Friday, November 9, 2012

A Christmas Bazaar Nov. 10, 2012

MIM Soap (that's me) will be at a Christmas Bazaar being held at 645 Colborne St., Brantford at the Army, Navy & Air Force Club. Hours are 9:30am to 3:00pm. 
I hope to see you there.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Website...

I have a website & if you read this then please go and visit: .

If you want you're welcome to link to the above site. I have wonderful soaps for sale with scents such as cinnamon, orange, lavender.

Exfoliating soaps, baby soap, shaving soap, hand deodorizer soap.

Gentle moisturizing soaps. Goat milk soaps.

Black Raspberry & Vanilla. Satsuma, Energy, Tei Fu blend.

Many more... too many to list here.

You can find more information by visiting .

Making gift baskets? They are a nice addition. Maybe a hostess gift? Christmas gift. Just a little something to put in a Christmas stocking.

Click on this phrase and it will take you there:

I know it's a shameless plug.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's something like 5 a.m. and I have been up since about 2:30 not being able to get back to sleep. Haven't had a night like this in awhile and it's not the best way to start a full 12 hour day of work.
Oh well, I'll just get on with it.

Last Saturday was the annual Fleece Festival held in Woodstock, ON, an event I enjoy ever so much!!

I offered home crafted soap (MIM Soap's launch) this year & my hubby of Four had spinning accessories and a wheel he had made for sale. We were both very successful with our sales!!

We have shared a booth with a friend for the past 2 years; next year I think we will do it on our own. All parties could use a little more space.

Next year I will have a different sort of display up. I haven't had any experience in a market display, so now I have a few ideas for next year.

As for buying at the Fleece Festival there were all sorts of goodies!! I came home with a beautiful Border Leicestershire fleece that I will have to scour tomorrow on my day off. I saw this fleece early in the morning and went back a few times that day. I wasn't going to buy any more fleece, but then I thought 'the opportunity won't happen for another year', so it came home with me. The same shepherdess also had large carded batts of Lincoln ready to spin. At the end of the day there were only 2 left, so they came home with me too.

Mustn't forget to mention the water extractor I found in the silent auction. I've been eyeing these little beauties for at least a year. It must have been waiting to come home with me. I used it last night on the fleece & it was wonderful. Love it!

I also couldn't not buy some Rambouillet my friend was selling. All of my fleece purchases are not 'fine' grades of fleece, but meant for other more lasting things as rugs (the Lincoln) or outerwear (the Rambouillet).

Off to work now, so will finish tonight or tomorrow. Or maybe Thursday - since I was very busy today.

We watched a terrifically great movie last night - Prometheus. This movie actually captured my attention. Noomi Rapace was starring in it and she was very good in her part. You see usually I spin or read or knit or something at the same time as watching a movie, but Prometheus got my attention. Well done!! I'm not going to give anything away here; you will have to watch  it yourself to know.

I scoured the Border Leicestershire fleece last night & got to use my new 'extractor'. When I got up this morning I wasn't completely satisfied with the washing results, so did the whole process over again. It looks good now. Think I will comb some this afternoon.

Here are some pics of my goodies:

Border Leicester Fleece & the new to me Extractor
It's now a few days since I started this post & now some of this Border Leicester fleece is soaking in preparation for some woad dyeing. The last woad dye of the season. I hope to get that finished up tomorrow.

 Rambouillet Roving & carded Lincoln batt

I've spun a bit of the Lincoln batt & it's spinning up nicely. A lovely deep dark brown being spun short forward draw. I am not smoothing the air out much, but I can still see a but of the shine to the wool I would expect from a coarser fibre. The staple is only about 3.5" long, much shorter than I would have expected. Not sure if it will end up in a rug or some slippers.

I must mention that MIM Soap is up & running. Here is the link to the site: .

If you think you might like some hand crafted soap then you should visit the link above. I have lovely soap bars available.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soap Making Days Begun

On July 20/12 I made my first two batches of home made soap. This is something I have always wanted to do and was afraid to try because of the fear of using lye.

I overcame my fears when I did the research on the subject of soapmaking and now have a few more books on my shelf and many bars of wonderful smelling soap.

I started with two books:
The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch
Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson

Along with that was the usual internet research on the subject. I can recommend both books as being useful and easy to follow. Thumbs up.

