Get to Work!

Great stuff, having room to move without cats attacking the fiber in my hand, basket, box, bag, or on the carder or the wheel. Great stuff. Here’s the bottom of a batt that will be making up a second ply for some avocado dyed *GCN. This batt is GCN Sammas, yellow silk/Merino blend, red Border Leicester, and pitch black alpaca.

*GCN = Gulf Coast Native Sheep


First Batt out of the “new” Studio, with Lailie

TDF ~ Day 6



A rose tweed Gulf Coast Native 2-ply named after my granny.


Day 6 TDF

Day 6: The day I learned that my cats really are the bosses around here. Daisy, literally, hangs on the wheel when it isn’t spinning. Maggie lays on my foot on the treadle when I am or am not spinning. Millie has a thing for the lazy kate. Daisy is going crosseyed (ok, she IS part Siamese) watching the wheel turn – for hours on end – head nodding as she is fixed on one spot. Ahhh, boy oh boy.

The good news, is that I am out of acid dyed fiber. Now…I have only locks I’ve dyed with flowers. And I like that SO MUCH MORE! I appreciate all you lovely spinners who are fascinated with color…and I leave all of those dyes to you. I’ve done so much dyeing in the past that my skin is very sensitive to dyes. Carding and spinning take me up close and personal…to the point of swollen fingers which I do not need. So, it’s off to the coreopsis, marigold, fennel, and avocado bins! See ya later, bye! *wave wave*

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 1


Gulf Coast Native ~ Dyed with Flowers and Acid Dye


Rolags – Rerolled by The Cats


Rolags of Avo and Acid Dyed GC Fiber

So, it’s Day 1 of the Tour de Fleece. This year, I’m on 2 teams…DIY and Dye and Team Hopelessly Overcommitted. Yeah. I know. As soon as these are posted, I’m off to get that loaf of whole wheat in the oven and pack up the fiddles for an afternoon gig on the other side of the state. Ahhhh.

NB: See the multi colored rolags? Notice how ratty they look? Thank the kittehs. I walked out of the room for 2 minutes. Came back in. And GAH! Rolags were all over the rug in various states of disrepair. Such is life with kittehs.


TDF – Bumps

Spiral Plying

Here we have a delicious combination. Cranberry Moon Farms’ BFL plied with RanMar Alpaca. Totally easy. Totally dramatic. Soft and gorgeous.

Left – Stack Traps ~ Alpaca and Cotton and Right – Stacks – Gulf Coast Native and Alpaca

Oh those Stack Traps! Two animals, two blankets from RanMar Alpacas, one brown one tan, plied together trapping natural brown and natural green cotton from Dove’s Roost Farm. Oh. Gorgeous.

On the right…Gulf Coast Sammy, spun in the grease, with RanMar Alpacas Lance stacking up!

Left – Coils 2-ply Gulf Coast with Alpaca and Mohair Coils, and on the Right…Bright Red Supercoils

Oh COILS! Rockin! Oh Supercoils – Red is so not photogenic!

Coils Ahhhh

So, this was the Bumps chapter. And I have to say, these cool and fancy yarns are coming off the wheel as balanced as can be. Anchors are pretty much effortless. And I’ve come up with some interesting ideas of my very own. But, for now, I’m sticking to the game plan, and going yarn-by-yarn, through spin art.

TDF Day #5 – More Corespinning



Last night, I stayed up late. There was to be a webcast from CERN at 3AM, announcing success in the search for the Higgs boson. I’m working my way through jacey boggs’ swell book on textured spinning, spin art, and I welcomed the alone time in the wee hours – I could spin uninterrupted.

So, I picked up where I’d left off: Corespinning – Cocoons.

I collected a few bits of colored fiber (I’m not big on dyed fiber) and some of my lambs’ 2012 fiber (which I’d carded into batts) and watched the Corespinning section on the dvd again. Then, I read the bit on Cocoons. Clear enough.

First off, I pulled out a naked undyed batt of Curly Lumpkin, some yellow silk fiber, and some indigo dyed fiber from Curly’s Aunt Holly.  First attempt was not embarrassing, and actually, quite a lot of fun. Once again, I had a little trouble controlling the tendency for the yarn to be overspun.

My second attempt was spun from a batt of Mary’s fleece and her Mama Holly’s blue fiber for cocoons. This yarn came together well, was not overspun, but, I realized I was spinning a perfect thick-and-thin.

These little samples were a lot of fun to spin, and I know that I will be revisiting this technique soon. I can see these yarns knitted up, in my mind’s eye, and I like what I see.

Today, the 4th of July, is traditionally, a day for bbq and relaxation. So, I made a gigunda potato salad and a dry rub for a boneless pork roast, and picked some peppers and tomatoes and cukes and made a heck of a salad. We enjoyed a silent neighborhood. Not a firecracker. Not one. Not a car up or down the road. Not a kid yowling, hollering, or crying. We enjoyed the scene. We enjoyed strolling through the pasture. We enjoyed the day. I did not spin until the critters were all tucked in.

