YarnTalk – “The Rules, Part 1″ or … “What Would SnoBelle Do?”

coverSmalr    There comes a time when lambs may wander, and their moms may forget them, too. Lambs sleep, moms creep, and drift away in their grazing. And so they may end up far apart.

Angel and Betty Bea wake up to find only Cinnamon beside them, nudging them with her nose. They are beside the gate to North Pasture – the lower section accessed by a short path through the woods. On this day, it is slightly ajar.

“Where’s SnoBelle?” asks Cinnamon. “She didn’t go in there, did she?” It is a rule: “Stay with the flock.” If you leave the flock, you will be lost, and to be lost, is a fearsome fate for a young sheep. So they have been told.

(Rule #2 : )  Stick with the flock!

Angel and Betty Bea look around. The flock is grazing further up the fenceline, but SnoBelle is not to be seen. They shrug their shoulders. “We don’t know.” But one thing they do know, if SnoBelle found an open gate, she wouldn’t think twice about exploring the other side. And it was a constant decision in their young lives — determining what rule applied to what occasion, if SnoBelle would ignore it, and if they should follow her. SnoBelle turns everything into a game. Play with this, explore that, leap and gambol through the air! But she doesn’t usually go off by herself. Where is SnoBelle?
* * * * *

 The cote, their shed at the lower end of the fenceline, is built from large, wooden triangles, all pitched together with a peaked roof. Perched on the edge of the pasture, the earth slopes down to the woods allowing the rains to drain away. That’s a rule, too. Shady and cool in summer; it’s open on all sides with slatted railings to let the breezes in. Deep green grapevines trail through the openings and climb high to the roof where their leaves can’t be eaten. So it screens an emerald light to the space below. Cool and restful.

 On this morning, the cote is alive with activity. Something else is going on up there. The lambs can hear their moms, calling. Calling loud. Not for the lambs, but for breakfast. Food! It’s one of those rules they don’t like to be broken. But where is SnoBelle? A hungry lamb would be calling, too.  On this morning, she is nowhere in sight.

Near the cote, the sun arcs high above the trees, higher and higher, but no breakfast arrives. Dixie Belle, Sprinkles, Aunt Paisley, Gramma Filene, and Bambi, too,  patiently wait, tentatively call, then begin an all-out shouting match at the upper gate.  “Baa! BAA! BAAAH!”   “BAAAAH!!!”  Other ewes in the flock join in, resounding in a roar of baa’ing voices.

( Rule #1:  )   Eat food.  A lot!  Always!

 Further down the fenceline, the lambs drift away from the flock, searching for SnoBelle. Where is she? It’s a rule — stick together. “We are a flock,” says Cinnamon. “We should be with her.”

 ”We are friends,” says Angel. “It’s not fair.”

              * * * * *

Where is SnoBelle? Back at the woods gate, the other lambs start a search. If she has found the open gate, what would she do? Well, no question there. Cinnamon, Angel and Betty Bea slide through the opening, as SnoBelle has done earlier, leaving the bright, verdant green meadows behind and silently step into the deepened green of the woods. They tread lightly down the path, and soon, in a damp, dark section, they see hoofprints. Large ones, Bambi’s, heading back to South Pasture. And small ones, like their own, heading forward to North Pasture.  Baaah! SnoBelle was here. But where is she now? “SnoBelle!” they call.

  Suddenly they hear running. Pounding hooves, small ones, and through the trees ahead, there she is, rounding the bend in the path. “SnoBelle!” cries Angel. “SnoBELLE!” cries Cinnamon.

 SnoBelle plants her hooves and slides to a stop. “I found Greeeennn!,” SnoBelle cries.

 ”Green!” the others gasp. “But why didn’t you show us? We should stick together.”

 SnoBelle hadn’t thought to tell them. When she first found the gate open, she only wanted to explore. And if a rule doesn’t suit her, she ignores it. Is that a mistake?

 Just then their mothers’ calls loudly reach their ears.

             ”I hear Maa calling,” says Betty Bea.

            “She doesn’t sound too happy,” frowns Angel.

 Without a clue why the others were calling, they turn and leap and gambol back to the gate. Way ahead up South Pasture, they see the flock grazing. Still shrilly baaing and complaining. The lambs run ahead to join them, silently mixing in with the flock. No one knew they’d been gone.

