It is really amazing when people send pictures of their finished knits. She used a matching yarn for the complementary mittens. So sweet!
A few weeks ago I approached fiber artist Vanessa Yvonne of Nessaland about doing a fiber swap. I have always admired the look of her batts and finished yarns. From her posts on Facebook it seemed like we had a lot in common. If we lived closer, we would probably be very good friends.
We decided to swap a 4 oz. batt and 2 oz. of assorted locks and other add ins for spinning. We had 3 weeks to complete the swap.
This is what I sent:
The batt is mostly smooth merino, BFL and silk with added locks, tied up with strips of silk fabric. The add-ins are clouds of picked kid mohair/silk, combed cotton, super curly grey BLF, Dyed blue/purple gotland fleece, hot pink mini sparkly batt, merino top, two crochet iris flowers and silk thread.
This is what I got:
The batt is merino, silk and alpaca. The add-ins are merino locks, silk hankies, kid mohair, silk ribbons, fabric and a very thin yarn.
Drum roll please...
This is what I spun:
Batt was spun at an even aran weight and the the locks and other stuff are core spun over that yarn. The yarn came out really squishy, puffy and super soft.
This is the yarn that Vanessa spun"
Here the yarn is core spun with all the locks and goodies spun in tandem with the batt. The the yarn is coil plied.
Jellyfish are fascinating creatures.
I love how they glow.
Photograph by Jack Pierson
The water is a smoothly carded merino, silk and kid mohair locks in a gradient from turquoise through black
The jellyfish part is a chunky batt of merino, cormo, sparkle, kid mohair locks, hemp, and faux cashmere
Last year I got a beautiful Mohair fleece at the Rhinebeck Wool and Sheep Festival. When I saw this fleece, I marveled at how thick and formed each lock was. When I pulled the locks apart, the bubbly crimp was like kid mohair. It was silkier than traditional mohair, which usually leaves me itching. I realized that I have been purchasing fleeces without processing them and as a result I have a stockpile of spongy, soft, amazing locks sitting on the shelf of my studio. Like so many fiber addicts before me, I made a vow not to purchase any more wool until I dyed and spun some of my bounty.
So it begins.
I started with an amazing teeswater from the famous Natalie Redding at Namaste Farm. What a joy to spin up the big thick and lofty locks. The dye soaks up easily and there is no vegetable matter, which makes for a soft yarn. Spinning from the lock kept all the texture in the little curls. I love it.
I wanted a similar feeling from a yarn spun with an airy mohair fleece. Excitedly, I dyed one pot neon pink and green, another in minty greens and the last, purples and pinks.
To prep the fiber, my picker would prove to be the best tool for the job. I liked the way the wool looks when I pull the locks apart. The picker mimics what I do with my fingers, only faster.
I can add other fibers such as angora, merino, threads and sparkle to add interest. I opened up the fibers and blended all the different parts while not combing out all the cute curly “Q’s”.
I can see everything so clearly now. All the components for my batts are in plain view. After emptying out all the surplus from my studio, I have been working several nights in a row. I have spun up a lock spun yarn, carded up a batt, dyed a whole fleece and it feels so good. I look forward to many more nights.
I started by throwing out or “freecycling” anything that I had not used in the last 5 years. Then my husband, with the help of Ikeas amazing storage ideas, hung up extra cubbies for me to store all my wool. I picked up all the fiber from the floor and loaded up the new storage units. Packing up all the fleeces that still need washing and dying, freed up lots of floor space. We rearranged the furniture and removed 4 extra chairs. A total of 6 big bags left the room.
I have felt very unproductive for the last few months. I was finding it hard to focus on things like producing batts, turning them into yarns, and dying fiber. Things I used to love doing. Even updating the shop seemed to be a huge motivation.
I have spent the last few months concentrating on so many other exciting and creative aspects of life that I hadn’t realized how disorganized my creative space had gotten. How could I possibly produce anything when all my stuff was so messy? It was time to clean up my studio with the hope that it would turn around the artistic funk I have been in.
In other news about life and my glorious husband, over the last few weeks he worked to make me this great website. In light of that, I have put together a list of goals in an effort to keep this site/blog focused.
My intent is to draw people to http://www.newtwistyarn.com for general information about wool, yarn, spinning and patterns. I want to use the site to help broaden the depth of my knowledge and of those people reading or viewing the yarn archive. I intend to post technique videos and my inspirations in the hopes they will inspire you too. Aside from my obsession with fiber, I love working with all manner of handcrafts, cooking traditional foods and cultivating connections with local farmers.