Quillin Weaving

A blog about spinning, dyeing and fiber related things.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Gift

I've always wanted a studio where I could make art and be inspired by the mess that is my creative process. Over the Thanksgiving holidays my sister came to visit and this is the story about how she jumped in without being asked and made my dream of a working studio come true. Just before she came to stay I had a door put in the garage to allow access to a workshop that had been built onto the house by the previous owners.
This window became a door. See the junk piled high inside?
It was at this point when my sister arrived and saw the new door and wanted to know what the plan was. Well, the workroom was just crammed with boxes and lawnmowers and junk from when we moved here two years ago. I had the door put in but was thinking it would take me about six months on my own to sort through the stuff and move it into the garage propper and then paint and set up the working studio. My sister is a whirlwind of energy and she jumped into the project and moved things out and started painting. At first it looked like this....................

Yes, that is my sister Jeralyn working like a crazy thing making this clean enough to paint and move into. After several days of painting, during which time we catered a Thanksgiving dinner for 11........ It looked like this..............

It may look spartan but it was clean and ready to go. Jeralyn went back to the west coast and I started moving into the studio to work. Part of it looks like this now.............

More pictures soon but I wanted to share what an enormous gift this has been to have a work space set up and ready to go anytime I can get there. You can see that the Louet drum carder is front and center on an island in the middle of the floor where much carding takes place.

This Sunday I am teaching a carding class at My Place Jewell  from 10-1pm. It is the shop and studio of Susan Jewell and is located at 140 Wyatt. You can sign up by calling 575-639-1616.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I love November. The light here in New Mexico in November is like fine wine, it is rare and you can almost taste it. The shadows are getting long and it is nippy early and late and the temptation to have a fire inside or out is great. This is on my front door:

Yes, I did make it myself and I'm happy with it and my neighbors (who are somewhat conservative) should be Thrilled it is not covered with little witches and flashing lights, but just looks mundane and like a Normal Autumn Wreath.

And This is what I have been working on for the next Ramble which is Tomorrow! This project is as close to sheep to shawl as I ever get. I bought the raw wool and washed it and dyed it and spun it into yarn and then knitted this shawl with it. The locks are Blue Faced Leicester from up near Albuquerque. The dyes are kind to the environment Acid dyes and are colorfast and lightfast. Those of you who know me personally will be totally surprised to see any kind of knitted project actually finished from my two hands. I am one of those people who loves to start knitting projects but then quickly looses interest and moves on to another knitting project. That is why I make yarn for a living and don't sell knitted items. Anyway this beauty will be on sale at the gallery (Quillin Studio and Gallery - behind COAS on Water St) until Christmas. If you see it and want to own it, send me an email.

You can see in this final picture that my loyal assistant was supervising every step. She rolled in the grass on her back as I snapped pics. It is good to be an old dog helping Mom outside in the November sunshine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Blessings

One of the great blessings of October is that it is finally cooler - we have survived another summer in the desert. Things can begin to happen again since the temps are not over 100 every day. Las Cruces is blessed to be in that liminal space between desert and agriculture. We have great views of beautiful mountains and also the restful green of the pecan orchards that grow along the Rio Grande. One of my good friends who lives just down the road in El Paso listened to me earlier in the summer reminisce about my childhood in her fair city and in particular about my Grandmother's backyard. My Grandmother had a very green thumb and grew many interesting things. One I remember best was a vine we called Queen's Wreath, that I have since learned is also called Mexican Coral Vine. My friend had one of these vines mailed to me! It has been busy growing and flowering and in general reminding me of the kind folks in my life.
The bunny has been busy this summer mainly trying to stay cool and lounging around on the tile floors. He is too smart by half and has figured out how to use the dog door. This is Harper after his last clip just a couple of days ago. This was the first time I clipped him with scissors instead of plucking him. He hated to be plucked and who would blame him? His hair did not come out easily and his skin was tender from the whole ordeal. Satins are supposed to be plucked but this one needs to be sheared. We are all different.
You can visit me at the Las Cruces Farmer's Market Saturday mornings from 8-12. I am across from the Rio Grande Theater.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kits Are Coming!!!

