"we're fools whether we knit or not, so we may's well knit"

- old southern saying

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We've moved

Until the nonsense with the broken profile link is resolved, we're moving the blog to WordPress. I think four months of pleading is long enough.

New blog address as of 8/15/2008 is: http://dancingwoolymasters.wordpress.com

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Peruvian Brown


This is a cotton blossom on one of the Phreadde Davis Peruvian Brown cotton plants. Lovely plants! I planted Nankeen earlier in the spring, and it was stunted by the last frost of April. One of those plants (all of 8" tall) is actually blooming. Nankeen is also a brown cotton. In the lower garden, I planted some of Phreadde's green cotton. It's doing alright, down in the okra bed, but nothing at all like that Peruvian Brown!

Meet Sally and Holly

Hogan lambs.jpgs

This was taken the day we brought them home. Three months old. They were born on April 24, making them Tauruses. And boy, are they ever bullish. They are, by the way, Gulf Coast Native Sheep.

The other day, Holly broke off a horn. That was an adventure. We all survived. I have the little 2" horn on my altar of all things natural, bony, feathered, petrified etc.

Now, I have to say, they are growing like mad, and thriving, or so it seems. Their fleece seems to be growing awfully fast considering it is 99 degrees most days. It's about 2" long right now.

They're still skittish as all get out. But they love my husband. Bringer of the oats. Oh, every time he walks out the door, they call him. They have a special Baaa for him - it ends in "O". Almost like their saying "OOOOOATS!!!" I just rate the standard Baaaaaa.

Friday, April 18, 2008

cotton baggin'

2007 green.jpga

2007 green

2007 pima.jpga

2007 pima

2007 brown 2007 peruvian brown.jpga

2007 brown & 2007 peruvian brown

Ah...there are days when I just love my mailwoman. Lookit what she brought me today! Cotton. Thank you Phreadde, for the fabulous envelope! What timing!

We had three nights of frost this week, the 14th, 15th, and 16th. I lost most of my Nankeen cotton. There are oh, a half dozen or so little plants that may make it; but, for the most part, we got wiped out. Just last week, like some psychic angel, Phreadde from Albuquerque asked if I was still interested in trying some of her cotton. I never expected fresh seed - in 4 colors! WHOO HOO!

So...yep...here we go again. At this moment, it is 82 degrees F. I have resumed my planting schedule. Now, I need to find 4 separate zones for 4 little stands of this colored cotton. Yessss!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not all fiber comes from sheep



This is a cotton seedling. This picture is of one of the few Nankeen seedlings that emerged...before the frost. Nankeen is a copper colored cotton - brown cotton that was used for slaves' shirts. Now, I don't know about this colored lint, but, long ago, the land around here was used for cotton and indigo production. Our heirloom plants, up til now, have been of the edible persuasion. But this year, we decided to reestablish some traditional textile crops.

For the past 2 nights, we have had the most bizarre cold snap, with temperatures dropping into the 30's. So...I stayed up late...reading...late...did I say late? Waiting for the temperature to drop to 35...which is the drop dead point for my plants...the temperature at which I run out, open the valves, and let the sprinklers sprinkle. Night before last, 35 was reached at 5:30am. Last night, at 2:30. What a blessing! That late night irrigation saved all but 3 tomato plants - out of about 1/3 acre of plantings! Plantings under irrigation, that is. See, the "cotton patch" is not irrigated. And, with a 50% germination rate, I was hoping to keep all those little darlins alive.

Well...I do believe that 2 or 3 of these Nankeens have survived. I sure hope so. Will the crazy cold stunt their development? I don't know.

