Monday, June 16, 2014

McCormick's Neon Food Coloring

Lately I have been on a fiber dyeing binge.  McCormick's food dye is hard to resist because it is simple to use and in my kitchen cupboard.  I just add a bit of white vinegar as a mordant and the colors become permanent.  All the colors are vibrant with green being my favorite.  The purple was disappointing after two attempts to get complete saturation. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The baby Bluebirds have arrived

The Bluebird eggs hatched about a week ago.  It has been a lot of fun watching the mom and dad come and go to feed the babies.  They are also very tolerant of us checking in on the babies.  Not sure how many are in the box but they laid 5 eggs. 
John decided to set the Bushnell trail cam up to catch the birds in action.  They didn't seem to mind a bit, even using the camera as an extra perch.  If you ever thought about buying an automatic trail camera I would highly recommend a Bushnell.  It takes great shots and it will give you hours of enjoyment at a very reasonable price. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bird's nests

It's a great time of the year to bird watch.  We are gifted with a regular group of Bluebirds who manage to edge out the sparrows for one of the prized bird houses that my husband puts up for them.
Eventually this nest held 5 eggs.

Ideally all of our boxes would contain Bluebird eggs but we aren't quite that lucky.  House Wrens claimed this bird house.  It is not my favorite bird as they can be aggressive.  They evicted a lovely Chickadee family one year and I am still holding a grudge. 

These are very tiny!  Eventually 5 eggs were laid.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Singin' the blues

I have been on a bit of a spinning frenzy lately and what better color to do it with than my favorite black English Angora.  The first picture is two hanks from 2 different rabbits.  The top hank is darker which I really like.  The bottom hank turned out nearly white, not enough color to even consider it a color.

I decided to dye it to make it more interesting.  I used Country Classic slate blue which I have had for ever.  A very little bit of this dye goes a long, long way which I can attest to since I have had it for 17 years and am no where near the bottom of the container.  It is much more economical than Kool-aid but not non-toxic so I have to use separate cookware for any of the commercial dyes.

It is a vibrant blue!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pom Pom Blanket

I finished another pom pom blanket.  This yarn is so soft and fun to work with I am becoming addicted to always having one on my knitting needles.  The yarn is sold at Michael's Craft Store and is a Loops & Thread product called Pom-Pom (adult colors) or Bunny Tail (baby colors.)  I am unsure if Michael's will continue to carry this product since it has been on clearance for quite a while.  I buy it on sale for $2.99 a skein although I got lucky last year and bought a bunch at $1.99.  I use 6 skeins per blanket.  It is a very unique and economical gift that knits up fairly quickly.

A link to this unique yarn follows,

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shiba Inu Yarn

I was recently contacted by a local person seeking a knitter to knit a scarf out of Shiba Inu fiber that she had saved from her own dogs and had spun.  I was surprised by this request but delighted to do it since I started out my spinning career spinning Bouvier des Fladres fiber.  It is special to have a keep sake from your beloved dogs.  Although not practical since most dog hair has a degree of harshness to it (OK I am a bit of a softness snob since I exclusively spin angora from my rabbits) a dog hair scarf is quite a conversation piece. 

128 yards of Shiba Inu yarn.
The finished product.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kool-aid dyeing

I seem to be mastering the art of quick spinning of second cut angora.  This inconsistent form of spinning uses all the matted and webbed pieces most would throw away.  I often ply with cotton/poly crochet thread but you have to know what direction you are headed in for dyeing as the non animal fiber thread will not take the dyes I so often use.  Most of the time out of convenience I use Kool-Aid as it is non toxic or other food grade dyes.  With this particular hank of yarn I plied it with very fine spun angora that I had left over and since I don't plan on doing any lace weight yarn in the near future (probably ever!  Too tedious) I used what I had on hand.  The nice thing about that is I could get creative with what color I was going to dye the yarn without worrying what color the commercial thread was.  I found a great site on the internet that gives you color recipes which takes the guess work out of mystery concoctions.  I LOVE this site,

So...  5 packages of pink lemonade + 2 packages of berry blue gets you this,

I loved the hints of purple in the dye bath.

After drying it was less intense but still very pretty.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Big Times Violet wins Best in Speciatly show

We had a fantastic day at the Ohio State fairgrounds yesterday showing in the UARC sponsored double specialty show held in conjunction with the Ohio State Rabbit Breeder's mini convention.  Big Times Violet won a Best in Specialty show attended by over 70 angoras representing all 4 breeds of angoras.  Violet acquired the last 2 legs required for her to be registered as a Grand Champion.  What a way to finish the season!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big Times Violet wins Best in Show!

It's been quite a while since I have had exciting rabbit news to report but Big Times Violet won a Best in Show at the Southwestern Ohio Rabbit Breeder's Association rabbit show in Xenia, Ohio on Sunday March 9.  It's such a humbling experience to win a best in show when there are so many competitive rabbits in attendance.

Judge Danny Long, me, and Big Times Violet.