Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Worldwide wool market & Gottland Mittens update

OK, so I've fallen behind on the Gottland mitten project! The yarn is all spun (these are the final 5 colors) and the first pair underway, but.....just 10 days left to go. So....

First I cut out the idea of lining them all with angora. Then, thinking that my sister in law would not really wear mittens anyway (maybe I'm trying to justify my actions here?), I thought I'd use one of the Gottland mitten designs (a couple of the graphs are shown above) and knit her a little knitting accessory case (what knitter can't use something to store stitch holders, ring markers, snipets, etc?).

And then this morning, I decided that maybe the knitting accessory pouch is a more useful gift for EACH of my sisters too! So now the Gottland Mitten project has evolved to the Gottland Knitting Accessory case to better suit my time (and sanity) and their needs!

So don't be surprised next week when you see little lined accessory cases and not mittens!

When spinning the fleeces, it was REALLY noticeable how much softer the American Gottland fleece (that was upbreeded from Finn) was compared to the New Zealand Gottland fleece (that clearly used one of the long wool breeds for upbreeding). Although it was clear from the original photos of the 2 fleeces that the New Zealand Gottland was more lustrous, as you'd expect from a long wool foundation cross, the Finn foundation fleece is still lustrous and so much softer.

I guess the takehome learning from this is that, since the American Gottland association allows so many and varied foundation breeds, the American Gottlands will be quite a diverse group!
On another note....I've been speaking with wool brokers lately since I'm trying to procure a bale of fine wool (a bale is about 660 pounds) and having trouble. Apparently, because last summer was so cold in New Zealand (I didn't realize this, but they had so much snow after lambing that over 1 million lambs died) the fine wool available from the last clip was much less than usual. And with demand from China, there is no merino wool anywhere that isn't spoken for. Not S. America, not downunder, and not S. Africa...unless you want 11,000 pounds! Which, needless to say, is beyond my current requirements! So I guess I have to wait for the fall clip this spring (since they're all in the other hemisphere!).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweaterhag or Lace Shawl Knitter?

In reading for our upcoming "sister's trip" to Gottland, Estonia & St. Petersburg I keep coming across little tidbits of historical information that are not really useful to anyone but they are kind of fun and interesting, so I thought I'd pass a few along....for whatever value or insight they might have for you!

In the 1950s the Haapsalu shawl knitters were required to deliver a MONTHLY quota of either 9 scarves or 12 shawls to fill the enormous Soviet demand for their product.... it rather shames me that I'm still working on the same 6 projects I started last month!

In the early 1800s, the women of Gottland, who used to go around the island collecting handknit sweaters and mittens to take to Sweden to sell, called themselves "sweaterhags". I guess it was common for them to knit as many as 100 sweaters a year themselves...again, I feel just a little embarrased at how little I accomplish by comparison!

This next bit of historical insight I read in Wild Fibers magazine (which if you haven't seen or read this magazine, you need to check it out)....

The Vikings used Gute wool (Gute is a type of sheep from the island of Gotland...but it is not the same as the Gotland sheep) to make their sails. Some Swedish historian, interested in recreating a true Viking ship, wove some sails in the traditional manner using first Gotland wool, and then when that failed, true Gute wool. The Gute wool, which would have been the sheep breed around at the time of the Vikings, failed as well. Both wools failed because as soon as the sails got wet, they were useless. But then (because the third time is always a charm!) he wove the sails using wool that had been rood, not sheared. "Rooing" is the process by which ancient sheep "shed" their fleece naturally in the is not cut from them. When "rood" wool was used, when the sail got wet, it did not absorb the water and maintained it's functionability. That's because when fleece is "rood" both ends of the lock are sealed whereas when fleece is shorn off the sheep, of course 1 end of the wool is cut and the water was able to get into the lock and the sail lost its' functionality.

The photo has nothing to do with these little curiousities.....I'm just so happy it's spring and the garden is actually full of blooms already I had to share.....crocus, scilla, bloodroot, daffodils, miniature iris, and these....not sure whether they are blue gowns or wind flowers.... does anyone know?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two colors spun; three to go. And only a couple of days left in the week to stay on schedule. Yikes!
I did pick out the patterns this week so at least once all the colors are spun I can cast on "right out of the gate".
Isn't the yarn lustrous? I really love it.
So far, I've only spun the American Gottland. And although I've read that Gottland are not supposed to have much lanolin (and I certainly noticed how little there was when washing the fleece) my fingertips had that lovely silken coating after spinning up the gold and green this Sunday. I've got to keep in mind that added little benefit of spinning in the dry winter months when my skin needs every bit of moisture it can get! Perhaps it has to do with the American Gottland fleece being from a fine wool foundation breed (Finn)?

