Monday, April 29, 2013


So, this past weekend was the fantabulous Wonderwool Wales festival in Builth Wells. I went, along with my entire family (who, to be fair, spent the day I was immersed in wool fumes hiking and exploring and playing in tide pools). The weather was glorious, the wool was plentiful and there were venison burgers. What more could a fiber fanatic ask for?

I went with a few ideas of things I'd like to get, but no absolute requirements. I'm pleased to say I came away with 4 items, one of which I'd been lusting after for quite a while, and some supplies for a repeat engagement with a particular process that I've been wanting to try.

Item 1 (the smallest and most expensive): an IST Turkish Spindle in Satin Rubain and Ash.
IST Turkish Spindle
Like most of last October's P3 participants, I came away entranced by the whirling dervish Turkish spindles that Brenda and Amy were playing with. I'd looked at IST spindles before, but managed to refrain from getting one until I saw them in person. After trying one, I couldn't resist.
IST Turkish Spindle
My failed dyeing test run from last week

Doesn't it look like it's itching to get started on this fiber? I can't wait to get going on it.

Item 2 (not pictured): some Unicorn Power Scour, bought precisely to deal with

Items 3 and 4: one dark grey/black and one white-ish Shetland fleece.
Shetland fleece
Now, my previous experience with spinning yarn from hand-prepped raw fiber was a mixed experience. So you may be wondering what could possibly induce me to start all over again with approximately three times the amount of starting material. You may be sitting in front of your screen, slowly shaking your head side to side and thinking "This may be the final fiber that breaks the porpoise's back." And I'm not so sure you're wrong. But here's the thing...

...I love Shetland fiber. I absolutely adore spinning prepped Shetland top, and ever since taking a day-long course on the inestimable virtues of the Shetland breed with JMM, I have been wanting to play with some fleece.

All this is to say that when I walked through a doorway and beheld the glory that was the Shetland Sheep Society's booth on Saturday morning, it was all over but the shouting...not 15 min after the doors  opened, I was the proud owner of two Shetland fleeces.

The first one is a gorgeous dark grey fleece that I kept coming back to, and couldn't leave behind.
Shetland fleece (2)
It is lovely and soft. Unrolling it revealed some light tips that are either sunbleaching or guard hairs. Either way, it's going to be just gorgeous spun up. I think that I can sort the locks into two different colors and end up with a black pile and a grey pile. This is going to be the first project.
Grey-black Shetland fleece
Grey-black Shetland fleece (1)
The second fleece is white, with some light apricot sections - it remains to be seen what it looks like once it's washed.
White-ish Shetland fleece
The locks have some absolutely gorgeous crimp. I'm really looking forward to getting this baby washed up too.
White-ish Shetland fleece (4)
White-ish Shetland fleece (1)
So there you have it - my personal spinning time for the next year, booked.

I've got one more, critically important piece of this fleece-processing puzzle that is guaranteed to make it a success:

I'm going to borrow a drum carder.

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