Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow in Alabama

We woke up to snow today. It was beautiful. The cat sat at the window trying to catch snowflakes in her paws. The dog was afraid and would only go outside with one of his people. Elesya slept until at least 4pm. And I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Prize Winner is One Sheep

OneSheep is the prize winner for this contest. But S/he didn't tell me how to make contact. Hopefully I will find the prize winner on Ravelry...Or OneSheep can contact me on Ravelry... or the planets will align themselves correctly and OneSheep will appear among them. Anyway, congratulations to OneSheep. I used 38 receipts but that is not a good indication of the funds that were generated. Next year, I will absolutely return to the Spin-In. If I get a moment, I will add some pics to this post tomorrow. Just didn't want OneSheep to miss out on the WhorlingTides braid.

OneSheep, you can choose something from the store when I open it back up or you can design your own the next time that I dye (in about 3 - 4 weeks). Just let me know!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Contest - Prize is WhorlingTides' Braid of Your Own Colorway

The prize for this contest will be the WhorlingTides braid of your own colorway.....I will dye a braid for you with up to 4 colors in either BFL, Falkland, or Merino. All you have to do is be the closest guess to the actual number of sales I make this week at the January Spin-In!

The Spin-In is an annual event in Destin, Florida. I've never been. But there will be at least 110 spinners landing in Destin on January 21 staying through January 24, and WhorlingTides will be one of about 10 vendors present. I have heard that some spinners buy most of their supplies for the year at this event. I'm thrilled to be going, meeting all the spinners, getting to spin with all the spinners, and having a booth of yummy WhorlingTides fibers for sale. What could be finer than a business paid trip to the beach in the dead of winter?!?!?

The winner will be the person who is closest to the actual number of receipts that I write. If there is a tie...I will select the number that is lower than the actual number of receipts. Please check the numbers that have already been posted because I will have to use the number from the first person who submitted it.

Please tell me the number AND the type of fiber you want. I will order the fiber when I get back so it will take at least three weeks before you get your braid. The shipping, of course, is part of the prize! SAMPLE - 72, BFL. Make sure I know how to find you by posting an email address, blog, ravelry or etsy name....

Thanks so much for playing along with the contest.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fleece Washing at WhorlingTides

Much of the holiday weekend was spent washing Cheviot fleece for the Naked Fiber Club. Here's the evidence....Some of the pictures are of the lincoln locks that I washed, too. I purchased the lincoln from Kokovoko - the same folks who make the lovely spindles.

So, as you can see, sometimes I soak the fleece in the bathtub. Look at all that gunk!! My daughter says it always looks like intestines in the tub when I'm scouring fleece. I use very hot water (even raised the temperature on the water heater thermostat) through out. First I soak the fleece to get rid of most of the dirt, lanolin, urine...whatever. The second bath is when I begin adding soap. I use Dawn because if its grease cutting properties. Plus, I like the lavender scent in the one that I use. I never let the water temperature fall below 115 degrees because I don't want the lanolin to reattach itself to the fiber. The fleece will be rinsed with fresh water baths until the water is finally "clean." Only if necessary will I use a second soap bath. Everyone has her/his preferences about how much lanolin should be left on the fiber. I like very little lanolin as I'm not very fond of greasy feeling fingers.

So, here is the Cheviot for the Naked Fiber Club. See the gorgeous lock structure??!! Well, it is a beautiful creamy white color but has a lot of little bits of VM that are about 1/18 - 1/16th of an inch. And man, does it stick to the scales of the fiber! It combs, flicks, and cards out after washing, which is nice. But all of it won't wash out.

I decided that I didn't want to lose the lock structure of the fiber if I could avoid it. So, I did something new that I had read about in Spin-Off...I dipped each lock into some near boiling soapy water, then near boiling water to remove the soap, and then a good rinse in the sink. Check out that process below.

Here are a couple of raw locks from the fleece before scouring...

Here are some locks after scouring using the "dip" method.

And below are some puffy clouds of fleece that I will use to make batts for people who wanted their fleece carded! So pretty!

Now you see what I have been up to with your first fleece!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wicked Wool Combs

Photo by Lisa at NativeFiberArts.

I just purchased these combs from NativeFiberArts, a super nice woman on the WhorlingTides' Ravelry group. They are arriving via priority mail so I should get them by Saturday perhaps or certainly by Monday. Aren't they perfectly wicked looking?! So this must be how princesses at spinning wheels are always pricking their fingers in fairy tales!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weaving is Here

Dorothy has arrived. She's my new (used) LeClerc loom that I purchased on Ebay. She arrived in beautiful condition and 100% complete. I've never woven anything before. And frankly was not too keen on all the obsessive compulsive stuff that has to go on in order to make weaving happen. Then, one day, I awakened and I just had to have a loom. I had to learn how to weave. I bid on several looms but was getting frustrated because I would miss them by $5 here or $2.50 there. When this one came available at the "buy-it-now" price that I wanted to spend...I bought her. She's mine now. I love her already. Plus, it's kinda nice that my beloved grandmother's name was Dorothy, too.

Yesterday morning, Carol, President of the West Alabama Fiber Guild, came over to help me warp the loom. It took a couple of hours. But I have no doubt that she showed me the right way to do it, and I will certainly beneft from her vast experience. My first assignment is to weave one inch in each of the first 59 patterns in the Anne Dixon weaving book called The Handweaver's Pattern Directory. It is specifically for 4 harness looms like Dorothy. You can find this book on for $23.07. It has great color pictures, plus it is written clearly enough for me to follow the very first time! See the picture below. (Ignore the teal is there to get the warp to line up straight.) I'm weaving the black cotton that you see in bands of different patterns. From spinning to dyeing to weaving...and it is not even my 1 year anniversary until December 27th!!! Have I mentioned how much I love fibers?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tikkun Olam Tuesday

Yes, I know. I promised many Tuesdays ago to make a post every Tuesday on one small way to make this world a better place. In Hebrew, that is called Tikkun Olam. And then I became distracted. Let's get back on track.

The other day I purchased a book called Knitting for Good! A Guide to Creating Personal, Social, and Political Change, Stitch by Stitch. The author, Betsy Greer, also has a webpage called Craftivism and blog . I look forward to reading the book as well as getting to know Ms. Greer through her online presence. Maybe she will even have some ideas to help me get a project up and running here. More on that another time.

Today's topic will be Education and More ( I came upon it totally by accident. I was searching for "weaving blogs" and up came this site. Once you read their mission statement, I think you will understand why this site and others like it are so profound. I quote:

The mission of Education And More is to further the education
of the children in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala and to reduce the poverty
of their families and communities through implementation of Fair Trade practices
with artisan groups thereby helping them to lift themselves out of poverty.

The website describes how to host a Fair Trade Bazaar (what a great way to raise money for a local project), buy handmade items such as woven shawls and beaded jewelry from their artisans, and ways to sponsor students. What they are doing is inspirational. And I continue to wonder...why do we create these foundations in South America and Africa when we have equally poor and hungry people right here in Alabama???

So take a look at this site and others like it. And know that WhorlingTides is simmering ideas about ways to make such a project come to life here, and if not now, very soon.