Monday, December 5, 2011


Somehow, I’ve created a life for myself that is overly full, scheduled more finely than the divisions on my daily planner. I love being busy, love the creative excursions I take while working on projects for the Library or the Multicultural Committee or the school. I love the physical exertion and the problem solving involved in raising sheep, and the creativity that is necessary for using their fiber, whether I felt, or spin my own yarn, or dye and knit my yarn after it has been commercially spun.
However, because my schedule is so full, I don’t take the time for much continuing education. I didn’t even realize that I was missing the education part of life until Athena, the publisher of my third book, From Sheep to Shawl: stories and patterns for fiber lovers, forced me to sell and autograph books at a fiber festival last summer. I sold and publicized my books – the point of the day- but more importantly for me, the other vendors at the festival opened my eyes to new fiber ideas. I admired beautifully felted people and animals, scarves knit out of wool roving instead of yarn, and dyed silk hankies to knit directly into scarves.
A silk hankie is an individual silk worm cocoon opened out into a thin sheet of silk fibers. Many, many silk hankies are piled on top of each other and then the sandwich is dyed a combination of shimmering colors. My immediate response to the dyed silk hankies was to want to go home and dye some myself. A few minutes serious consideration of my schedule persuaded me to buy several pre-dyed piles of hankies. The silk was lovely, one a square of gold and green, gleaming in the late afternoon sun, the second, like a window onto a watery world of blues and greens. They would be so fun to work with; but I would have liked to dye them myself. Dyeing really is my favorite part of fiber work and it had been a long time since I had done any experimental dyeing or even any dyeing for fun. I seem to have let other things creep into my fiber time. On the way home, I brainstormed ways to free up more time for dyeing, surfing fiber sites, trips to fiber festivals and shows, and especially time spent with other fiber people, gleaning new ideas and new techniques from them –inspiration for my imagination.

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