Breed Specific Spinning

For several years, I have been accumulating a stash of breed-specific spinning fibers.  In looking back at my blog, I believe the first time I mentioned breed-specific spinning was in January 2015.  I wanted to do some breed-specific spinning to build my working knowledge of wool.  I started spinning to understand yarn.  In order to understand spinning, I need to understand fiber.

When I started buying breed-specific fibers, I was buying prepared fibers.  However, I realized that some fibers are not available prepared, which led me to purchase multiple raw fleeces and scour them myself, as I’ve written about in January 2018 and February 2018.

While I have continued to accumulate breed-specific fibers, I have not spun them.  I have, however, taken several classes at PlyAway and SAFF to help me in this process.  This includes classes in long draw, how to process fleece after it is scoured, and one of Beth Smith’s breed study classes.

This year, I’m going to be start spinning some of my breed-specific stash.  My friend Stacy will be joining me in this endeavor.  We haven’t worked out all the details of this yet, but we will both be blogging about our experiences with the same breed.  Sometimes we will be working from the same fleece or sample and sometimes we will be working from what we happen to have in our stashes.  If I process the fleece from raw, notes on the processing will be included in the blog post, along with notes on the spinning and finished yarn.

This blog post will serve as an index to all the other posts in this series.  I will go back and look through my prior posts to see if any are still relevant and if they are, I will link them here.  When we write posts about a new spin that is part of this study, I will also link to it here.  I will link back to this post from all the future posts on this topics so you can get back here easily, but you might also want to bookmark this post for your reference if you want to follow along.

The SassyBee Fiber I’m spinning is 100% Polworth, so Polworth may be the first fiber on our docket.  Stacy is checking her stash to see if she has any.  Since we haven’t worked out parameters, I can’t give you a specific timeline for when we will be publishing our first breed-specific post, but I know it will be this year  🙂  Stay tuned!

Goals

Here are any posts about goals or timelines or parameters of this project.

2015 Goals and Plans

January 2015 Plans

 

Inventory

I’ve posted a few times about Inventory.  I’m working on a spreadsheet with a complete list and once I have that finished, I’ll link to that here.

January 2015

February 2015

 

Processing and Purchasing

Orlando Distaff Day 2015

Scouring Fleece, January 2018

On My Birthday, February 2018

Spinning in Progress

Central Florida Fair 2015

WIP Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tour de Fleece 2015, Stage 10

Breed-Specific Blog Posts

 

Tour de Fleece 2015, Stage 10

My continuing mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations  um, I mean spin one color of 3 Feet of Sheep each day.  Today I spun through my one color and about 40% of the next color.  Unfortunately, my Tour de Fleece will be cut even shorter than I expected.  Chris’s uncle passed away early this morning and we will be going to the funeral.  This means I now have at least three more days with no spinning.  I do hope to finish 3 Feet of Sheep by the end of the month, even though it will be outside the usual Tour de Fleece time frame.

As usual, the picture on the left is my bobbin at the beginning of the day and the picture on the right is my bobbin at the end of the day.

image

I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.  This fiber continues to spin up faster and thicker than the cormo.  I can’t wait to see it finished!

WIP Wednesday: May 6, 2015

It’s been another busy week of crafting!  Spending the entire weekend doing demos helped in that regard.  I worked slower than usual, since I was chatting with Festival attendees and regularly leaving my work aside to show an interested person how to weave on the floor loom, but I was there for so many hours that I got a lot done despite the frequent interruptions.

Super Secret Shawl

I only got 1/2 of a repeat done this week.  I will be bringing this project with me as travel knitting next week, and expect to get a great deal more finished.

image

Cormo Spinning

I spent most of Saturday spinning.  Three hours at my weekly spinning group followed by 5 hours spinning at the Festival of the Arts was enough time to spin at least half of the bobbin that is on my wheel (2.5 to 3 ounces).

image

Woven Doctor Who Scarf

On Saturday night, I tied this scarf on to my rigid heddle loom.  This evening I finished weaving it and it is currently soaking for wet finishing.

WIP Wednesday: April 1, 2015

No jokes or April Fools here.  Just works in progress.

Cormo

As I mentioned in my post about the St. Augustine Spin In, I spun a couple ounces of Cormo at the event.  I’m still loving this fiber!

image

 

Clapotis

When I got home from the Spin In, I collapsed on the couch and did some knitting.  I’ve never knit a clapotis, so cast one on.  I was thinking I might bring this to India as travel knitting, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll be done before I leave.  I’m in the middle of the 4th repeat on the straight section.  I’m almost at the end of my second ball of yarn and I only have 2 more.  This means I’m close to halfway through the shawl.  I won’t do all 12 repeats of the straight section, but I will get 8 to 9 repeats and that should be fine since I’m a short person!

image

Master Handknitter Level 1

Today I went through the instructions again and made myself a checklist covering all the tasks that must be completed for Level 1.  I am registered to attend the TKGA Conference in San Diego in late July, and I’m hoping that I can finish all of Level 1 before I go.  I’d really like to finish by late May or early June so that I can submit and possibly get back my reviewed binder before the conference, but given how much traveling I’m doing over the 6 weeks, it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to do it.

Travel Plans

It is amazing how much work it is to prepare to travel to India!  I got 5 shots of immunizations, a series of pills to take for a 6th, plus antimalarial and antidiarrhea prescriptions.

Two of these were for my husband's; the rest of those needles were for me.  He'd already had many of the necessary immunizations because of his previous travel.
Two of these were for my husband’s; the rest of those needles were for me. He’d already had many of the necessary immunizations because of his previous travel.

