Saturday, February 18, 2017

David Binder Interview

Today my interview with David Binder was published on his web site. It was fun to answer his questions and I hope you maybe learn something new about me here.  It's an interesting site and you might also want to check out the interviews by such people as Craig Johnson of the Longmire series and Dana Stabenow who has many series including my favorite with Kate Shugac. 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ikat Dyeing


The new book’s title is Murder To Dye For and the setting is a four day, two weekend, dyeing workshop at Martha’s shop, The Spider’s Web. So I thought you might want to see the results of a dyeing workshop that I went to this past Sunday.

The Hawaii Handweavers Hui had a one day workshop on ikat dyeing. This is a form of dyeing where you wrap the warp and/or weft threads to prevent the dye from penetrating to the threads.  We had measured our warp and weft before we came to the workshop so we could start wrapping right away.  We used a tape that is used to tie up garden plants and can be purchased in garden supply stores. We wrapped the tape tightly around the bundles of warp and weft threads. I chose to do a random pattern for my wrapping. This is an experiment for me. After wrapping the tape tightly, we tied the ends of each bundle with twine to add extra help in keeping dye from seeping through. I hadn’t realized how tightly I was pulling this twine until later the evening when I realized that I had created and broken a blister on my middle finger of my right hand.  If you have never heard of ikat dyeing, you might want to check out this Wikipedia article for a brief description.

We chose to use a cold water, procion dye process to dye our yarn. We had a choice of green, blue or yellow for our colors. I chose green. The yarn had to be soaked first to get it completely wet. Then it was put in the dye bath. We dyed two to three bundles of yarn per bucket and followed a process similar to this one described on Dharma Trading Company’s web site. 

It took a good twenty four hours for my yarn which was 5/2 pearl cotton, to get dry. After that, I removed the tape from the yarn. You can see from the picture below that I did have a little bit of bleed under my tape. And it doesn’t really show well in the picture but the dye broke in a few places and I have small amounts of blue in the bleed through too. 




The yarn is now dry and put away for awhile. My loom is currently in use with another project and I have a couple in line before I get to this one. But I’ll keep you posted and show you the finished project when I’m done. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

We Have A Cover

The cover has been finalized. Thanks to Charlene for her beautiful artwork and to the design team at Create Space who once again gave me a beautiful cover.



The ball is now back in my court. Linda has sent me the proof of the interior layout and I must go through it.  Life is extremely busy with visiting family so it will be a bit, but we are on our way, and you  will have a second book in time for holiday shopping if not sooner.

Friday, July 27, 2012

We Have Cover Art

Things are happening that make it seem like Murder Comes Unraveled will actually become a book.  I have the final manuscript ready to go to the woman who does the layout and design for me as soon as she returns from vacation, and I have now set up a file at Create Space for this book. This is the first step of their process.  But most of all, we have cover art.

alpaca

Once again, our cover art was drawn by the talented Charlene Lofgreen. It shows Martha's alpaca, Juan and Joseph, and the ever faithful Falcor in a stall at The Black Hills Fiber Gathering. I love Charlene's painting, and I know the designers at Create Space will turn it into a beautiful book cover.

I'm getting excited. I hope that you are.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spindle Spinning


In Murder Spins a Tale and coming up in Murder Comes Unraveled, Martha discusses spindle spinning with both her students and customers. Many spinners start spinning with a spindle. Others start with a wheel and than add a spindle when they decide they want something more portable. Either way, I know that some people have problems believing that you can actually spin enough on a spindle to turn your yarn into something useful. The answer is yes you can.

A number of years ago, I decided that I wanted to create a memory shawl for me. The yarn was to be spun from a single of a wool blend and a single of dog hair. The dog hair came from every dog I've owned since I was an adult plus four dogs that belonged to my friend, Judy Gustafson. (You can see the adventures of Judy and her dogs on her blog Ravenwood Farm Tails.) The dog breeds included Great Pyrenees, Samoyed, Caucasian Ovcharka, Maremma, and a small amount of hair from my current short haired mixed breeds.

