Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fleece, Fiber & Fuzziness


I've still got quite a yarn habit. The top photo is some Mohair fleece that has resisted all my efforts to clean it. You might be able to tell that it is almost clean, the ends are fluffy and everything is great...right to the cut end.

What I'm looking to create is more of the bottom photo. Soft yarn in nice colors that spins like a dream.

Not gonna happen with the Mohair, as far as I can tell. The skin-side is stuck together with something that acts like glue. Since this is goat hair, it's not lanolin, which is actually good to have in a fleece. 

There are two schools of thought on washing goat hair. One is LOTS of hot water, but don't touch the fiber because it will felt in a heartbeat. Heavy use of Dawn detergent is recommended. Some people say borax, some say not to use borax.

I've tried hot water & detergent. I've tried cold water & detergent. I've tried cold water & borax and a vinegar rinse. I've tried cold water & detergent soaked for 24 hours. I've tried hot water, detergent, borax & rinsing. I've tied epsom salts, which worked better than plain detergent. Hot water must be kept hot, which makes rinsing a challenge. 

Today, I soaked a big batch of Mohair in a dye bath and a bit of vinegar. I cooked the whole thing in a crock pot for 4 hours. I added green, blue and yellow dye to the pot. The blue vanished, it ether didn't take or it mixed instantly with the yellow, because there's no sign of it.

I've been fussing with this mohair for a week. I also washed two batches of burgundy suri alpaca that came out really nice. So I opened up a bag of Grumpy's fleece and washed a batch of alpaca today. 

I've got very little Mohair and a BUNCH of alpaca fleece. So I've decided to just let the goat fleece soak in it's own 'brine' of potassium. The process is called Suint Fermentation. The link is to one of the better websites on the process. 

I haven't got a greasy sheep fleece to kick start this mess. So I bought some potassium pills to kick start the process. So far it looks like it's working. 

We've got a run of nice weather. I'm allowing the fleece air dry in the back yard. All my washing stuff is set up back there, and the fleece washing project is coming along nicely. 

Tomorrow I collect a few gallons of rain water for the Suint Vat and I'll let that ferment in the back for a week or two. Eventually, I hear tell, the fleece will produce the microbes needed to get the sticky stuff out of the fleece. 

Meanwhile, the stuff I dyed today will be come a crude yarn with tales and stuff sticking out. Like the orange yarn below. 

We'll see if it works or not. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Yarn Ala' Llama

100% Alpaca, dyed with Koolade

Jacob wool, dyed and plain

A peek at the stash

Left to right - Alpaca in yellow & green, wool alpaca blend, llama dyed with cherry Koolade, natural wool in brown

It's time to celebrate something fun and festive...my yarn! I've been spinning, because it relieve stress and experimenting with Koolade dyes.

There's citric acid in the yarn, I get a Koolade aftertaste when I knit. It's kinda creepy, really, to taste Koolade for hours after you put the yarn down. I didn't lick the yarn, or my fingers. It gets into your pores. Makes me glad I didn't use any harsh chemicals to dye the yarn.

Still the colors are bright and cheery. They are likely to be fairly close together when you dye in batches. (One package of Koolade per ounce of yarn.)

If you want to learn more about dyeing yarn with Koolade start here.

I'm currently working on a hat (of course) and might try a set of fingerless mittens, with the green and yellow alpaca. I loved my stumpy-looking llama wool mittens from two years a go. I might give that another try,

Monday, August 31, 2015

Picking Up The Slack

Weeks of drama are now behind us, and I'm starting to draw a breath.

The Hoard is slowly finding it's way out of my house, back into the Peddler's Mall booth #329.  A couple hours work tamed the mess inside the house and on the porch. We took a load to the flea market booth and made a bit more breathing room. There's much more that needs to go!

Something will need to be done about the studio, but not today.

There's been some interest in the little farm, not a serious offer, just a low-ball to see if I'm desperate. As much as I'd like to see the farm rented, it would have to be to people who can afford to keep the place up.

