Cobweb felting…

I gotta say… This process was not at all, what I expected.  Usually, I take great measures not to felt my fiber. I’ve always been afraid of the dreaded accidental felting. I would let the raw wool sink on its own in the scour process, to avoid agitation. I actually bought a laser temperature gun to make sure the fiber I was transferring to a new tub of rinse water, it would be the same. 

I was really careful. I know the mechanics of felting… agitation, temperature change, soap (change in pH). I have watched several videos on the internet showing both how not to felt and even more on how to felt. 


I had my bubble wrap, mesh, pool noodle all set…

Imagine my surprise, when it took me hours and hours to felt a very thin layer of cobweb felt. No exaggeration, it took hours of full on abuse to finally get a result. I wasn’t even sure I had felted the piece when I stopped that days attempt, from pure exhaustion. I physically could not continue. I got on Facebook live to express my frustration and I said jokingly,

“Now I understand why people started violently throwing it at a certain point… because they really were pissed trying to make felt”

All the videos I had watched would say, ‘now is a good time to get out any pent up aggression’ and proceed to wad it up and slam it into their work surface. The only aggression I had was toward this scarf I was failing at felting.

Putting myself on pause was the best thing, even though I couldn’t have gone on if I wanted.


The next day, I went to check…

it was dry and damn if I wasn’t relieved, it was felted!!!

Let me just say wet cobweb felt does not feel felted. Or, maybe it does, but I just don’t have any clue what I’m looking for. I have to say I was really pleased with my result. It was light and airy and soft cobweb felt with teeswater locks dangling and silk integrated into the fabric.

Felt is the first ever cloth humans made. And I managed to make my own… barely. I didn’t know I had managed to create anything at the time, so there is still lots of learning to be done.

I really love the result. I didn’t expect it to be so soft and light. I’m into it… which is great news for all the wool waiting to be played with

Tail/lock spinning with a small orifice

I made this video to show how I spin locks and leave dangling curls with my small kiwi orifice and 4ounce bobbin.

Before I had any wheels that had the specs for more bulky and textured yarns, I really wanted to try spinning locks and having the curls dangle. I wanted tailspun. While I couldn’t have a yarn any thicker than my orifice, I made it work with thin yarns. I spun it just like I would spin a traditional yarn. I didn’t core spin or anything fancy. I just spun it the way I knew how like it was a traditional yarn. I did spin much longer locks but lamb locks and thin locks worked the best for my orifice. I made this video to show a friend how I did it and thought I’d share it here..

As far as plying, sometimes I would make two bobbins full and then ply them together for twice the dangley locks, or I’d thread ply but most often I’d leave it as a single, and it was fine as a single. You can see in the video even the smallest orifice can fit this size art yarn. So give it a try. I’m spinning blue faced leister lamb locks. And the orange locks are mohair.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkOWi_jlcwE&feature=share

I’m a Weaver!!!!

It was bound to happen. I mean, this is everything fiber arts, right?

My husband bought me a Schacht Flip loom for my birthday… Wait for it.. 

2 years ago!

I kept putting it off because I had only ever heard how hard warping would be. In the long run, believing this, may have helped.  This idea I had built up in my head, of how difficult this was going to be, that when I mustered up the courage to take on the massive job of warping, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it actually is. I did have some help from the people in Fibery Goodness group on fb. They talked me through any troubles. If you don’t know about them they are a great community.

And Fibery Goodness Facebook group can be found on Facebook Here

I had never taken a class on weaving. Everything I learned about weaving had come from YouTube. But the questions I still had, I was given answers in the Fibery Goodness group! Such great resource and people and classes in Fibery Goodness. I still don’t know the proper terminology for weaving. But, it is so much easier than I thought. Although, I have a lot to learn.

For whatever reason I had these preconceived ideas which I have since learned are not true, for me.

I thought I’d share those with you.

The following are myths I believed and what I have learned.

 Myth – Warping is really hard 

I followed directions from a video for direct warping with a peg. I’ve learned that warping is really easy. Considering it was a first time, I found it was pretty straight forward. Cutting the string at the end once removing it from the peg, was the tiniest bit nerve wracking, but they were already safe in their slots. The next time I have to make this cut, I won’t think twice about it.

