Sunday, August 26, 2007

Don't Forget the Fibery Things!

This time of year I usually have a bunch of skeins and projects ready to enter in the Puyallup Fair Home Arts competition. I really enjoy seeing what other people enter, and have fun seeing the comments on my entries. This year, though, I entered nothing! Zip, nada, zero. Not that I didn't complete anything, or start a bunch of things. A really neat pair of socks went to Mom, several skeins of yarn went into socks for a couple raffles, and some things are still UFO's. Here are a few of the "started" objects. I'm not quite ready to call them UFO's.

First is some luscious Icelandic wool. This is from a lamb named "Cream" that we bought several years ago. Cream is long gone - she was a total flake! - and her fleece has been waiting patiently for me to finish it. This is a fleece that I did all the processing on - shearing, skirting, scouring, carding, and now on to spinning. I did several samples before deciding to blend in some streaks of red and black mohair, then spin a Lopi style yarn for? mittens? a hat? hat and mittens? maybe a vest? several hats? I'm spinning it on my first spinning wheel, an Ashford Traveler. I added a Wooley Winder to the Traveler and love it! The photo below shows part of a batt, part of a spun bobbin, and my sample. If you look closely, you can see the sample is a two ply - one ply with the mohair and one ply of straight Cream. I could still decide to do a 2 ply. :-)

On the Majacraft Saxony - my newest wheel - is white Finn wool. This is from top that I bought from the Copper Moose. Oh my! It is lovely stuff. I bought it before we sheared any of our Finns and just love the fiber. This is wonderfully prepared and spins so easily. It's going to be sport weight and I'm not sure what it'll be after it's spun. Maybe a touchy-feelie skein for our fair display before it gets knitted or woven into something.

This is the most exciting "project". I spin little samples of the fleeces before trying to decide what to do with them, and to evaluate new fleeces. This photo shows three yarns from our sheep. On top is the first bit I've spun from our Gotland cross sheep. It is from "Bits", the white ewe lamb. I coated her at weaning, so her first fleece is marvelously clean. I took some skirtings (yes, coated fleeces have skirtings - the coats don't cover everything, and sometimes there are some cotted places at the edges of the coat). This yarn has unbelievable luster! Just look at the shine. For a so very soft yarn, the luster is wonderful. The next one is from Lindy - a white BlueFaced Leicester and Border Leicester cross 4 year old ewe. This fleece was coated, and this sample is from the skirtings. Lindy, too, has a very lustrous fleece, but notice that Bits has more shine! Lindy's fleece is not soft. It has great handle, but it isn't soft. Someday I'll have it micron tested, but for now, I guess it's around 33 micron average.

The lower part of the knitted sample is from fawn katmoget Shetland, Val's fleece - again taken from skirtings. These were in her neck and had a lot of VM. I washed then combed the locks, spun them on my Cascade spindle and knitted it into this sample. Compared to Lindy, it is much drapier, softer and fuzzier. It will be very nice knitted up into "something". This is the fleece that won Reserve to Spot's Best in Show at Skagit County Fair.

Last but not least, the sock yarn is still sitting on my computer table. Top is the silk/merino, left is wool/nylon and the third is BFL. The sock dyeing project is still on my "list". I have ideas - some I need to know how much yardage my size 9 narrow foot needs, some I can do with a general idea of yardage. I hear next week will have some hot days - perfect for drying dyed yarns. :-)

- Franna


Kathy said...

Cool beans, Franna! I love the fleece/yarn from the Gotland/FinnX and am amazed that it's white. I would have thought it would be very grey. Maybe that's because I've only seen grey Gotlands. Bits' fleece must be lovely.

Re: the Icelandic...the Scrapie Program inspector was here today and mentioned she had seen, a few years back, a sheep that "looked kinda like one of your Shetlands, but was just crazy to be around. It was very skittish and acted like it was frightened of everything. Was that a Shetland, too?" I asked her if it was bigger than my Shetlands to which she said yes...then I replied, "It was an Icelandic." :) lol

Franna said...

Bits' fleece is AMAZING! It's entered in the wool show then the handspinning show at the Puyallup Fair.

White, yes. White is dominant at the pattern locus where the Gotland grey is located. We were however surprised because the white lambs came from a colored mom - Extension dominance to blame!