Author Archives: thewooleryguy

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival 2018

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival 2018

One of our favorite festivals of the year is approaching fast! The Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival will be May 19th and 20th at the Masterson Station Park in Lexington, KY. The festival has classes, competitions, and of course shopping! The Woolery will have a large booth set up with wheels, fiber processing equipment and other fiber goodies for you to try out. We will also have a special guest with us!

Deb Essen of DJE Handwovens

Deb Essen of DJE Handwovens will be teaching classes at the Festival on Saturday and then hanging out in The Woolery booth all day on Sunday. She lives, weaves, and runs her business in Bitterroot Valley, nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana. Deb completed HGA’s Certificate of Excellence, Level 1 (2004) and is and inducted member of the Montana Circle of American Masters in Folk and Traditional Arts (2011). Her passion is teaching the wonders of weaving.

Sidney the Sheep from DJE Handwovens

Deb creates some of our favorite kits for handweavers (like the Zoom Loom Swatch Critters!). Come meet her and learn from a master of weaving!

If you swing by our booth you’ll also find some fantastic show only specials and we’ll have these adorable “Proud Member of The Woolery Fiber Flock” stickers on hand so you  can show your Woolery pride! They’re nice vinyl stickers so they are really durable and great for sticking on water bottles, laptops, or wherever you need some Woolery swag.

Fiber Flock Sticker

If you don’t already follow us on Instagram, now would be a good time to get on that. We may or may not be giving away some prizes at the show, but you have to follow us to find out about them!

Also a quick reminder that because we will all be having fun at the Festival, our shop will be closed on Saturday May 19th!

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Woolery Weave-Off Winners

What an adventure! We are pleased to present the winners of the first Woolery Weave-Off! Inundated with over 75 amazingly beautiful, diverse towels, we struggled to keep judging deadlines, and are still working on washing and folding all the entries for delivery! Next week, we will be delivering them to The Simon House, where they’ll go into ‘starter baskets’ that provide basic household supplies to the ladies moving out into their own housing! Without further ado…


Beginners

Third Place – Susan Hadden – Califon, NJ

Third Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Susan Harrison – Plano, TX

Second Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Patti Grammatis – Easley, SC

First Place - Woolery Weave-Off Beginner Category


Rigid Heddle

Third Place – Mary Pat Nowakowski – Freeville, NY

Third Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Mary Dean – Hackettstown, NJ

Second Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Ellyn Zinsmeister – Allen, TX

First Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off


Color

Third Place – Cathy Kinzie – Owings, MD

Third Place - Color Woolery Weave Off

Second Place – Susan Kroll – Sequim, WA

Second Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Pat Bullen – Centerburg, OH

First Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off


Pattern

Third Place – Sue Briney – Powell, OH

Third Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Lynette Greenwald – Buckingham, PA

Second Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Katie Polemis – Indianapolis, IN

First Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off


Congratulations everyone, all of your towels are fantastic! We hope you all enjoy your prizes. As a reminder here are the prizes that the winners will receive:

Woolery Weave-Off Prizes

We cannot thank all of you enough – the response has been overwhelming, and the love shown and felt is profound. We look forward to sponsoring this contest again, and working other contests into our rotation! It feels good to give back, and we are delighted that you’re all on board to help out.

“We all do better when we all do better.” ~ Paul Wellstone

Thank you for your support of The Woolery Weave-Off!

As I write this blog entry, it occurs to me that every day, everywhere, we are surrounded by bad news. Wars. Fiscal crises. Crippling poverty. Water accessibility. Hunger. It is a tumultuous time in the world, and it is safe to say that the inundation of upsetting daily news is exhausting to everyone. Compassion fatigue, some call it. When do we get a break from the bad?

For me, the break in the bad has been this contest.

