Friday, February 12, 2010

Spinning Retreat

Several weekends ago now, I went and tested out about a half dozen different kinds/brands of wheels at this spinner's retreat. I was able to spin up some wool on several of the wheels and it was fun to meet so many new people who enjoyed spinning and raising fiber animals!

They were impressed with how fast my spinning was improving. I still didn't think it was wonderful, but they said I could easily make a sweater out of the yarn I spun. I said that would have to be another year :)

I've made many contacts for people who wanted to come to my shearing day. They were so excited to hear I raised BFLs in both white and natural colored. I even have a lady who is wanting to BUY a white BFL ram from me this year! That makes FOUR people who are wanting a BFL for mule production! This lady raises Icelandics and Wensleydales, and is excited to see what the BFL can do for both fiber and meat purposes.

They weren't really excited about the Shetland sheep, (yes they all knew what it was) and when I showed them a few fleeces I brought along they were more excited to come to shearing day! I feel rejuvenated that my goals with the Shetlands is spot on. And all of these ladies wash, card, spin and knit their own fleeces!

I have between 10-12 people promising to come up for shearing day. I just have to confirm once again the date of the shearing. Once that is done, I have flyers lined up to be mailed out to the local guilds, and yarn shops to come join in on the fun. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served as well as some munchies.

The wheels I've tried I've liked. Especially the Louette S75. I"ve heard others like the S10 and also the Lendrum brand. I learned on a Majacraft Suzie Professional, which worked well, but I think its out of my price range. I'm also amazed at some wheel they called the 'rose'..is it Majacraft too? Price has doubled in the last 10 years. What a bummer.

If anyone knows of an S75 that works well that you'd want to sell, or a Lendrum wheel, do let me know!

10 comments:

Michelle said...

I'm thrilled for the interest in your sheep and fleeces, and do hope you'll get a good turn-out. And if a few more people become more favorably impressed by Shetland wool thanks to your efforts, hurray!

Theresa said...

Hey Garrett!
Glad to see you've made new spinning friends!

Yes, you are spot on with the fleeces - just get out there and show the public what they look and feel like and they'll come to you! I just made my "preview" list (a break from taxes) on which fleeces I want to keep and which I want to sell. I've GOT to stop being greedy! I LOVE my fleeces and want to keep/use about 1/3 or more of them! Just washed Bomby's fleece up yesterday (the last of the fine whites to send out for millspun). Played with a few locks today that were dry - it is like 5-6" of crimpy silk. YES! So, yes to you - KEEP BREEDING FOR THE BEST FLEECES POSSIBLE! Just make sure you keep a few fleeces for yourself come shearing day!

Wheels - Majacrafts are nice (yes, the Rose is one of them), but I bought a Lendrum as my standard wheel (Tori has my first wheel now,the Ashford). I also have an electric spinner that I use as well for plying and worsted/bulky yarn. Love the Lendrum - it's a workhorse and will spin the high ratio/fast speed that I like.

Deb W said...

If that lady was spinning Wensleydale and Icelandic, it's no wonder she was so excited about your BFL. That's not snarky, it's just that Wensleydale and (unseparated) Icelandic are coarse and harsh - good luster, takes dye beautifully and good for some things, but you wouldn't want to wear them near your skin. BFL is completely different in texture and will open many new possibilities for her spinning.

I use an Ashford Traditional - the lowest-price standard wheel at the time I bought it, but the only thing in the price range you mentioned is the Babe wheel. Made of PVC, it is perfectly serviceable, just not pretty.

Jen and Rich Johnson said...

My wife uses a "Rose" and likes it very much. Yes, the prices have gone through the roof.

Rich

Enid said...

I will love to get my own animals, for my own personal experience and my daughters. I live in Lubbock TX...

Laura said...

Hi Garrett,

Good for you on learning to spin and having some rams spoken for! Yes do keep some fleeces for yourself.

Some of my ewes are in the rise now-about 1/2 in up from the skin. They should be about 1 in. up for me to shear them. I did want to avoid shearing the during the rise, but they had their own plans! Last your they didn't get the rise until April. I heard from someone that nutrition has a lot to do with when they rise. They will rise earlier when better fed. This year my sheep are in better condition than last...

Hi Theresa,

It must be a "disease" to keep too much wool for one's stash. I just figured out that I have 15-20# of roving in my personal stash and I have at least one fleece that I'm planning on keeping. "Crimpy silk" is a great description of some of the best Shetland fleeces! I love those fleeces!

Hi Deb,

I agree about the Icelandic, but I have seen some nice, soft Wensleydale. The BFL x Wensleydale will be nice though! I wonder how the Icelandic X BFL will be. I saw some Icelandic x Merino and it was weird-it had the fine crimp and squared off lock of the Merino, but add a hair tail to that.

Rayna said...

*arm cross* I need to find some people around here to get me movin' on my wheel! *sigh* Congrats to you though hun :) If you get it out early enough, maybe I can get it off :)

Theresa said...

Yeah, Laura, I've got the disease bad but I keep telling myself that IF I can spin, oh say at LEAST 1/2 lb a week (quite doable, you know, when you speed spin), that would mean around 25 lbs a year. Right???? Then you just have to have more than that, you know, just in case you up your spinning to a pound a week . . . and multiples of every color . . . and lots of grey and white and musket to dye . . and then there's the blending with mohair, silk, angora and angelina . . and, of course, you have to have plenty to sell, right? In roving and in raw fleece, right?

Oh, I've got it bad!!!

At least I DO sell some! Since I certainly can't spin it all it is really cool to see someone wearing your flock's wool that they've spun up and knitted into a garment. And the best part is that they are really happy that they've made something from their own spinning. I need to start taking pictures of people in their garments. Hmmm . . .

Potosi Sheep Farm said...

I have a used S75 that I am selling resonably. You can try it out in April and we will "wheel" and deal. Bad pun, I know. I also have a new Julia for you to try. glad you are enjoying spinning.

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

I agree with you Garrett! There have been some really course Shetland fleeces up here in the past. I'm glad I have some soft silky fleeces now that folks just love! Keep up the great work!!

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