Thursday, September 17, 2020


Turkey Feather Hat
Many months have past since my last post, and life has brought me back around to this blog. With a fresh look, and a name change, I am turning over a new leaf in my passion for making cloth!  From finishing woven textiles, with a beautiful, local provenance, I have moved into designing knitting patterns.  I started with a baby hat pattern, made for a co-worker at my local bakery.  When the pandemic hit, I found myself at home - a bit stunned from the state of affairs. For therapy, I used Stitchfiddle to make some colorwork patterns. In fact, I got carried away and had over 40 designs, when I realized that I had better knit some samples. I asked friends if they might be willing to do the same. So - I am well on the path toward offering some of these patterns to the world. I have been knitting samples, reworking patterns, and getting advise from dear friends in the pattern-making world. Here is a toddler-sized sample of one of my designs. There will be four sizes in each pattern.  I will post links to a new Etsy shop and website when I get my first pattern finalized. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

February is here, and it has been a month since the colorful, earth-toned fabric came off the loom.  Here is a bit about my process:

I had the weaver make different color cloths using only one set of warp (long) yarns.  She changed the weft, or crossing yarn's color every few yards.  

My first step was to separate these different colored fabrics.  

The loose weave makes the fabric impossible to cut without immediate fraying, so the first thing I did was to sew a zig-zag stitch on either side of the transition between colors.

Then I cut between the rows of stitching, without causing any fraying. 

Fulling is the term for shrinking down a fabric - bringing  the fibers more tightly together. This makes a stronger, smoother fabric that will last longer, and repel dirt and water better. Once fulled, the cloth can be cut without fraying. 

In earlier posts I have shown pictures of old fashioned wooden hammers doing this job.  Now, many people experiment with their washing machines.  I like to process a few yards at a time by hand, using a natural soap solution, so that I can measure the shrinkage as I go. 

It took about 30 minutes to full these goods by18%. 

After rinsing in tap water, the cloth is dried - then teased and shorn, before being placed in a bath of hot water for a period of time. 

The hot, wet cloth is then pressed to finalize the finishing process I use.  Ideally I would have a calender  that both presses and wrings out the water from the hot cloth. As it is, I used a hot iron, linens and towels to do the job. 

The fabric is then hung once more to dry. No harsh chemicals were used in any stage of the process, so the wet fabric smells a bit of Alpaca and Sheep. 

Below, you can see the softer, smoother finished fabric. Because we used "knitting yarn" for this weaving project, the final result is more lofty, and bouncy than if we had used round yarns. Items made from this cloth will be very warm and cozy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

We are moving towards cloth again! 

The Vermont indigo crop matured a bit late this year, but we now have two blues to work with. The 3 lbs. of yarn took 25 lbs. of dye plant material.  The blue yarns were dried out and added to the earth tones.  I then hand cranked all 82 skeins (180 yards each) into balls. 

You can see the beautiful colors all together here.  Last week we delivered them to the weaver.  Here are some pictures, including one of the loom on which the cloth will be woven.  

We are now entering the busiest time of year for weavers in New England, who market their own work. Each state has a wool festival coming up shortly, and then the holiday craft fairs begin. Even so, our weaver may have the 15 yards woven for us by the end of October.  Here is to a productive, safe and happy Fall.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Our Kickstarter campaign fell flat, but we have gained support to continue, on a smaller scale. The yarn has arrived for a new cloth.

The natural alpaca colors are just stunning, and we are excited to see what Vermont grown indigo will look like over the creamy yellow-white yarns. 

We included some paint chips when we gave our dyer the yarn, but those chips began as pure white, and no bleach will be used on this yarn to make it a bright white. The resulting color may be more of a teal blue.

Jennifer Johnson has studied natural dye plant cultivation and processing as well as dyeing processes with diverse fibers. Her studies, both here and abroad, add a rich wisdom to her work as an organic farmer in Vermont. She produced the madder red yarns for Winter Moose in 2015.  Below are some results of her work with Vermont grown plants. We are excited to see what our yarns will look like in August!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We Have News! We have Launched an All or Nothing Fundraiser: Click here to see the video:
 "Winter Moose: Vermont Sustainable Fashion"
Come have a look at the Kickstarter video and all the amazing fabric and fashion items we hope to make for those who contribute to our success. With so much going on in the world right now, we need all the help we can muster to get the word out to those who believe in our work. Thank you in advance for being a part of positive change, and spreading the word about our mission to strengthen Vermont's sustainable textile supply chain.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The year is flying by. Over the Summer, I spent a month driving to California and back, making beautiful memories with friends and family on the West Coast. Since then, my time has been split between creating ceramic pieces and developing prototypes and photographs for Winter Moose.
We had a beautiful sample woven for us at the Marshfield School of Weaving, and chose to showcase it as a scarf - adding a fringe.  This spiraling vine motif is my favorite crepe pattern weave so far.
We continue working with local models, to show our prototypes to advantage. A big "Thank You" to these wonderful community members who enjoy presenting the work of local craftsmen and women - appreciating the values behind all that we do. 

Now we are ready for the next step. To move Winter Moose out of  R & D and into the world of wholesale and retail, we are planning to launch a new Kickstarter. 

Our hope is to raise enough capital to secure our Winter Moose brand name, and create a small line for retail, featuring 100% Vermont alpaca cloth. We are designing some men's slacks, women's skirts, and button down shirts and scarves for all. A vest and soft caps will also be available. We are very excited about having more fabric woven, more pieces made, and connecting these unique items with future owners.

Earlier this month, a friend offered to help us get started on the Kickstarter, with some video footage. Right before the shoot, my new Black and Decker iron died. It was less than 6 months old! I had to get the job done - and I had these old fashioned irons...  I had even cleaned them up a little, not imagining that they would come in handy. They worked perfectly! After using them, I am almost ready to keep doing so. 

We will keep you all posted regarding our Kickstarter Launch Date. 

Happy Fall!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A quick update: 

We were recently asked, by a fashion blogger, for an interview.  Here is a link to the resulting article; our Winter Moose story.