Big day dyeing

I managed to sneak in a really big day of dyeing when we had a rare dry and warm day a week or so ago.  I dyed 60 skeins in one day.   I had 4 dye pots going most of the time.

yarn drying

Sock yarn

By the end of the day, I had my drying rack filled with yarn that had been dyed, rinsed, washed, rinsed, and in a vinegar bath for a final color set.

drying rack, side 2

Lace and Royal Baby

The rack had to come inside to finish drying, some was still dripping, but I was thrilled with my accomplishment.

Now it is all re-skeined and looking very pretty.  All ready to go to out on the town!

sock yarn

Sock yarn

This is my sock yarn.  It is 95% alpaca, 5% nylon, 300 yards, $25 each.   It will still felt, so will make great felted mittens as well as socks or hats or scarves.  The nylon will give it more durability.  The skeins in the photo are stacked 2 deep except the 2 skeins are on the far right.

super soft yarn

Royal Baby yarn

This is my super soft yarn, under 20 microns, royal baby 100% alpaca, 300 yards, $25 each.  You need to feel this to believe it!  Great for anything you want next to your skin!  Again, the skeins are 2 deep, so there is 600 yards of most colors.

lace yarn

Lace weight yarn

And lastly, this is my lace weight yarn, 100% alpaca, 300 yard skeins, $18.  Perfect for shawls or scarves.

A few skeins have already be spoken for, but the remainder will be going to Llama Magic and Fiber Friends festival on May 10 – 11 and then on to Shepherd’s Harvest on May 17 – 18.  I look forward to seeing all my fiber family at these events.


Another sewing project

A while back I got a bunch of fabric through my local freecycle network.  All that fabric gave me ideas and courage to try sewing a few things – like the rug bucket.   Yesterday I finished an even bigger project.  I usually use 2 folding tables at craft shows that I cover with white table cloths.  I’ve always liked the table coverings that fit around the tables and reach the floor on all four sides to hide the tote bins, etc, that I stash under the tables.

I found a HUGE piece of pink fabric – it had to be 8 – 10 yards – and I started cutting.

table covered

Table covered

And I started pinning and sewing.

each side lifts up

Easy storage

I made each side a separate piece so it would be easy to slide and hide things under the table.

farm name banner

Add a banner

Then I remembered the paper proofs from the printer who printed my banner that goes on my canopy.  I covered both sides of the paper with clear contact paper.

banner on covering


For now, I just used clear packing tape to tape the name banner to the fabric.  This gives me the ability to remove the banner if I need to wash the coverings.  Plus, I really haven’t figured the best way to attach the banner to the fabric.  Ideas welcome!

I now have new, good-looking coverings for both my craft show tables.  They will be making their debut this Saturday, April 12, at the Big Lake High School for the Sherburne County Master Gardeners Garden Expo.  I hope you will come see me there and get in the spring spirit with a little shopping!

I felt like sewing

For some reason, I got the itch to do a little sewing today.  And since I remembered an idea I had after my last craft show, I got to work.

bucket and fabric


I found a clean 5 gallon bucket and a piece of black fabric that had been a yard long, but had a chunk cut out of it.

With a little measuring, sizing, piecing together and sewing, I was ready to try it on for size.

fabric lined bucket

Lined bucket

I even put a fabric bottom in my bucket cover.  Then I added the real reason I needed this.

Rugs in a bucket

Rugs in a bucket

I added the sign and, voila’, I have a new display for my rugs at craft shows. These are the last of my alpaca rugs.  There are not enough left to bring my rug rack to shows, but they need a way to stand out.

And speaking of shows, my next craft show is April 12, 8 AM – 3 PM.  It is the Sherburne County Master Gardeners Garden Expo in Big Lake.  Hope to see you there.

More felted vases

Last month I made my first attempts at felting around glass vases.  I didn’t think they were too bad for a first try, although the square one didn’t make me very happy.

Yesterday and today I continued my journey and am getting much better at creating a pattern for the resist that is closer to the correct size.

I dyed the tall one from last month.   The spiky top made me think of flames, so I used Kool-Aid to complete the fiery look.

orange red vase

Vase on fire

The color is more vivid in real life.  It is about 7.5 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter at the widest point.  The shape of this vase allows the vase to slide out of the alpaca felt covering.

gray with blue stripe vase

Tall and gray

This one is made with gray alpaca fiber with a band of blue dyed around it. It’s about 9.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches in diameter.

white with purple stripes


This one’s about 7 inches tall, 4.5 inches in diameter at the widest point. While wet, I sprinkled grape Kool-Aid powder around this one and then squirted vinegar on the powder.  The blue dye ran out of the purple dye for the two-tone effect.  Quite unexpected and unique.

black and white felted vase

Black and white

For this one I used both black and white fiber, no dyeing involved.  It’s about 6 inches tall, 3 inches in diameter.

green and purple felt

Meet in the middle

This one is also made with alpaca fiber that was dyed before it was felted.  It is 8 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter at the widest point.

Since they all have glass inside, they can be used for fresh flowers.  Or they can hold a silk flower arrangement, pencils on your desk or knitting needles.  You can put a battery operated candle in them or just admire them on their own.  I’m planning to take these five vases to Gumball Collective in Minneapolis where they will be for sale.  I can’t wait to see how they are accepted there.

5 vases

The group!

So what do you think?   I would love to hear your thoughts.