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Every day since February, we have received envelopes carefully sent to us containing hand woven dishtowels. Some are bright. Some are neutral. Some are from beginners, and some are from experienced weavers. They vary in size, in pattern, in colorway. Some have fringed edges, some are hemmed. Waffle-weaves, crepe-weaves, twills, and plain-weaves. They are all as different as the ways of the wind – there are not two that are similar. What they all have in common, though, is the obvious love with which they were woven. Beautiful notes accompany many of them expressing the delight to have a reason to warp a loom for a good cause. Some entries recount time spent in unsure housing circumstances themselves, and the frustration felt at having next to nothing, and definitely not much ‘nice’. One entry confessed that she wove it oversized so the owner, clearly in a tough time of life, might be able to use it for something other than just dish drying (that one caused me to burst into immediate tears).  A generous donation came from a sweet 12-year-old weaver, who acknowledged that she was unable to officially ‘enter’, but wanted to contribute alongside her mother’s submission. A school in Pennsylvania sent in a box of beautiful towels, despite many of the weavers being under 18 themselves. Some entrants added matching wash rags, some sent duplicates and multiples, just to bolster the donation amount.

The break in the bad.

As a woman and mother myself, I understand how stressful having young children can be, even on a good day, in comfortable circumstances. To add in the enormous stress of being housing insecure, feeling untethered to a stable life, must be overwhelming. As women and their children move out of The Simon House, into new apartments, they often do so with nothing. What they do have is usually donated, having once belonged to another family. Bare bones, and precious little luxury, but a new beginning. So lovely, well made, practical, and prettyare these dishtowels, that despite how utilitarian they may seem, the women who receive them will confidently possess at least one beautiful, brand new, high end thing that is hers. In the mundane tasks of putting away dishes, bathing the baby, wiping down the high chair at the end of a long day, there is guaranteed to be a bright spot when the owner gets a flash of a lovely, fun pattern, pleasing colors, and quality that gets the job done, only softening and becoming better with every wash. How many of us have a favorite dishtowel? I know I do. One small, reliable bright spot in the day.

A break in the bad.

The generosity, and more importantly, the empathy shown in these wonderful donations have been heartbreaking in their beauty, kindness and love, compassion, and obvious understanding of a less-than-ideal situation. One nice item, made just for them, that will last, wear well, and always be something enjoyable to use and look at. A break in the bad.

On behalf of the entire Woolery staff, the McFarlands, and our extended Woolery family, I thank you all from the genuine bottom of my tear-soaked, but now much larger heart. To be reminded of the love and generosity that exists in this chaotic world is a morale boost I desperately needed, and am so glad the ladies they will benefit get to experience, too.

Your true, warm colors all came shining through with this act of generosity. Thank you for this break in the bad.

~Katherine

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Grow Your Own Natural Dyes

Grow Your Own Natural Dyes

Here in Kentucky we’ve been having some winter weather stay a bit past its welcome, but it seems like Spring is finally starting to settle in. With all the nice sunny days ahead we thought it would be a great time to put a spotlight on some of our Dye Seeds! This line of seeds will produce a garden that is both beautiful and useful, all of them can be used to grow your own natural dye.

When starting your dye garden we suggest having a good variety of the primary colors (Red, Yellow, Blue) so you can mix them together to get a whole rainbow. Most people know about Indigo for blue so we’re going to skip thane and move on to some lesser known plants. Here are some of the different plants you can grow with our dye seeds!

Red – Amaranth

Amaranth

This was originally grown by the Hopi Nation to be used as a red food dye for their piki bread. The flower clusters, leaves, and stems are used to create the red dye. This plant does best in warm weather, so plant your seeds after you have no more chance of frost, or start your seeds indoors and transplant outside. These plants can get big, up to 8 feet tall!

Red – Bugloss/Alkanet

Bugloss/Alkanet

It’s good to have different options of the primary colors because different plants will yield different shades. The roots of the Bugloss/Alkanet plant will produce a maroon hue.  A bonus of this plant is that honeybees love it, so if you’re a beekeeper or you just want to help out bees this is a great option.

