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Final Tour de Fleece yarn… Not a huge haul of yarn, but a pretty little skein and mini skein combo.
Top - hand dyed Shetland and grey Shetland 144m/48g 4ply (std 2ply technique)
Middle - 32m/2g lace
Bottom - 17m/1-2g lace
The mini skeins are plied Andean to capture how the hand dyed colour might work on its own. Both could be used as a lighter weight edging to a knit project with the main yarn.
So how should I proceed with the Kal part of my Ravelry group SAL/KAL* competition? Well in all honesty, I’m really not sure… I want to make something for Darrin (D). D has supported me through everything I have been through in the last few months and so it seems only right that I treat him. As I’ll be knitting the final project in the evenings… and probably in his presence, I thought I ought to ask what he might like. After ‘cooing’ over the fact that the yarn is for him (he has been eyeing it up on my spindle!), D mentioned he’d love a lighter weight hat as his other hats are quite ‘winter’ heavy. A hat it is then! Just gotta find a pattern, or decide on making one up! What’s your favourite light weight hat?
Finally I thought I’d mention that I will be taking fleece and new fluff product to Fibre East this coming weekend… so if you fancy your very own ‘Roving Bon-bon ball’, or a ‘just shorn’ fleece, check me out!
*Sal/kal – spin along/knit along.
The Vendéen breed comes from Vendee in France originally, although this fleece is from a flock here in Devon. It is thought that the breed has a link to sheep lines from as early as the Spanish Armadas and so implies that there is possibly a hint of Spanish Merino about the breed… certainly the fleece is dense and fine.
In recent centuries the breed has been very much a meat producing animal (it has very lean meat) and has become popular among French farmers and now some British farmers for this very reason. The fleece however is lovely to spin and has a shorter staple of about 5-7cm.
Staple length 5-7cm
Bradford count 50-60, micron 33-23.
(The grey has a Jacob in the bloodline, so it has a slightly longer staple and better hand feel.)
Texel was originally a Dutch breed, brought over to the UK in the 1970s. It was bred by ‘meat’ farmers for it’s sturdy nature and good lambing.
Although a ‘meat’ breed, Texel is popular with spinners and a good fleece has been known to be very fine, almost like a Shetland. This cross bred fleece remains fine in most places, not that unlike a Zwartbles with it’s sun tipped staples.
It is a dense fine fibre and is both easy to spin and felt.
Staple length 5-10cm
Bradford count 48-56, micron 31-34.
Breed as meat sheep orginating in Yorkshire in the 19th century by crossing Leicester Longwool with Teeswater, the Wensleydale has fast become a popular longwool breed. With it’s darker face and bigger build the sheep produces some wonderful lustrous curls.
Wensleydale fleece is ideal for yarn and felt blending and hand dyeing. It has so many wonderful curls across the length of the fibre that you can create some really stunning crimp and slub effects.
Count: 30-33 micron/Bradford 50-54, Staple: 8-12cm
Unicorn Power Scour is a unique formula designed to deeply clean oily/waxy fibres (like wool and mohair) as well as less waxy fibres (alpaca, cashmere and the finest angora) while protecting the vital fibre cuticle. Power Scour enables the strength and natural beauty of the fibre to carry through to garments, rugs, or into the hands of talented craftsmen. Power Scour optimises the cleaning of raw, greasy fleece, and gets the grease out:
* reduces mats and tangles, increasing fibre yield
* eliminates build-up of cleaning agents
* cleans at low, energy-saving temperatures
* leaves fibre with a clean, fresh aroma
16oz (473ml) bottle with wash up to 20lbs (9kg) of fibre, which is a couple of good size fleeces. I use this for processing many of my fleeces and have had very good results.
Just a quick update to let you know that I have opened a competition for any Ravelry members who want to compete with me in the Tour de Fleece this year… when I say ‘compete’, I mean a friendly spin-along!
The Tour de Fleeceis a friendly spin-along held on Ravelryeach year. It follows the Tour de France bike race, with the idea that as they ride, we spin; covering yardage, as they cover mileage. There are various groups and prizes you can be involved in, with the simplest premise that we spin, socialize and generally enjoy almost a full month at our beloved wheels and spindles.
My SAL KAL will be an unofficial Tour de Fleece Team this year, in that you enter your work on this thread only. As this is unofficial, I’m not expecting anyone to register with the official tour-de-fleeceRavelrygroup. Although if you do want to play on other teams you can enter the same work here and over there, as long as their teams allow it (see their group for rules and team sign ups)… I just want us to spin, chat and create finished projects… most importantly to have fun and share ideas.
So the SAL KAL details;
1) Spin along will start JUNE 29th and finish JULY 21st 2013. You can spin any fibre, fleece, batt, top, or roving you have in your stash from Sara’s Texture Crafts, or another company/farm (you may mention them in the thread).
2) Create your item - knit, crochet, weave starting 22nd JULY and finishes 31st AUGUST 2013.
