Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thank You!

Thanks to the nimble fingers of Vicki, Micki, Nita, Margaret, and Debra, our 2008 flyers have been collated, taped, addressed, stamped, and mailed to just under 1500 households. If you haven't recieved them and would like to be on our mailing list, please send your address to Debra. Also please let us know if you would be willing to distribute stacks of them to places in your area.

The printing and mailing of this year's brochures was paid for by a grant from the Cornwall Foundation, a designated gift from the Harkness family, and YOUR $$$ contributions to Motherhouse. THANK YOU for helping spread the word about our programs. THANK YOU for helping provide place, support, and time for mothers. THANK YOU for promoting thriving families and vibrant communities.

The Motherhouse Board of Directors:
Nita Colgate
Vicki Harkness
Jessica Marshall
Micki Nunn-Miller
Debra Tyler
Nancy Wolfson-Moche

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wool Gathering

At Motherhouse's third annual Wool Gathering yesterday, participants learned the basics of working with wool - carding, spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting... even making your own knitting needles. We also enjoyed a potluck lunch which included lamb stew, sheep's milk yogurt, and cake and cookies shaped like sheep! Discount prices on all Merino wool fleece-wear at Motherhouse Market were available.

The Wool Gathering is one of Motherhouse's series of Old Style Life Skills Workshops, which are family events and focus on the mainstays of country living while promoting rural wisdom, sustainable agriculture, self-reliance and neighborly inter-dependence.

To make knitting needles, each of us began by cutting a wooden dowel into two equal pieces, about a foot long. We then sharpened one end of each piece, using a pencil sharpener, sanded them until they were smooth, waxed them... and picked out colorful tops for them.

Carding separates and straightens the wool fibers so that it is ready for spinning. Harry is using hand carders here.

You don't need a wheel to spin wool! In fact, spinning was done with simple tools for thousands of years. The thread was drawn out of a bundle of fibers and twisted between the palm of the hand and thigh of the leg. The length of the spun or twisted fibers was wound onto a short, straight stick. The process was then repeated. The hand spindle developed from the short straight stick. Over time the stick was notched to hold the thread and a weight was added to give momentum to the stick as it whirled. The weight, known as a "whorl" was made of clay, a round piece of wood, or a flat rock. Thus was born the hand spindle or drop spindle. In the photo above, my daughter Cordelia is using a hand spindle she made at school and brought to the Wool Gathering.

Janet Lynn from The Wheel Thing was on hand to help interested participants learn how to spin.

Dody Clarke-Wolfe, on the right in the group photo above, has found that the best way to teach someone how to crochet is to start them off without using a needle. Here a participant is finger crocheting.

A one-of-a-kind hand made, by Dody Clarke-Wolfe, hat with a lizard, bones, and feathers!

Rhonda Jaacks, on the left with turquoise yarn wrapped around her knees in the top photo, had a knitting circle and taught us how to knit or make a cable! Notice the painting above the knitting circle.

Felting is fun! Debra Tyler, on the left in a dark red jacket in the top photo, and her daughter Margaret showed us how! We started with roving, washed and carded wool, and formed it into a ball or around a piece of soap. We then dunked it into warm soapy water. (The warm soapy water makes the wool slippery, and causes tiny scales on the fiber to swell. The scales rub against each other and bind together, with agitation and water. When cooled and dried, the scales close and lock the wool into a matted material or felt.) After dunking and working and smoothing the ball for awhile, we dunked it into cool water in another bin and then set it out to dry. Above are photos of felting underway and also of Margaret's felted soap.

And while all of this was going on, a baby took a nap...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Market-Making Mondays

Q: What do drip less hand-dipped candles, market bags, jersey milk soap, silk screened greeting cards and hexagonal books about beekeeping have in common???
A: They were all made, printed, wrapped, and/or bound during one of Motherhouse's latest programs; Market-Making Mondays!

Every Monday starting around 10:30 am, Debra and up to five helpers are busy producing products for our on-line store; Motherhouse Market. Last Monday, Margaret helped dip candles.

We started with a load of dripless candle stubs from the UCC - Cornwall, melted them down, strained out the old wicks, added a bit of coloring, started dipping and...

VOILA!! Beautiful 10" X 3/4"" candles -- soon to be available through Motherhouse Market for $10/pair.

Wooden tool-box kits, calendula salve, sewn covered-dish carriers, aprons, tea cozies, hand-bound "Passages" books and hand woven baling twine sashes are on the list of things to do. Are you interested in learning how? Contact Debra to find out when and sign up!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Swinging at the Contra Dance

If you missed last Saturday's contra dance, there's still time to catch one:
Saturday, April 5, Oct. 4, Nov. 1, Dec. 6, 2008 7:00 - 9:30 pm
at the Cornwall, CT Town Hall (24 Pine Street) Suggested Donation: $5/adult, $3/child
for more information write or call Rachel Gall (860) 672-6328

Another Motherhouse event providing place, support, and time for mothers by promoting thriving families and vibrant communities.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mother Son Day

Because of snow, the February Mother Son Day was postponed until March 1... ANOTHER snowy day! Two courageous moms brought their sons out anyway and we had a delightful day!