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Luscious Fleeces

SweeP-cotCandy-lamb581 The sheep got sheared late this year. Two months extra growth resulted in some very luscious fleeces. Love this first photo of Swee’Pea, the head ewe. She looks more like a ball of cotton candy. But the wool hangs together when sheared and rolls off like a thick blanket, all in one piece. Of course, after being “humiliated”, the rams have to chase each other around to regain their power.  Sort of like Sampson losing his hair.  (hey, new name for a sheep next year.) But I think the ewes just consider it Spa Day and take it in stride.




Last photo shows some of the fleece I spun into a thick/thin texture. Very soft and most fleeces are white. I have several for sale at minimum prices, usually $6-$12/lb. See them all on Etsy, and let me know if you’d like some.


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2000 Toyota Sienna

Lftside2848    My workhorse minivan has taken me to many shows, loaded up with the booth and loom, carried all kinds of travel and work supplies, and given me and the critters a great ride. But time has come to find new transportation. The van has been great, and the perfect size for me and all that I carry. If you think this may work for you, please call. It’s an older van, but has alot of life left in it.

V6 eng.FWD; automatic; ABS; cruise control; front & rear ac; tinted,power windows & locks; tow pkg; roof rack; running boards; drivers’ airbag;  leather seats (rear seats had been stored and never used: excellent shape); radio/CD/cassettes; good brakes; 2 tires good/2 medium, full-size spare; takes regular gas. Level rear floor is great for camping.

This has been a great van and I’d still drive it anywhere and I can verify that 90% of mileage is hwy miles.  Odometer: 212K, and still going strong.

Things that are great: strong engine, no rust, good leather, all working parts (but no power door), & great cargo space.

Things so-so: mpg= 23-24; no oil burning, but small seepage (with constant commuting, I add about 1/2 qt. twice/mo.) One slow window motor (now  working) will eventually need fixed.

I am 2nd owner; clean title. Receipts available.  Average value between Nada & BlueBook is about $3500. Because of high mileage, I’m asking: $3300.

contact: acappa@embarqmail.com  and  850-997-5505.

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Dyed ‘N Wool visit for campers from Wakulla

girls-sheepWe lucked out with a great day for another group of kids. This one from Wakulla. 41 kids came to see the demos, dye some yarns with natural dyes, hear the story of Woolbur, & visit the sheep.  Love this photo – all leaning in to each other. It was red-shirt-day, and everyone together made for a very bright group.  See more on FB and enjoy all the facial expressions. :-)

FB album – Dyed ‘N Wool, summer ’14 includes several groups. If your group would love a field trip, I’d love to have you.



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Sheep Visit by MLC’s Art Camp


Last week I took some Dyed ‘N Wool activities to the kids at Miccosukee Land Co-op where we did some weaving and dyeing of yarns. After seeing the demos of the loom and spinning wheel, they did their own on cardboard looms. What a great variety of colors and projects they chose!  I thought they were great. Afterwards, they came to visit the sheep. Love this photo:

To see more photos of the projects and the sheep, check FB.

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“Gramma’s Yarns”

#1 in a series of stories about the sheep, & the processing of wool.

all-compos-mirrorIntro:  Gramma’s Yarns

There is a time in stories and dreams when little lambs may ponder wool. They are covered with it, grow with it, and many times dress up with it. And so this story of lambs is also the story of wool.

Weavers and sheep, sheep and lambs, lambs and spinners and dyes, have helped each other for ages on end. And so the tales grow. But what does a young lamb know of these things?  And how would she learn?

Her gramma told her.

In South Pasture, green and breezy with tall, waving grasses, Grandma Filene gathers the youngsters around her.  But SnoBelle hangs back. The eldest of the lambs, she watches from a short distance. Gramma’s stories aren’t real. Aren’t they?  Tall tales, just “yarns”.  Aren’t they? She watches them for a few moments,  silently. Longer moments, thinking hard. Then, I gotta know, and she bounds over to the flock.

“Ohhh, Baaaaa,  and I have many yarns, and tales of yarns, of wools, of sheep and the games they play, and most of all of color.” Gramma Filene begins.

