paws up!

i've been doing a lot of mitt-making. the angora rabbit fur is so warm that they are great for sore joints, and cold nights. paws up, little monsters! let's ring in this new year of the Wild.


ain't the roses sweet

i traveled to asheville over the weekend for SAFF, the biggest fiber fair in the southeast u.s. i met my old friend janet. i hadn't seen her in years. we went to this festival together in the early 2000's, both wishing we could spend all our time crafting. i was full of memories of that weekend and all that's changed in the interim.

we stayed up almost all night each night gabbing, ate lots of pasta (janet's favorite). i took a heritage crochet class with rita de maintenon. fell in love with a ram named ty. janet said i needed to see the grove park inn, and she was so right. brought home some new books, tools, fleece... and talked to a number of lovely vendors. saw wild turkeys in someone's yard. SAFF has to be a annual event for me, it has to!


archaeology of elders

i had a big surprise once i started removing the binding from this quilt. i had planned to just use it as the center of my elder cloth and expand around it with the wool blanket and other pieces, but as it turns out... it had been a larger quilt at one time, and had been folded in half and re-bound and quilted... presumably due to the wear on the top side, now the inside...

so strange how i've had this quilt for a while and had no idea what treasures were inside. some of the patterns look 30s or 40s with their dotted designs. i still love the back, it reminds me of hobo fabrics, but with this discovery, i'm rethinking the whole design.

i find all these tatters and bits of batting incredibly beautiful. i'd like to just tack most of them down rather than patch over them, but some of them i'll patch with the elder-dyed muslin. i also thought about trying to felt some of them down.. i'm assuming the batting is cotton, but perhaps i could add some wool. although i don't want to do anything to further damage the fabrics, so i doubt that would work. i'd have to remove the top layer of piecing and apply it to a prefelt, and i don't know how much of it would survive. i've seen quilts that looked almost as delicate as this one in places, but i do want it to be strong and usable as a blanket, preferably even washable. would a million quilting stitches on top of the batting accomplish that?

for the new year, inspired by jude, i've started to set a course. the theme is 'wild' or 'the wild.' i don't have a colour or shape yet. brown is feeling good right now, but i'm not sure i've fully explored grey yet. and then blue has been coming up for me a lot lately, and that is new. i don't have a shape yet either, i'm not sure i work that way.

things are weird here right now. the beginning of fall has me looking inward and wanting to go deeper. i always want things to stay the same and am reluctant to take things apart, get rid of or improve anything. wabi-sabi is such a fabulous, comforting philosophy and aesthetic, but i worry that so much nostalgia keeps me stuck, disempowered, and keeps me from taking part. always obsessing over what to keep, what to mend, what to give up... and too much inertia. i feel the need for some deep healing and release and think i'm ready.


the boys..

the lamb twins were born in august to parsley, a ewe who also birthed twins in the spring at the 'ripe' age of 11.

so they were a 'whoops' and their mama didn't have enough milk.

so the shepherdess bottle-raised them and looked for a home and found me.

they are jacob sheep, known for their spots and their horns.

little basil has four horns and oregano, his brother, has two.

i love their names but i've taken to calling them lovey..

and pokey... nicknames are good too.

they are crazy about their bottles.

and settling in really well.

they are very special.

for anyone who's doing instagram, mine has turned into instalamb.


elderberry and blueberry

i dyed the cloth pictured down at the bottom of this post, a lovely handwoven wool one, for my elder cloth.

the blanket was two bolts of fabric hand stitched together, so i unstitched it and dyed half with elderberry and half with blueberry. with the elderberry, i rolled the leaves into the blanket and hot bundled (steamed) it on the stove and then let it sit for about a week. for the blueberry side, i had frozen some blueberries, and i rolled them into the fabric and pounded them a bit with a hammer, and then bundled and let it sit in cold water with a sprinkle of wood ash for about a week. (techniques inspired by and learned from india flint's books.)

elderberry's mule friend for much of her life was named blueberry, who predeceased her by about twelve years. elderberry mourned her for a long time. so now they'll be reunited in cloth.

things have been exciting around here though.. we brought home two bottle babies, lamb twins, the other day. they were already named, basil and oregano. and the story continues.


the way shearing should be

i went over to laura's yesterday, my friend and the farmer of dew dance farm. laura's farm is so idyllic and i'm convinced her life is charmed. her sheep and goats just stand calmly while laura shears them. so peaceful and lovely!

i went to help shear muriel the angora goat and purchase her fleece, but when i got there, laura and her husband george had it all under control. i just sipped my coffee and enjoyed.

and today i am washing muriel's lovely locks... shiny curls in all shades of grey and some creamy blonde. thank you laura, george and muriel!



i just finished stitching this silky sifaka on vintage cotton eco-dyed with elderberry. thanks so much to richard for this special commission.

this type of lemur is critically endangered. please go learn more at simpona and help if you can.