This exercise is also a reminder of how much darker the spun yarn always is compared to the fiber preparation. I think the photos do a good job of conveying that principle.

Anyway, I'm hopeful I can get the purple spun tonight and the 2 greys this weekend. If I am successful, that will keep me on track for having these done by XMAS! Then once it is spun, I'll just have a week to knit each pair....maybe I won't line them with angora!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gottland Mittens-Week Two!

There's nothing like a deadline to help me keep on task!

Had I not mentally commited to posting a weekly progress report on this project, I might well have blown off carding the Gottland fleece today in favor of dyeing some yarn that I'm behind on for the Vermont Yarn Club.

I had actually intended to comb this fleece....since Gottland is a long wool breed and very lustrous and because I want these mittens to wear a long time. I had originally thought I'd spin a true worsted spun yarn to a sport/d.k. gauge. But after combing a couple of handfulls, I decided I needed to rev up my production in order to get all 4 pair of mittens spun and knit by XMAS, so I decided to card the fiber and settle for a semi-worsted yarn.
So today, in between advising some of the weavers that were here working on their chenille scarves, I carded the 3 dyed colors up as you see here. The photos show a first pass with a pile of the locks and then a second pass (I used my motorized Louet), some fiber being combed and the final three batts.
I mentioned last week that I'd get more into the difference in the 2 Gottland fleeces I'm playing with. So I pulled out all my literature....a great article from Spin Off spring 2002, a pamplet from the American Gotland Sheep Society, and this beautiful new book I purchased about European breeds (although it includes Estonian and Russian breeds too!) of sheep called Wools of Europe.

As for the American Gottland I'm working with.....the fleece I'm working with is the result of breeding a Finn ewe with semen imported from Gottland, and then subsequently breeding this offspring with Gottland semen until the offspring is 7/8th Gottland (this is what the person who raised this fleece informed me of at the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival where I purchased the fleece).

I was surprised to learn when reading the pamplet of the American Gottland Sociaty (AGSS) that other "foundation" breeds are allowed (I apparently misunderstood that Finn was the only accepted foundation breed to cross with Gottland semen if one was breeding to be included in the AGSS). The other foundation breeds that are allowed are Shetland, Icelandic, Wensleydale, Cotswold, Lincoln, Border Leceister, Blue Faced Leceister & English Leceister. Anyway, as of 2008, there were less than 100 Gotland Xs in North America

The original Gottland sheep was established by the Vikings on the island off Sweden where my sisters & I are heading in May. The Vikings crossed the native Gute sheep with Karakul and Romanov sheep from Russia to create the Gottland breed. Today, both Gute and Gottland sheep inhabit the island. Both the Gute and the Gottland are hardy and well suited to the island's climate. They are both light grey to black.

I was expecting the fleece to feel coarse since Gottland can range from 35-45 microns, but it really feels soft!

The second fleece I'm working with came to me by way of my sister, who in turn got it from a friend of hers who got it from New Zealand. According to the Spin Off article, the Stansborough Gotland sheep (raised on the east coast of New Zealand) has special characteristics. The family that has been selectively breeding them there has produced a herd of 800+ that are lustrous, strong, long, and have none of the guard hairs typical of the traditional Scandinavian Gotlands.

Having carded the colors and realized how incredibly lustrous and soft these two fleeces are, I can't wait to start spinning!

Next week....I'll have yarn to show and will go about picking patterns from the Swedish Mitten Book I discovered on my shelf!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A XMAS present: for myself and my sisters!

This blog is the first of a weekly progress report on a project I started this week and need to have complete for XMAS. I call it a "present" for myself too, because I usually have to subordinate the projects I'd really like to work on to those that I "need" to do for the store.

So giving myself the time to work on this...when it won't yield new store models and won't result in a new workshop for the class or even help sell fiber that I a holiday treat to myself!

So why this project? Well, as some of you may know, my 4 sisters and I (actually, I have 3 sisters and the fourth I'm referring to is a sister-in-law) are heading to Gottland, Estonia and St. Petersburg for 2.5 weeks next May. We did a similar trip years ago to England, Scotland and Ireland and had a blast.