Color? thinks SnoBelle.  What’s color?  She looks around at the soft, woolly bodies here – whites and creams, blacks & greys, tans and browns. Why, Ringo even has all those shades blended together. Natural sheep colors. But what does Gramma Filene mean by “color?”

Anyone who knows SnoBelle soon finds out how curious she is. “Why”, “How”, and “What about?” are usually her first expressions.

Gramma Filene continues.  SnoBelle watches her great, great, grandmother, spellbound by the stories she is telling to the circle of lambs at her feet.

Uncle PopEye will be coming back to visit again,” she tells the lambs.  “He’s always got a green belly.  I wonder why?”  She smiles and rolls her eyes up to the sky.

In unison, the lambs all gasp,  “Green!” in playful surprise.  They gambol and leap, spinning cartwheels in the air. But they really don’t know.  They look at each other. “What’s green?”

“And some of  your mothers just might turn blue. Do you know why?”

“Oh nooooo.  What’s blue?”

“Ah, well, that’s ‘Yarn Number Two’.”

“And then there’s the secret to color.  Some colors work; some don’t. I wonder why?” She rolls her eyes again.

SnoBelle crinkles her forehead, trying to figure out what Gramma is talking about. The other lambs look up and down and all around, but no one knows.

“And you’ll see others, too.  Cousins and friends each with their own kind of wool.  There’s Ms.Angie and Gert, angora’s their coat.  And the Bunni twins hop in, too.  They like to sit right by the wheel when their wool is spun.”

“The wheeeel,” cry the lambs in a teasing squeel. But they stop and look at her. “What wheel?”

“Just wait ‘til fall.” Says Gramma Filene. She starts to hum and grunt, and grunt and  hum as though to some lit’l tune in her head. Then turning around, she walks away towards the lower pasture.

“What was  that about?” thought SnoBelle.  Wools and weaving, colors and spinning ??? I must find out.

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Art Lovers’ Weekend
Saturday,  April 19th
9am  – 4pm , Park Ave. West
~  arts ~ crafts ~ music  ~ vegies  ~

Rainbow dyed warp yarns, ready on the loom. ©2014, acappa

Rainbow dyed warp yarns, ready on the loom. Rainbow Shawl, © 2014

Rainbow dyed yarns make interesting warps.
For a unique blend that even I can’t repeat, sections of the warp yarns are dipped into colors that softly bleed into the adjacent white, unbleached sections. This makes soft patches of color that flow throughout the length of the shawl. To further carry this concept, the cross yarns, or weft, is also dyed in sections and when woven through the weft, produce sections that are either blended colors, or more suffused, deeper shades. This one, of peaches & aqua, also includes a gold sparkle throughout.

See current selections at the ArtLovers’ Market this weekend, or tell me of your ideas for a shawl of your own. BTW, this technique is not only for shawls. Rainbow shirts or wraps will give a most unique weaving.

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New for Spring: Buddy Rose & Dyed ‘N Wool Activities

Buddy-2wks-sml    Big surprise one recent morning in March. At breakfast, Mama Swee’Pea wouldn’t come to the trough, but instead hung waaay back in the pasture. Demanding as she can be, she called to me to come to her. Then I saw something small and white and omg, there was this new little guy peeking out from behind her. Too early, I thought – didn’t see that coming. So I took a cup of grain up to her and even got to hold the new baby, before he realized he didn’t want to be held. “Hey, Buddy,” I called him. “What a surprise you are!” Usually, I want to watch the new moms when I can, when lambs are due. But they handle everything themselves, unless there’s a problem. In this case, Buddy Rose, as he later was named, was dry and up and running when I first saw him. Nice to know there’s no special problems to deal with during this lambing. He has since filled out, gotten strong and independent, and runs like the wind. At 10 days -2 wks-old, they are the cutest and lambs start “gamboling” – that funny, pogo-stick kind of hop. He bounces across the pasture like a cartoon.
Buddy Rose was on hand for new visitors when an early group of children came to see the sheep, the weaving/spinning process, and practice at the loom. They also tried their hand at painting the sheep. Painting is an added activity for the Dyed ‘N Wool groups who visit and may want to take home their own version of their experience. paintWsheep602smlAs an addition to the fiber arts, and similar to working with dyes, it allows expression with color. Other activities this year may be using handmade papers, bookmaking, or creating crayon batiks with natural dye. See more on the DNW pages on current offerings. And if you’d like to schedule a group during the summer, check out the activities available and contact me .