Here are photos showing the fruit of my efforts.
Honey & Oatmeal Soaps. Left is cinnamon & right is orange.Ready mid Sept. 2012

Lavender Goat Milk & Tei Fu Goat Milk Soaps with coconut oil & olive oil. Ready end of Oct. 2012.

Sweetgrass & Ocean Breeze scented coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter soap.
I've had a lot of fun letting the chemist in me loose. We got to use the Sweetgrass & Ocean Breeze soaps yesterday & I must say they are wonderful to use. It leaves my skin feeling so very good. We love it!!

4 oz bars of soap are available for sale at the following prices plus shipping if needed:
Just email me at suzibee at me dot com.

What Can I say...Summer of 2012

Here I am past the middle of August 2012 and I am taking a few moments to take stock of what I have done this summer.

First I want to say what a crazy hot humid summer it has been this year...and dry until a week ago. Farmers have faced a dry (drought) summer & crops have suffered. The year of 2013 will include much higher prices for meat & all other food. What else is new(?)

This has got to have been the absolutely hottest summer I have experienced, but no I am not complaining because I prefer this to our cold winters when we spend days shivering because it costs too much $ to turn the heat up in the house.

I have kept busy as usual working in my full time job and spending spare moments preparing for my second son's & his fiancee's wedding which just happened last weekend. It was a beautiful wedding on the rocky shoreline at Killarney Mt. Lodge. A beautiful bride & a handsome groom making up a wonderful couple embarking on their marriage together.

I have neglected my gardens for the second year just because I don't have enough spare time to tend them & I strongly dislike mosquitoes & I'm prone to a sore back when gardening. My hubby has tended the tomatoes & onions, etc. and now we are reaping the benefits. I can no longer count how many tomato sandwiches we have consumed and the tomatoes are really tasty.

The woad this year has been good of course & I did a vat last weekend not using the stove at all. It was the most successful of any woad dyes I have ever done.
I gathered the leaves & placed in a 5 gal pail; then added hot tap water & steeped covered for 1 hour.
Then it was strained into another pail & I added 1 T. of soda ash to turn it alkaline. I used an immersion blender to oxidize the vat for 15 minutes\. I saw blue & then it turned very green. At this point I added 2 tsp. of thiourea dioxide & left it sit covered for half an hour, keeping it warm.

When I checked it next it was clear yellow & ready for the wool. I dyed about 200 g of Suffolk. Here is a pic of some Suffolk yarn I spun & dyed. This was 2 half hour dips with a half hour oxidizing in between. I did not rinse until after 24 hours. I added some vinegar to the last rinse water. The colour stayed the same.
Suffolk. Woad Dyed.
That Suffolk is destined for mitts for hubby & myself.

And more summertime activity: spinning, knitting, dyeing.
Thrummed mitts for shepherd.

Mitts for Shepherd

Toque for the shepherd who supplied the Suffolk & Friesian mix.

Cherie's mitts. Blue Faced Leicestershire & silk. All handspun & hand dyed. Silk hankies were used & purchased roving that I spun on the wheel my hubby made.

I also had to make a bag to match the silk dress I made for my son's wedding. There just happened to be a wee bit of warp on that I could use & I didn't have a spare moment to worry about the colour of the warp, so I was happy with the white warp and used wool & silk fabric I had left over. I received lots of nice compliments.
My shoulder bag for the wedding.

And I also had to find time yesterday to paint the entrance room that also serves as a catch all room. Big improvement!! Picture not needed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daisy...and Suffolk

I just have to make it known that Daisy came home today. She is the new addition to our family here.
At just 7 weeks old she has a lot of growing to do, but since we saw her at 3 weeks, she seems to have at least tripled in size. She is a blue merle Australian Shepherd.

The personalities of the Aussies have suited our lifestyle very well.

Welcome Daisy!!
Daisy @ 7 weeks. June 22/12.

To keep this fibre related I will mention that I scoured a Suffolk fleece this week & this morning before we got Daisy.
The fleece was very muddy, so I split the fleece into several groups to fit in all of the large pails I have, filled them with water, added the fleece and soaked outside for 3 days.
I changed the water once.
On the third day, I drained the buckets and scoured in hot tap water using Power Scour only. I did two washes and several rinses. I did not use the Fibre Rinse by Unicorn yet. I figure I will spin it up first and then wash the skeins. The rinse will be used after any dyeing I might do. The final use of this wool is as yet undecided.
The only thing certain is that I will card & make rolags for woollen spinning.