Anyway, in anticipation for our trip we're all reading Swedish, Russian and Estonian authors to acquaint ourselves with their history and culture, renting films from Netflix that are by Swedish and Russian directors (if you aren't familiar with Swedish films, they are rather dark and need to be taken in small doses!) and boning up on their cuisine (this may be my chance to lose some of the pounds I've put on this past year!).

Since we're diving into their literature, film, history and cuisine, I thought it also only appropriate to acquaint myself with their wool a little more closely than I have to date. So I purchased a small American Gottland fleece (more about this next time) at the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival this past May and I have part of an Australian Gottland fleece (again, more about the hole Gottland fleece issues next week) that my sister Roby gave me for another project I have going (I have a going-on-three-year-now project of felting either a hat or bag from every breed of sheep I can get my hands on).

So while I was ruminating on the idea of working with these two Gottland fleeces, it so happened that I discovered a little and old mitten book on my bookshelf that...lo' and traditional patterns from Gottland! So it seemed destined that these fleeces become mittens and so here began the journey of deciding to wash, dye, comb, spin, and knit mittens for each of my sisters for XMAS! Oh, and in case you think this blog may blow the surprise for chance of it....they are even less inclined to go surfing the web or looking at blogs than the man on the moon!

So...this week I washed the fleeces. I HATE washing fleece. And to boot, I was out of my Kookaburra Wool Scour, which I love. So I ran to Guys Farm and Yard to buy some Orvus. This is used by people to wash their sheep for 4H while the fleece is still on the animal. I've used it in the past for fleeces and it works well...I just switched to Kookaburra because I love the measuring system and it does an equally great job and has tea tree and eucalyptus oils to prevent moths and dust mites. But in a pinch, the Orvus would be great. BUT, I suffered from sticker shock when I discovered it now $40. So I decided to forgo the Orvus and make due with Dawn dish soap, which I know a lot of spinners use. I figured I could get by with that for this fleece and by the time I need to wash fleeces again, my Kookaburra would be back in stock.

So I got my water really really hot, put the fleece in garment bags (which I do to minimize handling of the loose fibers so I'm less likely to felt the wool), added the Dawn and washed away. Not once, not twice, but three washes and then a couple of rinses before I spun it in my washer to help it dry quickly.

I have to say that I didn't really like the Dawn....Kookaburra would have done a better job with just 1 wash ! But the Dawn got enough of the grease and dirt out for me to declare it "enough" washed and move on....since I'm going to comb, not card this fleece and will wash the yarn again before knitting, I thought it was sufficiently clean. OK, so I'm justifying not having to wash it YET AGAIN (did I mention I hate washing fleece?!)

Anyway, after drying I separated the light gray from the dark gray areas of the fleeces so I have 2 natural colors to work with (see left photo above) for patterning but decided I wanted more (I do have 4 pair of mittens to knit after all and I can't stand repeating myself!) colors for accents. So I pulled out the Greenershades organic them....and decided to blend up my favorite green, golden orange, and purple colors (see center photo above). I used some of the light gray portions of the fleece to dye, so the colors are much more muted than these colors would be on a white fleece, but show up more than they would have over the dark gray fleece sections.

I'm keeping the American and Australian fleeces separate since I want to see if I notice much difference in their qualities/characteristics when I comb and spin them up.

My plan for this weekend is to comb the washed fleeces...I'll let you know how that goes next week when I go into a little bit more about the difference in the Gottland fleeces.

If anyone wants to share their washing secrets, feel free!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sham Wow!

Felting doesn't require many tools and the tools it does use are simple. Often I first get excited to find a new shaping tool in my ditchen drawer or at a flea market and then when I use it I find it does the trick but it doesn't usually knock my socks off. So I have a drawer of tools that "work" but I'd never go out of my way to recommend a felter go find them.

But my sister gave me some super absorbent towels that she found in Maine that are UNBELIEVABLE! I've never thought of a towel as a critical piece of my felting armamentarium, but I do go thru quite a few in the course of a big project....mopping up the floor from the drip, keeping the table tops dry and rolling in one for traction. But with these, uber-absorbent...towels you'll find 1 towel will keep an entire class dry and you won't spend so much time doing laundry afterwards!

I don't own any stock in this company, nor does my sister (at least I don't think so), so my recommendation here is completely without any vested interest. I just think that if you felt, you need to have some of these around. They are called Sham Wows...and when you use them you'll get the "wow" part. It's not that I use an excessive amount of water, but some seepage is bound to happen as you roll and, especially in classes, puddles form. I used to use 3 or 4 towels in the course of a project....1 to sop up the floor where the water dripped after rolling it up for the first time, one or 2 to keep the table neat and another to roll in. But now I roll my piece up in the bubblewrap and then roll that in a single Sham Wow and not only do I get fantastic traction, but it completely absorbs all the water. Your workspace is so neat and dry when you use these.

