Handspun Adventures 10/30/2014 scrapbox edition – Mink

Mink!!!

Mink
Mink

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Yet Another, scrapbox from Namaste Farms, so what keeps bringing me back to spinning the same thing over and over again? That’s just it, it’s never the same! Each scrapbox brings me something new to taste test, whether it’s a new fiber, add in, or technique (taught via livestream tutorial that is sometimes offered with the scrapbox purchase)…I am addicted. Too much of a good thing doesn’t exist where fiber is concerned, and these Scrapboxes, are a healthy dose of just that!!!

Prior to lock spinning and NF scrapboxes, my all time favorite was polworth commercial top. (I still love polworth)
That was out of merino, BFL, and polworth that I had tried, to that point. There’s just so much more to experience in spinning!!

Over the years, opening my palette, I’m finding I love other wool preps and fiber blends so much more! Years of spinning and I’m still only scratching the surface. A scrapbox keeps it fresh, inspiring, and fascinating because I experience another first, everytime.

My blog is transparent, I’m a scrapbox fiend, that’s pretty clear. But I learn more of what I like to spin everytime I treadle one of these onto my bobbin. (I want to spin a little bit of everything, I want to try it all) Each fiber has a quality that makes it beautiful and these scrapboxes let me experience more fibers, treats, techniques etc, all at once. So yes, I’m on a scrapbox kick because I get a lesson and experience in each one, not to mention… The way it’s dyed, the colors!!
*swoooooon* there is nothing like beautiful color on fiber.
The color is what sucks me in, and then every discovery after, is bonus. I love when there is more then one color in the lock staple. I love when the tip is darker, or lighter or a completely different color then the rest of the lock.
Ive moved twice in the last 3 months, I might add, these are great during a move. When you need to spin, but your stash is packed. Order up one of these puppies and you are ready to go. Everything included for a fun and fulfilling spin.

I ordered some extra Angelina, in different colors, during a purchase from namaste farms. That is the only extra, I added to this kit. I didn’t need it, as this box came with a bunch of novelty add ins, but why not? I love sparkle.

Angelina in blaze, violet, blue, copper... Love sparkle
Angelina in blaze, violet, blue, copper… Love sparkle

The Mink box, is dyed in neutral or natural colors. The taupe is worthy of special mention, it’s amazing. At first glance, you think it looks gray, until you have it next to gray, and then you see it’s not gray at all, but truly taupe. It’s gorgeous.

Taupe locks Exmoor/merino cross
Taupe locks
Exmoor/merino cross

The taupe locks are dyed on an exmoor/merino cross bred fleece, so they have a soft sproingy crimp, with a curly tip. A new breed and fleece type for me. Really really cool wool!! A must try!

Mink fiber and add ins
Mink fiber and add ins

In addition to the color taupe, this box came with, fibers in all natural shades from light to dark. The taupe, actually, was originally a white fleece. It’s amazing for how natural all these colors look, they were dyed to be this way. This box came with colors from light gray, deep steel gray, cream, tan, beige, lighter medium browns to rich dark chocolate browns, some that seem to look black but in the sun, will show more depth and reveal other colors like deep mahogany. The tints of color, all mesh and put together make a gorgeous yarn. They look so natural to have been dyed. I think the steel gray mohair, was the original fleece color, but again, having been dyed so expertly, it’s hard to decipher in this scrapbox what is dyed vs originally grown that way on the animal.

Colors of mink
Colors of mink

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The add ins were several different novelty yarns and threads.
Three different colors of especially soft eyelash yarn, the good stuff, high end. Another was a golden train track or ladder novelty yarn. Now I say yarn, but it’s not what one would think of as a traditional yarn, more like novelty ribbon. It’s special, whatever it is. Several different threads in all neutral colors, matching the dyed fibers found in the scrapbox. All different (neutral/natural) tones and textures. A gray fuzzy halo thread, and a smooth brown with a little golden metallic sparkle.

Autowrap addins
Autowrap addins

One of my favorites, was the Habu textile thread in chocolate brown that appeared to have what looks like fat, soft furry caterpillars crawling across every few inches.
There were, well over, ten different add in threads, that came with the fiber. Each thread came in one long length, but I chose to cut them in shorter lengths for my purpose of use. Adding a touch here and there

Spinning goodies ranged from mohair, to long wools, to medium and fine wools. All variety of different fibers that inspire, with the many different staple lengths and textures. From crimpy, soft, fluffy and sproingy to light reflecting luster with ringlet curls, silky smooth to the touch, all in beautiful neutral shades.
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As mentioned earlier, some of namaste farms scrapbox purchases come with a livestream tutorial. Prior to spinning Mink, I had the chance to watch one of these Livestream tutorials, held by Natalie Redding.(a lucky replacement for a namaste farms blogtalk one evening)

Namaste Farms past blogtalks can be found here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/namaste-farms
New episodes can be heard live Thursday nights at 6pm Pacific.

In this livestream episode, she shows several different techniques, while spinning the kits contents. Since she does this live, viewers can ask any questions, or request to “please show that again”, or “what ifs”, or “how would I”?
Anything really. These live tutorial spinning sessions are invaluable.

