Thursday, October 29, 2009

My day --

The car cannot be fixed so Robin is shopping for a car. Christopher (eldest son) and Robin will be going to the car dealers this afternoon and test driving Toyotas and Hondas. He has a line on a few used corollas, too.

And hopefully he'll get back to GF Strong to visit John again, today. He planned to visit all day for a few days but it is not to be. I hope he can get in for two or three hours each day he is in Vancouver, though.

In the meantime we are battened down on the farm. There is new snow on the ground and the hoses from summer waterings are still lying there, now frosted. So there is some "ground work" to be done today, gathering up the gardening tools and hoses and putting them away for winter. It will mean several trips up the hill from garden to house as we have no car to help with the job. Too bad we didn't do it last week, in the rain, with the car.

Yesterday, at 11pm, I made a new batch of peppermint foot cream and used our new glass jars for the first time. They hold more foot cream but look much like the PET plastic jars. They are glass so kinder to the environment, and without the risk of leaking chemicals and hormones into our product -- so kinder to humans, too.

I didn't get to the felting of the spa bars or the felted balls. Hopefully today I will get some felting done. I am past half way on the first woven origami bag but too busy to get to the loom today.

I also weighed the 10 lamb fleeces that we sheared on Monday. Package two boxes of fleece to go to the post office. And spent an inordinate amount of time on the telephone. It seemed to be ringing all day.

Today I will label and seal the Peppermint foot cream jars, continue to attack the clutter in the house (I'm giving one hour a day to the mammoth job), do barn chores, and hopefully get some felting done for the Christmas Craft Fairs. Also I hope to have the lamb fleeces measured and up on the website today.

That's the plan. The first task though is to light the wood stove, which is reluctant this morning and get the daughter out of bed, without waking "grumpy", too.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dead car

The faithful, never had a problem before, 16 year old Toyota Corolla has died. Leaving Robin at the side of the TransCanada Hwy. in Langley, after delivering 3 French Angora Rabbits to their new owner last night. The bad news is its the engine and it needs to be replaced -- $1,500 or there abouts. And it won't be fixed until Monday, if an engine can be found.

So Robin is at Maiwa on Vancouver Island shopping for my natural indigo, while the mechanic takes care of things. At noon he will be at BF Strong Rehab in Vancouver visiting his big brother John for a few hours. Then we will find out whether the car can be fixed. And he will have to figure out where he can crash until the car is fixed. (excuse the pun!)

My friend, Jan, sent this poem to encourage me this morning...

"How good is the God we adore, Our faithful, unchangeable Friend
Whose love is as great as His power, And knows neither measure nor end.
Tis Jesus the First and the Last, Whose Spirit will guide us safe home
We'll praise Him for all that is past, And trust Him for all that's to come."

I'm sure that I will look back on today and see how the hand of God worked it all out for my good, but right now its a bit stressful. But its not raining. The mucky ground is frozen so its not difficult to do chores. And we have everything we need for the next 5 days at home.

We just can't get off the farm.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kid fleeces are up on the website!

I completed the sorting, weighing, measuring and pricing all the mohair kid fleeces from October's shearing.

There are both white and coloured kid fleeces this year -- 9 of each, and some of the coloured fleeces are scrumptious.

Have a look.

We are shearing lamb fleeces on Monday. They are dry now. Yes! Hope to have those up on the website by next Saturday.

Homestead Medicine Cabinet: Flax jelly for sore throats

The rain has stopped. The sky is clear. The sheep are damp and the shearer is coming on Sunday. I hope we get some wind to dry the fleeces. I have a line up of people waiting for lamb fleeces in natural chocolate, grey and white.

In the mean time, today I will finish the mohair fleece weighing, reskirting and labeling and get the list out to those patient people that are waiting...

And Robin has a cold (I hope its not the flu!). So we are feeding him flax jelly with honey and lemon. That and vitamin C and vitamin D3. He says the flax helps.

Flax jelly is the oldest herbal remedy known. It has stood the test of time. It helps with chest congestion, cough and sore throat. Make it just before you consume it. It thickens as it cools.

Recipe: Flax Jelly for colds or flu
2 tbsp. whole flax seed
1 cup of water
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 min. Strain immediately and reserve the clear liquid. Mix in one tsp. honey and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Drink it down immediately.

