Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today I planted garlic.  

First I dug a 3" deep trench...

Then I pulled apart a couple heads of garlic...

Next I nestled the individual cloves into the trench, pointy side up, 6" apart.

And then I tucked the little guys in under 2" of soil for a nice, cozy winter sleep.

Hopefully they will wake up in the spring and grow nice and big for me!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Favorite Photo From Our Wedding

I going through wedding photos today, trying to pick the perfect set for our wedding photo book.  It has been awhile since I looked through all of the pictures. I forgot how beautiful they all are. :)

Out of all the photos, though, I think this one is my favorite.  Our friend Austin took this photo as we were headed to the "getaway" car after our reception.  I remember that moment--that feeling of wow, we're married!  All of the hooplah was over and done with, we were off to the North Carolina mountains for our honeymoon--off to begin our life together.  


Now that I have all of the wedding pics loaded on the computer, perhaps I will actually get to those posts about the process of our very DIY wedding. :D 

The loveliest of weekends to you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wool Washin'

How to Wash A Fleece (using a washing machine)

Prep: Skirt your fleece and carry into the laundry room.  Lay a towel down on top of the dryer (or counter, if you have one).  You will place the fleece on this towel in-between washing/rinsing.

Step 1: Fill your washer with hot water.  Oh yeah, hot n' steamy!

Step 2: Turn off the washer.  Now add enough Dawn soap (or other detergent--I've read that Dawn is preferable) to make the water feel slippery (about 1 Cup).  Use your hand (or a spoon, if you don't want to put your hands in the hot water) to gently incorporate the soap into the water.  Don't make any suds!

Step 3: Gently place fleece into the hot, soapy water.  It is very important NOT to agitate the fleece--resist the temptation to mix or swish it around!  Agitation will cause the fibers of your fleece to weave together, making felt.  We don't want felt right now, just clean wool. ;)

Step 4: Close the washer lid and let the fleece soak for 45 minutes.

Step 5: Set your washer on the spin cycle and turn it back on.  Make sure that you don't put it on the rinse cycle or anything--JUST SPIN.  When the spin cycle is through, your fleece will look like this:

Step 6: Now take the fleece out and set on the towel.   

Step 7: Fill the washer with hot water again.  This is the rinse, so don't add any soap.  Gently place fleece back into the washer; let soak for 30 minutes.  Spin.  

Step 8: Remove fleece from washer and set on towel.
Look how clean it is!

This is my fleece after the first wash (above).  Mohair (wool that comes from Angora goats) is very fine, and often needs more than one wash.  I ended up washing/rinsing my fleece three times in all. :)  

After the first wash, you can begin separating the pieces of wool that are clean enough to dry from the wool that needs another trip through the wash.  Repeat the wash/rinse cycles as many times as needed for a lovely, clean fleece! 

This is my fleece after the second wash.  You can tell it is a little bit whiter.  Believe it or not, Irma's fleece is a true white underneath all of that dirt!

Step 9: Add 1/2 Cup white vinegar to your last rinse.  Spin. 

Step 10: Lay wool out to dry on a clean towel or drying rack.  Ta-da!

Next Step: Combing or Carding!  This is a bit of Irma's mohair that has been carded.  Isn't it beautiful?  This is just so exciting. :)

So there you have it!  My first foray into the wonderful world of wool washing.  I think it went pretty well!

Many thanks to The Joy of Handspinning for their helpful directions and advice in all areas of the spinning process. :)


Saturday, November 5, 2011


The result of a great thrifting trip--two Santa mugs, two lovely (and very old) silhouettes, and five boxes (only one pictured) of really adorable old fashioned Easter ornaments. :D  Yay!

This is so idiotic.  Will my computer and camera problems never cease?!  So I can now upload pictures from my camera to my husband's computer, which is great, as long as the stupid computer doesn't distort the stupid pictures and make them stupidly rainbow-colored.  This is extremely vexing.

I was not going to post at all until I figured out what the problem was, but then I thought it would be better to post something with slightly strange-looking pictures than to keep putting it off.  I'm already so backed up on post ideas from early fall that I still need to write!  So here is my post, and please excuse the camera issues.

Day before yesterday I began the long process of skirting Irma's wool.  In case you are wondering, skirting does not have anything to do with a familiar article of women's clothing (except, I suppose, in a very distant, circle-of-life sort of way).  To skirt wool is to pick all of the large pieces of dirt and debris from the fiber.  It is important to do this prior to washing the fleece, as pieces of leaves and moss get a bit more difficult to remove once they've been washed in. :)

After skirting wool for at least an hour, I had only gotten about 50% of the job done.  In fact, I still have only 50% of the job done.  I decided to go ahead and wash the fleece that I had skirted, and then finish the rest later.  My patience was waning--I really wanted to try my hand at wool washing! 

After reading several different versions of "How to wash a fleece 101", I decided to go with the washing machine method.  It seemed to me that this would be a bit easier to handle, and I like the idea of being able to extract water from the wool via the spin cycle rather than by hand squeezing (during which it is possible to agitate and felt the fleece).   I will do a post on the washing process later.  For now here are some pictures of the skirting process.  Enjoy!


This little strand of fleece is called a staple.  Fleece that has a long staple is very desirable, as it is easier and smoother to spin.  The fleece that grows around the neck and shoulders of an animal typically has the longest staple, and is therefore the most valuable. 

See this little booger?  This piece of moss is an example of the sort of thing that needs to be skirted.  The smaller bits of dirt and dust will typically fall out during the combing process, so they don't matter as much.

I think this is the most distorted image, but you can still see the result of a small bit of skirting--lots of little leaves and twigs. 

That's a lot of wool!

Did you know that one sheep's fleece can typically make about 3-4 sweaters?  

Alright--I've got to go give my fleece its final rinse.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 3, 2011


I finally figured out how to load pictures from my camera onto my husband's mac.  HALLELUJAH!




Isn't she adorable?

Alright, more to come!