When I started ‘Daily Fiber Adventures with Wildhare,’ my intent was to post my progress in spinning/weaving/fibery things on a daily basis.  Well, that didn’t happen (facebook and other social media took that role).  The name actually worked in reverse, in that I continued to procrastinate about posting, and guilt over expectations, and other nonsense of that sort.  So… its time for a new name, a new blog, and finally, a new post!  I do hope you will migrate on over and follow me.  No promises or expectations in regards to how often I post — but I am intending, when I do blog, it will be something good and worth your time!  Now, for some fun, upcycled, woven holiday ornaments to get this new blog going!

http://wildharefiber.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/woven-holiday-ornaments-from-upcycled-can-lids/

See you there!

Melissa

December 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

One More Row

(to the tune of ‘Let it Snow’)

Oh the weather outside is frightful
get your needles and some nice wool
Knit a sock from cuff to toe
One more row, one more row, one more row

Add some cables or entrelac
Without a glance at the clock
Putting love into all you knit
Check gauge so you know it will fit

Oh some folks might think we’re crazy
(but they sure can’t say we’re lazy)
As our projects continue to grow
One more row, one more row, one more row!

When you finally cast it off
And darn in a yarn tail or two
The fun doesn’t end, no way
‘Cause there’s always more projects to do

Oh some folks might think we’re crazy
(but they sure can’t say we’re lazy)
As our projects continue to grow
One more row, one more row, one more row!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(words by Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio)

December 24, 2010 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

The Mafia says: SHOP

I’m talking about the DC Craft Mafia, kicking off the season with the 2011 Holiday Heist this Sunday!  The event is at the Soundry in Vienna, and will feature a variety of talented artists and their wonderful and unique  items.  Forget shopping those same-old-same-old mall and big box stores and put original handmade creations under your tree this year!    Browse the Craft Mafia vendors list for an idea of the selection.  You’ll find Wild Hare Fiber Studio there — and I’m excited!  I’ve been working on lots of ready-to-gift items to complement my handspun and hand dyed yarns and fibers (which I’ll also have, if you’re planning to DIY this year).  Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll find in my booth:

Hope to see you there!

November 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Fall Wrap-up

Yes! I did it!  That ambitious schedule of fall festivals is now successfully complete!

The last one took place last weekend, and it was a blast!  I travelled down to western NC to the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) where I had a spot in the back corner of the sales area, an open-air covered structure up the hill from the ‘main’ area.  The weather was perfect, plenty of people ventured up and found me, and I had a great time meeting people, spinning yarn, and sending my dyed yarns and fibers on to new homes.  Here is a picture of my booth:

It was a long ride there and back (eight hours including meal and gas stops) and I went packed to the max — even strapped a 15 cubic foot carrier stuffed with wool to the top of my SUV (that came back empty, fortunately).  Will I do it again?  You bet!  I’ve already put in for 2011.

My attention now returns to my online shop, and I’ll be listing lots of new things as I unpack and regroup from the festivals.  Though I may be doing a few Holiday shows… still lining things up in that department.

October 27, 2010 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Ahhh…. Fall!

Don’t you love fall!  There’s a hint of crispness in the air, and a cooler front breezing through, so it’s coming!  Another harbinger of fall — it’s festival season! I’ve got a  busy fall schedule, which starts tomorrow.  Here’s where you’ll find me:

Sept. 11 – Ballston Arts & Crafts Market off Glebe Road in Arlington VA, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  A general, juried outdoor crafts festival in a lovely setting on a square downtown.

Sept. 18/19 – It’s Worldwide Spin in Public Day!  I’m hoping to spend some time as a member of the Blue Ridge Spinner’s & Weaver’s Guild spinning at  The Bluemont Fair.  The guild has had a tent at this event for years, demonstrating a whole range of fiber crafts and selling handmade items (lots of lovely handwovens especially).  This is a full-fledged fair, with all kinds of activites for all ages – located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains less than an hour outside DC.

Sept. 25/26 – It’s the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville VA!  One of my favorite festivals, in a lovely setting.  I’ll be returning as a vendor this year with a double-sized booth, for twice the space to display hand-dyed yarns and spinning fiber, handspun yarns, wheels and tools, felting kits, etc.  This festival has been growing by leaps and bounds (but still isn’t overwhelmingly big).  My booth will be in the ‘Arts & Crafts” building, spaces 7 and 8 (most of this event is under cover, so come rain or shine). Don’t miss this one if you can get there!

Oct. 2/3 – Another good one!  The Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier, in rural VA just north of Charlottesville.  This outdoor festival is on the lawns of the Montpelier Estate, and features sheep dog trials as well as animal and fiber displays.  Look for me in one of the big white tents. 