Myth – warping will take longer than the actual weaving  
The warping process took me 45 minutes to an hour. I have been weaving a bit each day for a week and I’m still not halfway. The steps that take the longest are bringing the yarn through each slot to the  warping peg, and then when I was finished with the warping peg removing all those loops held by that warping peg, and cutting them.  Rolling the warp threads closer to the loom, then taking one of the two pieces of yarn in the slot and hooking it with a special tool through the hole. It’s not fast, it’s not difficult, once you thread the first few holes, you get into a groove. Stick your hook in the hole, grab one thread from the slot next to it, pull it through the hole, NEXT! It becomes a process of doing one after the other and before I knew it I was at my last slot/hole.

Myth – lots of adjustments tying it on make sure it’s tight

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It doesn’t have to be tight, it has to be even. The second you need to roll it on, you have to release a latch that completely loosens everything, but it will be rolled to the other side and that can make it as tight as you want. That’s why being evenly tensioned is more important than tight. Initially, I kept tightening each group of threads but I realized that tightness can be dealt with by turning the warp beam. It’s making sure it’s even so that when it’s turned it all turns together.

As far as I remember, I didn’t have any misconceptions about the waste yarn. Although, I am glad I used separate pieces. At the end after taking it off the loom, when waste yarn is pulled out, if I had to unweave one long string that would have been a pain, vs pulling out short bits, one row at a time

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I enjoyed adding the waste yarn because I could see the warp yarn align itself to its proper place with every beat. I’ve seen regular yarn used for this but I wanted something bigger thinking it would be easier to retrieve at the end. People use cardboard strips, or rolled up paper towels, strips of fabric, I used a yarn that I made from cut up cotton tank tops.

Myth-Weaving goes by quicker then the set up aka warping


I thought warping was pretty quick and easy. I varied the thickness of my weft threads. Some were lace weight and some was chunky. Obviously, the lace weight goes a lot slower. The above black lace weight weft was only 2 inches of weaving and took longer then the whole warping process.


Even when I switched to a thicker weft it still took longer for me. Which I am pleased to have discovered. Weaving is definitely the fun part. I got a good week almost two weeks of weaving time everyday.


I also discovered how many different colors actually go with green. Weaving allowed me lots of color play that I never experienced with crochet or knitting maybe because it blends the color evenly throughout. Being over and under every thread. Whereas, with knitting or crochet it’s more color blocks.


I played with different textures, as well. Leaving favorite bits of handspun out of the woven fabric. Switching from silk hanky and silk noil, to mohair, to wool and tencel blends. From lockspun, to thick and thin, to a traditionally spun smooth single. It all worked.

I did end up signing up for a weaving class and wow!! I’m so glad I did!! I learned a bunch of fun techniques from an online weaving class given by Stacey Budge-Kamison of

Urban Gypz website she teaches a lot of cool tricks for art weaving, using handspun and art yarns, but actually showcasing them. The class was very affordable definitely worth every cent. She gives both written and video. Plus has a group on Facebook that is private in case people may have questions or want to share.  It’s not your average weaving class. It’s the fun stuff. It’s art weaving tricks. It tips on adding certain things to showcase anything that might be important to you. She gives so many ideas. One can use a small loom, add things to weaving I’ve never seen, weaving to wear, wall hangings, pictures, not just yarn in  a woven piece (get creative) and add it. That class got me really excited about the possibilities. I’m filled with new ideas. The same way art yarns have add ins…

Weaving can too.

We have basic spinning that can be learned and art yarns  that can be learned. 

Well this is fun and showcases ways to use art yarns for those special one of a kind woven pieces.

So far my knitting and crochet have been pretty vanilla but I want my weaving to be as free as my art yarns. For wearing, for fabric for accent pieces, and wall hangings. I already feel like weaving gives me a kind of freedom. 
Again this is something I didn’t do much with crochet and knitting. Weaving gave me a new outlet and I didn’t start thinking his way, weaving spoke to me. I felt different when I was weaving m, I felt more free. I did use the same black silk lace weight thread all the way through my project to somehow tie everything in from beginning to end. But I’m not convinced it did. And that’s ok too.

Myth-as long as you have even tension and you use that angle before you beat, you will have even edges.


Well I really tried to do exactly what was shown in several videos and got nothing close to even. Now to be fair, I haven’t washed it at this point, but the pictures show how my edges go in and out. I don’t know if this is truly a myth yet. I’m ok with my edges for now. Being a beginner, it’s a weaving right of passage to have wonky edges. I have a feeling, that using thicker yarns, then thinner, then thicker yarns may cause different widths in the fabric and thereby uneven edges. I need to weave more and find out how that works. I’ll learn with each piece if there is any truth to my thinking regarding this.

