Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wool Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all those who made a purchase in my Etsy shop!
From those that purchased, I pulled Jory from Duluth, MN as the winner.
I will be sending her out a half yard of a lovely green I dyed recently.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Three Times a Charm Dye Book

My third dye book is back from the printer's and ready to go public!

Three Times a Charm is the third in a series of dye books I've developed over the past few years. It consists of 56 formulas using the following methods of dyeing: abrash, double abrash, triple abrash, and lastly transcolor dyeing. These are some of my favorite methods and formulas. Instructions are detailed, and I think, easy to follow. Basic dye equipment is used. Most of my formulas use ProChem dyes, and some use Cushing dyes.

These dye methods are a step above simple overdyeing, but I think that even if you are new to dyeing you can obtain great results trying these more advanced methods.

The dye book is available for $11.00 plus $2.65 s/h in the U.S ($3.50 to ship to Canada). I've placed a paypal button to the right of my blog entries for U.S. purchases if you wish to purchase this booklet through my blog site. If you need booklet to ship to Canada, contact me at

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Don't forget ... wool giveaway!

If you are thinking of purchasing wool for a project, please check out my Etsy shop. If you purchase something by September 30, you will qualify for my 1/2 yard wool giveway. Thanks to those who have already purchased and qualified. Lots of great wool to see! Here's the link:

Had a great time at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival last weekend. Finally got to meet Sarah at Paisley Rug Hooking. Her booth was the only one related to hooking, and was beautifully set up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Highly Recommend

Don't know where I came across this book, but I have to recommend it to all those sheep and fiber lovers out there. The book is called Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet and is written by Catherine Friend. Here is the description of the book by

What do you do when you love your farm . . . but it doesn’t love you? After fifteen years of farming, Catherine Friend is tired. After all, while shepherding is one of the oldest professions, it’s not getting any easier. The number of sheep in America has fallen by 90 percent in the last ninety years. But just as Catherine thinks it’s time to hang up her shepherd’s crook, she discovers that sheep might be too valuable to give up. What ensues is a funny, thoughtful romp through the history of our woolly friends, why small farms are important, and how each one of us—and the planet—would benefit from being very sheepish, indeed.

Written in short chapters, this book is laugh out loud funny and actually quite informative. If you are looking for some light reading about our favorite animal, check out this book.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grab Bag!

Who doesn't love a grab bag?!?!? Tomorrow I'm attending my rug hooking group's hook-in. The group is at a retreat center for three days, but I can only attend on Tuesday. As part of the activities, there is a grab bag given to each participant. This is my contribution:

Each person will receive instructions and enough dye to dye a half yard of wool. I've got several different formulas packaged up and have included detailed instructions. I hope it's well-received!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Wool

Here are two colors I dyed today and have put up for sale in my Etsy shop. I haven't made them for a while, so it was fun to see them emerge from the dye pots.

Mighty Oak is a mix of browns and golds. Beautiful mottling.

Berry Fields is a transcolor that blends from a chestnut red to a wine to an olive green in varying shades of those colors.

You can find these wools for sale at

Be sure to visit my new Facebook page:

Monday, September 10, 2012


**** I have amended this post to include a photo (added at the bottom) that shows Winter Tracks (the background of my rug) along with natural yarn and yarn that was dyed when Winter Tracks was dyed. These three fibers are used in my background along with some stray bits of greens and camels.

Progress is a great word! You can pull a few loops, and it's progress. Or you pull a hundred loops, and it's still progress. Well, I've made progress!!

Here is the latest photo of my rug based on a cemetery stone I saw in the Vatican Museums. It's coming along just fine, and I love mixing a bit of slub yarn here in there to add texture. I dyed some of the yarn using my Winter Tracks formula and it really adds to it.

I took the photo outside which is why you see some areas of sunshine.

ALSO... Woolly Mammoth Woolens now has a Facebook page. "Like" this page at this address:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Etsy shop and giveaway

For the month of September, I'm offering a chance to win a half yard of assorted hand-dyed wool to anyone purchasing an item (items) from my Etsy shop. You will automatically be entered with a purchase, and I'll post the winner on my blog.

The store is stocked with LOTS of wool, patterns, and binding tape
to get you started on the those fall rugs. Take a peek!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Next Rug

Here is my new rug project.