Yellow – Golden Marguerite

Marguerite

Sometimes referred to as Dyer’s Camomile, Golden Marguerite can be used to achieve a yellow dye. The flowers, leaves, and stems are used. Their daisy-like appearance makes them a pretty addition to your garden.

Red/Yellow – Safflower

Safflower

Fun fact, safflower was used to dye the red cotton tapes of legal documents and is the origin of the phrase “red tape”. You start growing these plants in the Spring but they won’t flower until the Fall. Different shades of the flowers can produce a red to yellow dye.

Black – Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet

These get their name from their sweet smell, but their biggest claim to fame is in the pharmaceutical industry. They contain salicylic acid which is the key ingredient that was synthesized to create aspirin. The roots of this plant can produce a black dye.

Gardening

If you’re new to natural dyeing or just dyeing in general, we have some book suggestions for you to get started on your colorful journey! Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgess features some great information on harvesting natural dye plants from nature and also how to extract the color from these plants. If you’d rather watch a DVD we suggest Natural Dyeing by Dagmar Klos, which is a 60 minute workshop to give you a great foundation of knowledge.

Remember that you will need to use a mordant to get color to stick to your wool. Before you start dyeing make sure you take all of the necessary safety precautions!

Send us pictures of your garden, we can’t wait to see what you create!

NOTE: Certain U.S. states do not permit the growing of some of these seeds, viewing them as “invasive.” Please adhere to the regulations in your area.

Weaving Selvedge Rug Project

Weaving Selvedge

Weaving Selvedge Rug ProjectWe love weaving selvedge! What’s weaving selvedge you ask? It’s the leftover bits they cut off of the ends of commercially woven fabric. They were just getting thrown away, but then some geniuses said, “I wonder what would happen if we wove with these?” Turns out, that was a great idea! The selvedge can add lots of fun texture to a scrappy tapestry project, but our favorite thing to do with it is make a nice fluffy rug!

Our very own Dani made her own selvedge rug project on a Gilmakra Standard Countermarche Floor Loom. We thought we’d share how Dani made her rug so you can make your own rug!

Warping the Gilmakra Standard Countermarche Loom

Dani warped her loom 30″ wide at 6 ends per inch with 6 feet of warp in Maysville 8/4 Cotton Rug Warp Yarn. She used the Ivory color. Her weft was made entirely of weaving selvedge and she used about 1 bag (5lbs). The selvedge Dani used was particularly fluffy so you might need 2 bags to weave a similar sized rug depending on your selvedge. The 24″ Hockett Stick Shuttle was the easiest shuttle to pass the weft through the warp.

Weaving Selvedge Project

After you’re all warped up, just plain weave away. Once you get going with this project it really flies by because each pass of weft gives you about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of rug! You can see just how quickly this project goes by in the YouTube video below:

The rug ended up being 30″ by 40″ and is so thick and textural! Dani finished the ends of her rug with a Damascus edge. She demonstrated it last week on Facebook Live if you want to learn how to do it yourself.

We’d love to see your weaving selvedge projects! Send us pictures on Facebook or Instagram!

Selvedge Rug Project

What’s New At The Woolery – March 2018

It’s been an exciting month so far at The Woolery, we have all kinds of awesome new stuff to share with you. Let’s get right to the goods!

Calico Farm Stone Drop Spindle 

Calico Farm Stone Drop Spindle

You know we love a gorgeous handmade spindle, and these are no exception. These beautiful drop spindles are handmade by Anna Anderson. She uses the proceeds from the spindles to fund her organization, Wooly Rescue, which helps fiber animals and horses suffering from neglect. These spindles weigh 1oz to 1.25oz and each are tested for smooth and balanced spinning. We have five different stone options for you to choose from.

The Supplementary Beater

The Supplementary Beater

This is a great way to mix up your weaving and add some uniqueness to your next project. The Supplementary Beater comes in two sizes, Large and Small. These are expertly crafted out of hard maple in Rhode Island and are lightly oiled for a smooth finish.