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Papermaking – textures, colors, embedded surprises

Papermaking is a fun, decorative activity, with lots of uses from journals, mats, or cards, to painting & collage, to molding in 3-D. It’s a project to entice all the senses – visual, tactile, scent. My favorite is tying in this art with my others: fiberarts collages or weaving in grasses or yarns, and writing. Original stories look great printed on original papers.

screening handmade paper
screening handmade paper

Jefferson Arts in Monticello is hosting a paper-making workshop, February  23rd, Sunday, 2-5pm. I’ll be showing various options in making paper, such as:  recycling unusual gift papers, textured wallpapers, sketches & writings, or photos. We’ll use colored pulp, integrated with Nature’s textures: seeds, grasses, feathers, spices. We will build our screens with a wooden frame or plastic embroidery hoop, blend pulp, and create layers of papers to be used as you wish.
handmade paper book divider w/cutout

If interested, call or write me: 997-5505, acappa@alicecappa.com. Fee is $45 and Jefferson Arts is supplying a few group materials. You will need to  bring other materials: a frame, maybe some felt, and found objects around the house & garden.  Deadline: February 19th. A pre-handout describes more and is provided on registration.  See photos from the workshops: http://www.alicecappa.com/Schools/Photos-Paip.html   Let me know if you have a particular project in mind and we can work on it.

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“Mixed Bag”

   The December show this year at Jefferson Arts in Monticello brings together our member artists in various media, showing their own anthology in the arts as well. “Mixed Bag” shows what a wide variety of experiences we have! Reading their stories posted alongside their works, I see many paths charted, many interests, and many art "Mixed Bag" - Photos/Fiber/Fictionexperiences all leading us to this current collection in time. Many painters and illustrators started with a certain media, shifting to another, possibly experimenting because of a certain class or mentor. Many others started with a specific project, then shifted to another media or expression entirely, such as sculpture to paint, or fiber to drawing.

       My story has always bounced around with many art experiments, but my 3 main interests persisted: photography, clay, and weaving. The loom was the first bit of equipment I acquired after school, so that has been my mainstay. But photography also was strong, and I soon had my darkroom. Though clay was also significant, I never got the wheel or kiln. But a later interest, writing, actually became the thread to connect them all.

      Imagery is the key. And expression.  In the photo of the puppy and the spinning wheel, Maegan gave me “that look” and I had to get out the camera. Aha, I captured it before both she and the light moved.  In the other photo with the older dog, Kid appears to be musing on higher thoughts, but as always, there’s another story behind the scenes. In this one,  puppies were pulling on his feet and he got behind the chair to escape them, showing his long-suffering expression. Aha – just happened to have the camera. My photography is a series of capturing the “aha” moments – when great lighting, expression, and scene come together.

       The lights and darks of film carried over to surface design on fabric. I love texture, positive & negative shapes such as silhouettes, and the images on the film inspired a similar approach on the loom. Leno-lace, a technique for weaving an open, lacey surface, was shaped into images woven right into the fabric.  This is not “pulled threads” starting from a finished cloth, but each weft thread is hand-twisted as it is woven across the loom, leaving open spaces to define the image. Imagery with yarns (with both fiber and voice – as in “telling yarns”) expanded as images in fiberart inspired yet again, imagery within written stories.

      Writing gave voice to characters emerging from  the surface of fiberarts:  weaving, marbling, or handmade-paper collage. I’d pick out ”personalities” from enmeshed fibers, or swirled dyed, and listen as each told their story. “Tales From The Summer Hills” grew into a collection of stories, later interpreted in many forms. Children’s stories, adult folklore,  magical legends, prints on hand-made paper, and one was picked up by WFSU radio for “Stories In The Air”.  Some are adaptable for including the name of one’s child and can be custom printed for a family gift.

      The pieces shown here are on exhibit at Jefferson Arts through December 31st:  “Seashawl – Conch”;  2 photos – “Maegan & Spinning Wheel” and “Musing”; and  “Summer Hills” stories printed on handmade or art papers in long scrolls. They include “Legend Of The Grand Hill Giant”, “The Jujubee Tree”, and “The Coat of Many Faces”.  If you get a chance to stop in, check out our “Mixed Bag”.

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