I love the way weaving can showcase yarns!

I really had no rhyme or reason to this project. I wanted to weave my first project and experience what it was, to weave. I didn’t worry about perfection.


I didn’t worry about anything except carrying that black lace thread in certain places, throughout the project, to tie in the  beginning with the end. I found that as soon as the fabric was wound onto the beam and I couldn’t see it, even with pictures, I wasn’t sure what it looked like. I couldn’t remember how thick each section was before I used my black thread again. At the end, I know I was using the black thread less often. 

Another thing I did, was have any lock tips only poke through one side. So the side facing me is fluffy, and has fluffy, lustrous locks and sweet little lamb tips coming out. On the opposite side it’s smooth. 
The same is true for any bits left out of the weave. These things only happen on one side. Leaving the other side to look smooth and pretty straight forward.


This piece is kind of like a mullet. All business in front and party in the back. 

As it turns out, one end has more crazy lockspun where the other end has more smooth handspun.

If worn as a scarf, depending on which end you have in front or in back, it can look more business or more party.

Myth- weaving uses up a lot of stash yarn quickly 


THAT IS NOT A MYTH! This is so awesome for busting through stash. If you have a crap ton of yarn, and crochet and knit as slow as I do, this can overnight make you realize….you just might not be at SABLE, like you may have thought you were!!! I know any one thinking about the possibility they are at SABLE, if you are without a loom, I can’t suggest enough to give it a try.

They have many looms that are pricey. But even trying a smaller inexpensive loom to see if this might be fun. An ashford sampler loom, a Schacht cricket loom,

Not to mention many people destash their looms at great prices when they upgrade. Look for those. Some Lys like mine even rent looms out when classes are taught. If you were in the slightest bit interested see what’s available to you.

SABLE = stash acquired beyond life expectancy

A loom is a gift for you but it’s also a major gift to your stash!! This scarf used 14 skeins of yarn!!!

Fourteen skeins of yarns!!!

Think about that a scarf! 

I get to continue spinning, crocheting, knitting, to my hearts content, and weaving took 14 skeins from my stash in under 2 weeks! Next. Project I will take pictures of all the skeins I went through I had no idea how much I would have used!! Stash people that don’t have a loom… You may love this. I don’t have the saori, I didn’t make the big investment until I knew I’d enjoy it. For now this works I want to make fun stuff. 
Ok so… I got to the end of my warp. I cut the edge free and did half of a Damascus edge (just one way across), and tied groupings of warp threads into a sort of fringe.

I have yet to wash it. Full it, get it wet, or whatever.

It feels rough and looks kind of  a mess. I’m hoping for the magic that happens with this step everyone talks about.

Here is the woven piece before fulling.

The fluffy side front

The smooth side back

Closer of the smooth side

Yea I don’t know how much fulling can/will help this much wonk but while I won’t expect much, I’m hopeful. 😊
All in all, weaving is pretty cool and my stash is thankful! And so am I for an awesome birthday gift from my husband!

I hope this will encourage people to try weaving. I know my first try at weaving isn’t a masterpiece by any means but have you seen my first handspun ?

Here she is in all her glory.


No it wasn’t meant to be art yarn 

This was my trying to spin a normal yarn.

Those aren’t coils. That is so overspun it won’t straighten at all and it is a hard rock.. If I threw it at someone’s head, they would be concussed. It could cause damage to sheet rock if thrown at a wall.

Even weighted after a soak and thwack…. Nothing. It doesn’t straighten out, it’s not usable. Can you believe that’s just wool? It is wool.

Some people saw it and say look at those coils and other art yarn techniques I’d never heard of at the time. That was not what I was going for. I thought I was spinning something I’d use hahahaha 

 It’s hilarious. But I could only improve from there and it’s funny now. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a first handspun quite this bad. Especially when I was hoping for a regular usable yarn. It was a great starting point because I could only go up. 

I hope the same with weaving and I hope others will join me. Especially new weavers or yes experienced weavers. Fibery goodness has been wonderful and also if you are interested check out the art weaving class I took listed above.

I’ll post the woven piece once it’s finished. It needs those finishing touches. 

Namaste Farms wash n dye shampoo – my first try results – now up for preorder!!!!

I posted awhile ago about my experience having tried the new Namaste Farms Dirty Bastard wool shampoo line and all I did was type about the results, let me give you the picture, since a picture speaks a thousand words.

