As 2014 comes to a close, I have two clean fleeces from this year's shearing left to card.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and think I'm crazy to do this all by hand, rather than send fleeces out to a mill to be scoured and carded, as I can barely keep up, and often have fleeces still waiting when it's time for the next shearing day. That being in May, and with only two fleeces left, perhaps I'll get caught up in 2015. But there's still the matter of those raw fleeces in the closet. Not many. Really. I find myself feeling at year's end that I am behind and not accomplishing all that I could be doing. There's also all those mushrooms I've recently harvested from our forest...
Perhaps I should focus on the now and what is happening. I started this scarf on my table loom today. The weft is yarn from Tehya, dyed with coreopsis flowers. The colors don't show well in the photo: it's very bright.
And here's Ratha enjoying her bed in the sun (it's 12 degrees outside), letting me work at the loom. Her youthful, mischievous ways have kept me from keeping on any kind of fiber project schedule since coming into our lives in August. I don't mind, though; her energy makes us laugh and stay active.
A hat I've recently designed. Keeps the ears warm! Since I have found challenges to find spinning time, I knit some of my first handspun yarn, made from California Red sheep. Uneven yarn I now refer to as "designer yarn." The texture works well in this hat.
And here are some recent photos of the incredible place I have chosen to live. Gratitude and inspiration daily.
Taking time to savor the beauty that surrounds me is perhaps the most important task for maintaining creativity and inspiration. I need to remind myself I am keeping my natural pace and doing what I'm passionate to do. There is no imposed deadline for my fleeces. I have myriad plans for using them: felting projects floating in my head, awaiting the warm sun of spring. Perhaps I'll keep up better with using my fleeces with felting, in addition to spinning, and perhaps not. It's okay. Now, back to the picker to finish those two fleeces.
Oh wait. The cat just woke up again.
I'm trying out a new fiber blending tool, the hackle, graciously loaned by my friend, Janet.
With its sharp tines, it is every bit as scary-looking as my other "torture device" fiber tools.
Beginning with some indigo-dyed wool, I lashed some on the tines, filling across with a layer.
Next, I lashed on some slippery, white silk.
Then, some purple-dyed alpaca I've had for years, from West Valley Alpacas in Esparto, California.
I repeated the layers twice more
and then used a diz to take the blended fibers off the hackle, making a lovely roving.
It spins up beautifully and is making a river of color on the bobbin of my Schacht wheel.
Great process! And I thought I didn't need any more fiber tools...
I don't know why I didn't think of it before. When I take a carded batt off my drum carder,
I usually roll it into a button to store in a basket until I'm ready to spin.
When I'm ready to spin, I either tear off strips of the batt, or attenuate it into a long roving. But why not use a diz??
The diz is usually used when combing fiber, rather than carding, but I was wanting a long roving to wrap around my wrist distaff for spindle spinning, and had this inspiration to use the diz.
I twisted the end of one corner of the batt.
And threaded it through a diz hole.
It's hard to take selfies of fiber work!
Now I'm using a diz for all my spinning, spindle or wheel. I think it will also make it easier for beginners, when I teach a spindle class. I'll prepare their wool this way, too. I'm diz-zy!