Autumn is just around the corner (some of us are counting down the days!) and new SCARF and HOODED COWLS are coming. Where? With me to the Farmer's Market and also on my Etsy shop HERE The first kits going in today are four Hooded Cowls that knit up super fast and easy.

If you can cast on, cast off and knit you can make this easy pattern. The textured boucle is commerically spun and hand dyed by me to match the Corespun that is all hand dyed and hand spun by me. The patterns are easy to read and are included in each kit. The cost for kits are $35 each with $3.50 shipping and handling. If you pick it up at the market you save the cost of shipping. Special orders for specific colors are being taken now with kits for special orders shipping in about a week. Premade kits, like the ones in the photos are ready to ship now.

And of course what would an update be without a picture of Harper, the CFO (Cheif Fiber Officer) who is looking fluffy again from the last molt. It has been too hot for his comfort even though he is a house rabbit and he is also looking forward to fall coming.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Heat

It has been super hot at the Farmer's Market downtown. Lots of vegetables and lots of people. I am taking a short break from the Market for a couple of weeks. New yarn is available on my etsy site Here There is a lot of new corespun skeins to add some zip to your projects. I am also busy dyeing up more silk ribbon. If you have a color you want, email me and I'll see what I can do.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Southwest Spinners Retreat

It is finally the end of July and time for the Southwest Spinners retreat held each year at the Methodist Assembly Camp in Sacrameto, NM. We gather for classes and time to spin with other like minded fiber fanatics. I will be in Sacramento this weekend and not at the Farmer's Market in Las Cruces - look for me back next weekend across from the Rio Grande Theater.
Harper recommends a little fiber with your yarn..............

Friday, July 01, 2011

Back to the Market

After being gone from the Farmer's Market for a couple of weeks due to the heat around here, I will be back tomorrow July 2nd - Across from the Rio Grande Theater as usual. We have had quite a spell of hot weather here with a week and a half over 100 degrees, some of that right around 110. Even I don't want to touch wool yarn when it is that hot. Of course my A/C has been in and out this week, mostly out so I've had to sequester the Bunny in a cool place. He is happier now that things are pretty much back to normal and he can help around the house wherever he wants. Here he is rearranging cones of yarn on a shelf. He likes to be able to get up on things, you will notice that he is at table height.
Here he is hanging out in front of his condo waiting for me to bring him his evening salad. Is he seriously fluffy or what? He is molting right now and the angora coming off him is 3+ inches long. Really nice fiber. He would be front and center in my affections anyway even without the fiber but it is an amazing bonus, four times a year. Right now he is really glad to be getting rid of it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Harper's New Hobby

I had been thinking that the studio looked a bit ratty lately with bits of paper on the floor, this in addition to the occasional bit of hay and or oats from Harper's dinner dish. Not to mention the dog dish that is filled with oats and timothy pellets that is for Frisbee who decided when the rabbit came to live her that she would now eat oats and timothy pellets since he did too. You should see them share a carrot. She eats the orange end while he munches happily on the green part. He does not share his banana with her which seems to be fine as she is not a fan of banana. But back to the point - I had noticed these bits of paper on the floor, quite small and chewed looking. On further inspection they turned out to be the labels from my yarn skeins in my personal stash. I have one of those basket drawer holders that you get from Lowes. You know the kind where the basket is wire mesh and slides out. I actually caught the long eared culprit yesterday afternoon pulling out a basket and choosing a nice new ball of yarn with a good label on it. Sometimes he flings the entire ball across the room and then chases after it and happily rips the label to shreds. Apparently the skeins of yarn are no longer interesting after being de-papered and they remain on the floor or nosed into the corner. He is happiest when I put an entire wicker basket of yarn on the floor and he can get into the basket and root through it to find just the right skein to de-paper. This is all very cute but now when I look at those skeins I have no idea how many yards they are or what they might be fiber wise. Before you get the wrong idea entirely we are talking here about my personal yarn stash which is mostly commerical yarns bought (expensively) from yarn stores around the world. Things I might one day want to knit into something for myself. Does that seem strange to collect yarn when making yarn is what I do for a living? Maybe. It wouldn't be the only strange thing in my life. The handspun that is for sale along with the roving never comes into contact with the rabbit, so he doesn't know what he is missing. It is packaged and labeled and put away so that when someone buys it, it doesn't look like it has been handled by a long eared customer service rep.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June Already

I am not a fan of summer. It cannot get over fast enough for me. When faced with 100+ degree days I wonder why I don't live north of here. The mornings are lovely but the afternoons are perilous to your health with heat and smoke from the fires in Arizona. Late in the day our sky is clear but the light is a strange amber color.