My very very first try turned out like this…

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You can see how little product was used, how little water during actual shampoo washing, and I rinsed with luke warm water.

My process was exactly this-
-Rinsed locks in Luke warm water to wet them down,
-added to a bag with a quarter teaspoon of product,
-massaged product in, let sit for 10 minutes, you see what’s left in the bag…
-Then in a colander I rinsed. Again, using luke warm water, rinse, gentle squeeze, turn over, rinse, squeeze, turn repeat until product is out and I had perfect locks after.
Having processed fleece before, this was shocking results and again went against everything I worried about before.

This is a total change from the old way and a welcome one.

With this product, I never used soaks in gallons of water, I didn’t use high scalding water temps. It wasn’t several moves from one bucket to the next. It’s a totally different method then we are used to. Change is so welcome in this instance I was instantly in love and begging for more…

After a long wait, there is finally some up for preorder!!

The wash and dye which was what I used in this. The locks pictured above were from a low lanolin teeswater.
They were gorgeous. The outcome truly took 15 minutes and was easy and the results were shocking.

The second item up for preorder is/will be a clarifying shampoo, for dirtier, high lanolin fleeces.

This has been a long time coming and the fiber world is in for an absolute treat. And the first, public round, preorder is up.

Go to http://www.woolshampoo.com

Read the science behind it and more. Currently, Namaste Farms only offers the unscented at this time, due to so many people, having smell sensitivity issues. Although on her BlogTalk, has mentioned having essential oils that can be added to the product. I just love this idea, and hope it becomes available soon. To have the option to keep it unscented, or have the option to choose a fragrance you love and to add as little, or as much fragrance to the batch as you are comfortable with. This is another idea NamasteFarms has dawned and I absolutely love.

Her fiber always smells so good lol I hope she offers an essential oil called “Nats house”. Seriously, another amazing reason to get her wool shampoo line. Even though, this item (essential oil fragrance) is not yet available on her website, it’s something that we can look forward to .

Get your pre order, it’s going quick the product is limited so get it while you can.

http://www.woolshampoo.com

You can sign up for email alerts about news of new products and not miss out.

Get some before she runs out.
Available in 16oz and 1 gallon bottles.
$16 for a 16oz bottle preorder to try it out, is cheap look how little I needed for my locks, the first try.

See what I mean, for yourself. There really isn’t another item to compare it to. It is a wool washing advancement, unlike anything out there, hence the name wool shampoo. With Dirty Bastard, You wash the wool the same way they wash your hair at a salon. It’s fast, easy, and saves water, and is undeniably rewarding you with gorgeous fiber.

So one more time, go check, cuz third times a charm
http://www.woolshampoo.com

You won’t be sorry.
I got my order in early.

More to come when I get my bottle I’ve been holding off washing waiting on this.

I hope people will share their experience. Lol it’s excited cuz processing a fleece is not exactly an easy task til now… Hopefully this will make people less scared to wash/process a fleece the first time.

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.

Handspun Adventures 9/7/2014 Shanghai Scrapbox

I love the insanely rich reds of Shanghai.... This yarn was a ton of fun to make, new things tried, and even more awesome... I conquered! This yarn is soft and the color makes my eyes turn into cartoon hearts when I look at it :)
I love the insanely rich reds of Shanghai…. This yarn was a ton of fun to make, new things tried, and even more awesome… I conquered! This yarn is soft and the color makes my eyes turn into cartoon hearts when I look at it 🙂
I bought this treasure, the Shanghai scrapbox, from

http://www.namastefarms.com.
It came with such insanely bright colors, it was impossible to photograph, the eye candy reds would blow out no matter how I seemed to set my camera.

 

Very hard to photograph these colors. Pictures of this don't give justice to the experience in real life, it's beautifully intense...
Very hard to photograph these colors. Pictures of this don’t give justice to the experience in real life, it’s beautifully intense…
Even in low light settings it seemed to glow. Shanghai came in the most amazing reds, so bright, so deep, I couldn’t resist spinning it next, in spite of the other scrapboxes, in queue. Reds, bright pumpkin oranges, burnt oranges, blacks, and some few locks that were such a deep dark purple it looked black but in the sun a slight purple hue could be seen.
The locks were incredibly long and full of luster. The curl structure was beautifully intact for tail spinning. There was teeswater, some individual locks dyed in several colors on one lock, going from light to dark. The silkiest mohair that begged to be softly spun in poofs. There was a healthy serving of orange and yellow wool nepps. It also came with a couple ounces of a brilliant red silk/merino top. This top was so soft and gorgeous.

