A little Targhee spinning

I got back on my wheel a few days ago, trying to get my mojo back after surgery. Now that I can physically spin and do other fiber-related activities again, I’m having trouble deciding what to do. I’ve had a bit of brain fog since I came home–which probably explains some of the indecisiveness. I finally decided to grab some fiber and start spinning. I wish I could say that this instantly brought back my fiber mojo, but I guess it’s a start.

I’ve suffered burnout before–after 6 years of full time fiber arts–but this feels different. It’s not that I don’t want to do something with my fiber and yarn. It’s almost like I can’t concentrate when I get started on something. I’ll cast-on yarn for a beanie and then after a few rows, I’m already sick of the project. I’m sure this will eventually pass and I’ll be back at it full steam in a few weeks. I’m trying to be patient with myself for now since I haven’t even reached the 6 week post-surgery mark yet. A little spinning is better than no spinning, so that will have to be enough for now.

Hand dyed targhee wool on the wheel


Tour de Fleece 2022, Surgery, and more

I only made it through about ten days of this year’s Tour de Fleece–mostly because I was prepping for major abdominal surgery on July 20th and there was a lot to take care of before my hospital stay (3 days, 2 nights) and 6-8 week recovery.

Here are the yarns that I did spin during the Tour: White Eider, Leicester Longwool, Pineapple fiber, Navajo Churro, Shetland (Cherry Pie from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium), Rambouillet, and CVM (from Cactus Hill Farm).

I also started experimenting with Krokbragd weaving (or my version of it, at least) before my surgery. I’ve made two coasters so far, but they aren’t completed yet, so here is a picture of the first one still on the loom.

A week after my surgery, I moved back into my original home studio space after my daughter decided she wanted her old room back (after asking to move into my space over a year ago), so I directed my husband and daughter as they moved my things since I couldn’t lift anything over ten pounds yet. Only 10% of my yarn and fibers are actually in the room (most are in the closet and other storage places around the house), but my main equipment is there, so it’s a nice, clean slate to work from when I start feeling up to it.

Because of the move, I was able to find some objects that were buried among my other fiber things. These are ancient drop spindle whorls from all over the world that I started collecting years ago. Three are from Central and South America, while the rest are from Latvia, former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, and somewhere else in Europe. Apparently, archaeologists find spindle whorls all the time at dig sites, but they get stored away because they are so “common” and insignificant.

2022 Tour de Fleece: Days 1-3

Tour de Fleece update for days 1-3:

Total yield: Approx. 192 yds of 2-ply worsted weight yarn (111g/ 3.90 oz)

Day 1: Spun 55.5g of White Eider wool singles (combed top from Camaj Fibers)

Day 2: Spun 55.5g of White Eider wool singles

Day 3: Plied 111g of White Eider wool singles

Tour de Fleece 2022: Day before prep

I debated whether to participate in this year’s Tour de Fleece–mostly because I spin so much on a weekly basis as it is. Also, I’m having a major surgery on July 20th, so I can only participate from July 1-19th. I did, however, decide that I will participate as much as I can during the time before my surgery. After all, I may not be able to spin for a good six to eight weeks during my recovery period, so I had better get all the spinning done that I possibly can.

Last year, I only spun fiber that I processed from raw fleece during the event. This year, I will spin anything in my fiber stash–both dyed and undyed.

I don’t have a specific spinning goal or plan for this year’s Tour, so I’ll let each day play out how it will and I’ll post updates and pictures as I go along (just like last year).

The pictures below represent some of my fiber options I’ve chosen for the Tour. I probably won’t dig into my raw fleece processed fiber, but I like to keep my options open, so who knows? If I make too much of a plan, I tend to rebel against that plan anyway, so it’s better for me to keep my spinning options open.

I may also spin on my drop spindles for a few days this year, something I didn’t attempt last year. I’ve been having a lot of fun spinning on my Turkish drop spindle lately, so I may spin some singles on it at some point.

I’d love to hear what others are doing for this year’s Tour, so feel free to comment below with your own plans.

