Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Tucson Wool Festival Photos

I discovered that I do not have many photos from with customers in them. Did anyone take photos that they are willing to share? Most of the ones I have were taken before I started giving tours, so there were only a trickle of customers. All of my volunteers got busy and the camera was put away.
One of Amy's dolls. She sells the patterns for it.
Sara was showing off her toys to Heidi as she finished setting up her table.
Trish was putting the finishing touches on her table. Amy was already ready.
Leslie was holding a sweater from her fiber. I did not get a chance to get the story on that one.
Shannon stopped off in the shop to chat, while she was demonstrating drop spindling. The gold that she is spinning ended up in the freeform shawl.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scenes from the wool festival

These pictures were taken right before the festival began. Above is Holly beginning to weave the freeform shawl. She is used to a rigid heddle, but did not let it slow her down.
Some of Amy's Carded rovings. She has the blood orange red on the website page.

Anna designed some aprons for the wool festival that featured needlefelting.
Heidi (left) crocheted and knitted for the freeform shawl and began its assembly. Sara was showing her some of the stuffed animals that she makes and sells on etsy. The shearer, Danny Smith, also spins and does woodworking.
Alan, a member of the Saturday spin group, demonstrated carding and let others try a hand at it. He left behind some lovely batts. Hopefully he remembered to take some for himself.
Here Heidi is working on the freeform shawl. I finished weaving the second half and started making more pieces. Two friends showed up and worked on it a few hours with me. Helen has claimed it and will pick it up on November 22, 2008, when she comes with her husband for a private animal tour and they will both learn to spin. I have seen a few husband and wife teams recently. One ends up spinning for the other. Now I know that Marc is not going to take it up! Certainly not as long as he can play tennis!
Leonor's necklaces with felted balls are absolutely stunning.
Judith Segal demonstrated triangle loom weaving (it was behind her to the right) and rectangle loom weaving.
Susan Corl from Patagonia is a dabbler like me. She had felted flowers, paper products, scented candles, and really cool animal pins decorated with beads. I would get one, but bugs freak me out! She also has a very modern tapestry loom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tucson wool preparations

Several vendors arrived to set up their booths on Friday afternoon. Tomorrow I will post pictures of the driveway after all of the vendors arrived on Saturday. The excitement was tangible. The exchange of information between breeders and shop owners once a year makes for great friendships. I found it hard to believe that a year had gone by since the last festival.
Virginia Johns, a beginning weaver, warped the loom for the freeform shawl and began weaving, so it was ready for people to play around with on Saturday morning.
Susan Corl, a friend from Patagonia, showed up on Friday and spent the night. She was showing me this really interesting loom that she picked up in a tapestry weaving workshop in northern Arizona. Her enthusiasm is very contagious. She is a true friend, because she helped me finish raking the walkways of the animal area, when Marc took off for tennis. It is not a chore for the faint of heart!

Before and after the festival

Danny and his wife stayed an extra day, so we could get the rest of the goats sheared. I added some Shetland sheep to the shearing, since their wool looked so long. Good thing I did. The ram in the far out pasture had wool over 5 inches long. It will be interesting to see how quickly their wool grows back.
I am surprised at how few people bought any of the shearer and his wife's fleeces. I have a hard time selling raw fleeces, but theirs were priced a lot lower than mine would be, because they have a pasture. Spinners missed a good deal. I bought all of the Romney, Merino, Shetland, and the crosses thereof, since I know that they are gorgeous once washed. I passed on the Lincoln and the Icelandic, since they are coarse.
Some interesting statistics from the fiber part of the festival:
35 kids were sheared for a total of 152 pounds
lowest weight of a kid fleece: 2.87 pounds
highest weight of a kid fleece: 5.88 pounds
yearling fleeces added up to 60.88 pounds
adult fleeces added up to 64.59 pounds
from adults and lambs: 38.24 pounds
lamb fleeces: 1.29-3.44 pounds
Total weight of all fleeces: 315 pounds
Agave's mother, a yearling had a fleece of 10.72 pounds - and it is like a kid fleece. Too cool!
The heaviest was a white fleece at 11.92 pounds.
Yesterday morning I put Cadbury out for visitors to see. The does that were loose were interested in him, but even more so in his food.
Agave and Cadbury got nose to nose a few times.
Agave before shearing was hanging out with Joshua yesterday morning. I got his head out of the fence after I fed everyone else. He does this routinely, so this morning I decided to leave him there while I fed and watered everyone else. He was hungry enough to get his own head out this morning. No more rescues for him. Hard to believe that he keeps doing it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tucson Wool Festival Winners

The winner of the shawl is Helen with a ticket number of 1843002. She has till October 31, 2008, to claim it - not pick it up, since I would like to finish it! It is turning out beautifully. I will post pictures of it tomorrow. Too late to do it tonight.

The winners of the prize drawings are Judy Hegg - the spinning fiber; Mindy Chapman - the small bag; and Cynthia Furrer - the coiled yarn. Prizes will be held at the shop till November 7, 2008.

