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Woodstock Fleece Festival 2017

This past Saturday was the 9th annual Woodstock Fleece Festival, and I made it!  It is held an hour away by car, and is by faaar my favourite local event for fibre folks.

Last year was a definite miss.  It’s much improved but a school week is a school week – I can’t predict whether our nurturing reserves dip too low for a Saturday morning trip.  Plus, N had a 12:30 pm dental appointment in town.

handspun Diminishing Lines shawl by irieknit

Dashing through the festival – handspun Diminishing Lines shawl

It was a blur!  I see from the pamphlet that I totally missed some vendors (sorry, Peggy Sue Collection; The Gaynor Homestead!) but I feel completely rejuvenated by my trip out, and here is why.

Found! A Squirrel-cage Swift

You may know him as Wheelwright?  Reed Needles has repaired one of my antique wheels, and visiting his booth of many Canadian Production Wheels (CPWs) is always a must-do.  I was expecting to only say a few words when I had an, “Hey, is that functional, Reed?!?” moment.

irieknit's antique Squirrel-cage swift yarn unwinder

Demonstrably functional – a squirrel-cage swift

It has been totally mentioned by me to Reed a few times now:  he is an enabler par excellence.  With a twinkle in his eye he noted that yes it works, and that the circa 1860 fittings are hand-forged.

Hand forged spiral fixing screw on squirrel-cage swift hardware irieknit

A hand-wrought fixing screw – squirrel-cage swift hardware

The spirals are beautiful, and it fixes the upper roller cage easily/ properly.

A closer look at the flanged rollers shows yarn (I suspect linen of course) wear on the dowels.

Antique squirrel-cage swift upper roller cage detail by irieknit

Upper roller cage – wear marks

Reed was selling this swift on behalf of a local weaver’s estate.  It is sturdy enough for life with an active child + speedy unwinding of skeins.

Antique Squirrel-cage swift lower roller cage detail by irieknit

Lower roller cage – cantilevers out

The cut end of the base on the post-side has some deep cracks but this tool will let me unwind yarn gently, and round skeins if needed.

Antique squirrel-cage swift underside detail showing wood cracking

Other names for this tool are ‘roller-cage swift’ ‘barrel swift’ and ‘rice.’  According to The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning they are believed to have been developed in continental Europe (p. 270).

A similar swift with a wooden upper handle is shown in Keep me Warm One Night by the Burnhams (no. 38; see p. 42) as a gift to the Royal Ontario Museum and from Ontario.

Purchases from 2017 Woodstock Fleece Festival by irieknit

Woodstock 2017 haul (excuse messy trunk)

A swift – any swift – is used by the fibre artist to:

… unwind the skeins and is not suitable for making them.  When a skein is to be used, it is placed on a swift that is adjustible in size and wound off into a ball, or onto a spool or bobbin. (ibid, p. 22)

This swift adds choice because I do have a large umbrella one from Glimåkra that also works well.  They are both shorter than the skeins wound on my blue antique click reel (i.e. tool that winds skeins).  The squirrel-cage may be easier to handle the wider skeins, and I will go very slowly when checking that point out.

The squirrel-cages will hold more than one skein at a time without needing to collapse the tool as you do with the umbrella.  The cages also hold all courses in a skein with even tension across.  I am interested in how the squirrel-cages compare to the umbrella ‘v-shape’ on unwinding skeins to the warping board for weaving.

The Barn

Growth of this festival year-over-year shows most clearly in the barn marketplace.  Remembrances Pottery was a fun discovery – their stunning handmade mugs, buttons, etc warranted a quick stop.

Handmade clay buttons and ornaments by Remembrances Pottery

Clay items from Remembrances Pottery in Sarnia

This and other quick stops were accompanied by the bag of raw wool that you can see in my trunk up there.  It still needs cleaning!

