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  • knitting1105 5:41 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Shetland,   

    3rd Fiber Weekend 

    First there was YarnCon, then Lorna’s Laces sale, and this past weekend was The Fiber Event at Greencastle, the kick-off to the county fiber fairs in the area.  Located just west of Indianapolis, it is an easy drive down and back in a day.

    2012 was my first trip to Greencastle, and I loved it.  Andi went with me, we had a great drive, talked, and shopped, and found GeeGee.  My impetus at that time was to find the Fiber Optic booth and see all of her wares firsthand for the first time.

    A torrential rain the night before we were to leave last year made getting out-of-town nearly impossible.  So, this year I was even more determined to go, and really wanted a knitting buddy.  My husband would have gladly loved the trip, but he does better when there is also a livestock display involved.  Lynette agreed to go with me, and we got a rental car early and drove off to get there in the morning for best selection.

    First on the list was to make a beeline to GeeGee and score some of her aprons while the selection was still good.  I could have left with many more… I chose this lovely apron, from the early 1950’s for me.



    I really love the pocket that goes all the way through both sides.  I think it will be great to toodle around the house in and have things (think knitting) close at hand.


    Here is Lynette purchasing from GeeGee, we made quite the dent in her booth.  I absolutely love her aprons, and she has such a great sense of color.  75 years old, and full of life and optimism, a great inspiration.

    Blog Photos34


    Then it was off to take a first pass at all of the vendors and see what caught our eye. There were a lot of Alpaca vendors this year, many more than I remember 2 years ago.  We saw someone from the Champaign-Urbana fiber guild demonstrating a Chakra, that was really interesting.

    Blog Photos33

    I knew that I would be returning to Fiber Optic, just what to buy this year? A gradient of course!  My 2 favorite colors together, green and purple.  This is a definite Frances shawl! Lynette is trying the paintbox gradients, it will be fun to see how they knit up.


    I have always wanted to knit the Sheep heid tam, so found the pattern and knew that I needed to get that.



    Then, it just so happens that we passed by a Shepherd who had many colors of Shetland sheep, perfect symbiosis.  I scored these 7 colors, couldn’t be better than handspun for this project!



    And keeping with the Shetland theme, I purchased a beautiful book, that deserves its own post tomorrow.




    • Helen 2:19 am on April 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m jealous, you look to have had too much fun! 🙂


    • Mimi 11:52 pm on May 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like so much fun! One of these years…Interesting that you’ve wanted to do the tam because I want to do that blanket.


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

    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 6:50 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Shetland, ,   

    Trying to be Monogamous 

    I have been cleaning up my knitting and craft area, I am so excited to be able to show the finished space soon. And as my last post stated, I have been trying to clear up my spinning bobbins. The same problem afflicts my spinning as does my knitting, too often distracted by the newest colors and fibers, I quickly abandon a project part way completed. I am trying to remedy this fault in my behavior. On that note, here is another long languishing fiber from the CAT spin along in January-March. It is Shetland Wool Top from Southern Cross Fiber, color is Storm's edge. 770 yards of 2 ply. Spun on the small whirl on my Jensen. The yardage is not quite as good as I get with a Merino/Silk, I had trouble drafting it fine enough. However, I am pleased with the result.


    This is definitely one of the fibers that I liked more spun up than the dyed hank. I think this is beautiful. The colors seem to be a bit off, the yellow is more green, and the teal a bit darker. The thought at the moment is that this will become a winter scarf for Dan.



  • knitting1105 8:00 am on February 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Shetland, 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 3:56 pm on April 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Greencastle Indiana, Shetland   


    On Saturday Andi and I drove to Greencastle, Indiana for the The Fiber Event at Greencastle.  It was my first time going, and I was luckily able to get Andi to accompany me.  It was about a 3 hour drive each way, so not too bad.  We had a great time, lots of good things to see at the vendors, so we did one long pass through without purchasing anything, and then narrowed our choices down to return and buy what really caught our eye.  But first, there was a wee bit of animal time:

    I chose not to purchase any yarn, but get fiber that I felt was unique and I could not find elsewhere.  Hands down, this fiber caught my eye and I knew I had to have it.  So much so that we drove into town for lunch and to get extra cash since she did not take credit.  It is Shetland top (all fibers combed in the same direction, whereas roving has the fibers more random, see this post for a definition), with 3 colors of natural Shetland put together in a single grouping, from Psalm 23 Farm.  She had saved the skirting around the neck for 2 years to get enough of each of the different naturally colored fibers.  I bought almost a pound of this (so soft…):

    And, I had to get a bit of this combination also.

