Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sue's Luxury Fiber has MOVED

Sue's Luxury Fiber has MOVED to www.suesluxuryfiber.com

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anemones in the Garden


I have been spinning on the Country Spinner HUGE hanks of yarn that , when plopped (that's a technical term), take on the character of Anemones. This first photo is a lighting anomaly...the yarn is NOT orange. I think my hand was partially blocking the flash! But it is a cool photo.
I then arranged them across the floor. I like the difference in size of the strands...from super-bulky to Ginormous Bulky( another technical term).

Then I covered them with silk organza net. Then I placed a net of lights beneath them.
I LOVE HOW THIS LOOKS! I think I will continue working with this.

Now I wonder how they would look in the garden?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Complex Silk

Sometimes you just have to START!
I started by dying these with Eucalyptus and rust. I got the silk too wet with vinegar and water, wrapped it around Eucalyptus leaves and flowers and around rusty bits & tied it up tight. I cooked it. Got just the palest bit of a print. SO, I re-wrapped and plunged it in my rust bath (garden rust, vinegar and water) and placed it in a baggie overnight. Much rust and some Eucalyptus prints. Not much. It just looked mysteriously dirty. I learned that the Eucalyptus buds will leave intense prints and that the rust makes the prints turn black.
The scarves did look dirty, with tiny bits ofloveliness. SO I got out my new SilkDyes, instant, non-toxic dyes. Fun! Saved one of the scarves from the compost heap/scrap bin.
They both actually look good when worn. But this one, I will stitch on to try to improve the look.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just a wisp of Mohair!

A wisp of mohair was left on the floor, like a fallen feather, when Karen and Katie left the shop today. It lay as a reminder of a significant interaction: shiny, beautiful, sky-like, as though it had taken flight and landed gracefully.

I had a visit from Karen Lohn, the author of Peace Fibres today. You can follow her blog at http://www.peacefibres.com/blog/ . She came to see Libbie Soffer's show the show in the gallery and to re-connect on the theme of peace and fiber. We had talked at Shepherd's Harvest over Mother's Day weekend. We connected deeply over the search for personal and corporate peace and the role that fiber can play in the search.

It is an odd thing, this relationship with fiber. Perhaps it reaches way back into our early hominid history...to that time of early discovery of the protection and utility of various fibers...they ways they could be employed to tie, net and wrap things...the sinews that could hold the furs to our feet, that could lace skins together, the vines that seemed to invite the invention of basketry, the long thin fibers discovered in the inner back of downed trees, the stupendous fibers of the spider and the caterpillar...

I hope to read more about the history of the development of fibers. But, what I know now is this:

When I am in contact with fibers, I feel a peaceful ease fall over me. I breathe easier. I feel in contact with some kind of deep history of women's work. When I spin it, I feel bliss.

Give yourself space to breathe & thrive: try spinning.

The wool shop reopened today. ALL of it was packed for Shepherd's Harvest and needed to stay in the garage for the duration of the Mending Circles we had with the current show. With the exception of Memorial Day, I will be open on Mondays 10-5 and by very generous appointment. Come, pet the sweet, soft fibers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Social Fabric

With a title like that, you probably think I am going to wax philosophical here...and I may yet, today. But what I really wanted to tell you about was something I learned about from my recent visit with Zach.

Zach Pearl was my incredibly able assitant for several years and continues to be my graphic designer. He moved to Toronto last year to go to graduate school in curatorial practice and critical writing. He has begun an internship with the Textile Museum of Toronto. The Textile Museum has developed an in-house social media platform for their textile collection. Try it out. It is very interesting. You get to respond to the pictured textiles and read other's responses. While it is no substitute for seeing the textiles in person, it does provide a thoughtful virtual experience with a community of people interested in the role of textiles in culture. Click below!

Social Fabric

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yarn about art? Art that is yarn?

I was talking with my friend Ann today, a fabulous spinner. We both share the utter enthusiasm for the variety of fibers, breeds of sheep, styles of spinning available to us as spinners. We get so excited talking about prepping new fibers and the discoveries that lurk around the corner! We see each other as our primary supports in our quest for spinning as fine art.

I seek to make the skein that is so beautiful, or so odd, or so laden with meaning that it can only be perceived as sculpture!

Ann seeks the skein that so expresses its "selfness," the twist, the color, the crimp that expresses the uniqueness that that fiber can become...often in garments. She spins yarns that cannot be found in the natural habitat of the yarn store.

Are we nuts, or something? Are we tilting at windmills? I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that she and I will talk again soon about an idea that is beginning to form for us:

What if we formed a group of like minded spinners, who were interested in stretching the envelope of what yarn can be?

We are thinking of forming spinning group, but not just another spinning group where we eat and drink and spin. ( Even though we do like to drink and spin especially well!) We don't know what this group would look like, but we know that we want to create a more prominent place at the fiber table for spinners. We want spinners to be noticed as spinners of art, not imitators of store bought yarn.