Harper is a year old. His birthday was June 11. He was out in the early morning with me last week enjoying the grass and shade under the willow tree. He is getting ready to molt again, this will be the third one in his short life. I think with temps like they are he will be glad to get rid of the hair this time. He live inside so the heat is not as critical to him as it would be otherwise. He spends his days stretched out on the cool tile floors under the A/C, usually behind a sofa or under a chair. For his birthday he got a new wicker ball and some organic dragon blood carrots from the Farmer's Market.

New roving. Merino and Corriedale. There is also new corespun available in my etsy shop here: http://www.dedriquillin.etsy.com/

Friday, April 29, 2011

End of April

April blew through southern NM like the proverbial Lion. Wait, that is supposed to be March...... well what I mean to say is that April went quickly and that the wind has been blowing like crazy all month. No April showers around here, this place might as well be a dust bowl. Indoors my helper has been sorting the roving...
He believes in getting into the middle of a project.
In other un-bunny related  news I've been setting up an etsy shop and if you would like to visit the link is
There are yarns that I do not have with me at market and also some destash items as I'm moving slowly away from weaving and more permanently into spinning. I've thought about changing the name of this blog but since it seems to be mostly about Harper anyway the new name would have to be something about that rabbit.................. He always seems to make it into every conversation. As this is the season of Easter I will share with you a photo of Tolerance on both their parts. The cat because he really really doesn't like the bunny and the bunny because he doesn't think the cat should be allowed in his room.

Anyone need a yarn fix? Here are some pictures of yarn I've been working on this week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting Ready for Market

New yarn and roving this week. The two top skeins are blended wools with silk, all hand dyed fibers mixed on the drum carder. The bottom photo is roving, Blue Faced Leister and Wensleydale. The Wensleydale is a hair roving more than a true wool and it takes dye beautifully and almost shines. Another positive about it is that it is not as itchy as Lincoln but is still soft and nice to spin. There was a an article in Spin Off this month about using Wensleydale and now that I've dyed it and touched it I can see why a person would want to try this unique roving.

The helper at my feet.....
In bunny news: Harper is beginning to do his second molt, so in the picture below you can see some of the pink skin on his back. The new hair comes in very fine under the old. I have to admit that this happened quicker than I thought it might but he is a fluffy thing so it is probably time. I sit with him in my lap to pluck the hair and he doesn't object too much, but the whole process really bothers the dog who seems to think I am doing something terrible to Her Bunny. She sits on the couch across the room and whines and watches very closely.......

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Thanks to everyone who came out last week to wish us Happy Anniversary at the studio. Lots of people came and ate cake and some even came and bought yarn and roving - thanks for that too!
A certain bunny likes to lay like this in front of his bunny condo to make sure a certain cat does not intrude. Recently Harper decided that he did not want the cat even in the studio where his condo is and so he has become the Guard Rabbit. The cat (Murphy) has an unappreciative habit of growling and hissing at the bunny when the bunny is trying to get the cat to play or be friends or just hold still so he can lick his nose a little bit. After lots of growling and hissing the rabbit has decided that he has had Enough. If you can't be nice, you can't come in his room. It's hard to argue with his logic. The cat now gets charged at and swatted with front bunny feet if he doesn't leave immediately. I would like to restore order but usually I'm laughing too hard to assist in any way while this is going on.

Friday, March 04, 2011


It is good to have friends to  sit beside in the window and watch the world go by. It nice that someone always wants to lick your face and share your snack (even if it is a banana.). Good friends are hard to find, it is much easier to run into those growling unhappy feline types, you know who I mean.....

