On Monthly Subscriptions and Playing in the Dye Pots

Since I was a wee one I have always loved receiving mail….who doesn’t right?!  My mom used to get numerous subscriptions in the mail; we had a slew of book clubs geared toward all ages, a record club (remember the vinyls), and a craft club.  Each month those packages were eagerly looked forward to.  Then it seems monthly subscriptions rather went away.  But recently they are all coming back and such new and exciting ones at that!

I have been using Amazon Subscribe and Save for months since I discovered I could get my dog food for around $8-$10 less than at the local store.  When feeding 3 dogs you need all the discounts you can find!  If you order 5 items a month you get extra discounts.  I get all my paper products, some laundry supplies, and of course pet supplies this way.  I haven’t tried Amazon grocery yet but may at some point.  My daughter who lives in a rural remote area does and loves it.  On all Amazon monthly shipments shipping is free.

My first foray into an actual club was Grove Collaborative.  Each month I can choose the all natural products that I want and they arrive in the loveliest packaging.  The prices run 20% below store costs and below amazon subscription as well. On my first order I was inundated with free products!  And each month since I have received at least one free product.  What I love about it is that I can order only what I like and not order at all if I prefer.  Through Grove I have tried out so many wonder natural products and have nearly completed in replacing all my personal care and cleaning products with environmentally safe natural products.  I can’t say enough great things about this monthly subscription except that I love it and eagerly await each months beautifully packaged shipment!  This picture is just a small sample of what I have received.  Oh yes and free shipping.


Being a lover of wine, I was intrigued when I saw First Leaf wine club.  I figure since it was no obligation and the first 3 bottles were only 19.99 shipped I had nothing to lose.    The idea behind the club is you chose the type of wine you want, the region you want it from, and you rate all bottles sent to you and they continue to refine your shipments to match your wine preference.  I have chosen international and domestic wines and reds with an occasional white.  Every month or every other month you are shipped 6 bottles at a cost of $90 including shipping.  At $15 per bottle I thought it was worth a go.  You can cancel at any time.  I am having shipments every two months.  So far I have tried 2 of the 3 bottles in the first shipment.  They were OK.  I think I’ll give it a try for 6 months at least and see if I get some treasures.  They do offer special shipments occasionally as well.


I have been toying with the idea of joining one of the numerous meal/food subscriptions out there.  But with so many I don’t know what to chose.  I would need it to be vegan and I think the closest I have found to meet my needs is either Purple Carrot or GreenChef. But at $10 plus per meal I think they are a bit high.  Anyone tried any of the varies meal subscriptions and can offer any feedback?

I spent some time playing around in the dye pots.  I was very disappointed in my first dip into natural dyeing with the avocado experiment.  After receiving the lovely book on dyeing from my eldest Christina (that I post in the last blog), I ordered up some madder, cochineal, logwood, and indigo.  But until those arrive I wanted to see what else I could produce.  Since I had numerous tins of turmeric I thought I’d give it a go.  First I mixed it with water and allowed it to sit for a good hour while the yarn soaked in an alum mordant water bath.


I added the yarn and brought it to a simmer, being careful not to over heat and felt my wool.  For my experiments I have been using a 80% Merino and 20% nylon undyed sock weight yarn.  I did throw one of the avocado skeins into this bath as well and a large piece of organic cotton sheeting.


I left it simmering for a good 30 minutes or more while stirring it around and mixing it.  I was happy with this color experiment.  The skein on the left was the avocado dyed piece. Look at how vibrant that fabric turned out!


Here are my finished skeins plus the avocado skein.  The ivory fabric was an experiment with juniper berries.


I found dried juniper berries at my natural grocer.  I boiled them for hours and attempted to dye a piece of cloth but they gave little to no color.  I have been letting them soak for nearly a week now and I see some brown liquid beginning to form.  I may give this another try with fabric first to see if I can get a nice brown color.  I did notice that the berries were sappy.  I put my hands into the mix to squeeze the berries and break them up and my hands were quite covered in a sticky sap.  So we will see what I do…may just throw the entire thing out..


On my needles I have been obsessed with finishing this sweater.  It is the Antler Sweater by Tin Can Knits (I love all their designs).  It has been such a fast knit and I am now ready to begin the yoked pattern section.  I always get nervous when I start a pattern as I have a way of somehow missing simple directions in the pattern…..yeah who knows….


I forgot to share this adorable knit last week that I have been working on off and on.  It is the most adorable kit from Twistedpdx.com aptly named Rose & Lily and designed several years back to commemorate the birth of Lily at the Portland Zoo.  I replaced the yarn in the kit with my own hand dyed.  I adore my little gray sparkled pachyderms.


As my knitting skills and speed have increased I have been wanting to cast on everything.  I always keep 2 pairs of socks on needles and generally a shawl.  Imagine my delight when I saw that my favorite shawl designer Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade was hosting a MKAL with Kristin (Voolenvine Yarns and Yarngasm Podcast; my all time favorite podcaster and my eldest granddaughter Doodle Bugs doppelgänger).  I have been eyeing this blue that my granddaughter Milsie dyed (she was the dyer behind that beautifully saturated orange that I knit up in socks for her).  I went stash diving and found these two Hedgehog fibers and well it is perfect!  I love the combo.  The first mystery is released on the 31st!


I am also bravely doing Kristin’s box o socks this year in which you knit a pair of socks a month.  I have completed 4 and over 1/2 pair but I did give away one pair so it cannot count.  But I am also doing a natural dye KAL sponsored by Lindsey of A Wooden Nest, sooooo I’ll double dip and make a pair of socks out of my natural dyed yarn.  We are allowed to double dip thankfully!!  And……I ordered yarn for Andrea Mowry’s Birds of a Feather Shawl (DreaReneeKnits.com).  I blame IG for all this cast-onitis.  But I kept seeing Birds of a Feather popping up on IG and I loved it.  It uses two single ply yarns and a mohair!  I ordered my yarn from Kemper of Junk Yarn.  I have never knit on her yarn before and am excited to cast on.  I’ll post the yarn next week as it is set to deliver today or tomorrow!  And I think that is all my knitting…whew!

In my mail box yesterday I had this lovely package from my eldest Christina!  Yet more books on color!  I have started reading the book and it is fascinating!  And the dye book is full of recipes for about every natural and botanical you could imagine!  I think I am now set I just need my dye powers to arrive and then get out foraging over the summer.


The weather is finally warming up here so that means all this indoor fun will have to compete with my outdoor work and getting my garden set up and the beds move into the sunlight.

And now off to check the mail and see what surprises await!


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