A few years ago, my husband and I visited Italy ... our first European adventure! One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Rome, and of course, that meant an excursion to the Vatican. I got to see masterpieces of art that I never expected to see: The Pieta, The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and with a visit to the Vatican Museums countless works of art by the most famous of artists. I think the most inspiring painting I saw was "The Transfiguration" by Raphael. It was showcased in a large room, one that was actually quite dark. Here is my photo:

Part of the Vatican Museums is devoted to cemetery/funereal artifacts. They were so interesting, and the carvings were amazing. Here are three in particular:

The first photo of this trio is the one I was intrigued with. I thought the image lent itself to a rug design. So, I placed my photo in Adobe Illustrator, traced the image (very rough trace), adjusted to my finished size and printed it. From there, I traced it onto white linen and started staring at it!

I wasn't sure what colors I wanted to use, so I printed some small versions of the rug, got out my trusty colored pencils and worked on a number of color variations. I finally decided to work in browns, creams, grays and greens.

Here is the rug in progress:

Some of the wool used in this rug:

Walnut Grove

Winter Tracks

Saturday, September 1, 2012


My "flower rug" is finished! Always exciting to get a rug done. It measures 38.5" x 40" and is based on a quilt pattern. I drew the pattern quite a number of years ago, so I was glad to take it off the shelf and actually do something with it.

I also finished the rug repair on the rug I showed in my previous post. It was a bit more complicated that expected, but turned out well. Of course, I returned the rug to its owner without taking a picture. Yikes! A few things I noted while working on this rug:
  • Burlap does not hold up that well. It was amazing that for a rug only 11 years old just how worn it was.
  • The wool used in this rug was very faded, again after only 11 years. I tried to reuse some of the wool that had been removed by the dog, and it was very brittle. Of course, I'm not sure if it was 100% wool.
I guess the moral of the story is keep your dogs (and cats, too) away from your rugs!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hooking ... thoughts

I don't know about you, but the day doesn't feel right unless I have my hook in my hand at some point. Yesterday, I began the binding on my large flower rug (see previous post), and didn't hook at all. When I was getting ready for bed, I felt like something had been missing in my day. It was the hook in my hand.

Although I'm continuing today working on the binding, I have also started repairing a rug for a man who contacted me about a rug his mother had made and the run-in the poor rug had with his dog. Thankfully, the hole the dog made was not that big, but the repair involves replacing a part of the burlap backing and trying to match the background strips. Here is a photo of the rug now sitting on my frame where I'm beginning the repair.

I dyed up three pieces trying to match the wool, and finally came up with this piece. Although it is brighter, I knew that eventually the wool would age and hopefully match the color of the original background. I have some strips from the rug that I'll hook in with the new wool.

One of the challenges of this rug is in trying to match the maker's loops. Everyone hooks a little bit differently and this hooker tended to keep her strips very low even though the strips are either a 5- or 6-cut. I like to keep my loops on the higher side, so this is something I have to pay attention to.

The other issue is that when the dog chewed the rug, the already older burlap stretched, making it difficult to do the straight rows on the border.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 13, 2012


I just came back from a walk to our downtown area. Broadway is hopping as it is racing season in Saratoga. Went to the Post Office and then treated myself to a Pike's Roast coffee from Starbuck's. Quite strong, but I liked it.

After purchasing the coffee, I walked through Congress Park on my way home. The cedar waxwings were flitting here and there landing just long enough to get a look at this very pretty bird.

Now, I'm back home and since it's not too hot in the house, I'll hook for a bit. Here's where I'm at with my latest rug.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Horses and Wool

Yesterday, the Saratoga Yearling Sales got underway at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs. Held ever August, the sales attract thoroughbred horse owners from all over the world. Although we were not in the market for a horse, we did take the opportunity to walk around and watch the potential buyers viewing the yearlings. So where does the wool part come in, you ask?

This horse reminds me of the wool Bay Colt:

And the flowers and leaves:

Tomato Red
Bamboo Green

Here is the inside of the pavilion where all the bidding takes place.

Just up in the corner of this next picture, I see Endless Sky.

 Here was my favorite horse. I'm a sucker for the silver ones!

Although this wool is called Gray Squirrel, it would work well as the coloring in this horse.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the garden

I don't normally post pictures of my garden, but I thought I'd share a couple from this summer. First is a clump of hens and chicks in bloom. I love succulents and have several in my yard and in the house. The hens and chicks don't always bloom for me, but this year they outdid themselves!

The next photo shows my yellow hibiscus plant. I have two of them, purchased from a local greenhouse. I decided to invest in them, as they can come in for the winter, and then go back out next summer. Just beautiful. The two plants have been blooming all summer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shrek the Sheep

Saw this on Facebook and had to share. Imagine what you could do with all that wool!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Reads

I am I guess what could be called a "voracious reader." I've been that way since I was a kid. I lived about a half mile from the public library, and every Saturday I'd walk to my cousin's house and from there, we'd go to the library. There was a ten-book limit, and every week I'd go home with ten new books. I'm not saying I read them all, but the thrill was getting to choose those ten books to take home and savor all week during the summer.

