or what I do when I am not working or farming …

Learning to Dye

Posted by mobarger on Aug-24-2015

Schaefer Yan, in Interlaken, NY, closed a few years ago. But Cheryl Schaefer has been busy, continuing to dye and offer workshops at her house once a year or so. I’ve missed out in recent years but jumped at the chance when Fiber Arts in the Glen offered the session.

There was quite a stockpile of different bases in her shop. We would be working with Heather, a merino/silk/mohair blend. The result would be a marled look as each fiber takes the dye differently.

We would be dip dyeing our skeins. Each pot holds a different shade of blue.

The undyed skeins wait for us in a bath of water.

The skein gets folded into thirds with the ends on top of each other. Each folded end of this bundle is dipped in a different pot, then as the skein is opened, the real ends dipped in different pots. The center is dipped in the center pot.

The resulting skein.

There were 7 of us in the session. The dyed skeins start to pile up.

They “cooked” on the stove to set the dye.

Another rinse in the water….

then we lay the skeins individually and carefully in a washing machine. Here, they are set to a quick rinse cycle and spun only.

And voila! A skein of blue yarn!

This is a great workshop to get an introduction to dyeing. The weather was perfect and Cheryl has several gardens to admire. Of course, there are many methods to dye yarn but this one was fun for an introduction. And the Cheryl was a great instructor, full of experience and great stories to tell as we waited for the different steps to finish.

The Weaving Part Is Easy

Posted by mobarger on Jul-12-2015


Six years ago I went to an auction in Pennsylvania. I talked about it here and here. I’ve had this bin of yarn ever since that I haven’t done a thing with. But I always wanted to make a rug with it.


In fact that’s the same idea someone else had at one point too. Here is part of a crocheted rug that was in the in the bin with all the yarn.


it’s a strange yarn. Every ball is composed this way – single strands of different sorts of yarn brought together to form one strand. I can’t tell if it’s commercial or someone made it this way. Have you ever seen yarn like this before?


I love warping on the deck on a nice sunny day. I ended up using a 10dent reed, putting my warp through each slot and eye. My last rug (which I still have to blog I think) was made with a rug bump and I only warped every other. I like this direct warp method. I think this took me 3 hours.


The warping takes me a few hours and by then I am ready for a break! But I am ready to start weaving usually the next day and that part goes very very quickly. I think it took me less than 2 hours tops to finish this 2×4 rug.


But just because I am done weaving doesn’t mean the project is done. I had a lot of fringe to twist. I just love the look of twisted fringe. Another sunny day on the deck with a cold beverage and I can finish up. I bet this took me 4 hours.


And here is the finished rug in the doorway! I love how it looks!


Posted by mobarger on May-24-2015

There is a sickness that plagues knitters and I know I have it. Just one quick look at my project page on Ravelry and you will see my symptoms. All the pictures of single socks are the biggest clues.

I have single sock syndrome. I work hard on the first sock and by the time I finsh, I am bored. The pattern, the yarn, the project — who knows? After the first sock I have no desire to finish the second.

So today I finished the mate to my earliest sock ever recorded. My first sock was finished in June of 2007. My second sock – 7 years, 11 months and 3 weeks later.

May I present:

Not quite matched up but I don’t think it matters. The yarn is Trekking Color 126. I think at the time it was referred to as Trekking Neapolitan. In fact, a quick Google check proves my memory correct and the first few links in the search even date back to 2007. Nothing since? Wow.

Anyway I checked to see if I have improved at all in sock knitting. These are top down socks, so the first thing I looked at was the heel.

so the top sock is from 2007. I didn’t pull the stitches tight after I picked them up. The little white stitch at the top shows me I did some trickery to bring some stitches together to avoid a hole as I finished the gusset. Conclusion – always pull those picked up stitches tightly around your needle.


My toes have seen some improvement as well. My older sock, on top, shows some wobbliness. Not sure what was going on there. Today’s sock toe is without wobble.

So I am about to start another pair of socks. Using another machine-dyed self-patterning yarn. They are fun, do you like them?