Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Scouring fleeces

I finally got busy and managed to get ONE fleece scoured before my son's heart surgery last month. It is a really fine Rambo/ColumbiaX. I did it in two halves (since it wasn't very big) in the laundry room sink - and I did a very Non-Scientific experiment while I was at it.

I washed one half of the fleece in Dawn Dish soap and the other half I used Kookaburra Wool Wash. It turns out that this fleece ended up being much dirtier than I expected, so I thought this might be a good comparison to share. As you read, keep in mind that I was very careful about not over-packing the sink. I used lots of water in relation to the amount of fleece.

The first half, washed with Dawn took 3 washings and at least 5-6 rinses before I considered it clean enough to send to the drying table. With all that washing/rinsing I thought for sure I would end up with nothing more than a pile of felt. It turns out I wasn't too far off - it is slightly felted, but not so bad that I won't be able to save it. Amazingly, it STILL has a lot of sand/dirt in it. The water never really ran clear...

The second half, washed with Kookaburra Wool Wash only took 2 washings and 3 rinses before reaching a similar state of cleanliness. I really noticed how much easier it was for the dirt and grease/lanolin to lift out of the fiber, and also for the cleaning solution to rinse out. The fiber did get a little felted, but again I'm not surprised after the abuse I had to put it through to get it clean.
Comparing the two, this pile of wool seems cleaner to me, and smells wonderful (they use tea tree in the formula which leaves the wool smelling fresh, clean and acts as a moth deterrent) even though it didn't require as many washings as the Dawn half.. . Although the Wool Wash has a hint of lanolin in it, I can't seem to feel it on the fiber. One run through the carding machine will tell me if it will be a problem or not. Kookaburra does make a Wool Scour formula without the lanolin which will be used on the next fleece.

I definitely plan on adding this product to the shop, and highly recommend that you at least TRY this on your next fleece. I'm glad I did, and I will be using it on all my fleeces.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Here is "Cayenne". It's hot, but in the right proportion adds just the right touch to spice up your spinning.

I love how this roving came out. It looks even better spun up. The colors blend beautifully into subtle shades of red/orange and yellow. Bright, but not at all overpowering.

As with most of my painted rovings, I spun this navaho 3-ply, and am thoroughly smitten with the results.

The blueface leicester, which I spun semi-worsted, has such a lovely hand to it, and it's so soft. I can't wait to make something out of this yarn! Hmmmmm, the question is, what does this yarn want to be??? (picture coming soon!)

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Spring is in the Air

I just love when spring begins it's magical return... The chill in the air slowly dissipates, making way for the richness and vigor of life awakening. Snow receeds to allow a long awaited glimpse of light to residents below. Frost turns to dew as the sun warms the ground, creating a sea of sparkles on a bed of grass. Leaves push thier way out of dormant buds, and flowers begin to reach for the sky. Animals appear from hiding places with joy and eagerness in thier eyes. The earth is alive, and waking from its slumber with a dazzling display of color, scent, and newness...

I wanted something fresh and new when I fired up the dyepot today, and I think I got it. This is some rainbow dyed Blueface Leicester, in shades of yellow, orange, pink, green and blue. This color combination brings spring indoors, even when it is cold outside. Bright, vivid colors jump out, much like nature does when "Spring is in the Air"...

Here is what it looks like spun up in a navaho 3 ply. This was fun to spin up. The colors came out completely different than I thought they would, but I am pleased with the outcome.

I hope you like it!

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Wine Country

I can't believe it - It's February - and Valentine's Day is fast approaching!

I just realized it's been almost two years since I've been able to go back home and visit. I grew up in Northern California - right in the middle of wine country. How I miss the rolling hills, the never ending rows of vineyards, lazing beneath the oak trees, and strolls along the beach or beneath the Redwoods. I could easily consider Northern California to one of the most romantic places in the US.

So anyway - I had some stray corriedale roving sitting around so into the dyepot it went - I tossed in a few of my favorite colors and put on the lid. When this came out of the dyepot I couldn't help but thinking about home. The way the colors blended made me think of grapes on the vine at harvest time. I imagined myself sipping a nice glass of Merlot - and the ambiance of one of the incredible historic wineries back home. So naturally the name "Wine Country" stuck.

