Outside of work, I try to unplug. I really enjoy fiber arts, particularly dyeing wool, spinning yarn, and crocheting. I learned to crochet as a child, and picked it back up after college. I opened an Etsy shop, Blind Dog Yarns, inspired by my late dog George, a blind Australian Cattle Dog. He was always getting into trouble and I had so many George-stories. I couldn't resist a good pun about spinning yarns.
My favorite items to make and sell in my Etsy shop are projects made with patterns I create myself. I offer art yarn scarves and cowls, baby blankets with custom graphghan patterns, Christmas stockings with various holiday characters, and sometimes small stuffed toys (my crocheted dachshund is the most popular).
As I've completed more and more crochet projects, I've become increasingly interested in the raw materials that go into creating beautiful yarns. I took a spinning class in January 2017 and fell in love with the process of dyeing and spinning my own yarn.
Many of my scarves feature art yarn that I've dyed and spun myself. I hand paint my wool using environmentally friendly, heavy metal free acid dyes. The dyes I use comply with the Organic Trade Association's criteria for organic processing. Then I spin and ply the wool into yarn on my Schact Ladybug spinning wheel. I've even started sourcing my wool from local Illinois wool producers.