Saturday, November 29, 2014

1st crocheted hats...

 My sister has been here since Monday, staying with mom. We went to my niece's in Tn. Wed. to learn to crochet hats. My sister just learned to crochet and loves it. And I have crocheted for years, but have never made hats. I had learned to knit a hat a few years ago, but it takes too long. And I HATE round knitting needles. So Jill said to come on up and she'd teach us a simple hat. And it really is simple and that's what we like! So this is my first hat. Made for my youngest grand daughter, Kansas, who was more than happy to be my model. She's just a natural, don't you think?

And this is my 2nd hat, made for my oldest grand daughter Chloe, who was too shy to model it. So Kansas said she would. It's more slouchy, which I like.

This is the 3rd hat, made today in a few hours, at my mom's. For my oldest daughter, Heather. I first made one too many rows at the beginning, where I have to add a few more stitches. So when she tried it on, it was quite big. Like she could do her hair in dreads and it would have fit fine. So I took it all out to the 5th row and then went from there to this.

I learned a new  stitch to make a ribbed look. I love this stitch. Something like front and back stitch. And this pattern is SO easy and fast to make for even a beginner. Heidi, my sister, who has just started crocheting, has already made 2 hats. So this is what we have been doing together. I love it!

So everyone is getting crocheted hats and scarves for Christmas this year! Done!

Thanksgiving was different this year. My youngest daughter and her husband always had to leave to get to his parents house by 4 on Thanksgiving day. So we decided to do it on Friday this year. So Thursday, we just had a ham dinner at Mom's. Friday, everyone came to my house and we had turkey and all the rest of the usual stuff. So much nicer.

AND, this is the first year I DID NOT LEAVE MY HOUSE!!! The WHOLE day! It was fantastic! We have always gone shopping on Friday. But the past few years, I have not wanted to go. But my mom always made me go with her. So I did. Naw, I really did enjoy spending time with mom. Just the past few years, I haven't even wanted to think about Christmas. And getting out in all that mess? UGH! Not my favorite thing to do anymore. Plus, Mom had broken her knew a few weeks ago, so can't be on her feet too long. So it was different this year. I am not complaining  at all.

I hope you all had a wonderful week with family and friends. And that you didn't eat too much.

Monday, November 24, 2014

John C. Campbelle Folk School...

This is some of the pictures I took of my trip last weekend to the spinning class. Look at the snow on top of this mountain. So pretty.

Bee hives out in the field by the house I stayed in. No bees in them though. Someone said they take the bees somewhere else for winter.

                                                                I just thought this was cool.

A greenhouse and chicken coop. I felt right at home with the chickens and bee hives so close.

If you click on this picture, you can see the name of the little town. There was a store and a few other buildings, called Clay's Corner.


This was so peaceful.

And a log house. Doesn't look like it's used for anything. But really cool place.

I am ready to go back there!

Friday, November 21, 2014

My bees...

I still have them! It's been 6 months and I still have 2 hives of honey bees. I don't think they are as strong as they were during summer. I have seen LOTS of dead bees. I am assuming they are drones. But we have had some nights in the low 20's. And snow Monday. But they are doing pretty good so far. I've been feeding them sugar water with honey in it. And when I find time, I'll make a "sugar cake" to put on the top of the cover.

This is the Outback Hive. I had a small box on top, but they never did anything in it. So I took it off a few days ago. I had read they don't need the extra room to have to heat during winter. I think they are much better right now with it off.

This is the Garden Hive. They are much stronger. More bees here and not so many dead ones laying around.
They go through a quart of sugar water a day and would take 2 if I gave it to them. I was going to take this top box of yesterday, but when I lifted it up, there were bees and wax toward the bottom. So I left it on for them.

I just hope they make it through the winter. I'll take these jars off when I get the cakes in and then put the entrance reducers in.

What about you other bee keepers? How are your bees doing so far? Would love to hear about them.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm dying.

Yes, that's right. Dying. Wool. That I spun myself. And I picked the Goldenrod and Sumac a few months ago to make dye "tea" to use. I don't know what it's called.

So I stayed home ALL day today. Didn't even go see my poor mother. She fell 2 weeks ago at her church and broke her right knee. And fell right on her face again too. It looks much better. But her knee can't be bent. She is walking on it though. So she can do a lot now that she couldn't do last week. My sister came up and stayed with her over a week. That's how I got to go to my spinning class. Thank you Heidi!

I found some directions for natural dying. Went to the studio and got it all together. It takes 2 hours to wash the skeins. Then another hour to set the mordant. Then another hour to keep the yarn in the dye pots.