Romney lamb's coloured raw wool

Lamb’s bounty! A Romney from Willow Farm’s flock

As you may guess from all the talk of rushing, and new time constraints, I probably shouldn’t have.  This is a 5 lb 4 oz lamb’s fleece from Willow Farm.

Locks of raw wool from Romney lamb fleece Willow Farm by irieknit

In my defense lots of Romney-strong lamb’s wool!

 

The shepherdess, Josslyn, explained that this may be the last year they attend but that farm direct sales are still possible.  I have missed cleaning fleece so much!

Llama at Woodstock Fleece Festival 2017 by irieknit

Baby llamas add to a festival

The llama pack and obstacle course was brought to us by the Norfolk 4H.  These babies were shy but the performing adults allowed for happy petting.

Norfolk 4H llama demonstration Woodstock Fleece Festival 2017

Your mood can’t go wrong with a llama or two

As always festival organisers also had some sheep in the barn for attendees.

Sheep at the 2017 Woodstock Fleece Festival

Hello, sheep!

This family friendly atmosphere is why the event is growing, and I hope to bring N & T next year.  This year, I was thrilled to see some spinning friends at long last, and hit all the high notes.

Sugar Maple fall leaves on grass by irieknit

Maple leaves still not raking themselves

There being much to be done in fall is not new.  What is new sits in my immediate family, and would include the words cancer patient & break-up.  Necessary but not easy stuff is ahead but we are well in the midst of that.

My next warp will be for a head-scarf – pushing the baby blankets behind because first things first.

 


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Olivia’s Babydoll Southdown fleece, and her flock’s good news

Warm (i.e. wooly) congratulations to the flock that I wrote about in my last post!  Laurie’s Little Lambs farm won blue ribbons in 2 categories of the 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair fleece wool competition.  Both are in the competition’s Down-type category (26-33 microns).  It was their first year exhibiting, and I am very happy they got such stellar results!

Partial as I am to coloured fleeces, I had a moment when Bob showed me Norris’ clip.  I’m so glad to see Norris’ name beside a first ranking in the Royal’s results list, and know how pleased Bob must be!  His entries are both sure to be in high demand at the fleece auction this Sunday, November 15, 2015.

Grazing olde-type Babydoll Southdown sheep Laurie's Little Lambs flock

Well-deserved recognition for these Babydoll Southdowns!

Bob & Laurie’s flock has around 50 sheep, and all are registered with the Olde English “Babydoll” Southdown Sheep Registry.

Southdown is the oldest of 6 true or core Down-type wools.  In “The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook” Deb Robson & Carol Ekarius note that Southdowns are in records dating back to the medieval period from the South Downs, England.  The area is along the English Channel in today’s Hampshire & Sussex counties.

The rare-breed status is ‘recovering’ by the Livestock Conservancy.  Rare Breeds Canada’s 2014 conservation list shows Southdown as ‘vulnerable’ (101 – 300).  Bob & Laurie do breed their registered Babydoll Southdown sheep for sales.  It would be great to see the breed’s status shift up to the next category in Canada, ‘at risk’.

Examining Olde English Babydoll Southdown raw wool from Laurie's Little Lambs Louth Ontario

Happily examining a Babydoll Southdown fleece

While Bob showed me some of this year’s beautiful clip, Laurie graciously gave N. a tour of the farm.  It was wonderful of them to have given us so much of their time, and in turn I showed Bob some of the tools that we use as spinners to prepare wool from scratch.

Babydoll Southdown flock Laurie's Little Lambs Louth Ontario Canada

All pictures from this July’s visit to Bob & Laurie’s farm were taken by a very impressed N!

Laurie's Little Lambs bird house

Laurie’s passion is with her birds

Olivia’s 2015 fleece

The lock strength, crimp, and colours in this fleece from Bob’s ewe Olivia were just so appealing to me.  Olivia’s fleece was carefully rolled, and it was easy for me to see which end was up as it were!