The shearer got 50 of the animals today and will finish tomorrow. We talked him into taking a break and hanging out with us for the evening. It is nice to sit down with people who are really familiar with the animal and fiber world. It is also funny to hear about how different their part of the world approaches things. Very few people in Tucson go for the raw fleeces. Most do not have places to wash. In Missouri, raw is the best seller. I am buying a lot of their fleeces and will wash it, so it will sell here. If you are a spinner and have not tried various fleeces, i encourage you to do so. Spinning one type of fiber will get you set in your ways and you don't want to do that!

Thanks to everyone for coming out. The weather was great and I met lots of interesting new people. I hope that you all had as much fun as I did. My vendors were all happy and will come back next year - October 17, 2009.

A special thanks go to all of my volunteers: those who worked in the shop, did demonstrations, and worked on the freeform shawl. I could not have done any of this on my own and it gave me a really good feeling to know that I have friends, who were willing to invest the time and the energy to make the day a success. Fiber addicts are so much fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Raffle Freeform Shawl Colors

The above is a mix of the colors that we have been dyeing for the freeform shawl that we are going to raffle off for the Tu Nidito Children and Family Services. Since we have a time constraint and we want to have yarns for the community to be able to use in order to contribute, as well as warp a loom, we have started spinning the warp.
This is a portion of the spinning group that was here this past Saturday. A few could not make it, but will be here for the festval.
We took the colors above and carded some of each of the dyelots into one batt.
This is the resulting batt.
Some of the finished yarns. The coiled one in the middle is from the batt above. Oranges, purples, and more green will be added to the mix. We have not settled on a name yet. The fiber is a "next to the skin" Shetland wool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News article online

I discovered that the Explorer articles are available online.

Kind of cool!

Tucson Wool Festival

Caroline has helped me get a lot more publicity for the wool festival this year.It is our 4th one and promises to be exciting.

The Explorer had an article about it today, and since it is for the local area, it could draw in a lot of people who have not been before. The Tucson Green paper published one today, but I was not able to find a copy of it.I sent my son around the University of Arizona to see if he could find one. I have not seen him since this morning, so don't know, if he succeeded.

Have to get back to the wheel. Things are busy around here!

A new freeform yarn

My friend, Caroline, inspired me to put together something with red, orange/gold, and a dash of black. The photo above is not quite right in terms of color. The close up is better, but neither capture the truly cherry red of the thick and thin. This skein is going to be the center piece of my next Hidden Treasures shawl. I have enough of the colors to create a few extra skeins to put in the shop. I finished a bobbin of freeform yarn in the same colors tonight - just a bit more orange and not quite as dark as the one above. I think that I like it better. I will put it in the shop, since I realized that the shop looks a little pastel right now.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This is a small sampling of what a friend bought. Can't wait to see what she makes.
Caroline was really good and came down to help on both Saturday and Sunday. She finally got the chance to go on a wheel and was even demonstrating. I cropped the watcher, since I did not get her permission to post. Caroline is going to catch up with me quickly!
James AKA Dart posed with the Headless Wonder after buying the freeform hat. Now I will have to make another - since I do want to sell the pattern.
These two balls have a story, that only Livia, Caroline and I know! Gorgeous combination of colors. Livia is planning to crochet my green crochet shawl pattern and add a twist. Hopefully, she will send me a picture.
Suzy visited my shop today and had a blast. She started out with the wrap and then lots of gorgeous yarn. I think I am going to be coiling yarn in my sleep to restock. I also need to make a new wrap. Can't decide, if I will use something in the shop, or start new. I will know by tomorrow.

My shop was up in time for her visit. I need a new shop photo for my website. Marc put up more lighting in the and the yarns look great.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Still Patagonia

I almost wrote last night that I was not going to do the Patagonia show again, because yesterday was deadly dull. Had to change my mind today. Sales were really good and I met lots of interesting new people. It did not seem worth the effort yesterday, since I mostly saw people I had seen before. I like to get new people hooked on spinning or knitting. My friends are starting to call me an enabler. I really think I am giving them inspiration and something to look forward to. I don't feel very guilty about it either.

Yesterday I taught a 10 year old girl to drop spindle. She came back today with two friends. I let her teach them. It was neat to see that she had remembered what I taught. I did not push her mom into buying her a drop spindle. I would not be surprised, if the girl goes into something artistic some day soon. She was spinning within moments of holding the drop spindle.

