Thursday, June 7, 2012

Working off the Stash...

It's been a while since I've posted. Time was hard to find this year. And, frankly, my usual enthusiasm and passion for all things fibers was MIA last year too.  I came back from the "5 sisters" trip to Gotland, Estonia & Russia so inspired, but somewhere along the line I lost focus. Well,  we all go thru those phases at some point so I'm guessing you understand that. 

But  taking a semester of millinery in the University of Vermont's Theater Dept. to fine tune my hat making skills and now some recent changes at the shop have reinvigorated my enthusiasm in a HUGE way. My creative mind is firing on all cylinders again and the project ideas are coming in at a mile a minute!

But where to start? So many bags of yarns, fiber and fleece surrounding me.  And I want to dive into them all!

But I have to start somewhere. So here it is!

This isn't the oldest much for FIFO!  Ironically, this is probably the ONLY fiber I don't even have a project in mind for!  I bought the fleece at Maryland Sheep & Wool in early May  - smitten at first sight with it's lustrous locks.  It is barely even dry from having washed it over the weekend!  

But it is the project that is out and on the table. So I may as well start here...after all, it occupies the work space so in order to start with something else I'd have to pack this away. And that's just an extra step!  

So the Cotswold fleece it is that I start with. This is from a lamb ram in California. It is GORGEOUS. I wish you could feel it. It is so surprisingly soft and fine for Cotswold. Anyway, I separated it into 3 basic colors (see photo above). The lighter is finest and most lustrous and the darkest is coarsest. In fact, as you can see from the photo here that some of the darkest is coarse and has a very different lock structure, so I think I now need to go back and sort just the darkest color into two categories.....the coarse (far right)  and not-so-coarse dark (3rd lock from the left). For reference, the lightest lock on the left is 6" long.

I'm thinking at this point that I will felt a project with the darkest/coarsest.....I'm thinking a yurt bag?  That way I get to see how Cotswold felts and, providing it felts well based on the sample I intend on doing first, I'll have a bag to embellish when Annemai Koenen is here from the Netherlands for some felting workshops in October.

The lighest grey and medium greys are so lustrous, soft and rich that I definitely plan on spinning the search for a pattern is on! I've had a classic pattern from an old (8 years ago maybe) Knits magazine dog-earred and it might be just right.

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