Olde English Babydoll Southdown coloured ewe fleece from Laurie's Little Lambs Louth Ontario

Olivia, Babydoll Southdown 2015 raw wool

All colours are acceptable within the olde-type Babydoll Southdown’s breed standard.  This is an advantage since as Deb Robson tells us in her Winter 2015 article in Spin-Off Magazine, “The Down Wools:  quiet and unsung heroes of the fiber world,” the Down wools are mostly white.  On page 71 she says,

The most reliable source of natural, non-white color within these breeds is the Southdown, of which there are at least three strains of varying sizes.  The smallest, the Babydoll Southdowns… [is] the group from which you’ll most likely find colored fleeces.

Cleaning Babydoll Southdown ewe fleece from Laurie's Little Lambs Louth Ontario

Cleaning my Babydoll Southdown wool

Using the Unicorn Power Scour for this fleece was a big improvement in terms of steps to lanolin cleaned locks.  We needed to repeat cleaning for E’s white ram fleece when we used original blue Dawn detergent last fall.

Cat with raw Babydoll Southdown wool fleece from Laurie's Little Lambs Louth Ontario

Melvin takes up his happy place

Try as I might there was no separating Melvin from Olivia’s wool as I worked on cleaning.  This was still the raw wool, and he does deign to move when told that it’s needed for washing.

Cleaned Babydoll Southdown wool locks

Locks from Olivia’s Babydoll Southdown fleece

The pigment shifts evenly across the fleece’s locks.  The butt end of the locks is consistently lighter with a darker tone above.  The locks are strong – it’s simply a colour shift with no break following the line.

A preliminary test with a new-to-me set of Meck paddle combs confirms my idea that the colour blends very nicely if I alternate the lock orientation when charging the combs.  One small 2-ply skein shows as a heathery blend of the colours that I love, and could possibly over-dye.

No matter what this will be an interesting fleece to process as a spinner!  My hunch is that the yarn could have a warm lilac undertone.  I can plan around any colour inconsistency, and am not even married to a single large project for this fleece.

Fall colour autumn flaming bush display

This fall’s colour

I never dreamed that agreeing to mentor E would help evolve my work in this way.  Now that we are in this eventful late fall, I am excited about working with an incredibly soft & unique wool.  That it’s also come from an award-winning year for Bob’s flock is just such an added reward.  Hopefully, I can show E how the multi-coloured fleece compares to hers soon!

Looking forward to being blown away by the fleece auction’s competition for the prize Babydoll Southdown wool!  Will you attend, local friends?

 

 


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The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – a tale of two fleece auctions

The Royal held its annual fleece auction at the tail of the Fair in Toronto, Sunday before last.  My quiet initiation to this event came two years ago when it was held on the second level above offices & stable.

It was a cheap & cheerful sort of afternoon.  Not only did I make out with 11+ lbs of freshly shorn local wool that I love but I learned a lot.  We sat near the front of the room and got to hear some of the off-mike conversation of the experienced auctioneers.  An under-the-breath, “the judge says that lamb’s fleece is tender,” is something that I need to hear.

This year we arrived earlier, and saw the judged fleece on open display.  As you will hear why later in this post – they were in frightening proximity to one another.

Auction fleece at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Many animals were already being loaded by farmers but some were still in their stalls, and cages.

Ontario llama Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Zabian the Llama

There was a sign in his pen.  It said, “Hi! My name is ZABIAN.”  He was my favorite.

Lincoln Longwool sheep at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Lincoln Longwool!

One of the few as yet unshorn sheep in the barn.  This one was very happy with head petting, and I obliged while N chuckled.

Sheep Dorsets Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

D’aww

Since a certain rabbit loving friend couldn’t be with us, I had to include some of the adorable bunnies.

Young rabbits at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Babies – mother Bun was glowering in the foreground

They were winning hearts, and influencing people based on the rush that we saw at the rabbit sales table!

Lop-eared Rabbit at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Lop-eared rabbit

The alpacas were also a big hit with the crowd.  A young man was spinning their fibre using a Canadian Production Wheel (CPW) right next to them.  He was doing a great job of answering questions.