Rosie’s Bobbin Speed Winder Insert

Dani shows you exactly how to use this awesome tool in the video above, it’s a super economical way to have a bobbin winder at home! Use with your cordless screwdriver / drill (not included). Place your boat shuttle bobbin on the end and go. Makes bobbin winding fast, easy and efficient. Made specifically to fit Schacht and Leclerc bobbins; it will not fit Ashford boat shuttle bobbins.

The Woolery Dining Room Set Weaving Kit

The Woolery Dining Room Weaving Set

Designed by Nancy Reid, Woolery’s own weaving teacher, this kit has everything needed to weave 4 placemats, a table runner and 4 napkins using Cestari’s Monticello Collection, a blend of 75% Virginia cotton and 25% linen.  The placemats and table runner are in plain weave and the napkins are huckle lace. We have 4 different color schemes for the kits, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

Zoom Loom Swatch Critter Kit – Sidney the Sheep

Zoom Loom Swatch Critter Kit

We have loved the Zoom Loom Swatch Critter Kits from DJE Handwovens for a long time, they’re the perfect answer to the question, “What do I do with these little squares from the Zoom Loom?” We’re super excited to have some new critters for you to weave! The kits come with the yarn and all the instructions to make the cute little critters.

Jenkins Turkish Spindles

These aren’t actually a new product, but we did just get a brand new shipment of them in and they always sell out quick. Plus, we just dropped a YouTube video explaining all the different shapes and sizes of Jenkins spindles that we carry. Ed Jenkins’ life passion is working with wood, producing items with creativity, ingenuity and years of experience. Each spindle is made one at a time by Ed’s hands without computerized machinery. Each of Ed’s spindles is a one-of-a-kind work of art. Please note that the pictures shown are a representation of the colors and grains typical of the various wood types. Some spindles will also have hand-drawn designs or decorations on them. If you have questions about a particular spindle, please contact us or call the shop at 800-441-9665.

 

 

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Weaving Retreat in Historic Berea, Kentucky

Berea Weaving Retreat

Weaving classWe like to offer a weaving retreat in beautiful historic Berea, Kentucky twice a year. It’s a make & take experience taught by our veteran weaving instructor, Nancy Reid. She brings over 20 years of fine weaving instructing & experience to the table. You can learn to weave or perfect a new skill on a beautiful Schacht Wolf Pup loom.

The location of the retreat is Boone Tavern, which is owned by Berea College. Part of Berea College’s requirements is that students are required to work at least ten hours per week at any one of the 140+ college departments and work areas across campus. Boone Tavern is one of these establishments. Students earn money for books, room, and board at the College – but pay no tuition – thanks to the generosity of donors who support Berea College’s mission of providing a high-quality education for students primarily from Appalachia who have high academic potential and limited financial resources. Berea students make up about 50% of the staff at Boone Tavern.

Historic Boone Tavern

Weaving on the Schacht Wolf PupThe retreat is a two day class; on Day 1, students weave and complete a sampler, and on Day 2, students create a set of mug rugs or scarf. In addition to learning a ton you’ll have a lot of fun and make new fiber friends. Nancy is a fantastic teacher and even if 4-harness weaving intimates you, you’ll feel like a pro by the end of the retreat.

 

The class costs $475 and includes: cost of class, materials, breakfast, daily beverages/afternoon snacks, a copy of the class text Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler, and use of a Schacht Wolf Pup loom (room and meals besides breakfast not included). The class size for this experience is extremely limited (we only accept 6 students for each session) so you will have lots of individual help from our instructor, Nancy.

Berea Weaving Retreat

Our next Weaving Retreat is going to be over Memorial Day Weekend on May 27th and 28th, 2018. We do still have space available but it fills up fast so give us a call at 502-352-9800 to book your spot as soon as possible. If you want you could also book for Labor Day Weekend on September 1st and 2nd, 2018. These two weekends will be the only times we will have this experience available for all of 2018, so call us to reserve your space now. We’re so excited to weave with you!

 

 

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