Friday, July 19, 2019

Fiber Arts Friday: Watchman Hat

Hubba wants a Watchman-style Hat.

Orange and Red are his favorites, so we settled on a striped motif from yarn found in my stash.


The orange is Fingering and the red is DK, so I am knitting with the orange held double, on US3 needles which is making a very dense fabric.

I like how it's going.  It's time to change colors at about the time I'm bored with the current color.

Since I'm doubling the orange, I don't have enough yardage to finish the hat, in the way that he wants me to.  Both yarns are discontinued... and I don't have another appropriate yarn in my stash.  :-/

What is it about stash-busting projects that cause me to buy more yarn? sigh

Anyway, I haven't found any of the same yarns listed as for sale or trade on Ravelry.
So that leaves two options:
  • look for something similar but not the same
  • or look for something contrasting to finish out the top of the hat.
Neither of which are feeling good.  double sigh

But then I realized there is a third option.... find the orange yarn in the red yarn's weight..... and I did!  In the same lot!!  Listed as For Sale or Trade!!!  :-)

Ravelry is simply the best and most useful platform.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fiber Arts Friday: Shave 'Em to Save 'Em, Navajo-Churro

Image result for navajo churro sheep
Source: Navajo-Churro Sheep Association

Navajo-Churro - Since I learned to spin while we lived in New Mexico, and my very first visit to any wool market was the famed Taos Wool Market, I have purchased and spun locally-produced Navajo-Churro before.


I decided to break this lot into two approximately-equal-weighing balls so I could ply from two cakes rather than the inside and outside of the same cake.



With a roughly 5-inch staple, the Navajo-Churro feels extremely long after the Clun Forest... and while the undercoat is very soft, the guard hair and kemp gives it a coarse handle.


There is very little crimp in the undercoat and the guard hair is prized in Navajo-Churro because it makes for durable rugs.  This makes it an interesting spin... different from other wool breeds I have experience with.

The singles remind me a little of twine.


Not only did the plying go quickly, but so did the spinning.  After little more than one day, I had the first single complete and was nearly half-way thru the second single.





The VM fell out easily while spinning.  I remember this being true the last time I spun Navajo-Churro.


There is a lovely sheen to the finished yarn that I didn't notice while I was spinning the singles.

From the Livestock Concervancy The Navajo-Churro is native to North America and are related to the Churro sheep brought to the "New World" by the Spanish in the 1500's.  They are primarily used for carpet wool and meat, as evidenced by their primary use in Rio Grande style weaving.

In the 1860's this breed was nearly destroyed as a result of the US Government's effort to subjugate the Native people. (Indian Removal Act, Navajo Indian Schools, Sand Creek Massacre)

Fortunately, conservation began in the 1970's but the Navajo-Churro is currently listed as Threatened, meaning that fewer than 1000 sheep are registered in the US each year and that the estimated global population is less than 5000.

This Navajo-Churro roving was sourced locally at the Left Hand Wool Company.

As I mentioned before, it feels good knowing that I am able to support a local conservation breeder of rare breed livestock.  :-)

Final Yarn: Navajo-Churro
Single Duration: June 15 - 22, 2019
Ply Duration: June 22 - 23, 2019
Date Ready to Submit: June 28, 2019
ounces: 4 3/8
yards: 175.5, 2-ply
wpi:  12
Source: Mill-Prepared Roving

SE2SE Status:
Total Breeds: 22
Breeds Sourced: 11
Breeds Spun: 2
Breeds To Go: 20

Months Remaining: 29 1/2

After Submitting my Clun Forest per the initial instructions, I received a reply-back stating that 'due to the popularity of the initiative, they'd prefer receive submissions at each group of 5 rather than individually.'  This makes me incredibly happy.  If you are interested in participating, there is still plenty of time to join.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece 2019

As we approach mid-May, I start thinking about the Tour de Fleece...
  • What are my goals?
  • What does my schedule look like?
  • What do I think I can accomplish?
  • What do I need to prepare before the Tour starts?
Then as we approach late-June, I've settled on what I'm likely to accomplish and may still have a stretch goal.