This is the first Friday in March and as such it is the day of the Ramble. The Quillin Studio and Gallery is celebrating our one year anniversary today and there will be cake and cookies, so please come by and say hello this evening from 5-7. Other things going on during the Ramble include the poetry reading at the Rio Grande Theater that begins at 7pm. The Mesilla Valley Weaving Guild is having a show at the Branigan Cultural Center and the opening is tonight from 5-7. The Main Street Gallery is also hosting a special opening of a new show in their space. There is a lot going on in just a few blocks downtown. We hope to see  you there!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Harper's House

This is Harper's Bunny Condo. It is fairly large - 42" the long way across the front 28" from the front to the back and 29" high. It even has a cute little ramp for him to go from the first floor to the second floor. The lower floor is where he eats, drinks and has his litterbox, it is some kind of gray laminated plastic that is textured so that a bunnie's feet don't slip around too much. Very important. Also easy to clean. The second floor is short carpet and there is a piece of pvc pipe that holds the second floor securely up there so it doesn't bounce around while being bounced on. The whole thing went together with zip ties and was made by Lucas M. who sells these bunny condos on ebay. The entire thing took me about an hour to put together. The base is nice wood underneath and has casters so you can move the entire thing around - providing it will fit through a door, it is rather large. Harper seems quite happy with his new place, although he is probably happiest hopping around the house tormenting the cat (who still doesn't like him) and finding new things to explore.
The corner of Harper's condo is visible in the right hand side of this photo. The drum carder (Louet) sits on a table where I do the carding and the closet door is ajar. Why didn't she at least close the closet door before taking the picture? Because it is the whole point - when a rabbit moves into your house you discover that all kinds of things that were once commonplace like closed closet doors become up for debate. If you have a long thin closet with those doors that hang from the top and slide side to side this area may become a Fascinating Place for a rabbit. It is very much like a warren with two exits and it is nice and dark inside and some thoughtful person has included things inside that you (the rabbit) can spend endless amounts of time rearranging and tossing around. Instant playground.
Why wasn't Harper in any of those previous pictures? Because he was Busy. You will notice that he is a little blurry in this picture - because he is Busy and cannot be Bothered to Sit Still and have his picture taken. You will have to be happy with pictures of where he lives. And of the Very Patient English Cocker Spaniel who Waited and Waited while I was trying to take a picture of Harper to have HER picture taken.......

She always looks so serious about having her picture taken. She is ready for spring with her plaid bandanna.

And for those of you who insist on some kind of yarn  and roving news, yes there will be new Falkland and Coopworth roving at the market on Saturday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spice up your spinning with new kinds of wool. Have you always wanted to try Merino and Silk? Merino and Tencel? Blue Faced Leister? Now is your chance. I will have new roving dyed in vibrant colors for the market on Saturday. Also available is new Wildefoote Sock Yarn in new colors 450 yd balls for $20 each.

Harper has to be the fastest bunny ever to "get" housebreaking. In four short days he figured out litterbox training and has made no messes elsewhere in the house. Lots of people have asked how housebreaking a bunny works so I will share what I know. There are lots of places online that can give you more directions so check out the House Rabbit Society if you need more info.

When Harper first came to live with me he had been spending all his time in a pretty small cage with a wire floor and a tray underneath. To give him time out of that I set up a dog exercise pen in my living room. My floors are tile. I put down towels over the entire area and let him run around. He quickly decided on a corner of the enclosure to pee on a regular basis, the little pellets were all over. I put a cat litter box of the basic plastic variety in that corner with another towel in it and a handfull of hay. I was skeptical of this at first because not knowing rabbits I could not believe an animal would eat and pee in the same box, but guess what - they do! Harper was quick to jump in the litterbox and try it out but at first he did pee in other places. After several days of letting him get used to having the box in the enclosure I began to remove the towels from the floor, one each day. He loves to lay on the tile so this was great to him. I left one towel under the litterbox to catch any errors but they are rare. By the time the last towel came up he totally had the concept down and would only pee in the box. I expected the pellets to be all over the place as before but they are primarily in the box also, an occasional one will show up outside the box but nearly always this will be on the last remaining towel. Once I saw that he had this idea down I simply let him out of the exercise pen leaving the door to it open so he could come and go. He quickly checked out the house but always returns to the litterbox to pee. I have now removed the exercise pen entirely and just the litterbox remains. It is easy to clean, just shake out the pellets and wash the towel.

