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  • knitting1105 9:44 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Michigan Fiber Fest, ,   

    All the Colors 

    Finally, here are my purchases from our day last Friday at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  But I must interject that the name is confusing to those non knitters and spinners.  My friends had more than one person ask them if it was about eating fiber, and why would there be a festival for that?!!

    Taking the Spinning the colors of Shetland class, while it was not too interesting, inspired me to spin up the many colors and knit the hat by Kate Davies, Sheep Heid.


    With that in mind, I bought these 3 colors of Shetland wool, after I got home and read the pattern, I realize that it wants 9 of the colors, so I will have to do some more shopping at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool.  I have these 3 so far, and might use one of my other breeds of white as one of the colors.  This will be my first attempt at spinning for a specific project.  Fair isle apparently looks better with a 3-ply vs. a 2-ply (has to do with a round yarn versus the flatter 2-ply), but I will have to see how finely I can spin this up.


    Not just natural colors were on my mind.  Mimi and I both were attracted to having this Jamieson’s color chart, so we are now both proud owners of this wonderful inspiration. One day, when I have knit up some more of my stash, I will make a trip and purchase a multitude of colors for an Alice Starmore sweater.


    IMG_1585 IMG_1586

    The last item that I have to show you was the one thing that I wanted to take away from this festival, The Shepard’s Rug book.


    In trolling the market, I was on the lookout for this book, but not successful.  Then, we went out to the barn to see some of the animals, and  in the sheep area, there was Letty Klein with her rugs, and braiding away!!! I was thrilled, and she sold me the book, the coated linen thread, and then gave me a mini lesson on how to braid for these rugs.  I have been pouring over the book since.



    All-in-all, a great time, and I have no guilt about stash enhancement.

  • knitting1105 8:00 am on February 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Shetland Islands   

    Always new things 

    Even though I have enough to spin for quite some time, I can’t seem to stop purchasing the Fiber Optic rovings.  Kimber keeps coming out with these amazing color combinations, and they are irresistible, and only occasionally available.  So, I must stock up, mustn’t I?

    This is a Once in a Lifetime color (meaning it was an experiment and is not formulated to be repeated).  It is a blend of 40% Merino, 40% Baby Camel, and 20% Silk top.  I wish that you all could feel how incredibly soft this is.  I think that this will be next on my wheel after the Southern Cross Fiber is finished.


    And this is Wensleydale, a wool breed that I have never spun before.  It is called Evil Queen, because it darkened up in unplanned spots during the processing, she was looking for a Queen’s Red on the fibers.  I love the variation.  Again, a one-off.


    Lastly, the latest of the great gradient braids, this one is called Honey to Fig.  How could I ever resist this?  Very pretty colors, and like always, very difficult to capture with the camera.  Her colors are so intense and rich.


    I also purchased this book, Colors of Shetland by Kate Davies.  It is a history of the Shetland Islands, intermingled with the author’s Shetland inspired designs.  The photography is amazing, and the history is fascinating.  I am not sure that I am drawn to any of the knitted items at this time, but maybe in the future.




  • knitting1105 11:26 am on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Breeds, ,   

    Wool, lots of it! 

    A friend has a friend who has a sheep farm.  Do you know where this is leading?  The sheep are meat sheep, and they normally shear the sheep and throw away the wool.   Doesn’t that seem like a crime?  Well, I was asked if I would like the wool, and how could I say no?  I was thinking I would get a small bag that I would try my hand at washing and carding to spin.  Not knowing what the breed of sheep were, I happily accepted the offer of wool.  It was delivered to me at the Magnolia Party, they took me to their car to show me 2 huge black contractors bags full of wool!  At least 10# each!!!  That is a lot of wool, if you need a comparison, just think how much your favorite sweater weighs.  The wool was lambswool, a cross of Suffolk/Hamsphire (Black wool- natural color cross).

    Hampshire Lambs:

    Plus Suffolk lambs:

    When I read about it in my favorite fiber book, The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, they said that while not often available to hand spinners, it spins up as good outerwear, soft yet durable, often overlooked as a good fleece for handspinners.  These breeds are in the Down classification (from Down area of southern England, nothing to do with soft under down of a duck).  The staple length is short, 2-4 inches

    I wish that I had taken a photo of the bags of wool, one white, the other black with white.  I very quickly realized 2 things, one that I could never hand process all of this wool, and secondly that the strong sheep farm smell was more than I wanted to put up with for a long time in my house, especially as it was very warm that week.  So, the day after coming back from a trip to Michigan to visit my Mom, I drove with a friend to the Illinois Wool & Fiber Mill in Belvidere, about a 90 minute drive each way.  We dropped off the bags and got a tour of the mill, the machinery was custom-made for them:

    First the drying racks after the wool has been washed:

    Then to carding:

    And to processing into roving (the owner Jane is in the blue shirt):

    And, you can’t leave a fiber mill without a little sheep time!

    Now, I have a 6 month wait before they are caught up on their backlog.  Plenty of time to figure out what to do with all of this wool.

    • Lisa 4:11 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I am so jealous!


      • knitting1105 5:18 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        You will be welcome to take some if you want. There will be more than I will ever need….


  • knitting1105 4:02 pm on August 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alpaca, Jacob sheep, , ,   

    Michigan Fiber Fest 

    We drove up last Saturday, on our way to Mackinac Island, and stopped for the afternoon at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  As soon as we got there it started to rain, so we headed straight for the animal barns to hang out and bide the time until the storm passed.  That proved to be a wise decision, as it kept us both occupied, and gave us ample opportunity to meet and talk with some of the farmers who had livestock there.  As happened at Wisconsin last year, we gravitated towards the primitive sheep breeds.

    Loved the Jacob lambs from Wynsmoor Manor (Neil Kentner) of Mason, Michigan.

    I purchased 8 ounces of Jacob roving directly from him.    Great price right from sheep to spinner.   It has a wonderful “sheepy smell” to it, not overpowering, just natural.

    I loved these beautiful colored Merino with the golden tops of their heads.  I have no photos of them unjacketed, but they were gorgeous.  I need to try some of this roving.

    and more sheep…

    I bought this 4 oz ball of natural white Shetland roving to mix with the Shetland that I spun up this summer for Fall mittens and hats.

    There were Llamas, alpacas and one camel:

    I also bought this beautiful alpaca, I bent the roving so that you could see the gorgeous natural color variations.  This is from The Williamston Alpaca Shoppe (I hate that spelling of shop):

    And goats and rabbits (no rabbit photos though):

    I have mixed feelings about this Festival.  I loved the smallness of the barns, and really being able to talk with the owners in-depth.  There was not a huge animal selection, like in Wisconsin, and I found the vendors to be lacking.  I am not sure I would make a special trip up there just for this.  If I were in the area, I would go though.  I have never seen a large selection of their classes that I am interested in taking either.

    However, I have to end with this adorable little girl.  She was posing for her Grandmother, and I asked if I could take her photos also.  Her goat had just received Honorable Mention, and the way she was smiling and tickled, you would have thought it first place in a major competition.

  • knitting1105 8:42 am on July 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    4, 4, 4 

    480 yards

    4 ounces

    4 days (for spinning, 2 for plying)


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