It is the consistency of snot, errr, I mean egg white. Not pleasant but it is medicine and it doesn't taste bad. And it does help with the symptoms of a sore throat, cough and chest congestion. Robin says, "You get used to it."

The actions of flax seed are: demulcent (soothes), anti-tussive (prevents coughing), laxative, emollient, and vulnerary(wound healing).

You can also use flax jelly without the honey and lemon, as an egg white substitute in baking, or as an aftershave lotion. Or take the jelly and seeds together in a cotton cloth and use it externally as a warm plaster over the chest, to reduce congestion.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rain impedes my progress

The mohair fleeces are waiting to be skirted a second time, weighed and priced. My skirting table is set up outside the studio door. It is raining and has been for a week or more. The weather is impinging on my "To Do" list.

The shearer is coming back sometime in the next two weeks -- I don't know when -- to shear the lambs. We ran out of time at the beginning of the month and didn't get the 20 lambs and sheep done. Its now about 8 weeks past the time I wanted them sheared. And its raining. They are wet.

Snow will be here soon, possibly within the next two weeks.

The rain is also inhibiting the gathering of fire wood, the cleaning out of the barn and the putting to bed of the garden for the winter.

But the loom is looming. And the clutter in the house is asking for attention. So I will have to shift my priorities today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Homestead Skills: Making Chevre (goat's milk cream cheese)

Cheese making is like bread making. It takes time and you have to be there to give it the attention it needs, when it needs it.

Sometimes there is extra milk for cheese making but I have to go out and can't be at home to give it the attention it needs for hard cheese. Making soft cheese like chevre or cream cheese is good for days like this.

Recipe for Chevre -- Makes 1 kg. (2.2 lbs.)

Chevre is soft goat cheese, like what is served in high end restaurants.

To make the chevre you need:

2 gallon pail with a lid
2 gallons of fresh, clean, strained goat's milk
1/4 tsp. mesophilic cheese starter (1/4 cup cultured buttermilk can be used instead)
3 drops of rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of cold water (not a drop more)
Cheese draining cloth
Colander to drain the cheese in
Cheese curd ladle (a flat spoon with holes)

All equipment and the cheese cloth should be clean and scalded with boiling water before starting. Put clean, strained milk in a 2 gallon pail -- I use raw milk. Add starter culture and stir in. Wait 30 min. Add diluted rennet, stir well. Cover and set aside for 12 hours, or until curd forms. Stir curd to break it up. Allow curd to settle in the pail. Line colander with scalded cheese cloth. Scoop curd from the pail into lined colander. Cover and set in a sink to drain. This will take 4 to 6 hours. I leave mine overnight.

If desired you can add 1/2 tsp. salt to the curd before draining or after draining. Divide the batch into 4 -- 250 gram (1/2 lb.) blocks, wrap and freeze as is or flavor according to your tastes, for immediate consumption.

Chevre can be spiced with chives, garlic and onion powder, dill and garlic, smoked salmon, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries, or flavoring of your choice for a savory spread.

Or use it in the place of cream cheese in your favorite cheese cake recipe.

Here's a recipe to take to a holiday potluck:

Easy Chevre Cheese Ball

Oil a small bowl with olive oil, sprinkle thoroughly with pepper and set aside.
Mix together thoroughly:
1/4 cup mayonnaise (you can make your own. Recipe follows)
1/2 cup chevre or other cream cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Spoon into prepared bowl and firm into place. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
To serve invert bowl onto plate and remove cheese ball. Serve with crackers or chapatis.

Alternative:
Replace pepper with chopped and toasted walnuts. Replace garlic and onion powder with chopped, dried cranberries.

Mayonnaise (makes 2 cups -- 500 ml)
2 large eggs or 3 medium eggs, separated. Use only the yolks and set aside the whites for another recipe.
2 tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt (if desired)

Mix together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low.

1 1/2 cups. cold pressed oil -- I use olive oil.

With the mixer continuously mixing, add the oil, one tablespoon at a time by drizzling it into the egg/acid emulsion. After about 1/2 cup has been added slowly, you will see the emulsion begin to thicken. At that point the oil can be drizzled in a bit faster, always allowing the oil to mix in before adding more.

The mixture will thicken. It will be yellow if you are using farm, fresh eggs, and be rich in vitamin A, D and E. Add the salt or spices as you wish.

Put in a glass jar and store in the fridge. This will keep fresh for about a week. Makes 2 cups. To make a smaller amount decrease each ingredient proportionately.

