Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blank Slates

Don't you just love a blank slate?  One of the things I love most about my job is every day I start with a blank slate.  There is nothing better than taking raw fleece washing it, dying it, and spinning it. Each day brings new tactile experiences, new fibers, new colors. It excites me to no end when I am immersed in a day of dyeing yarns and fibers.  

Over the years, I have reflected on the colors I choose to dye, as well as how well colors turn out each day I dye.  When my mood is bright and cheery, the colors tend to reflect that as do dark and dreary, wild and funky, and dull and brain-dead.  The best colors come from bright, cheery, wild, and/or funky day. On the other types of days, well, let's just say it is a great thing I keep excellent notes on repeatable colors and color combos ;)

In all seriousness, in the past, I have held quite a few different types of jobs, some I enjoyed, some I hated, & a few I was indifferent to. Working with fiber is the first thing I have truly been passionate about and I hope it doesn't change anytime soon!

One of my blank slates. 

Buddy Sock Yarn in color 'Orchidea'. 

Picked cloud of mohair in the new colorway 'Poseidon'. 

The mohair being spun and finally plied. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Canning Mixed Pickles

Think this might be my favorite summer yet!  This is the summer I learned to can and I LOVE IT!!!  

Up until today, it has been mostly lovely sweet little jams. But today. Today, it was all about pickling!  Bill's Granny made an out of this world batch of mixed pickles which everyone absolutely adored. They were a sweet, tangy, and spicy mix just like Granny Marie!  

Granny Marie passed away several years ago, but Bill's Mom was able to track down her recipe. After a few trial runs, she got it just right and taught my sister in law and me how to make them too!

Here is the recipe. 
10 sterilized pint jars and lids. 
1 head of cauliflower washed & cut into bite size pieces. 
2-3 green peppers sliced. 
2-3 red peppers sliced. 
2-3 yellow peppers sliced. 
4 hot banana peppers sliced. 
6-7 sliced cucumbers. 
1 bag of pearl onions peeled.
4 cups of apple cider vinegar. 
4 cups of water. 
3 cups of sugar. 
4 tablespoons of pickling spices. 

Mix the veggies together in an over sized bowl. In a large pot on the stove bring the water, vinegar, sugar, & spices to a boil. 

Add veggies to the boiling pot and bring back to a boil mixing/ stirring periodically. Don't worry if the veggies are higher than the liquid level. As the mix returns to a boil the veggies lose a bit of water and shrink which returns the levels to normal. 

Once the levels return to normal and a boil is reached, lower the heat to a strong simmer. Spoon veggies into the jars and pack them down. Ladle liquid to a 1/4 inch of the rim and immediately put the lid on and tighten the rim. Flip the jar upside down and leave to cool. Repeat with the remainder of the jars. 

Store in a dark cool place and enjoy!


Frilly Felted Fun

Have had a ton of fun at the shop lately!  Last week we held a felted flower ring workshop and it was so much fun that I left all the supplies out to make ruffle scarves. 

A pile of rings from the workshop. 

One of the ruffle scarves. 

A ring made by the instructor Kristy Sturgil.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

I'm always so excited when Tour de Fleece starts!  There is nothing more fun than watching all the gorgeous yarns spinners around the world create. 

This year my goal is to spin every day and to finish a few projects that have been languishing on the bobbins for quite some time. 

The lace here was started a month before TDF started. Hoping to knit a shawl with it before the summer is out!

Corespun mohair plied with a sequined sparkly thread for balance. 

Bought two Uniquely Yours batts in a destash a year or so ago and TDF was a great opportunity to spin a lovely pastel yarn!

This has to be one of my favorites so far. This yarn started life during a corespinning workshop held at the shop in June. It was spun using a blended wool batt, Moon Cloud, and Teeswater locks. 

A corespun Demented batt plied with sequined sparkly thread. 

One of my first spins of the TDF.   Corespun Demented batt with black Wensleydale locks plied with, you guessed it, a sequined sparkly thread. 

Black Wensleydale corespun. I have a huge fleece with many more skeins to come!

So far the Tour has been a blast and I will hate for it to end. But the spin will definitely go on!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Artist Or Craftsman?

As a fiber person who sells handspun in addition to handdyed, I have quit using the term 'Art Yarn' and prefer the term 'Handspun'. It was not something I took lightly in making the conscious decision to quit using the term. Basically it was with quite a bit of soul searching that I came to the conclusion....  I don't want to be known as a fiber artist.  Because, I simply am not. 

What I am is a damn fine spinner and dyer with an excellent sense of color who can create a plethora of awesomely textured or sublimely smooth handspun yarns for my customers who make my pretties into gorgeous wearable/useable works of art. Seeing the beauty my customers make is why I do this!  It fills me with joy and pride in knowing my hands created something that enabled them to bring their beautiful ideas, garments, and creations to life!

I don't want to be an artist. I want to be and feel that I am a craftsman (or woman).  I work everyday to perfect my craft and share it with the world or at the very least those who can truly appreciate the work put into it. 

Yep. I'm definitely a Craftsman. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Smock It

Finished the next article for the American Livestock Magazine.  A simple block that is the first of many blocks to be created for my new project, an afghan.  the afghan is meant to be a study of stitch patterns created in various degrees of difficulty.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Handspun love

Have gotten a little tired lately hearing people say that art yarn isn't good or useful for knitting. What is a girl to do?  Knit a fun art yarn shawl of course!  Here is a sneak peek before the ends are woven in. 

A bulky cashgora corespun yarn plied with a polyester sequined thread. Oh, and it is a rainbow gradient yarn:). Thinking it should be another shawl!

Really into bulky lately!

Fred helped me pick a batt to spin the other day. Basically if chunk- muffin touches/loves on  the wool I can't sell it. Like to keep the fibers kitty free for allergy sufferers:)

Applebutter was jonesing for more horsey treats the other day. Looking forward to when the cold weather goes away! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The first article.

In this weeks news...

How to card tweed yarn by none other than Stephanie Stratton, aka me, was published is the American Livestock Magazine!  Not sure if this makes me an author, but sure does feel good! 

The search is finally over for a cowichan style spinning wheel!  Cowichan wheels were traditionally used in British Columbia to spin a thick single ply yarn for traditional sweaters. The new addition to the spinning wheel herd is named Mildred and we are fast becoming good friends!

A copy of the article with the actual batt and yarn used to write said article. 

Mildred in all her glory with our first spinning venture together.

Our second spinning collaboration, a bundle of Corriedale wool bulky spun and plied back on itself. 

Friday, January 31, 2014


What a thrill last year was. Full of epic  ups and downs to thrill me to my soul. 

Last year Louet launched the 'art yarn' flyer with a giant orifice and sliding ring guide.  There are no hooks to catch large loose locks as the glide effortlessly onto the bobbin.  It made me fall in love with tailspun yarn again. 

Looking for the art yarn flyer by Louet, check it out here: Lunabudknits

Last summers Tour de Fleece Suri alpaca tailspun. 

American bred and raised Teeswater tailspun. 

More lovely Teeswater. 

Wensleydale locks waiting to be tailspun. 

Fred helped me take the photos for the article on blending fiber for tweed yarn to be published in an up coming issue of the American Livestock magazine.

Other Fun Facts..................

I taught myself to knit by watching a woman while on a flight from Scotland to the USA in 1996.

I taught myself how to spin yarn Feb 15th, 2007. I think I've done fairly well:)

'Lunabud' is a combination of two dogs' names I was loved by, Buddy and Luna:)