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Spindle spun Buffalo yarn

Very excited to be coming to the end of the process of making my newest buffalo yarn.   The first half ounce of buffalo fiber was spun into a single on the Russian spindle.  I then found a dark purple wool crepe yarn from Habu to ply with the buffalo a few weeks ago.  I spent part of my Sunday combining the two yarns onto a plying spindle and just need to make a plying disc this week to ply the two yarns together.IMG_3401[1]   IMG_3466[1]Buffalo Fiber    IMG_3467[1] Habu wool yarn

I have learned from this process that my “plying” spindle is very heavy and I might want to get something a bit smaller.  My hand/wrist ached a bit from combining the threads onto the spindle.  I found myself taking lots of breaks from the project just to give my wrist a break.  Not sure of the yardage as of yet but there is quite a bit of yarn on the plying spindle.  It is nice to see the pieces of the project coming together and know that I am creating something special.

IMG_3472[1]               IMG_3473[1] yarns ready to be plied.

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Spinning on a Charkha

One of my newest tools is an Indian book Charkha.  Yes, I finally broke down and bought this tool this year and I do like it.  After watching several YouTube videos I figured out how to set up and close my book Charkha.  It took a web search of photos linked to websites to understand how I should be sitting with the book charkha too.  How did we survive without the internet has been my mantra for the last few weeks.  It is so great to be able to learn new skills when one can’t have an actual person teach you face to face.

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My charkha has cashmere clouds being spun on it and I love the sound of the wheel when one gets into the groove of spinning on it.  Unfortunately I have many projects pressing on my free time so for a month or so cashmere spinning is on hold.  Nonetheless I do like this tool and its compact size.  I can see myself traveling with it and a bag of cotton or yak fibers to spin while on my trip.

2014 Estes Park Wool Market

This year’s wool market was a lot of fun and found me stretching my comfort zone.  How you say?  Well first off I took a workshop on spinning Orenburg lace yarn with Galina Khmeleva which was amazing.  We had a lot of fun in class and I learned how to ply and set the twist in my fine fiber yarns using the Orenburg method.  Galina is great teacher and I would recommend taking her class if you have the opportunity.  She brought a wedding lace shawl and a warm shawl so that we could see and feel the difference in the two.  There were also several stories about Orenburg history, life and creativity.

IMG_3391[1] Me plying yarns the Orenburg way.

My second push out of my comfort zone was entering yarns in the yarn competition at the festival.  I was brave and entered 2 skeins into the competition.  My Navajo plied Romney wool skein (being used for the knit shawl) and a single ply of yak/silk yarn were humbly submitted to the judges for their critique.  To my surprise both won ribbons – yeah!

IMG_3409[1] They Romney took 2nd place in its category and the yak/silk yarn took 1st place along with “Best Use of Down Fiber” in the competition.   It was nice to read the feedback especially on the Romney yarn and to get confirmation that I do make really nice yarns.

As this was the annual Wool Market I of course went shopping for fleeces (probably more than I should have).  I actually had 2 days to do shopping at the market since I stayed overnight in town.   My fleece purchases were primarily “new to me” sheep breeds.  The fleece inventory now contains a beautiful gray Bond/Corriedale, a brown/cream Icelandic fleece and a glossy white Teeswater fleece.  The Teeswater was only 2 lbs and my least guilty purchase.  There was beautifully dyed rovings at reasonable prices so I had to snatch up a few of these and I purchased yarn from the local yarn shop that was represented at the Market.  Several of the fleeces have been listed in the shop – http://www.herie7.etsy.com and I am hoping to get to cleaning and packaging a few of them soon.

Fiber festival update

2 posts in one day!  I just learned how to send photos from Flickr to Blogger so the cotton yarn was posted all on its own.  Today was the Estes Park Wool Market and I was there for 3 hours.  My Facebook Page has a few photos of the cute sheep and goats I remembered to take pictures of while there.  The Shetland sheep are so cute and small.  There were quite a few tiny sheep at the festival today.  I also learned that Jacob sheep can have 2, 4 or 6 horns and there was one with 4 horns (no I didn’t take a picture).  Picked up lots of business cards of ranches to visit this summer/fall.  There were lots of CVM breeds there along with Border Leicester and Wensleydale breeds.  Tomorrow is the sheep to shawl competition but I am not sure I’ll make it (4 hour roundtrip commute to Estes from my home).  I did a lot of shopping and viewing of animals today.

There was one yak rancher at the festival who lives about 2 hrs from me and allows visits to their ranch.  I bought 1 ounce of a yak cloud.  They also sold Quivit ($50) which I had heard was expensive but didn’t realize how expensive until I got there.  Quivit is the fiber from Musk Ox which are in Alaska and Canada and is rare.  I am going to blend my precious yak fiber with alpaca fiber and make it into a yarn.  Yak, Quivit and Paco Vicuna are some of the most expensive fiber to spin around the globe as they are rare animals.

I am an hour away from winning the bid on some wool carders (90 TPI) which will be good for the CVM fibers and Romney fibers in my stash.  We had great weather for the festival and it was a relaxed event.  My fiber shopping is done for the year.  I have so much to play with plus I will be picking up the mill processed fibers this month. Well I am off to rest my tired feet and spin up some dyed superwash wool from the stash.