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 & 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 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.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Semi-solid roving

This is a new product as well. Medium wool, dyed in semi-solid colors. When you spin this roving, the tints and shades will blend into a heathered but smooth mix of related color. I would not expect any radical pooling or jagged color transitions when using the yarn you spin from this.

Shepherd's Harvest is Mother's Dayweekend.

How are you going to spend YOUR Mother's Day?

Friday, April 1, 2011

"What is SILK NOIL?" you ask.

Silk Noil is the short bits that are left from the silk cocoon after the finest silk has been reeled off. Some say it is short because the caterpillar chewed a hole to emerge...and that may be the case with some Tussah silks. Silk noil can be spun into a very slubby yarn. The fabric woven from silk noil yarn used to be called "raw silk." In the 1960's, my mother would get all excited about owning a suit made from "raw silk." It was pretty fabric: tweedy but lustrous.

I have been using silk noil for years as an additive for wild batts. I use it to put soft, contrasting color slubby bits in wool yarn. This year, for the first time, I will have a limited supply of dyed s ilk noil for sale at Shepherd's Harvest.