time before walking to the next step. I guess I take dyeing for granted (since that’s what I generally do almost each week), because when I realized that it was the time to dye the dress, again my “what ifs” started to go around my head again. I don’t have a lot of experience with indigo. My friend Charmaine kindly spent an afternoon with me showing how she prepares her vat. So, I was on my own and I had to dye the dress with Indigo. I took my notes, and started my first indigo vat. So, one cold afternoon, I held my breath and I dipped the white dress in a stinky dark liquid hoping that the magic would do its trick for me… And it did!

The reds from the cochineal turned purple, the yellows from the Osage Orange turned green and the white wool and silk turned blue.

indigo Dress

Indigo Dress indigo Dress

The making of this dress tought me a few things. One of them was feeling ok with using buttons to fasten the garment. And the other lesson I learned is being p-a-t-i-e-n-t!

indigo Dress Back

The dress was modeled by my friend Gina.

Patricia

New in the shop

Here is some eye candy. These pictures belong to my latest shop update. And why I’m so excited about this update? Because my list of domestic breeds offered at my shop is growing! I’m already have a wonderful Rambouillet that is a dream to spin and felt, then I added the Targhee that is equally wonderful. Now I’m also have the Superwash version of the Targhee and last but not the least, I have a beautiful Domestic Merino that takes the dyes wonderfully.

Domestic Merino Combed Top

Broadway

Domestic Merino Combed Top

Florentine

Domestic Merino Combed Top

Domestic Merino Combed Top

Domestic Merino Combed Top

The Superwash Targhee was so much to fun to work with. It literally drinks the dyes:

Dreamsville Domestic SW Targhee

Dreamsville
Domestic SW Targhee

Bazaar Domestic SW Targhee

Bazaar
Domestic SW Targhee

Art Collector Domestic SW Targhee

Art Collector
Domestic SW Targhee

Ice Cream Truck Domestic SW Targhee

Ice Cream Truck
Domestic SW Targhee

Stirred Paint Domestic SW Targhee

Stirred Paint
Domestic SW Targhee

Along with this updated I also included  some Humbug BFL top. I love how the color mixing of the ecru and natural browns gives a nice heathery effect.

And the last two products to my addition are two fun fiber blends that I’ve been playing with lately. I’m planning to post a tutorial about how to use it for felting because it has been a lot of fun using it to make felted scarves.

Forest Jewels is a blend of Merino in bright colors of turquoise, magentas, greens with Soy Silk.

Forest Jewels

Peacock is a blend of Bamboo and Merino in blues, greens and magentas with brown. The colors are deep and beautiful.

Peacock

 

Patricia

Celebrating The Year of The Sheep!

I’m getting ready for the Second Annual Farm to Home Wool Festival at Valley Ford hosted by Ariana and Casey. Last year we had a blast. We got lot’s of visitors, the weather was great, and the food was to die for. This year they will have demonstrations on shearing, weaving, spinning, music and more. This is a great family friendly event and the driving to get there is really nice.

Wool Festival Banner

I will be having a booth selling my hand dyed fibers and such along with other vendors offering their wares.

BLT

This is a FREE EVENT!

Free Event

Venue

Valley Ford Wool Mill
Phone:
707-876-1908
14390 Highway 1, Valley Ford, CA 94972 United States
 
+ Google Map
Website:
http://valleyfordwoolmill.com
Patricia

Stormy Eye

Once in a while I like to challenge myself and see how close I get to matching certain colors that spur my inspiration. Back in November of last year, a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about the Strongest Storm in the World to Approach Alaska, reported by Accuweather. I got immediately fixated by the graphics and how the colors form a vortex with swirls that change from chartreuse to lilac, to a pale pink. A blend of Bamboo and Merino would be perfect to match the white swirls, since the Bamboo does not take the dyes that work on protein fibers.

And the matching results:

1506062_10153040147993455_2320659631741479936_n

 That was pretty fun.

Patricia