Meet Jill

A couple of weekends ago, I ransacked my garage for the lamb fleece. I found it. It’s a California Red lamb fleece. While it’s beautiful, it’s also not for next to skin wear that I would want for the scarf project.

A quick call to Kathleen convinced me that there was no hope for it. I needed to buy another fleece. The problem? It’s too early in the season for 2009 fleeces. Most small producers are sold out of 2008 fleeces. Those that still have inventory are likely to have the dregs. What to do?

Janet Heppler of Nebo-Rock Textiles (no website) to the rescue. I have purchased several fleeces from Janet in the past. Her fleeces are absolutely gorgeous. I have never seen a bad fleece from her. And she has a barn full of them.  There are very few people that I would buy fleeces from, sight unseen. Janet is one of them. I tell her exactly what I’m looking for; she’ll find something that absolutely meets my needs.

I had to sit on my hands for a few days because she was out of town — I assume for ASCH. When we finally talked, I asked for a smallish colored fleece.  She provides.

moorit-jill-fleece
Here’s Jill.  A light moorit fleece. All 6 gorgeous pounds of her.

moorit-jill-locksHer staple length comes in just a hair over 3″.  Above the ruler is a lock as it came off the fleece.  The bottom is a lock that I did a quick kitchen-sink-swish ™ with hot tap water and some dish soap.  She’s a beautiful taupe color and wonderfully soft.  I can’t wait to play with her.

2 weeks of the contest have come and gone and I’ve only just received the raw fleece. I’ve been day dreaming about the scarf pattern. I think I have a small glimmer of an idea. More paper, pen, and swatching required.

What about the California Red lamb fleece? I’ve got half of it washed. I flick carded some of it using the tap and brush method.  The tap opened up the locks, and the brush separated the guard hair from the fleece.  If I had only tapped, I would have been left with the scratchy guard hair in the final yarn.

The downside? The guard hair is where the red in the California Red are located. I’m now left with a cream colored fiber instead of rosy tinged fiber.  One or the other. You have to choose.  I chose no-itchiness over color.

ca-red-locksClockwise from top left:

  1. Unwashed lock
  2. Washed lock
  3. Drecks from the flick carder; mostly guard hair and some second cuts
  4. Beautiful creamy fiber after flick carding
  5. (center) a sample spun on my little Golding spindle

I think this will be perfect for a small woven lap blanket.

Not all of the 2 weeks was wasted. I’ve found that washing the fleece by locks and flick carding wasn’t so onerous after all.  And with the lock structure intact, I can spin from the lock for a true worsted yarn. That is, if I can prevent laziness and impatience from over taking me and go back to my semi-long draw.

A New Challenge!

Have you seen this?  Interweave’s Spin-Off Magazine is having celebrating the International Year of Fibers by offering up a contest.  You need to process the fiber from scratch to a completed scarf of your own design…all by May 20, 2009.  (Thankfully, you don’t need to raise nor sheer the sheep yourself, but I think you should get bonus points if you do!)

That’s TWELVE weeks from now, folks!

If you follow the guidelines set forth by both Spin-Off and Keep the Fleece, you can enter your scarf into both contests.  Two birds, one stone.  Or rather, two contests, one scarf.

So, are you in?

I have a raw lamb’s fleece and a couple of alpaca fleeces in the garage.  I have some silk cocoons in the storage bin.  I have some brand spanking new Forsythe 4 pitch combs (just came in the mail last week).

Okay, it’s time for this project manager to start building a project plan and get this going!  There’s lots to do. Decide on a theme.  Scour the fleece (or degum the silk cocoons?).  Decide on how to process the fleece (comb or card or spin from the lock, a la Stove?).  Create a new scarf design.  Spin some samples (wheel or spindle?)  Do a swatch (knit or weave?)

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Gotta run. Lots of things to do!

P.S. $5 per entry? Who are you kidding here? What over achiever will be able to submit more than one entry in this amount of time?!

Scarf

The fingerless glove used up about half of spun yarn.  I could have made another pair of fingerless gloves, but I was bored.  So, I decided to make a bow-knot scarf to make a matching set.

I’ve lost track of how many bow knot scarves I’ve made.  It’s one of my favorite quick knits when I need a last minute present.

Lace Objects

After spending a couple of hours diagramming the lace shawl from my dreams, I have a much better appreciation for the genius of lace designers. I’m still working on the increase rates of the shawl versus the natural increases in the lace motifs that I want to use. After examining published lace patterns, I have some better ideas of how to proceed. However, I have put that aside for the time being.

Instead, I will present you some finished lacy objects.

A cat walked across my scarf…

Scuppers Scarf 1 Scuppers Scarf 2
This is the last of the auction scarves. This is for Carol, who lives on her boat with her cat named Scuppers. The scarf is to represent the cat pawprints on a white topside in the morning dew…like the dirty skid prints you might find on your car windshield or across your deck on a frosty morning.

I have not been happy with the cat’s paw lace patterns I found in my references. They are really more like a daisy with 6 lace circles. I designed this so that it is more representative of a paw print, and aligned them such that it looks like the actual path of a cat.

If anyone is interested in the pattern, let me know. I’ll put the pattern in my sidebar.

Specs:
Yarn: Handspun Chasing Rainbows Cashmere/Silk in Purple Haze colorway; lace weight
Pattern: my own
Needle: US #3

Swallowtail Shawl
Swallowtail Shawl

Specs:
Fiber: Handpainted Alpaca/Silk, purchased at Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. I don’t remember the vendor’s name and can’t find the tag right now.
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, from Interweave Knits Fall 2006 issue.
Needle: I don’t remember, but I followed the directions in the pattern exactly, so probably the recommended needle size.

Landscape Scarf
Landscape Scarf
The shaping of this is ingenious. I love the long curved edges. Perfect for ties without pulling the scarf out of shape. I can imagine several scarves like this, but with different lace designs. (Yeah, right. See the 1st paragraph of this post.) All I can say is, Evelyn Clark is a genius.

Specs:
Fiber: Handspun Merino/Silk from Lisa Souza, colorway Shaved Ice; fingering weight
Pattern: Landscape Scarf by Evelyn Clark
Needle: Again, I followed the instructions blindly, using the recommended needle size for fingering weight yarn.