Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another Weekend...

Another fiber market! Last weekend was the Door County Shepherd's Market hosted by Whitefish Bay Farm. It was very small but nicely organized and put together with a nice assortment of vendors. I was looking to try out my fleece buying skills and didn't have to look far before finding a beauty.

This is Misha. A silver Corrie from Whitefish Bay Farm. I really wasn't looking for another Corrie as I already had Hope, the white fleece purchased from them in April, but this one was too beautiful to pass up. It's what they call a "classic" fleece as opposed to Hope's which was "extra fine". Misha is not quite as soft and is less crimpy than Hope. Actually, the shepherd had recently had the fleeces micron tested, and said the extra fine measured in at 23 microns whereas the classic fleeces were more like 28 microns--still plenty soft. I actually think I may like working with this one more than the other. And, apparently this sheep carries a "blue" gene so the yarn spun from it won't end up on the grey/tan/brown range but will stay nice and silver. At least, that's what the shepherd claimed.

The only other purchases were some Corrie batts from Whitefish Bay farm. It's a preparation I haven't had too much experience with and these looked really nicely done so I couldn't pass them up. The white has 10% angora added and the blue was dyed with indigo. I'm thinking something stranded would be nice to make out of the yarn. The mohair locks are from Goathill Farm (no website). No idea what I'll do with them, but the color was so pretty it was impossible to not get them.
In knitting news, I finally finished one of the front sides of Mediterranean Lace. This shawl has an interesting construction as it looks like a triangle shape in the back and has rectangle pieces in the front to make it like a stole. It should be fun to wear but those long front rectangles are worse than making sleeves! One done, and one to go. Sorry, no pics yet.

But, I do have photos of the skeins made from the bobbin photo last week.
It surprised me, how different the two skeins turned out. It wasn't apparent in the roving stage that one end was more saturated than the other. When spinning them, I tried to relearn my original way of drafting which is a sort of a short backward woolen method and as it's Corrie, it poofed considerably when I washed them.

This week it's all about the garden. Summer seems to have kicked in early around here. Hope you enjoy sunny days and starry nights, too!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Whirlwind weekend

It was somewhat of a whirlwind weekend as I took a road trip through the upper Midwest. Trying to be two places at once involves lots of driving but was so worth it because I was able to take in the Shepherd's Harvest festival in Lake Elmo, MN. And, even better than that, I got to see my friend Kerry and have her teach me how to pick out a fleece.

Let me tell you, Shepherd's Harvest is quite a fleece event. It seemed more than half of the vendors had a couple of fleeces for sale. It's about the same size as the WI S&W but didn't seem to have as many people attending; nothing like the crowds at MS&W or Michigan Fiber Fest. But, I loved how virtually all of the booths were small farms; no big booths of transplanted knit shops. It truly seemed a spinners event. An added plus of attending with Kerry was that she seemed to know everyone in the place. I got to meet several knit-bloggers and see their newly finished shawls as well as see several of the spinners I met last summer at her monthly spin-group. What fun!

But, what you really want to see are my purchases. Yes? Okay, at a fleece event in my Year of the Fleece, I had to buy a couple of them.

This is a BFL/BL/Romney from Lamb Lane in Iowa. My jaw dropped when I saw it's aura. And, it passed the "Kerry" test, in fact, she dubbed it Frizzle because it had such crimpy-ness.

The second fleece I was lucky enough to find is an Icelandic/BFL cross from River Winds farm. It's actually a much deeper charcoal color than this picture shows.
River Winds also has gorgeous Cormo. They had little 1 lb bags of raw fleece that were very tempting but I resisted. The other items I bought were:
A basket from Tall Tale Basket Shop of Tufte, MN (no website), the pink cotton candy looking stuff is called Spinner's Web and made up of Icelandic wool, mohair, Suri alpaca, silk noil and Mylar. I guess it's called a cloud preparation and I'm thinking of spindling it. The blue fiber in the basket is some super soft mohair from Morning Sun Fiber Barn that I'm going to use to try to replicate a KidSilk Haze kind of yarn. To the right of the basket is a crayon box bag of Corriedale from Mielke's as I've been wanting to explore color blending but didn't want to dye all the colors myself. A bag of Cormo top from River Winds Farm and 2 bumps of Coopworth/silk from Hidden Valley Woolen Mill round out the purchases. The color on the left is called Moody Blues and the one on the right is Just Before Dawn--one of these may be heading off to a friend but Hidden Valley vend at all the local shows so I'm bound to see them again this summer and will undoubtedly add to my collection of colors.

Joyful spinning is still occuring. Here's my latest bobbin with some fiber I bought when I visited Roberta's spinning guild last February. I think it's Corriedale and was dyed by the shepherd who was a part of the guild. It wasn't rinsed very well because it was very sticky and the color got all over my hands when I drafted it. A little soak in the sink pretty much solved that problem and I love how it's spinning up. I'm thinking, perhaps, socks for this yarn.

And, last but not least, the other place I had to be this weekend was at my niece's graduation from Loras College. It completely amazes me that little baby Katie is all grown up now.
Some elementary school class is going to be very lucky to have her as their teacher.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

It's May Day today but no one left a basket of flowers at my door. However, the mailman brought me a box containing Hope.

Hope, meaning the name of the Corriedale sheep that grew this lovely fleece. It was much crimpier than I expected and oh, so soft. Kerry suggested I check out the fleeces from Whitefish Bay Farm and when she gives you a tip, I suggest you follow it. The Year of the Fleece rolls on.

Not much knitting has been happening, but I have been spinning. This is a skein I spun on the little Ashford Joy wheel I borrowed from a friend.
The color is way off--it's more of a burgundy color but it's my first 3 ply skein. I've been inspired by the ones I've seen on several blogs lately and thought it was about time I tried my hand at it. I used 2 singles of a superwash Corriedale and one single spun from some Tussah dyed by The Silkworker. At first I considered making socks from it, but think it will be a little too thick for that. I prefer my socks to be fingering weight and this came in closer to sport weight. So, now I'm thinking more of a hat/glove combo.

Okay, enough blogging, I must go wash that fleece! Mmmm!