Making silk or what’s not happening at my house

This is from the New York City for the opening of “Traveling the Silk Road” at the American Museum of Natural HistoryHere you can see the Michael’s blog post on the filming of this. He is pretty much the Czar of sericulture.


A Very Red Thanksgiving


I have been coloring my hair since I was in my 20’s, graying early and not loving it. I opted for color. Twice I have grown my hair out, and only left it for about 2 weeks, to return to the bottle.

001 (2) I’m outside so much my hair bleaches out very light, and tends to have a strawberry blond cast to it.

My lymph nodes in my neck swelled up and my doctor suggested that it was due to my hair color. So the research into henna began. I liked the natural side to it, and if you get tattoo grade henna, the color is fabulous. (so they say)

All of my research has also captured the attention of a co worker and we are going to jump into this adventure together.

Like Lucille Ball a blonde that is about to go red. I can only hope we look as good, not like Bozo

The best henna side I have found is: Henna for Hair

It explains more than you every wanted to know about henna. So our henna is in the main and on the way…

Nov 17th, Yes Henna in the mail.

Nov 24th evening, we have let our henna and lemon juice mix “release” its’ dye for about 20 hours, now we mix some ground cloves, ground cinnamon brewed in chamomile tea into the paste.

We have beer and are ready to apply, “warning, you should not drink and dye”

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Rachel and myself, ready to get started, this was a long and gooey process…..lasting about 4 hours to apply to both of us.

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Me getting henna applied, and then Rachel, of course we have help.

029034 It takes a long time for longer hair, after application we wrap in saran wrap, cover and let sit for around 4 hours.

We need pizza now, and have switched to Mountain Dew….037

This is me after I rinse it out, brace yourself

042 Brighter than I had planned on.

No photo of Rachel yet, the Henna will darken over the next 3-5 days, as the Lawsone migrates from the henna into the hair shaft and binds with the keratin.

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At first, henna may seem coppery bright. Don't panic. (OK, this is my mantra at the moment, don’t panic, don’t panic….This will darken during the next several days if you used an acidic mix.

Your hair will take 3 days to settle into the true color. This is an oxidation process like a cut apple turning brown when left out in the air. Be patient and do not panic. OK, don’t panic…..

Any words of wisdom out there from some veteran henna users?


Crap I keep scaring myself, here I am in my Aran Shrug. See free pattern here.

Keep knitting, and Happy Thanksgiving!!


Brewing up a rainbow….

Do what you love, love what you do…

I have an Etsy shop and have tried to sell several different items in it. Maybe it was the items, my lack of enthusiasm, the economy or another variable, it never really took off.

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Quite by accident, I started dyeing my hand spun fiber. One night on Plurk I posted some of my fiber and a woman went wild over it, and insisted I could sell it. I was just having some fun though, and ignored her.

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Then another woman contacts me and wants me to make her some hand dyed yarn. so I do and sell it to her. After that I start getting all kinds of requests!!

My knitting is on the back burner right now, and my husband is extremely tolerant, with dyeing and yarn all over the kitchen. Dinner? What you want to eat?

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Moral to the story, life is short, thanks to all of the knitters and dyers online that have helped me on my way!

Dream as if you'll live forever.  Live as if you'll die today.  ~James Dean 

Now I’ve started a new Etsy shop, trying things out over on ArtFire and have my older Etsy shop, which I am working on some new items for, more on that later.




May your needles fly as fast as dragonflies…


Wouldn’t you like to be knitting here…

ringwall falls

This is a random falls in southern Indiana, if it has a name I don’t know it. When we hike I always take a small project, usually socks, and knit a while when we rest. There is nothing like sitting at the base of a falls.



This and that…or getting ready for the holidays


A few links from me to you.

From the Make It Do It blog, a tutorial on making a snowman kit, this is a cute and easy gift you your and your kids to make and give.

From Swiss Miss how to make your own ink jet tattoo paper. How fun would this be?

To get into the Christmas spirit, how about this easy, and adorable patchwork star from Linaloo

From Hope studios a tutorial on how to sew a scrunchy gathered scarf from fabric, we have all knitted them, this looks fast and cute.

