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Blue Ribbon! October 18, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, yarn.
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Just a brief check in from the New York State Sheep and Wool festival, where we had an unexpected gloriously rain and snow free day yesterday. What a gift! I was delighted to walk up to the blue ribbon wall for spinning and find my handspun among these lovely submissions. My work is all the way on the right. I won a blue ribbon for spinning this year’s featured breed, Leicester Longwool. Hooray!

We are going back today even though the day promises to be wet! More soon….

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Spun sample October 15, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in drop spindle, Fiber Optic Yarns, fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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Sometimes the very best thing to do is take on something small and savor it.

During my last visit to The Fold, Toni introduced me to something wonderful! A new dyer (to me anyway) by the name of Kimber Baldwin, the creative force behind Fiber Optics. Her shop is worth a visit and I can tell you that her eye for color is spectacular. In my hand (above) I am holding a tiny sample of her pencil roving (Foot Notes, 80% superwash merino wool and 20% nylon) in the black coffee colorway.

This sat on my desk for just a couple of days, spun on my ringspindle in spare moments stolen from other tasks. So delightful. Simple, satisfying drafting, gorgeous colors, and a perfectly matched set of double pencil rovings that I split to create two singles.

Yes those singles were stored on bamboo skewers… inexpensive and long enough to fit into my industrious kate reasonably well. This was a very tiny amount of roving, and I wanted to use the same spindle for both plies. On that note I would like to sing the praises of the recent addition of Seth Golding’s work to the ringspindles collection.  This one is an ebony ringspindle, 0.8 oz.

The result was 25 yards of laceweight in lovely colors.

The colors are easier to see here.

Simple. Satisfying. Utterly worthwhile.

Spinning Lately October 7, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, pokeberries, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, Uncategorized, yarn.
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I have been pretty bad about updating the blog with recently spun yarns, but that does not mean that I have been ignoring the wheels completely! Here is a taste of what has been drafted between my hands of late…

This Leicester Longwool is lambswool actually, my first spun single! I was playing with this in preparation for Rhinebeck, where the annual New York State Sheep and Wool festival is held. Leicester Longwool is the featured breed for 2009. This is about 250 yards, spun at a low ratio (7:1) and unbelievably soft. I am working on a companion skein for some colorwork from the Leicester Longwool I dyed with pokeberries.

The roving that became this two-ply Romney came from a store near Edmonds, WA. The wool was from a local sheep named Chris and purchased mainly because I loved the colorway. This was also spun at a low ratio, and the resulting yarn is softer than I would normally expect Romney wool to be. That is not to say that it is super soft by any means, but it is sweet.

And finally some color graded Polwarth. This roving and I have had a rough time of it. There was a lot of felting and tons of little neps and pills. Highly irritating. I had been holding on to it because it seemed so terrible to waste wool as soft as Polwarth and then I finally had to stop myself. I got rid of all the terribly felted bits and and spun a heavier yarn (this is a heavy worsted) while simply allowing the neps to spin right in. At this weight they just became incorporated and we got along much better. This 200 yard skein will likely become a hat at some point in the near(ish?) future.

Spinning Milkweed October 5, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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I have always been enamored of milkweed fluff. It floats beautifully, shimmers in the sun, it’s soft and light and magical. As a child I even decided to love monarch butterflies because they loved milkweed. Then one day someone told me that it can be spun. Into yarn. Really.

I started by carding those cotswald curls that you see at the top, opening the locks before adding the shimmering milkweed into the mix. I read that you can only use up to 70% milkweed in a fiber blend before the resulting yarn becomes too brittle to spin. It is best blended with wool. This blend was only about 5% milkweed, because it was just an experiment.

The drum carder took up the milkweed well, once in was sandwiched between two layers of wool. I removed all the seeds of course, but wish I had separated the fibers from their connection point before carding. The might have all floated away of course, but I think the blending would have gone better. It is amazingly hard to keep your milkweed from blowing away. There was much holding of breath in this endeavor.

Here is Devorah kindly modeling the fluffiness of the final batt.

This was spun up long draw again. Another 50 yards or so like the green curls. Shiny!