Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yarn, Roving and News

So much time has gone by…. Life is much too busy, but in spite of everything I am excited about my new yarns…

In the luxury category, there is a set of 6 COLOURS in Kid Mohair and Silk at a special price of $100. They can be ordered individually for $20 apiece. Also, more than one skein of each color is available.

That is also true for almost any of my yarns – they can be ordered in multiples and will be provided from the same dye lot.

In the sock yarn category, there are three new offerings – the changing of the seasons is affecting me – two are Autumnal in there color tones (Autumn Fantasy and Sunrise on the Desert) and the third evokes a fall feeling with mist rising in the meadow (Misty Morning) although in truth it could also be early spring. All 3 are in a 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon combination which makes them long lasting and easily cared for.

Finally, for you Spinners, in the spinning fibers category there is a new roving in superwash Merino (Forest Primeval) which is again in keeping with my autumnal mood.

So much to do and say, so little time..........

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New scarves and yarn

I've been right out straight with family and work obligations so I've not had time to keep you informed of my doings... On the right, you can see a silk Crepe de Chine scarf called 'Sedona Hills' and below is a picture of 'Sea Glass' also in Crepe de Chine. They are both available on my Web site ( and on my ETSY page.
I've also created a new line of Kid Mohair and Silk in a range of pastels. I'll be posting them later but you can have a sneak preview with 'Zinnia' which is a delightfully soft and fuzzy yellow.
The other posted yarn is 'Beach Towel' in Superwash Wool and Nylon. I just loved the way these colors came together and they reminded me of my recent trip to the Ogunguit Beach.
So little time, so much to do........

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kanga and Roo

A friend gave my this kangaroo and joey for my recent birthday and I thought I would share them with you. It certainly reminds me of why I became the 'kangaroo' dyer and not something else.

This rain is annoying! I've had enough! Haven't you? I need to work in my garden, but I don't like being wet and uncomfortable and MUDDY!! Hot and Humid and uncomfortable I can stand but not wet and muddy. Of course on the bright side, I wouldn't be writing this Blog if I were in the garden.

In other news, the SUMMER SALE is on in both my ETSY shop and on my Web Site. Everything on the web site is involoved in the 20% discount whereas only marked items on the Etsy site are. Time to try new yarns and fill your stash for the winter. The sale will run through the month of August. Spread the word!

Best, Gail

Monday, July 27, 2009


Well summer is finally here!! Now I can begin complaining about the humidity and heat – even though I actually love the heat. Maybe now my tomatoes will start growing and producing. I was hoping for a bumper crop so I could replenish my stash of Salsa.

Speaking of producing – I’ve posted new Lace Weight Tencel, Superwash Merino Roving, and Sock Yarn this week end. Take a few moments and look through my website ( I will be posting more sock yarn, scarves, and silk yardage for Nuno felting projects.

Remember, you can always request colorways and yarn types. This does not obligate you to purchase until you’ve seen the pictured results and like what you see. The advantage to me is the flow of new ideas – that’s part of the excitement of creating.

So much to say, so little time....

Best, Gail

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Balloon Fest and Web Site

It's been an exciting 6 days since the Web Site went live! I know from the emails that the site is being used as well as from the sales. PayPal is a little uneven in its handling of S&H Charges but with patience and understanding , it will all work out. The same old policies continue - if you are avercharged for S&H, a refubd is issued promptly.

Saturday night the Balloons went by - I thought you might like to see how close they were to my house.

Best, Gail

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Final notes on August 9th dyeing class.

I hope by now you have been thinking about what you want to use for the upcoming class. I talked with one student who wants to dye cloth for rug hooking. It will be great to have a variety of fibers to be able to compare our results.

I talked about the need to wind the 48 skeins, and put 3 ties on each to keep them from tangling. In this post I will show you how to tie and label each skein for dyeing.

There are innumerable ways to wind the skeins. Since the skeins must be about 15 yards each, (don't fret about a yard or two) understand that you need to measure the circumference of the selected objects and divide by 36 inches to get the yards. In other words, placing my two chair backs near each other, and wrapping the yarn around the two is about 60 inches. So, to get about 15 yards I need to have 9 revolutions. (15 yards x 36 inches =540 inches: divided by 60 is 9 revolutions) Do the math for your objects.

I have a niddy noddy (funny name) which I use. Here is a photo of one.

Often students use a large piece of cardboard to wrap the yarn, or the hands of a friend.

Once wound, the ties need to be placed to keep it from tangling. Here is a photo.

Next step is marking them in a way they will tolerate the wet dye bath and survive with the writing intact. This is where I use the tyvex envelope and tie them in this manner.

Please use a waterproof marker, or a pencil to number them. You will need one set numbered from 1-36 and another from 1-12. That's just about all you need to do before the class. if you have any questions, please email or call me. I look forward to the 9th! Best, Gail

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Launch day + One

The first day of the new Web site ( has been exciting and not without its moments of terror. In trying to get the site up, I lost it completely! Gone - new site, old site, original site. I was devastated! Fortunately, the team helping me (Susan, Sherry and Ernie) had anticipated my every move and had backed up the next to the final version so when I sent up my SOS Sherry was able to resurrect the site and I've put back some minor changes (like a better picture of me) and have added more yarn. Over the next several days I plan to get as much up as possible without trying to duplicate my ETSY site.