Use as a base for salad dressings, add to other recipes, use as is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Warping Back to Front, for the first time

I wound a warp for more handwoven bags today. Took 45 minutes to wind and 3.2 skeins of Shepherd's Joy yarn for an 11 yard warp, 8 inches wide (enough for 3 bags plus sampling). Normally I thread the reed, and the heddles and then wind on the back beam -- Front to Back Warping -- the winding on has always been a hassle, so I don't like to warp.

But when Laura Fry was visiting last April to teach her "Magic in the Water 1" workshop for our guild, she mentioned that we might find it more efficient to warp from the back. She graciously gave us a copy of her fabulous computer instructional video "CD Weaver" and suggested that I try her way of warping. So I looked at the "CD Weaver" last April, found the same method in a Finnish weaving book in the Joybilee Farm textile library, and put the idea on my "gonna" list.

Yesterday I was determined to try this way of warping. So I booted up the CD Weaver, and went to the section "You Have to be Warped to Weave". Ok, so the first thing I did wrong was winding the warp. I twisted the warp on both ends as I went around the pegs to change direction on my warping mill. Laura's "CD Weaver" has very clear pictures of the warping process on a warping board and she winds her warp without the extra twists at each end. Next time I'll try it that way.

Then I rough sleyed the reed -- easy, and took only 20 minutes. Now to the loom, after a quick check of CD weaver to visualize the next step. Laura even provides brief videos so that you can clearly see what she is describing in words. This is a great tool for all learning styles.

With Sarah's help we wound the warp onto the back beam without a single snarl on a mohair warp. Perfect! And so much faster than my previous warping method. Maybe 30 minutes to wind on the 11 yard warp as we were quite careful.

Then came the tricky part -- transfering the cross from in front of the reed to behind the heddles.

Oops! Somehow I dropped half the cross. (Don't ask. Chock it up to a learning experience!) Yikes! Gloom! Despair! and Robin to the rescue. While I mourned my loss and declared our imminent ruin, Robin and Sarah dropped down each warp thread on top of the lease stick and picked up, in order, every lower thread. The cross reappeared. Relief! Thank the Lord, there are practical people living in this household.

So now there's just 80 threads to put through the heddles and the reed and tie on. I'll be weaving by lunch time. Yes!

Thanks to the "CD Weaver" I have a better warping method to use. I may get more weaving done now. Using the "CD Weaver" was like having a personal lesson with Laura, but better because I could go back and review whenever I want to. What a great resource.

If you share my fear of warping, check out Laura's CD Weaver, and try back to front warping for yourself. I'm already looking forward to warping the mohair blanket warp, with my new skills.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weaving a bag on the Ashford Knitters Loom

I was browsing Terri's blog at Saori Salt Spring and saw an amazing bag that she wove. I was so inspired. I love origami textile constructions.

So I immediately wound a warp 95 inches long, on the Ashford knitters loom -- 8 inches wide using the 10 dpi reed and Joybilee Farm Shepherd's Joy Yarn and wove a long strip.

I chose one skein of yarn space dyed with natural indigo, and several thrum balls dyed with indigo and walnuts, and a lighter indigo. I tried free form weaving to create interest and added indigo dyed kid mohair locks for extra joy. I had fun.

I fulled the strip in the washing machine until the fabric was stable as per Laura Fry's workshop instructions (Magic in the Water 1). Stable means you can't poke your finger between the threads. It was about 15 minutes in the washing machine on hot.

Wow! I love this fabric -- from my own angora goat kids and lamb's. Its soft with amazing drape, yet sturdy.

My strip was too short -- I forgot to take into account the loss of length (15% due to weaving and fulling) The final strip should be 90 inches long and 7 inches wide. Mine was only 80 inches long, but I still have a bag at the end of the weekend. And I really like it.

I also dyed a silk scarf with woad indigo and used half of it to line the bag. I'm planning a second try on the Nilus floor loom with a longer warp, for a longer strap and a deeper bag. I could warp the knitters loom from a warping board to get a longer warp on it, too.

And I've decided that I love this yarn of ours. Sarah and Robin have both used the Joybilee Farm Shepherd's Joy yarn for weaving scarfs but this is my first time weaving with it. And I love it. It is fine enough for a medium weight fabric. Incredibly soft but not too warm. I'm hooked for more weaving with this yarn.