You're probably surmised by now that it doesn't take much to get me excited, but sometimes its the little things that make such a difference in life!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So I played around with the bloodroot, and although I got a lovely yellow, I never achieved the red I anticipated and since there are so many abundant sources of yellow from natural dyes that don't require killing the plant, I probably will just enjoy bloodroot for it's flower in the future.
As several sources I read suggested soaking the bloodroot in alcohol rather than water, a common enough extraction method, I did so. As you can see from above, the roots look like carrots! Then I diced them and did a further smashing as best I could in my mortar & pestle...they were rather resistant to this, but I tried. Then I soaked the first batch (and I admit I was stingy with the quantity of root I used at first because I was experimenting)in an alcohol/h2o mix for a couple of hours until I saw a lovely orange fluid. Then I heated it up and threw in a sample skein. The color was so faint, even after additional alum was added and it cooked for an hour, that I decided I needed to up my starting dye material.
So I chopped up the all the remaining roots...probably about 20 more, extracted them for a couple of hours in straight alcohol, added the extract from them to the dye pot and threw in more yarn. This time I added a singles cormo/mohair (1 of the lovely yarns for the Vermont Yarn Club), a tightly plied merino (Gems by Louet), and a plied border leciester (another lovely Vermont Yarn Club sample). They all came out a lovely yellow, but never red, even after playing with the pH to shift the color. The only thing I thought to try, but found I had none in stock, was to add a pinch of tin to "bloom" the color (an afterbath of tin often "pops" the color in a natural dyebath).
Anyway, it was interesting, but since the flower is so pretty itself (see above) I won't be tempted to try it again unless someone shares with me the secret to getting the deep red....anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Natural Dyeing...bloodroot to indigo and the origin of denim

I've always believed that when you start hearing or seeing or feeling the same, out- of-the-blue or obscure, message over and over again from different aspects of your life, you should follow where it know, like the universe is trying to tell you something important.
Of course, I followed such a series of messages once and it led me right out of a cushy, secure and lucrative corporate job and into this LYS venture, so maybe this approach is not always wisest! Still, I like to listen to these hints I pick up...I just don't follow them off a cliff anymore!
For me, it seems that all points lately have been directing me toward natural dyeing.
First, Chloe & I shared one of our favorite walks along the river in Richmond with some friends (if you haven't checked out my friend Kerin's argentium silver jewelry yet, you need's beautiful and you can see it at )and their dogs that had never been there before. The river edges were teeming with big bold beautiful ferns (see photo right) and, out of the foggy blue, I felt an urge to dye with the ferns. Since I've always found natural dyeing with plants to be just too much fuss this took me by surprise. I filed it away, thinking the urge would pass.
But then a huge tree came down in my parking area during the 15 minute gale wind storm we had here last week and when the arborist was here this week to clear it away, his limb walkers stomped all over a big group of bloodroot plants I had growing in a part of the garden beneath the tree. Bloodroot is great for dyeing but I had actually planted it because of its really early, lovely white flower (see photo top left) that is abundant in March and April when little else is blooming. I've never used it for dyeing, because unlike many other dye plants that you can pick the flowers or leaves from for dyeing and still preserve the plant for another year, its the root of the bloodroot plant that makes the there's no way around killing bloodroot to dye with it!

But now, this group is dead anyway and since I now have so many clumps of bloodroot in other parts of the garden, I think the fact that these were tromped upon means I should use them.

Lastly, I've been working on this new product for the store for the fall. The Vermont Yarn CSA. I'm really excited about it. I've got so many lovely Vermont Yarns being spun and that I'm currently dyeing, I thought I could offer a really unique and exciting monthly yarn club for customers. As I was developing the idea and trying to create each month's yarn and project really unique in experience, I came across two old things....both of which related to natural dyeing!
First, I came across an old dyeing notebook of mine that had some really great colors I had dyed one year from plants. In the face of seeing all the beautiful natural colors I had dyed that year, suddenly all the "fuss" of natural dyeing seemed worth the trouble, so I decided to add a naturally dyed yarn to the mix for the Vermont Yarn CSA.
Then I came across a really old newsletter I'd sent out in April 2003 that featured an article on "denim". The word which we now associate with jeans, comes from Nimes, France. In Nimes, indigo was used to dye fabric and so the fabric "of Nimes" (in French that's "de Nimes" and hence denim, referred to indigo dyed blue fabric.
So you see, I need to do some natural dyeing and so I'm heading out to the garden now to dig up the bloodroot roots and start extracting the dye. I'll post some pics next week to share how it's going.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Square Knitting Needles & Whether you're a Process or End Product Knitter