Back Row: Karakul, Lincoln, CVM
Middle Row: Jacob, Gulf Coast
Front Row: Tunis, Shetland, Santa Cruz

I am spinning rare breed wools as part of the Shave 'Em to Save "Em (SE2SE) Initiative and have a good sized backlog.  So I was hoping that I could focus on completing 3 breeds.... one for each week.  But I'm going to be traveling for most of the tour, so this much will not happen.

My Chiengora Group is planning a team... and I love my Tibetan Mastiff Yarn so much, that I want to make a hat for myself.


The Shave 'Em to Save 'Em group is also planning a team.


So I will be spindling Tibetan Mastiff for the Chiengora Team while I am on the road and spinning Black Welsh Mountain Wool for the SE2SE team when I am at home.
First and foremost (because I usually forget) my empty spindle weighs 1 oz.


I have 5 1/8 oz of prepared Tibetan Mastiff ready to go.


I have also already completed 3 3/8 oz of Black Welsh Mountain Wool,


leaving 1 7/8 oz to complete during this Tour.


Tour Guidelines:
  • Spin every day the Tour rides:  Saturday, July 6 through Sunday, July 28
  • Days of Rest:  Tuesday, July 16 and Monday, July 22
  • Challenge Days:  Wednesday, July 12 and Wednesday, July 25
My Goals:
  • Spin every day the Tour rides for at least 15 minutes
  • Make progress on both projects
  • No challenges are planned
The Tour starts tomorrow!!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday, and Happy Tour de France and Fleece!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Fiber Arts Friday: Shave 'Em to Save 'Em, Clun Forest

Image result for clun forest sheep
source: Wikipedia

Clun Forest - I had not heard of this breed before joining SE2SE.
My initial dive into the roving yielded an extremely fine yarn.


I realized quickly that I was working from the back end of the roving... so I re-wound the ball and started to spin again.... it's helpful to remember there is a front and back to roving.  ;-)



This was a very nice preparation, with a small amount of lanolin and very little vegetable matter (VM).


The staple in this sample is relatively short at about 1 inch.


My thoughts upon spinning this yarn is that Clun Forest would be nice to include in our alpaca-wool sock yarns.  I like that it isn't as slippery as alpaca or Tibetan Mastiff, and the small amount of lanolin in the roving feels nice on my fingertips.



My thoughts are reinforced in the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook which describes Clun Forest as an "ideal fiber for making textiles that are both comfortable and able to stand up to some abuse."


I enjoyed spinning this yarn.  I like that it's not as slippery as Tibetan Mastiff or Alpaca.


The single was very energetic, but the plied yarn is much more balanced.


While plying from both ends of the same cake allows for no joins in my final yarn, I think I will split my future SE2SE projects in half so I can ply from two cakes, which goes much faster.


The final yarn is not perfect.... but honestly, what handmade item is?  There are several over-spun portions in the single and my gauge is not as consistent as I would prefer.  I think both are due to me trying to spin thicker than my normal, not having enough take-up, and periodically loosing my concentration.  ;-)


But I love this yarn.  :-)

From the Livestock Concervancy:  The Clun Forest originated in Shropshire, England and were first imported to the US in 1970.  The Clun Forest is listed as Threatened, meaning that fewer than 1000 sheep are registered in the US each year and that the estimated global population is less than 5000.

This Clun Forest roving was sourced locally at the Left Hand Wool Company,

It feels good knowing that I am able to support a local conservation breeder of rare breed livestock.  :-)

Final Yarn: Clun Forest
Single Duration: April 13 - June 2, 2019
Ply Duration: June 2 - June 15, 2019
Date Submitted: June 21, 2019
ounces: 4.625
yards: 283, 2-ply
wpi:  14

SE2SE Status:
Total Breeds: 22
Breeds Sourced: 11
Breeds Spun: 1
Breeds To Go: 21

Months Remaining: 30 (12/31/21)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Travel Reading, part 6 - Raw Material

After Reading Brotopia, I needed something that was more upbeat.