What could we do? spin together, study together, encourage one another to stretch our skills and ideas, create exhibitions together...other stuff?

You tell me. Are you interested? Do you have ideas? Share them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peace Fibres- stitching a soulful world

I have just begun reading Peace Fibres.I met Karen at Shepherd's Harvest and was taken with her book.

"Peace involves relationship to self, to others,and to the larger cosmos. The feminine qualities expressed in fibre work- care, connection, cooperation, compassion, creativity, contribution- are all about relationship." - author Karen Lohn

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shepherd's Harvest ...until next year!

I borrowed this photo from the Shepherd's Harvest Facebook Group to let you know how much fun we all had and how grateful I am for your business. I probably could have taken photos with my ailing iPhone...but I had no time, nor presence of mind, as the day started with a bang on Saturday.

The organizers did a grand job!

I do the festival because I love fiber. I love everything about spinning and dying different wools, bast fibers, sparklies. (Maybe I don't like pricing and labeling so much.) I do all of this for my pleasure, sure, but also to help spread the word about the rewarding and peace-giving nature of fiber work.

I joke about being an
enabler, about Batts being a gateway drug to further fiber addiction, about the potential for world peace through spinning.

But seriously, while I more than half believe we would ALL be better off with fiber under our fingernails, I also seriously want to pay it forward.

5% of the gross sales from Shepherd's Harvest and recent ETSY orders has been given as a KIVA loan to the Sayhua Group in Urubamba, Peru, to help Maria Acurio Paredes buy materials to make jewelry.

And lest I forget, my work at Shepherd's Harvest would not be possible without the help of my dear friends who work for peanuts and popcorn:
Carla Mantel & Gwen Schagrin who have helped me at every Shepherd's Harvest for the last ...is it 6 years? The three of us came as spectators and students one Mother's Day and returned as vendors the following year.
Thank you to Pauline Mitchell who came for the first time this year, And Dale Kennedy who has helped both at the festival and at home in the studio and the gallery through out the years.

Hooray for great friends!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shepherd's Harvest

Shepherd's Harvest... this year I rent a truck! I will be bringing so much new stock that I cannot fit it in my little Chevy S10!

Watch for me in Building A, with the BATT YOUR OWN station.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Come Saturday, April 30, to Yarnover and see lots of the new products I have accumulated!

25th Annual Yarnover – Mark your calendars for the 25th annual Minnesota Knitters’ Guild Yarnover, an all-day event. Featured are a market with vendors from the Midwest and Canada, along with classes taught by nationally known teachers.

Location: Hopkins Senior High School, 2400 Lindbergh Dr, Minnetonka, MN
Contact: (612) 436-0464, ext. 115
Time: 7:45 a.m.–5:45 p.m.

I will be spinning on the Aura wheel, from Majacraft. Come see.
BFL/silk hand dyed roving!
Ashland Bay merino Silk roving: these are the samples spun up!
Baby Llama roving
Alpaca silk roving
alpaca, baby llama all spun up!
And boxes of handspun, hand dyed yarn!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Which spindle/project bag suits you?

This past year, I purchased several antique Japanese obi's...the long elegant sashes used on kimono. I have made spindle/project/evening bags from them! Each bag is unique and will hold a sock project or several spindles and roving or you evening necessities! I think I have either 6 or 8 different fabrics so far. Check them out at:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Firestar is HOT! Or, at least the colors are! Firestar is a form of nylon that reflects and refracts light for sparkle almost as bright as glitter! While it can be spun alone, it is usually spun carded with wool to add sparkle and strength. It is a fun way to add strength to a sock yarn. Don't worry, though, Firestar is skin soft.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poor man's silk?

All that glows is not silk. Bamboo Rayon is so shiny and soft that you want to roll around in it. It can be spun as is...slippery though it is. It is reputed to be antimicrobial. I don't know if that is true, but it's neat to think about. It is not strong like silk, so I would not knit socks with it. But for a drapey scarf? yummy! I like carding it in with other fibers to add luster and drape to otherwise springy fabric.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's a Fibershed?


I was blown away today when I received a post from Joybilee Farm on one of my Yahoo Groups. She wrote about sustainable clothing, locally sourced no more than 150 miles away. What would this mean?

"The Fibershed project is inspired by the need to swing the pendulum of our production- and our consumption to a more balanced state, that supports the health of all humans and the greater ecological system of which we are apart; through the re-integration of organic fibers, natural dyes, and a regional base that supports local communities and economies."

I was led to the originator blog of the Fibershed project and read

"The fibershed challenge is to live for one year, in clothes made from fibers that are solely sourced within a geographical region no larger than 150 miles from my front door; this includes the natural dye colors as well!"