Various dyed fibers from my stash

Handspun Swaledale Wool Coaster

Last April, I spun Swaledale wool for the first time and after weaving a table runner with most of the yarn, I put the remaining bit away until this week. I knew I would have to make home decor or the like out of this breed because of the high micron count (and super high amount of kemp), so I decided on an oversized crochet coaster for the remaining yarn.

I used a free crochet pattern “The Iris” which can be found HERE. I used the picot edging option.

On a spinning note: Other than a large amount of kemp in the Swaledale wool that I spun, I really enjoyed spinning this breed.

Swaledale ewe and lamb (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Raw Fleece to Finished Yarn: Navajo Churro/GCN lamb fleece sample + more

This time of the year, I hate being outside–mostly because of the 90+ degree weather mixed with 50% or higher humidity here in Alabama. The only good thing about the heat is its ability to dry wet fiber quickly when set out in direct sunlight. So, I’ve tried to get through some of last year’s fleeces–or at least continue sampling those fleeces–while the heat lingers.

One of the fleeces I washed/dried over the past few weeks is a Navajo Churro/Gulf Coast Native lamb cross from Summer Fields Farm in Monteagle, Tennessee–where I purchased nine fleeces last October. While it isn’t suitable for next-to-skin items, this fleece will be fine for home goods or outerwear.

29 g (washed and carded fleece) yielded approx. 80 yards of 2-ply sport weight yarn

I also washed & drum carded a sample of some Dorset Horn raw fleece that I purchased from Three Creeks Farm in New Hampshire. I have five pounds of this fiber, but this is the first sample I’ve done so far. I’ve worked with Dorset Horn raw fleece before and I enjoy working with this breed–from the processing to the final project.

Dorset Horn sample from Three Creeks Farm (NH)

I also decided to play around this week with my mini frame loom–using some waste fiber from other raw fleece spinning projects. I don’t weave a lot on any of my frame looms, but I hate wasting fiber–even if it isn’t enough for spinning or another project. Pictured here is left-over CVM and GCN from last year’s Tour de Fleece.

Icelandic Raw Fleece to Woven Rug

This project had been on my to-do list for a while–after seeing several similar raw fleece projects woven on peg looms. While I have a peg loom, I decided to use my 32″ Kromski Harp loom for this project since I wasn’t sure if the fleece would draft sufficiently enough.

The fleece came from an Icelandic ram named Sean from Ballyhoo Farms (Bagdad, KY) last year (2021).

Essentially, I just drafted directly from the raw fleece–completely unwashed and unspun–straight out of the bag. This rug used about half of the 3.5-pound fleece. After weaving the rug, I wet-finished it using Unicorn Power Scour to remove dirt and most of the lanolin.

The finished rug ended up measuring approximately 45″ long by 24″ inches wide.

Off the Needles: American Tunis beanie (from raw fleece)

This knitted beanie was finished a few weeks ago–a project from one of my Tour de Fleece 2021 spinning samples from an American Tunis raw fleece bought from Solace Farmstead in Coalmont, TN.

Although I don’t remember the fiber being exceptional when I was spinning it, the finished beanie turned out wonderfully soft and lofty. This would be a good yarn for a sweater project in the future with the remaining 2.75+ pounds of remaining fleece.

Off the Loom: Spaced Warp/Weft Summer Scarf

I don’t often work with plant fibers unless they’re blended with wool, but I had some cellulose fiber yarns in my stash that I thought would be good for a summer scarf, so I warped my loom and wove a spaced warp/weft scarf. This project took one ball of Plymouth Nettle Grove yarn (45% cotton, 28% linen, 12% nettle, 15% silk) and I didn’t quite use the whole ball. So, it took less than 218 yards of this yarn.

It’s already in the 90s here in Alabama, so I don’t imagine I’ll be wearing any kind of scarf until late autumn, but it was nice using up some of my yarn that has been sitting around for a while. Now, what to do with the 4-6 other balls of this yarn….