8.03.2007

Sheep 2 Shawl

Today was the guild's annual Sheep To Shawl event at the Fair. It was also Kid's Day and we had lots of children and adults watching and asking questions. My favorite was the dad who took his (about) 4 year old son to each wheel, squatted down so they were at eye level, and explained in detail how each one worked. They were there at least 30 minutes; we were enchanted. Silvia had us well organized this year. We had 2 non-spinners carding batts and 2 spinners plying the finished singles together. That left twelve of us to spin the weft - Romney fleece in a mix of brown, purple, orange and green - while the lone weaver warped the loom with brown Romney spun from a fleece purchased at last year's Fair. The shawl is a mix of huck lace and plain weave. When I left about 4:15, Chris had woven 60" with at least another yard of warp still on the loom. And enough spun weft-yarn left to make at least one more shawl. The finished shawl was to be auctioned off tonight at a barbecue with the sheep people.

There were a few fleece available for sale today*; most are on hold until Sunday when the prize winners will go up for silent auction. I bought a beautiful 3 pound white and silver Karakul lamb fleece (for $8/pound) - and I got the best deal of the day - a drop-dead gorgeous black and silver adult Karakul fleece for only $10.
Notice the cat in the foreground. Oreo blends in perfectly with the Karakul.**

Karakuls are a coarse breed that's mostly used for rugs; it doesn't command the same price as a next-to-the-skin soft fleece like Merino. But I think it's one of the most beautiful fleece out there. The silver in this one just gleams. I can't stop touching it. I'm planning to make a woven wall-hanging or rug with this fleece. I'll warp the loom with black wool, then lay the washed, slightly flicked locks in the shed, and beat it fairly firmly. Something like what's described in this book. No idea how it will turn out but I'm looking forward to the learning process.

* My friend Paula - the one who, when she joined the Guild, said she only wanted to be a weaver and had no interest in spinning - bought a beautiful, silky-soft, one-pound cinnamon baby alpaca fleece (with only a little bit of encouragement from me. OK, a lot of encouragement. But that fleece was a treasure!) And she's narrowed her choices for a spinning wheel down to a Lendrum folding wheel and an Ashford Traveler.


** Dick came home from the movies to a living room floor covered in fleece. His only reaction was to open the windows - wide - before sitting down to hear all about "the most beautiful fleece and the most amazing deal." I love that man.