Monday, November 25, 2013
Oh, look what the mail lady brought! A few years ago I bought some dark fleece (a Sally Bill Special!) from Lopez Island Fibers, but I never got around to having it processed. Then, this year, I got some white and some light gray (also Sally Bills), and I sent all three of them of to Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, WA. Today, the resulting roving arrived. Each color produced 3-4 luscious, squishy, still a tiny bit sheepy rolls roving. (It was 13.1 lbs. of raw fleece. I think I got around 9.5-10 back. I need to weigh it on something more nuanced than a bathroom scale.) I'm not sure my spinning skills are up to the quality of the fleece, but there are three sheep to whom I owe my best effort. That's a lot of roving, right? So exciting!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I have long been wanting to add some heavier weight yarns to the Fleur de Fiber roster. A few challenges stood in my way. The highest hurdle is that I have limits to the amount of one yarn I can dye at one time. That means it can be a challenge to dye a sweater's worth in one go. (It's not impossible, just a bit challenging.)
I think I've found some heavier-weight yarns I like well enough to move forward. One of the most exciting things about them is that they are grown, processed and milled in the US. I love that. As a fiber lover, I realistically know that the medium I love has environmental impacts. We all love superwash yarns. They're great for socks, baby things, and the like. Superwash takes dye in a way that makes it shine. You can get subtle shading effects that are impossible in untreated fiber. It all makes good sense. Think of superwash like hair conditioner, which smoothes the scales on your hair and creates a sleeker surface to reflect light, only in a longer-lasting fashion. (Be aware, though, when washing your superwash garments, it is a process, and it can--eventually--wear off if you wash your garments a lot. I still hand wash most garments, and if I do machine wash, I do it on delicate, in cold, with the same wool wash I use to wash and rinse dyed yarns. Better safe than sorry, and while it's a bit more work, compared to the work I put into knitting my garments, it's a drop in the bucket. But I digress.) Superwash is a chemical process. I have no idea what it is, and I've been told almost all of it happens in China. (Even yarn grown and spun here, if it's superwash, probably took a round trip cruise to China.) I will still love--and dye--yarns that come from other places, but if I can find quality products closer to home, it feels good. (I try to do some due diligence, but it isn't easy or transparent. One of the most interesting things I ever heard was that the "Buy Local" label doesn't tell the whole story. The example was lamb. New Zealand lamb could have a smaller carbon footprint than lamb grown a few states away, depending on what they're fed, how much irrigation is required, etc. we can drive ourselves mad trying to figure it all out.)
At a little test, this week I will be listing fraternal twin skeins in the etsy store. One is natural white, one natural gray. They go in the pot together, and they take the color quite differently. Some pairs are very contrasted, others are closer, but they are fun paired in striped garments. I am writing up a simple hat pattern that makes great use of the twins' uniqueness. Plus, you can get 2-3 hats (depending on size) for the pair!