Sunday, June 29, 2008

Here's the third installment of my trip to Black Sheep Gathering. I always like to enter things in the fiber arts and yarn competition. It's fun and I love to see the creative things that other people do with fiber. I am happy to report that I got four first place awards for my entries. The first entry was a cute little tam that I designed and knit with my handspun yarn. The yarn was spun using two of my handpainted colorways (Sangria and Sevilla) in a merino/tussah silk blend. (Sorry, the pics are little washed out.)

My next entry was a pair of socks, again knit with my handspun yarn. The yarn was spun from some Shetland wool rovings that I got from a ranch in Montana. I took a light gray roving and a white roving and laid them down side by side and handpainted them the same colors. I then spun a bobbin of each and plied them together to get a heathered yarn. The sock pattern is my own original design.

My third fiber arts entry was a handknit scarf using a horseshoe lace pattern. The yarn I used was a natural caramel colored baby alpaca. I bought this raw fleece at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival last October at Rhinebeck and I processed the fleece myself, washed and carded it into batts and then spun it into yarn. This was a very buttery yarn and was just a joy to knit with.

Here's a close up of the pattern. The white skein was entered into the yarn division. It is a two-ply yarn: one ply is a 40/60 angora/merino wool blend from Toots Le Blanc and the other ply is a 75/25 cormo/tussah silk blend from Foxfire Fibres in Mass. (Barbara Parry's fiber).

In my last post, I showed some of Sandy Sitzman's rovings and some of my handspun on the bobbin. Well, I finished the skein last evening and here it is. This is a superwash Corriedale that was handpainted by Sandy. I'll be taking this down to the beach with me this afternoon to start a pair of socks. I ended up with 325 yd. -- just the right amount for socks.

I may have a little more BSG stuff to report, but that will come later. Oh, yes, Karen got two first place awards for her entries and I'll try to get her to send pictures of them so I can post them.

Jumbuk Fibers - New Yarn Store
I was walking down in the cute little Los Rios District of San Juan Capistrano recently and came upon a new yarn store. I decided to go over there the other day. It's a small shop in an adorable little house. Diane, the owner, is a rep for a few Australian yarn companies and she is stocking Pear Tree, Fable and Kaalund yarns, as well as some others. Lunch at the Ramos House Cafe and a walk down the shady lane to Jumbuk would be a very nice outing.

I've been working over the past couple of days to get my Etsy shop up again and have posted lots of good rovings and some sock yarn. In the next few days, I'll be listing more colorways of my sock yarn and I'll be putting some of my other handpainted and hand-dyed yarns in my sale section. [ ]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So, for the second segment of my BSG report, I thought I would share some of the luscious fibery things I purchased while at the show. Here are some of the lovely rovings I got from my booth partner, Sandy (Woolgatherings). Most of these are beautifully hand-dyed Blueface Leicester rovings and two are superwash Corriedale.

Here's some of the superwash Corrie that I have begun to spin. This colorway will be plied on itself and the yarn will probably find itself into a pair of socks -- most likely Lynne Vogel's tiny triangles socks, a pattern I love.

Here are two drop spindles I purchased from SpindleWood Co. -- Steve and Connie Paulsen of Monmouth, OR. [ ] They had so many awesome spindles made out of exotic woods, it was very hard to make up one's mind. I chose the Manzanita Burl whorl with ebony shaft (on the left) and the Snakewood whorl and Madagascar shaft (on the right). I could not begin to choose between the two, so I bought both. These photos can't begin to do justice to the beauty of the workmanship. Each spindle weighs in at 1.25 oz.

Always one of my very favorite vendors is Toots Le Blanc & Co. [ ] Michele Camacho and her brother, Carl Brittain, were knitting and rug hooking when they had spare moments in their booth. They have extra lovely natural colored yarns and rovings. I bought some laceweight yarns. The gray is a 40/60 angora rabbit/merino blend, and the brown is a blueface leicester/pygora blend.

My plan is to use these Toots LeBlanc laceweight yarns in a handwoven scarf using a star twill pattern. The fiber pictured above is a charcoal colored roving from Rainbow Yarns Northwest [ ] and it is a blend of 75% pygora and 25% fine merino wool. I could not resist and bought 12 oz. of this fiber, which set me back a few $$$, but it is some of the most beautiful fiber I have ever spun.