This scrapbox was dyed a work of art. I've never seen a red quite like this, and I'm in love with it. All the other colors in this package just magnify and perfectly compliment the depth of saturation in this fiber
This scrapbox was dyed a work of art. I’ve never seen a red quite like this, and I’m in love with it. All the other colors in this package just magnify and perfectly compliment the depth of saturation in this fiber
I tried several new techniques with this yarn with the help of livestreams Natalie taught. I added my wool nepps then, using the top, spun a very shear web over the nepps, securing them from flying off. This allowed me to hold several nepps onto the single and yet they weren’t covered so the colors could be seen. I loved the interest this added to the single in between the long locks that hung.
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I used just a few of the longer fibers to secure shorter staple curls, like an invisible ply, I loved this new to me technique and found it to be a brilliant way to avoid the need for a second ply, as I wanted to keep this yarn a single. I did my first ever thick n thin, using this top and was successful. IMG_2837.JPG

There was so much fiber it filled my jumbo bobbin and I had a ton of fiber still left over. I’ve decided to start saving bits leftover for a future “kitchensink” skein.

My shanghai single came off the bobbin pretty well balanced pre soak, and I only had a slight half twist at the bottom. After a shock in some hot and cold water to help stabilize and slightly, very slightly, felt those fibers, I have no doubt my skein will hang straight and balanced. Which would be another first for me, a balanced spun single.
These scrapboxes along with the tutorials on livestream really are incredible. Not only opening my toolbox of techniques, but I can proudly and confidently say, I’m becoming a better spinner with bad ass looking yarn! It’s always easier when the fiber is amazing.

I’m really proud of how Shanghai came out.

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Handspun Adventures 6/26/2014 Neon Sunset special

Neon sunset polworth silk with teeswater curl add ins 214 yards of happy
Neon sunset polworth silk with teeswater curl add ins
214 yards of happy
This handspun is made with Blue Barn Fibers polworth/silk rolags in the neon sunset colorway. With teeswater curl add ins, also from Blue Barn Fiber, in the neon sunset colorway.

I did end up with some barberpoling while plying, however, when woven or knit up I think the barberpoling will help the transition when moving from one color to the next. It is actually pretty finely spun pre soak, which came out to a 13-14WPI off the wheel.

Pre soak 13-14 WPI
Pre soak 13-14 WPI
Polworth has an amazing way of poofing up after a soak and set.

Drying in the sun - that luster in that lock in the middle is indicative of why I love an amazing teeswater... Teeswater top vs teeswater locks, is a completely different experience. I prefer the lock, for sure.
Drying in the sun – that luster in that lock in the middle is indicative of why I love an amazing teeswater… Teeswater top vs teeswater locks, is a completely different experience. I prefer the lock, for sure.
Which ended me up with a 10-12WPI yarn, stuffed consistently with the teeswater locks throughout.

post soak 10-12 WPI that polworth really fluffs
post soak 10-12 WPI that polworth really fluffs
I left a long beginning and end to the yarn without any locks. Ultimately, the idea of a thinly woven scarf is what I have in mind for this very special yarn.

I love how the colors are so incredibly bright. The purple melts into pinks, into neon peaches once mixed with the tangerine orange, and finally into a bright happy yellow. The way I chose to spin one rolag to the next, matching up the rolags colors, end to end, giving it longer color repeats. I see it being the perfect weft. I ended up with approx 214yards with 2oz of the rolags, and 1oz of teeswater, which didn’t play a part in the yardage the way it was used.

On the niddy noddy
On the niddy noddy
214 yards is quite a bit to work with…

It’s serendipitous the day I finished this handspun, is the day I get notified that my loom is shipping. What are the odds, that as I’m winding this yarn on my niddy noddy, after months of spinning it, is exactly when I find out my Schacht Flip loom is on it’s way? (The loom was ordered from schacht before my birthday may 10th, and an month and a half later it’s on it’s way)
I’ll need to practice a little on the loom prior to using such a special yarn, which is fine, as this will give me time to think about a warp.

For now, neon sunset special is going to decorate my handspun wall.

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Every time I see it’s bright happy colors, with the matching perfect curls, it just makes me happy, just being yarn, so I’m not in any rush…. Well, not until I have that perfect warp figured out.

