Category Archives: wool

Some say…

Some say that the difference between and rut and a grave is the depth. I heard this at work earlier this week and maybe I’m just not grasping it, but I’m left with a huge, cartoon question mark over my head when I think on this. Is saying that a rut is basically a grave suppose to motivate me to hoist myself out of the rut and find a new path? Is saying that suppose to make my rut feel full of doom? Is saying that making any sense to any of you?

Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me either.

However, I will admit, I’ve been in a rut lately. A color rut. When buying wool, I tend to gravitate towards the same colors (usually warmer colors) and that translates all too well over to my carding tendencies. This would be all fine and dandy if I were only spinning and carding fibers for me, but let me be the first to tell you, spinning yarn for myself doesn’t bring in the Benjamins. So, in order to add more colors to my shop pallet, I’m left forcing myself to buy something blue, or dye something purple, or card something with black in it. YES, I said forcing. I have to step away from my eyes and let the little spinning devil on my should tell me “perhaps someone would like a yarn with blue and purple… perhaps someone would pay you enough money for some new shoes if you’d spin that blue and green fiber… perhaps you need to snap out of your love for warmer colors and GET WITH IT”.

Yes, this is the conversation that goes on inside my head every time I reach for red or orange or yellow. Crazy? Maybe.

Tonight started out no differently than any other night. I found myself standing in front of my tower of wool, scanning over colors and textures trying to find just…the…right…ones. Red? No. I’ve already done red. Orange? No. I’ve already done orange. Yellow? Heck no, I’ve already done yellow. I was at a loss. I just couldn’t reach for the cooler colors without first considering the warmer tones. So what did I do? I pulled all of the colors down. Every blasted bit of color I had and I started carding. Some colors were omitted out of fear (some color combinations are better left to the imagination), some colors were resting at the bottom of the pile and were overlooked. But the colors that did make it on to the carder are breathtaking. Warm mingled with cool which all blended fabulously with a huge smack of sparkle ’cause I like it that way.

I’m happy. Sometimes the best way to get out of a rut is to just throw caution to the wind and see what happens.

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Step away from the plying head.

I have to admit a dirty little secret. It’s bad. You might want to cover the ears of younger children. Okay, and the ears of a few elderly folks. I’m quite ashamed to admit this to all of you… but here goes –

I can’t stop plying.

I used to be crazy for batts. I loved separating them out by color (almost in an OCD way) so spin up stripey singles. I love the drape of a single, I loved knitting with singles, and I adored the color changes. During my stocking up of batts, I purchased roving/combed top here and there but spun that up as singles also. Occasionally I’d sneak a plied (with itself) yarn in there, but not often. If I did ply, it was usually big, slubby yarns on thread.

Then a knit a long on Ravelry caught my attention. The pattern was called “Toasts” and people were using their plied yarns spun from Funky Carolina wool. I was mesmerized by the way the plied yarns knit up. The colors were undefined yet defined, all at the same time. They were organic, a kaleidoscope of colors, and I had to try them myself. I spun up some plied yarn, knit up the toasts, and fell in love.

Since the “Toasts” project in November, I’ve really only been spinning plied yarns. Okay, I lie, I spun a singles last week, but other than that, I’ve been plying.

It’s shameful, really, the amount of plying I do. Poor fluffy, lovely, colorful batts. They sit, unused, waiting to be spun. Soon, my friends, soon. But for right now, I ply.

Afternoon

There was something about the way the sun shone into the windows today that created a sort of calm on the west side of the house. The beams of light that were cast across my office and fiber studio warmed me to my toes. It was the perfect afternoon after spending the morning at the Farmer’s Market (freezing, I might add). It’s days like this that really should never end. The leaves falling outside my windows are vibrant shades of gold, orange and red. The call of autumn birds provided a nice background to the sounds of autumn. The Schmoo cat napped on the corner of the guest bed while flecks of dust playfully floated in the sunlight. The scene left me feeling completely at peace with things… everything.

There was just something about the sun shining into the windows.

It inspired me to card up and label 54 mini batts of fiber for the November Phat Fiber Box. That is a powerful thing as I usually dread the labeling part and put that off until the absolute, last minute. But today was different. Today I’m left proud of my samples, completely happy with the outcome, and looking forward to shipping them off to Phat Fiber Headquarters.

There was just something about that sun shining through the window into the mounds of fiber (seen above). You can’t even help but feel comfortable just looking at it.

I blame Hobbledehoy

During the holiday season of 2007, I noticed a shop on Etsy selling the most BEAUTIFUL bits of wool. That was the first time I laid eyes on the batts that Hobbledehoy creates. I didn’t spin yet but wanted to learn, so I asked for a drop spindle for Christmas.

In January I purchased Drunken Sailor – my first Hobbledehoy batt. It was the beginning of a fiber addiction. I held on to that batt for days, weeks months and then a year. That batt was my first fiber love – I had to hold on to it for something special. I had to wait until I knew EXACTLY what it wanted to be.

Last night, it spoke to me. It wanted to be a super chunky, way funky, plied yarn. So out it came, I spun it up pretty thick (for my standards) and plied the heck out of it. I fell in love with it all over again. I don’t know what it is going to be yet, but that will come to me… in time.

Not the Big Stink

Is it possible to think that washing wool could be my next fiber addiction? I started out last night with foul smelling, bland looking wool and this evening, fabulous, gorgeous wool that smells quite nice (I pick out the good soaps). I keep fondling it – it’s so smooth… so soft… so wonderful!