As always, I make a foray into Lisa Millman's booth -- Dicentra Designs. She has a wonderful sense of color and does very intense colorful rovings and yarns. I opted for some Blueface Leicester and merino/tussah rovings. And, in the mix, I threw in a matching rosey roving from my friend, Karen, who joined us up at BSG and had some rovings for sale in our booth under her label, High Country Fibers -- she can also be found on Etsy.

Of course, no trip to BSG is complete without a trip to the fleece sale. I was just going to go look but a gorgeous 6 lb. Corriedale fleece caught my eye. It was a 4th place winner and it was from Kathryn Burkholder of Craneview Ranch in Lakeview, OR. For the life of me I cannot capture the color of this fleece on camera. It keeps coming out gray, but the true color is a deep charcoal, almost black with little threads of gray. I've already started washing it and carding it and here's a small sample skein. This yarn will definitely make it into a sweater -- most likely my Jacob's Windows pattern that is in The Twisted Sisters Sweater book. I've been wanting to do a sweater like that again, using the natural colored yarn as a backdrop for little windows of yarn spun out of colorful rovings.
And in the bits of down time I had on my trip to Oregon, I worked on some little treasure bags using some small balls of handspun I have collected over the years. Here are some that I worked on and finished up during the trip and in the few days after.

More to come later.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Well, I have returned from the Black Sheep Gathering which was held last weekend (Fri thru Sun) in Eugene, Oregon. I am still exhausted after my 16-hour drive home on Monday. My intention to stop halfway in the Bay Area dissipated after I spent hours driving through the smoked-filled Central Valley of California -- it was dismal. By the time I was south of Sacramento, it was only 5:00 p.m. I was full of energy and still had hours before dark. I made it home about 12:30 a.m. and then totally crashed for about two days. But now I'm back and rejuvenated. I have reopened my Etsy shop ( ) and I have already started washing, carding and spinning the Corriedale fleece I bought, as well as some of Sandy's rovings. My BSG report is going to come in spurts, but to start out, I just wanted to show some pictures of our booth. I was sharing with Sandy Sitzman (Woolgatherings of Banks, OR). I know I am biased, but I think we had one of the nicest and most colorful booths at the show. See what I mean?

In our booth, Sandy and I both had an array of beautiful spinning fibers. Sandy also had handpainted yarns and I had my handpainted sock yarn. Our friend, Karen, also had some handpainted fibers and Margie (my travel mate and booth helper) had some handspun yarns and knitted hats. We all had the best time and so enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new friends. . . . . . . . dinner calls me -- more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have been such a bad, bad blogger for the past month or so, but I am finally coming up for air to participate in some self promotion. In case you wondered what happened to my blog, well, I've been toiling hard as can be gearing up for The Black Sheep Gathering, a sheep and wool festival to be held at the fairgrounds in Eugene, Oregon, from Friday, June 20th through Sunday, June 22nd. I have been working on my handpainted rovings and sock yarn and will have a huge array of colorful rovings for spinners and beautiful variegated sock yarn for knitters. For more information on this fun fiber festival, go to:

Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio will be sharing a booth with Sandy Sitzman of Woolgatherings (Banks, OR). Sandy is a dyer extraordinaire and will be stocking our booth with her beautiful spinning fibers as well as some handpainted yarns. Please come visit us in Building 3, Booths 49 and 50.
Here are some pictures of a few of the fibers I will have on hand in our booth. The top picture is merino/bombyx silk (50-50) and the bottom picture is alpaca/merino/silk (50/30/20). I will have many, many more colors, and and we will have a variety of fiber blends -- something for everyone who loves to spin. Sandy will have some superwash rovings, too.

Along with rovings, I will also have loads of my superwash merino sock yarn in most of my popular colors along with some new colors.

My friend, Margie, will be helping out in our booth and we'll be leaving next Monday for a little road trip on the way up so that we can explore along the Northern California and Oregon coasts. We'll be all relaxed and raring to go when BSG opens up on Friday, June 20th. Hope to see lots of our friends there.

For anyone who can't make it up to Black Sheep, I will be reopening my Etsy store when I return on about June 25th so check back after that date. Here's the address for my Etsy store: