Friday, May 17, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: My Unusual Fiber Stash

Some questions popped up a "few week's ago" about what rare fiber I was planning to spin next.

I am usually willing to oblige.... ;-)

I am of the mind that nearly everything that is fibrous is spin-able and I am mostly interested in spinning single-source fibers.  As such, I have a few rare or unusual fibers in my stash.

I am also lucky that when I first learned to spin I had access to a Local Yarn Shop (Village Wools in Albuquerque, NM) that had a wide selection of interesting fibers for the spinners in the area.  I also had access to the Taos Wool Festival which had amazing, single-breed options and now the Estes Park Wool Market which also has some unusual, prepared, fibers available.  Lastly my cousin and her family have decided that finding fibers for me to spin is a bit of a sport.

As a result I have an interesting collection of rare and unusual fibers for spinning.... or, at least I think it's interesting.  ;-)

Cashmere and Cashmere+Silk. I have not spun Cashmere or even a Cashmere blend yet.  I'm looking forward to trying it.

Camel.  I have a small amount of raw camel collected by my cousin... I have spun baby camel and a camel blend.  It is divine... so much so that Hubba spent some time shopping for a camel.  I'm happy that he decided they are a little too big for our fences and a little too disagreeable for our preferences.  ;-)

Yak.  Cloud and Roving.  I had been saving this because I think it's very special and I did not want to mess it up.  But I think my skills are up to par now, so it's waiting for inspiration.  I don't want to spin it for spinning sake, I want to make sure I know what it will be before I put it on my wheel.

Black Bear. Hair and Down... both found by my cousins... in their back yard.  I attempted to spin the hair a while back, but it is too stiff for spinning... at least at my current skill level.  It might be interesting in a blend, or might be better for the embroidery that Vivian mentioned way back when...  The Down is quite soft and will be a lovely yarn.

Rocky Mountain Goat... also found by my cousins... on a hike.  I'm about half-way thru the picking and cleaning.  Hubba doesn't like me cleaning fiber in the house, so it only gets attention when I have time and weather to support it.

Milk.  Yep, fiber made from a protein in Cow's Milk.   I made an attempt at spinning this a few weeks ago... it's very much like silk, with a very long staple length and very "fly-away."  I realize that's a lot of "very."  I decided that I was not in the right frame of mind and plan to spin this at a later date.

Navajo-Churro.  This is the only sheep's wool in my stash right now.  I've only spun a little of it.  It drafts nicely, but the guard hair (prized in this breed of sheep) makes for a tough time on the fingers.  I love the way it smells.

I also have a few ounces of llama, several pounds of Tibetan Mastiff and a large amount of Huacaya Alpaca in my stash, which will get much larger since we are shearing our herd tomorrow.

Currently I am working on a Naturally Colored (Green) Cotton.  The colored cottons have not been bred like the white cottons and were (still?) nearly extinct, so the staple length is very short... ~1/2 inch.  My first attempt was pitiful, but this time it is going beautifully.

I have quite a lot to spin and am planning a 2-ply so this will be in progress for a while.

I am on the watch for more Qiviut and Bison.  The Qiviut was so amazing, that I think I will always be in search of more.  The Bison was challenging enough that I want to get better at it.

I am also on the watch for Vicuna and Guanaco.  I have yet to touch, let alone spin either of these.

Also with so many Elk nearby and it being spring I continue to hope to find some shed Elk, but so far, nada.

Finally, if I happen upon any Possum roving I would absolutely give it a try.  I have felt some yarn and knitted gloves made of Possum and was surprised by how soft it was.  I think it would be interesting to spin.

Have you spun any interesting or unusual fibers?  Did you enjoy it?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!


Alittlebitsheepish said...

I am looking forward to hearing about your adventures spinning all these fibres, you have a great variety.
I have tried some yak recently, it was challenging, but interesting, the staple length is very short!

Voie de Vie said...

You definitely have an amazing variety in your to-be-spun pile. I was happy to see the cotton at the end - can't wait to see how that spins up. Since you garden, it might be fun/interesting to see if anything else plant-based might work. Also, I wonder how much "processing" would need to be done with the plant-based stuff?

Cathy said...

Wow, what an interesting and exotic collection you have! I'm quite envious... I've got an order some baby camel blend on the way which I'm really excited about. The black bear hair and down are very intrigueing.

Andria said...

Fun post! I can't even spin.....uh....anything, so this is fascinating.

Sharon said...

So far I've spun camel (didn't like it so much, more my skill level than anything), silk (turned out well but heavier than I wanted) and in the wings is a blend of wool and angora. can't wait to try bunny!

WonderWhyGal said...

Look at all of those fibers. I love that you explore all of the fibers you get your hands on...even the one's found while hiking.

I just gifted the bit of bison I had bought because I couldn't get it and I didn't want it to go to waste.

Vivian said...

I'm drooling just reading about all these fibers. I've knitted a few blends with exotic fibers, still yet to try the possum yarn in my stash. Milk cotton is very popular in China.

Spinster Beth said...

You are so adventurous! I've spun a few fancy clouds like qiviut and baby camel, but from sample packs ... so they were already pretty clean when I got to them!

MarmePurl said...

I am still waiting for that spinning wheel I have been dreaming about. Someday, Someday.
So fun to see such different fibers.
(and yes...I think you are on to me about that 'company' thing!)

Natalie said...

Such an amazing collection. I am intrigued by the cotton...I tried to find some cotton a while back but never did end up buying any. Sadly, my spinning wheel hasn't been out to play in quite a few months now as I focus on other things. I'm curious... have you tried flax/linen? I tried to grow some two years ago but didn't get a harvest to spin from.