Oh, and this comes from Icelandic Sheep raised locally at Bloomin’ Acres Farm.

In case you don’t already know, unwashed wool/fleece smells like poop. Yup, like poop. Unfortunately, sheep are not animals who pay close attention to their bathing habits and hopefully good things will come from having to put up with the big stink while washing this stuff.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit unfair. It’s not like I walk into the room it’s sitting in right now and I smell it. I have to get right up to it to catch a sniff of that unfortunate smell, but it’s still bad.

Last night I was reminded of the fact that I have 1 pound of fleece sitting in a bag just waiting to be washed up and then spun. It’s a lovely brownish/grayish mix from a local farm (Bloomin’ Acres Farm) and I’m not sure what has taken me so long to finally get around to doing something with it. Perhaps washing sounded so daunting. It really sounds like a bit of task – wash it twice, rinse it twice, wash it some more if needed… it didn’t really sound like something I wanted to start until I was good and ready. Well, I was never going to be ready – so I chose tonight.

It’s currently hanging out in its second bath and so far, so good.

Oh, and the above picture is the before the bath picture. Hopefully you could tell by looking at it.

Little accomplishments along the way

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m participating in a challenge to spin everyday in April. It’s day 15 now and I’ve hung in there. I believe I talked about how this challenge would allow me to spin for myself along the way. I am happy to say that just in 15 days, spinning for myself has allowed me to try a few different things with my yarn. I attempted some slubs (although they might be the messiest ones out there) out of my own dyed roving and bits of wool from the Phat Fiber box…then some beehives on a super textured, plied yarn spun from some gorgeous roving from CloudloverAnd tonight I tried my hand at corespinning from some cheapo acrylic yarn as the base and a lovely Hobbledehoy batt (one of her Galaxy batts)…I’m beaming from what I’ve accomplished so far. I can’t imagine I would have tried these out this month if it were not for this challenge. Oh, I would have eventually tried them out, but certainly not in April… and probably not in May… even June might be stretching it a bit.

This corespinning (all 51 yards of it) has worn me out. I’m going to go plop down and watch some Ghost Hunters. Goodnight!

Edit: Hey everyone – do fibery posts make you super happy? They make me happy! If you’re like me, then go over to the Fiber Arts Friday listing and check out all kinds of fibery blog posts, you wont’ be sorry.

Just For You

psst… I made you all a little something this week – well, a few little somethings.

I think they turned out nicely… don’t you?

It’s been a chilly weekend and is currently snowing just a slight, little tiny bit outside of my window so the warm, snuggly yarn seemed appropriate.

Make sure to come by and get yours before everyone else does.

The Sweet Boy and I are going out for a Valentine’s Day weekend date this evening (we both worked yesterday) so I’m off to get gussied up. Enjoy the yarn!

Blue Jean Baby

While watching some football this evening, I decided to work on predrafting some wool. Well, actually not having to predraft as much as I do to spin. I worked on a lovely skein today (spun from a couple of Hobbledehoy batts), seen here, and while I’m completely in love with it (my best thus far) it took me more than half of the UT vs. OU game. Okay, let me break that down: the spinning took not long at all, the predrafting took FOREVER. I took some “extra” batts that were sent to me with some orders earlier this year to work on the drafting.

I can’t say that it was any better, I’ll just keep working on it, but I can say that I ended up with something even more beautiful than I imagined when I started out. I just used two batts from Hobbledehoy that kind of matched (no blacks, lots of colors, and both had brown = matching). They were some freebie extras that she included in various orders. After spinning them up and plying them with some white thread (note to self – get clear thread next time you’re out), I fell in love. This was the perfect yarn for a cowl or hat to wear with your favorite blue jeans. Hense the name “Blue Jean Baby”. I’m really pleased with how spinning is turning out.

While still on my high from my yarn, I found a message that I had been featured in a blog. Designs by Vanessa (over at Etsy) featured my Autumn Splendor bracelet on her blog. It’s a great blog and the post does get you in the mood for fall. I am truly thankful for all of the artists on Etsy that choose to feature other shops. It really shows the team and community that can be found on Etsy. Thank you.

That was me in grade 5 baby…

Okay, perhaps the original song is about grade 9, but by grade 9 I had left neon pink behind. I spun up my 3rd skein of yarn on my wheel tonight and it reminded me of one thing and one thing only, many of the outfits I sported in 5th grade.

Okay, before you laugh at me, admit it, if you are between the ages of 25 and 30, you most likely wore some neon pink back in the day. If you are shaking your head, you’re a liar.

The colorful bit of yarn is from Cloudlover and is called Changeling. I loved it as a single but it had too many thin bits for me to use it as it was. So I dug up some hot pink wool (inspired by a jar of jelly beans sitting on my desk – seen at left) and spun that up pretty thin and plied the two together. I LOVE this skein. I love it more than the other two I’ve done. As I look at it, I think “Self, this is something you’d see for sale somewhere”. That makes me feel good.

I’m happy.

I’m not only happy because of the yarn but because I’ve been give the opportunity to join in on a local trunk show at the beginning of November. NightSkyProducts, a local Etsian, invited people to partake in a trunk show and I jumped at the chance. Once I have more details after this weekend, I’ll post them. Finally, doing something away from Etsy and away from HUGE craft shows. It’s a new step for me.

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