Author Archives: thewooleryguy

PSA: Start Your Gift Crafting Now!

PSA: Start your gift crafting... NOW!

It’s time to start thinking about your holiday gift crafting plans! We know it’s July, the temperature has been pretty consistently in the 90’s here in Kentucky. Just about the last thing we want to think about is the holidays. Trust us though, if you start planning your handmade holiday gifts now, you’ll be a much more sane and happy person come December.

We aren’t saying you need to start knitting Christmas stockings immediately, but now would be an excellent time to sit down and plan what exactly you want to make this holiday season. To help you out we created a Christmas Gift Crafting Worksheet that you can download as a PDF to fill out and help you stay organized. Click here to get your worksheet!

Make a List (and check it twice!)

The planner has a spot for listing all of the gifts that you would make in a perfect world, and then all the gifts that you “must do,” because we know that we’d like to make all the things, but time doesn’t always allow for that.

There is also a spot to list all of the materials you need for each project. You can check off what is already in your stash and what you will need to buy in addition to stash.

Next we suggest listing all the projects you’re going to make and giving a good guesstimate of how long each one will take you. After you do this, go through and assign a goal date to finish each project by.

Then there is a little tracker where you can mark where you start each project and the date you finish by, to see how far of your time estimates were. Also to keep track and make sure you don’t fall behind!

We know you probably aren’t in the holiday mood yet, but give this worksheet a try if you’ve ever felt under the wire for gift crafting. Seeing all of your plans on paper might just motivate you to get a jump start, so on December 24th you can kick your feet up with a nice mug of hot cocoa instead of staying up all night trying to finish that last gift. The act of writing things down helps you remember things, so even if you don’t use and reference the worksheet throughout the rest of the year, it’s still a good exercise.

This has been your friendly PSA, you may go back to your regularly scheduled summer activities of swimming, beach visiting, and ice cream eating now.

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What’s New at The Woolery – June 2018

How has your Spring been going? We’re about to kick into Summer and we have been preparing by stocking up some fun new stuff!

Bluegrass Mills Silk Yarn

Bluegrass Mills Silk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are so excited to have this new, exclusive to The Woolery, 100% Extra Grade Mulberry Silk yarn! It’s available in both 20/2 and 60/2 in 8 vibrant colors. This is the perfect yarn to make your next weaving project extra special. Please note that this yarn is sold by the cone, not by weight, each cone is about 250g of yarn (+/-3%).

Snyder Glider Turkish Spindles

Snyder Glider Turkish Spindles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are each individually handcrafted by Scott Snyder and come in a few different exotic hardwood options like Zebrawood, Tiger Maple, Padauk, and Leopardwood. Each one is a unique work of art. There are 3 different sizes: Mini, Medium, and Large, so there should be one to fit every spinner’s different needs.

Deluxe Book Charkha

Deluxe Book Charkha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imported from India this is the authentic “Gandhi” Charkha Wheel. You might recall Ben Kingsley in the movie spinning on one of these. Hand-crafted in teak by an Indian firm for domestic users (yes, they are still used today), the most popular size is the book Charkha.

This deluxe model provides the familiar smooth “feel” of spinning on a traditional spinning wheel.

Lots of New Books!

newjune-2

We started carrying over 20 new books! They focus on all types of different fiber arts: dyeing, weaving, spinning, just about anything your heart could want. Peruse over our Books/Magazines  section of the website to see what we have. One of our more unique book offerings is Wool and Wine by John Martin. This book tells the stories of the people behind unique pairings of yarn and wine – how they got their start, where they are headed and what has happened along the way. Captured in 175 stunning photos and featuring 12 family run wineries and 12 independent dyers from across North America and Europe, the book brings together yarn, wine, food recipes, knitting patterns and projects from some of today’s most prominent knitting designers in a fun, engaging package with a little something for everyone.

KISS Triangle Looms

KISS Triangle Looms YouTube Video

Continuous Strand Weaving is one of our favorite weaving methods and these triangle looms are a great platform for it! Use these triangles looms to make all kinds of projects from scarves, blankets, purses, vests, and skirts. Loom disassembles for easy transport and storage. They come in 3′, 4′, and 5′ sizes (size measured by the length of the hypotenuse).

Banana Top

Banana Top

Unique fibers are something that we are always on the lookout for, so we can’t wait to share this Banana Fiber with you! It is a natural bast fiber.  Due to its lightweight and comfortable hand, banana fiber is popular in Japan for use in summer wear as well as traditional kimono and kamishimo garments.