    Not to be missed also was the Fiber Optic booth, you know I love her colors.  Initially I was drawn to this color, Leap Day (80% Merino, 20% silk), and when I found out it was a limited edition dyed on Leap Day and not to be repeated, I knew it was for me.

    And this Robin’s Egg Batik on BFL as a coordinate.

    And so as not to forget Dan, this beautiful handmade twig ball with fiber for the birds in nest-building.  It is now gracing the Magnolia tree and the birds are already pulling out fiber.

    More from our trip tomorrow, too much for one posting.

    • kathytny 12:11 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, I don’t think I could have walked away from that lovely place without doing some terrible damage to my bank account! I do not have a wheel so I would pass on the things you bought but would probably do a lot more damage on alread spun wool. And let me tell you, I would have one of those twig ball for my bird friends. I have something like that out already but not as lovely looking as the one you have!!!!!! On to read more!


  • knitting1105 11:15 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Shetland,   

    Wisconsin Sheep 

    My husband and I went to Wisconsin last weekend for the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.  It did not disappoint at all.  I took 2 classes from Kate Larson, Woolen or worsted and Spinning 3 Leicesters.  I loved both classes, Kate is a fabulous teacher whom I would highly recommend to take classes from.  Not only did I finally learn how to really spin woolen vs worsted (twist in the draft zone or not), but I learned all about the Leicester sheep breed, and how to flick locks, and hand card.  I was so excited that I bought myself a pair of hand carders after the Friday class, and put them to work on Saturday.

    I was having so much fun in my classes that I forgot to take photos except for this one.  Even though I have only been spinning for a year, I was quite pleased with how my spinning held up next to others in the class.  Here are some of the market photos:

    I did a bit of shopping at the market, but this is what I am still drooling over.  Unfortunately, it had a SOLD sign on it when I walked by on Saturday.  There still is a cherry version, that would actually fit perfectly in my house.  I just need to convince my husband that I need to upgrade to this and trade in my Traditional.  My dream, a handmade Jensen wheel:

     It spun like a dream…

    I did pick up some fiber, and 2 books—one I had been on the lookout for, and one surprise.

    First, from Carol at Rivers Edge Fiber Arts Studio.  Now that I can spin, I am excited tp purchase her fiber.  She is the one who went to HS with my dear sister Marilyn, and remembered her.  Marilyn left too soon, and it is so special to find someone who knew her.  This is 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon.  Destined to become a pair of socks for myself.

    And some 1 oz balls of natural CVM (Califonia Variegated Mutant) roving.  One of the rarest of sheep in the United States, the California Variegated Mutant is the multi-colored derivative of the Romeldale Breed (Romeldales were first developed in California in the early 1900’s by crossing Rambouillet ewes with Romney rams; CVM development began in the 1960’s).

    Some muffins of mohair and silk from Circle Studio of Oregon, WI.  No website listed, but the back of the business card reads:  “To know a goat is to love a goat”.  I wish that I had purchased more of these when I saw them the first day, as they were all gone when I went back on Saturday:

    And these 2 balls of roving dyed with natural dyes from Handspun by Stefania.  Dan picked the green for a pair of mittens and a hat for himself.  The brighter colors are for me.   This is Coopworth dyed with Osage and Indigo

    And, Corriedale & Silk dyed with Madder and Weld (?)

    And sheep of course…


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

    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 10:28 pm on August 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Shetland,   

    Thank you Punkin’s Patch! 

    I received this yummy box of fiber in the mail yesterday.

    This is some scrumptiously soft, beautiful lambs wool from Punkin’s Patch, a wonderful group on Ravelry that had a Tour de Fleece group called : “My Favorite Sheep”, run by thecrazysheeplady on Ravelry.  My favorite sheep for the tour was Shetland, as I was trying to spin and understand the breed.  I must admit, I like the rougher, more primitive wool of the Shetland a lot.  And, I do love knitting with it for Fair Isle.  So, I was the winner for meeting my goal, and this was my prize.  I am so excited to spin it.  I do not have a scale right now, so I am not sure what the weight is.

    Tomorrow is a visit to the Michigan Fiber Fest.  My first time there, my husband is as excited as I.

