Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Adventures in Wild Silk
If you have been around me for a long while, then you know just how much I love working with wild silk. Sadly, it does not get the attention it deserves and is often overshadowed by bombyx silk. Interest in these unique silks and, of course, curiosity has led me to a ton of research and experimentation including different ways to blend with the various types that are available to hand spinners today. I have shared my interest and findings in an article for the past Winter 2020 issue of Spin Off magazine.
Because my article had drawn interest in others to blend by hand, I took my research a step further and decided to blend wild silk with other fiber blends commercially. I wanted to know how the blends translated into a finished yarn and the ease of spinning them. Early March of this year, I created custom blends including merino/white eri silk, baby alpaca/peduncle silk and polwarth/yak/peduncle silk. Some of these were featured in my most recent updates in my shop. However, I held one special blend aside for further experimentation. I will explain further in a bit.
Tour de Fleece pt. 1
With the Tour de Fleece this year, I decided to do a Tour of Techniques as well as a breed study (Rambouillet) in support of a small farm. I believe it is important to support farms and thought this was the perfect opportunity to do just that. For part one of the Tour, Team Beauty and the Fleece has decided to highlight and support Grace Freier of Every Season Farm. For each day of the tour, teammates have shared their progress including fleece washing photos, challenge photos, and have shared what they have learned as a result. It has been a wild ride recording videos daily as well as spinning and participating in daily chat sessions via Zoom.
My goal was to show different ways to approach spinning Rambouillet and to share some of my favorite spinning techniques. It truly was a blast. Aside from spinning Rambouillet and supporting the team, I had spun more of my Perendale fleece for my fleece to project article for tinyStudio CreativeLife magazine. I managed to spin 1287 yards of the Perendale yarn in a week.
My other project for Tour de Fleece was my custom blend baby alpaca/peduncle handdyed by me using my Stephen Willette jellyfish support spindle. It was the perfect project on the go for me, I spun while in the car and on vacation. This spin has given me an opportunity to understand how the fiber blend behaves and a chance to test out my new spindle at the same time. It behaves just as I expected it. It is a great pleasure to spin, and it will be available for sale (and your spinning pleasure) in the next shop update.
This past week has been a bit busy with interviews, a lecture and a demo. Next month is another fiber-filled month. Right around the corner in August are virtual spinning classes and a lecture with Vogue Knitting Live taught by yours truly. I am so excited and I invite you to join me!