Alpaca Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Toronto

Alpaca at the Royal

In the midst of walking around N was dealing with a work crisis by phone, so we went into the auction area while it was still fairly empty.

Annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Fleece Auction Toronto

You are HERE

As people & fleece arrived, I knew that the Grand Champion fleece would quickly go out of my reach.  I wasn’t wrong!

Grand Champion Fleece Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Toronto

First Prize in the Championship class

This way I can remember what earns a perfect score for lustre in the judges’ books.  The note was “beautiful brightness.”  They sold this lot first.  There was competition, and it went for $9/lb or $72.  This was under the 2011 Grand Champion winning price of $21.50/lb or $96.75.

Fleece Downs Breed Ontario Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

She shoots; she scores!

The second prize in the Down-type category was this 5.8lb white fleece from Shadow Rock Farm in Schomberg.  A pre-wash cold soak took care of a LOT of dirt (etc.).

I see socks.

My next fleece came with a fight, and at a huge premium because of that fight.

The fleece is dead.  Long live the fleece.

An Icelandic moorit fleece off a ram lamb.  It was judged second behind a Shetland ram lamb fleece that I let go when it hit $18.75/lb.

Moorit Icelandic ram lamb fleece

Moorit means reddish brown. Love.

In competition the 2.3lb fleece went for more than the first prize Shetland in this ‘Specialty’ class.  These pictures were taken the next day.

Icelandic moorit ram lamb fleece Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Here is where it starts to hurt

What I saw made my heart sink.  The words “fine sand-like particles” came to me.  For that is the description commonly given for the eggs of the clothes moth.

You can see them in the lower, right of this picture above.  I saw them in the bag and all on the outer areas of the fleece.

Clothes moth larvae, wool

Clothes moth larvae – fresh off the fleece, and totally alive

A few hours into my cleaning, I got new knowledge first-hand.  What at first looked like strange, smooth grain turned out to be the wool-eating stage of the clothes moths’ development.  In quantity.

On Monday, the Royal let me know that I will be refunded in full.  It was curt is what I will say about that.

The bigger picture

The real anxiety is not about cost vs. benefit.  It is about whether this infested fleece is a house-wide moth problem for us.  In the hours it took for me to get verification of my worst fears, the pets were moving freely around the area.  I have taken all steps to rid the house of any stray eggs but they evolved to survive.  It is their special skill.

I am really grateful for friends who gently guided me to realize this fleece I fought for really isn’t worth the risk.  Further steps can be taken.  I considered using our chest freezer for cold treatment & thaw cycles.  Even if it worked to kill all eggs – and it might not –  I would still have damaged fleece at the end of the day.

The moral is:  always work with raw fibre quickly even if it is from a trusted source.  In the future, I will leave it on the other side of the threshold first.

The warning is: if you bought at the Royal Fleece Auction this year, be extra careful.  This may have been next to yours in that pretty display.


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String Thing 2013 – my hat trick, continued

hat trick n. 1 the scoring of three goals, points etc. by one person during a game. 2 three successes

◊ Paperback Oxford Canadian Dictionary, 2004

It hit me that in this 3rd of 3 years of attending this Stringtopia event, I was most at ease.

Plain weaving with the Tanka design

This simple band or jakima represents this for me.  The length of kata, plain weave is where I re-learned how to weave.

The first ray of light was learning the Quechua term for lease cord – sonq’opa.  It is derived from the word for heart, “son”.  This drove a truth home to me.  It is what Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez says in “Textile Traditions of Chinchero:  A Living Heritage” on p. 85:

In the process of making textiles, the weaver devotes part of her life to her weaving.  That is why a weaver can tell stories about happy or sad times, and different life events according to the time it took to weave a certain textile.

This was the best devotion of my time.  To answer the US border agent – no, you cannot just learn this on Youtube.  I am the case in point.

