Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Color Festival

It was actually the Michigan Fiber Fest. But, for me, it was a festival of color.

Since first thinking about attending this event last April, it's been an ever present wonder if my eyesight would hold up. Just being there felt like a gift and I indulged in all the glorious colors presented by the vendors. It wasn't as costly as it appears, as most of these things are small amounts destined to feed my spindles.

However, I did get enough of the big turquoise-y green bump of Columbia X to make a sweater. The color just called to me. The apricot/pink is Coopworth/Mohair from Hidden Valley. Their displays are always so appealing, someday I'd like to make a Fair Isle out of all their colorways. A Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Lapis, some Ashland Bay Merino/Silk in Sea Mist and several skeins of Claudia's fingering handpaint in Sea Dreams rounded out my visit to The Fold's booth. I have a few more skeins of the Claudia yarn from my visit to her shop in July and these were the same dyelot so I'll have enough to make a shawl now. I also bought two batts of Angora/Cormo/Silk from Jean Womack--there was no way to resist their softness and from Tracy Bunkers, some Merino/Bamboo and Merino/Tencel in Flamingo and Dragonfly. My new vendor find was Yarn Hollow. She had the most incredible handpainted rovings and yarns. Most of the roving flew out of her booth early on Friday. I was lucky enough to get that gorgeous braid of BFL and some 100% Bamboo rayon during the morning break from my class. They are almost too pretty to spin!

The class was taught by Patsy and was all about Spinning the Silkies or the manmade fibers made to imitate silk. We spun Merino/Tencel, 100% Tencel, Soy Silk, Rayon from Bamboo, Ingeo, Silk Latte, Optim and Black Diamond. We also spent over an hour conducting burn tests on these and other fibers. It was so interesting and a real eye opener! Definitely makes one thing twice, even about the fiber content of ready made clothes.
Did you catch that we worked with Ingeo? Yes, that evil "I" that caused me so much difficulty last January. Patsy and I had a long talk about it over dinner during the Folk School class in Feb and she was prepared for the possibility of me tossing the samples right across the barn. ;) But, she found a way to make it behave a little better. First, to get around the very blah look of the solid dyed colors, she suggested blending a couple together to give them a little life. And, to make it behave; blend in some cotton! It's sort of like putting together the two things I dislike to spin the most, but it certainly did improve the strength of the Ingeo so that it didn't snap just by looking at it (well, you know what I mean). She has hope they'll continue working on improving the fiber as they did with Nylon which she found also had problems when it first appeared on the market. Actually, that's one of the great bonuses when taking a class with Patsy. She's been spinning, and writing about spinning for so many years that she can easily relate how things have changed over time. But, it never comes off as being a know-it-all. As always, I highly recommend her class.

The other fibers in the class were fine to spin, except Silk Latte--that one is almost as bad as Ingeo. But, can we talk about Optim?! I think I could be happy spinning Optim, forever! A one lb. amount would probably last that long, too.This is the rest of the little sample amount I received in the class that I've been spinning since returning home from Michigan. It's 120 yds and weighs .2 oz; the single measured 88 WPI and the plied yarn comes in at 53 WPI. I wasn't trying to spin fine at all, just letting it flow through my fingers at a comfortable pace. But I imagine I could go finer if I tried. I love this stuff! So smooth, soft and and silky and makes yarn finer than laceweight. Yep, I could be happy spinning it forever!

Okay, I'm betting you want to know if I bought a fleece. Well, I sure did! When I was at the festival 2 years ago, I remembered an outdoor booth that had big brown paper bags containing fleeces. It wasn't at all tempting then, but this year was different. Turns out, Moonshadow Farm bring their fleeces all the way down from Chisholm, MN! That's w-a-y up in northern MN.

And, I found one I loved!A CVM/Lincoln in a deep charcoal color with silvery highlights. It has about a 6" staple length and is very, very soft. They didn't say it was a lamb fleece but sometimes I wonder since it has a sort of little lamb curl on the end in addition to the softness. It's from a jacketed sheep and makes a wonderful yarn when flicked and spun with a worsted draw. It also makes a very lofty thick woolen spun yarn. I'm also thinking about trying to blend it with some other fibers, maybe silk or alpaca. Time will tell what it will become.

My last purchase was another set of buttons from Jenny the Potter (another MN native). The red ones pictured with the St st pattern are the ones I bought at camp and the blue garter st patterned ones are from Michigan. She's even making me a few additional ones of the latter so I'll have enough for the cardi I want to use them on.
The buttons are laying on a hand woven cotton towel from Centennial Farms. I've never had the least desire to weave, but think if I could learn to make something as lovely as this, it would definitely be worth it. Anyone know anything about looms? specifically, what type is used for something like this?


At 6:07 AM, Blogger vanessa said...

wow, your fleece is so clean and lovely!

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Wonderful loot - now I'll have to try some optim. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I came to the picture of the fleece, it's so pretty. Great colour, lovely crimp and it's clean. What a great find!

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous kerry said...

yummy loot! That fleece has a great sheen to it!

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Caroline said...

Aren't Jean's angora blends yummy? I got some at MS&W last year and spun 2 ounces and made a shawl out of it. I bought more this year. I think both of mine were angora/silk/merino, the idea of cormo in the mix makes me swoon. Maybe she'll have them along next spring, or at Rhinebeck....
My word verification is 'beshl' - it sounds like a Yiddish blessing to me.


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