Oct. 9/10 – The Festival of Leaves, Front Royal VA.  I have only to step outside my studio doors to be right at the heart of this event, sponsored by the Warren Heritage Society (located across the street).  This is a general festival, with lots of music and vendors of all kinds, including a special ‘Heritage Village’ featuring traditional crafts on the grounds of the Heritage Society. I’ll be by my studio, spinning and vending under my own tent (or in my studio should the weather turn bad).

Oct. 16 – I’ll be at the The Capital Region Etsy Street Team’s 1st Annual Falling for Handmade Craft Fair in Bohrer Park, Gaithersburg MD, which will feature 50 Local Etsy Artistians joining together In Real Life to showcase and sell their handmade products (a great time to start your Christmas shopping – there should be something for everyone, even pets!).

And finally, the last of the ‘Fall’ shows, and the biggest —

I’ll be at the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Asheville, NC, on October 22,23 and 24th for one of the largest festivals on the east coast.  Somewhere in the maze of animals and vendors, you can find me in the ‘sales arena,’ booth 15 (which is located in one of the four corners of the building).  I’m getting excited just thinking of this one!

After all this, I’m taking a weekend off to re-group! (and go trick-or-treating)  Then it will be time to start Holiday shows…

September 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Just around the corner

Wild Hare Fiber Studio has a new home!  No longer stuffed my house, competing with the kids for space.  But not too far from home, just a few blocks and a quick walk around the corner, and here you are:

That’s the building , an 1865 house in the historic district of Front Royal, Virgina, which is in the northern Shenandoah Valley where the two forks of the Shenandoah River come together (we’re the ‘canoe capital’ of Virginia).  The building is  not ALL my shop, though (dream big, start small).  I share with several other businesses, but I do have my own entrance, on the side of the building,  shown below:

Okay, my entrance isn’t anything special — but the good stuff is inside anyway!  The new location is just a quick walk from Main Street in Front Royal, which features some lovely antique and specialty shops and unique restaurants as well as the twice-a-week Farmer’s Market and a weekly outdoor music event.  The address is 106 Chester Street, but my entrance faces Crescent Street.  

Beginning July I will have a schedule of  ‘open studio’ hours  and knit & spin nights that will be announced by the beginning of each month.  In addition to my own hand-dyed and handspun yarns and fibers, I will also be gradually adding quality yarns from selected US mills.

The schedule for July 2010:

Saturday July 3 and 24th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wed. July 7 and 21, 7-9 p.m.

Every Tuesday  &  Thursday 1:30 – 4:30

Knit & Spin Nights on Friday July 2 and 23rd, 7-9 p.m.

If you’d like to visit at some other time, please call or e-mail me — I’m just around the corner and happy to open by appointment as well!

June 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm 1 comment

‘Mom, you’re weird’ (and now an egg-shaped bowl)

So what became of that lovely top that my children dyed with the leftover Easter egg dye?  After much consideration (special wool deserves a special project), it has been transformed into a felted bowl, destined to hold our eggs during Easters yet to come:

So how does a pile of dyed wool turn into an egg-shaped bowl with funky edging?  It all started when I asked my ten-year old if I could borrow his football.  Setting aside his  sceptism and concern for a precious possession , he brought it to me, after first making me promise that it would not be Harmed in any way.  ‘It will be fine, just a lot cleaner.’ “You’re weird, mom.”  Okay, what else is new. 

Anyway, after giving said football a good scrubbing, I duct-taped a small plastic bowl to one end to make it more ‘egg’ shaped. I then layered wool over it starting with a neutral color and ending with the wool we dyed.   I didn’t cover the laces, but layered the wool in different directions until it was about an inch thick.  Then I put the wool-covered football in a garbage bag along with generous squirts of dishwashing liquid and several cups of water, and tied the bag shut.  It looked like this:

And then I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed, occasionally pounded and rolled, and rubbed some more, until I could tell that the wool had tightened up into felt around the football.  I took it out of the bag, shocked it a couple of times with cold then hot water while rubbing more, until it looked like this:

At which point I removed the football and returned it to its rightful owner, who took it to the back yard to dirty-up again (after another ‘Mom, you’re weird).  Next step – rinse out the soap, squeeze out the excess water, and trim the edges smooth (my six-year old promptly turned the trimmings into a headband.  she’s weird too).  At this point, you could let it dry and call it done, but I still had some of that dyed wool left and it wasn’t quite weird enough for my liking.  So, I spun two yarns — one an ordinary two ply, the other with nice big juicy coils:

To create an edging on the bowl, I first used a large tapestry needle to make a row of holes around the top.  Using the plain yarn and a small latch hook, I put in a  row of single crochet.  Switching to the coiled yarn, I went around twice with loops of chain stitch, letting the coils dangle.  Now it’s weird enough – and done!  And next Easter, we’ll have an egg-shaped bowl in which to keep those dyed Easter eggs!