It was interesting at the Yarn & Needle Tasting on Saturday that nobody liked the square needles I had out for "tasting". I'd been receiving a lot of calls recently inquiring about whether I stock them or not. I had decided last year not to stock them because I hated knitting on them myself. But after all the calls over the last month or so, I began questioning my decision not to stock them. But when not a single one of the Needle Tasters on Saturday liked knitting with them, I was assured that my decision was the right one.
I know there's some chatter out there amongst knitters that feel the square needles are easier on their hands, but for me, knitting on them is jerky...rather like driving down a road filled with pot holes....bumpy and jerky like the very very long dirt road we traversed on Sunday to get to the trail head for West Mountain (the views from on top you can see here). Somehow the square edge "catches" so making a stitch is not fluid. That's my experience anyway.
Yesterday a customer was in and mentioned that she's been knitting on the square needles but doesn't like them. That led us to a discussion about whether we knit for the "process" or for the "end product". I know I knit for the process more than the end product (not that I don't love the end product too!). But I know that even if I and everyone I know never needed another sock, mitten, hat, scarf, shawl, sweater, etc, I'd still knit, felt, spin and weave because it's an important creative outlet for me.
Where do you come down on this spectrum....more about the process or the end product?

As a side note, I too suffer from terrible hand pain sometimes when knitting or felting. My solutions include wearing the compression gloves & bamboo needles when I knit with the non elastic fibers like cotton, hemp, linen, soy, etc.(although I still love my Addi's for protein fibers), also stopping every 30 mins to stretch the hands, fingers, wrists, arms and front chest muscles really thoroughly, alternating between continental and my expedited version of throwing the yarn, and lastly, working in a crochet project between knits since it uses different hand motions!
And as for tips I have for saving the hands from felting strain... I am just trying not to do so much squeezing as I used to use in the final felting steps.
Does anyone else have suggestions or thoughts on saving our hands for our fiber addiction?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The St. Croix Hair Sheep

Mother's Day and it's snowing like a blizzard out there! I thought the 6" of snow we had on April 28th was unusual and kind of fun in its novelty, but this is ridiculous! I had planned to garden today but knew as Chloe and I were returning from our early morning walk and I could see snowflakes building up on her black coat that we were in for it! So I thought while I enjoyed my second cup of coffee and before I laid out some felt slippers for next weekend's Footwear and Sox Extravaganza, that I'd blog about another one of the unusual sheep I encountered at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend(there's a little blurb on the Ouessant Sheep in the latest newsletter which you can access from the website's homepage if you're interested)...
There were several sheep breeds at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend that were new to me. It seemed to be the year for "island" breeds...the Barbados Blackbelly, the St. Croix, and the Ouessant (from a small island off the coast of Brittany)!
None of these are breeds that are going to take the spinning, knitting or felting world by storm since they either have no wool or little wool but just the same, I thought it interesting to learn about them if for no other reason than they are relatviely rare and it is nice to see that there are breeders doing what they can to preserve some of these unusual breeds. Diversity is a good thing.
The St. Croix is a hornless, all white sheep that does not have wool but rather a hollow medular hair that sheds on its own. While shedding, the St. Croix look rather ragged, as you can see from the photo of the sheeps back, above. I wish I could have gotten a photo of a ram's is really lion-like! Unfortunately,the only sheep I could get head shots of were the ewes, shown above. St. Croix's feature a fine grained, low fat meat(my apologies to all vegetarians for talking about them this way!) and since they don't require the cost of shearing, have few hoof problems and a great inherent resistance to internal parasites and fly strike, they make a lot of sense to raise if you're raising sheep for meat.
I suppose the St. Croix hair, like horse hair or the outer guard hairs of other double coated sheep, might be good for spinning into a coarse rug warp or into twine, but from what I gleaned from the handlers at the show about this sheep, if anyone offers you some hair from a St. Croix sheep for your fiber arts activities, you might want to pass on it and save your precious time with a nice wool!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Felting with Beads's been a long time. I'm obviously just not cut out to be much of a blogger! Seems like it always gets put on the bottom of the "to-do" list!
Anyway, thought I'd share the results of an experiment my neighbor did last week. She asked me whether I'd advise her on a beaded felting project. She wondered whether she should sew the beads on with needle and thread after the felting or if I thought she should knit the beads in as she knit the bag. Not having ever added beads to a knitted-felted project before, I told her I imagined that the felting process could obscure the bead if it was small and therefore she might want to sew them on afterwards, but also suggested that the only way to know was to sample.
So a couple of days later, she brought by her sample for show and tell and it was quite interesting. The beads she knit in as she went were not obscurred, but nestled in nicely to the fabric yet still very visible, whereas the beads that were sewn on after the fact sat atop the fabric in an unpleasing and unstable way. Quite the opposite of what I had expected!
Tho', I suppose the results might have been as I anticipated had the beads been smaller. Since she used quite large beads, knitting them in before felting worked just fine. I don't know if you can tell from the photo much, but the beads on the left were worked in as she knit the bag and the beads on the right (those that have more surface protuberance and if you could see it up close, are literally hanging on by a visible thread, which is not visually appealing) were sewn on after the fact.
Just a good reminder how a little time spent sampling can make all the difference!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Importance of "Playing"....not "Making"