I've wound a 10 yard warp of it for a twill weave blanket on the Mira floor loom -- 45 inches wide. Hopefully there will be time in the next two weeks to get it on the loom. I'm looking forward to weaving more intensely over the next month. The studio is closing on Friday and then I can mess it up with some serious work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Sunday in Canada. We are so blessed and thankful for so many good things that God's hand has provided.

Our garden produced very well this year. The killing frost, that usually comes in August was held back until the 3rd week of September. That meant that our potatoes just kept growing and we actually harvested 200 lbs. of potatoes this year.

Our garlic harvest was also glorious and we will not have to buy any this year -- I braided up 10 braids of a dozen garlic heads each, plus planted another 5 dozen heads of garlic for next year's harvest. That's at least double the yield over last year.

This morning was -16C and the last of the chinese cabbage and chard was harvested just 2 days ago. The woad is still in the garden and seems unharmed by the frost so we will try to get a few more dye vats of woad before the snow comes.

It does feel as if snow is on its way.

So many friends have shared their garden abundance with us this year -- squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, apples, pears, plums -- even zucchini -- all things that we can't grow here on the mountain -- and we are so grateful and thankful for the generosity of our friends.

And this year we actually have abundance to share as well -- composted manure, soap, garlic, seeds, goat cheese, eggs.

Our barns are full to overflowing and we didn't lose a lamb or kid to predators all grazing season.

And especially, we are thankful for family -- a new daughter in law, 3 families where only one existed a few years ago -- as our sons have found their loving companions. For a brother at VGH, who is alive and in good hands as he recovers from his neck injury. God's kind providence at work in our lives.

And I am thankful for the pair of bluebirds and the swallows that are still over the pastures at Joybilee Farm.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dew Retting Flax



Some of my readers have asked for directions on dew retting flax. I asked Randy Cowan of Biolin Research and Crop Fibers Canada in Saskatchewan if he would write a short article for us on the procedure. Thanks, Randy, for taking the time to inform us of some of the ins and outs of dew retting flax.

Here's what Randy said:

"When harvesting flax straw for fiber production, the flax straw is pulled out of the
ground, including the roots, and laid on the ground in a thin even layer with the stems
aligned. Consistent stem diameter and a thin layer will ensure even retting. When the
stems are retted on one side the straw must be turned over to ret on the other side.
After a heavy rain turn the flax to ensure an even ret and to stop rotting on the ground
side.

Dew retting is simple exposure of the straw to the weather for 2–3 weeks, depending
on weather; it may take up to 8 weeks, until the dew and rains have removed the
waxes and resins making the fiber loose from the stalk. In the dew retting process,
the pectins and lignins are dissolved by the interaction of molds, warm air and
moisture. The stems will turn a silvery grey color when retting is completed. Dew
retting is unpredictable because it is dependent on the rains or dew in the fall. If it is a
dry fall, sprinkle the flax every few days with water (avoid treated water, and/or tap
water, as chlorine will hinder microbial growth on the stems).

To tell if the stems are retted dry a few stems. Grab the straw and break a section,
retting is complete if the fiber does not stick to the woody core.
Once the straw has been fully retted, dry the stems before decorticating."

It is possible to over rett the flax. Over retted flax has weak fiber that breaks when breaking and hackling. Properly retted flax stems will break easily when dry, but the linen fibers within them will remain intact. Experience will help you get it just right. If its not retted long enough it will be very difficult to break with your flax break and the fibers will remain in their bundles within the sheath, without separating into individual fibers.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Peace Banner Presentation


Today was a special day. The Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild and I, presented the Peace Banner to the Grand Forks Art Gallery to be part of their permanent collection.

This is The International Year of Natural Fiber as well as International Spinning and Weaving week, and the perfect occasion for presenting this peace banner to the Art Gallery for their permanent Collection. “The crafts of spinning, weaving, dyeing, and basketweaving are as ancient
as our history. They are the threads that bind us to our ancestors and to each other. Our
crafts know no national boundary. They are a part of the heritage of the world.”


First some back ground on the Peace Banner. It was conceived by the guild as an
expression of the yearning for peace and a permanent legacy to honor the International
Year of Natural Fiber.