  • knitting1105 8:28 am on July 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Shetland,   

    Spinning, spinning, spinning 

    I have been a busy pedaler with my spinning wheels.  Trying to spin a bit every day for the Tour de Fleece that I mentioned in an earlier post.  You were suppose to give yourself personal goals.  Mine was two-fold, to spin Shetland and discover its idiosyncrasies, and to just plain get better, especially at the finer yarns.  I started with some natural Shetland that I got at the Illinois Fiber and Folk Festival, and then went to some pencil rovings acquired from the same vendor.  The darker wool had a lot of longer hairs in it, which were all white, and it spun a thin yarn very nice.  The fibers were not perfectly aligned, which helped, although there were a LOT of nubs in this.  This is currently being plyed into a 2-ply.  4 ounces total.

    The light roving was a little more of a challenge, but that too spun up nicely.  This was 2 ounces, and 2 bobbins are patiently waiting to be plyed next.

    I was working my way up to some Fiber Optic Shetland in a Batik dye called Aubergine.  Today I tried that, and tried it, and tried it.  I finally put it away as my mo-jo with that fiber was just not there.  I have some questions out to see if there is a special technique that I should be doing, short of carding the fibers (no hand carders here yet).  So, for now, I will just look at this lovely fiber, take a break, get some answers, and ply the other.

  • knitting1105 12:01 pm on July 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Breed study, Fiber Optics, , Shetland,   

    Tour de Fleece, Shetland style 

    The Tour de Fleece is a spinner’s challenge.  On Ravelry, the spinners all set goals, and try to spin each day during the Tour de France.   They spin, we spin.  Both start today.  I know, I know, it sounds corny, but the goals and inspiration are great.

    Guidelines (NOT RULES):

    1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2nd through Sunday July 24th. Days of rest: Monday July 11th, Monday July 18st. (Just like the actual tour)
    2. Spin something challenging Friday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage over the Col du Galibier for the second time, and finishing up on Alpe d’Huez.)
    3. Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity. Take it from here or grab a clean one from the flickr pool. Come join the flickr pool!
    4. Wear yellow on Sunday July 24th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour – but here we are all ‘race leaders’)
    5. Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter – think FAST), Polka-dot (climber – as in uphill), and white (rookie)

    I am planning on spinning just Shetland rovings.  It will also be a part of a breed study that I am involved in, where we learn about a spin a different sheep breed (and maybe other animals as well) each month.  This month is Shetland.

    Here is what I know so far about Shetland sheep:

    • There are 11 recognized colors of Shetland Sheep (Dan and I would like a hobby farm with one of each color in the pasture)
    • There are 30 recognized markings
    • Shetland sheep are very affectionate, and will even wag their tails.  They have been domesticated since the Bronze age.
    • Shepherd dogs have a difficult time herding them
    • It is one of the “primitive” breeds, dating back more than 1,000 years
    • They are part of the Northern European short-tailed group of sheep, cousins include Finns and Icelandics
    • Shetland’s remained a pure breed for generations because of their geographical isolation
    • The breed fell out of favor when the quest for bright white fleece became popular, and many breeders eliminated the colored variants
    • The soft wool under the neck was favored for lace weight yarn, and used in wedding shawls that were so fine they could be pulled through a wedding ring
    • The Shetland fiber is also popular for Fair Isle projects, as the fiber has a tendency to bloom, thereby concealing colors that have been carried behind
    • If you drop a stitch, it will most likely stay put
    • The staple length is 2-4 1/2″ long
    • The undercoat is fine, the outercoat is smoother often with a curl at the tip
    • Low luster
    • Shetland is usually spun woolen
    • Moderate felting
    • The fiber is good for next to skin, and outerwear depending on the grade of the fiber
    • Shetland’s are smaller than commercial breeds and slow-growing, but long-lived and hardy, able to adapt to difficult conditions
    Here is the 2 colors of natural Shetland that I will be spinning.  I have already started on the dark wool (4 oz), and will do the light wool (2 oz) next.  Both from the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill, a brand new mill outside of  Chicago.
    Afterwards, I will work on this deep purple/black Shetland dyed roving by Fiber Optics.  It is actually a darker color than the photograph shows, it was very difficult to capture it’s exact hue.
    And, this is my first spinning of Shetland fiber.  It has a lot more loft to it, not as smooth and silky as some others.  I am finding it very easy to draft out, and get a thinner yarn.  I hope that I will be able to maintain consistency with this fiber.  That has been an issue for me with some other fibers.
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