A Woolful Podcast

Late last September I received an email from a charming woman by the name of Ashley Yousling, a knitter, designer, big dreamer and most of all, serious community building dynamo.  She was inquiring about a project that she was building with another friend, also knitter and designer, Annie Claire, called Little Woolens.  She had found my work through Instagram and was inquiring about my yarn ambitions and the possibility of using one of my naturally dyed yarns in a knitting project for their new endeavor.  I was excited by the opportunity while at the same time a little overwhelmed because I was, and still am, very much in the process of deciding on the perfect yarn base for my evolving WOOLCRUSH yarn line.  A process that I am not taking lightly, nor feeling the need to rush.  I relayed this sentiment and was assured that their project was going to take on an organic evolution and they would be interested when the timing felt right for everyone.  Not too long after, Ashley reached out again and shared yet another of her mighty dreams she had in the works, a podcast.  Not just any podcast, but one focused on the wide array of fiber folk and yarn creatives working in the world today.  She extended an invitation for a little "fireside chat" via skype in which I would share about my aspirations and dreams for my fiber journey.  

Here is what became of that conversation....

Woolful Podcast Episode 10: Falling into fiber arts, Natural dyeing, Dedication and Building communities

woolfoolpodcast

Natural Dyeing...the beginning

As with many processes dealing with fiber, there is more than one approach, especially in the beginning.  Natural dyeing is no different. Experimentation, drive, and desired outcome all shape the process an individual chooses.  I have observed vast philosophies over the last year and I am sure this will remain constant through out my journey in understanding natural dye processes.  I am a beginner.  My efforts are sincere and driven.   I have the good fortune to a live within a 20 minute drive of master dye teacher, weaver and featured artist in Rebecca Burgess' book Harvesting Color,  Carol Leigh.  She has hosted workshops, sold natural dye materials, weaving tools and yarns for decades.  I purchased my first natural dye kit from her over 6 years ago, but, as fate would have it, I never used the dye kit until 18 months ago.  I guess I was finally ready to take the necessary, AND MANY, steps required to make things happen.  I am so glad I did!  It's been life changing.  In dyeing, I have married my long-time cooking skills with my gardening skills.  I grow color in the summer months that can be used all winter in my knitting and spinning projects. When I was a beginning knitter,  I would put my knitting needles away in the spring and summer in exchange for my gardening shovel.  Now it is a constant endeavor. A lovely thing.    

 

Here are some photos from my first natural dye workshop I took at Carol Leigh's ancient dye workshop in late winter 2013. February can be grey and grueling in Missouri.  A weekend full of natural dyeing, chemistry and new ideas was just what the doctor ordered.  

Mordanting with alum in preparation for dyeing

Mordanting with alum in preparation for dyeing

Ground Cochineal

 

Fustic

Fustic

Cochineal with 3 different mordants: copper, iron and alum

Cochineal with 3 different mordants: copper, iron and alum

Logwood on cotton and wool

Logwood on cotton and wool

We Are Storytellers

We are all storytellers.  Some of us are better at sharing our stories than others.  Some are more comfortable telling them to a large audience, while some quietly tell them in their mind.  I have been writing a blog in my mind for over a decade.  I will never forget the first blog I read many, many years ago.  It was written by a woman of average status, for all intents and purposes.  She was not a celebrity.  She was not a wealthy, beautiful woman who had refined her style to a point of envy but rather a woman who was capturing her life through the lens of a camera and her tapping of the keyboard. I spent about an hour and a half pouring through her blog.  I reached out to her and told her how inspired I was by her story.  She responded in a kind way.  She was excited to have her story read by another human.  I found her blog searching for a recipe for banana pancakes.  Each time I make them, I think of her. 

 

I want to stop writing a blog in my mind.  I want to put it out there.  I’m not clear why. I’m not sure I am certain it will bring me any closer to my authentic self. I AM sure I will be pushed way out of my comfort zone and I’ll be tempted to delete it.  But since this is something that has been repeating itself over and over in my mind then I think it's time to flush it out.  See what happens.  Maybe it will create more space in my mind for bigger dreams, more inspiration and a clearer understanding of why we want to tell our own stories.  

 

Hello, this is my blog.  I vow to never post an entry about blueberry muffins.  That’s something I have always poked fun at in blog land. I also admit that I’ll probably totally end up posting something very similar to a blueberry muffin post one day because I’ve lived long enough to know that one always has to eat one’s words.  I can only hope they taste mighty fine when I do.