You can watch her spin using the Mink scrapbox and it’s contents here
http://new.livestream.com/accounts/816420/events/3337273

To quote Natalie, she knows how to spin “a balanced, light, lofty single.” And let me tell you, she does it well. Many many hours, many many skeins of practice makes perfect.

She referred to herself as a “one trick pony” spinner, as this, light lofty single, is the yarn she spins. With respect, I fervently disagree with this sentiment. With regards to Natalie’s spinning, this couldn’t be further from the truth, she is no “one trick pony”!!!
You won’t see MORE ways to spin a single ANYWHERE ELSE…
She shows more ways to
-spin a single,
-style a single,
-add something to a single
-all the while, keeping it stable, balanced, and freaking awesome.
Natalie demonstrates techniques that are unique and priceless. Sharing her proprietary knowledge, thereby, adding inspiration and tools to my own spinning repertoire. She is an intuitive spinner and is able to translate how she gets from point A, to point B, clearly. She is an excellent teacher. It is very difficult to spin a thick yarn, that’s light and airy. Even more difficult, is to keep it a low twist single, without it falling apart. If you have the chance to see and touch her yarn in person, it’s incredible. I got this chance in her booth at Lambtown 2014 held in Dixon, Ca. Photos of her yarn are incredible, but in person, you can feel the stability and just how weightless it is, it just boggles the mind. Seeing a bunch of her handspun skeins together, I realize how many options there are to spin a single. She is constantly formulating something new and different, forever changing and adding options available to a spinner. It never gets old.

I’m enthralled by the skills and amount of new content I learn. The above link is one of many recorded past spinning sessions. She always has new techniques and a new style yarn. Recent spin sessions, show several different techniques while spinning a single. On her livestream channel, one can find older posts where she has plied skein sessions, and even sheep to finished project. She shares many proprietary techniques exclusive to her. I feel very very lucky to have her share so openly, to help other spinners like myself.

A few examples of tips and tricks, would be, how to add a small puff of very short stapled fiber, and secure it to the single, by taking just a few long stapled fibers of longwool and essentially plying over those short bits locking everything in place. Brilliant!
Adding plied strength to a single where it otherwise may have been weakened! That was huuuuge for me. Major a-ha moment!

She’s shown several things to do with add in threads, like tucking one side in making it in invisible and allowing the other half to fly freely, much like a long lock. Or another technique, allowing the addin to auto wrap and hide both sides of the string within the fiber.
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Another technique that blew my mind was how to lock “something” in (a curl, a long lock, or how to spin a lock of fiber, the cut end in the single without a trace but leave out the perfect curled tip she wants to show) with a tug of fiber up toward the “something”she wanted secure, sometimes wrapping the tugged bit with fiber, sometimes leaving it as is, depending on the outcome she was aiming for. These techniques were just a few she shared and I have never seen them before anywhere. Because Natalie is an intuitive spinner, she spins fast, but when teaching, is able to slow it down significantly while giving a detailed, step by step, explanation of exactly what she is doing.
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After watching this I was excited. I got to spinning straight away. This yarn is the coolest Ive made.
It’s natural colors are subtle, but all the add ins, autowraps, different fibers, textures, techniques, sparkles, etc etc etc I mean,
This handspun has so many elements of interest… It’s a special skein and one that I am really proud of. With so many things going on in this yarn, the natural colors of the dyed fiber tone it down, and it works. It’s wildly complex but sophisticated. I’m still learning color, I love me some bright rainbows, neon aqua and hot peach, but my wardrobe shows I’m a fan of plain black and white,of blue jeans. So to make a neutral yarn with this much fun going on, it kinda blew my mind. This is the styling of a yarn, I’m talking about, that I didn’t know played a part.
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I can’t recommend enough, to watch, Namaste Farms tutorials.
Coming up, she is also doing spin in labs/ classes with http://www.fiberygoodness.com hosted by Spin Artiste creator – Arlene Thayer and Woolwench – Suzy Brown.
Check the fiberygoodness website for further information on all the spinning inspiration and classes they offer. The gallery of handspun made by students is motivational eye candy.
I’ve signed up for one of the fibery goodness labs by on November 19 with Namaste Farms. I barely got in, as these classes sold out In minutes for months in advance. Keep an eye out for more!

Mink and Shanghai
Mink and Shanghai

Awww I love spinning… I imagine how impressed our ancestors over thousands of years would be, to see what we are making today… Spinning is such an intricate art, as is the wool that is grown today. Animal husbandry is an artform. The constant quest for perfection over centuries, to bring the best fiber, to hand spinners and the textile industry. Especially, with the latest in AI science, and the ability to bring the best genetics from across the globe. We are so fortunate to be spinners today. The progress is monumental and something to be revered. The hard work of our shepherds and shepherdess’s to bring about such a superior product is truly an art in itself. This isn’t nearly as recognized as it should be. This is where spinning begins, and our handspun art as spinners, is made possible. I appreciate them and all their efforts to bring nothing but the best fiber. I love to grab a handful of dyed locks and just play. I could do this for hours… And I do,
as often as I can.

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