Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hand Over the Fleece!

We're in the midst of fleece season! One of my favorite times of year!

I went with friends Stephanie and Connie to the Recycled Lamb a few weeks ago to check out their mini-fleece-market, and guess what. Found some fleeces.
That's Stephanie on the left, me on the right, hoisting our gorgeous acquisition...a CVM/Romeldale/Rambouillet fleece from Sister Sheep. I ended up with 3 lbs. of the loveliness.

Then we went to Twin Peaks farm, where Connie has an "in." Lucky us! We met a lot of little new lambs, as well as some sweeties such as Cochise, a CVM ram, below.

We decided to buy Cochise's fleece and split it 3 ways. My share was 2 lbs., below:
I took everything home, freaked out at my good fortune, and then washed up part of the white fleece, which Beh (aka Evil Cat of Perpetual Badness) promptly found while it was drying. Aw.Don't worry! This isn't usual. The cat is typically kept far, far away from the fiber. Since this particular portion will probably become my first sweater, I didn't think I needed to chase her out. I cute is she? If only everyone could sleep in a cloud of fleece! :)

Friday, May 28, 2010


Why do I make yarn by hand?

Because when you think about it, it's kind of ridiculous. It's yarn. That's just one bump up from string. You can buy yarn for el cheapo cheapcheap at your nearest big box and whip up an entire afghan for $15, if you set your mind to it. Or you can just forgo the "making" part altogether and buy a blanket pretty much anywhere. Who needs hoity handspun when you can just buy the finished product?

But see...that's exactly the point. The magic comes in the making...the creating of something out of not very much. I spin because I have to. I'm completely serious. Spinning is addictive magic. There is something about treadling to make the wheel spin while simultaneously watching and feeling the fibers twist together.

Spinning has woken my sense of touch, and there's really no going back. Why settle for four senses when you can have five? At this point, I can plunge my hands into a raw fleece glistening with lanolin and tell you what breed of sheep it came from. I can rub your coat a little and let you know if it was made with wool or alpaca or cotton or something manmade. It's all just a little amazing. I'm in love with my new-found sense of touch!

On top of all of that, spinning is a great calmer. My stress level goes way, way down when I am in the midst of freaking out about something and have a sit-down at my wheel. It is a slow, patient process, which lends itself wonderfully to pulling you back...slowly, methodically, gently...from the Cliffs of Insanity. The touch of the fiber is soothing, and the rhythm of the wheel whirls troubles away.

So you see, I must create yarn. I must decorate with yarn. I must pepper the knitters in my circle of friends and family with yarn. And I must sell yarn, because I love to spin so much more than I love to knit or weave, and if I didn't get it out of my apartment somehow, they'd find me one day buried under mounds of wool and llama and flax and sparkle and whathaveyou.

Which is actually starting to sound appealing...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Which I FTHO

Okay, here's the deal.

I'm swamped.

I can't get it all done! I keep trying! I really do. But everything is so busybusybusy. I'm not even exactly sure why that is. Craptons of social & fiber type things are the likely culprits.

Last week was ridiculous. Tuesday night was Guild. Wednesday night was Happy Wednesday with my neighbor Valaroo (which I s'pose doesn't really count, since we just go out for dinner/happy hour and then I get a few hours of downtime afterwards). Thursday I went over to Stephanie's house to help her spin for Colorado Weavers Day...she was scheduled to teach a novelty yarns class and needed last-minute tailspun & boucle yarnspinning help. Friday night was Rea's birthday, so off to celebrate I went. Saturday was said Colorado Weavers Day (allllllll day long), I met a few fiber friends for dinner at Southern Sun, and then there was a Spin-in at Shuttles from 7-9:30, where I also met other members of the Sheep-to-Shawl team I haphazardly joined for Estes Park Wool Market.

Ah, yes, the Sheep-to-Shawl team. This has become interesting. Guess who idiotically volunteered to spin the warp. From handcombed top, no less. And naturally, I'm the only member with combs. WHAT am I thinking, I ask you. I'll most likely also end up warping the loom because somehow I'm the only person with floor loom experience?? What?? And I'm a spinner on the team, so what am I doing weaving? The original weaver was inexplicably booted to alternate. Don't ask me, I'm not in charge. I don't know what's going on here. All I know is that these things need to happen before June 13th: deciding on a pattern, scouring of the fleece, drying of the fleece, handcombing, spinning the warp, and warping the loom. And I'm involved in every step. Yikes. What I really need to do is quit trying to do everything myself...this is a team effort after all...and remember that the point of this is NOT perfection. It's educating the public. It's supposed to be fun. **deep breath**

Tomorrow I leave for Texas. Ah, Texas, respite of warmth and family. My sisters Little and KK will be there, as will my parents. We're all staying at Little and Pedro's house in Austin (my grandmother's old house)...a little mini-family-reunion. Ultra-special because KK and I are leaving our Significant Others at home, so we don't have to worry about Josh and Ben having to figure out and deal with our wacky fam. I'm so looking forward to this trip. I really need it. As soon as I come back, everything will be megabusy again. But at least my soul will be rested and ready to meet the crazy head-on. :)