April 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm 6 comments

Fun with Easter Egg Dye

After my children dyed the eggs, they poured the leftover dye randomly over some wool roving that I had. I then smooshed it down (wearing gloves to avoid colorful hands) and set the dye in the microwave (8 minutes on high… rest for 10… another 8 minutes, then leave until cool.) The water ran clear, I rinsed once and let it dry. Here is a picture of the results, posing with a few of the eggs that we dyed:

Easter egg dyes aren’t as colorfast long-term as the professional dyes I usually use for my wools, but they’re certainly safe for use with children. You can also use wool yarn or fabric — or any animal fiber like silk, alpaca, etc.  It won’t work with cotton or synthetic fabrics (with the exception of some nylons).   Plenty of fun, and we have something to show that will last longer than the eggs (most of which are already eaten).  Now to find a suitable project for the wool!

Have a most blessed Easter, everyone!

April 4, 2010 at 10:12 am 1 comment

Is it Spring yet?

Last month, record-breaking snow.  This month, so far, rain rain rain!  But as that snow was getting washed away, the tips of the first spring flowers emerged.  Another sign of spring are these baby lambs whose picture I took last week when I helped my friend Deb with shearing at Forevermore Farm:

I came away with fleece, of course, which will eventually get cleaned and carded and show up in my shop.  But in the meantime, thoughts of spring have been inspiring my dyepots, which have been busy lately with new colors of wool top:

Superwash merino:

and Bluefaced Leicester top:

Also dyed, and premiering this weekend at the Homespun Yarn Party are kettle-dyed spring colors of Falklands top, and lustrous, deliciously soft shades of mulberry silk top! 

Speaking of which… if you’re in the VA/MD/DC area, don’t miss out on a great chance to visit my shop, and 39 other indie spinners/dyers/fiberistas this weekend in Savage Maryland, at the Homespun Yarn Party.  Date/time is Sunday March 21, 12 – 5 p.m.  More details and directions to be found here: http://homespunyarnparty.blogspot.com/

March 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm 1 comment

Spring Spinning Workshops

 Whether you’ve spun miles of yarn or your first ‘beginner yarn’ is still in the future,  wouldn’t you love to spend a day playing with fiber and spinning wheels, making friends and mastering something new?  That sounds like my kind of fun! 

I’ll be leading three spinning workshops this spring for the Heritage Crafts Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia (in the eastern panhandle, so close to MD/VA/DC).  Which one is right for you?

Saturday March 6th    10 – 4   
Introduction to Handspinning
A one-day ‘fast start’ workshop covering the basics of turning fiber into yarn.  Course will include a brief introduction to the history of spinning, types of fibers and fiber preparation, and include instruction in spinning on a hand spindle and on a spinning wheel, with time to practice.  No previous experience required.  Please indicate when you register if you will be bringing your own spinning wheel or need to borrow one.   $40 class fee plus $20 supply fee (includes a spindle to keep for practice).
 
Saturday April 10th   10 – 5 
Intermediate Handspinning
If you can spin a basic yarn on a wheel or spindle but want to improve your skills, this class is for you.  Topics covered include getting the most from a spinning wheel, plying techniques including spiral and Navaho ply, spinning through a diz, spinning from the fold, corespinning, and working with unusual or difficult fibers.  Participants will have an opportunity to card washed fleece and blend colors using a drum carder.  Please bring your wheel or let us know at registration if you need to borrow one.  $48 class fee plus $20 supply fee. 
  
Saturday April 24th   10 – 5  
Spinning Novelty & Art Yarns
Are you ready for a creative challenge? Take your spinning to the next level with corespinning locks, creating coils and supercoils, adding in embellishments and beads, spinning fabric strips, creating looped boucle, and using a drum carder to created chunky ‘art yarn’ batts .  Participants should be proficient in basic spinning skills and bring their spinning wheel and a bobbin of spun singles to the class.  $48 class fee plus $25 supply fee.
Registration for these workshops is done through the Heritage Crafts Center (http://www.heritagecraftscenter.org), a non-profit educational organization promoting traditional crafts.  Even if the spring schedule isn’t up on the web site, you can print out a registration form here: http://www.heritagecraftcenter.org/documents/registration.pdf and send it in to reserve your space!
I’m excited about this opportunity  and  hope you can come out for a day of fun and fiber this spring!

February 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

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