Fleece Sampling

I thought I’d give you an update on the Corriedale/Friesian fleece I’ve been working on.  The washing is ongoing, but I encouraged myself by doing some sampling.

I started very simply, just a lock and a Golding ring spindle. I prepared it by breaking off the sunburnt tips, then grabbing an end of the lock in each hand and pulling it diagonally back and forth to straighten and loosen the fibers a bit. Then I spun from the fold, and plied the single with itself. Even within the single lock, the color variations took center stage, making a lovely complex yarn.

Corrie/Friesian Fleece Sampling

From L to R: Combed from end, 3 ply woolen from lock, 2 ply woolen from lock

I am thinking of a sweater for this yarn, so my next try was the same technique, but then I n-plyed the single. It is rounder and nicely bouncy, but it is quite fuzzy. I suppose I should expect that for a woolen technique, but it is quite a bit fuzzier than the 2 ply sample. I kinda like it.
Working on Samples of Corrie Friesian Fleece

Time to pull out some toys! My Valkyrie Mini Combs made quick work of a couple of locks, and I spun the resulting top from the end (not smoothing, but worsted-ish technique), then plied it to itself. I love the resulting yarn, however I am spying a potential problem. The lighter and darker color fibers separate somewhat with the combing, which could lead to a stripey yarn. In my ply-back, it isn’t over all noticeable, however looking at the extreme ends that are now plied together….they are distinctly different colors. I will have to try this again, combing two different batches and then spinning each, and plying them together, and swatching to see if I get a color change. This yarn would be fabulous for a woven project.

Corrie Friesian Sample

To combat the color change, and to switch back to my preferred longish-draw technique, I combed up two batches of locks, and blocked/stacked the resulting rovings tip to tail. Then I pulled off chunks of the doubled top and spun from the fold. I think this mitigated the color differences nicely, however my yarn was not as consistent as the combed top spun from the end. I’ll have to try again, paying attention to my combing so they finish in the directions I want them….I didn’t bother this time, and I think they were working against each other.

Corrie/Friesian Sampling

Overall, I’m pleased with all the samples, I’m sure I can use them all in some way and the yarn is pleasant in all the different forms. I will redo my samples on my wheel when I get closer to doing a project, as I’ll do the spinning on there, and I can more easily explore the effects of the amount of twist. Overall, I prefer the end-spun combed top, although the woolen spun 3 ply is a close second.

Corrie/Friesian Sampling

From L to R: Combed, blocked, then spun woolenish from fold and 2 plied; Combed, spun worstedish from end, 2 ply; Spun woolen from fold of lock, 3 ply; Spun woolen from fold of lock, 2 ply.

I have a lot more washing to do, but I’m on hold this week as I’m dyeing club. I’ll be back with more about this particular fleece as the story unfolds.

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Calla Lily – April Tiger Club

May Tiger Club only has one more day to sign up!  Here is what happened in April:

Calla Lily
Calla Lily in HDR.

April is sort of the renewal of the club, as the very first one was in April. Thus I took a look at the past year, and tallied up colors. Looks like I needed pink, purple, and yellow. Overwhelmingly, the image search gave me Calla Lilies.

Interestingly enough, I also got this: :)


To replicate our flower, I needed a white fiber, and I love Falkland for this.  It is whiter than white, and a lovely texture.  Compare it to Corriedale, but it is really a ‘wool pool’ of fine fleeced sheep on the Falkland Islands.  To dye this, I mixed up a base purply-pink, then diluted it progressively to make a gradient ombre, then added the shocking bit of yellow to the center.

Calla Lily - April Tiger Club - Falkland Wool Combed Top


Lilies have a shiny coat of wax on them, and I wanted to portray that in the yarn.  I chose Panda sock yarn, as the bamboo in the blend has a nice sheen.  I had a lot of fun dip dyeing these, then I brushed on the yellow stamen.

Calla Lily - April Tiger Club - Panda Sock Yarn

As I said, we are gearing up for May Club.  The fiber and yarn are here already, and I’m excited to get working on it.  Want to be a part of it?  Sign up on our website through tomorrow, Friday, May 15.



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Time to wash the fleece!