From All Things Heart and Home a how to on making expensive looking hurricane lamps for your holiday table

From Jan’s Free content a how to on making some greeting cards without card making software

If you live in the heartland like I do, you MUST have a casserole carrier. People make them like crazy, we buy them at every craft show, we take food to everyone, we don’t care! Funeral=need food, wedding=food, sad=food, celebration=food, in doubt?=bring food, any group of people getting together=yes we need food. This is a great all around casserole cover from Craftown.com

This is a great tutortial on how to make a cuff for that edgy friend, it is from the Think Crafts Blog contributed by , Anitra from the blog Coffee Pot People (which you have to check out)



What is your biggest challenge as a knitter? Or I’m looking for lace knitting tips.

Is it cables? finishing? socks? gauge? color work?  For me it is lace. I love it, want to knit it, but it seems I spend a majority of my time tinking back. grrrr

Lace shawl

But if we could knit anything we wanted carelessly what would be the point? I constantly battle lace knitting, yet have so many lace projects and UFO’s it is comical. I will not be beaten down, well, ok, occasionally.  A couple of tips a girlfriend gave me:

- Swatch! Start with regular size yarn (cheap) until you get the pattern down

- Turn off everything: TV, music and distraction.


- Learn to read the charts, look them over, chart symbols here [good Knitty article]


- Use a lot of non snagging knitting markers, and count your stitches, repeatedly. Knitting markers can be anything from bits of yarn tied in a loop, to metal or plastic rings, the open ones are nice to slip into places or move.


- Use a lifeline at the end of each repeat or section of the pattern. Frogging (ripping back) in lace knitting is very difficult, because of all the complexity of the patterns, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what's a stitch and what's the space between two stitches. To put a lifeline in your knitting, finish a row of knitting and then thread a slick yarn like crochet cotton or dental floss through the line of stitches on your needle. The ends of the lifeline will hang loose on either side of your knitting (make sure to leave enough length on the ends of your lifeline that it won't pull out of the stitches as you knit). If you make a mistake, you can rip back to that row, put the stitches on the lifeline back on your needle, and start that section over. (Leave the lifeline in place, just in case you need to rip back again.)


Make a photocopy of your pattern and work from that. If the pattern is too small to read easily, enlarge it. Write notes, cuss words, etc..about the pattern on your copy as you go.  You can also use one of those plastic sleeves to keep it clean, from any blood, sweat or tears that you may encounter.

- Keep track of where you are in the pattern, using a magnetic board or a post it note.

- Using sharp pointed needles, like Addi Turbos may help

- Wood and bamboo may easier, less slippery.

- Watch those tricky YO’s, they can slip and roll, don’t miss these, it can cause tinking, cussing, crying, and sweating.

Any tips you can give me would be appreciated.

 Knitting on my grey shawl

I found this nice blog post on introduction to lace from See Eunny Knit


Shopping for some inspiration


I haven’t been doing much knitting lately. I’ve been on a mad cleaning binge. So to reward myself and maybe get in the knitting mood, I decided on a spontaneous splurge.

Three books were purchased:

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-Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby -I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down. The photos alone were captivating, I wanted to step into a photo and sit down. There are so many designs in the book, ranging to all skill levels and the tone of the book tries to convey that lace knitting isn’t hard after all. All of the designs are in chart form, and near the end they encourage you to try and design your own shawl. I’m looking forward to starting something, problem is I can’t decide what to tackle first, it all makes me swoon (does anyone do that anymore? Outside of a romance novel?)

Errata here: http://www.knittinguniverse.com/books/bookscorrections/lace/laceweb.pdf


 The Harmony Guides: Lace & Eyelets: 250 Stitches to Knit by Erika Knight-No charts, what the heck? But I thought it would be a good book into incorporate a little interesting stitch into a plain pattern, photos good. Please check out the errata. If your pattern is not working out, don’t think it’s you, start figuring out where the mistake is in the pattern.

Errata here: http://www.interweave.com/corrections/HG_LaceEyelets_Errata.pdf


Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-Down and Improvisational Techniques by Wendy Bernard-(from the “Knit and Tonic” blog) I picked up this book, due to my foray into the top down sweater knitting. This book is top down sweaters knit in one piece. The size ranges are great, size xs to 3XL, (a pet peeve of mine to get a pattern book for all petites)!  Quite a few of the patterns looked like something I would knit and wear. I plan on starting something out of this book soon. I’m even looking at yarn I bought for another project to steal for one of these patterns. More from me later (I hope)

Errata here: http://www.knitandtonic.net/knitandtonic/custom-knits-errata-and-u.html


Enjoy!! I’d like to know what you think of any of these books, if you have them!


