Monday, September 20, 2010

Gathering Wool

This week has been a very fiber-y one for me. I recently finished knitting some projects that are being written into patterns for release soon, took a few days to finish spinning and plying some yarn projects, and attended a fiber festival.  

I've only been spinning for a couple of years now, and don't spend nearly enough time at it as I'd like, but I can see progress.  

The 4 oz. skein of yarn shown above was spun with an attempt at a woolen-style, slightly thick-thin 2-ply, which is mostly what I ended up with. A few areas are somewhat overspun, and a few are underspun, but overall it's fairly balanced. It knits up at about 17 stitches per four inches in stockinette.

The wool was from a ball of .79 cents-per-ounce generic breed roving I purchased in natural white, and dyed with Wilton's cake icing dyes.  

I found this handy icing guide on the Wilton website, but I have to warn you - the color of the icing dye before setting it with heat is frequently different from how the yarn color turns out!  

This batch was dyed using pale sky blues, green and purple.  Using this way to dye your yarn requires a relaxed attitude and enjoyment of serendipity! 

Ravelry groups are helpful in finding information on this technique which is essentially acid dyeing using vinegar as the mordant, in the same manner as dyeing with a drink mix such as Kool Aid.  Check out this group, and this group for ideas and helpful links. also has a helpful page on using drink mixes to dye yarn here.

Last weekend was the Wool Gathering fiber festival in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  

Held every year at Young's Jersey Dairy, this annual event has grown and improved over the years to become an exceptionally nice, excellent quality small show with a true heartland 'country' feel.  I think this giant cow sign is so retro-Americana cool.

For city-dwelling fiber lovers like me, it makes for a fun drive through scenic farmland to an attractive dairy ranch compound boasting several restaurants on-site, a sports pavilion, picnic areas, tractor rides and games for children, animals of all sorts, spinning, knitting,  and weaving demonstrations, and duck-herding border collies. 

And Young's serves wonderful ice cream, gelato, and cheese made fresh in their dairies.
This year's event was even larger than last  year's with another large tent full of vendors added and many more individual vendors in the areas between the tents. 

My only complaint about the show is that the tents are striped yellow and white, which makes it difficult to discern colors in fiber. Shoppers end up taking skeins of yarn over to tent openings to try to evaluate the color. Vendors in their own small tents outside were much better off in terms of ability to show off their merchandise.  

Of course the gorgeous fiber and yarn was everywhere, like this from Knitting Notions.

But there were also spinning wheels, looms, ceramics, glass, mosaics, framed art, jewelry, shawl pins, body products and other fun things to peruse. 

This vendor made the most exquisite jewelry in petit point wool worked in bargello and quilt designs set in tiny sterling silver frames.  

We enjoyed the peaceful drive, the gorgeous September weather (sunny and dry in the high 70's). Of course we enjoyed the animals too - sheep, goats, alpacas, and bunnies galore. 

I am in love with this darling little Angora baby bunny.  I wonder how my dog would feel about a new friend to play with....

This will be a crazy week for me as I prepare to head to New Mexico and to attend some really cool festivals and more.  I will definitely take many photos and notes to post so you can 'go-along' with me on the trip, but between now and then I have a ton of stuff to get ready.  I'll try to post at least one more time before I am off.  


  1. What a wonderful trip, Robin! I am looking forward to see more pictures of fibers.

  2. Anna - it was a nice day, a favorite pastime for me is visiting fiber shows!