I applied for Global Entry, a program which makes the process of going through customs on the return trip much easier.  That program required an interview, so I went and did that.  We started applying for the travel visa and realized we needed additional information, so I went about procuring that.  I called our credit card, cell phone carrier, and health insurance company to let them know we are traveling and find out if I needed to do anything with them before we left.  There’s a lot more, but I can’t remember it all!

Central Florida Fair 2015

When we first moved to Florida in May 2002, I joined the Confectionary Artists Guild of Orlando (CAGO).  I started learning cake decorating as a scout badge when I was 12 and by the time I moved to Florida, I had professional-level skills.  CAGO does cake demos at the Central Florida Fair every year.  They usually have an entire weekend afternoon of demos from the stage in the Creative Arts building.  CAGO members do back-to-back 1/2 hour demos on a variety of cake-related skills.  I did a demo every year for three or four years.  When the Fair was looking for people to do cooking demos, they asked CAGO if any of our members wanted to do that.  I volunteered, and did vegetarian cooking demos for a couple years in addition to the cake demos.  Then I started law school in fall 2007 and life got pretty crazy.  I hadn’t been to the Fair since.  Until yesterday, when I spent the morning at the fair, doing spinning demos in the Weavers Guild of Orlando booth.

image
Bev demonstrating on the floor loom and me spinning.

The Central Florida Fair is only open in the evening on most weekdays.  On the first Friday morning of the fair, they host a Kids’ Day for school groups, homeschool groups, and families.  Each group gets a guide from the fair in addition to the chaperones from the school.  The guide brings the group through the open sections of the fairgrounds (the midway isn’t open, but creative arts and the barns were; not sure about other buildings).  In the creative arts building, most of the guild and club booths had a person in them to do a demo.  Some had make and takes or a hands on activity.  In our booth, we gave a brief talk about how clothes are made.  Bev talked about the difference between knitted and woven fabrics, pointing out examples from the clothes kids were wearing.  Then I pointed out the $5 Mystery Fleece, fluffed out on the table behind me and the bag of seeded Pima cotton (in a bag just behind my right shoulder in the picture above).  I explained that these were in raw form, that they were then cleaned and formed into a continuous tube of fiber, and that in order to make yarn those tubes of fiber have to be thinner and that’s what a spinner does.

After we did our short explanation, kids got a chance to weave on the floor loom and to make Kumihimo braids with guidance from my friend V. (That’s V.’s foot in the right-hand edge of the picture above; she asked me not to post her picture).  V. is not a fiber-crafter (yet!) but she’s staying with me and she tagged along to the fair to help wrangle kids.  At the beginning of the day, Bev showed V. how to do Kumihimo braids.  She picked it up quickly and did a great job teaching kids how to do it too.

The bucket is half full of bobbins.  Kids could pick their favorite color and use it to weave.
The bucket is half full of bobbins. Kids could pick their favorite color and use it to weave.

One of the bobbins in the bucket (on the shuttle in the picture above) was loaded with VCR tape.  Bev had several small woven pieces and a finished bag that included VCR-tape weft.  I was surprised by how pretty it was.  The tape tends to take on the colors of the warp or other surrounding fibers, adds a pretty sheen to the fabric, and the draft pattern stands out beautifully against it.  Bev also brought some samples woven with plastic grocery bags or Cheesecake Factory to-go bags.  All the pieces were beautiful, and I wouldn’t have guessed the material.  I obviously need to expand my thoughts on appropriate materials for weaving!  There’s a lot more than just yarn.

Close up of the VCR-tape weft.
Close up of the VCR-tape weft.

Teaching Spinning

I started a new fiber at the fair — Cormo for my first of the Breed-Specific Spinning Project.  For the first few groups of kids, I just spun and answered questions.  No one touched my wheel.  One of the kids in the fourth group asked if she could try it out, so I sat her down at the wheel.  I’ve only been spinning for 10 months now, and have only spun about 3 pounds of fiber.  I’m nowhere near an expert and haven’t taught anyone else to spin.  I discovered that I don’t have a good vocabulary for explaining what is happening when you spin or for verbally communicating the process to a student.  After that first kid, I didn’t let anyone else sit and try all the steps at once.  I mostly let kids (even as young as 4) hang onto the roving and pull on it a bit, while I treadled and kept my left hand pinched firmly around the point of the twist.  The resulting fiber was over twisted, thick and thin, and broke a couple of times.  But so  what?  Kids got to touch fiber and were pretty excited about it.  I learned that I have a lot to learn before I can effectively teach spinning and that the technical details of spinning are not firm enough in my own mind.  If they were, I’d be able to explain them!

image

More Fair for Me?

The Central Florida Fair runs February 26 – March 8 this year.  During the week, they are open evenings 4 pm or 5 pm until 10 pm.  On Saturdays and Sundays, they are open 10 am to 10 pm.  The Weavers of Orlando are staffing our booth on weekends, but may not be there on weekdays.  I can’t be there again this weekend, but might be there next weekend.  If you are at the Fair, stop by and say hi to the weavers!  Anyone can try out the floor loom; it’s not just for kids!

 

 

 

UPDATED: Breed Specific Fiber Inventory

Since I posted my original Breed Specific Fiber Inventory, I ordered additional fiber from A Little Barn (italicized in the list below) and from The Woolery (bolded in the list below).  Here’s the updated list!  Both orders have been shipped; I expect The Woolery order on Tuesday and the Little Barn order on Thursday or Friday.  Also, because I think this project will take more than a year, I’m adding the tag ‘Breed Spin.’  I previously said the tag was BreedSpin2015, and I am going to keep that tag; I’m just adding the more generic one.

Continue reading “UPDATED: Breed Specific Fiber Inventory”