What would it mean to create bioregional clothing in Minneapolis? What are our native fibers, our native dyes, our climactic needs?

Many are talking about the Transition Town movement that aims to create a more sustainable lifestyle with a small carbon footprint and far less reliance on oil. By local-sourcing our clothing, we can contribute to this.

I don't know that I have the will or the knowledge to do this, local source all my clothing within 150 miles, for a year. But it bears thinking about. It bears talking about.

What do you think?

Not so old goats

In addition to the hand dyed wool roving, I have lots of dyed mohair this year...from goats. I found a reasonable source for young adult mohair, yearling, in combed top. It is sleek & shiny...like fine jewelry!

It is great to spin very fine for lace or for making boucle's. Spun thick, by itself, it will be heavy and probably last nearly forever. Mohair is strong. It is wonderful added to a batt of wool to increase the luster or used as a single ply with plies of different fiber.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dyeing Day Fun

I spun this dorset down with nylon for socks a couple of years ago. Finally, I dyed it. It is SO SPRINGY! It will make wonderful socks.
In the past year I have been periodically experimenting with rare wools. Usually I have just spun small samples. But when I got out the Teeswater (orange) and the Devon (green) I could not stop spinning! They were such a delight to work with.
The teeswater is surprisingly springy. I wasn't expecting that from a long wool. It it outer wear soft, maybe sock soft if you are not terribly sensitive. The Devon (greens) is very fine, spun worsted, and would make a superb weaving yarn. It is quite prickly, has a luminosity just short of mohair. It would be superb for tapestry or crewel work.
Last spring, when I was in New York City, I purchased some cones of silk: one is a ribbon, one is a fine boucle, on is a gleaming single. They were a joy to dye!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sometimes an artist visits& goes batty

In the run up to Yarnover and Shepherd's Harvest, I sometimes invite another artist in to dye with me. I find it mixes up, in a good way, my eye for color. This year I had my friend Dale Kennedy come dye and "batt" with me. He batted up some beautiful subtle blends of colors, all with a bit of bamboo for hand and a bit of firestar or angelina for fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yarnover is coming soon!

Yarnover, April 30, 7:45am-5pm, Hopkins High School, 2400 Lindberg Dr., Minnetonka, MN

Yarnover is the incredible annual event of the Minnesota Knnitters Guild. They get in famous teachers from all over!

I will be a vendor there with my handspun yarn and hand dyed fibers.

I think of my yarns as coming in 2 major classifications: knitting yarn and art yarn.

Now, both classes can be knit, crocheted, woven...but... The art yarn is more of an accent yarn, having add-ins, beads, flowers. The art yarns often express an idea, such as the landscape of Australia, or my memory of tailoring my own clothing as a young woman.

The yarn I think of as "knitting" yarn, is generally 2 or 3 ply, fingering to worsted weight. The yardage runs from 60-400 yards...With these yarns you get to experiment with different breeds of sheep, handspun cotton, wild mohair boucle's, hand dyed, handspun silk.

Different breeds of sheep and alpacas grow fiber that has a different hand. Alpaca, as you know, tends to be sleek and soft to the skin...if it is pure alpaca it drapes so "well" that some say it stretches. It is not very elastic to knit with.

Down breed sheep, like a Dorset, on the other hand, are so elastic that you would have a hard time convincing someone that you had not snuck in some latex!

And then there are the blends! OOO they are nice! Sometimes I blend on the carder, making heathery, tweedy yarns. SOmetimes I blend by plying totally different fibers together. Recently, I plied a turquoise cotton, a rust merino and a deep brown alpaca mix. I have plied silk, merino and cashmere...as well as mystery fibers and recycled sweater yarn.

So, come by and see the yarn! I'll be in booth #25, spinning away on things...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Update on Kiva loan

Sue's Luxury Fiber funds Kiva loans with your help. Here is an update from Anush.

Anush Baghdasaryan is very thankful for funding from Kiva Lenders! She spent part of her 800.000 AMD Kiva loan to buy overstitching machine, which is very useful in her business. With the rest part of her loan she was able to fill in missing amount of money for truck buying; and so now Anush and her family have a truck, which they use for their fruits and vegetables trading.

Anush share that besides of clothes she sews curtains as well, which you can see in the photo.

Nor Horizon Universal Credit Organization Limited Liability Company
Posted by Yana Sargsyan from Ijevan, Armenia Apr 16, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At the Textile Center...NOW!

Just a little note to let you know that some of the new fibers are at the Textile Center shop....right now! I just placed a selection of Firestar, Mohair and silk noil, along with some beautiful new batts, roving and mohair locks.
Coming soon! YARNOVER! There are still openings in some classes...and I will be a vendor there this year. Come by and see me. Tell me you have been reading the blog and receive a 10% discount! I will be emphasizing the finished yarns, but will have a selection of knitting and felting fibers.