Next up was Tailspinning.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to know that it takes clean curly locks to make a tailspun yarn. I had a handful. Literally, a handful. The locks I had came from a Border Leicester sheep, one of the funniest looking sheep, in my opinion, but one that grows some of the most amazing fleece around. I had dyed these locks with coreopsis way back when. Really, when, two or three years ago? So, that’s what I had. I used a superwash merino sockyarn as the core.

This was a very easy yarn to spin. Not a very easy yarn for my wheel to take up. The locks got caught on the spring clip that the yarn threads through on its way to the bobbin. Made me CRAAAAZY.  But, not much harm done to my psyche. That handful of locks was just enough to cover the few feet of unwindable core. Ta da. This won’t be a big favorite in my studio, until I add to my collection of, ahem, 1 spinning wheel.

TDF Day #4 Corespinning?

First Go at Corespinning ~ “Little Mud”

I get it! I get it! I didn’t understand before, but now, I DO!

Corespinning is a way to really show off a most excellent pile of gawjus fiber. Spin a killer beauty of a batt, and not one single fiber will be hidden as the “center” of the yarn. It’s ALL on the outside.

That said…the batt really should be a killer beauty.

My fiber was killer beautiful…Gulf Coast Native dyed with coreopsis, with marigold, with indigo, and with some purple acid dye, rabbit, and mohair too. But…I sorta overcarded this pile of beautiful stuff…and turned it into mud. Boo on me.

Still…I’m delighted to have spun a successful, soft, balanced 22 yards of corespun naturally dyed (for the most part) fiber. I used superwash merino for the core. Blecch, that stuff is so bizarre. But, it makes a fabulous core!

Alrighty, then. Time to move along to the next technique in jacey boggs’ lovely book, spin art.

TDF Day #3 – Tornado!

First Tornados Spun on Ramona

Tornado Number 1

Tornado Attempt Number 2

Jacey Boggs says that the Tornado is a fiddly spin. And she speaks the truth. It’s a slow going yarn to make, uses a ton of material, and in the end? It’s pretty darn cool!

For my first attempt, I used blue Corriedale roving, unearthed from a bag of acid dyed fiber that I prepped about 30 years ago. No, no joke! Ha! For the triple singles wrap, I used a spindlespun indigo dyed Gulf Coast, a 2nd Gulf Coast yarn spun from space dyed roving, and a rough lumpy bumpy tweed singles. The yarn is pretty cool looking, but handling 3 singles, “shuffling” them onto the core, well…that wasn’t working out. I was autowrapping them, more or less. And really wanted to try to get that random loopiness.

So, Tornado Number 2 was born. For this yarn, I used a naked Corrie roving as the core, and 2 of the 3 singles wraps I used for the first yarn. I replaced the rough tweed singles with a rayon ribbon yarn. And this time, I shuffled. It was like fingerpainting wearing rubber gloves. At first. But, there came a point…and the switch flipped, and ka-boom…I was building a tornado!!!

These little skeins are simply experiments. To be really proficient, all I would have to do is sit and spin – for a good stretch of time. What I am doing, though, is finding out. I’m spinning long enough to Find Out if these yarns are yarns in which to invest myself. And what I’m finding out is that, yes, I do believe there is a future for textured yarns in my studio.

TDF Day 2 – Autowrap

First Attempt at Autowrap

Gulf Coast w Carbonized Bamboo “Core” with Autowrap of Blue Mohair

Look at this little skein. 14 yards of Autowrap. I’m pretty happy with the results, even though I need a lot of practice to make the autowrap I see in my mind’s eye.

This yarn is a little trickier to spin than the Racing Stripe. I spin on a Fricke, which has a Delta orifice. Part of the charm of this yarn is the true abandon with which it’s spun. With a Delta orifice, or in fact, with any “outie,” the spinning is done in a more careful manner, using a finger to control that which is just left to let fly on other wheels.

Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable bit of work. But honestly? I can’t wait to spin a Tornado!!!! So…see ya later…

Tour de Fleece – Day 1: Racing Stripe

Day 1 – Racing Stripe: Alpaca/Gulf Coast Native Wrap on Gulf Coast Single

Tighter Shot of  Racing Stripe

This year’s Tour de Fleece is going to be a little different for me. This year, instead of spinning for volume, I’m going to be working my way through Jacey Boggs’ book, spin art.

Day 1: Lesson 1 – Racing Stripe

I chose a batt I’d carded of some Running Moon Farm’s colored Gulf Coast Native for the singles yarn, the “core” of the yarn. For the racing stripe, I chose a singles yarn I’d spun from a RanMar Alpacas blanket tweeded up with some bits of Gulf Coast.

My predeliction for spinning in the grease jumped up and bit me in the hiney. The batt did’nt draft smoothly. At all. So, even though I was spinning at a low ratio with low tension, my yarn kept getting all reverso-ram-mered. The singles “yarn” that I was spinning kept wrapping around the stripe! Ha. Ahhh, Beginners Mind.

In the end, I spun 16 yards of this funny little yarn. It’s soaking right now, and I think it will relax and bloom nicely once that little bit of grease is gone.

Welcome to Tour de Fleece 2012!