Raw Material: Working Wool in the West by Stephany Wilkes was just the ticket.

I found this book at Stitches West earlier this year.  I just loved the premise, so it went toward the top of my reading queue.

Turns out Ms Wilkes was the first interview on the Soil to Soil Podcast.  In which, I found her to be engaging and compelling.  So I was really looking forward to reading her book.

It was a slow off ramp from Brotopia.  Ms Wilkes is a former Bay Area Tech worker and mentioned some of the sexual harassment she was the target of prior to making her career change.  Fortunately she quickly got to her shearing experiences and told the story of how Mendocino Wool came in to being.

I appreciate the author telling stories of walking into businesses after shearing all day and describing the looks that shop keepers/clerks would give... as well as how good food can taste at the end of a long day shearing.... and of course, the response from family/friends about how crazy she was to leave a lucrative job for manual labor... and the despair that comes with being stuck in an office all week after spending an entire weekend outside, doing tangible productive work... I feel a kinship with Ms. Wilkes and hope I am able to meet her one day.... shearing people are some of my very favorite.  :-)

One thing I find interesting in the author's story, and have experienced it myself... while farming and shearing tend to be male-dominated, they are welcoming to women... if you are interested in learning, then you get the work.... at least in my experience, the overt sexism is not as prevalent as other industries I've worked in.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Way to Go - Ravelry

I've been a member of Ravelry for a long time.... back when you had to apply and wait to be accepted... more than 10 years ago.

Today, they made a significant announcement (policy link).


Ravelry has always been inclusive, welcoming, and encouraging.  I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Fiber Arts Friday: Estes Park Wool Market, 2019

I haven't been to the Estes Park Wool Market in a few years (2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018).  But after going to Stitches West earlier this year, I wanted to make sure that both Hubba and I went this year.

It was an easy sell.  He happened to meet Henry Clemes of Clemes & Clemes earlier this year, so Hubba definitely wanted to catch up with his new friend.  :-)

I'm so glad we made it.


First of all, the weather was gorgeous!


Second, the market venue is much improved since the last time I was there.  So much that we didn't make it to any of the barns or other activities.


Since it's been a long time goal of mine to have a booth at this venue, not only did we shop, but we talked about the different booths and what we liked and didn't like about how merchandise was presented.


We got a few new ideas, and I think we are on the same page about what presents well.  Now to source the equipment and get a few more batches to the mill.  :-)


As far as shopping goes.  I like this market because it's more than just yarn.  There is a lot of raw fleece and roving available, along with tools, rugs, and other finished objects.


From Clemes & Clemes, I found a packing brush for my drum carder, a diz (it's amazing how hard these are to find), and a Ledbetter shuttle.  Mr. Ledbetter has retired, so his drop spindles and shuttles are now in very limited supply.  I am happy to say that I had the pleasure of meeting both Mr. and Mrs. Ledbetter several years ago, and now have two of their drop spindles and two of their boat shuttles in my tool stash.

I test drove the Clemes & Clemes Modern Wheel, and will most definitely be adding one to my stable.  It's the smoothest wheel I've ever used.


I added Karakul and CVM roving to my stash.  The CVM is an addition to my Shave 'EM to Save 'EM project.  I already had Karakul in my stash (I forgot), but I have not spun it yet and the hair sheep is so very different from the wool sheep handle.... I am quite taken with it... it will not go to waste.  :-)

Then at the very end is a small sample of both Mulberry and Tussah Silk... I've wanted to spin these adjacent to each other.  I have spun Tussah before.

Then a very small sample of Pearl Fiber.  I have not seen this before, so to my stash of unusual fibers this goes.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!