I knew my time would be limited for Spinzilla, but with the last minute addition of the Schafer Meadows event, my days were spent prepping for that rather than spin, spin, spinning away. It was still a treat to attempt some goals, with added motivation.
If you're looking for a way to learn several heritage skills that engage your mind and offer beautiful results, the Schafer Meadows Fiber Arts Festival is just the event to attend. So many willing hearts and hands eager to guide and teach a number of skills to adults and children alike.
'Lil Miss' created a beautiful pot holder while learning basic quilting; was thrilled to make her own mini shawl on a triangle loom; created a background for a future Glorious Beginnings sign with the wet felting class; took home her own mini back strap loom, and practiced her needle felting too!
She didn't participate in all the offerings either, there were paper crafting classes, blending boards for practicing, spinners available for help and support, other needle felting projects, several types of weaving set-ups...it's just a treat! All supplies were provided free of charge and the classes were staged multiple times through the duration of the event. This is the way gatherings should be!
Spinzilla 2014 Is On!
At 12:01 this morning Spinzilla officially began!
What? You didn't know?
It was completely new to me, this year...but about a month ago, I ended up on their site, from some 'spinning' internet clicking, and I knew I could use something just like this to motivate myself...
What is it?
Spinzilla is a world-wide contest, involving spinners of every level, focusing on spending a full week dedicated to committing as many minutes and hours to practicing and developing their spinning skills as possible! There are certainly prizes and great opportunities for fiber deals, but as I am currently swimming in fiber, and I'm more inclined to focus on challenging myself; my biggest motivation is working through my mounds of fiber and still creating enough Trickle Creek Homespun yarns and Creative Batts for others!
I don't anticipate winning any awards for amounts spun, but I have set some personal goals for developing my skills in various areas....
One of the things important to complete before winter is cleaning and storing your wool. The first steps for wool processing are shearing it from the animal and once it's off, skirting or removing the filthiest parts of the wool from what you'll retain. This year we have over 20 lbs of alpaca fiber most from a friend that has asked us to clean, spin and knit/crochet into gifts for her family. Fiber prep from animals that enjoy rolling in the dirt and rustling through bushes can be a lengthy task and our first step is to remove as much of that dust, dirt, vegetation and second cuts (those shorter pieces that are accidentally cut twice and too short to use) from the fiber before we wash it.
For several who have been asking about our fiber availability and yearning for their very own angora rabbit, it's time to get excited! We have just confirmed an exclusive event for you to harvest your own bushel of fiber fantasy supplies for your fall and winter projects.
For those not spinning yet, it's not just fabulous fiber, it's natural soaps, it's luscious yarns, it's custom chainsaw carvings, it's beautiful angora rabbits, it's amazing clay creations, it's fun felting kits and SO MUCH MORE!
It's a Harvest of Handcrafts from several happy vendors sharing their talents and time with those attending from Noon to 5 pm on Sunday, October 26, this year!
We're prepping to demonstrate our spinning and share Angora rabbits again, at the August 1st Orting Farmer's Market, this Friday! We want to be sure to have our examples of what a few colorful batts can create, in various weights. The market begins at 3:00 pm, but we are asked to come at 4:00 pm, to find the perfect spot after vendors have settled in. We stay until closing at 7:00 and enjoy every minute we share! Please join us to see how we harvest fiber from our animals, dye with kitchen items, card fiber, spin and create with it~ it's Wooler to Wearable!
What it takes and what it makes...
We have been asked what quantity of yarn our fiber batts will make. My common response is that it depends on the thickness of your yarn and weight of your batt, and whether you are making a single or plied yarn. To further clarify, we thought it best to share a specific example.
We have been busy with several activities in our area meeting, greeting sharing and teaching eager ~new and old~ fiber (and rabbit) lovers. At our booths, quite a few ask us questions on the ins and outs of rearing fiber animals, their feeds, as well as the many and varied ways of working with their glorious fluff! Several are so eager to glean they ask to tour our homestead and get ideas for their own fiber pursuits. We love encouraging and supporting families in these endeavors and this is precisely why we take time to keep our humble website and work to be involved in several public venues...
Often when we participate in local events, children and adults alike are surprised at seeing our children spinning away on a wheel. Children have commented, 'She can't do that!' or 'Kids can do it too?' or 'But she's a little kid!'; while the parents point and say - 'Look at him, he's making string - or is it yarn?' and 'Wow, look at what she's doing!'.
