Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Fermented Suint Method of Cleaning Wool

If you love the yarn from Dancing Dog Dairy, you may have wondered how we get from this, 

to this. Some traditional methods call for harsh chemicals and many hot water rinses. One of our core values is promoting a healthy planet, so we went looking for an ecco-friendly method of cleaning fleeces, and here it is.

First, put several gallons of distilled water or rain water in a tub and add a "high grease" fleece. We used Rambouillet. Let it soak for seven days.

Rinse in cold water. 

Add rinse water to your garden.

Dry the fleece in the sun.

Add a "low grease" fleece to the fermentation vat, we used Shetland. 

Submerge it in the liquid and leave for two days.

Rinse in cold water.

Dry in the sun.


and spin; it's that easy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Magic of the Artisans


The year begins, and as it does all eyes turn to the best part of the year. All eyes scour for the costumes in the crowded closets, and all hands hand me their laundry to wash. The anticipation of seeing both amazing artwork and fascinating people fills the air. For me, one of the best things is seeing all the small children. "Look it's a goat!" They cry, their voices high with excitement. and I force myself not to answer in the same awe filled voice "Look it's a small child!" Every time parents come in holding a child (Preferably under the age of one) I offer them a perfectly reasonable trade. The goat (Whichever we have with us at the time) for the child. This past February was the third consecutive year I have tried to execute this trade, and so far no one has taken me up on it. The second I see their adorable little faces my heart throbs with love, as I know their parent's do. Twice (Once in October and once in March) have the parents of the small children let me actually hold their children! Twice I felt myself overcome by a warm fuzzy feeling as a pair of beautiful and intelligent eyes looked up at me. I will never forget the beauty of those moments, nor how the father of one of the little angels held her and danced around with her. If I can't have permission to steal small children, then they should have parents like that.

 Apart from baby stealing, the Renaissance Festival holds many wonders for me. I love seeing the beautiful creations that my friends have made, the laughter they seem to spread like a virus wherever they go. I love the magic on my sisters' faces as they see wonders that they never dreamed of, the laughter of them and their friends as they run around with the goat on her leash, frolicking along behind. I believe I have more friends at the fair then I have ever had before in one place. No matter where you turn the people are smart and work hard, they all have something to say and just when you think that you know all there is to know about something, you receive more information on the subject then you could have thought possible.

Another one of my favorite things about Faires are the costumes, they are beautiful! The ability to see a dress and know automatically what pattern it was made from is a wonderful feeling, although I am not as good at it as I wish, I am getting better. The faires also offer a fantastic excuse to dress my seven year old sister with long blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes as a Dalek and have her run around the faire exterminating kilt clad Storm Troopers... Ahh, The beauty of it all. The place where people's 'Faire names' Are learned at once and the people I see today after knowing for four years call out  "War Cat!, um I mean NikKi!" There are people who call me Sherlock, equip me with foam swords and teach me to defend myself after knowing me about two week. Still more we name something entirely different from either their real name or their faire name by accident.

I cannot express to you the excitement that I feel before the start of a faire, the feeling that keeps me awake the week before. The knowledge that these people are not only the kind of people that I want to surround myself with, not only the people that I feel the most myself around, but these are most certainly the kind of people I want to be. The kind of amazing people who listen to you and take you seriously no matter how old you are. There most certainly is a magic about Renaissance Festivals, I have seen it twice a week for four months for four years. The magic is held not only in the charm of the shops, and the shade of the tall trees, but held dear to our hearts by the sheer wonder, no, the magic of the artisans who inhabit it and make it all that it is.

~ Olivia McQuilling