Dirty Bastard Pretreatment and Wool Shampoo

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Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms, sent me samples of her new products along with some ruined wool/mohair samples to try it on the worst of the worst. It fixed everything, and made it even better. This stuff is so amazing, be excited people, be very excited.
My blurb on her Facebook page was this:
“Seriously, Natalie has the most brilliant game changer for fleece and fiber, there is no competitor for this product, Dirty Bastard and wool shampoo is so out of their competitors league, it’s not even the same game. It really isn’t like anything else on the market it works that awesome.”

This fleece shit is so bizarre and unreal in an amazing exciting way it’s hard to not sound fan girl about it. And I am so humbled and honored, I can’t even express. It’s only the first test run, so there are some fixes to make, with notes already back to the Research and Development team, but considering where it’s at already, I am more than stoked!

This stuff is no joke. We are so lucky to have Natalie, she has experimented and shown us different techniques exclusive to her. And now this…
Whenever it is possible, you will want to buy it, get your pre order, however it comes, let me tell you, it will sell out as fast as her fiber does!
You won’t believe it, I’ve seen it do it’s magic and I’m still completely baffled. I am excited beyond words the old way of washing fleece is finely going to change in a big way. This can’t come soon enough!!!

All the rage over Namaste Farms new products, my favorite being Dirty Bastard

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Last night on Namaste Farms Blog Talk Radio show, Natalie and Kimberly, the shows hilarious duo, discuss Namaste Farms latest products, one of them, aptly named, DIRTY BASTARD. True to form and comedic style..

You can listen to the show which aired 6/19/2014 here….
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/namaste-farms/2014/06/20/natalie-redding-and-kimberly-mcalindin-talk-you-dirty-dog

Natalie talks about her new product, Dirty Bastard! (A pretreatment to an also new wool shampoo)
I think it’s pretty clear we are all excited about the results she is getting on her dirtiest, greasiest, felted, stinky, think of the worst (yes, she even mentions male cat urine that had sprayed and ruined her fleece, was saved from the trash) sheep ram eau du toilette, more, more, etc etc fleeces all brilliantly washed squeaky clean without losing the handle, that so often, over scouring can become problematic, in these cases. Now, looks like we have a solution. We have needed an amazing wool wash, and I think we can all agree, this product can’t come out soon enough. Here is the difference, the wash is a shampoo.

Let me tell you, from the description, the wool shampoo, is amazing. It doesn’t require the large amounts of water we are all so used to. What’s crazy is, we heard mostly about Dirty Bastard, which is a rescue, if the wool shampoo is just as awesome, we are going to have even more beautiful fleeces, and less mistakes being made. Making your raw, dirty wool – even more clean and gorgeous, without losing that handle.

Even if you have a real mess of a fleece on your hands, even if you have felted your wool in previous washings, from other soap options we have had, being a little over zealous, trying to get your fleeces clean, Dirty Bastard is a rescue, and can save us the frustration and our fleece, in a single use.

A pre treatment, that actually can and will, unfelt ones accident, and get those locks back into your control. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this.
After you listen to the show, you will too. Strange as it sounds, if you deal with fleece, locks, dyeing, fiber period, you will be saying,

“Omg I want Dirty Bastard”.

This is game changing, my fiber, fleece and lock loving, friends. It’s a water saving, make your magnificent fleece glow clean bright and fresh, game changer.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more info, and of course, its release.
These products can’t come soon enough. Listen to the show for more info, I won’t say it all here, go listen to the link above.
Namaste Farms, my mind is blown. I can’t wait.

Blue Barn Fiber – Neon Sunset handspun, Buttersilk and more…

Blue Barn Fibers Neon sunset colorway Polworth silk rolags and Teeswater locks!!!!
Blue Barn Fibers
Neon sunset colorway
Polworth silk rolags and
Teeswater locks!!!!
Blue Barn Fiber http://www.bluebarnfiber.com

I was window shopping etsy, as I sometimes do…
The new thing had been rolags and punis on the podcasts I’d been listening to as of late. I was scrolling along and literally was stopped dead in my tracks, by these colors.

Blue Barn Fiber neon sunset -polworth silk rolags
Blue Barn Fiber
neon sunset -polworth silk rolags
Gorgeous, amazing, happy, bright, colors. Several colors that each blended perfectly to the next all rolled up in a nice neat rolag form.
The colorway was called, Neon Sunset. I had the choice two different silk blended wool fibers. I chose the polworth, as it’s my favorite. I had also bfl/silk to choose had I wanted, they were both awesome, but again, polworth has a puff factor I love. So I had to have the polworth/silk rolags.  Immediately, if not sooner. Naturally, I ordered.

