Treefall in the dyepot

Treefall in the dyepot

The latest yarn is off the wheel and I’ve decided it looks like the season upon us.  Treefall started as a mixed breed wool combed top dyed.  I’m going to have a big project with lots of browns, so I started experimenting to see what kind of browns I could get.

Bright yellow and pinks laid the foundations, then greens were added to muddy the color.  The wet roving looked like I was going to get some really dark brown, but once it dried the color was lighter and warmer.  The fun surprise was that in places the brown color broke and I had some greens peek through!

Treefall finished roving

Treefall finished roving

I spun the yarn into a single and then loaded it onto a ball winder.

Treefall single loaded on a ball winder

Treefall single loaded on a ball winder

The colors looked very warm and crisp on the ball.  After I plied them into a 2-ply, the skein had a more heathered-effect.  Lovely!

Skein of homespun and hand-dyed wool

Skein of homespun and hand-dyed wool


Homespun Honeysuckle

I’ve had fun this summer learning to spin on my Cassandra wheel by JMS Spinning Wheels.  Part of the fun is playing with the colors that develop when the wool spins onto the bobbin.  Now as I look around my yard, I see so many colorways that I would like to duplicate in yarn.  This yarn was inspired by my honeysuckle.

This yarn started as an experiment in using pokeberries as dyestuff (I’ll talk about that more in another post).  I also dyed some wool roving using food coloring.  After dyeing the wool roving, I hung it up to dry–my, it turned out so bright and pretty!

In the dye bath

Drying in the sunReady to spin!

The next step was to spin the wool onto bobbins.  One of the best thing about my wheel is that it came with 8 bobbins and a lazy kate.  (I never thought I would need so many bobbins, but it is amazing how many projects you can get going at once!)  After the singles were prepared, I plyed them to make the finished yarn, about 450 yards worth.

Pokeberry on the left and food coloring on the right.

Pokeberry on the left and food coloring on the right.

Homespun Honeysuckle Skein

I think this project turned out very nicely.  This skein is already into the hands of a knitter, so hopefully I’ll have some pictures to show how the yarn works up.

The Turtle by Odgen Nash


Spring–time for the birds and the bees, and the turtles, too, apparently

Since the first time I read poetry by Ogden Nash in the fourth grade, I do believe he has been my favorite poet.  His irreverent style and creative use of words reflect my inner bard.  I introduced him to my children recently.  My youngest was required to memorize a poem for class, and the choices available were deplorable (no rhyme or meter, and boring content).  My kids were most impressed that I could rattle off this ditty after so many years.


The Turtle by Odgen Nash:

The turtle lives twixt plated decks

Which practically conceal its sex.

I think it clever of the turtle

In such a fix to be so fertile.

Shepherds of the Trees


Blackforest, Fall 2007.

Ents are some of the most fascinating characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe.  Ents are trees with souls, charged with protecting forests from destruction by dwarves and orcs.  Fangorn (or Treebeard) is the most famous Ent, making his appearance in The Two Towers and giving protection to Merry and Pippin, two very adventurous Hobbits.  Ents looked a great deal like the species of trees they shepherded, and their personality was exactly what you would expect of that type of tree.

Whenever I visit a forest, I look around.  Perhaps if you are quiet and wait long enough, you will find the Ents shepherding their trees.


Blackforest, Fall 2007.


Florida, March 2010.


Florida, March 2010.


Florida, March 2010.


“Firefox”–the Red Panda


Red Panda, Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas. 2013.

The Red Panda (aka “firefox,” lesser panda or red bear-cat) is not related to the raccoon or the bear, although they used to be classified in those families.  These musteloids (related to otters, weasels and badgers) have been placed in their own family, the Ailuridae.  Although musteloids are considered small, carnivorous mammals, the Red Panda mainly consumes tender bamboo.  Two species of Red Pandas are found in southwest China and Nepal.  The numbers of these animals are diminishing in their native regions; they are considered a vulnerable species.  Due to this, zoos in North America have developed a Species Survival Program (or SSP), a studbook which tracks all matings of Red Pandas.

This Red Panda lives at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.  We visited the zoo in March of 2013.  Although it was chilly for us humans, I think the panda seemed right at home.

redpanda3 redpanda2