Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Welcoming the New Year

As with any business, January is full of duties required to comply with taxes, such as doing inventory and completing bookkeeping for the previous year.

After all of that boring work, it's time to get busy and start to source new items for the coming year, developing new handmade  products, restock on regular items, and trying to photograph and list items on our website.

We have quite a few new  loose teas to list along with the remainder of our full in stock list of spices.
In addition to the loose teas already listed on our website, below is a list of loose teas and their current prices, that are not on our website to date, but are available for purchase.
If you wish any of them or more  information, before they are listed on our website, please contact us.

Spiced Apple Chai   2 oz.   $ 3.50
Earl Grey Tea 2 oz.    $ 3.50
Oolong  Tea 2 oz.  $ 2.75
Pan Fired Green Tea   2 oz.   $ 2.50
Autumn Sunset Herbal Tea    1.5 oz.  $ 2.50
Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea 2 oz. $ 2.75
Rooibus Herbal Tea   2 oz. $ 2.50
Green Rooibus Bonita Herbal Tea   2 oz.  $ 2.50
Honeybush Herbal Tea  2 oz.   $ 3.25
Honeybush Chocolate Tea 2 oz.  $ 3.50
Thai Iced Tea    4 oz.  $ 2.50

Wishing all of you a Happy and Blessed 
New Year

                                     © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter Drinks and Dye Projects

While we are all getting ready for the Holidays and doing some winter projects, try something new to drink.
We have just listed a new and unusual tea called Pu erh, two White Teas, along with a new variety of Yerba Mate for your enjoyment.

Pu erh Tea is a fermented tea that, like wine, improves with age.
Some Pu erh Teas have an earthy flavor, which varies by type and age.
Our new Hazelberry Pu erh Tea has a combination of hazelnut, strawberry, chocolate, and cream flavors that meshes perfectly with the earthy undertones of a Pu erh Tea.
The smell is a heavenly addition to the taste.

Hazelberry Pu erh Tea

 If you have never have had a White Tea, maybe it's time to try.
White tea have a white appearance from the tea leaf buds and top end leaves.
It yields a light color delicate tasting tea.
We have added two varieties of this type of tea, White Cucumber and White Pear.

White Cucumber Tea
White Pear Tea

Yerba Mate is a South American drink that is similar to a tea and contains caffeine.
 It is brewed in a traditional mate gourd.
The gourd is passed from person to person during group gathering and sipped through a straw called a bombilla, which has a strainer on the bottom to filter out the leaves.
You can enjoy this beverage by brewing it like a regular tea, or the traditional way.
Our new Yerba Mate is Mocha Nut Mate, a blend of hazelnut, chocolate, and roasted Yerba Mate.
We also offer  green plain Yerba Mate.

Mocha Nut Mate
We have also just added all 40 colors of Jacquard Procion MX Dyes for Cotton, Linen, and other Plant Fibers and Fabrics.
These can be used for solid color dyeing or tie dyeing.
Simple to use, these dyes use warm tap water, table salt, and washing soda to set the dye.

Procion MX Dye Turquoise 068

Procion MX Dye Color Chart

                                                © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Dye That Named a Country

When the Portuguese explorers came to the Americas for gold and spices, they never thought they would also find a dye material that would eventually become the name of a South American country.
The area of the New World was originally named  Island of the True Cross.
But later, around 1510, a Lisbon merchant began commercial harvesting of a local tree that produced a red and pink dye.
The region then became referred to by the name of the commercial product, which was a common habit of the time.
Thus the country name of Brazil was born, from the dyestuff called brazilwood, which became an important and highly valued dye in Europe.

Brazilwood Chips, Caesalpinia sappan

Because of the demand, Brazilwood, Caesalpinia echinata, or Pernambucco tree became over harvested not only because of it's imporance as a dye, but also because of it's use in violin making.
It is now listed as an endangered plant of Brazil

In the 1700's, another species of the tree , Caesalpinia sappan, found in Asia, began to replace the brazilwood from South America. 
Also know as sappenwood, this is the brazilwood natural dye that we use today.

Both varieties of brazilwood were used for inks and colors used in the  European Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Wool Yarn , Mordants Left to Right: Alum, Tin, Chrome, Iron

 Brazilwood produces beautiful reds and pinks on wool, linen , and cottons, depending on the mordant used, water PH, and strength of the dye. 
Use of a mordant is required, but even then the dye can fade with exposure to sunlight.
However, one will not be disappointed in adding this dye to your palate of natural dyes.

Brazilwood Sawdust with Dyed Wool Yarn

Brazilwood, along with other dyes and mordants, are available from our website.

                                               © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Are We?

As some of your may know , we started our business doing shows and events in 1983.

 In 2009, we set up our first internet shop through Etsy, and started cutting back a bit on our show schedule.
We felt that we were being pulled in too many directions and needed to focus on just shows and events and the internet, letting our brick and mortar shop close.
We also have had internet shops on Artfire, and Zibbet over the past few years.
Although setting up on these sites was an educational experience , we also found out that the sites were creeping into controlling our business. and limiting what we could list.