Harper is not out loose in my house all the time. He is free to run around for several hours every day and because he has taken to the litterbox training so well I have purchased for him a large bunny condo with a solid floor. I used one of those corner litterboxes in his wire cage while I was working with the big square cat style litterbox so that he would have the option to use a litterbox even when he was not free in the house but was confined in his cage. This kind snaps into the corner of a cage of any kind and is triangular with a high back and a wire on the bottom. For this one I use wood shavings for the pellets since they are under the wire and don't come into contact with the rabbit. I did not want Harper to be touching litter that had been used and dragging it with his fur all over the cage - that is why the towel in the large litter box. Angoras are like dust mops.

Rabbits are very underappreciated as house pets in this country. They are clean like cats and easy to train. They are quiet and don't make a lot of demands. They are easy to feed and care for and not very expensive to obtain. They make better pets after being neutered or spayed but that is true of all pets. If you are considering getting a house rabbit check out your local animal shelter or pound because many many are turned in every year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The World According to Harper

I grew up surrounded by lots of animals, cows and horses, dogs and cats but no rabbits. Now that Harper has come into my world I'm learning a whole new language - angora bunny. Here are some of the things he is teaching me:

1. Always eat your parsley first. (It is probably the healthiest thing on your plate.)
2. Run in circles when you are happy - then flop down and take a nap. This greatly helps reduce stress.
3. Stand up tall so you can see what's happening in your world.
4. It is OK to stamp your feet when you are mad but most  people don't like to be bitten.
5. Try to help your friends with whatever they are working on, everyone loves an angora blend.
6. There are no strangers, just friends you have not yet met.

For a fairly small animal Harper has a lot of opinions. Like most of the animals in my life he thinks he needs to help me do things and generally he is right. The litterbox training is coming along and he was neutered last week which helps. Angoras have sweet personalities and seem to do best with a lot of interaction.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yarn for your stash sweettooth

Just a little bit of temptation for you before market tomorrow. For those of you who thought I spent the entire week playing with Harper this will show you that I only spent Most of my time doing that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Last week a surprising and spectacular thing happened in my household - an angora rabbit came to live with us. His name is Harper and he is a Satin Angora which does not begin to tell you what a sweet loving amazing creature he is. He lives in my studio and spends his afternoons in a large playpen while we are working on housebreaking. Harper is 7 months old and is just going through is first molt, which means that his hair comes off in huge piles and new hair grows in. I now have a whole bag of angora that needs to be spun into soft furry bunny yarn. You know how something sometimes comes into your life and just turns things upside down? I never knew I was missing a bunny in my life until this one came along. He is just enchanting. I have discovered a whole new section at Petsmart devoted to Rabbit Toys! Who knew rabbits had toys? We now have a selection of wicker balls with bells in them that get chewed on and chased around. We have a tunnel made of grass that Harper goes in and out of many times, just to make sure he still can. He moves things around and plays games with boxes and runs in circles and kicks up his big furry bunny feet and then flops down on his side like it was all too too exhausting ---- and then does it all again.

In case you are wondering how he gets along with the cat and dog who were the first furry children well it is a mixed review. Frisbee the dog loves the bunny and licks him all over the face and ears when she has been to get a drink. Murphy the cat is somewhat less enthusiastic and thinks we have been invaded by a large hopping monster who is larger than he is. Murphy spent the first two days alternately hiding and growling. He is now more tolerant but not in a hurry to make friends. For his part, Harper is not afraid of either of them.

We'll get back to yarn information soon.........

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011

May your yarn stash grow beyond your wildest dreams! A new year and a new list of things to make with all kinds of interesting yarns. Our cold weather has kept me indoors spinning away and dyeing pots of wool in some new colorways for the new year. Here is a sneak peek of what I've been working on for the Market next week. We resume January 8.