Our Peace Banner draws on the genre of the handwoven rag rug – a tradition in many
cultures that have made Canada their homeland. In its essence it uses rags – strips of
used, recycled fabric and clothing and remakes it into something beautiful and useful
once again. The strips were woven as a tapestry, meant to hang on the wall. The final
banner is 32 inches wide by 34 feet long. The Peace Banner is designed to hang
vertically.

It was a cooperative art venture and drew on the cooperation of many.

The floor loom for the weaving was donated for the project, by Joybilee Farm and it had
a place of honor for 7 months in the Grand Forks Heritage Centre, inviting visitors from all over the world to weave a rag strip or two, in cooperation with many others, to create a work of
art, and a tapestry of peace. It was a meaningful experience for many, as they shared in
the work of creating the Peace Banner.

We appreciate Sue Adrian’s cooperation in the facilitating of the project. Sue and her
volunteers opened the Heritage Centre on Sundays to allow Sunday School classes access
to the loom and encouraged school classes to add their own creativity to the project.

Many visitors from around the world: Holland, England, Wales, Belgium, Germany,
Japan, Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand and all parts of Canada and the
USA, participated in the weaving. This project was mentioned in “The Bulletin”, the
periodical of the Guild of Canadian Weavers, as well as “The Island Shuttle”, a
newsletter out of Victoria. As well as the Grand Forks Gazette, The Weekender, and
several online blogs.

The rag strips were donated by the Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild, CABA’s
Quilting, and Heart and Sole Quilts, as well as several individuals. Guild members,
Mary, Ailsa and Ramona prepared the rag strips and ensured the rag basket was kept full
for the 7 month duration of the project.

Dressing the loom was a cooperative effort with the participation of all guild members and culminated on March 15th with the opening of the Guild’s Gallery Show, “Our Daily Thread”.

The public was invited to weave. People were free to weave their creativity into the
Peace Banner, since it is through individual actions that a lasting peace can be achieved.
You will see many different colours and techniques from single strips, to braided strips to
giordes knots in the banner. Many people wrote proverbs, quotes, or prayers on the strips
before weaving them into the tapestry.


There was a log book beside the loom for participants to write their thoughts while they
wove. Some of the thoughts related to the experience of weaving for the first time.
Others were related to hopes for peace. Many simply recorded their name and where
they were from. There were entries from all over the world, from seniors, middle age,
young adults and children. Entire families shared the creative experience as well as
school classes and friends.

Some of the comments:
"As each weft is woven into the loom we will create a tapestry of peace, just as individual
actions of justice and mercy build together a culture of peace and life"

“we are the makers of peace - look inside your own heart!"

"Woven with love and a promise of peace"

"peace in the name of our Lord Jesus"

“I never knew weaving could be so fun”

And from some of our younger artists:

"the rug is cool"

"luv pulling the beater"

The Peace Banner was on display for the first time on International Peace Day at the
Boundary Peace Initiative ceremony. We hope its display will inspire others to work in
cooperation and creativity, to create art, to weave peace into the fabric of their lives.

We dropped the banner from the railing on the second floor of the Grand Forks Art Gallery today, as part of the presentation. It was astounding how beautiful the banner was and what a meaningful experience it was to share in the weaving.

It will soon be on display at the Grand Forks Art Gallery, and other venues are waiting in line for their turn to display it.

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

French Angora Rabbits


We have two angora rabbit litters ready to go to new homes this month.

Born July 23rd to Huckleberry (fawn) and Topaz (Lilac Torte), this 10 week old litter includes Lilac Tortes (1 female, 2 males) and REW (male and female). The REWs (albinos) will be carrying lilac, black, and agouti genes. Litter size 6.

Born August 21st (6 weeks old) to Hematite (black) and Ruby (REW), this litter has REW (2 males, 1 female), a chocolate torte female, a blue male and 2 broken females (blue and chocolate torte). The two broken females will be staying at Joybilee Farm. Litter size 8 babies (10 were born).
The REWs in this litter may be carrying the broken gene, chocolate and black and blue genetics.

See my blog for more information on Angora Rabbit genetics.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Shearing Mohair

Angora goats grow 1 inch of lustrous, mohair fiber each month. They need to be sheared twice a year -- Spring and Fall. Ian, our second son, and his lovely bride, Miranda, arrived on Saturday afternoon to shear our angora goats. It was less than an hour after the clean up from the workshop. They were set up and shearing within 20 minutes and 13 goats had their haircut before dark.

