Digging Into The Winter Stash of Fiber


I’ve spent the last week or so digging through my fiber stash in the upstairs spare-bedroom, and oh what glorious finds I found. I found Sari Silk Waste in seven different colors and decided to post them to my Etsy Shop. I found several fleece (…the entire fleece) all packed up in plastic bags and some in 30 gallon plastic storage containers. There was so much to dig through I had to do a little at a time. In doing so the urge to spin natural came to a rise like yeast dough raises in a warm corner of your kitchen waiting to be baked in the warmth of your oven.  I sat down to spin on my Celtic Golding Ring Spindle  (top whirl drop spindle) that spins like a dream. The craftsmanship of the Golding Company should really be appreciated. They make such a wonderful product with great balance and speed that smoothly spins your favorite fibers into a wonderfully stable yarn ready to knit even if simply a single spun to one’s liking the first time around.  Their spindles are beautifully carved and set into a brass ring, again perfectly balanced and worthy of any Craftswoman’s stash of fiber to be spun into Golding (Gold) in every color of the rainbow.

The carving is absolutely beautiful. It spins smoothly in your hand. Oh, the delight of spinning with hand-carved Cherry wood. But still, there was a need to arise. Feeling that need for a new spindle so I went on-line and purchased a Tibetan spindle, and when I give it a test run, I’ll let you know how it all turns out. Already, I’m seated on the edge of my seat like a child waiting for some sort of surprise that surpasses all others. My expectations are to spin mouth watering beautiful lace yarn. My Heart weakens……!


Well, it has been quite some time since I have been here to blog about my addiction as a fiber artist, and today is the perfect day to catch up. The  Sun is shining with a slight blow of northward bound winds, here in Bradenton, Florida. Of course, the squirrel friends have been around today for their daily dose of peanuts. And; as most of my friends know, I have been up to purchasing all kinds of fiber, and those fibers include such fleeces as Shetland, Icelandic, Targhee, Border Leicester, Merino and many more. Like most fiber artist I have a stash of fiber that is more than the average fiber artist can possibly spin in one year. Is it the smell of the fiber? Is it the color of the fiber? Is it the feel or textures of the fibers? As a practicing fiber artist I can honestly say it is all of the above that we all as fiber artist collectively crave….and the need for more  fiber seems to be endless. Some may laugh when I tell them of my secret…my secret of having an entire room dedicated to bins-upon-bins of fiber stacked high enough to reach the ceiling from the level of the floor and then when space runs out, my secret stash is stuffed into space-bags de-aired and compressed to make room for more savory fibers to add to the stash. Lately, I have spent a great deal of time dyeing fibers with Jacquard fiber dyes  and then spinning these beautiful fibers into glorious yarns ready to be knit with.   Today I decided that I should share some of the fibers that I have been spinning with you. So, I have enclosed a short slide show for your viewing. You will be viewing two of my new yarns Diamond Head (918 yards) which is a fingering weight yarn and LakeSide (259 yards) which is a bulky weight yarn. Enjoy….as much as I do, and be certain to come back for more.  And, yes I certainly promise to return soon with more to show you.

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Well, ended up with 949 feet of a single ply yarn from spinning the Merino fleece. I had wanted to ply it into a 3 strand Navajo ply. The single ply was too thin and kept rolling back upon itself. Hence, I decided to go ahead with a 2 ply yarn. The end result is beautiful. I like how Merino has that spongy kind of bounce to it and when put into more than a single ply you get more bounce for your money.  Now I must decide what color to dye this skein of yarn and what I will name it. I was thinking maybe  a color in the red family, and then I was thinking perhaps something in the purple family,  and then I thought of yellows and reds that blend into oranges. The possibilities are endless. Will come back and finish this post once I have come up with my final decision.

OK, I’m back and after setting the twists in the 2 ply yarn I have finally put dye to the Merino and come up with a name. This baby is named, “Simply Scarlet”. The Merino yarn took in all the dye as noted when removing the yarn from the bath. Bath was completely clear of dye and the coloring of the dye gave the yarn a slightly variegated look. Though, when hand-dyeing yarns how fibers will take on dye is sometimes very unpredictable. If there are kinks in the yarn, an area tied to tightly, or even a slight difference in spinning technique of the same yarn, all can effect the outcome of dye color.  Now I wish I had spun more. This would make a beautiful sweater or cowl. The good thing is that I wrote everything down, and can reproduce the dye bath. Now the unveiling of “Simply Scarlet”.