Tomorrow is another day, and more spinning fun to be had!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Patagonia Fall Arts Festival

My booth set up. The extra panels that I bought for the Colorado shows have given my booth more stability. When the wind blows, which it did mightily today, nothing flapped up or down.
I did not realize how lacy some of my designs looked until I saw this photo!
Chris helped me set up the booth today and kept me company. He calls my Mannequin "The Lady." I have decided that she is going to be called the "Headless Wonder." She is always wearing the best of what I have at the time. I love the jumble of color in this photo, so threw it in for good measure.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On my wheel and loom, some trivia

This is what I am currently spinning. It is 1st kid mohair with a little bit of angelina thrown in.
This is a blend that I made from commercial merino. I have spun it thick and thin and then coiled it. I will list it on etsy, after the show in Patagonia, if I still have it.
A pile of recently spun yarn on top of a blue scarf that I just finished knitting. The yarn is in a previous post.
In the front is the yarn that I am using to weave. A little too wild to knit with, so I decided to see what would happen in the loom. I am weaving small ipod/cellphone bags that I hope to have done by the 4th Avenue Street Fair - I have two months! Of course, I put on a 12 yard warp and have 8 more to go.

The trivia:
At the bottom of my inventory, I keep track of the number of yards and the number of pounds that I spin each year. This is my total as of today: 10,017 yards spun since January 1, 2008 and 101.5 pounds spun since January 1, 2008. Amazing!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I will be taking down my shop on Thursday afternoon for the show in Patagonia this weekend. It runs from 11-5 on Friday and 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday. I am in booth number 25 - almost at the end of the main road coming into town.

I also received my booth number for the 4th Avenue street fair. It is 227, even further to the end of the west side. It will make for a longer walk, depending on where someone enters the avenue, but a convenient place for me in terms of loading and unloading. It is still opposite the large restaurant at the end of 4th.

Monday, October 6, 2008


All of the animals have been sorted into pens according to mating requirements. The whole area is now raked and lonely looking.
This is No Size's Father. He is not cute, but he has lovely hair and knows what to do around a doe in heat. He has been very busy since he arrived last Thursday. I expect a lot of kids during the first week of March. The young colored bucks are making lots of noise, but I don't think they are getting the job done. I am going to put No Size's father out with all of the yearling and older does after the wool festival. I figured that having them all in pens will make it easier for the shearer.
A couple of the animals escaped from pens and a few seemed to be getting picked on, so I have left them to roam. This is Agave. She still needs her mother, so I left her out after she escaped and then got her mother back out. Absynthe got penned behind a feeder, so I let her out also. She is very vocal when she is in heat, so I will know when to put her back. I am not breeding any of the young does this year.
Agave and Joshua hang out at dinnertime.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Felting with Mohair

I thought I would share this in my blog, since it came up in a CAGBA yahoo discussion.

The picture above is of a landscape that I needefelted while hanging out at a show. I wet felted it when I got home. The abstract flowers were needlefelted on after the wet felting. Wet felting has a tendency to flatten everything and dull the look. To get a cool textured look, needlefelt on top of the base. The yellow flowers on the left are wool. I think the sheen of the mohair makes a huge difference in the look of the finished piece. This landscape was also needlefelted and then wet felted. The coiled tree, angora goats, and the bushes were added afterwards. In order to have the tree really look like a mesquite tree and remember the placement, I laid the trunk out with mohair, and the tree had a shade of green wool laid out. The coils of the tree were needlefelted on afterwards. I had intended to put more mohair over the tree trunk, but left it alone, since the initial needlefelting held up and the mohair did not flatten out with the wet felting.
The above is a piece that I use to show beginning needlefelters how to get texture. I use both wool and mohair so they can see the difference.
This is my favorite landscape to date. Mohair coiled is gorgeous and draws the eye. I have a light that shines on it and no one misses it! The mohair in the sky was applied before wet felting and a little wool was drawn over the locks to ensure that it remained in place. The whole background was two of my batts laid out as a third layer. All of the design was needlefelted on months later. It is based on a picture that I took last fall while visiting Taos.

This landscape was needlefelted at a show in Colorado to pass the time. I did not wet felt it. It is fairly thick and has varying depths.

The piece above is one that I wove. The warp was a second clip of mohair. The weft was a Rambouillet shade of wool that was dyed red. The weft shrunk by 30 percent. The mohair just fuzzed. It was felted in the washing machine and got very thick and heavy. It also filled my washer with a lot of hair, since I did not put it in a laundry bag!
The above is a purse that I knitted and then felted (not really) in the washing machine. It is 100% yearling mohair. It did not shrink or loose hair in the wash, but it fuzzed up and the loose areas filled in with fiber. By the way, it is a very heavy bag. A larger one would make a great tote bag. Very sturdy!
This is a wet felted purse. The orange is mohair that was blended into a batt with Shetland wool. The areas with the mohair did not ripple in felting as much as the wool did.
This bag was wet felted with strips of kid mohair laid on top and small bits of wool covering them to hold them in place. I don't recommend using this technique with older mohair, because it takes more wool to lock them down which spoils the effect.
Kid mohair will felt beautifully in the washing machine, as I have learned to my regret, if you forget to stop the machine before the agitation begins. I have a top loader and lots of fiber that has to be washed. I have learned to fill the washer with soap and hot water, turn the dial to spin, and then turn the machine off before putting my laundry bags in. Losing one gorgeous fleece forced me to come up with a way to ensure that it never happened again!