Dyeing roving again

Last fall, I wrote about my first attempts to dye alpaca roving.   Ever since, I’ve been wanting to dye more roving.  And I finally got to it.

undyed roving

Chained roving

I weighed out one ounce of alpaca roving and starting with the ends held together, I chained the roving.  Each of the above chains are about four feet long.  Then following the methods I had used last fall, I dyed each chain.

roving in pan

Ready for the roaster

And here they are:

3 chains of dyed roving

Dyed roving

From light turquoise to dark, another from pale pink to lavender, the last from bright sunshine to florescent green!

roving again

Another view

These are now for sale at Anoka Fiber Works, $5/ per one ounce chain. Ready to spin or blend on a blending board.

I think I’ll try dyeing some fawn roving next.

Cuffs, at last!

How long have I been writing, talking, thinking about making boot cuffs?   I’m sure you’re as tired of ‘all talk and no action’ as I am.  But I really have been making progress.  I made a couple designs I didn’t like, one I liked okay and then this!

blue boot cuff

Boot Cuff Success

I wanted something simple, so I could reproduce and make enough for craft shows and markets.  But I wanted something unique about them, too.  I finally hit upon an idea that also satisfied my biggest problem with machine knitting.

When knit on a flat bed machine, most things are knit… well, flat!  And that means a seam is needed for a boot cuff.  I wanted my boot-cuff wearers to have the option of pulled up or folded over their boot.   But how to hide a seam?

violet boot cuffs

Cuffs in violet

The answer?  Don’t hide it, make it a feature!  I’m using an afghan latch stitch.  It looks the same on both sides and makes a lovely open lattice panel that is definitely worth showing off.

I have 2 pair (dark green and purple) for sale at Anoka Fiber Works ($25 / pr) and these 2 pair which will go in my online store.

I would love to hear what you think of them.

Something new

Yes, I have felted many different ways, making many different things, but yesterday I tried something that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.  Something new.

felted square vase

Felted square vase

I made a pattern – just an oval-ish shaped piece of plastic – and wrapped and felted alpaca fiber around it, removed the plastic, and felted it a bit more.

square vase

Square vase

My sizing was pretty far off as I thought this would fit around a glass jar between a pint and half pint.  But, I really had to stretch it around this square vase which would probably hold more than a quart.   Ooops.  Lesson learned.

Try #2.

felted glass

Felted glass

I made a smaller pattern and tried again.   Again, bigger than I expected, but I was able to felt and full it to fit snugly around this tall glass.  With the glass vase inside, they can be used as a candle holder or as a vase for real or artificial flowers.

lit with a candle

With a candle

Above is in partial darkness with a votive size battery-operated LED ‘candle’ that changes colors.

Purple lite inside

Lit from within

The darker the room, the more the colored light shows through.

tall vase with blue light

Partial light

On the tall one, the inside glass ends where the felt begins to flare out.  The felt is thick enough to stand up on its own, but thin enough for light to shine through.

fuscia light inside

Lit with fuschia

Now that I have succeeded in the basics, I’m thinking of ways to add dyed fiber or make cut-outs in the felt.  I would love to hear what you think of these.  Would you use them as flower vases?  Candle holders?  To hold buttons or other doo-dads?  Or don’t you like them?


Yes, Gi-normous!  This box is gi-normous.

big box

Really big box

That is how Rachel at Rach-Al-Paca described this box.  It is nearly full, too.

box of yarn

Full of yarn

This is all the white fiber that I brought to Rach-Al-Paca Fiber Processing back in September.  It is all spun into yarn.  LOTS OF YARN!

bag of skeins

Super soft

I have over 11 pounds of this super soft fingering weight yarn.  It will be dyed into lovely colors for baby items or the softest of scarves and hats.

bag of skeins

Lace weight

Lace, nine pounds of lace weight yarn.  It will make wonderful shawls and lacey drapey scarves.

bag of skeins

Sport weight

Over 28 pounds of this sport weight yarn.  I had 5% nylon added to give socks extra strength.  I plan to knit sock blanks for the dyeing sock knitter!  It will still felt, so there are plans for felted mittens and felted hats.  And lots of dyed yarn for your future projects.  I’m going to be doing some inside-the-house dyeing real soon as spring is just too far away to wait!

I’m down with Downton!

I finished the F~S4 (Finally Season 4) Downton Abbey Cowl that I started just a short time ago.


Snood style

It took nearly all of 2 balls (50 g each) of Baby Twist yarn.  Knit on size 9 needle, it was a quick and fun project.

textured cowl

F~S4 Cowl

It has a lot of texture from repeats of 4 rows each of purl, knit and seed stitch.  And the alpaca yarn gives it wonderful drape that is so soft against the skin.


Downton Abbey Cowl

This is destined to be a ‘shop sample’ at Anoka Fiber Works where I have the Baby Twist yarn for sale.  Stop by and check it out.  I may have to knit another it was so easy and fast.

Dish cloths, anyone?

In the cold depths of this Minnesota winter, I’ve started building the inventory for the summer farmer’s markets.  It helps to at least plan for warmer weather!

First on the list is cotton dish cloths.  While not in my repertoire of alpaca fiber products, they are quick and fun and sell pretty well, so I buy 100% un-mercerized cotton yarn on cones.  Last year I knit about 12 cones.  Since those dish cloths are nearly sold out, I have 14 cones for this year.

14 cones of yarn

Yarn for dish cloths

I get about 18 – 20 dishcloths from each cone.  Do the math… that is a lot of dishcloths!

Up first is a variegated blue / violet color.

blue/violet dish cloth

Dish cloth

As I finish each color, they will be available online for $3.50 each.  They make great bridal shower gifts.  And any encouragement to continue knitting is much appreciated by me!