Dad is doing as well as can be expected. Dementia is a bitch, strokes make it worse.

The books are selling better now that I've switched from Smashwords to Draft 2 Digital. It's amazing the difference in just changing vendors.

I've got more mowing to do here at Jordan's Croft. The bush-hog is running VERY well.

Time to get back to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I'm going to set aside my hurt and the shame to post this. My husband and I recently helped out a 'former soldier' and I'm going to post the results here.

His name is Jeffery French, supposedly of the Army Special Forces. This may have been true at one time, today he's a ruthless liar and con man. The lies we were told were many and varied, the truth that has been pieced together paints a disturbing portrait.

He claims to be the head of a charity called Long House Project. He will paint signs, buildings, or windows, for a low price. He claimed to have been doing this for years, and the money will go to various projects, including taking care of homeless veterans (he is homeless and a veteran) helping recovering alcoholics and drugs addicts by putting together an "Oxford House" transitional home.

When we googled him, there were supporting webpages, photos of him painting windows, in uniform, handing out food to the families of veterans, and articles about his charity. All these pages have since been taken down, which tells me they were part of his confidence game.

Well, it looks like he'll have to invent a new one.

There's no fool like a trusting fool. We fell for this con, hook, line and sinker. We let him stay in our house, and borrow my truck. Once he had a base of operations, the scam in place, he hit up a number of other people with the painting-for-charity pitch. A couple of painting jobs resulted, and he started pushing for the "Oxford House" to get a committee together.

I hired him to paint my mother's writing studio. He offered to help me find a storefront where I could sell #TheHoard. There's a building with two storefronts on Main Street in Vine Grove. He rented it.

The plan was I'd get one half of the building to sell #TheHoard as Irene's Attic, while he'd get the other half for his painting and as a headquarters for Long House Project.

At this point the mask started to slip and I tried to get my truck back. But he pressured me into going forward with a big guilt trip.

That's when I made the mistake of giving him the keys so he could paint the studio, and he spent a couple days out there. He did some painting. But he thoroughly ransacked the barn, taking the valuables and moving things around.



Took me 6 weeks to get my truck back. 

"Custom Painting"

"I worked all night, but I got three coats of paint on the walls and two coats on the trim."

Two coats of paint on the trim

Red ceiling, yellow walls, green trim
"Just need to touch up a couple spots."
For awhile, I let him remain anonymous. He had quite a bit of my property in his possession. We recovered what we could, (thankfully I got my truck back) but there's a vast amount of stuff missing. I can't say what exactly he took because there was so much stuff.

Reportedly, he sold a couple thousand dollars worth of items, buying a derelict building, paying 5 months rent on the storefront and an apartment above it. Since then he's left the first storefront and the apartment, he's either squatting in the derelict building or in another storefront.

I've been slandered to the good people of my town, vilified to my social circle, and my senile father has been robbed. My husband had been thrown into a deep depression and can't function. I'm alternately furious and depressed.

One truly finds out who their true friends are when things like this happen. I've removed a dozen people from my Facebook feed and blocked others. I'm dismayed by the people who have turned their backs on us.

I'm also deeply grateful to those who have stuck by us.

While I've done all I can with the local authorities, he remains in Vine Grove. Most of the local pawn shops have seen his photo and know his name. But despite my best efforts, there isn't much I can do to get him arrested and get the rest of my parent's possessions back. Justice is expensive in America, if you don't have the money for a lawyer, your out of luck.

Reportedly, he claims to have purchased my truck. Reportedly, I gave him permission to sell these items, or gave them to him outright. I'm not sure what other lies he's telling people about my husband and myself. Many of the people I know are no longer speaking to me. Other's are aiding and abetting this criminal on the basis of his lies.

Jeff French Custom Painting

I've updated this to better reflect events as they occurred. I may not be able to recover what was stolen from my parents, but I can use my blog to post a warning. The world is small and the internet makes is smaller. This blog is old and Google hits it often.