Currently, our  Artfire shops are closed completely, Zibbet has 10 items, and Etsy has one item, which will soon expire.
We have left links at those sites that will redirect you to our website.

In the Fall of 2012, we were given the opportunity to take advantage of a new web hosting site called Supadupa, which is located in the UK..
Funny, name, but they gave us the ability to set up a beautiful customized website where we could offer all of our products that customers normally see at our shows.
They are constantly adding new features, have great customer service, a toll free help line for U.S. shops, and they  keep their hands out of our business management.
Consequently, we have removed our items from our other websites and relocated them on our Supadupa site.
We are slowly trying to get everything listed there, but of you need an item that you have seen at a show or event, and it isn't listed, please contact us.

If you wish to visit our website  you can click at the link at the top of the page under our logo, on any of the blue "website" kinks in this post, or simply scroll down under this post.
Our website is embedded here on the blog.
There is a also a scroll within the embedded website.

Also, if you happen to want to check out Supadupa for a website of your own, we have a link that can give you 20% off of your first 4 months of service.
Supadupa has different plans for different needs.
You need to sign up for a Free Shop, through this link:


or the same link on the right side of our blog, click on the Supadupa name there, and then upgrade to a higher plan, to receive the discount.
This is not a pyramid scheme, just a way to pass along a discount to a good service.

 So, you can find us at any of our standard shows or at our website.

Thank you for visiting,
Brush Creek Wool Works

                                                 © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Fall Fiber Festival, Montpelier, Va., Our Regrets

Brush Creek Wool Works booth at the Fall Fiber Festival

We would like to take the time to send our regrets to any of our customers who may show up at the Fall Fiber Festival and Sheep Dog Trials  at Montpelier, Va., this weekend.

We were unable to make it to the event because of a vehicle breakdown.

If you wish to purchase items from us, you can visit our website , or scroll to the bottom of this blog page, our website is embedded there.

If you want an item that may not be listed on our website, please contact us, as we may have it in stock due to planning for the Festival.
What you want just might not be listed on the website because it was earmarked for the Festival.

For 31 years, we have been merchanting at events, and this is the first time we have not made it to a booked event.
We have broken down on the way to some, broken down while there, and broken down on the way home.
But in the past, we have always been able to salvage the situation to get to the event and be open for business.

We even were at the FFF during the infamous mud out, and stayed.
Plus we had a flat tire last year on the way home while trying to beat the high winds that flipped tractor trailers on Rt 81 North. 

But it finally happened, and we won't be able to see you this year.

Thank you all for your patronage in past 20  years.
We hope you all have fun at the Festival.


Brush Creek Wool Works 

                                                  © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Raising the Roof

Many of you may have seen us at shows over the years.
This year at the Pennsic War, we took a series of pictures to show what goes on behind the scenes in getting all of those items to the site and set up for you to enjoy.

First we have to load the truck, van, and travel trailer, and drive it to the camping site, park it, hook up the utilities, and get ready to put up the booth.
Yes, we stay in a travel trailer because we are at the booth 12 hours working and need a nice place to rest up for the next day.
Our truck hood is up, because the battery went dead.
We found out a few days later that the alternator was bad and replaced it at an Auto Zone parking lot.

The rest of the pictures are of a series of pictures we took while raising the roof on our Medieval 20 foot by 20 foot pavilion in the Merchant Area of Pennsic.

First the plastic goes down.

Then the indoor outdoor carpeting is put on top of the plastic.
The roof is spread out and the first corner put up.
The second roof corner is put up.

All four roof top corners are up

The center pole is put up on the roof.
The side poles and ropes are put up.
All of the side poles and ropes are put up and the roof is stretched.
Now it's time to add the sides and unload some display racks and the merchandise.
All set up and closed for the night
Open for business !

                                       © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cochineal , The Color That Bugs You

This amazing unusual  dye is obtained from  female Cochineal bugs and  produces vibrant strong reds and pinks. 
Dactylopius coccus, the botanical name for Cochineal, is a beetle like insect that lives on prickly pear, nopal cacti, in Central and South America. These insects are similar to that found in the  Old World dye known as Kermes.

                                             Dried Cochineal Insects

Cochineal insects are cultivated on farms, with the cochineal being harvested and extracted for use in food, as it is an approved food coloring by the FDA.

To extract the dye for home dyeing, the cochineal insects can be used whole or ground. 
Place the insects in a piece of muslin or muslin bag and tie securely closed.
Put the packet of insects in a plastic container and poor boiling water over the dye packet. 
Let this set overnight.
 Drain off the dye liquid and use it with your favorite natural  dye recipe. 
The dye packet should be saved and can be soaked again to remove more dye.

Cochineal, like all natural dyes will yield colors that will vary depending on the mordant used to make the dye color fast and the Ph of the water used in the dye bath.

Cochineal can be purchased through our website as well as wool yarn dyed with cochineal.

Yarn samples dyed with Cochineal, Mordants left to right, Alum, Tin, and Chrome

Wool Yarn dyed with Cochineal with Alum Mordant.

Natural Dyes and Mordants are available on our website.
                                                                              © 2014 Brush Creek Wool Works