On Sunday we got the last of the 47 angoras sheared. We worked as an efficient tag team. I stayed in the house making meals -- shearing is a hungry job and 3 meals plus snacks are required by the shearing team.

Miranda got the goats and posed them for the picture to be taken. Sarah swept the shearing board between animals, labeled the bags to receive the fleeces and gathered the fleece, as well as oiling the shearing machine when it got hot. Ian sheared the goat and then passed it to Robin for hoof trimming, vitamin shots (selenium and vitamin E, of which we are deficient) and Robin also took the pictures. Miranda returned the goat to the barn and retrieved the next one for the shearing.

We now have each fleece bagged, labeled and weighed. Wow! They'll be up on the website in the next week or so, check back.

The angora fleeces are lovely. No matted adult fleeces this year. Few parasites. And not too much vm, since they were on pasture all summer until just two weeks ago. The coloured angora is soft, long, flowing and shiny. Perfect for doll's hair. Perfect for spinning into novelty yarns. In fact, perfect for running your fingers through and dreaming of the possibilities.

We didn't get to shear the lambs. With the rain last week we had to choose who to keep locked in the barn and dry -- there wasn't room for all 104 animals to be content for two days in the barn. So the sheep and lambs were allowed to go to pasture in the daytime and just put in the barns (there's two barns) to sleep. Yesterday was sunny and clear so the sheep are dry now, but Ian and Miranda left today to shear in Slocan Valley. They'll be back in a month, but for now they are off to New Brunswick for Miranda's grandfather's birthday.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Natural Indigo Dye Workshop with the Quilter's Guild

Yesterday 17 ladies from the Sunshine Quilter's Guild in Grand Forks converged on Joybilee Farm for an Indigo Dye Workshop. The ladies each dyed either 4 cotton fat Quarters or 2 fat quarters and 1 silk scarf. It was a blast.

Although there was a light sprinkling of snow before the workshop, the weather was cool but dry for the entire 3 hour workshop. We had a propane heater going to warm our hands and the studio was utilized for warmth. For the most part everyone was too excited with their shibori creations to worry about a little cool weather.

We used 12 indigo stock solution jars and 4 large indigo vats to keep everyone going. Each person folded, clamped or tied their fat quarters and we rotated 8 projects through each vat -- 10 minutes in and 10 minutes oxidizing. We got through all the projects in the 3 hour time period. We used up 360 grams of natural indigo, 160 grams of thioureadioxide, and 160 grams of soda ash. And we dyed 50 fat quarters and 9 silk scarves during the workshop, plus 1 kg. of mohair yarn and 1 lb. of mohair locks, after everyone left.

Everyone learned some botany, history and culture of natural indigo, and had a browse through the indigo and shibori books in the Joybilee Farm library.

We finished in time to clean up, have lunch and get ready for shearing. Ian and Miranda, his lovely wife, arrived at 3pm to begin shearing the angora goats and got 13 done before dark. Yep, it was a busy day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Indigo Dye Workshop


I'm getting ready for another Indigo Dye Workshop tomorrow. 19 quilters are coming to learn to dye with natural indigo, from the Sunshine Quilters Guild in Grand Forks, B.C. Each quilter will dye 2 to 4 fat quarters (quilters talk for a 22 x 18 rectangle of cotton) and some will also dye a 2o x 60 silk scarf. I will set up two tables with resist implements -- elastic bands, clothes pegs, buttons, nails, thread, twine, and PVC pipe. Each person will fold or tie their cloth and then immerse 4 to 6 times in the natural indigo vat.

It is delightfully fun as each square of cotton or silk scarf comes out differently. I will need to make up 4 dye vats and have several bottles of prepared indigo ready to replenish the vats. We'll have 4 work stations set up so there will be room for everyone.

We'll be doing the workshop in the outdoor dye kitchen, to keep the aromatic fumes out of the house. And its supposed to snow so we'll have chairs and tables indoors for comfort.

Then Saturday and Sunday we are shearing the angora goats. Its raining today and they are dry in the barns -- 50 goats in all -- 15 of them coloured angoras. I am so looking forward to fondling our coloured mohair this year. Some of our yearling fleece is amazing. I hope I'll be able to take pictures before the hair cut happens. The sheep will miss their hair cut because our barn wasn't big enough to keep both sheep and goats dry, indoors and in comfort for 3 days. But maybe we'll get to them later.