Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ashland Bay fibers have arrived!

The beautiful colors have arrived! 2 ounce balls of Red, Blue, Purple, Autumn, and, my favorite, Sea Mist!
I will have these ready for you at the Women's festival this weekend, $6 for 2 ounces.
Back at the studio, waiting for the dye pot, mine or yours, is Polwarth, creamy, merino soft, a shockingly low $2 per ounce, 2 ounce minimum.
OMG! 75/25 BFL Tussah! I just want to dive into it! $3/ ounce, 2 ounce minimum
DOUBLE OMG! 70/30 fawn alpaca and tussah silk. I can hardly stand it! It is too beautiful! $3.50 per ounce, 2 ounce minimum.

For now, only the colors will be at the festivals. But, come to the Wool Market on December 18 or contact the Susan Hensel Gallery anytime to purchase the full range of fibers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

18th annual Women's Art Festival

All things Fibery and Good! Come see what is new at Sue's Luxury Fiber this holiday season!

Saturday, December 11
Midtown YWCA
2121 E. Lake S.

There are new greeting cards, new scarves, new colors and designs of yarn, wondrous batts, lots of mohair, and shiny, shiny bamboo roving. AND...maybe more? I am awaiting my first shipment of Ashland Bay Trading Company fiber. Will it come in time?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

For SALE! The Roberta Electronic Spinner!

Well loved, well used, this Roberta Ertoel Spinner production spinning wheel is moving out to make room for the other sweet wheels that seem to come home with me like stray animals! It's not that I do not love her. My spinning needs ahve changed. She is an Irish tension wheel, with a ferocious pull, making her ideal for lofty, bulky yarns or lightning fast plying. With lacing, you can easily spin thinner yarns. Speed is controlled by an infinite dial. There is an on/off foot pedal. It comes with the standard flyer and 3 bobbin set-up as well as Woolee-Winder with 6 BIG bobbins! It is about 5 years old with a new motor. Full retail is currently over $1400. I am asking $700, firm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market

Returns in time for Holiday Shopping

Come Saturday, November 27 & December 18, 10-4, to Susan Hensel Gallery, for wooly, silky, alpaca goodness!





Demos and shopping!

Fresh food!

You will find art dolls, handspun and hand dyed yarn, tote bags, tapestry, weaving, spinning materials. It is an ever changing roster of artists!

Almost all the artists will be demonstrating! Some teach, so talk to them. All invite you to sink your hands into the marvelous world of fine fiber.

WHERE? Susan Hensel Gallery, 3441 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Case for Values!

Last weekend I went to the Minnesota Federation of Weavers annual get together. It was a lot of fun, including a winery tour(and wine drinking), the Rune Museum, and classes. I took a class in blending on a drum carder. The task I set for myself was developing values using complementary colors. Orange was m base color. I modified it using deep purple and lavender. Fun;-)


Tomorrow, Saturday, October 23, 10-4

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Round Robin studies

I have begun spinning some of the reds. The 3 dyes spun and plied in various iterations so far are Wash Fast Watermelon, Wash Fast Paprika, and Sabraset Deep Red. They were plied 2 ply of each combo and 3 ply of the lot. I also used, part of the time, my new Ashford sliding hook flier and a stretchy drive band. Felt like a whole new a good way. Mechanically smooth.
The combat yarn project continues...this time with additions of silk and alpaca and natural cutch dyed wool. the fiber was blended on a hackle, making a wonderful, smooth prep. The radical single was plied with a fine commercial mohair I picked up in NYC this spring. It adds a wonderful halo.

Stay tuned. The gallery show for these yarns will be in December.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Angora testing

I dyed a small bag of free angora jet black and am now blending it with various fibers. The grey is alpaca at 67% and angora at 33%. Great halo.
The halo is less pronounced here. This was a random carding of angora and wool. Still fuzzy, but not quite what I was looking for.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rare fibers from International Fleece

I ordered in from International Fleeces, 3oz each of rare wools and wools I had never tried. I am roughly halfway through the box and am falling in love with all kinds of sheep all over again.Cheviot, Gotland, Finnwool and Finnish Humbug top the list so far! The Gotland is such a pleasure to handle, but handle it carefully! Hot, sweaty hands felt it, even if you do not clutch the fibers! I tend to have a very relaxed fiber hand and it still happened.

Oh, and Anne's Rambouillet! My friend Anne came over to try out the Patrick Green Carder and a tiny batt of her toasty Rambouillet stayed behind! Of course I had to spin it...Id never spun Rambouillet before;-)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

As the kettle simmers

As the kettle of cochineal simmers on one burner and the cutch on another, the study in red accumulates steam! Pictured above are most of the acid dye reds and red analogs that I have. I will be spinning singles soon to compare, combine and contrast! It should be a lot of fun!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Zen of Alpaca Prep

My lovely creamy white alpaca fleece was riddled with VM! The day I washed it, the drain backed up so I was not able to get it as clean as normal. And, maybe you can see alpaca rolled in hay, twigs, seeds...proving once again that we spinners deal with agricultural product!
So, I made peace with my 5-pitch English combs. I reminded myself that I do not have to comb the whole fleece at once, at all or in one day. So, each time I run a load of laundry, I comb a little more. I also tell myself that I have given myself the delightful opportunity to touch the fiber more. ( Actually, I learned this attitude from Rita Buccanhan.) I have gotten into the ZEN of it, It is now, finally, fun.
Little nests of lovely, silky, creamy, dreamy alpaca are nesting together in a basket.
Isn't it lovely?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sampling tails & corespinning

I have been sampling the last few days...tailspinning with and without cores, and corespinning clockwise or counterclockwise. Above is tail spinning of lovely mohair without a core. The yarn is a single, sturdy and relaxed. I thought it would be either too tight or fall apart. I did have drift apart with some slippery joins that did not survive the skeining...but the small skein that remained is very nice!

The 3 photos above are tail spun locks, spun clockwise over a handspun single, thus tightening the single. This was easy to do and surprisingly did not make a wirey nor an unduly overspun single. It's not like you are likely to knit a tailored garment with tailspun, so biasing is not likely to be a problem.

The tailspun in the 2 photos above was spun counterclockwise over a handspun single, thus loosening the twist of the core. It was a bit harder to do, but the yarn is nice and soft and sturdy. Not a whole lot different than the larger hank spun in the opposite direction.

The final samples were true corespun. I handcarded tiny batts of mohair and spun them horizontally over a commercial core: cheap pink acrylic yarn from the thrift store. In this test I saw a very big difference between spinning clockwise and counterclockwise. The acrylic yarn tightened dramatically when I spun counterclockwise, making a tight, overspun hank. The core that was spun clockwise made a lovely, glossy, relaxed single with only a touch of bias.

Moral of the story? Pay attention to the direction that your core was originally spun in when doing classical core spinning. When spinning tails? The jury is out. I like the tail spun on a core somewhat better than the core-less yarn...but the affect of direction on the twist of the finished yarn was harder to discern.