The stats on “Simply Scarlet” are as follows:

WPI: 18

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Ply: 2

Yards: 158


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After deciding that  I should spend some time spinning I closed myself off in the spare bedroom and did some carding and spinning of a beautiful silky Mohair fiber that was a gift sample to me along with an order that I had placed for Wensleydale fleece.  This gift sample came from Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms out in Temecula, California and was several different colors.  I decided to blend the colors by carding and see what the end result would be. Well I blended the fibers on my carder until I was pretty much satisfied with the results and took the fibers to my spinning wheel. I used several different spinning styles such as spinning from the rolag, spinning from the fold, and spinning from pieces of the batt from different areas of the batt until I obtained the blend in fibers that I was happy with. Mohair is a very soft, slick and silky long fiber. It also has a very curly loc formation that sometimes has the appearance of tight ringlets of hair that has been tightly set on sponge rollers, and requires a great deal of work to obtain the results you seek. My goal was to spin a yarn that was worsted in nature, but still maintain the softness that Mohair fleece offers. I was very pleased with the results and ended up with two skeins of fiber that are what I would like to call Almost Peach & Almost Lime. The two color combinations in my opinion are quit awesome and the process I used on the fiber retained the silky sheen that Mohair has naturally. After spinning the fibers I heat-treated the fibers to set the twist even further after letting the fibers rest on the bobbins a half day or so. Again, I am very pleased with the results, and this is what I got for my final result.

Note: This is a similar sample of fiber I received with my order from Namaste Farms owned by Natalie Redding from Temecula, California. The fiber in the plastic bag is what I started with. The picture credit goes to Namaste Farms.

Note: After processing this wonderful sample fleece this is how I spun the fleece into such a beautiful yarn. Love the resulting colors. This is a 2 ply yarn.

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The chestnut Churro fleece is finally off the bobbin and ready to knit into my recently designed hat. This hat will consist of the chestnut colored Churro fleece and Sari silk in multiple colors. I decided to do something a little different with the Sari silk. It is being used as an art yarn to create another dimension of texture along with the Churro fleece which was spun with the short and long fibers of the fleece.

Spinning the Churro was interesting in that the long fibers created a coarse texture in the yarn. But, when combined with the short fibers the result is a yarn that is slightly spongy in nature. Churro fleece is excellent for outerwear in that the fibers tend not to felt with continued use.

Prior to setting the twists in warm water the yarn was left to rest on the bobbin for a day to help set the twist before the final setting of the twist in warm water and fabric softener. The fabric softener also helps to lessen the coarseness of the Churro fleece during the final rinse when setting the twist in the newly spun yarn. The yarn will be weighted and sun dried to relax the twist creating a perfectly balanced yarn.

Here is what the yarn looks like after it has had the twists set in, weighted and dried. I must say the results I am very pleased with. The fabric softener helped in softening the finished yarn. Now all I have to do is knit a swatch with this yarn and see what I have in relationship to using it for the rib stitch pattern for the edging in my new Sari silk knit hat design.  Nothing could be more satisfying than to complete an object from the fleece off the sheep to the finished wearable object.

Note:  The yardage on this particular spin was 128 yards from 3 ounces of Churro fleece. The  Sari silk hat design has already been drawn out…now to the knitting of it.


I just had to share this. Finally, I have a hank from the colorway I shared pictures of just recently. The results as usual were the unexpected, and I really had no idea what the colorway would look like once the ugly batt had been spun. First of all I must say I am really happy with the results. So that everyone knows, this hank was created from the same fiber shown in the post “On The Bobbin.” There is a really big difference in what it looks like as a fiber batt, and the final spun yarn. That is why I love ugly batts. All stages from spinning to the final knit object are a big surprise. This is only one hank and I must resist the temptation to start a knit object until the final piece of fiber is finished being spun. So, it’s back to the spinning wheel and spin…spin…spin. My only hope is to resist the temptation to start knitting. A pound of yarn will do a really nice object, and I can see that this will take some soul searching to come to my final decision. The possibility of a really nice wrap has come to mind, and then again I was thinking something moebius, perhaps! And, of course I must also create a swatch to obtain my stitch gauge. I ended up with 188 yards. Well, back to spinning…

PS: I must also say, it is a very well-balanced yarn.


Some time ago I had ordered ugly batts from my favorite fiber supplier. Like most things at the time, those batts went back into the box they were shipped in and were placed in the back of the closet. Well, last week I decided to get the Kromski spinning wheel out and spin. The batt  chosen has a simply beautiful color-way in shades of orange, black, grey, some blue, and white.  And, the fibers are a mix what ever comes off the drum carder at the end of the fiber processing run. Basically, all protein fibers are treated in the same manner as far as fiber care. I have made several items from these batts, and usually just wash items in cold water and a very mild detergent. You can spin the batts in a woolen long draw for a textured, open and airy yarn, or you can spin the batts in a short forward draw to create a worsted weight yarn. No matter how I spin, an ugly batt is what I spin most of. Point being, I would like to share pictures of my ugly batts with you, and show you how they spin up. Each batt that I order weights one pound. The color-way that I share with you today will be the color-way I use for a shawl that I am going to design. I love working in this type of color-way. You never know exactly how the finished item will look. Even though you are using the same batt for all items that you can get out of the pound of yarn that you spin, it is the drafting that creates the different arrangement of color as you spin. You can draft from one area, stop drafting and turn the section of batt that you are holding around, and draft from another section drafting a completely different section of the color-way.