Video: Raising Gotland Sheep

Thanks to @knitmummy2creates for passing the information over to me on this video.

The sound is very low, though there is close caption available.

Enjoy!

Lessons of a Forum-Kind

#spin15aday on Ravelry

“Sometimes time spent reinventing the wheel results in a revolutionary new rolling device. But sometimes it just amounts to time spent reinventing the wheel.”― Steve KrugDon’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

I have to say, I have learned a lot about website building this week.  Creating a resource for information for #spin15aday has been eye-opening. By taking a simple step back, I can see where my strengths and my lack of efficiency lie.

Creating a place to house the farm directory is a strength.  Gathering the information by myself, an inefficiency.  To change that inefficiency, I have enlisted help to collect emails of fiber farms across the states so I can send out the google form requesting permission to post information and a photo of the farm listing.  I figure folks would want to know their farm is being listed and it’s just good old-fashioned courtesy.

I had also created a forum on the website.  It took quite a bit of time to pull it all together and as I really looked at it I felt I was trying to reinvent the wheel.  I pulled it from the site.

Where does that leave us? Ravelry!  We all know that Ravelry is the next best thing to sliced bread for fiber folk. It’s one-stop shopping for patterns, ideas, yarn information and much, much more.

I created a #spin15aday group to be able to have more in-depth conversations outside of Instagram. A place to have general chatter about our daily lives, breed studies, tips and tricks and really just about anything else we would like to do.

Instagram has been and will always be the number one platform for #spin15aday.  Ravelry will just be the cool whip on the pound cake for us to hang out together.

Until next time…

 

 

 

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(Fiber) Farm Directory

Finn Ram 02.24.18                                                                     The winds of change blew through on Saturday after spending a lovely, full day with Anne of Middle Brook Fiberworks.

We took a ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island so she could see Churchmouse Yarns & Teas in person as well as a stop in to visit Emily of Local Fiber Studio and her herd of Finn sheep.

We then drove on down the road to Port Gamble for a delicious lunch at Butcher Baker, where we shared the most delicious fried chicken sandwich and kale/beet salad.

Another stop to see Heidi at The Artful Ewe and a quick look around Port Gamble before we trundled down to the Kingston Ferry Terminal to catch the boat back over to Edmonds/Seattle.

I had the pleasure of also meeting Anne’s friend, Megan, of the Fiber Gallery Yarn shop.

This was about an eight hour day, of almost non-stop chatting.  Anne had many great ideas to share and I just was in awe of all the possibilities of things I can do to be a great #spin15aday shepherdess.

So I dove in, head first, with no real workflow to ensure that I can get to the end goal. Most times in business, without vision and planning, the project fails half-way through. I’m hoping I can avoid that pitfall.

The first thing to do, updating the website from blog to something more powerful and useful to fiber folk. A cleaner, professional look. I’m getting there!

Next, working on #spin15aday gear to help sustain #gift-aways and to bring the community together through small items that other’s recognize when at a fiber festival or a spin-in.  We spinners love anything that’s wool-bling.

Then there is the BIG project, the “(fiber) farm directory.” It’s almost scary if I really sit down and think about it, but I don’t. I just go about my research, looking for fiber farms around the world and grabbing their email addresses with hopes that they are still in business and that the email doesn’t bounce back.

I’m trying to stay as efficient as possible, using a Google form to send out to farms.  They fill out a short questionnaire for farm directory information as well as a photo.  We all love pretty pictures of sheep!

There was a great article in the Spin-Off Magazine, Spring 2012, about a fiber map.  I can see this being done for a guild in a specific area. I had wanted to do it for Washington State, but the timing just wasn’t right for me six years ago.

Now here I am, trying to collect information on fiber-related farms around the world and I have hopes that I can make it what it truly can be, a resource for spinners everywhere.

Until next time…

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

Website Store Now Open

Part One: Best Advice

One of the #wemakeyarn photo prompts for January was best advice.
Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 4.24.43 PM

As you can see in the above photo, I had decided to post about giving advice.

Never give up.

Well, I took my own advice to heart as I started working on my business website last night.  It was a lot of trial and error, restarting, changing, deleting, pulling from the trash, throwing back in the trash and reading all sorts of advice out on the world wide web.

I think I did enough testing to make sure things are working as properly as possible, so I am officially opening my website store.

Part Two: The Studio

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In part, the studio will not only house my love of wool, it will also house my sharing of my love of wool.  Working full time outside of the home supports my home, so having a small business in place, I can only hope it will help to support the sharing for my love of wool. The studio is part of a long range retirement plan as well.

Once the studio is completed (fingers crossed for this spring), the studio will be open on weekends for fiber folks to make an appointment to try out knitting machines, different types of spinning wheels, or just rent the equipment for an hour or two without having to commit to any big purchases.

I have no false dreams. I know that Mom & Pop businesses no longer can make it in the box/online store age that we live in.  Though, I do have hope. Hope that I can possibly encourage another person in the way of crafting with wool and keeping traditions alive.

Eventually, the website will house the upcoming events for the studio.

Just remember, “it’s bigger on the inside.”

 

 

History Makers: Softest Wool

Grab some tea and a bit of knitting or spinning and enjoy this short documentary from Bloomberg Pursuits, YouTube  featuring Shetland Wool and Fair Isle, Shetland.

 

St. Distaff’s Day 2018

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January 7 is Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. This day marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas when women resumed their household work and went back to spinning.