The box came neatly wrapped in tissue paper, as initially I had plans, to split half and half. Holly, one of the two the proprietors of Blue Barn Fiber (the other being her husband, Dan), had separated them for me and wrapped each ounce already separated, as I initially planned to share half, lol. However, once in my possession, I couldn’t let it go. That’s right, I kept it all totally selfishly for myself. And guess what… I’m not sorry, lol.

Shortly after that purchase, she decided to offer the same colorway, in choices of, mohair or teeswater locks. Once again, immediately, I ordered the teeswater locks.

Neon sunset teeswater locks... I couldn't pass it up, it was a pair, the rolags and locks... They were meant to be together, it was fate. One should never tempt fate. Far be it for me, to tempt fate, I won't do it. Fate... I love you, and blue barn fiber :)
Neon sunset teeswater locks…
I couldn’t pass it up, it was a pair, the rolags and locks… They were meant to be together, it was fate. One should never tempt fate. Far be it for me, to tempt fate, I won’t do it.
Fate… I love you, and blue barn fiber 🙂
Let me tell you, I have a stash. A large stash. This went on the wheel next. Look at these colors, I had no other choice. I had 6 rolags total, so I spun 3 colors going end to end very thin, with the plan to spin the other half the same thinness with the teeswater locks, in the matching color or as close to it locked in the twist.

First bobbin of rolags, spun thin. 3 rolags
First bobbin of rolags, spun thin.
3 rolags
Basically, as I spin, I split the single in two and put the lock inside at the middle of the lock, and continue spinning. It’s in there pretty good, but my hopes are the plying will lock it in that much better. I’m also spinning the other rolags end to end same as the first single, ideally, the colors will meet up and if I have some barber poling happen, that’s okay as it’ll lead into the next color. This is a double first for me as, I’ve never spun rolags before this. Rolags, at least, blue barn fibers rolags are smooth sailing, just dreamy to draft thick or thin spinning can be done easily, but I love yardage. So, thin it is. Second, I’ve never spun handspun like this, one normal ply, and the other ply with teeswater locks. Both very thin singles. I’m interested to see how this turns out.

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We will both be surprised. I’ve taken lots of photos along the way. This teeswater lock adding is very very time consuming. But I’m enjoying every second of it. I’m thrilled to see it turn out. I’m writing this as I spin, so the actual outcome is a total mystery to me at this point.

Rolags with teeswater locks spun in I love the silky locks
Rolags with teeswater locks spun in
I love the silky locks
On another note, while making my second order with Blue Barn Fiber, ordering the teeswater, I decided it was high time I see what sari silk is all about. Playing with it in batts, corespinning, you know, just really getting a feel for it. So I ordered that at this time, as well. I had written her some notes through etsy asking questions. Holly was so patient, thorough, and sweet. Excellent customer service. I mentioned how rolags were new to me, also the sari silk, stainless steel, qiviut, rose pearl fiber… You can imagine my Squeeee when I opened my box of teeswater locks in neon sunset and sari silk, to also find samples of the stainless steel, her BUTTERSILK™, camel down, and you won’t believe this, but, qiviut!!!!

The samples that were sent so exciting
The samples that were sent so exciting
Yes, Holly, sent me qiviut. The most coveted, and one of the most expensive fibers around.
I still can’t believe it. But before I go further on the qiviut, because qiviut has a reputation all it’s own. Let me tell you, the Buttersilk™ is freaking amazing. Honestly, I doubt I will ever buy sari silk again, because the Buttersilk™ just melts in your hands.

Blue Barn Fiber  Buttersilk These are just four of the many colors she offers... And if you have a color in mind, that's not there, not already made, seriously just message her and she does her best to make it happen
Blue Barn Fiber
Buttersilk
These are just four of the many colors she offers… And if you have a color in mind, that’s not there, not already made, seriously just message her and she does her best to make it happen
It’s hand pulled sari silk, mixed with mulberry silk, and more, more, more. It sparkles and it’s soft literally like butter in your hands. Like, chocolate that has sat in a hot car melts in your hands. Soooooo silky soft with the sari silk factor. It’s amazing.

