It’s A Long Story!

This weekend has been pretty full and I'm going to tell you all about it!

But, first, let me get my sock out of the way. I'm on the second sock now.

It is going at almost a snail's pace.

Sock out of the way, lol.

Still spinning on Secret Garden too.

In fact, I spun on this at Greenbank Mill's Spin-In on Saturday along with the first installment of my second cabled yarn.

Most of the gang was present and accounted for…I got there a little later than usual (hey, when the kids are away, I get to sleep in!), so I missed Laurel. But, Heather, Linda, Bob, Natalie and Carol were there.

As if I needed any encouragement, Carol showed me what one of my future spindles will look like!

This is a Navajo spindle. It is a supported type of spindle. I had only seen these in books and on the web before. Up close and personal, it looked pretty fun!

In the photo above, Carol rolls it on her leg as she drafts out.

But, it's pretty convenient that it rests on her leg because she can also use both hands when she wants. Nice, right? Supported spindling allows for really fine yarns. Takes a minute to get used to though, I think.

Natalie showed me her newest spindle too.

It's a Bosworth spindle she had the fortune to buy by being in the Journey Wheel Yahoo! Group.

The Bosworth's make beautiful, balanced spindles. There is usually a wait for what you'd like to get, but it's worth it.

At the spin-ins there is normally one or two folks who come to learn how to spin. Most start on spindles. Like Laura.

Heather, who had been spinning on her wheel next to her got Laura started and the next thing anyone knew, she was a pro! See all the singles piled up on that spindle? She's a quick study, isn't she?

She didn't stop there either. Heather also showed her what it was like to spin on a wheel. Below, Linda is helping her unwind her singles from the wheel to show her her own skein of handspun singles!


This is her spindle spun singles.

This is her spinning wheel spun singles. Yes, she was subjected to my obsession to document even her stuff, lol.

Awesome results, right?! She did a great job. 🙂

The next day, Linda and Carol had a dyeing session at Linda's house. I went to see the yarn. When I arrived, I was greeted by this lovely ensemble.


Linda and Carol are very experienced dyers. The chemistry of it seems to really get their motors started. I have to admit, it's really easy to see why.

This mandala was dyed using nothing but mushrooms!

Guess who else I saw there? I'll give you a hint. She had two new skeins of natural handspun singles. You got it. 🙂 Laura was there to learn how to dye her new handspun.

I have to chuckle here, lol! These ladies are so knowledgeable and helpful! But, more than that, they just have a love of this stuff that is a joy to see. It's infectious! I had a ball learning with them today!

Dyeing with mushrooms.

Picking Queen Anne's Lace for dyeing.

Strolling back to the dye pots.

Wishing we had a vine or something to get some grapes down from the trees. 🙂

Stopping to see the sassafras leaves.

Weighing 131 grams of Queen Anne's Lace!

Playing with the little critters that stopped by to say hello.

Seeing the ladies meticulously label the skeins as they dried.

Watching their wonderment at the results of their ongoing dyeing experiments.

Can you see the two tones in this skein? It was pre-mordanted with alum. But, half of it was post-mordanted with iron.

But there was more…

The yarn here that Linda is checking on has only been in the pot for a half an hour. It's the Queen Anne's Lace!

Such a gorgeous yellow. Very soft hue. And for it to have only been a half an hour, it's pretty potent dye stuff!

Carol and Linda must've shared a million tips. For instance, do you see the knots on the ends of the samples here? They used the knots to keep track of the mordant they used. Pretty cool system! I think if I ever experiment with multiple mordants, I will try that.

There was dyeing all day! But, I would be remiss if I didn't show you two very important, freshly dyed skeins of handspun, now wouldn't I? 😉

Congratulations Laura on your gorgeous new yarn! 🙂

As I said, it was a LONG story!


  1. These looks so great! I mean I love colourful yarn and bright colours, too – but only natural dye! Aweseome! Btw – are your DPNs possibly from KnitPro?

    • They are playing with this stuff…but more like mad scientists, lol! They switch up mordants to see what they get next. And I think they control things to duplicate results they really like. But it is fascinating to see how potent natural materials can be. 🙂

      The needles I bought locally from Stitches With Style in Delaware. But they originate from…A little while back there was an issue with them and another company called DyakCraft about their needles. I think knitpicks got a lot of bad press behind that. Still, I use all the needles can get my hands on if they work for me, lol! But, it’s interesting reading everyone’s opinions if you have the time. There was also a thread I read once where folks gave their opinions on knitpicks needles stacked up against some of the other available designer knitting needles. Have a look, if you are interested.

