Thursday, April 23, 2009

I spent the afternoon yesterday with an 88-year-old friend of mine who is writing her second book. I'm helping with the editing process. What a fascinating woman! I was at her house for three and a half hours, and the time flew by.

We got to talking about how she stays so active. Although she has some difficulty walking, she doesn't let that stop her from getting out everyday. She does crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, plays scrabble on her computer, and is generally known as the authority on anything to do with Saratoga Springs.

Her upstairs is like a museum with three rooms and a long hallway devoted to anything relating to our town. There are paintings, drawings, books, maps, old scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, magazines, postcards, souvenirs, photos–pretty much anything she can find that deals with Saratoga.

The amazing thing about her is the way she has organized everything. I asked her if she knew where everything is, and she was very confident that she did. I often feel I should be tape recording our conversations or at least take notes, as I'm afraid all that information will be lost when she is gone. But for now, she is hale and hearty, and I'm happy to be able to visit and learn from her.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Eventful Week

It has been one of those weeks! My husband and I were in car accident on Monday. Although we weren't seriously hurt, we did suffer some bumps and bruises, and our van was totaled. Our two cats were in the car with us, as we were on the way to the vet. Frank was not hurt, but Madeleine bit her lip which got infected, so back to the vet we went.

The sale is going well, and continues on til Sunday. I've got some dyeing to do on Monday, and then hopefully out to the yard to clean the gardens up. It feels so good to be in the sunshine!

Linda Beland sent this photo of her completed Easter rug. As always, her work is great!

Monday, April 13, 2009


I've been wanted to do a sale on for some time now, and I'm finally ready. For one week – April 13-19, 2009, receive

10% off all orders over $25.00.

Wool, binding tape, and patterns are all on sale, but must be purchased through This offer does not apply to Ebay or Etsy purchases. Here's how it works.

  • Place an order at for over $25.00. Be sure to note on the purchase order that you read about the sale on my blog.
  • Ecrater will notify me of your purchase, and I will send you an invoice reflecting 10% off the price of your purchases and will add on shipping/handling costs.
  • You may pay through Paypal or by check or money order.
  • I try to ship within three days of purchase, but please note that patterns are drawn to order and may require a bit more time.
  • If you want more of a wool color than is available, please let me know. In most instances, I can make more of the color and will give you the 10% discount on that wool, too.
Any questions, please feel free to email me before placing an order. Remember to let me invoice you before paying.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Easter!

Just a wish to all the readers of my blog for a happy and blessed Easter season!

My sale begins on Monday! Watch for details.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dye Day results

Had some fun dyeing wool yesterday. Did get one "experiment" in along with my list of regular colors that needed replenishing. Here's what I did:
  1. I took my large rectangular stainless steel baking pan and layered five pieces of natural wool in it; each piece the size of the pan.
  2. I added synthrapol and water and let it soak for 30 minutes or so.
  3. After the wool was sufficiently wet, I mixed up three cups of colors using ProChem dyes. I added 1 cup boiling water to each.
    Cup 1: 1/8 407
    Cup 2: 1/8 411
    Cup 3: 1/8 707
  4. Using a tablespoon, I created a checkboard pattern using the three colors. I pressed down hard to get the dye to go through all the layers. After going through this process, I repeated the process one more time, again pushing on the wool with the spoon. I did strengthen some of the spots one time more and then set the remaining dyes aside.
Here is a picture of the wool after applying dye.

Next, I covered loosely with foil and steamed in oven at 300° for 40 minutes. I decided to take the remaining dye and throw it into a pot of boiling water. I added a 1/2 yard of natural wool to the pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Here is the result of that—a color I call Adrift:

Now back to the checkerboard wool. After it came out of the oven, I machine washed and dried it. Here is a picture of the finished wool. As you can see, five layers proved to be too many, although, if used together, I think you could use the piece that is mostly natural.

Much as I hate to, I am listing this entire set on

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wool Dyeing Day

I'll be in the dyepots today preparing for a big sale on It's very dreary out, so this is a perfect day to dye up some of the colors I've run short on. Also hope to experiment with some new formulas utilizing the new ProChem colors.

The more I dye wool, the more I realize just how important the mineral content is in your water. Our water comes from the city, and as Saratoga Springs is well-know for its mineral springs, the water is very "hard" here. Over the years, I've developed many formulas, and, on occasion, I've found that the color varies on some of them. For instance, I've got a green formula that I love. When I first came up with the formula, it was a definite muted sage green. Now the formula is more brown and green. Since the formula has not changed, I have to assume it's the water. Who knows what chemicals are added to our city water and whether the mineral content is varied. I believe it's the mineral content as the "rust" would definitely muddy up a green shade.

So, it's always interesting to dye wool here. 95% of the formulas turn out the same way time after time. But, there are always those few that keep you guessing!