This is the rinse water.

Then they went into the mordant pots. I used alum and cream of tartar.

Then into the dye water. This is the Sumac. it's really pretty when in the water here.

And this is the Goldenrod. So pretty.

And this is the finished yarn, hanging outside on the front porch to dry. Or drip really. Then I brought it inside the studio.

I wish now that I had done all the yarn in the yellow. I love it.

But don't know if I'll dye again. It took so long to do and it's just an iffy thing. So not to knit up a pretty scarf or cowl.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My $700 skein of yarn.

I am SO glad I went to this spinning class at the John Campbell Folk School. I learned so much. And now I CAN SPIN! I will be able to spin my own wool from my own sheep now! I am beyond thrilled about this. I also learned how to use a drop spindle. 2 different kinds. I am very impressed with myself and proud of me too. It was so much fun.

This is the yarn I spun at the school. Some Corriedale roving. Very easy to use.

This is what I've done at home. I am getting better at getting the fiber smaller so I can get more on the spindle. Or bobbin. What is this called? I would love to take a class now on the mechanics of the wheel. What everything is called and how it works. I need to know these things as well. At any rate, I LOVE spinning! On the wheel and the drop spindles.

This is my home made Lazy Kate. I have my great grand mother's but it's too narrow to hold these newer bobbins. So I used to rods and put them through this basket. Works great!

And this is some of the spun yarn, plied.  Pretty big.  I am already spinning smaller.

This is some of the washed Romney fleece I had gotten from the fiber show a few weeks ago. I carded up 5 batts  and spun away. I am loving Romney. It's SO soft.

This is some of the Romney, spun. You can see how much smaller it is here than the white. I already have 2 bobbins full so far. Need to get the rest of that fleece washed up.

I really loved that school. And it's only about 100 miles from here. I had called to get a room because I couldn't find any hotels in Murphy. I got a room in the Bidstrup  House. With a shared bath. Which I didn't mind. But specifically said I did not want a shared room. So when I got there, I went to register. Got my room # and found the house. It looked like a little Hobbit house. All I could see was the roof. I had to walk down and behind to get to the door. A long hallway with rooms on either side. Cold. I found my room. It was the size of a small bedroom, with 2 twin beds, really close together. I saw another name on the door with my name. Then the door opened and this little lady walked in. And to my room. My little room mate. I almost cried. So I went back up to the registration office and told her I was not happy. I wanted my own room. SO she looked and found me another room. I would have to upgrade, which was fine with me. It ended up being a huge room with 2 double beds and a bathroom in the room!!! And upstairs from my classroom! I was a very happy camper then. And had a great time the rest of my stay.

There were people from all over the country there. Some families. One of the girls in my class was from Brooklyn, NY. If anyone can go, I highly recommend this place. I would love to take the pottery class next.  Sunday, we all had to display our work in the 2nd floor of the house I stayed in. It was amazing seeing all the beautiful things all these people had made that week. Very impressive indeed. I will go back.

But glad to be home. It's freezing here. Had out 1st snow of the season yesterday. Already found 2 dead hens in the past several days. The sheep of course are loving this cold weather. They are dressed for it. I hope you all stay warm and happy the rest of the week!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Going away!

I'm heading out in the morning for Brasstown, N. Carolina, for my spinning class! I'm so excited! I hope I can do this. I'm taking my spinning wheel, so I can see if they can get it going for me. If I'm going to be spinning on my wheel, I want to learn on it. And I'll take some of my roving too, just to make sure it's spinnable.

I am so ready for a weekend away. I hope my camera stays charged. I can't find my little charger.

I also hope it doesn't snow. There were flurries this afternoon here. And there will be a hard freeze tonight. And I did hear there could be snow where I'll be on Sunday. Not ready for that.

Y'all have a great weekend! Be back next week. Hopefully with some hand spun yarn. Wish me luck, y'all!

Mrs. T.

Mrs. T is 97 years old. She tells everyone she's 100. We all just let it go now. If she wants to be 100, then 100 she shall be.

And this is what she does when she goes outside for a walk. She cannot just go out and enjoy the beauty of her yard. She has to work. She has always taken care of her almost 3 acre yard. It's called Azalea Hill. There must be over a hundred azaleas here. Her mother started planting them, then she added a lot more. It's beautiful in the spring. She used to have garden tours and garden parties. People come to take pictures. It's just amazing, this yard.

