Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Silk 'N Fleece

This week has been about spinning and washing fleece.

 Wool, mohair and angora blend

I plan on plying the above with the below.  This is a silk brick that a friend gave me a few months ago.  I've never spun one before, and the prep was very different.  Not like a hankie at all and more like a carded batt.   Turns out that bricks are combed silk before they are made into combed top.  

Each time I work with silk, I'm driven to learn more.  It is a fascinating material.  Today as I was clearing out the inbox, I clicked on a Groupon Getaway message.  They had a tour for China and I was really really intrigued.  I'd love to tour the textile regions and silk factories.  Perhaps something to put on my someday list.  Maybe I can incorporate a trip into my textile studies.

Spinning the silk into a single

I made a three ply yarn - two plies of wool and one ply of the silk.  The yarn will have a soak tomorrow and Thursday I'll share the finished yarn.

My fleeces came from Gleason's Fine Woolies.  Last year, I purchased Allistar's fleece.  They year I had two coming.  The first is for the Pound Along (PAL) of GFW board on Ravlery.  A few of us have taken on the challenge of getting a pound of fiber, processing it, spinning it and then making something.  We share our progress and have agreed to a six month time frame.  
My pound of fleece is from a Bond Ewe named Somemore.  I'm in love with her fleece and happily washed it the other day.  I may have then spent the evening smelling her locks and petting them too. 
Somemore - photo credit: Gleason's Fine Woolies
The other fleece was a full fleece form Chrissy a Bond Ewe.  I am splitting Chrissy's fleece with a friend.  We asked for a morrit (brown) fleece and Joanna hooked us up with a lovely cinnamon chocolate fiber.  We each will have 3.2 lbs of fleece.  Perhaps a sweater for Mister?

Chrissy - Photo credit: Gleason's Fine Woolies
Thanks to Joanna for providing such lovely fleece and photos of the ewes.  It is lovely to have the connection of farm to finished fiber.  Gleason's Fine Woolies

Shop Update

This week also brought a shop update.  Here are some highlights.


Sherbet Sock Yarn

Flamingo Sock Yarn

Textured batt

Textured Batt Trio

Friday, May 25, 2012

Down but Not Out

 My body decided today would be a fantastic sick day.  I managed to squeak into the doctor's office before the long holiday.  Because I was feeling off my game, the planned shop update was postponed.  On Monday, it will go up and here is a peek of the color:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Post that is High in Fiber

I'm in the middle of several projects that I can share.  First, I've been working on my Allistar fleece from Gleason's Fine Woolies.  To refresh your memory, Allistar is a Bond sheep living in Colorado.  His fleece is the most dream shade of hot chocolate.  I finished washing him up last week (I have three pounds) and I've been watching Netflix and picking his locks and then carding them up on my drum carder.  I have ten rolls of his fleece to spin up now.
Allistar - photo from GFW 
I've gotten a bit of a bump in the rump to get going on this fleece.  Joanna's flock was sheared in April and I have more fleece on the way from her.  The GFW board on Ravelry has a Pound Along (PAL) where members each get a pound of fleece, process and spin it and then make something with it.  We have six months and share our process and results.  It should be fun, and hopefully having a deadline will help me.  In addition to that pound, a friend expressed a desire to split a fleece with me after seeing Allistar's locks.  We are getting a fleece from a ewe named Chrissy and she is a lovely cinnamon brown.  Very excited for that box to come.

Speaking of fleece, my Corriedale/Merino cross fleece from Hubbard's Handspun came.  Elizabeth Hubbard is known for her fine fleeces and like Joanna, she is a spinner herself.  The fleece that I have from her was over ten pounds.  She kept some for her own use and then put three pounds out for sale.  I have two pounds of it.  The staple length is 4 inches (thank you Corriedale side) and the crimp is extremely fine (thank your Merino side).  

I finished a weaving project the other day.  I still need to block it, clip ends and trim fringe.  It is a VERY long scarf out of my handpainted yarn.  I love the way the color play on the fabric.

The shop will have an update on Friday, so I've been busy working on items.  I have three spinning batts that will be part of the update.  Wool, silk, & alpaca anyone?

I finally picked up my ceramic sheep from the studio.  My instructor held him to photograph.  It is nice to have him home, and I think he'll be joining my table when I have fairs and markets.  He is stoneware and pit fired to achieve beautiful random color.  I'd love to make more sheep, perhaps a Jacob, with their cool horns.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fleece Count

I love the spring.  Springtime around here means shearing season and slowly fleece are starting to make their way into my waiting arms.  I have plans for them.  Big plans.  Mister will get a handspun sweater at some point from the deal.  There will be items for the shop & shows, items I'm sure for art school, and many hours of pleasure.

I love purchasing from the growers.  I love the relationships that develop over time.  I love seeing their emails pop up and saying, "Hey, Mandy we have fleece for you!"  I love putting the money in their hand and knowing that I'm supporting a business that I believe in.

This year there will be Merino cross, Bond, Shetland, Corriedale, Romney, Merino/Corriedale, Southdown and who knows what other fleeces dancing through my fingers.  Later this summer, I plan to pick up some alpaca from growers too.  The smell of wool will fill the house (sorry Mister) and I'm sure I'll start dreaming of colors and projects.  I love the spring.  It is such a creative time of year.

Local Southdown fleece from Mary the Ewe.  Splitting this fleece with a friend.


Congratulations so Nancy, the winner of the end of semester giveaway!  Nancy's yarn should be reaching her soon.  Thanks to everyone for their comments and support.  It is very much appreciated.

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Year Survivor and a Giveaway

I'm officially a first year art school survivor. Final projects are finished and turned in. The paper has been written and submitted. There are no more critiques. For the first time since August, I'm deadline free. The spring semester was really hard. There were times that I doubted that I'd have the stamina to make it see here.  When I first made the leap to return to school, I had no idea what I was in for.  In the coming weeks, I'll process my experiences and reflect back on what I've learned, the feedback I've received.   It has been quite a year.

To celebrate my first year, I decided to have a giveaway.

My friend, Karyl's suggested yarn for the give away inspired by resident parrot boss, Nunu.   Nunu has so many colors of feathers greens, blues, purples,  and red that would translate nicely to yarn.

One winner will be selected to win a skein of hand dyed superwash sock yarn.

Nunu's Feathers
Fiber content: 80% Superwash Merino / 20% Nylon
420 yards / 100 grams
US 1-3 Needle

This yarn is the same base (Painterly) that can be found in my Etsy shop.

To enter simply perform the tasks in the Rafflecopter widget.  Winner will be selected next Monday, May 14th via Rafflecopter and announced here on the blog.  Best of luck!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scratching an Itch

The semester is in the homestretch.  Everything I have to do is finished and just needs to be turned in.  Monday marks the done point.  Look for a special blog post next week.  Nunu (the little birdie) is correct we will soon have a giveaway.  Until then, my spinning called me and I started this mini-batt of fiber on my wheel.  It is a lovely mix of polwarth, mohair, merino and silk.  The fiber sat next to me calling my name while finishing up my paper.  Now that the paper is finished, I answered the fiber's call.  Oh so happy.