That's Emma and Lucy grazin' in the grass. They belong to Emanuel Beiler , one of tha Amish blacksmiths who make our iron products for our other life as Eagle Emporium, who was kind enough to give me their fleece when he sheared them this Spring-June actually. It was really fun to learn how to wash the fleece and it is now ready for carding. Not sure whether I am going to do that or not myself. It was amazing how different the fleeces were, though the girls are sisters. One-Emma's-was longer and really full of lanolin and a little tanner in color. Lucy's was a shorter length, less lanolin and lots of twigs! She spends alot of time sleeping under the trees and it sure shows in her fleece.
I am so pleased--I have finally finished my braided rug for the kitchen. Braiding a rug is something I have wanted to do since I was a child--in fact I used my Braid-Aids that I bought
way back then--I was surprised to be able to still find them, they've been stored away for so long. I collected wool for months--heavier weight wool than for hooking. The rug is 6 ft in diameter and it used 4 blankets (3 Army and one navy which I dyed) plus 3 long coats. I had a little left over and when I find another army blanket I plan to do a small oval for in front of the sink.
Wow-I am so excited--just received notice that I have been named to the Early American Life 2008 Directory of Traditional American Crafts Holiday!! This is quite an honor! The pieces that were submitted for jurying are shown below: My Pumpkins and Grapevines Rug--available here:
Well, I finally finished my crab rug--its definitely one of my favorites. The actual boat is docked at Riggi's Marina, near Public Landing, Snow Hill, MD. I snapped a picture with my cell phone and made the pattern from that. The antique black background is much more dynamic in person--the water area is hooked in ripples and the sky area is hooked in clouds. I have just posted this one to my website --available here:
Living in Chester County Pennsylvania, I am surrounded by beautiful scenery that lifts my spirits. My surroundings have brought me closer to nature and the history of the area has enhanced my appreciation of earlier times and customs. It is the inspiration for my love of antiques, folk art and primitive pastimes. In my past 20 years as an antique dealer , I had amassed a large collection of spinning wheels and parts and an amazing array of rug hooks and punch needles but had never managed to spin or make a hooked or punched rug. Just enjoying and handling the pieces gave me a connection with the earlier times that I loved. But, of course, that had to change! When I finally took a class in rug hooking, there was no turning back. I found myself totally engrossed in the process--usually hooking feverishly well into the night. As a self taught artist, the one thing that was difficult for me was to hook other peoples designs--when I had so many of my own swimming around in my head--so I designed my own rugs and then designed patterns for others as well. I especially like using recycled woolens for my creations--I feel that the early rugs would have been made of cast offs and I try to keep with that tradition. That brought me to dying my own wool. I needed to get just the right colors to perfectly fit my design and also to give the appearance that the rug had been around for generations. Along with all this, I have shared my new interests with anyone who would listen -willing or not--and from that arose a wonderful opportunity with a long time friend who had a few sheep--and there I was with fleeces!! And now instead of just admiring my collection of vintage wool working items, I actually get to use them . It is very rewarding to wash the fleeces and card the wool and spin(a little) just as it was done in earlier times. This website is dedicated to sharing my love of these traditional crafts and all things wool. I live in Eagle, PA with my wonderfully patient husband who really has no interest whatsoever in wool but is extremely tolerant of the wool dust, wool worms, unfinished projects, piles of wool, bags of roving, pictures of sheep, patterns doodled on anything stationary, and everything else wool related that has oozed out of the studio and tries to quietly take over our home. He has learned to use my trusty Rigby and has come to truly believe that snippets on the floor are not really dirt. Soul mates are like that-and I am eternally grateful for his support and encouragement.