Last fall, I purchased this lovely fleece at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival…..

Corriedale Friesian Wool Fleece

I saw it judged as part of the Junior fleece show, and stalked it like a hawk at the sale afterward. I had originally gone looking for a delicious silver fleece….but had to have this one.

Corriedale Friesian Wool Fleece

As you can see, this is a Corriedale Friesian cross, a huge 11 pounds. The staff working the sale were very excited about this one, the seller, Anne Hinchley, is an up and coming shepherdess that they have been very impressed with. I’ll be looking for her this fall.

I felt terrible putting the fleece on the back burner, but our house was under construction at the time, and I didn’t want sawdust, nails, and slivers of coil stock in it. Winter isn’t great for fleece washing, either….I don’t want to clog the sewer with lanolin, and I know this fleece will have a fair amount. But now it is spring, and I can do initial cold soaks outside, and let the hot water baths cool, and dump it all on my flower gardens, who will love the extra goodies.

Corriedale Fresian Wool Fleece

As you can see, there are many colors in the fleece….here are five I grabbed. I can’t wait to turn this into….a Fair Isle sweater? Woven fabric for a jacket? Something I haven’t though of yet? Or maybe several somethings from each of the colors. I can’t wait to see what they look like when they are clean!   Look at the crimp!  Delicious!

Corriedale Fresian Wool Fleece

That is going to take a while, though. As you can see, the fleece is quite disorganized, and many tips are sunburned. There is a lot of hay and…um…other things in it. I grabbed an area of light color, and filled my 6 little lingerie bags, they are now soaking in cold water in buckets. I’ll let them go a few hours, then change the water and leave them overnight. Tomorrow, I’ll do the hot soapy washes. Yay!

Edited to add:  I’ve had a few questions now on the cold soaks.  A lot of what is on the fleece is pee/poo and basic barnyard dirt.  These will all come off fine with cool water, and the soaking time lets it loosen.  I can’t felt my fiber, as the water is cold, and I’m not agitating anything, just letting it soak.  My first rinse was a nasty yellowish brown after just 2 hours, and there is not a lot of wool in each bucket….maybe 12 ounces.  My hostas are loving their ‘tea’.

I’ll be doing the hot water washing inside, since the water temperature would drop too quickly outside.  My family appreciates that I’m not heating up manure in the house.  :)

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ShOcKiNG! March Tiger Club Reveal

Yep, reveal is a wee bit late this month. Thanks for allowing us to take a little vacation. We are back, and ready to start April’s Club dyeing!

For March, I wanted to shake up the colors a bit….I’ve done a lot of subdued colors lately, and many of them have featured blue. I also wanted to revisit some dyeing techniques I hadn’t used in a while. So I took pure bright fuschia, and paired it with delicious strawberry red, and let them play in the kettle. The results are SHOCKING!, and my dye studio will be pink for some time to come!

Shocking - March 2015 Tiger Club - New England Combed Top

Our fiber is New England Top, a wool pool of the Eastern states. It’s quite a nice general wool….corriedale like. It slurped up the color, and they actually blended and made colors I didn’t know would appear!

Shocking - March 2015 Tiger Club - Safari Sock Yarn

Our sock yarn is my personal favorite, Safari. The wool is Corriedale, which stands up to the abuse socks take better than Merino. It’s also blended with nylon, which adds more strength. The yarn blooms nicely into the stitches when washed, making a comfy and cushiony sock. These are kettle dyed (and overdyed!), so no two skeins are alike. It was really fun to do.

I’m gearing up for April’s club, and then I’ll be opening Tiger Club for new memberships on May 1. We’d love for you to join us, I love creating new things every month, and trying new fiber and yarn.

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Driftwood – February 2015 Tiger Club Reveal

Driftwood Inspiration

I rather enjoyed looking around our home for last month’s ‘Globe Trotter’ inspiration, so I took a cue from this corner for February. Our 50’s home came with this turquoise block wall, and to tone things down I painted the walls a pale sand, and found this great picture of a bird playing in the surf. The driftwood grey of the frame, and various brown matts bring it all together.