Banana fiber blends easily with cotton and other natural fibers. It is similar in appearance to bamboo and ramie fiber. However, banana fiber is finer and easier to spin than either bamboo or ramie. Our favorite feature is: it is biodegradable and has no negative environmental effects, a true eco-friendly fiber.

We hope you are as excited by all of these fun new products as we are!

 

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Perfect Travel Projects

Perfect travel Projects

We’re getting into the tail end of Spring here which means we’re about to enter full Summer mode. A lot of us and probably you will be taking Summer trips. It seemed like a great time to do a rundown of some of our favorite projects to take in planes, trains, and automobiles. Plus, a few of them aren’t bad for distracting bored kiddos who are home for the Summer.

Of course, knitting and crochet are great projects to come with you on-the-go but we’re going to feature a couple lesser known options in this post! Also most of these options are super quick to learn so if learning to knit or crochet seems like an impossible task to you, this might be more up your alley.

First up let’s look at some options for extremely portable weaving:

Schacht Easel Weaver

Schacht Easel Weaver

This new Easel Weaver from Schacht is a great travel tapestry loom option. It features a kickstand so you could easily set it up somewhere like an airplane tray table. Or you can just hold it in your hand to weave too. It comes in three sizes; 6″, 8″, or 10″ so you have a little wiggle room in terms of the size of project you can make. This little loom is made out of sturdy maple/apple plywood with strong warp teeth so it’s durable enough that you can stick it in your travel bag and not be concerned about it breaking or losing your warp. We also have a YouTube video up featuring this little loom if you want to get more details on it!

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver

Really, we love all of Purl & Loop’s products and they would all make excellent travel projects. We decided to focus on this Wee Weaver because it comes with everything you need to weave teeny tiny tapestry projects on the go! You get the loom, two needles, a pickup stick, a comb, and a carrying pouch. So just add some scrap yarn and you’ll be all set to weave on the go. This one is also so tiny (4″x4.5″) that it can be carried around in a purse quite easily.

Schacht Zoom Loom

Schacht Zoom Loom

If you want to weave, but tapestry weaving is not your thing, then the Schacht Zoom Loom is a great choice for a travel loom! Like all Schacht products, it’s very sturdy so you can take it with you without worry. It’s a 4×4 pin loom so you can create coasters or collect several squares and then sew them together into a bigger project. We have a few different kits available for this loom so you can also have some ready made project ideas!

Weaving isn’t the only travel project option, there are lots of different things to try like braiding!

Lucet Braiding Tool

Lucet braiding tool

This nifty tool lets you make a square braid out of a single strand of yarn. As you can see above, we also think it’s fun to use up fabric scraps to make big chunky braids. This can be a neat way to make ties or belts for other projects.

Spinning can be a good on the go project too! If you have a wheel that doesn’t travel well, or can’t quite get the hang of using a drop spindle in the car then you’re not completely out of luck.

Support Spindles

Woodland Woodworking Spindle

We have several different support spindle options, which will be a little easier on the spinner for car ride spinning than a drop spindle. If you’re not familiar with a supported spindle, it’s very similar to a drop spindle except instead of you letting the spindle hang free, it rests in a little bowl or stand. We think a lap bowl works best for the car because you can easily hold it in your lap and keep it secure without it moving around from the car. The spindle shown above is a bead spindle from Woodland Woodworking.

There is no reason why kids wouldn’t love some of the options we have above but we also have some projects that are specifically suited to younger travelers.

Loome Tool and Knitting Nancy

Kids travel projects

We like the Loome because it is an all in one tool for pom poms, tassels, friendship bracelets, cords, and small weavings. If a kid gets bored making pom poms they could switch over to making some bracelets for the pom poms to go on. Knitting Nancy is another good option for kids because she is colorful and fun. It’s basically a tool to create a knitted icord that could be used for belts, bracelets, or doll scarves. Knitting Nancy also uses a very simple repetitive motion so it’s an easy project even for kids with low attention spans. Both of these are small enough to tuck into mom’s purse for emergency entertainment situations.

It’s also important to have a place to put all of these tiny tools and projects when you’re traveling so don’t forget a great bag!

Guatemalan Shoulder Bag

Travel projects in a bag

These bags come in three sizes; small, medium, and large so there should be an option for any size project you have. They two zippered compartments in the front that are great for keeping notions. They’re great to stay organized on the go but they are padded so they will also offer your tools some protection. Also, they feature a panel of unique woven fabric so they are pretty and functional.

Are there any travel projects you love to bring with you that we missed? Let us know in the comments. Also we’d love to see your summer projects! Share them on social media with #wooleryshop

 

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!

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.