And when she would go out before, when she could go out and walk alone, she would always have an armload of sticks to take to her ever growing brush pile. She was always working, while walking.

So this is what she does now. I had wheeled her out to her "formal" garden, with this bench at the end for her to sit and enjoy the beautiful fall colors. Then ram inside real quick to grab my camera. This is what I saw when I came back. She had reached down and got a stick and was raking the leaves at her feet. Typical mrs. T. Even though she can't really walk too good anymore, she can still do this.

I had to call her name several times to get her to look up. She's so beautiful. Just so photogenic. I love this lady.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In the mail...

I had ordered some things from Jeff and Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots last Sunday from their Etsy shops. And I got them Thursday.

I ordered the hand made wooden earrings with beets on them for a friend. Jeff made these. They are so cute. I just might have to keep them.

He also makes these wooden buttons from reclaimed wood from around their property in Oregon. They are all hand done. I love them.

Also some organic seeds. Mullein, stinging nettle, cat nip and kale. And there are a whole lotta seeds in those little envelopes. I think I will have to share the mullein seeds.

Thank you Jeff and Taryn Wilson! Y'all need to go check out her blog too. woolymossroots. I love it.  And her Etsy shop of the same name. Jeff's shop is Mystic Orb. Really nice things there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We're ready now.

Finally got a nice huge round bale of hay delivered today for the sheep and alpacas. It's nice loose small hay too. Just right for the sheep. They are quite picky animals when it comes to their hay. And it fit perfectly in this middle stall, so they have plenty of room to fit around it and still get out of the rain.

This is some of them, checking out the hay. I feel so much better now. I was getting a little worried. I wanted to just use round bales this winter, because it would be so much cheaper and less waste. And would last so much longer too. And NO hauling hay to them twice a day now! I am good with that! And the people about 2 miles from me can deliver it!

I made these 2 little cuties today from Adelaide's pretty long locks. I love them.  They are so fluffy and sweet. I love making these little guys.

Happy hump day, y'all! Have a good one. I am off to market.

Monday, November 3, 2014


 I went to a fiber show in Murfreesboro, Tn. Saturday with my niece Jill. I had so much fun. My very first fiber show.  I was told if I saw a fleece I really wanted, to get it. I didn't. And I missed out on a beautiful black Romney fleece, for $5 a pound. I am still mad at myself for not getting it when I saw it. I am a slow learner. But I did get a lot of good fiber.

The black fleece is Wensleydale. The white is Cotswold and Teaswater locks. These are so pretty. The colored roving in the front is Mohair, from goats. The lady said $1 each at first then when we were going to buy them all she said maybe $2 each. Which was fine because we told her she needed to make some money. They are so soft. I would love to have one of each of these sheep, and a few goats,  one day.

On the left is a pretty alpaca. I got 2.5 oz. of this. I love the soft light brown color. And I also got 2 huge balls of this pretty green roving. It says what it is on the tag. I can't remember now. It's so soft.

This is a Shetland ram lamb fleece. $10. It's so pretty and long locks. Needs washing.

This is from the same place that had the black fleece. When I went back to get the black, of course it was gone. I had also seen this fleece, so went ahead and got it. Almost 6 pounds at $5 a pound. I know! It is beautiful. Romney. I pulled it out of the bag yesterday over at the studio to see what it looked like. It's huge. Some of it is full of VM really bad. But most is really nice and clean. Can't wait to see it all cleaned up.

And this is the gray Icelandic roving I traded for some soap from Jessica in NY. It's really pretty and soft too. Don't know what I'll do with this yet. It's a pound.

I wanted to see what Jacob fleece felt like. I did not like it. Really course and not very soft at all. Good for felting I think. S I didn't get any of that. Didn't see any Finn there. And also, when I was asking about a diz, no one knew what I was talking about. I thought that was strange. I did buy a set of really pretty pottery buttons that I could use for a diz. That's what makes the roving off a carder.

So it was a fun day. And funner getting all this prettiness out of the bags to look at and touch all over again. And now to figure out what to do with it all. I will  maybe take some to the school in a few weeks to learn to spin it. I'll be washing the 2 fleeces this week and carding it. Looking forward to going!

I hope you all have a fabulous week! And stay warm. We have the wood stove roaring away. With the windows open! It's quite warm in here. Oh, and we are being taken over by flies. Oh my goodness, I have never seen so many flies. When I got home Sat. I could not get in my kitchen door for all the flies cakes on it. It was scary. They are all back again this morning, catching the sun. I hate flies. Anyone else being invaded by flies?