What Changes, And What Remains

Much has changed recently for so many of us, myself included. My mom died, workshops have cancelled, and product sales are uncertain in such uncertain times.

Subsistence gardening and canning are a high priority at present. And I’m writing, more than I have in many years. Thirty-five years ago I made a living as a freelance writer. Before that, I was a magazine editor. So this isn’t altogether unfamiliar territory, although back then I never dreamed I could write articles on phone that fits in my pocket. How I spend most days may be a bit different now, but I still have five new local-wool fleeces to spin and dye for nalbinding and knitting projects. I will still try to share information about how I dye with homegrown and foraged plants on my Instagram. And I will check in here as this new chapter takes shape. But for now, if you’re interested in what I’m writing a good place to check is at The Daily Yonder. It’s been a privilege to get to know so many wonderful people in the fiber world over the past 20 years. Until our paths cross again, whether in person or online, thank you and be well.

Shortcuts To Content

New posts here are rare, but you can find me regularly on Instagram, where I’m @donnastitches and on Etsy at donnakallnerfiberart.etsy.com .

Here are some shortcuts to content:

My Etsy shop is where you can purchase nalbinding items, plant-dyed yarns, the e-book New Age Looping Guide to Getting A Great Start and more.

Looping videos on YouTube (sorry, online classes are closed but this post has links and the suggested progression for video units that were part of the courses New Age Looping Basics, Cross-Knit Looping and Freeform Looping).

The drop-down menu on this site has links to major categories, including looping posts  and natural dye posts.

Hope you can browse around while you’re here. Thanks for dropping by!

Looping Videos On YouTube

Last year I discontinued my online courses. My technical skills just weren’t up to the challenge, and with aging parent care there was nontime to improve on the admin side. But I still had all the video from the courses.

New Age Looping Basics online course.It seemed a shame to keep them tucked away, so I made them all public on Vimeo, where they were hosted. I kept meaning to add them to YouTube, but just didn’t have time. Then when I did have time, I didn’t have enough bandwidth to actually do it (have I mentioned how rural this area is?). Finally, I asked for help.

The fabulous, talented and generous Becka Rahn made it happen. Thanks to her, all of those videos will be much easier for you to find in searches.

Cross-Knit Looping is an ecourse with instructor Donna Kallner.

It’s not the same as a course. There are no handouts, and there’s no classroom support. But I hope it helps those if you who’ve been wanting this information. I’ve linked to the videos below, in order of intended progression.

I do still have a couple of ebooks available as PDF files in my Etsy shop. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every purchase. Eldercare has put a big dent in our income and I’m still figuring out how to make a living in these altered circumstances.

So here they are. Thanks, Becka!


Blog posts here are few and far between these days so I hope you’ll visit me on Instagram, where I am @donnastitches.

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Summer Residency Cancelled

I’m so sorry but am cancelling the studio residency scheduled for August 1-9, 2019. Our home is okay but our township is included in the state disaster area hit hard by storms July 19. Our volunteer fire department has been very busy, and every day comes with a high degree of uncertainty. I may be unable to respond to comments here (cell service is still iffy and we lost our internet receiver mast in the storm). My apologies for any inconvenience. Thanks for understanding.

Summer Residency

From time to time I’m asked to open my working studio for groups that want to visit. It never seems to work out, but I’m trying to remedy that this year. I’ve blocked out August 1-9 to do a residency in my own studio. That’s a great time of year to see many of the plants I grow and gather for natural dye.

I won’t be offering any studio workshops during this residency, but will be dyeing and ecoprinting, and will also demonstrate looping and nalbinding, spinning, and hopefully scouring fleece and carding wool.

If you would like to visit, please contact me via email for directions and details. And there are a few things you should know in advance:

  • Studio hours will be 10am to 12 noon and 2 to 4 pm. I’m happy to direct you to other places you might want to visit during the lunch break.
  • I don’t have toilet facilities in my studio (I don’t even have running water). Please plan accordingly 🙂.
  • Also, my studio isn’t air conditioned and can get quite warm in the afternoon, especially when I have dyepots going.
  • Please leave pets at home when you visit, and be prepared for the resident canine greeter.
  • I can’t guarantee a particular activity on a particular date. Much of what I do is influenced by weather. A day or two of rain doesn’t halt the work at that time of year, but definitely can change what I do and when.
  • Children are welcome — especially 4-H members. But please limit groups to a maximum of 8 people, and be prepared to supervise kids of all ages. This is a working dye studio with burners and hot liquids at multiple heights and lots of ways to get stuff on your clothes.
  • Bill and I will have some of our work for sale here during this residency. We accept credit cards through Square.

Finally, I ask that you please understand that I may have to cancel some or all of this residency. My mother is on hospice. I do my best to plan for the unexpected, but you just never know. When you contact me via email for directions and details, I will remind you to confirm before making the trip. Got to take care of family first.

The End. And A New Start

New Age Looping Basics online class with Donna Kallner.

Yesterday, I sent an email to all the students registered in my online looping courses to let them know their ecourse classrooms will close in early December 2019. I’ve had some technical problems with the site, most of which occur when I’m up to my eyeballs in elder care. I closed registration to online courses last summer while I considered what to do. After some serious pondering, I’ve decided to admit I will never attain the administrative and security skills for managing an online course site. Those are much different skills than producing educational content. I really can’t afford to pay someone to do the things that are out of my skill set. So I am choosing to simplify my life. Elder care has been a huge commitment for me the past few year. I need to have shorter lists of undone tasks, and more hours in the studio than at the computer. So I thank each and every one of you who participated in online classes over the years. It’s been inspiring and I’ve learned so much from all of you. I hope to see you in real life, or maybe on Instagram. And I wish all of you the very best. Thank you for what was a great chapter in my life. Now on to new beginnings!

Basswood Bark Processing

In June, a friend who works at a local mill got me some basswood bark. It took several weeks, but I have most of it processed now and it is beautiful.

I wasn’t entirely sure how this would work out. David’s wife got the bark to my husband while I was out of town at the Willow Gathering in Decorah. That was mid-June. I don’t know when the tree was cut, or how long it had been sitting around before it got to my place. And I had never before processed any basswood from such mature trees.

But I wanted to see if I could get fiber from bark slabs that would otherwise go in the chipper.

Continue reading Basswood Bark Processing

Starting A New Chapter

I’m back! After my last post, I started a training program that was supposed to help me build skills for a better-paying job. It quickly became clear that training was only a priority for me, the long commute was going to be bad in winter, and the training was unlikely to lead to something better than the business I’ve spent 20 years building. I’m very happy to be back. For right now, I’m mostly just tying up loose ends and catching up on things I promised but never delivered. As the fog of grief and exhaustion lifts, though, I’m starting to see what changes I might make as I move forward. I’d love to hear your ideas as well, and I’ll keep you posted as plans become goals. In the meantime, thank you for your support. I love what I do and the wonderful people I meet doing it. I hope you’ll be part of this next chapter!



It’s been a long season of letting go for me. My father died earlier this month. My mother’s dementia continues to progress. And after several years of cutting back on my fiber art business to manage my parents’ care, I’m letting go of some old ideas about who I am, what I do, and what’s most important in my life. All that’s missing is weight loss and a new hair color to signal big changes ahead.

I haven’t managed the first or ruled out the second. But I have made some decisions. First, though, I have to share an update on an old story.

In 2009 I wote about an unfinished needlework sampler that’s been in my family since about 1815. Now that my dad is gone, I hope to re-home it and other objects with other family members. And I wanted to add some information to the written information that was given to my parents along with the sampler. So I did a little internet sleuthing.

Continue reading Passages