So grateful for spinning! I’ve been slogging through the last four days with a head cold (better now). On days 3 and 4 it was soothing to ply and finish a skein of chocolate-brown BFL/alpaca. The singles had been waiting for awhile; plying was a breeze, even with pauses to deal with sniffles and coughing fits. This dk/sport weight yarn is so soft and seems to combine the best of both fibers—a little drape, a little bounce, and a little sheen. I also did a bit more spindle spinning of some ginned organic cotton, which is great fun. Words my have mostly eluded my foggy brain, but I could spin a little!
Stage 10, a challenge day, for #tourdefleece2018 . My challenge is to spin tow flax. What a joy! I brush the water in the bowl with the tips of my left hand’s fingers and thumb. Then I draft and spin the flax as smoothly as possible. The flax forms a smoother yarn with a little dampness. A plyback sample shows in the first photo and up close by swiping to the third. This locally-grown flax is from @black_cat_farmstead and was processed by @taprootfibrelab in Nova Scotia. It’s dew-retted, which saves on water usage. Black Cat Farmstead and Taproot Fibre Lab are among those bringing back small-scale flax/linen production to the U.S. and Canada. Yay!
It will take awhile to spin this 4 ounces. When I’m done, I’ll likely make a two-ply yarn but may leave it as a single. Destined for weaving! Oh yeah, I’m hooked on flax now. .
Stages 5-8 of #tourdefleece : The first photo shows where I started and where I ended. I’ll be moving to a second bobbin of this natural brown Coopworth. The skein is from a plying ball that had been in storage for a few weeks. When I first spun this Coopworth, it seemed rather drab, ropey, and unappealing, even after plying. But once it was finished... The second photo shows the skein close up and is filtered to show truer to the color my eye sees. The washing process brought out the bloom and a bit of a sheen not evident before. There’s surely a metaphor for life in there, but my mind is a bit too soggy this morning to bring it into focus! 🤔
Day 1 of Tour de Fleece. My goal is to tackle some WIPs. First up was plying a single of merino (from a Louet sampler in the #plyaway2016 goodie bag) with a single that mixed pygora goat with angora/jersey wooly. The pygora is from Bohemian Creek Farm in Iowa. The Jersey Wooly is from my bun, Major Tom. (Photo #2 - can’t resist sharing cute bunny photos.) I think this textured yarn will add some wonderful depth and interest as part of a woven fabric in neutrals.
There was plenty of the merino remaining to make a more refined two-ply of 100% merino, too. Shown on the bottom right.
For those who don’t know what Tour de Fleece is, spinners follow along with the cyclists of the Tour de France by spinning daily during the race. On challenge days for the cyclists, we challenge ourselves in some way. This year, I plan to spin tow flax. On the rest days, spinners may rest, too. By sharing on Ravelry, Instagram, and elsewhere, we further build a sense of community. Plus, you can join one or more teams, most of which are virtual. I’m part of Team Canada, a wonderfully welcoming group, even for those of us from the States, with a hilariously fun logo.
Spin on!!! #teamcanadatdf2018#tourdefleece2018#handspun#spinnersofinstagram#pygorafiber#angorafiber#merinofiber
A special member of our fiber community could use our help. Sally Fox (@vreseis) is a breeder/grower of organic cotton, in a variety of natural colors, and merino sheep. She lives in California. Sally is dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices and to the welfare of her animals. She is generous and kind, including to those of us who have never met her and whom she knows only as customers. She has refunded shipping when it cost her less than I paid and added yarn to a cone I ordered at no charge to make sure there was plenty. What I experienced is merely a small indication of what a wonderful person she is. Those who know Sally personally have truly moving, inspiring stories. Sally’s farm is threatened by wildfires. She did everything possible for her beloved sheep, putting them in an irrigated green pasture for safety. Now she faces mounting costs. Donations to help defray some of these costs can be made through her online shop. Purchases, which will be fulfilled in August, will also help. Go to vreseis dot com slash shop. You can also find out more on Sally’s feed — @vreseis . The photos here show a couple of ways I’ve used Sally’s cotton, as weft in the first photo and as warp in the second.
UPDATE: The evacuation order has lifted for the County Fire that threatened Sally’s place. Wonderful news! Things can start slowly getting back to normal.
These are 4’ x 6’ pens that house my bunnies during the day while I’m at work. Larger versions of these pens and other enclosures currently house scores of undocumented people crossing the southern border of the U.S. looking for a better life. This includes terrified children separated from their parents. This post is not about who should be admitted to the U.S. and who should not. It’s about basic human decency. These enclosures are appropriate for bunnies to chill in during the day, in my opinion. But children separated from their parents?
It’s the little things... The generosity of the fiber arts community consistently touches and amazes me. Techniques, tools, ideas, resources, support, critique. We share it all. These are three large, lovely old spools of silk thread. They were among a large group of silk threads acquired by Cheryl Jones. She shared much of the stash with the rest of us in a recent workshop, “Stitching as Drawing.” What a lovely gift! Thank you, Cheryl! (Cheryl doesn’t have an online presence. I was fortunate to get to know this lovely artist in person.) #silkthread#generosity#fiberart#textileart#textilecentermn
Two more of my studies from Susan Brandeis’ “Stitching as Drawing” workshop at @textilecentermn . The first uses some lovely silk thread gifted by a generous fellow workshop participant (on linen) and the second is a work in progress using a textile remnant from @indigoandsnow . The pieces are about 3 1/2” and 4” square respectively. What a way to spend a vacation week! Susan was an incredible instructor, and the other workshop participants were an inspiration.
How I spent my summer vacation week... Just spent 5 days in the fabulous workshop “Stitching as Drawing” taught by Susan Brandeis. It was a revelation! Many thanks to Susan and the other incredible artists in the workshop. Here are three of my studies, the first two in blacks and grays and the third a study of optical mixing plus stitching doodles. To see Susan’s beautiful work, check out the exhibit at @textilecentermn , along with work by Susan Moss and Tom Lundberg.
Oh wow!!! Look what arrived on this gray MN day. It’s organic botanical denim from @hustontextilecompany . As Kat Huston described it, they wove the denim from organic cotton from the West Texas Organic Cotton Co-op, which was skein dyed in Maine using botanical indigo dye cakes. Photos do not do this denim justice. It is amazing! Now to finish the loomstate fabric by washing. (EDIT: Kat clarified that the fabric is not loomstate. It had been washed and stretched. On my second wash, the fabric softened beautifully and so did the color.) And to dream of jeans and more to come.
Wonderful finds at #artawhirl ! The hand-painted textiles from @indigoandsnow (curated by the artist behind @mariakarendesigns) will almost certainly be used for embroidery. The moon print from @kelzuki and the soap from @soap.and.rope.co round out the treasures that made their way home with me. Such a lovely evening exploring with my good pal NQ!