Monday, September 27, 2010

Franklin County Fiber Twist...My Impressions

My Booth

What a gem of a fiber fair the Franklin County Fiber Twist has become!  I loved the venue this year, and hope we'll be there again.  Lots of space, an accoustically peaceful atmosphere, good lighting (well, alright Claudia, it was florescent lighting), close to Route 91, great food nearby...

Up Close

 The volunteer staff was excellent, helping me haul in stuff and even assisting in setting up my booth!

This fair was a feast for the eyes.  Here are a few of the booths that caught my eye:

Mill River Rugs
 This is Margaret Arraj from Mill River Rugs.  She hooks her rugs with yarn, a departure from the usual wool strips that most hook with.  Margaret was once my next door neightbor, when our daughters were babies.  My daughter will be 30 this Saturday!

Mill River Rugs
On to Diane Welter at The Wool & Dye Works, a favorite shop for fiber lovers.  Diane creates lovely hooked rug designs, available at her shop.

Wool & Dye Works

Wool & Dye Works


This is Angela Foote from FABRICFOOTE in New Hampshire.  No web site, but her e-mail address is fabricfoote(at)  She had so many delightful creations!

Here are Claudia Benoit and Linnie Dugas from Woolies of Shirkshire Farm.  I share a booth with them at the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fair in Cummington, and every year their natural-dyed wool is better and better.  No web site; they can be reached at woolies(at)

Woolies of Shirkshire Farm

Kangaoo Dyer

Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer, and her husband had such lovely dyed yarn at the Fair.

All day I had the pleasure of looking at these happy things at the booth next to me.  So glad I had the opportunity to meet Nancy Dorian of now & ZEN!

now & ZEN

now & ZEN

Leyden Glen Farm

Finally, I caught up with Kristin Nicholas and a friend, and got to see those bright wool flowers she's been creating up close.

Spent the following day recovering and doing Absolutely Necessary Chores That Could Not Be Put Off and today started getting ready for  Fiber Fesival of New England.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Franklin County Fiber Twist


Franklin County Fiber Twist is less than a week away and since I'll be quite busy toward the end of the week I've started getting products packed.  After weighing and labeling all my Pre-Felts, I just had to spread them all out for a group shot.

My Pre-Felts come from my processor with the edges un-felted; I choose not to remove this part as when I'm personally using them in projects I sometimes find it helpful to have a little carded fiber in the same color to use.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thinking about Rugs...

Sea Glass

This rug was actually completed a year ago but I don't recall putting it in my blog.  It's going in now because someone asked about weaving with roving and fleecewoven rugs on a tapestry mail list to which I subscribe and I wanted to show an example.  This 40" by 28" rug was handwoven with strips of roving from my own flock that I had hand dyed.  It was very slow-going as I didn't find it practical to wrap lengths of roving on a rag shuttle but chose instead to insert each piece by hand.

Sea Glass, close-up

I had fully intended to place this rug on the floor in a guest bedroom.  However... when I imagined dogs lying on it and wondered about how difficult it would be to remove dog hair from the roving, I decided that this would be a wall rug.

Because dogs are an important part of my life and this is their house too, I made the decision after weaving this rug that all rugs that go on floors will be small enough to pick up and hang over the railing outdoors, hosing off if need be, and they will be constructed of warp materials that can tolerate that treatment.

I have also learned to like using a temple since this rug was woven!

Here was my first rug, woven rather flimsily on a jack loom.  It is on the floor of my sunroom and you can see that these rugs do indeed attract dog hair.

Fleece-woven rug, natural colors

A closer look:

Close-up, fleecewoven natural colored rug

Here's one that's dyed; it was the second rug I wove, also flimsy because I wove it on a jack loom.  The rug was dyed AFTER weaving which was quite the project!

Dyed fleecewoven rug

And a closer look:

Dyed fleecewoven rug, close-up

Roving and fleecewoven rugs are in my opinion tedious projects.  I would not undertake one again but I would use unspun wools in smaller projects because the nubbly texture, particularly with fleeceweaving, is luscious.

Here is, for me, a happy compromise.  These are also a bit flimsy because they were woven on jack looms but they make nice scatter rugs that can be washed, shaken out, etc.  I don't mind using them on the floor- your can see the dog hair as I didn't even bother to shake them out before photographing.

Rugs handwoven with hand-spun yarn

 The close-ups:

These rugs were woven with some of the miles of yarn that I spun as a beginner.  Here and there I laid in short lengths of dyed roving or fleece.  These rugs wove up much faster and still had a nice texture.  Now that I have a Swedish loom with an overhead beater I need to weave up some more of them.  Come to think of it, I need to spin up more yarn to weave rugs with!

Pygora Update:

Everyone is settling in nicely.  The girls are getting downright goofy, racing around and leaping off rocks etc at times.  They are respectful of but quite curious about the dogs.  The buckling, who must be kept separate from the doelings because they're too young to be bred, got a buddy today.  I lured my meat goat wether into hip pen so everyone is happy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Fiber... On The Hoof!

My new herd sire... hard to believe this cute little guy will soon be a stinky billy goat!

 They’re here!

A truck and livestock trailer that had travelled a long long way rolled into my driveway today and we scooped up four little fiber babies. They are Pygora goats, six months in age, from Hawks Mountain Farm in Oregon. Pygora goats are a breed that combines the fiber length of Angora goats with the downy undercoat, stature, and temperment of Pygmy goats.

The doelings.  Don't you love those ears?

Pygora goats can have fiber ranging from soft kid-like mohair ringlets to cashmere; each goat ideally produces one type of fiber along this continuum. The fiber from Pygora goats remains soft as the goat ages. More information about the breed and fiber can be found here and here.

I have started my little Pygora herd with three doelings and one buckling. My intention is to have an easy-keeping herd of yard care experts traveling between our house and that of our neighbor (thus, the portable goat house), and to breed these goats when they are old enough.
Conferring about the new digs

Why did I purchase THESE Pygora goats and incur the cost of shipping them all the way across the U.S.?  Especially when it's so important to support local agriculture?  The easy answer is that there are few Pygora goats locally so I knew I would need to go some distance to buy.

But there's more to it...Hawks Mountain Ranch is another farm that has certified status in the USDA Voluntary Scrapie program. As long as I maintain my own certified status, any future kids sold here will be certified free of Scrapie as they leave the farm.   I've known about Lisa from Hawks Mountain Ranch for years and have been aware of her dedication the breed.  I wanted to support that dedication and have the best genetics possible for this little herd.
Oh what a fleece.

More to follow!  Please feel free to comment by clicking on the  comment link below.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting Ready...

We needed a portable shelter for the mystery critters.  Here is my husband Bill creating the shelter from a primitive sketch I had given him:

Starting on the frame

Starting on the uprights

Looks like a roof

Time to add siding

Looking great

Today I pulled it to its first location with my ATV; now all we need are the mystery animals!