simple teaching aids

My house is a mess, but, I have a few new teaching aids for Kool-Aid dyeing at Wolcott Farm on Sheep Shearing Saturday this weekend!!


A poster is always a user friendly display. I still want to affix colored wool samples to the board…although, there will be plenty of Kool-Aid dyed wool roving around on display!

sheepyhollow_teaching aid

I printed and laminated simple how-to instructions/Kool-Aid color recipes.


Do you like my wooly beasties [apparently before shearing]??


You never know what you can do with a little paper, colored markers, water-color paint and a wee bit of imagination!?

Sheep Shearing Saturday at Wolcott Farm Center

Won’t you please join us at Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center on Saturday, March 9, 2012? Katie and I will be in the farm kitchen dyeing wool with Kool-Aid! If you’d like to learn more about ‘dyeing’, here’s another awesome resource!


65775 Wolcott Road, Ray, Michigan 48096

(586) 752-5932


Saturday,  March 09, 2013

10am – 4pm 

$5.00 PER PERSON          (Pay at the door)


Join us at the farm for a fun filled day!!

Watch and listen to a professional sheep shearer.   Visit our artisans and watch demonstrations on weaving, spinning, felting, and more.  Make a wool craft.  Many beautiful items will be available for purchase.  Learn about the visiting Alpacas, their fiber and uses.  Enjoy a snack and go for a horse drawn wagon ride (rides weather permitting). You are also welcome to visit our resident farm animals.

For further information contact us at (586) 752-5932


What’s on my workbench?

… or more accurately, my kitchen counter?

Check it out: a bleached ART sheepy project.

I got the idea from here :

photo via show tell share

…and thought it would be a fun project for my 4H kids???

Naturally, I had to try it for myself FIRST – and it had to be sheepy!!!

This is the reverse side, before rinsing.

And this is the final rinsed project.

Here’s a close-up.


I followed the directions from Show Tell Share. You’ll need a Clorox Bleach Gel Pen for WHITES and fabric. I found mine in the laundry detergents aisle at Meijer. I used an inexpensive 60/40 cotton polyester blend (black) to ‘experiment’, but – Show Tell Share – recommends a cotton jersey (she also used a linen fabric for her table runner). I ironed a piece of butcher paper to the back… because I have it readily available in my pantry. Otherwise, place on several sheets of newspaper to protect your work surface. I free-handed a sheep with the fine point end of the bleach gel pen… but you can draw any ‘simple’ design. Too much detail and you’ll lose some of it in the final results… the bleach does absorb/spread/blur a little bit.

Let the bleach sit about 20-minutes. Peel the paper backing and rinse in cool water. You may run through a cycle in the washing machine. There you go. You can customize a table runner, place mat… or kids’ DIY T-Shirts?

I thought it would make a nice ‘banner’ or table skirt for a craft show display or Ag fair…

The sky’s the limit! I’m gonna try a dairy goat next… hope her udder turns out!!!

And here’s the dairy goats!

I love ’em both!

Where’s my bleach gel pen??? I think I’ll pencil-in: “Dairy goats – the other white milk”!

Plant a Natural Dye Garden!

Every second Thursday of the month I spin with a talented group of ladies known as the Hadley Spinning Guild. It’s a relaxing escape and the perfect end to a busy day.  The conversation drifts effortlessly from topic to topic encompassing current events, spinning technique & tips, recipes, what’s new, fiber terminology, animal husbandry…and so on. It’s as varied as the background and experience of every one of our members!

One such discussion was about NATURAL DYEING. Judy commented that she has a lovely prolific mulberry tree in her yard and would love to know what/how to dye with its fruit? So, since I’ve never dyed with ‘mulberry’, I decided to do a little research and follow-up.

Did you know…dyer’s mulberry or FUSTIC, was introduced into Europe in the 16th century and became one of the most popular sources of YELLOW because of its strong tinctorial qualities. The strength of its coloring made it more economical than other yellow dyes and it was often used with indigo to make green. The fustic dyestuff was made from the hardwood/wood chips – not the mulberry fruit! Simmering the dye bath for a longer period tends to produce MUSTARD tones and the use of iron as a modifier gives shades of olive green.

Another resource indicated that white mulberry gives yellow; black mulberry and its fruit, violet; red and greyish colours are obtained with use of different mordants. The leaves give olive green when brought in contact with iron and almost orange when treated with alkaline salts. I also found “mulberry natural dye extract”  made from nettles and spinach (??) which can also be used as a food colouring — think Easter eggs?

Did you know…natural dyes are often referred to as VEGETABLE dyes, though many are obtained from animal and mineral sources. Despite the introduction of good quality synthetic dyes, which are reasonably cheap and plentiful, natural dyes produce a subtle beauty of tone that perhaps may never been equalled by use of even the finest synthetic dyes. Natural dyes also come from roots, flowers, leaves, fruits and barks of plants, or from animal sources such as cochineal (Dactylopius coccus is a scale insect and gives red or crimson-colored dye) and mineral sources such as red soils. Natural dyes have the advantage of being found in abundance in the natural environment. Red isalso obtained from the roots of the madder plant (Rubia tinctorum). Yellow is made from the reseda plant, vine leaves and pomegranate skins. Blue is derived from Indigo plants…and so on.

If you have an ADVENTUROUS spirit, consider planting (or harvesting) a few common natural dye plants in your gardens this Spring! Some dye stuff plants to consider: hollyhock, chamomile, pot marigold (calendula), coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, ivy, hibiscus, daffodil, rhubarb, rudbeckia, elderberry, french marigold, comfry, to name a few. OR, ‘wild craft’ walnut, apple, goldenrod, common yarrow, nettle, dandylion, onion skins and even pomegranates!

For additional reading, check out this article –

Happy fiber’n!