So a few friends & I got together here last night and played with colors on the drum carders. We decided to do this, instead of our usual monthly felting challenge, because not one of us has felt (no pun intended) particularly inspired or motivated lately to "create" anything. Willa's been trying to use up odds and ends of yarn so her stash doesn't take over the house; I've been too overwhelmed by computer & online stuff that I haven't felt my head was "clear" enough to take on anything new; Lynn's been busy writing and not motivated but hoping that the pressure of some upcoming classes would get her going again. And Linda's been busy teaching and hasn't had the time to do anything for herself. All situations I'm sure you've all experienced at some point or another!
So our hope was that just "playing" with color and fiber without the pressure of "making something" and in the guise of a social gathering, might spark the creative juices again and help jump start us.
And it worked! We all were mumbling about things we might like to try next on our way out the door.
I'm not sure any of us learned anything new about color, but playing reminded us of a couple of basics. First, as Lynn commented, it was a good reminder that everything is darker than you expect after felting so you really need to have some little burst of color or light to make things "pop". Also, as Linda's sample reminded us, for felting (as opposed to spinning) you really need to have thin layers if you want the colors beneath to show thru. We all liked the ability on the drum carder to add color "edgings" or highlights.
And we all were surprised we hadn't thought of this before: since we all make yardage and work with commercial merino or merino/silk top....rather than laying out yardage by laboriously shingling wisps it would be a TON faster to take the top and card it quickly into thin layers and then shingle the batts!
So my takehome from this little more & work less! Something I'd lost track of lately. Don't always get caught up in feeling like every free minute for fiber must be used to "make something"! Simply "playing" without an end in sight is very freeing...there's no long term commitment to a project to weight you down and if you don't like what you "played" with, the garbage can is handy and easier to use if you've only invested a couple ounces of fiber and 15 minutes of your time! And it just might inspire something grander.
The samples of some of our playing can be seen on the gallery (I don't want to bother posting it all over again, so check out this link for the photos here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Light at the end of the Tunnel!

I can't believe it was October 16th when I last posted anything! Kind of pathetic if you think that my intention with this blog was to share some new information or technique that I'd learned each week about fiber.

It's not that I haven't been's just been that my learning was, most unfortunately, diverted these past 5 months to the realm of computers, websites furnaces & pellet stoves! I think that the aggravation and frustration of equipment & software not working well just didn't leave room in my psyche to create, play or experiment with anything fiber. It made me lose my muse and I really hated it...I have been so uninspired and unproductive.

But now that all is working again (fixed the pellet stove this morning with a metal tablespoon and a Lancome eyeshadow case - I bet that's a first!) I'm finally feeling open to diving back in the sandbox to play!

To jump start my muse this weekend (assuming Shutter Island doesn't traumatize me Saturday night!) I intend to play with fiber on the drum carder all day Sunday...I've got pounds and pounds of fleece I dyed this past summer I need to card and blend. I've already done a few experimental runs and spun it up and am looking forward to breaking out of my usual color prejudices and come up with some novel combinations (I was thinking this little trial was novel, but now that I look at it closely I see both my favorite orange and my tried and true lime green!). I'm expecting that perhaps some of my felting group friends will be joining me Monday night too, so, that will be fun and I should have some show & tell and some interesting things to share next week based on our gathering Monday night!
Until then, may your muse stay with you!