Happy toes and feet


Up this dark, and rainy morning and am reminded of how knitted items are so comforting. I have bought many a house shoe, slipper, and sock, to warm my perennially cold toes. But it wasn’t until I finally knit some wool socks that I came to believe in the miracle of wool as a perfect fiber. Now I understand those knitters are that sockaholics.

This pattern is from Fiber Trends, the felted clog pattern (price around $5.00). I did use the Fiber Trends suede soles (ave price $15-20, look around, you can usually find some on sale) the soles really make the clogs last. They are worth the investment! I knitted mine clogs all in Malabrigo, (yes I’m a Malabrigo freak).

I have knitted two of these clogs, and just follow the pattern, keep going, it will look unbelievably large, but remember they are going to felt and become warm and long lasting. [rav link here] [flickr photos here]

felted fiber trends clogs

Remember cold weather is upon us and we all need warm feet. 

Oh no, upon looking at the Fiber Trends site I found another pattern, the “Felted House Bootie Kit with Handpainted Wool”$29.95 (but it is a kit, in lots of available color choices)  *tempting*, I usually don’t buy kits, but this one looks good, especially for a quick to knit gift.

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies


Gift ideas for the knitter…or knit lovers


I’m sure everyone know a knitter that needs a stocking stuffer or little (or big) present.

Here are some that I found on Etsy while I was “suppose to be” paying my bills.

I’ll categorize by price:

PDF Knitting Pattern for The Slouch Hat $5.00

slouch hat

from PixieBell on Etsy, she has a entire selection of patterns (stylish, something for everyone)  and knitted up items, if you want to buy it ready to wear.

For a child Woolen Gloves Hand Knitted Sheep Off White $15.00

sheep gloves

these are from LinenKids, she has a wide variety of nice handmade hats, toys and she uses eco-friendly natural materials to put soul back into kids' clothes and toys

Snuggly Santa Holiday Dog Hat $16.50

santa dog

Sooo cute, I know, who doesn’t want to give their pooch a Santa hat. From Jessica Lynn on Etsy

Flock of Sheep Stitch Markers For Needles Or Looms $17.00

flock of sheet

From the Clay and Yarn Barn on Etsy, what knitter would adore these? A little flock of our own, for the city dwellers. She also has a whole selection of “sheep” items, knitting needles, pins etc..


Scarf, Hand dyed, Serendipity $30.00

From Sassa Lynn on Etsy

I love this woven dyed scarf, I think this would be good for a knitter, because it’s not something I would be able to create. I love the colors, it makes me want to put it around my neck and grab my bag and go out for a night.

hand dyed scarf

She also makes hand dyed yarns, and threads. For more she also has her own website My fawny hart, to see more of her great color talents.

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies


Spinning, thinking, relaxing…

150px-Marianne_Stokes_St_Elizabeth_of_Hungary_Spinning_for_the_Poor St Elisabeth of Hungary, spinning for the poor, on a castle type wheel with a distaff.

I am fairly new to spinning. I had a variety of spindles and enjoyed playing with them. I was torn whether I wanted (or needed) a wheel or not.


Spindling is relaxing and fun. Now when everyone has so many demands on them and less time, I was worried that a wheel would just make me want to “go faster”. Similar to the difference between a sailboat and a speed boat.

But that didn’t turn out to be true.

When I am especially stressed or have a constant stream of thought, I often have trouble concentrating on my knitting. I can be blindly knitting along and not paying much attention to the pattern. Resulting in frustrating frogging, and cursing due to mistakes.


These two also curl up and sleep when I spin.

This is when I especially enjoying spinning at my wheel. I have heard it compared to meditation, and I agree with this.

The spinning of the wheel and its’ rhythm. The sounds of the wheel, the tactile feel of the fiber. Turning the fluffy softness into yarn is magical.


I can sit and spin when my mind is full of thoughts, and gradually the somewhat hypnotic action of my hands and the wheel allow my mind to clear. Thoughts and worries streaming from my mind to the roving into yarn. It is soothing, similar to a mother’s whisper, or ocean waves, so comforting and can transport me to a centered place.


On a side note check out this post from Fleegle’s blog on the amazing Zia, a cute little storage thingy for spinners, cheap too!

May your spinning wheel fly as fast as dragonflies