Making A Quilt Around Carol’s Batik

Carol Law Conklin’s batik printed on fabric.

I don’t know why I never thought to do this before, but I’m doing it now.

I bought two of Carol Law Conklin’s batiks printed on fabric at the Adirondack Fiber Festival a couple of weeks ago.  They’ve both been sitting on my ironing board.  I’d look at them and pull some fabric from my shelf that I thought would work with them.

Today I got the urge to sew some of them together.  I have one of Carol’s cutting boards with this same image on it. This mystical landscape has elements that go from recognizable to abstract drawing me into its feeling of being both earthy and otherworldly at the same time.

As soon as I laid it on my studio floor, I saw the red “steps” leading up to the image and knew what to do.

This is as far as I got this evening. I have a vague idea of what comes next….

You can see and buy Carol’s work here. 

Making Dream Catcher’s At The Mansion

Madeline and Mary with their dreamcatchers.

“If you want to make dreamcatchers,” Julie, the activities director at The Mansion said, ” I’ll get the grapevines and bend them into circles.”

So this morning  I was on Youtube, watching videos on how to make a dreamcatcher.  I had to watch it three or four times before my hands just seemed to figure it out on their own.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy to teach the people who live at The Mansion Assisted Living Facility, but we would at least try.

I scoured the barn and yard for chicken feathers (our brown hen recently moulted so there were some nice ones) got jute at the hardware store and visited Heather at the bead shop in town on my way to The Mansion.

I needed beads with big enough holes in them for the jute to fit through.  As if she knew, Heather had a big bowl of beads with wide holes in them on sale.  I bought some and when Heather heard I was using them for The Mansion she donated a bunch more.

It was Madeline who inspired me to give up trying to teach the dreamcatcher pattern I leaned to tie from the YouTube videos.

“Be creative, weave your jute in your own way,” I finally said after trying to demonstrate and explain what to do for way too long.

That’s when the fun began.

Madeline was into stringing the beads offering her help to anyone who wanted it.  And Becky held up the dreamcatchers as I tied the feathers on them.

By the end of the hour, we had more dreamcatchers than people.  So we gave a couple away and Julie hung one on the Activities room door.

It was not one of the better projects I’ve done at The Mansion.  I think it may have made some people feel inadequate because it was so hard to do.  But at least everyone got to take a Dream Catcher back to their room.

Next month I’m going to get some “Off The Hook” yarn.  This isa yarn that is all big loops and you  “knit” with it using your fingers, simply by pulling one loop through another.   It seems easy to do and only takes about an hour to make a scarf.

But I’ll try it out first just to be sure.


Sharing Linens For The Tiny Pricks Project

#tinypricks  By Carol Beck

I’ve made seven Tiny Pricks, and each time I do, I offer to send hankies and linens to anyone who wants to make one themselves and needs a linen to embroider it on.

A few weeks ago Kathy sent me a box of vintage linens.  I used one of them to make a #tinypricks with a quote about Gretchen Thunberg.  Then I got an email from Carol.  She wanted to make a #tinypricks and needed something to embroider it on.

So I went through the box of linens from Kathy and my stash of hankies and picked out a few to send her.

A few days ago Carol sent me this photo of the #tinypricks she stitched on Kathy’s linen.  I love how she used the same color thread as the flowers on the linen.  It gives it a sense of history as if her words were always there.  It seems a timeworn truth, depicting the true character of Trump.

Diana Weymar’s Tiny Prick Project is a collaborative one.  It depends on people participating in it by stitching quotes from Donald Trump on vintage linens which are then hung all together in galleries around the country, making a powerful statement.

My being able to participate, not only by creating #tinypricks but by sharing the linens and hankies that other people have given to me, feel as much a part of the project as a finished piece.  Because it is in keeping with the collaborative and cooperative spirit of #tinypricks.

And when I think of that single linen, used to help give voice to Carol and her art, I think of its original intent and how it’s original owner couldn’t have imagined that, with the help of four other women, it would become a piece of art and history.

If anyone else out there would like to make a #tinypricks, and needs a linen or hankie to stitch it on, just email me here at [email protected].  I’ll be very happy to send you some.  For more information on how to participate in The Tiny Pricks Project, click here. 

Sheep Fleece, Roving, Yarn

Suzy’s roving

“Jon’s biggest worry is that he’ll die and leave me with a bunch of animals to take care of”, I told Suzy. “Mine is that I’ll have too much wool.”

Suzy and I have only talked on the phone a few times.  Mostly we text each other.  But I needed someone to talk to who knows about wool so after she texted me a video of the mohair fleece from one of her goats this afternoon we got on the phone.

Suzy (who my sheep Suzy is named after) is a spinner and a knitter.  She’s sold many shawls, hats and fingerless mittens at the Bedlam Farm Open houses, some of them made with my wool.

We talked for a while about the different ways to process and sell wool.

A couple of weeks ago I met a felter at the Adirondack  Fiber Festival who was interested in Rosemary’s fleece.  This is the easiest way and least expensive way to sell wool.  It’s how Liz our shearer sells most of her wool.

The other way, of course, is just what I’ve been doing.  Making my wool into yarn.  My yarn sold really quickly this year.  I only have three skeins still available in my Etsy Shop.  The dyed wool sells best but it’s also more expensive to process.

Then there’s roving. (see the photo above)

Roving is used by spinners and felters.  It’s the wool cleaned and strung into long ropes that can then be hand-spun into yarn or made into anything from a scarf to a sculpture by felters.  It’s less expensive than yarn to process, but the last time I had roving made it didn’t sell well.

Suzy sent me the photo above of a friend’s roving that she just bought, dyed in three different colors, periwinkle, purple and chartreuse.  When I saw it I thought that if I had people on my blog who were spinners or felters, I’d have no problem selling dyed roving.

I know I have people on my blog who want my wool, but I don’t know how many spinners and felters are out there.  That’s when Suzy told me to ask my blog.

And of course she’s right.

So I’m asking.

Liz is coming on Sunday to shear our sheep.  So if anyone out there is interested in a whole fleece email me here at [email protected] with any me questions or thoughts.  I have Romneys, Border Leicester, Border Leicester/Cheviot and Karakul sheep.   I still don’t know how to price it yet, but there’s time to figure that all out.

And if there are any spinners or felters who would be interested in dyed roving, you can also email me here.  I haven’t chosen any colors yet, but will also begin figuring that out.

“Now I’m rethinking the fiber I was working on this afternoon all because of our conversation” Suzy texted me later in the day.

Our conversation got us both thinking creatively.  And it all started with Liz offering me two new sheep.

A Good Crab Apple Year

It’s a good year for Crabapples.  The shade garden under our crab apple tree is thick with little yellowish-green apples. I’ve heard these are the best cider apples.   We don’t make cider, but the donkeys and sheep love them.

This afternoon I threw some over the fence where the sheep were grazing, filled up a bucket with more and there’s still so many on the ground.

Fanny and Lulu each got a few, thanks for taking Selfies with me.  And they’ll get more tomorrow and the next day and the day after that….

What Makes A Holiday

Jon at the Williams College Museum

The banks and post office were closed, so that means it’s a holiday.

Jon and I worked in the morning and then took the afternoon off.  We went to Williamstown Massachuttes, had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, visited the Used Book Store, went to the William College Museum and food shopping on the way home.

Oh yeah, we had ice cream too.  Like I said, it was a holiday.


Full Moon Fiber Art