Thursday, April 28, 2011

Road Trip - On the road again!

I have just finished a 7 hour drive to beautiful southern Colorado today.  Picking up the kid from college and a mini vacation.  I brought my cloud fiber to spin on the spindle.  Need to finish the sachet bag and will begin the Estonian lace scarf on this trip. The cabin is really nice and I did bring items to take photos of in the beautiful mountain area of Southern Colorado.  There is a lake about 1/2 hour away and we are near a big hiking trail.

The Great Western Alpaca Show begins tomorrow and although I will miss it this weekend I did enter a skein of yarn into the competition.  Competition life has definitely been a learning experience for me.  First I forgot to provide postage on the return envelope.  Then I forgot to provide a description of my item for the competition - somehow I missed this detail on the 2 page instruction form.  I told the coordinator that this had definitely been a learning experience and next year I will rock at this process.  The Estes Park Wool Market also has a yarn competition with a low entry fee.  I am going to try to enter 2 items to it and hopefully will be able to make it to the judging event.  I am thinking of entering my spindle spun yarn of alpaca and perhaps some roving.  I need to check the rules to see if the spun items can be from rovings or must be hand processed.  Apparently there is a big distinction in the competition arena of spun yarn.

One more weekend to shearing day and I have been reviewing my fleece sorting information to make this year's fleeces cleaner.  Need to confirm with my rancher what she considers to be her prime, seconds and thirds as mills and hand spinners may have different expectations. 

I ordered cotton bolls (10) from Woodland Woolworks which is sadly going out of business.  I have always wanted to try processing cotton and took the leap this week and ordered the fiber.  Will keep you posted on how well it turns out - am curious about how much fiber I can get from the 10 bolls.  Then of course the next decision is what to ply it with for a knitting or yarn project.  This summer is going to be a great journey into fiber events, projects and sales! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Llama fiber is here!

I apologize for the delay in posting - time has just gotten away from me.  The llama/silk roving arrived and it is absolutely wonderful.  Fiber fanatics will understand my drooling over the new arrival.  The mill took a nice fleece and added soy silk to it to make this roving.  It contains very little vegetable matter - far less than I was thinking it would.  I have sorted it into 1 and 2 ounce bags for merchandising.  I will be keeping 5 oz for spinning and making into a scarf.  It is so impressive that I was motivated to sort 2 fleeces and sent them to the mill for processing last week.  One will be roving (my cria alpaca fleece) and have bamboo added to it the other will have wool added and be converted to worsted weight yarn.  It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for processing so I hope to have the product back by June for summer festival sales.

I spun up my first batt of fiber into a sports weight yarn.  It is definitely a different technique to spin batts versus rovings but for me the preparation allowed me to spin a thicker yarn style.  On the wheel is some older wool roving which is being spun lace weight - perhaps to sale as no project comes to mind at the moment.  The neck warmer (scarflette) is complete and I just need to add buttons.  Will be getting the girls at the office opinion on button options this coming week.  I am nearly finished with another preemie hat for Children's Hospital.  This one has a heart motif on it.  I thinking of repeating the motif on a larger hat and the big idea this week is sachet bags!  The bags should be pretty simple to knit up and create with a variety of intricate patterns which will satisfy my creative needs.  From my online research it seems that most are created in a simple strip panel and then seamed together along with adding the potpourri.  Cotton yarn is the most common type of yarn used for the sachet which I do have in the stash.  I think one of the projects for the Durango trip will be a bag similar to the wedding bag I made last August.  It calls for crochet cotton yarn in a small gauge and was quite intricate.  The blue and green crochet thread will make great color statements to the pattern.

Shearing day is 2 weeks away - yeah!  I am down to 5 fleeces in the house and know at least one will be made into yarn due to its coarseness.  When I was sorting through the fleeces for the last batch to the mill I realized that I had 2 different colors in fleeces destined for yarn.  In the future all fleeces will be viewed in daylight not a semi lit barn to aid in judging their color schemes.  This fall I think I will add some tan/light brown fleeces to the mix versus my brown/burgundy fleeces.  Still want to try my hand at cotton and a good CVM fleece as I hear great things about them and believe my first one was not a good representative of the breed.  There is a group on Ravelry that spins up a different bred of fiber a month and records comments, accomplishments and errors with the fiber.  So far I have just been reading about their adventures but would like to eventually participate and contribute to the group.  They do domestic and rare breeds from various animals which is educational and pretty cool too.  Well that's all that is happening thus far in fiber world.  No sales thus far on Etsy but I am prepping items to sale at a festival or too this summer so things are moving along.  Until next time - try to keep the fiber purchases in tow if possible!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Motivation

baby hat

I feel so motivated this month and my productivity has definately seen a boost.  The Etsy shop has about 8 new items posted and several of my photos have also been updated.  I did purchase some blocking tools which will be utilized this weekend to enhance the scarfs and doily.  My llama/silk roving should arrive this week from the mill.  Looking forward to taking photos and packaging it for sale on the site too.  Of course a few ounces will be set aside for personal spinning and creation into a scarf.  The site has a little under 30 items right now which for me is quite an accomplishment.  The baby/toddler hat is even completed and posted onto the site.  For my first foray into designing I do like how it turned out - see photo to the right.

Custom goves
The custom red fingerless mittens were sold and picked up over the weekend - see photo to the left.  They were well received by their new owner - who is still amazed/baffled that I knit and spin.  I keep telling them my hobbies keep my balanced and the stress at bay.  My local crafting group got together on Sunday and I met a few new people in Denver.  Some of us had tea while others had wine but we enjoyed knitting/crocheting and discussing life around town.

On the needles is a new scarf in a dark plum color from handspun wool roving.  On the wheel, I am plying another bobbin of Lulu's fleece into a laceweight yarn.  I submitted my first skein into the Great Western Alpaca Show Competition occuring at the end of April.  I am not quite ready to compete at AOBA which is the national competition as of yet but it is definately on the radar for next year.  Unfortuantely the submission fee for that event is around $60 so as I am new to the competition circuit I am going to start out small.  One of my Ravelry groups mentioned an artist willing to consign work for the Renaissance Festival held in Colorado.  A project for the week is to reach out to them about carrying some of our fiber and knitted items.  I love the Renaissance Festival and am ready to start reaching out to local venues as means of selling my products.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spin in!

I went to my first Spin In yesterday and had a blast. It was held at the Recycled Lamb shoppe which meant I could of course buy supplies. Several of the ladies there are on a team competiting in the Estes Park Sheep to Shawl competition. Fascinating planning discussions. I definitely plan on going back. I finished spinning up the Wensleydale fiber which I will ply this weekend. The hat is finished too! It is definitely a child or toddler size hat but it turned out well all things considered. Tomorrow is photo day and reblocking the scarves. Next week I am sending in the skein of Lulu's fleece for judging in the competition at the end of the month.

My roving is done but it looks like additional fleeces will not be processed till the end of May or June. In going through my fleece stash I made the decision to toss my seconds of Black Romeo. What I had left was very course and filled with vegetable matter - too much even to turn into clouds. Still have a couple of baggies of his combed fleece though. I will be experimenting with the cria (baby) fleece. Apparently the mill only has white and gray bamboo fleece and my cria fleece is fawn with white tips and sections. I pulled most of the white from the fleece to keep the roving color consistent but now I am thinking to add the white back into it. I will practice blending and see if I like the color scheme. Hope to have pictures posted soon - until next time.