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Indian Yellow Paint

There's been much concern in recent years about the danger posed to artists' health by some of the materials they use in their work. But when the British government banned a paint color called Indian Yellow back in 1908, it had nothing to do with protecting artists.

This color was produced by feeding mangos to cows and then collecting their urine, from which were derived the magnesium and calcium salts used to make the paint. (Don't try that at home!) The government banned the color because officials thought it unfair to make cows pig out on mangos.


A Husband's Lament

Wini Labrecque 2000

Adaptation of a poem by L. Brohman 1987

She learned to spin on Monday, her yarn turned out just fine.
She forgot to start our dinner, so we went out to dine....

She blended colors on Tuesday, convinced drum carding is a must.
I agree it seemed a most useful tool, but she forgot to dust......

On Wednesday she tried plying, the challenge was such fun.
What symmetry, texture and beauty, but the laundry wasn't done....

Weaving took up Thursday, so lively in white and red.
I guess she really was engrossed, because she never made the bed...

She made fluffy lambs on Friday, with the wool that she adores.
She never seemed to notice, crumbs were collecting on the floors.....

I hired a maid on Saturday, the housework to complete.
My wife can weave the hours away, now the house will still be neat....

My expectations sank on Sunday, I guess I just can't win.
When I saw the sink of dirty dishes, I realized the maid had learned to spin!


The Genie and the Stitcher

Author Unknown, rewritten by Martha Beth Lewis

A stitcher went into an antique store and found a dusty old bottle. As she was cleaning it off, a genie appeared, causing her to gasp in surprise.

“Salutations, Madame,” the genie said in a raspy voice. “Are you a genie?!” the stitcher asked, her eyes alight with excitement.

“Yes, Madame.”

“The kind that grants three wishes?” she inquired, still not believing her good luck.

“Yes, Madame, but I am a very old genie, and my powers are very weak.” He paused to catch his breath. “I cannot grant you three wishes, but I can grant you one.” He rested again and wheezed, “What is your wish?”

The stitcher thought for a while and then said, “I wish for world peace.”

“Madame, I am very old, and my powers are very weak. I cannot grant you so great a wish as world peace. Do not you not have another wish?”

The stitcher thought again and said, “To finish all my unfinished needlework projects!”

The genie was aghast at this potential drain on his strength. With a sigh he said, “Madame, I am a very, -very- old genie and my powers are very, -very- weak. I am unable to grant this wish, so instead I give you world peace.”


Advice for Cats Who Have a House to Run, Including Valuable Information for Cats Who Have Needlework to Supervise

NEEDLEWORK: This requires specialized helping techniques, and not all cats are qualified to supervise needlework immediately. It is best to study this art under a mentor cat, but if you must learn this skill on your own, here are some pointers. The way to help depends on the type of needlework needing supervision. Knitters like you to slap the knitting needles or push the ball of yarn under the sofa. Some like you to snag your claws in the emerging piece or “chase” it when it is not being worked on. Exercise caution around crochet hooks; they tend to be unpredictable. For embroiderers, the same “chasing” technique described above may be used with the fabric when active embroidering is not going on. Another helpful procedure, and one always appreciated, is to assist in sorting the floss. Again, your first choice is the silks. Some humans are fond of having you butt their elbows with your head, particularly when they are stitching over one on 36-count linen. If in doubt, try it. The odds are that your human is one of this large number. Lace bobbins are not meant to be fastened down; it is an easy matter to send the pins flying. Tatting shuttles in use are often accompanied by some of the human’s favorite “mad words.” Do not worry, as these words are not meant for you; -you- are helping. Needlework projects make great sleeping spots, in spite of what the humans may tell you, and they are always delighted to find tokens of your regard for their craft (i.e., your hairs) stitched into their work. One tenet of helping with needlework is unchanging: no matter what type of needlework is under way, pretend to doze and suddenly leap up to help. Humans get a warm feeling inside knowing that you have interrupted your much-needed rest to help them.


You Know You’re a Stitcher When...

...you see a number on a street sign, in a shop window, in the hymnal, etc. and you immediately think of a floss color.
...and you know exactly what that color is!
...and your friend knows exactly what you mean, too.
...you have the full set of DMC floss.
...you refer to colors by their DMC numbers.
...you take skeins of floss to the paint store to match colors.
...your family knows to check their clothes for floss snippets before leaving the house.
...your family knows not to walk barefoot around your stitching nest.
...your family knows not to bother you when you’re counting.
...the pet knows it won’t get any attention once you pick up your needle.
...you look at the clock and see it’s 6 PM, and what you planned for dinner is still in the freezer.
...your family eats carry-in more than once a week.
...you have more projects planned than you could stitch in ten lifetimes.
...you cruise through your local shop when you don’t need a thing “just in case.”
...your family knows that when you’ve gone “out to play,” you’ve gone to your local shop or to a friend’s house to stitch.
...your stash is huge, but you add to it anyway.
...your stash is hidden beneath your bed and distributed to several closets so your family won’t know how large it truly is.
...when you’re on vacation or away from home on business, one of the first things you do is check the local phone book for the locations of the needlework shops.
...you’d rather have a gift certificate to your favorite shop for your anniversary than a piece of jewelry.
...you have a pair of scissors just for clipping metallic threads.
...you hide all your sewing scissors from the family.
...dustballs begin to reproduce because you give them no attention because you’d rather be stitching.
...you know what Orvus is and you don’t have a horse.
...you have some Orvus and you don’t have a horse.
...you haunt sporting goods departments for tackle boxes and other nifty containers to store your floss, metallics, etc.
...there isn’t a needlework magazine you haven’t read.
...and you subscribe to most of them.
...your briefcase has a lunchtime project in it and your car glove compartment has an emergency project in it.
...you buy database software so you can catalogue all your charts and magazines.
...you haven’t started this yet because you’re too busy stitching.
...and adding to your stash.
....you buy charting software so you can chart your own designs.
...you’ve been known to stay up "way past your bedtime" just to do “one more stitch.”
...you’ve introduced someone else to your stitching addiction.


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