Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Wow! It sounds like you need some long, lazy "catch up" spinning days :)
I'm not sure I am brave enough to inventory what I have, but then again, I haven't filled up my fireplace with something - that gave me a big chuckle!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:15 AM  

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005  

Warning - A Loooooooooong Fiber Ramble

Lawsee - no sooner than DST kicks in but the pace at work leaps ahead as well. And of course, I’ve overslept - wakened at my healthy normal hour,that is, no thanks to Machevellian clock tampering - and haven’t had a chance to post here for days. In fact, there shan’t be time till Saturday, except for this sweet bit of the day, plopped unexpectedly into my lap, because BD is not back yet from F’burg and I would bet a week’s pay that he brings home Texas Chili.

But I know my fans have waited breathlessly to find out just how many bags of Hershey’s chocolate brown unspun wool I have and the answer is . . .


Yes, friends. I have five pounds (5 lbs.) of deep rich chocolate brown roving, in merino, lambswool and California Variegated Mutant.

I do not have 5 deep chocolate brown sweaters, mind you. Nor 5,000 yards of deep chocolate brown yarn. I merely have bags and bags of my favorite fiber, languishing in the den. I like it all. I have plans for it all. The merino and the CVM will spin beautifully into a DK wt yarn, perfect for stranded color work. There is even a bag of coordinating oatmeal colored CVM to spin into the contrast color for an interesting yoked sweater.

Guess what I shall not be purchasing at MSW?

Yes. But what else was buried in the second part of my stash? First the bags hidden in the never used fireplace, now nicely blocked by the blanket chest. (There lies a tale too complicated to tell in this fiber filled post.)

There was the 1 lb. of natural blue mohair I got last fall at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival. Cecil gave it to me for $20 and I have one bobbin of very thin singles on HeyBaby right now. His natural colored angora goats, blue and cocoa and adorable, are always on display at the show. He also has some mohair spun up, but it’s thick and it’s tightly spun and it’s not alluring, the way the goats are. I want to surprise him with some lace weight yarn and a knitted lace piece to use in his displays. I look dreadful in grey but I know a certain bride who would look lovely with some grey lace tossed over the shoulders of a black wool winter coat.

Then came the 3 bags (3 lbs) of CVM, singing their siren song from their brown paper cradles. Now and then I get something so lovely, so perfect, so much what I want, that owning it is enough. Just knowing it is there makes me feel richer than knowing there was money in the bank. I can live in my dreams so easily, that sometimes I don’t bother to enter reality. Hey, in my dreams I am 30 and slender and wrinkle free, without any bags beneath my eyes. Why deal with the mirror? Never the less, I want a chocolate brown sweater with oatmeal colorwork in it. I also want proof that I can spin enough yarn to actually knit a sweater. So far I’ve only ever spun enough for a vest. These bags of wool ought to be at the front of the que.

Next - an enormous plastic bag with odds and ends - mostly 1 and 2 ounce bats of colorful mohair blends; purple, green, red, orange - all of them marled with other colors. Not enough to really make anything, these are fiddly bits, bought from the same shop, priced the same and all stuffed into their own bag. I’ve spun up several of them, actually, into small bits of color. These all make me so happy - I really must consider MORE COLOR when I go to MSW. Here is the one thing I don’t have enough of. Here is an area where shopping could occur. There was a bag of candy pink locks and white silk tangles, to be rough spun into a wildly textured yarn to make a scarf or some other pretty accessory for GD. There is 8 ounces of merino roving in a peach and natural blend - this is a Bess color for a Bess project. 8 ounces makes a hat and mittens to go with the Hershey’s chocolate brown winter coat. There was a small bag with fire star in three colors, purchased at Little Barn for a song, and another bag full of herbal moth repellent. All this lay in the huge plastic bag - and I spun up some of the colored batts on my Golding spindle and played with the fire star too, carding it into some of the plain wools I had spread about the room.

Still working with stuff in the fireplace cubbyhole, I pulled out 2 bags of mohair/wool blends, about 1.5 lbs of a fiery orange/red/yellow blend called something like Bonfire, and another 8 oz in a greeny/grey mist over the harbor color. I have two bobbins of the greeny/grey stuff on KittyBoy, the wheel sent to me by a most beloved friend, last year. It’s been there all winter. This is shameful. You can bet the twist is dormant in that stuff now.

This all came out of a standard fire place sized hollow.

Then came the blanket chest. This chest is 5 feet long, made by my beloved Father in law, for his only sister, on the occasion of her marriage. It is nigh on to 80 years old and the story behind that would warm your hearts. Some day I shall write it - because I don’t want it forgotten. Upon lifting the lid I revealed:

1 lb. of Finn I won from Misty Mornings Farm last year as a prize for my entry in the Montpelier Show. That is the absolute best show to enter because you get, not only a ribbon, but a fiber gift from one of the vendors. Sweet, sweet. Who needs ribbons, give me fiber!

There was also 1 lb. of undyed mohair roving, intended for the dye pot and the boucle spin. I’ve spun a lot of mohair boucle out of locks and the truth is - I get tired of preparing the locks for spinning. A textured single makes an interesting boucle, but I really want to make the loopy boucle and I think it will be fun to just work with smooth fibers. There was an 8 oz bag of the same mohair top, bought last year at MSW, dyed in a color that, last year, the catalogs called “Azalea”. It is a warm orangy pink and is the only pink I can wear. Since every girl needs some pink in her life - this one is mine. It is, alas, still in it’s combed top state. There is no Azalea loopy boucle garment anywhere in my closet.