Master Sergeant Jeffery French a dangerous, violent, deluded sociopath.

He has threatened my husband and myself if we speak out against him. He broke out a window in my truck. He threw a metal chair at me while I was leaving the storefront.

This is something I can do to warn people about his scams. Perhaps it will be enough.

If nothing else, he'll be eaten by Zombies in my next book.

PS - There is one part of his story that has some truth in it. Rubin Eppele was killed - in 2010, not 2015.

However, there was this comment in the newsfeed that raises more questions than ever:

Ruben Eppele was my father. and he loved us very much and sure he did drugs nowadays who doesnt? my father was shot on the side of the head by his drunkfriend if you need proof that i really am his son i was born on the year 1997 i am now 14yrs old my fathers mother name was sonya begay i just now found out about this so i dont need any comment saying where hav you been this past 2 yrs my father was native american his fathers name is dave eppele his wifes name is joanna yazzie my father was born in california and he has 2 other brothers named shawn cote and chris cote and whoeverwas sticking up for my dad thankyou for the other guy you didnt know him so stop talking shit about my father he was not buying drugs i know that as a fact the only drug myfather did was alchohol

Oh what bitter webs we weave, when we seek to deceive.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Hoard - An Ongoing Project

Oh man, I wish there was a faster way to get rid of #TheHoard.

The majority of it is mid-way between "too useful to pitch" and "too valuable to pitch" so I'm putting a buck on the average item and stocking the booth with it.

I know, I could have an auction.

That's what normal people do.

But I don't know what's there, so I can't just let it all go. There are a few valuable items, somewhere in that mess. I wouldn't get anything for them at an auction.

Three months, I'm going to do this for 3 months. I should be able to dispose of hundreds of items in 3 months. Some of the stuff I'm offering for sale is mine. That's what's selling the fastest.

But I keep bringing in a load of stuff a week. Cleaning it up at the house and pricing it. And it's selling.

I'm taking another load to the booth today. Tomorrow I'm going to get another load from Talbot Hill. We finally put a dent in #TheHoard. I'm seeing progress as I go back to the farm and walk into the barn.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Announcing: Book Stop Central

Got A Newsletter?

No? Join Our Newsletter Co-op

As writers, we're told that we need a mailing list with at least 1000 fans in order to be successful. Then we're told we need to send that newsletter out monthly or even (gasp!) weekly.

But most of us are woefully short of time and short of the magic number of fans for our list.

HOWEVER -- if enough authors band together and pool our precious mailing lists, we CAN produce a monthly newsletter than can be sent to enough people to make a difference for all of us.

THEREFORE - We at Icy Road Publishing are inviting you to join our co-op list. 
Your book(s) will be added to our newsletter "Book Stop Central' for 3 months.

Each ad will require
  • $10 set up fee per book
  • your email addresses
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The $10 will cover the creation of the ad, adding the cover, text and links you send us. If your book is available as a paperback, provide us with that link, or the website of the books store where the book is available.

At the end of 3 months, you have the option of leaving our list, or you can sign up for 3 more months.

You will be required to add 10 emails to our list each quarter. You're welcome to keep copies of the addresses you collect. The success of this venture will depend on the number of email addresses we get. We need the addresses of readers, people who will want to buy our books. Random addresses are not going to give us the same results.

We ask each author contribute email addresses from your readers. Most of us don't collect email addresses because we don't have a newsletter. Remember, this is your newsletter, to your fans, let them know about it.

Feel free to forward this message to anyone who would be interested in joining us as a reader or a writer. 

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

#The Hoard & the Hoarding Gene

I finally rented space in a consignment mall to help get rid of #TheHoard. A month of very busy yard sales didn't make a dent in it.

It took three of us to get the shelves and a load of stuff moved. I thought I was doing great, until the price tags went on and I had to take my hands off the items. 

Holy Hoarders Captain Marvel!

I cringe a bit every time I get a sales report. I've got to get a grip on this before I end up on AMC's TV show. This is NOT what I expected to feel.

Stay tuned!