Sunday, January 25, 2009
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF NATURAL FIBERS
As I wrote last week, the International Year of Natural Fibers was launched last Thursday on Jan. 22nd. In an effort to promote handspinning and the use of natural fibers, I am posting some of my recent handspuns. I am hoping that these skeins will motivate my spinning friends -- who have been slackers -- to get out their wheels and try to spin at least a few times a week and to knit, crochet or weave with their handmade yarns and to wear your creations and talk about them. I also hope that spinners will be motivated to seek out some of the wonderful fiber sources available from people who are raising their own animals. Making a trip to events like Black Sheep Gathering, the Taos Wool Festival, the NY Sheep and Wool Festival, the Monterey County and local county fairs is an excellent way to come into contact with these small farm owners.
This skein was spun from fiber I bought in a booth at the Taos Wool Festival last Oct. '08. I had previously purchased hanks of beautiful natural colored rovings from Rocky Mountain Fiber pool in the past at Convergence. This roving was a blend of charcoal gray llama and silk. It is a an amazingly soft yarn and has white flecks of shiny silk. This is 218 yards and 3.1 oz., enough for a nice pair of gauntlets or a cowl.
These next skeins were spun from fiber I purchased at Black Sheep in June '08 and at Torrance in Nov. '08. The dark gray pygora/fine merino (75-25) is from Rainbow Yarns Northwest, possibly some of the most lovely pygora I have ever spun. [www.rainbowyarnsnw.com] The handpainted roving was dyed by Redfish Dyeworks from which I purchased baby camel/silk (50-50) and merino/silk (50-50) rovings. I alternated plying these together. One skein is the pygora blend on itself. The next was the handpaints plied on each other, and the third skein is the pygora and merino/silk plied together. I have about 1,070 yards (11.4 oz.), enough for good size project.
The next skein uses some of my handpainted merino/silk/angora in a colorway I called "Rose Garden Marl" that I plied with a natural dyed pumpkin orange merino/silk from Tactile Fiber. This skein is 3.4 oz. and 362 yards.
And the final skein for today was spun from two of my handpainted colorways. One ply is called "Cabo" and it's a blend of merino/cashmere (80-20). The other ply is a randomly dyed merino/kid mohair in gold, rust and gray. This is 434 yards and 4 oz. and it is asking to be knit up into the Morning Surf Scarf, although I may have other plans for it.
If you can't get out to some of these various fiber events, the internet has a wealth of products available for handspinners. Etsy.com has some wonderful stores with natural fibers available from various small producers: ThunderheadFarm, Cashmerebunny, Silversunalpacas, and Theranch. And there are skads of indie dyers with wonderful hand-dyed fibers, like TaosSunflowerToo, FatCatKnits, and Blarneyyarns.
My other hope is that all of you knitters out there will get the urge to try handspinning but you should be cautioned that it can be highly addicting.