Another bag of some other sort of undyed wool roving lay beneath the mohair top - perhaps 8 oz of it - but it is an undetermined fiber. It will be fun to dye - but I haven’t a clue what sort of wool it is.

There was a bag of Shetland/mohair blend - not a full pound of it - I’ve spun a good bit of it, but it always seems a little grey to me. I believe I shall have to dye this if I want to wear it. But it spins very fine.

There was more than a pound of cormo roving - but it’s full of second cuts and neps. I’m not sure about keeping this. I’ve spun roving that has junk in it and it makes a mighty textured yarn - and the lumps don’t always stay in the yarn either - I’m just not sure. It was a purchase made before I realized that only the best will do when it comes to unspun fibers. Besides, I have an enormous great huge box - in the third pile of stash - of my Falkland Island Polworth roving that’s full of second cuts and neps - because I was too stupid and too slap-dash to pick them out before I washed the fleece. It’s not hard to do it when the fleece is still in the grease. It can even be fun, since I think handling fleece is fun. Once washed, though, there’s no plucking those second cuts out. I am not sure if I’ll keep that cormo - or at least, I may use it for felting or with students or ... well, I just don’t know what to do with it.

There was a small bag, perhaps 6 or 8 oz of an angora/wool blend I bought off E-bay. Another hungry spinner’s purchase when I was just starting out. It’s okay, but has a little trash in it. I will purchase via internet, and even via E-bay, in the future, but only from very known sources. Otherwise, I want to touch and see first or pay the extra to get fibers from someone who has a LOT more reputation at stake. Caveat emptor.

Buried in the chest was another E-bay purchase of Wenslydale roving, hand painted in navy, brown and yellow. Not colors I would have chosen, but I may still spin it up. It’s slightly felted - at least, it’s more felted than I would have made it if I had dyed it myself. It’s easy to felt fiber in the dye process - obviously this was pour dyed. But you can be extra careful when you do it yourself and end up with less felting. Separating felted roving is a lot of work and sometimes makes my hands hurt. I’m always borderlining tendonitis, for my job is all typing and my hobbies all involve intense hand use. Fiber that is easy to draft is more important for me than it is for younger, stronger hands.

A bag of mohair locks, dyed in rich luxurious colors - but ACK! packed FULL of trash. Another early purchase when I didn’t realize how much I would hate spinning trashy wool. I have little enough time to spin as it is - having to stop with every other treadle to pluck out hay bits or little burrs is not how I want to spend my spinning time. It’s worth the $ for me, to buy only perfectly clean fibers. Those went in the trash can.

A tiny bag of merino top in a blend called Rose Garden was all that was left of some yarn I spun up for BH a few Christmases ago. There are maybe 3 ounces of it left. It might be fun to just have a tiny little skein of this stuff spun up. Maybe trim a baby sweater with it. I don’t know. It is sitting on top of the armoire, in the BFL basket.

A bag of soy silk, bought to experiment with, won my attention as I sat among all the mounds of fiber, and I spindle spun up a bit of that too. I think I will enjoy making something with what’s left, but there really is only maybe 2 oz of it. But the pound of merino/tensil I have is mighty pretty, even if it is in a color that won’t do a thing for me. It’s a sea blue/green, medium dark; the closest among the very few colors the stuff comes in, to a color I could wear. It’s not particularly a color I’d put on GD, either and LD has my coloring. It would look better on one of those Irish cream skinned redheads - someone like A, actually. Hmmmm.

Last of all was a half pound of some mostly red, multi/colored top - a gift from a beloved friend. I had spun the other half and it was in the bag with the roving. It’s mighty crummy spinning, too. In fact, I didn’t find any spinning of mine, and there was plenty of it, in either stash collection, that I was proud of. I hope this means I’ve given away all the good stuff - ‘cause I can’t believe how uneven and amateurish my spinning looks to me now. This is not good. I had thought myself, at least an intermediate spinner. I believe I am not much better than a rank beginner. I think I need lessons.

All of these, minus the trashy mohair locks, were returned to their storage chest, that treasure chest of fibers. I wrote down the inventory and I will carry it with me to MSW. I may tattoo it on the back of my hand - the one that signs the credit card slip. It’s a lowering thought to realize how much I have bought and how little I have done with it all.

Don’t think I am beating myself up about all this. I created a SilkWeddingDress in only 3 months, from the “Yes, I think I could do that” to the “I do.” But I have got to watch the spending next May, when all around me will be Fleece and Fiber and Color and Yarn and Texture and Cashmere and Roving and Sliver and Top and Golding spindles! The only thing I believe I might consider buying would be colored spinning fibers. The little blotches of colored bats I purchased last year are really such happy temptations. I have very little color among all my wools. I think I could unfold that wallet for some eye candy.

Unless I find yarn that is so fabulous my heart stops beating, I don’t believe I will buy any. Of course I make no hard and fast vows about anything that might happen at MSW. But I believe I will limit myself to spinnable fibers.

And I will discuss with Mr. Golding, the purchase of a new wheel.

Till Saturday, then.

posted by Bess | 7:43 PM