Mahogany, folks.

As I suspected my backstrap loom management was awkward, and therefore, flawed.  Working with my waist as the front warp beam & my shod foot as the back beam, Abby gently corrected my process.

“Use both swords,” she said.  “You will need them both for the next step.”  With Abby’s help, and intense focus, I turned the first ideas on their heads.  The solution was less taxing, and completely elegant.

Friends in class had different problems, and revelations.  We walked the cliff edge of adult learning.  No-one fell into the gully of frustration.  I was very grateful when a more experienced backstrap weaver, Janie Yates pointed out that I was sawing my shed open with the yllawa or string heddles.  Janie helpfully guided me back to tensioning the warp open.

Where our spirits soared was after lunch.  We had hit the objectives.  Abby spoke to her identity as a Chinchero weaver, teacher and studio owner.  It was pure heart, and so very moving.  My culture is also rooted in the oral transfer of knowledge.  It’s something I deeply respect.

Abby knows what this means for me because I had to tell her, thank her.  I will practice and build on this foundation.  It was my best takeaway of any Stringtopia.

With thanks, Abby.

Studio, what studio?

Walking through Stringtopia’s doors the next day made me want to click my heels, or tear-up.  Or something.

Bricks & mortar matters for carrying textile arts forward.  It’s a lifetime achievement to create such a space in this day.

A spindle was removed before taking this shot

Canadian Production Wheels get around.  This one is safely out of the direct sunlight!

Frederic Bourda CPW

Having taken Abby’s backstrap weaving class the day before, I walked right up to the hanging jakimas.

They are pretty.  Carol told me that the jakima de kata on the left was woven by Abby’s son.

Back to the fun & games

How much of a textured batt can you spin on a drop spindle in 2 minutes, you ask?

This is our friend, Janet in the foreground helping Mandie pace out her yarn.  Taking classes & hanging out with them both was super fun as usual!

Beth was happy

Respect due to each & every long-draw competition team on Saturday night!

Win! Jane, Erin & Michelle

They used an e-spinner!  Other brave teams were…

Kathy, Lisa & Martha

Amy, Kim & Caroline

Serious kudos to Enting, Laura & Tracy who competed with a drop spindle.  I bow to the prowess!

Proof of concept: sideways draft on a drop spindle

I am now home, and rested.  I miss being able to rush to classes, hang out in Morgaine’s space, turn around & speak with spinners.

If you live close to Stringtopia then I am a touch green with envy.  Support them!  Until next time I have skills to practice and yarn to make.

New wool combs doing what they do

For example, this 1.6 oz of luxurious Muga silk will also keep me happy and engaged.

Thing of beauty: Muga silk for spinning

 

 

 


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Celebrating String Thing 2013

Hello, morning of String Thing!

With Sandi on the first morning of String 2013

This year Sandi and I overnighted with my family in their lovely Toledo home.  It broke my drive but was much more – a chance to visit & laugh with some of my favorite people.  

Sandi graciously agreed to this plan.  She survived us talking at full speed!

I like the fine print

The Golden Lamb was just 3 hours away, and we made it just in time for afternoon classes.  Gotta love how the Lamb has operated under its 1803 licence as a “house of public entertainment.”

Still enjoying mine.

To wit, this year’s warm welcome!  I sensed a certain craftiness with the glue gun there… sure enough 2 hotel staffers bought 1st spindles at the event.

Enting!

The 2nd welcome pack went to my most excellent roommate, Enting!  Finally meeting an online friend is so cool and I loved getting to know her.

Traditional Andean Textiles

Abby’s Friday class was given in partnership with Charles H. Gerhardt of Tribal Art, a local collector/ dealer.  We were able to examine each pre-Columbian textile closely.

Ancient Peruvian spindle

These artefacts were found in graves.  They took our breaths away.  I ran to take pictures for you.

Works in progress.  The spinner’s fibre and her tools.

The shell in particular moved me.  I also use large shells to spin cotton on supported spindles.

Andean chuspa – purse or bag

What better way to begin to learn about Andean textile traditions? A backstrap woven chuspa was juxtaposed with a slit tapestry panel & much more.

Pre-Columbian slit-tapestry

Doesn’t the geometric design look very modern?  It incorporates both camelid & cotton fibres.

L – Belt with finger weaving

My hope is that Abby will run this workshop again for Stringtopians.  In addition to these and more items, Charlie made 2 Incan Quipus available for our class.

Multi-coloured Quipu

We saw not only colour but opposing twist, coils, knots and plies as the sophisticated system of record that it is.

The other Quipu that we examined was shorter with no header, undyed, and had less vertical yarns.

Mounted Incan Quipu

Spinners’ Social Nights

As you may have guessed, there is quite a lot of spinning in public at String.

Shelly aka Baking Goddess to the Spinners

Shelly was trying out cute Turkish spindles.  We loved her sweater & laughed at its story.

Fran, Anne, Karen and Stacey – local Stringtopians

Ohioans never fail to impress me with their friendliness.  We had a great time together over dinner.

Kristen, Knittin9Dra9on

This was all only after we made Mandie show us her gorgeous Iron Maiden shawl.

Mandie and her Mithril Maiden

She used 1 skein of her Sheepy Time Knits Silkie yarn.  Before I leave the subject of Mandie’s super talents, look at what I scored as a String prize this year!

Luck of the draw!

So thrilled to have won this awesome prize!  It’s 50/50 merino silk, and will be as lace-weight as I can make it.

And the contest rules are…

This year, Morgaine donated batts for sundry spinning competitions.  Not surprisingly my speed-spinning on a spindle was not competitive.

Devin won. He is a spindle speed demon!

On Saturday night to kick-off Longest Thread, Abby, Beth & Carol schooled the crowd.  My mind was suitably blown by the hilarity.

While this was all going on, I was enjoying having a New Glarus with Woolwine.  T is a super-favorite String friend, and she makes me giggle in class too!

Woolwine in her awesome handspun Paulie

New Glarus is a thing of beauty & deserves blog space.

Notice T’s bottle opener? Mad skills.

Competition fun aside (I might get to that in another post), Carolyn gave Abby a challenge she couldn’t walk away from.

We laughed OUT LOUD

Yup.  Boat anchor.  As someone said, “The jokes just write themselves!”

There is more I want to say but this post is already long.  Lebanon, Ohio is beautiful this time of year inside & out.

Spun in the best company

These classes teach me so much each year, and Abby’s community creates such a giving space.

Thank you, friends.


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Been there, Spun that

… got the coffee cup

Have you been waiting for this year’s Stringtopia class line-up to drop?  It’s now called the Spring String Thing and is set for April 26 – 29, 2013.

I’m not sure whether a hat-trick will be possible for me but each of the announcements has my Full Attention!

It’s no secret that I have fallen in love with Peruvian pushka spindles.  This North American cousin is made in Dayton, Ohio and is sold by Abby & Shelly as the “Andina.”

Andina’s maple shaft is just slightly shorter than the Andean pushka.  I do love the angles of a pushka’s shaft but the Andina is very responsive.  The overall weight is a pleasure – even with a pretty cherry-wood whorl.

All told, this spindle is just right for spinning Lulu’s llama locks.  Says she who is too on a spindle diet!

Fruit of the Wheel

Remember last week’s Yarn Hollow spin?  It’s finished!

I came out with approximately 656 yds from 4.6 oz.  It is more of a light fingering than lace.  The colours really even each other out, and it’s far less bright than I expected when spinning the fibre.

Off the Combs

This Sunday, I watched Robin Russo’s Combing Fiber video.  And did a fair bit of wool combing at the same time.  As one does.

I have been itching to work with these Shetland locks that Mom brought back from her trip to the UK this past summer.  My earlier Knit Knack post with the story is here:

Right: washed Sheltand locks from Garthenor in Wales

Project discipline is grand.  However, as a rule hand-combed top trumps everything else in the queue.

So, I have already spun the work of my Forsyth Fine (4-pitch) combs on  this lovely Shetland.

Left: Bosworth mini (purpleheart); Right: Spanish Peacock (flame box elder)

The spindles are closely matched in weight terms: mini Bossie = 0.74 oz or 21 g; and Spanish Peacock = 0.78 oz or 22 g.

They also both hail from 2010, and were bought new.  It was a heady time – I had yet to touch a wheel.  Herein lies a lesson:  they were both under-utilized.  The Bossie instantly became a standard travel spindle.  It was easier that way.  For its part the Spanish Peacock was used but mostly not.  The why is simple – adjusting for the notchless round whorl & some wobble was hard.

I have learned that spindles will wait for you.  Just acquire merit, and remember that the fault may lie with you not them.  Never blame the spindle for your hair-brained plans either.

Spare a thought

Please spare a thought for our Toby.  He`s having trouble after a tumble down the staircase last month.  He lost a canine tooth straight after the fall – root and all.  We watched but no infection developed.

He`s now had related muscle loss in his face, and left side.  Blood & other tests are normal.  It looks like he just has trouble holding his head up, blinking the left eye, and with his balance on that side.  We are relieved it`s not worse but the poor little guy could truly use everyone`s good thoughts.


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Proof of fit, and other updates

Every now and again, I get a blog photo shoot.  Just to keep you on your toes.

The buttonholes may need reinforcing in time.  For now, I am good with checking up on them.

What you couldn’t see when it was flat on the table in the last post.

I was running too late to push my luck for pics of the now completed Laar Cardigan (yep, finally).

The Seriously fun spin

In the crunch that was my lead-up to the Tour de Fleece this year, I didn’t write about this super spin.  It’s The Painted Tiger‘s 40z braid of corriedale, Koi Pond.

We met Brooke at Stringtopia this year.  These colours inspired me to try my first fractal spinning.

I used my Watson Martha wheel in double drive.  Remarkable because just days before Martha was not in spinning condition:

When the bobbin/ flyer array of your dream wheel jumps off, hits the wheel frame and falls broken you might want to cry.  One frantic call later, Mrs. Watson assured me that her son Andrew would help.  Andrew did more than help, and I thank him.

Andrew said that it looked like an older partial break.  He took a week to repair the flyer, and make Miss 1988 like new.  Andrew also graciously showed me his personal wheels, and spoke with me about the business’ history as well as how to care for Martha.

Approx 392 yards all in!  If you are looking for a new indie-dyer then definitely give Brooke a try.  The fiber was not compacted at all, and the dye caught every last corner.

What Moms are For

My brother’s yeoman service did not end with delivering the backstrap loom to me.  He also brought this up from Mom.

It’s crunchy handspun from her trip to Scotland this summer.  Unique selling point for a card:  Real Sheep’s Wool!

She also got me 100g each of organic Hebridean & Shetland wool from Garthenor.  She might actually listen when I ramble on about “breed-specific” this and “breed-specific” that…

A weekend Happy

Finished my Jacob spin on Wee Peggy.  No breaks were taken for cooking or dishes.

Approx 197 yds of 3-ply.  I picked out kemp, spun it using scotch tension, and plied on my Martha.  Grey Jacob is already on the bobbin.  The idea is to make the Horatio & Oren mitts from this fall’s Twist Collective.

A little housekeeping

The blog’s “About” page was pretty dated, so I gave it a little edit over the weekend.  I love writing posts, and may be making some small changes to the blog in the next little while.

Where I’ll be:

  • The Spinning Loft, September 22, 23 for workshops with Deb Robson.  Beth promises that my Martha will meet her Martha!
  • The Woodstock Fleece Festival, October 13.

I’d love to know if you’ll be there too!