To make the most of the colors I elected to go with Navaho 3-ply. I think it came out nicely, and the yarn conveys the richness of color that I was hoping to capture... Now, what to knit with it? Hmmmm...

I hope you have a Fun (and romantic) Valentine's Day!

Milk Chocolate Cherries...

I'm in the mood for Chocolate... And what better time than Valentine's day to enjoy some sweets.

Here I'm spinning a reddish and brown color combination in a rambouillet X. Let's call this blend... Milk Chocolate Cherries...? The colors were put on the drum carder in alternating layers, two brown and two red. The batt was not reblended after the initial layering, so the colors should be more distinct. It appears it will give a nice tweed effect. The wool is somewhat neppy, so there are some lumps and bumps in the yarn, but I think it will add to the final effect. I'll show you the finished yarn and a swatch once we're done.

Oh - and before I forget - Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Introducing Spindy -

Hello - My name is Spindy - I am a Top Whorl Emily Spindle, with my whorl constructed out of Satinwood over Rose She-oak with an Ash Shaft. I consider myself to be somewhat of an adventurer, enjoying spin time where ever my mistress' travels take me. I enjoy a diet rich in fiber, but I'm not sure of my favorite. It seems that I mostly seem to be dressed in wool, but the occasional exotic fiber occasionally tickles my fancy. My favorite color?? Oh deary - well just about anything suits me. Those fashionable rainbow dyed rovings are always fun to wear, but then again, sometimes I'm just in the mood for something a little more neutral.
Come with me now, and join me in my travels through Fiberland and beyond...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Inspiration through Color

Inspiration comes in many forms, from many places, and has infinite ways of expression. But something that I have found, is that inspiration often comes when it is peaceful and quiet (at least for me). Ideas seem to flow more freely when one is in a state of relaxation and in harmony with the Universe. It is with this Spirit that I am changing how I approach my fiber work and art. I seek to find deeper enjoyment in my creations.

Color has always played an important role in how we feel. There are numerous scientific studies on how color affects our moods and outlook on life... Have you ever noticed that the colors in nature seldom invoke feelings of hostility or aggression? Instead, they seem to inspire a sense of wonder, awe and peace - at least for me. The things we Love - our favorite color, food, place, person, or thing - also invoke feelings of joy and inner peace. They naturally brighten our mood and our day.

Considering these thoughts, I seek to find a new "Happy Place" through the use of color - Colors inspired by the things I Love... I look forward to sharing the results as I experiment with the use of color.

In this light, the format of the blog will be more consistent. Each month I will present a different source of color inspiration and the fiber to honor and compliment it. Enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2006

Universe out of control?

The last several months it seems like many people are experiencing an increase in health issues, heartache, and just plain difficulties in general. The past few weeks seem to have especially accelerated the problems people are facing. Is it the release of the Holiday pressures? Or is the Universe telling us to SLOW DOWN?

We are having our share of the unfortunate wealth here at Warm Threads. After all of us being sick with the Flu/Cold/Pneumonia since Thanksgiving, we are now faced with the sudden and unbearable news that my 4 year old son needs heart surgery for a congenital heart defect. We obviously are devastated at the news, but at the same time know it is a good thing we found the problem early. Is this a blessing? or a curse? It depends which side of the coin you look at...

All fingers point to the undeniable fact that this MUST BE DONE no matter how upset we are about it. It will be far worse for my son if it is not attended to - with the most likely and almost guaranteed outcome being an early death. I would rather face the more optimistic statistics of the surgery - both for myself and my son. He has the opportunity to lead a normal and healthy life by enduring the pain of surgery - which I think is a worthwhile trade....

So what does this all mean? What is the Universe trying to tell us?
Perhaps we all need to slow down... Perhaps we need to pay more attention to our homes and families... Maybe we need to begin listening to our hearts again, rather than following the blind and sometimes greedy preachings of our minds... Let's leave the Rat Race to the rats... Is it possible that the Universe is trying to force us into the recognition that we need to tend to ourselves - and our Environment?...