I must get back to Daisy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Walnut Dye

And today, the last of my three days off I boiled up some walnuts a friend had given me last fall. They had been sitting in plastic bags on my deck all winter and just the other day, a critter of some sort had nibbled into a bag. So without looking at them more than I had to, I loaded them into my dye pots & boiled for 1 and a half hours. It did look inky. The smell sort of reminded me of the smell of chocolate baking. Just 'sorta'. Otherwise it was bearable; not too bad.  

The fibre selected was 104 g BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) which I soaked in soapy water then did an iron mordant for 45 minutes at a simmer. Afterwards I washed & rinsed the fibre. The dyebath was prepared by now & I strained one pot for this to be a strong dyebath. I added the fibre & simmered for 1 hour. 

After removing the fibre from the dyebath, I placed the fibre into a container of very hot tap water to which I added 4 T. vinegar. I let it soak for 10 minutes. 

Fibre was then washed, rinsed, washed and rinsed several times until the water was fairly clear. After wuzzing, I spread it out to dry in a sunny & breezy spot.
Here's what it looks like drying.
BFL walnut dyed. Iron mordant. Vinegar rinse.
 Not quite as dark as I had hoped.

More Dyes of June 2112. Woad. Indigo.

And then the next day I used the plants from which I did an extraction the day before.

From extracted woad leaves. BFL top.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dye Days are Challenging

Isn't this lovely? Wouldn't you like to spin this?
This is the result of painfully using a dog comb to remove dandruff -thick, sticky- from this lovely wool fleece and then using my drum carded to card it into batts. Using my woolcombs wouldn't remove the dandruff; I suppose they are too coarse for such work.
I'm not clear if this is Suffolk or an E. Friesian yearling fleece. It wasn't labeled when I received it, and the fact the shepherd gave me three fleece in one box and confusion set in by the time I arrived home.
This took a lot of work, but I had a great time doing this project & learned a bit in the process.
Here is the spun 2 ply, and it is semi worsted spun.
I have about 383 yds. of a nice heathery blend.
Some of the colours were dyed with rhubarb and some with Greener Shades dyes. This looks rather grey in the photo, but it is livelier in person & I am pleased with the results.
Should be enough here for a hat & mitts.
Here is some of the blending process.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Early Dye Garden 2012

A visitor


It's the middle of May and the dye garden is looking so good right now. It has completely filled in with no available space. This should be a good year for natural colours here.

Dyeing & Yarn Sample for Hat & Mitts.

The yarn for hat & mitts.

Sample skein & knit sample using 4.5mm & 4mm.

Greener Shades. Black3%. River Blue5%+Amazon Green5%+Black2%.

Rhubarb leaves. Top row with iron mordant. Bottom row with alum mordant.
Earlier in the spring I was given 3 fleece from a sheep farmer who raises the sheep for the meat. The sheep are probably kept indoors for the winter & had a lot of vm that needed to come out for it to be usable. Also there was a lot of oily dandruff that was stuck to the ends of the locks.
I found the best way to remove it all was to use a dog comb on both ends & then to drum card into batts. It came out very nicely.
I added some red & blacker black to the above black batts to make the colour a little more interesting. The idea is to have fun doing the fleece & making something useful for the farmer that he can use for himself & his family. So though the fleece was free. There has been a great deal of time invested in the project completion.
Still to do: spin it all, knit a few pair of hats & mitts. This is a medium wool for outerwear only.
Fun & a lot of satisfaction.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Knit Sample Results Using Greener Shades.

Brit. Milk Sheep dyed with alum mordant & dandelion & marigold.
BFL Sock Yarn. Homespun. 2 ply. Greener Shades Dyes. Spun, then dyed.

The 4 small skeins from the top 4 batts shown in previous post. 1 is on the left, 2 is at top, 3 at right & 4 at bottom.

The knit samples. 2 ply. 4.5mm knitting needles.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playing with the First Batt

Dividing the batt.

 Top of final batt.
  Bottom of final batt.
 Divided for roving.
 Puffball being weighed.
 One bobbin on Liz.
 Resulting 2 bobbins.
 Plied on Lendrum.
 14 wraps per inch.
 Measurements taken.
 Skein going into hot sudsy water.
 Dried skein.
Colour variation.