I decided to spin the yarn using a spindle because I consistently spin a finer yarn with a spindle than I do with my wheel, and I wanted a lace weight yarn.  It took me a number of years to finish this project because I often got sidetracked with other things to do, but this last winter, it was finally done. 

When deciding on a spindle to use for my project, I decided on two.  Both of these are Pele's Hair spindles which were turned by my husband, Glenn.  The larger heavier spindle was used for the wool blend. The smaller one was used for the dog hair.

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When I'm spinning for a large product using a spindle, I have to have a way to store the singles and to splice the production from the spindle to get the length of yarn that I need. I do this by using a toilet paper tube.  I wind the yarn from the spindle onto the toilet paper tube. Then when I need to add another spindle full of yarn, I splice the ends from the spindle and the toilet paper tube, and continue winding the yarn onto the toilet paper tube.

Here is a picture of a full toilet paper tube and of the yarn that I used to make my shawl.

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The lace pattern that I decided on for my shawl was Candlelight. The shawl is four pattern repeats wide and about six feet long.

Here is the shawl blocked out on the floor in the loft of my studio house.

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Here is a close up of the pattern with a darker background so it is more easily seen.

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And here are two pictures of me wearing the shawl.

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Spindle spinning is an old craft. Many peoples have been using only spindles for their yarn production for thousands of years. Even today a spindle is the primary tool for some people to make beautiful yarn.  If you've ever thought that you might like to learn to spin, I highly recommend the spindle. Spindles are available all over the internet and You Tube has many introductory lessons on using it. Give is a whirl.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Murder Comes Unraveled

I cannot believe that it has been over a year since I've actually posted on this blog. I could come up with a million excuses, but they'd be just that excuses. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I keep busy, but that is still no reason to not talk to you here.

So the big question last year at this time was what to call book two in The Flock N Fiber Mystery series.  I looked at all of your suggestions, mulled a few of my own through my head and chose one. The winner is Lara Toomey Smoot who suggested Murder Comes Unraveled. Lara will receive a signed copy of Murder Comes Unraveled as soon as it is ready and she will be listed in the acknowledgements as the creator of the title. Thank you, Lara.

And on the question of when it will be ready, we are shooting for mid to late summer. It is at the proofreader's now. Once she finishes with it, I have to go over it once more and then it needs to be formatted for the final book. So we are moving ahead.

Back with you soon. I promise that it will not be a full year between posts again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It Has a Name - It's Taking Shape

Titles of a book are an interesting conundrum. Even though titles cannot be covered under a copyright, every author wants to have a unique title for their book. But with theme mysteries, it always seems like authors are falling over each other in the search for just the right name. I had a name picked out for the second book only to realize that Monica Ferris had used the same title. Oops, I'm not ready for that comparison. So I checked out a couple of other ideas and found that other fiber mysteries were close though not exactly the same. It's a puzzlement. So for now the working title for book two in the Flock and Fiber Mystery series is A Yarn Most Deadly.

This is a working title and it could change. If you have an idea that you think would make a wonderful title for the book, let me know in the comments below. If I decide to change my title and use yours, I can promise you mention in the acknowledgments and a signed copy of book two when it is available.

Book two is taking shape. Martha and her friends are busy at Black Hills Fiber Gathering introducing people to the wonderful world of fiber and Great Pyrenees. But all has not gone smoothly and Martha, Denali and Falcor once again, have a mystery to solve. Watch for a larger teaser in the not too far distant future. In the meantime, if you haven't entered the world of Flock and Fiber Mysteries, please check Murder Spins a Tale for the first book in the series.

And for just a bit of whimsy that has nothing to do with mysteries but is one of the reasons we enjoy living in Hawaii, I'll leave you with this picture of one of the house dragons guarding his territory in the avocado tree just off the lanai.