This month I have gone out with the kids and gathered so much Queen Anne’s lace for my dye pots. It seems to be EVERYWHERE this year. This year Gabriel was a huge fan in helping me gather the flowers. The flowers are obviously well loved by the ladybugs as we were finding them all over. Gabriel absolutely loved this! He would ever so gently pick them up and let them crawl up his arm (much to the horror of his sister- she is definitely not into bugs- of any kind even cute little ladybugs).

I thought I might share how I dye with this dainty little flower as well as a fun little experiment I did with the flowers for the kids (both young and old got into this one!)

For the little experiment I cut some Queen Anne’s lace flowers with long stems and placed them in two separate jars. One jar had water and blue food coloring in it the other had water and red food coloring. I’m sure you figured out where I am going with this. I placed the stems into the water and we let them sit for about three days.

By day three this is what we had:

The blue was more concentrated so I think that is why it took up the food coloring so much more than the red. It was a lot of fun for everyone. Ariella especially liked this. She would check on the flowers every morning and note where they were beginning to change color.

Now for the dye:

Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

I use wool that I have applied alum to for the mordant.

For Queen Anne’s lace flowers I use equal parts flowers to yarn. So if you are dyeing 2 ounces of wool than you will want to collect 2 ounces of flowers.

On the day that I gather the flowers I add them to my dye pot and very slowly bring to a low simmer. I hold this gentle simmer for a good hour.

Once the hour is up I allow the dye to cool completely (typically overnight) and then I strain it well.

After straining I add my wet, premordanted wool and again slowly bring to a simmer. I keep the dye at a simmer for one hour. I then allow the yarn to cool completely in the dye pot.

Once the yarn is completely cool I rinse the yarn and allow to air dry.

The finished yarn:

Have fun collecting those “weeds”!


Long time

by Cynthia

{enjoying a picnic}

{It’s hard to eat an apple when 3 of your front teeth are missing!}

It has been a long time has it not? One week turned into a month and then a month turned into several months. I certainly never intended on practically abandoning this spot for so long. Life just sort of swept me up with it. I’m always busy, busy with the kids, especially the younger two. Also, lately I have been growing busier than ever with the yarn shop. Maybe some of you know this already and maybe some of you do not seeing that I never announced it here (bad, bad, bad on my part I know!) but the yarn shop now has its own website. I will still be selling on Etsy too (at least for now). Etsy has been too good for me to pull the plug on it just yet. So, if you get the chance I would feel so grateful if you paid me a visit at Brambleberry Yarns and tell me what you think. It certainly has been a labor of love and lots of late nights spent at the computer. I’m very pleased with how far my little shop has come!

I am gearing up for another year of Homeschooling. I’m excited as this year I really think Ariella is ready to move forward with her schooling. She has made tremendous progress this summer academically and is even attempting to read. I hate to admit this but I think a lot of it has to do with her new found love of the computer. I really, really do not like my kids to be exposed to very much media (if any really!) but she has responded so well to using the computer that I have changed my views just a little. She loves to use the word processor and type letters to people and insert pictures and drawings to go with them. As she types she sounds out the words and gets a surprising amount correct. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am! I really was fretting over how to teach her how to read and write. Her autism can make formal learning impossible and I have to be so creative in how to approach her. If typing on the computer is helping her to read and write then I am all for it!

So much has changed in a few months. Ariella has lost 3 (three!!!) teeth. My oldest has graduated from high school. My 13 year old is just about as tall as me (his feet are already bigger than mine). And Gabriel just talks and talks and is showing us what an amazing little person he is every day. For instance, he is quite the little animal lover and is unbelievably gentle with our rabbits- a 2 year old gentle with rabbits!

I hope to be around here more again. As many of you know, blogging can be such a hard thing to keep up with. I have not given up on this space just yet. I just got a little distracted.

Thanks for reading,



Wisteria Purple

by Cynthia

How is it that the Yarn Along has slipped past me for several weeks now? My how time has flown by!

Yesterday I pick up my double pointed needles and began knitting some fingerless mitts for myself (finally!).  I’m using the handspun hand-dyed yarn I posted about the other day and I am just loving the fact that these are going to be for me! I’m also enjoying using my Brittany double pointed needles again. (video review of them here if you are interested.) I have not used them in forever and have missed them. I love how they feel and think they are really wonderful to knit with- and no I’m not being paid to say that!

A few weeks back I finished the Language of Flowers and enjoyed it so much even if at times I hated the main character and how she treated people (even if I understood why). It was very frustrating for me at times. I have since had a hard time picking up a new fiction book. Has that ever happened to you? Do you read a book and connect with the characters so much that once you put it down it becomes hard to pick up a new book and move on to a different story? It’s like having to tell good friends goodbye. I felt this way after reading the Language of Flowers.

I spent a couple of weeks browsing magazines and nonfiction books waiting for the urge to start over with a different fiction book to hit. It finally did Monday night and I began reading Into the Free by Julie Cantrell. This story is set in Mississippi during the Depression and opens with the main character, Millie, at nine years old. Immediately I was pulled in by Millie’s narrative voice and I am hopeful this book will not disappoint. I have only made it to chapter 4 so far but am already hooked.

My “to read” and “to knit” lists are ever growing thanks to our weekly Yarn Along posts. I always enjoy seeing what else everyone has been reading and knitting. As always, thank you to Ginny for hosting it every week.

{Pattern and Ravlery notes can be found here.}


over the weekend

by Cynthia

Over the weekend I found myself having to slow down and take it easy more than I really cared to. It seems the pesky head cold I recently got over decided to settle in my left ear and by Friday night I was dealing with a fever and quite a painful earache. And I thought only children get earaches! Ha! This one sure did force me to take it easy. As of today I am feeling quite a bit better thanks to some needed downtime as well as some homemade herbal preparations.

Nearly every year I make an herbal oil out of mullein flowers, garlic, and calendula flowers. Who knew this year I would be the one needing the oil! { For some great info on making herbal infused oils be sure to check out this post found on the Mountain Rose Herbs blog.}

Throughout the weekend I placed 3 drops of my oil in my ear four times a day. I really should be treating both ears but am not (hope I do not regret this.) Within about 24 hours of using my herbal eardrops I noticed a significant difference in my ear. I am going to continue the drops for a few more days to make sure everything clears up well.

I should add that as well as using the herbal eardrops I have also been drinking large quantities of liquid which includes herbal teas made from anise seed, thyme leaves, elder flowers, lemon balm, and echinacea root. All of these herbs are good for congestion as well as the immune system. I know the earache stems from congestion building up so it is very important that I focus on ridding myself of it. On top of all of this I have also upped my Vitamin C intake to also help support my immune system (which has obviously taken a beating this year!)

I intentionally moved at a slower pace all weekend to force rest upon myself. This has not been an easy thing for me to do lately as there has just been so many things piling up needing my attention. I tried to focus on my knitting and spinning. I finally got back to work on Ariella’s sweater and made some progress on it. I also got a little bit caught up on my reading that I have fallen way behind on. And I was finally able to finish spinning up this yarn that I have been desperately trying to get around to finishing.

Isn’t it pretty? It is 4 ounces/210 yards worth of superwash BFL that I dyed with cochineal prior to spinning it. I decided to 2 ply it and am glad I did for it looks so lovely. It is about a sport weight and I am thinking it might make a really lovely pair of fingerless mitts. I so badly need a pair of fingerless mitts! My hands are always so cold. It seems I am always knitting some for everyone else, now I think it is time I knit myself a pair!

Hope everyone is well and healthy. Are you as anxious for spring to get here as I am?

XoXo, Cynthia

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