Festival Spinning

It was a very busy weekend for me at the Colorado Renaissance Festival.  I don’t think I have spun this much yarn ever in my life even with breaks.  Alas the cotton fiber didn’t get worked on too much as it was hard to keep a rhythm with visitors and shop life.  I actually spun on two different wheels this weekend – on Saturday an Ashford Kiwi (double treadle wheel) and today an Ashford traditional (single treadle wheel).  I was quite impressed that I was able to develop a rhythm on each fairly quickly and created several skeins of yarn.  I made the Louet hank below on the Ashford Kiwi – it is 217 yards and a single ply (my first).  Although the bobbins on the Ashford look far smaller than my Louet bobbins it did hold 4 oz of spun fiber very well.  I also learned how to make photo collages like the one below this past week too.

The Traditional produced a single ply alpaca tricolor yarn and a single ply CVM/Yak blended yarn.  I will be double plying the alpaca later this week and still have some CVM to clean and create rolags for.  My mixture of CVM/Yak is about 90% to 10% and I still have a lot of yak fiber to spin.  I am thinking the remaining yak will be blended with some alpaca roving in the future.  Several fleece portions arrived this weekend to and all are cleaned sheep fiber.  I am still very sad about the dandruff on the one fleece and we had some good discussions on how to spin it this weekend.  One of the artisans owns sheep that can get dandruff in their fiber and they clean it and let the flakes fall out as they spin.  I brought a portion of the cleaned but still dandruff laced fleece to show them and had a lice comb suggested as a method of loosening the flakes from the fiber so that I can spin it.  Off to the grocery store later this week to test out this concept.  The fleece is very soft and has a good lock structure so it is so sad about the dandruff.

Today marks the last day of the Tour De Fleece which was very enjoyable although I don’t think I should combine it quite so much with Renaissance Festival days.  I made two hanks of Lincoln wool (one single ply and one double ply), a hank of alpaca yarn (made from cloud fiber), a hank of alpaca tricolor yarn, two sample Romney hanks and one worsted spun Romney hank (214 yards), merino/silk yarn, spinning CVM/Yak yarn and spun some raw cotton from bolls.  It has definitely been 4 weeks of intense spinning and scouring of fibers which I truly enjoyed!

Next year at the Renaissance Festival I will do half a day spinning and half a day knitting or learning to weave so as to not burn out on the spinning.  One of our artisans actually does tatting which now that I have seen it up close looks really cool and I really want to learn it.  We had a couple of artisans that weave and one works on inkle looms.  Best of all our two males were knitters/spinners .  One of guys knits in leather and the other makes great yarn from a bottom whorl spindle.  It was cool to see guys asking and learning about the fiber crafts and of course it is always special to share the crafts with kids.  I had two little boys yesterday spinning on the double treadle machine and then one of them really took to weaving.  Youth will aid in keeping this skills/crafts alive for generations to come.

It looks as if a few fiber items and some yarn has sold at the fair but no knitting.  As we have had 90 degree weather I am not surprised that the wool and alpaca items have not sold.  Next year I think I will look into making cotton and linen items for the fair and in lace designs so that they breath.  I have so much fiber to spin including the bamboo rovings from the fair so my year will still be busy and my knowledge of various fibers shall expand in the months to come.  Well it is time for bed and back to the office tomorrow – I am hoping to get some volunteer hours in this week while gradually easing back into spinning some yarn.  Have a good night.

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