What’s up for grabs;
1) A 10% discount (one use per person) at www.sarastexturecrafts.comby adding the discount code: TourdeFleece2013at the checkout. This is a case sensitive code, so please type it in correctly, as it cannot be redeemed after payment is made!Discounts are open from the 26th of June to the 21st of July 2013. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other coupon code.
2) Prizes – From Sara’s Texture Crafts a 100g bag of natural fleece (your pick from stock), one set of Rosy Retro stitch markers and some carded fibre prepared by Troldefoder. These will be given to separate winners.
In order to qualify for prizes;
1) To enter for the prize you must be a member of my group on Ravelry (free and fabulous!) http://www.ravelry.com/groups/saras-texture-crafts
2) Post pictures of your work as you go and generally join in the discussion to meet and craft-along with us.
3) Each member will receive one entry in to the prize drawing for posting pictures of their finished work. However, if you spin and submit pictures of spinning with fibre from Sara’s Texture Crafts you will get a second entry.
4) I will announce the winner on the 1st ofSeptember 2013.
I hope you will join in with us,
Website buy here - http://www.sarastexturecrafts.com/blue-faced-leicester—-hand-dyed-fleece-5641-p.asp from as little as 10g.
Etsy buy here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/107326597/blue-faced-leicester-fleece-hand-dyed?ref=shop_home_active 50g only.
DaWanda buy here - http://en.dawanda.com/product/44389138-Blue-Faced-Leicester-Fleece-50g-176oz-BLUEBELL 50g only.
Blue Face Leicester is a wonderful British breed, believed to have come originally from Hexham, Northumberland. The fibre is soft and has a small crimp effect that can give a slight texture to your work. It also has a lovely natural shine, so is wonderful when hand dyed. Great for spinners, felt makers,doll makers and textile artsits… I think you will find this fibre wonderful to work with.
Last weekend full of the joys of spring we set off for one of the Farms I visit… I knew there was fleece and I knew there would be lambs. So moods high and the sun on our backs we drove deep into the countryside for our day out.
Guess who got to cuddle a Lamb? Yes, me… although please ignore my double chin… I was hoping you’d focus on the Lamb! This little cutie is a Romney ewe. She has wonderful markings and at this point is about a day old. She was very calm and loved having her ear rubbed. At one point she even turned around to check me out… all smelling of baby lamb I couldn’t resist whispering how beautiful she was.
This is certainly a perk of the job!
Needless to say I came away with about 20kg of fleece for the shop! I will be listing raw fleece in my April shop update and then prep the rest for dyeing (listing at a later date).
Romney is silky smooth and soft, with a long staple great for spinning and felting.
As we had finished earlier than expected, Darrin suggested that we drive to Tiverton to visit the Farmer’s Market. I agreed, there were a couple of yarn shops I wanted to see (watch out for the blogs posts later… wow!). We didn’t make it to the Farmer’s market before it closed unfortunately, but I did buy a couple of skeins of yarn… ooops!
On the way to Tiverton is the Blue Cross animal rehoming centre for this area. We have passed it many times, but never visited. Living in rented accommodation isn’t always the best place for a cat or a dog and moving on later can be difficult without obliging Landlords, but fortunately ours recently agreed we could get a small dog. We’ve been planning to adopt for a while (child and animal adoption) and as much as I would have loved to from a breeder, the heart strings tug when I think of adoption from a rehoming centre. With the unlikelihood of baring children I’ve grown ever wishful for a full house of adoptees. It feels like a far greater thing to do. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against anyone who buys a cat or dog from anywhere other than a rehoming centre, but for us I do feel being able to adopt a creature in need (as we need a child we may not have) is a ying to our yang if you will.
We stopped at the centre to speak to someone and were met by the smiling receptionist who asked us to fill in some forms while we waited for some assistance… that’s when we met V (not wishing to post her full name for privacy reasons). V was great, she really went through everything with us and explained about what the Blue Cross can offer us… in fact she even talked us through the dogs they had in-house already. I must admit I think we were both surprised to get as ‘involved’ on our first visit as we did… we envisioned home visits and record checks (I don’t really know why), long before getting to meet the animals. This enlightening approach was actually very much what we needed. It was a moment to talk through our lifestyle and situation and to understand what a dog from a home might need in return. I think we found ourselves much more evolved in our thought process than we had imagined we were initially and very close to making a design to find that special dog for us.
We are on the books now as adoptive carers and so hopefully… fingers crossed a little fluffy companion will join our home very soon.
Any tips and advice welcome. Please tell me your experiences with rehoming pets…
The Minds of Makers: Cushendale Woolen Mills
I have posted this with permission and courtesy of zwartblesireland.com.
I think it’s an important part of our crafting to understand where some of our yarn and wool may have journeyed from and the process along the way. It’s often all to easy to remain disconnected from the roots of the wool industry, as we craft in our studios and living rooms. So please make your self a cup of tea and sit with me a while while we watch a video from Cushendale Mill and learn a bit more about the fleece to yarn process.