The children's library was where I fell in love with books: the Betsy books,  Edward Eager's classic Half Magic, The Magic Tunnel, and my all time favorite A Wrinkle in Time. Later came Phyllis Whitney mysteries, Gone With the Wind, The Red Badge of Courage, Death Be Not Proud, and many others.

I've kept a book log for many years now, and once in a while I browse through it to see how my tastes have changed. I went through a phase where, I'm embarrassed to admit, I read smutty romance novels. That led to cosy mysteries, and now I find myself reading more what I'd call "challenging books." Not that I didn't read literature throughout the years, but now it's all I want to read.

With the that short history of my reading life, here are some interesting books I finished recently:

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Hotel Angeline: a novel in 36 voices

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Map of Time by FĂ©lix Palma

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Summer House by Nancy Thayer

They are all quite a bit different, especially The Map of Time (a time travel story, a favorite genre of mine.) Check them out; I loved them all. Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pancake dyed wool

Here are some photos of the wool I pancake dyed for the rug I featured in my previous post. The first photo shows all the wool I dyed in this batch.

The next is a closeup of the wool. You can see that the lighter piece was one of the topmost layers in the pan. The darker pieces soaked up more of the dye on the bottom.

If you are interested in trying out this method here is the formula. Pieces are approximately one eighth of a yard and I used seven of them. Pieces were natural, textured, light blue, lilac, celery, but you can experiment with whatever you have on hand.  I used ProChem dyes.

CUP 1:  1/16  +  1/32   419
CUP 2:  1/4  707  +  1/128  672
CUP 3:  1/4 816

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Latest rug

Here is a photo of the rug I'm working on. I drew this years ago, and dug it out this Spring to start work on it. I had drawn it on Scottish Burlap, not one of my preferred foundations, but it's worked out okay.

Here is some of the wool that I've used in the rug.

Mission Brown plaid

Lilac Trees


Golden Sunlight

I'll take some of photos of the pancake dyed wool I'm using for the stripes. It's a great technique, and the results are amazing. Love taking it out of the dryer and exclaiming over it. If only someone was around to appreciate it with me!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Color photos

I have such a difficult time taking pictures of my wool to put up for sale online. I've been experimenting lately with photos taken inside versus photos taken outside in the shade. I have found that my shade photos are the most realistic in terms of color. I have also discovered that a photo taken straight on (not angling the camera) also helps. I try not to think about the myriad ways that computer monitors can then interpret that color!

Taking a photo of a piece of red wool has proven to be the most challenging. Sometimes the red is garish with highlighted areas looking "psychedelic" they are so bright. I took this picture outside yesterday of a red dyed wool I call Fireball. All in all,  I was pleased with the results. I think by being outside, the flash doesn't go off, keeping the colors as realistic as possible. I'm sure I could purchase an expensive digital camera and get great results, but right now, my inexpensive Samsung seems to work well under outdoor conditions.

Here are some red strips I also photographed outside. My inside shot was a big blur of red. This one came out much better.

One thing I found helps, especially with the red shades is using a higher output resolution. The files are a lot larger, but the detail is better. Fireball was dyed over a goldenrod yellow, and I can see that the photo showed some of that color peeking through.

This wool and lots more is listed in my Etsy shop:

Woolly Mammoth Woolens Etsy Shop

Monday, July 9, 2012


In my quest to organize my wool, I have decided to go all out, and load up on items in my Etsy shop. Please check it out if you are looking for wool for a specific project or just for fun.

I've been dyeing a lot this week and have quite a few of my favorite colors listed. Still have a pile to dye, so there will be quite a bit of wool still to be listed. It takes me a while to list, because I can't seem to get good photos that show true color. I'm going to try some outdoor shots in the shade and without the flash to see what happens. I read on someone's blog that the colors will be truest if shot this way.

Here's the link:

Woolly Mammoth Woolens Etsy Shop

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wool, Wool, and More Wool!

Here is what is waiting to be listed on Etsy and Ecrater along with wool that is separated and waiting to be dyed. Yikes! Thank God for air conditioning!

The great thing is that the wool waiting to be dyed uses lots of different methods: spot, overdye, abrash, pancake, dip dye, and marbleizing. I'd really like to do some swatches also, but they can be quite time consuming. We'll see.

Hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July! It's a great country we live in.