      • Thanks for this link!! 🙂 I haven’t tried a lot of brands, to be honest … My gran has old aluminium needles and has a very practical view on them. She wouldn’t go for the fancy stuff, I think … I have tried knitpro (which is a little bit fancy) and other knitting needles from a chain store – they work fine for me. 🙂

  2. I am really fascinated by the dying. I never would have imagined Queen Anne’s Lace would turn things yellow. Great post. Thanks.

    • Thanks for reading this LONG post, lol! Lynda had seen some yarn for sale somewhere where the seller had used Queen Anne’s Lace and wanted to try it. It turned out so well! She said it was a yellow that was “not so in your face” as dyeing with goldenrod.

  3. Awww, so cool! I love how you document everything. So fun!
    I had read somewhere about dyeing with Queen Anne’s lace once, and I’ve always wanted to see how it turns out. All I knew was you get a light light green, but I’d never seen it.
    I have a sudden urge to switch from vegetablr gardening to dye-plant gardening next year…

    • I’m such a nut!! I snatch stuff and run off with it, lol! But these ladies don’t seem to mind. I think they understand obsessions pretty well. 🙂

      Uh oh!! I can’t wait to see your dye gardening results!!

  4. I’d say Laura is a natural. Her first efforts are absolutely fabulous, and you are a gem for documenting them. 🙂

  5. You must have had a fantastic time … love the idea of dyeing with mushrooms! I must try that … =D

  6. Natural dyeing is so cool – can’t wait to move out of the city so I can try it!

    • It is cool and they make it look way to easy. 🙂 But one tip I got was equal dye stuffs when picked fresh to equal fiber. It’s good to know for when you’re ready to strike out on your own.

  7. A long, wonderful story. I’m just so curious as to how Queen Anne’s lace makes a dye! Impressed. Everything is gorgeous (of course) and I enjoyed all the photos. 🙂 Keep me posted about your run. I’m using the Couch to 5K app and yes they make it for iPhones too, although I’m using it for Androids. lol When I first did this program, I had to run with a spreadsheet in one hand and a stopwatch in the other to know when to walk/jog. It’s so much nicer with headphones and a fake lady telling me to do so. 🙂

    • It was long, right?! There’s just so much to tell when I go hang out with them. I had thought about making this two parts. But, I just blurted it all out, lol! He had me strength training the first day. Mostly push ups and sit ups and jumping jacks and squats. I could barely get up the next day! Whew!! I’m still going to run. But I may have to find time to do that at night…when I can move my limbs, lol!

  8. Hey there! Would you be willing to let me use one or two of your pics of the spin in in the Greenbank newsletter (with appropriate credit, of course)?

    • Hey Laurel! That’s no problem. Heather had already asked. 🙂 How did your freshly dyed skins come out? Fabulous, I’m sure!

      • Thanks, toots! I appreciate it.
        No skeins — just loose, fluffy fiber. You bet It turned out fabulous (mmm! greens and blues … mmm!), so I’m doing a happy dance.

  9. Stacey! You have the foundation for an article or a book in this wonderful post! I enjoyed every bit of it!! And I really have not been very interested in trying to dye anything myself [ except for with avocado pits, [which I am still saving =) ] but I am sitting here feeling excited by what you presented so beautifully. And the spinning segment is exciting as well!!! And your knitting!!!!
    Bravo!!!!! and thanks from Gracie xxx

    • Thanks Gracie! XXX

      It’s funny because Carol told me when she started textile traveling years ago, she kept walking away thinking she was just NOT a dyer. Now look at her! She can’t stop, lol! I would love to know more about it for my mental rolodex. But I think the spinning and the knitting with handspun has me at the moment. Can’t get enough!

  10. colours, yarn, they all fascinating me… Thank you, love, nia

  11. What a great time you guys had. This is a very interesting post. Can you imagine if you had to do that to make all of you and your familys clothes?

    • I had a lot of fun! But make ALL of my family’s clothes? Well, only if I could be a SAHM. There’s not enough time in a day with the way I knit, lol! And this question kind of makes me so thankful for inventions like diapers. 😉


  1. […] sound like a lot.  But for the Mill, it really is.  If you can recall the story about Laura last week who came to the Mill to learn to spin and made her own beautiful yarn using wool […]

  2. […] of you may know that these are almonds, but I didn’t know until the outing I had this past summer with the ladies of the mill.  Laurel showed me that there is a walnut tree at Greenbank Mill! So, we picked up a few of these […]

  3. […] named Caroline. But, it is me witnessing Caroline's very first skein being spun! I know I have seen a new spinner produce a first skein before. But, truly, that just never really gets old! It's different every […]

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