I have read that the term St. Distaff’s Day is unofficial as there is no such saint. I think it just sounds better.

The St. Distaff’s Day event here in Washington will be held at the Evergreen State Fair on January 6. I have never attended, though I am seriously thinking I should change that this year.

If you are in the area and/or plan on attending, let me know through IG, I would love to meet you.

 

Woven Mobius Cowl

Mobius*: It was discovered independently by the German mathematicians August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing in 1858. … Rather, mathematicians refer to the closed Möbius band as any surface that is homeomorphic to this strip. Its boundary is a simple closed curve, i.e., homeomorphic to a circle.

*Mobius Strip  – Wikipedia (2017, November 20) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Möbius_strip

Basic directions:

Warp to length/style you desire.  See the description before each picture for these two cowls.

Weaving: Tabby weave until length desired before center/front section of finished cowl. Pull the woven piece from the front beam to lay the fringe in the warp to close the mobius strip.  I fastened the woven piece to the front beam wrapping it around and securing with large safety pins.  Be careful not to wrap around so that when it is time to take off the loom you have woven a complete circle around the beam. That would be bad, very bad.

You can now twist the length of the woven portion before weaving the final section if you want.

Weave the fringe in with the weft, one strand or a section of strands for each pick. The fringe and the weft will make a denser portion that will lay nicely at the front when wearing.

Once all of the fringe is woven in, cut off the back beam making sure to keep all the extra length of the warp to finish the fringe.

Finish the fringe how you like.

two mobius cowls

Mobius Cowl 1 (greens/purples): Handspun & Commercial yarns used: Warped 8″ wide x approx. 120″ on 8 dent reed, rigid heddle. Wound on about 20 inches to front beam for fringe, widths of weaving in reed and a bit extra for that “just in case”.  This cowl wraps double around the neck as the main body I wove 65 inches before starting center/front section. Remember that finishing the piece will result in shrinkage. I will probably make a wider fabric (12 – 15 inches) for future projects as it will just be cozier.

blue green mobius cowl

Mobius Cowl 2 (corals/pinks): Handspun & Commercial yarns used: Warped 12″ wide x approx. 72″ on 8 dent reed, rigid heddle. Wound on about 20 inches to front beam for fringe, widths of weaving in reed and a bit extra for that “just in case”.  This cowl just lays around the neck.

coral mobius cowl

This is a great project for handspun, scrap yarn and destashing.  Just have fun!

Mary Ellen Joe: Cowichan Knitter by Phil Ives

As fiber enthusiasts, finding a good documentary on the craft is always a good thing. Enjoy!

A short film by Phil Ives

#spin15aday2018challenge

Spin15aday 1

We are going to do it again, though some of you have never stopped! #spin15aday is coming up starting January 1 and we’ll be taking the #spin15aday2018challenge! Are you in?

What to do:

Spin. 15 minutes a day. Simple.

You get to decide what you are spinning, how you are spinning, when you are spinning. All we want to do is promote everyone to spin 15 minutes a day. It adds up, really it does.

There will be gift-aways to keep folks motivated as well as small project purpose challenges during the year that if you want to join in and do, great, if not, not worries. Just keep spinning.

Note: there are no yardage requirements, there is no race, it’s just about the hygge of enjoying the time spinning fiber.  

Spin with a wheel, a spindle or a rock and stick! It’s up to you!  We just want you to share when you can on Instagram using hashtags #spin15aday , #spin15aday2018challenge or whatever hashtag is up for the small project challenge.

I’m excited. Are you excited? I sure hope so.

Ready.Set.Spinnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Spin 15 a day 2

 

 

 

 

Wool Breed: Colored Ryeland

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, nearly five months.  Time to get back at it.

This week’s wool breed is Colored Ryeland.

Ryeland Sheep

Picture from Wikipedia

I’ll be spinning up this 20 grams  @bakewell_hearts shared with me awhile back.

Historically, the Ryeland sheep are thought to be from as early as the 1300’s, where monks raise the Ryeland sheep among ryeland pastures.

As for the royalty of Queen Elizabeth I (reign: 1553 – 1603), rumor was she had a love of Ryeland stockings.  It would be interesting to know how the wool was spun for the stockings and how they wore.  With the shorter staple length, I can see a woolen spin but just not stockings that would last long.

What I have learned about the current Ryeland breed is that the sheep in Great Britain/Australia are thought to be closer to the original breed, where as the Ryeland in New Zealand are producing a heavier, coarser wool.

 

Here’s the Great Britain/Australian wool facts:

Weight: 4.5 – 6.5 lbs (2-3 kg)

Staple Length: 2 – 5 inches (5 – 12.5 cm)

Microns: 25-28

Lock structure: dense, blocky lock with pointed tips

Fiber Prep: card, spin woolen.

 

 

Until next time…

Harris Spinner

What would you do if you ran across a bulky spinner for $40 on Craigslist?

A. Admire the photos and move on.

B. Ask yourself why you would even need another spinning wheel

C. Contact the seller, find out if it’s available, then drive an hour one way to buy it.

The answer: C

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This is the Harris Spinner by a H. C. Harris.  Not much is known about the maker through internet searches, though there is another spinner @threadbender on IG that had gotten one about 11 years ago and she shared what bit she could.  It was most likely made in the 1970’s somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  If you happen to have any information I would be ever so grateful if you would share it with me.

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It took a bit of waxing, oiling, lubing and a few supplies to get it up and working.

Here’s a short video of it doing what it was made for:

Until next time….

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