Ever since Salted Cashmere Mochaccino, I’ve been considering how to make a graduated yarn that would have the stripes stay a similar width on a triangular (or other top-down) shawl. I did a crazy lot of math, and came up with some numbers that turned out beautiful and proportional. I decided on 9 sections, and to have the three colors of the theme to go from light to medium to dark.

Driftwood - Feb 2015 Tiger Club - Tiger Twist

Here’s another view, with the colors stretched out….I’m afraid the light isn’t as good, but you get the idea. The beginning pale tan section is about 7 yards long, and each section gets longer until the charcoal, which is about 100 yards.

I did have a bit of an issue with the yarn, I don’t know where my brain was. This is Tiger Twist, and the skeins are larger than usual; 4.7 ounces and 466 yards.

February Tiger Club - Tiger Twist Gradient

We’re having a discussion on Ravelry about shawlette patterns to use, do stop by and make your suggestions! I’m looking forward to knitting up my own, and then applying this formula to the regular line of yarn.

Our fiber this month is an old favorite in a different form….Superwash Blue Faced Leicester. Ah, superwash, how you slurp up colors!

Driftwood - Feb 2015 Tiger Club - SW BFL

Fiber clubbers, you are more than welcome to pop into the shawl discussion, we’ve already found several that would work better with that gradual transition that a hand spun yarn will have.

For everyone, if you want to stretch this out, there are many color pairings you can make. I was thinking rust colors, or sage or pine greens, but a butter yellow was mentioned today, and that would work, too.

Did you miss the fun? Tiger Club is open this month through the 15th for new subscriptions. The club will not open in April, so don’t miss the boat!

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Tiger Club Reveal – Globe Trotter – Jan 2015

Ah, winter. Nothing like snow and cold to lend a feeling of cabin fever. With this in mind, I looked for a theme for January’s Tiger Club….and found it in our well used globe. I love how handsome the muted tones are, and brought that feeling to our yarn and fiber. I admit I dithered on the title a bit….Earth Tones? Might be confusing. Around the Wool in 80 Days? Too long. So I settled on Globe Trotter.

Globe Trotter Tiger Club Jan 2015 - Cheviot and Tiger Sport

The fiber is Cheviot, and if you’ve been paying attention around the web, its currently being chatted up quite a bit. The wool has a unique structure to it, lending loftiness no matter how you spin it. It makes fantastic socks, or other objects where you’d like some sproing and hard wearing.

Our yarn is Tiger Sport, because such a large subject needs a big yarn! I used a hand-painted across technique, which will make some great pooling and stacking in the round.

GlobeTrotter in Cheviot and Tiger Sport, Jan 2015 Tiger Club

I hope you’ll enjoy working with your yarn or wool while watching a travelogue to cheer up the dreary winter.

For February, I’m working up a new stripe for our yarn, I’m thinking appropriate for a shawlette. And I have a fiber we haven’t technically had before, but is a variation of an old favorite. There are some Club spots available, you may sign up through February 15th. Tiger Club is available for gifting, also….just contact me and I can set you (or your sweetie) up with a custom number of months.

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Fresh from the Dyepot – Gradients on Merino and Black Silk

Oh my, have I got a treat for you! Creamy merino wool blended with streaks of black tussah silk, and then dyed in bright gradients. Mmmm, mmm. They look like watercolors over charcoal drawings, such a neat effect.

Tropical Rainbow is a short length repeating gradient….all those bright colors from pink to purple.
Tropical Rainbow Merino Silk

Royal to Scarlet:
Royal To Red Merino Silk

And I had a bit extra of top….so I kept going…here’s Royal to Yellow-Orange:
Royal to Yellow Orange Merino Silk

Peacock (Yellow to Green to Teal to Royal to Purple):
Peacock Merino Silk

Xanadu (Turquoise to Royal to Purple to Magenta):
Xanadu Merino Silk

And finally….Yellow to Scarlet (with yellow-orange and orange and red-orange in between!):
Yellow to Scarlet Merino Silk


I recommend spinning this blend from the fold, it will help you keep the fibers together and preserve the cool marled look.  All of these are in the shop in the Limited Edition Fiber section.  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend.  We are hoping to not be buried under 6-8 inches of snow!

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