Out of the blue, just a few days back, before the hint of impending frost, a certain fibergal asked if I would like a few of her organic seeds. Of course, I said "YES!" WHOO HOO! I can't wait. I believe I have enough days left in the season to grow a bit of cotton. So...I will be watching my mailbox like a hawk. We'll be back into the 80's by the end of the week. And those fibergal seeds will be in the ground. Ahem. Under irrigation.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Scour and a Few Rows


sample of josephine

This is some soft stuff, o boy o boy. Just a teeny handful...a few yards. I'll get to her this week.


the end of abigail

Windy day, 88 degrees. Seemed like a good day to wash the second half of this fleece. Lovely stuff.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Back in the studio


1,100 yds of "Amber" Gulf Coast 2-ply aka Tom's Sweater

Yessiree...finished the sweater yarn, but not the sweater. The reason is ... well, shown a few pictures down. That chocolate Gulf Coast from "Abigail" just called to Tom. How can anything so soft be legal? And what a color.

GC natural.jpga

100 yd skein of natural cream Gulf Coast 2-ply

I have buckets of this creamy stuff left. I've been spinning singles and 2-ply for dyeing. Such a delight to work with. Unblended, it's just exactly like the fiber I learned to spin back in Chichester in 1972.

pink tweed 2.jpga

120 yd skein of natural Gulf Coast/Corrie/Mohair singles with slubs of acid dyed Corrie and coreopsis dyed Border Leicester

This stuff is lovely. I've done a bunch of these slubby yarns. They wash great...giving a nice halo.

GC natural & dyed.jpga

singles yarns (l to r) Coreopsis dyed Gulf Coast, Coreopsis dyed Gulf Coast blended with Marigold dyed Border Leicester, and natural "Abigail" Gulf Coast from Running Moon Farm

Here are the latest experiments. As I've shown before, Coreopsis gives an amazingly strong orange. These photos are completely untouched. Any of these yarns would be perfect for socks. The blend, on the center spindle, will grow a big halo due to the Border Leicester. The brown, well that's "Abigail" - so soft and yummy, and chocolate brown. I use dark brown merino for slubs in several of my yarns...this though...really takes the cake. All of these yarns have a great amount of spring. I like elasticity in my sock yarns.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Big Basin Socks

2 Big Basin Socks on 2 circs

Oh I could go on about the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I lived in Boulder Creek in the 70's. My business, an antiques store, was at the junction of Hwy 9 and Big Basin Way. So...when I saw that the February Six-Sox KAL pattern was "Big Basin," wild horses couldn't have held me back.

This pattern is based on Cat Bordhi's new sockitecture. It's written by Rebecca A. Uses Judy Becker's Magic Cast On - which I am very amazed and sorry that I didn't invent. I can't believe I've knit for 243 years, and didn't think of that cast-on.

Anyhoo...this is a progress shot. The yarn is Fleece Artist "Rainforest" and the needles are US 1 circs - one Addi and one Knitpicks. The different colored cords make easy work of keeping the toeknitting straight.

Tom's sweater spinning project is done. I am in the middle of spinning up a storm...oh wouldn't a spinning wheel make this easier, or at least faster? I have a show coming up mid-march, and would like to have a nice pile of yarns for sale.

Sooooo...that's the scoop from Dove's Roost...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year Idyll

Toms Amber Sweater Yarn3.jpgcr

Tom's "Amber" Sweater Wool

Alrighty, then. 2007 ended with record setting frosts, compromised gardens, a dramatic Christmas car flipover (a neighbor's inlaws) on our freshly graded sugar sand road, and a visit to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' home in Cross Creek. We faced more than a few challenges, and feel stronger and happier than ever before. Our little farm is expanding, we're adding new heirloom varieties, preparing to add critters, and hopefully we'll find a sister pup for Smitty, the cattle dog.

The fiber project du jour is Tom's Christmas present. (Yeah, I know.) It's a sweater. It just looks like a pile of singles and worsted rolls. I'm almost done with the singles, and hope to start plying this week! He'd like that, too. After all, it won't be sweater weather for much longer. Right now, the thermometer is reading 74 degrees. After a 13 degree night last week, I feel as if I've been transported to Tortola in the BVI!

The "Amber" sweater (so called because the Gulf Coast Native Sheep donating her fleece for the project is named Amber) was going to be along the lines of the o so popular Cobblestone Pullover. However, Tom doesn't want all those garter stitch panels...would prefer a more classic look. I'm drawing designs for him to choose from. More fun that way, anyhoo.