See the difference between sari silk on left and buttersilk on right It's a huuuuge difference
See the difference between sari silk on left and buttersilk on right
It’s a huuuuge difference
A little goes a long way, it comes in multiple colors and the price can’t be beaten. It had been on sale, so I bought a few more colors, and as if that wasn’t enough, if you had a special color in mind I have no doubt, she would make it just for you, each customer is special. Her etsy shop is chock full of a fiber artists dream.
She sells in bulk too for cheaper pricing, for those wanting to make larger projects or I imagine for other fiber artists to use and sell in smaller quantities to make money…. This shop is for everyone. It’s obviously a favorite of mine, and others as well , as she sells out of items at times. No worries on that either, she restocks quickly, and a quick message to her about what your needs are and she makes it happen.
The customer service, is perfect, I feel like a special VIP customer every single time I shop, from the first time, to several purchases later.

Blue Barn Fiber products, always impeccable. Nothing but the best quality fibers. Example, the dyed teeswater I bought was sourced from Namaste Farms. Namaste Farms has the best teeswater out there and let me tell you as her customer also, good fiber is not cheap. That is my point. She sources the best quality fibers available.

The stainless steel, I can’t wait to make a little yarn skein for glove fingertips to be able to enjoy touch screens without the need to remove a glove. I understand a little of this fiber goes a loooong way.

Stainless steel fiber - a great add in, that will work with touch screens
Stainless steel fiber – a great add in, that will work with touch screens

It’s definately a fiber that needs to be blended with something else. Another blog post when I use this fiber for sure!!! Touchscreen gloves for gifts are going to be total winners! I have an awesome idea for this, I will share before the holidays.

The qiviut will also get it’s own blog post when I experience that, however, I’ve never heard of bad qiviut, and this sample she surprised me with matches all the great things I’ve heard about this fiber. It’s so soft I almost can’t feel it. Although I saved this for last to touch it’s insane. This is one of those precious fibers people tend to wait on using… Are you one of those?
Clearly, I need more. See, that’s my thing, I can’t use what I have until I have more. Soooo, a qiviut purchase from Blue Barn Fiber might need to happen prior to testing this. I can’t be left with none after using up the sample, sheesh. Just enough to spin a very fine 2 ply that I can make a cowl or I believe it’s called a smoke ring? You know, the cowl, that can go over the head?
Also, do I blend? Or do I go full on quiviut? I’m thinkin full on quiviut… We only live once and it’s an heirloom piece. Right?! Mmmmmm qiviut. I feel like Homer Simpson talking about donuts or beer.

Now, they have glow in the dark fiber, it’s a nylon type fiber so while I haven’t tried it yet, that is just awesome!!

Glow in the dark fluff - no it's not too early to start that Halloween project
Glow in the dark fluff – no it’s not too early to start that Halloween project
Add it on the trim of a child’s hat and charge it up under some light before a walk at night, and safety increases. This fiber in a project, glowing away is going to be a conversation piece in any dark room. Anyone, who doesn’t think a handmade glow in the dark accessory isn’t awesome, really isn’t worth your time. Lol this is better bait than that schmatzch.com dating site, or whatever it’s called anyday. Also imagine for a baby blanket, little stitches, here and there, like stars, when the lights go out for bed. It glows in the dark of course it’s magic, everyone knows that. Especially kids, and grown ups, like myself.

Last, but, certainly not least, a little more about the brains behind such a cool website/store, … Holly got her degree in Environmental Science and is very sensitive to keeping the earth healthy and green. Additionally, she works as a graphic designer but has the etsy shop with her husband ultimately planning to farm and fiber full time. We need our farmers, we’ve lost too many already. Blue Barn Fiber’s love of the earth, renewable resources, fiber, and animals is shown again and again.
In saying that, they only purchase cruelty free fiber.
Dan and Holly are awesome. Their website can lead you to everything and has pictures and links needed. You have to check out there website! They literally sell a zillion different items, lots of fiber in all kinds of breeds and animal plant and recyclable materials, tools, etc etc, if you are looking for something particular you don’t see, just message, and they will do whatever they can to obtain your wish…. Just like a fiber fairy who lives in a blue barn.

GO NOW, you won’t be sorry and try the Buttersilk™ It’s love and heaven in fiber form.

http://www.bluebarnfiber.com

Or go directly to their etsy shop

https://www.etsy.com/shop/bluebarnfiber

They are the epitome of everything fiber arts, you want to try. I love this shop period, love!!!! LOVE!!!

I’m currently plying my neon sunset and hope to have it pictured before the day is over. Go check that shop out, any questions, seriously amazing amazing place to find the newest fiber on the market, including inventing her own fiber blends that’s are to die for…. Literally, clouds of heaven are being sold in her shop. image