The Victorian Pastels Lace Weight Alpaca and Silk Yarn has an accompanying Scarf created for me by one of my friends. I've included more pictures here to show off her exquisite work.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Take a look!

Our new web site is up and running. My husband Bill and team have been working long days and nights to get everything working. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Preparing for August 9 Dyeing Class.

In this post, I am going to give you options for selecting yarns, ways of winding the skeins, and ways of marking them so you will know just what formulas you used to dye the yarn. Preparing fiber for the August 9 class at Webs.

Thank you to my students for checking in here on the blog to get ready for the class next month. In this post, I am going to give you options for selecting yarns, ways of winding the skeins, and ways of marking them to record the formulas you will use to dye the yarn.

A couple of housekeeping issues: The materials need to be purchased ahead of time and not from the instructor as originally stated. I thought I could search for some exotic and new materials for the class and have you purchase them from me, but since the preparation is key to a successful day, you should select from the choices I will list, and get the yarns ahead of time. During the afternoon session, there will be an opportunity to purchase yarns at the store for specific projects you may select. But for the morning session we will all be working on a 36 color wheel and a 12 color gray scale.

In the past when I taught this dyeing class I showed the students how to prepare the yarn during class time. At the last class, one of my students, Harriet, mentioned that Cat Bordhi makes videos ahead of time to show the students how to prepare for the class. In lieu of a video, I will photograph and post helpful pictures for you to use to guide you. This will save time for more learning and playing the day of the class, instead of doing the monotonous time consuming winding of 48 small skeins of yarn to make the color wheel and gray scale.

Here are some examples of yarns used successfully by past students.
Valley Yarns Northampton/ball
Valley Yarns Superwash/ball
Plymouth Encore/ball
Cascade 220/in a 220 yard skein
Brown Sheep worsted/ball
Harrisville Design Shetland and Highland/on cones 2 different yardages with the Shetland weight finer than the Highland

Whatever yarn you select, you will need to calculate the number of skein/balls/cones you need according to the following calculations. If you look at you will be able to get the statistics for the yarn you select.

Your total of skeins is 48. The yardage should be about 15 yards per skein.
48 x 15= 720 yards total. You can fool around a yard or so from the total of 15 if that is necessary to not require you to purchase an extra skein, but just make certain that each skein is the same yardage.
Enough for right now. Please see the following post for winding the skeins. Thanks, Gail

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finally, Drying Off

The past month in Massachusetts has been unseasonably wet. Not only has the rain bothered farmers and gardeners, but dyers as well. Getting the fiber dry is always a challenge but when the humidity is 100%, it makes matters worse. I am in the process of getting an order ready for Webs to take to the Sock Summit in Portland Oregon on August 6th through 9th. I first heard of the summit from Melissa Morgan Oakes who is going to teach classes on knitting two socks at a time.
Thankfully this morning the sun is out and the wind is blowing. We figured out a way to rig up plastic piping to fit between two grids to place the yarn to dry.
This proves to work much better than the tipsy racks we were using to hold the pipes. When the wind blew up, or the cat decided to seek shelter from the sun the racks would fall over. The only issue is that the front porch continues to be the best spot for putting the yarn. I hope it will be all cleared off before we host a bridal shower for my friend Regina Phillip's daughter Morgan on Friday. Yarn will make a colorful backdrop for the event. Oh well.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Learning how to use this Blog site is a challenge and a half. But I'm determined. Here is the pic of the socks I mentioned above - What lovely work!


I'm still floating about the way the galley proofs look and the responses from my wonderful friends who have seen it. My husband kept telling me that it was something special but he's biased! Now I have to wait until it is actually published to see if people who don't know me feel the same.

A nice lady from Illinois, who signed up for my Book Club sent me a picture of socks she made from one of my creations. I'm going to have to learn how to copy and transfer it to this blob site and to the sock club page. I hope others will join her in sending me pictures of their creations.
Best, Gail

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Book

What a day yesterday was! The Publisher sent me the 'galleys' of my book - Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques by Gail Callahan (Hardcover - Jan 27, 2010). The cover is posted on I'm so excited that I had trouble sleeping last night. Of course, I think the book is BEAUTIFUL! I wish it was already published so you can all see it. It is the quality of the pictures and the art lay-out that makes it so wonderful for me.

Right now I'm waiting for the final look at my new web site which is due any day now. (I sound like the kids in the car 'are we there yet?') but it does seem like I've been struggling to get this created for a long, long time. Of course, every change and improvement brings its own set of problems. But I'll deal with them when I need to.I hope I'll have more good news tomorrow.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Web Page

It's hard to believe that almost a whole year has passed since my last Blog! So much has happened - so much that's GOOD!!!!
First - Kangaroodyer @ has been a phenomenal success and has become the driving force.
Second - My book on dyeing is in the hands of the publisher and will be released in January, 2010. More later.
Third - My new and revised and BEAUTIFUL Web Site will be up and running any time now (sounds like an Oldies title).

My hope is this will be a much more interactive Blog site where you can ask me questions and tell me what you want with NO obligation on your part except honest feelings. And I and/or others can chime in. I find I don't do well if I'm the only one talking!

More to follow.

Best, Gail