I’ve had two large bags of undyed corriedale cross and blue faced leicester top sitting in my craft room for the last year. Although I like natural colors, it just wasn’t very inspiring. So, I decided it was time for some dyeing!

In my introduction to spinning class, we dyed wool with Easter egg dye. After that Easter, I picked up boxes of dye for 10 cents, figuring I would soon be using my newfound knowledge. Of course, that was at least three years ago.

So now, when I wanted to do some dyeing, I had no idea where my instructions were at!

Thanks to the internet, I was able to patch together some different ideas for my process:

1. Soak wool in water with white vinegar (1 cup to a gallon? My mixture was probably more diluted.)

2. Mix egg dye according to package. I had an off-brand which required the red not be used with vinegar.

3. Soak wool in egg dye, length of time determined by depth of color desired.

4. Gently squeeze excess water out of wool. Wrap in plastic wrap. Microwave until hot. Let cool.

5. Rinse. Gently press out water. Lay or hang to dry.

Well, my colors didn’t come out as beautifully as I remember them in our class. Some instructions on dyeing suggest that all the color will be absorbed and only water will remain. I found that I was squeezing out some of the dye before microwaving it. My colors were just not as bright as I had hoped. Maybe I’ll stick to Paas coloring in the future.

At any rate, I think my wool is a bit more interesting now. The yellow/green turned out too yellow, so I overdyed it with green. I’ve started spinning the spring green, but I like the blue/pink cotton candy mixture best!


I was working at the Steele County Museum the other day. Balancing on a stool, engrossed in checking (and resultantly cross-eyed) for crossover between the narrow threads of my warp, I was asked why I had started to spin and weave.

Casting back through my memories, I found the reason. “Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.” I was one of those little girls who wished she had been born in a different era. I should have been a princess. “Sleeping Beauty” with its evil fairy, flames, and dragon was a bit much for me in those delicate years. But that forbidden spinning wheel with its sharp spindle enticed me as they did Aurora.

Throughout my childhood, I was captivated by fairy tales and myths. I was the fourth grader who checked out the big books of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. And now… I guess I’ve just continued my love for those stories that shape our lives. From fairy tales to scripture, the stories I love speak with the images of the common trades. Farmers, shepherds, spinners, weavers… their lives and their work are the setting and the props for the quest for meaning in the reality of life and death.

In my adulthood, my days have been dominated by books, lectures, papers, and computers. Hours of work and thought have created electronic documents that all too easily are erased with a crash or mis-stroke. Spinning and weaving fill a need to create something that is tangible. It begins in chaos and it ends with a creation. Not always worthy of being called “good,” but at least a time comes when it is finished.

These crafts also connect me to the past. Not simply the nostalgia of the older generation who remember a better, safer day with more hard working people. A past when survival was tied to the work of your hands. For this I thank Old World Wisconsin and those who spent their time showing wide-eyed (or highly distracted) school-children wool, spindles, and looms from which real clothes were made.

This weekend I will take up that role. The Heritage Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead is having  a “Viking Village” event. We’ll be demonstrating the process of making Viking clothes!

In gratitude, I presented my internship congregation with an altar cloth. I intended it as a gift to the whole church. I measured it to fit the new table bought for the contemporary service, since they don’t have much by way of linens yet.

I wove it on my Schadt Baby Wolf in Harrisville Shetland white, 12 epi, using Spot Bronson Lace to create a cross on each end, and embroidering a thread representing each Sunday in its liturgical color to frame the cross.

It was a lot of fun! Of course, I was working on it when I should have been packing our house. I was very surprised to have finished it by Sunday, but oh so happy that I did!

I believe God is the Creator and that humans are given the desire and ability to create from God. When many spend their days at a desk, studying, reading, writing, typing, and pushing papers, our connection to our createdness and creativity begins to fade. As the sounds of media and technology increase around us, we learn to close our ears to noise, but also loose our ability to listen to each and to God.

I find weaving and spinning provide opportunity to create and to listen. They engage the whole self in creation and prayer.

I began weaving at Holden Village, a Lutheran Retreat Center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. I explored weaving as a prayer practice through a generous Ministry Fellowship from The Fund for Theological Education.

Shalom is the Hebrew word for an all encompassing peace. It is wholeness and wellness. It is peace in the self, peace for the world.