As we're harvesting more wools and having the short heat wave I thought to capitalize on the quick drying time and dye up some angora fiber, fine sheep wools and over dye some yarn! Over dyeing simply means your covering up the old dyes with another color you prefer. The deep purple and charcoal blend hand spun yarn used to be a washed red that I did a while ago. I really like how the purple took to the fiber.
I draped a bit of the violet dyed Angora that is showing more of a blue in that batch. That bright green and yellow is German Angora as well. I actually over dyed a black wool so you will see traces of that black as it is combed out.
You can see some more angora done in salmon and teal on the fine sheep's wool - but I also dyed some angora with the residual teal in the dye bath... Don't worry a bit about how it all looks rather clumpy while hanging. It did not felt. It spreads readily with a little work of the hands, it's just easier to dry with what I have and I keep spreading it and turning it to keep it drying on all sides.
I took what used to be a charcoal and white blend wool yarn and turned it into 'Forest Moss'...It's harder to see the variation in the green tones, but I LOVE it. You can also see that the bluish angora actually does have some lilac in it on this side of the rack.
This was a pleasant, productive activity during the early summer heat and I really enjoy the bright colors hanging in the house. It brings a smile to my face and is a unique way of bringing in the colors of spring grasses, flowers and blue skies...
Have you considered a project with your fibers lately?
How do you think you'd use these fibers and colors in a project?
What colors do you have yet to try?
Feel free to share your creative ideas!
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands Proverbs 31: 13
We had our first booth at the Lattin's Country Cider Mill, nestled between the beautiful forests of Rainier and Olympia, Washington. A sweet gal we'd met at the Shepherd's Extravaganza thought it would be a fun vending opportunity and they were happy to have us. We had been there for a short visit years ago but the children were a bit too young to remember it.
The weather predicted was rain - surprise! - so we prayed for the Lord's work. We were anticipating a great time, enjoying a 'mini-vacation' to a unique destination (substantially more feasible when you have animals to care for), meeting new people, sharing our products and perhaps paying for our 'vacation'! How many other families get to do that?!
Dad learned the night before he wouldn't be able to be there to help us set up or participate in anything except possibly take down. This threw a wrench in our plans but we knew we could meet the challenge.
The children really pitch in well together for events and it was the same with this one - except that we needed 'mini-Dad's' to do some extra, and they sure did!
We missed a few key steps - left with only one table and the table cover quilts that were thought to be loaded, but the folks at Lattin's were kind enough to share an extra table and we used our extra front drape sheet as the entire table cover - it made a bold statement, as you see in the first photo.
There are quite a few local people that make Lattin's their common stopping point for delicious apple fritters and award winning apple cider. Including the Fed Ex and UPS drivers that stopped in and left quickly with their full white bakery bags. They aren't wrong. I've never had the joy of reliving my Great Grandma's home made donuts until I tried the apple cake donuts here. Oh, the sweet memories!!
I really should have taken some pictures, but to be honest, they disappeared quite quickly and we were so busy savoring every morsel, we just didn't think about it! Oh, and the warm apple cider kept us from the bit of chill making it's way through, but praise the Lord, no rain!
Lattin's also has a number of cute critters that share the farm and they even offer a little walk through petting zoo for just $2 per person. Ducklings, chicks and baby goats were just a few available to snuggle. There are pigs and sheep and goats that you can feed and watch gallivant around...and there were at least two families taking advantage of their birthday party packages that include free use of the giant tricycles - FUN!
Dad met us at nearly the end of the day and had a chance to chat with an owner of the mill. She shared a bit of their personal struggle to keep the historic place going and the challenges with the rising fuel costs for delivery of those higher priced apples. It's another sad example of a small business losing the battle with the sagging economy. It made me consider, all the more, the choices we make when and where we purchase....
All in all, Lattin's Country Cider Mill was a beautiful stop for us. Although many of the visitors of the day seemed to have one track minds - FRITTERS! - we were able to bring a few smiles as they stopped to watch us spin or picked up a few of Lil Miss's cards or Mini Farmer's soaps.
Did our vending booth pay for our trip? No. But we had a great little adventure that got us out to support a struggling local business; we met some fine folks and learned a bit better to make those lists and check them several times BEFORE we leave!
We may have an opportunity to visit again during their Famous Cider Days at the start of apple picking season in September. If you're looking for a fun place to stop or a fantastic bakery to visit, you won't be disappointed with Lattin's.
As we drove home through the winding roads, flanked by beautiful green tall firs, we thanked the Lord for our beautiful day, savored the richness of his glorious creation and smiled at the rains we finally met after a day of outdoor fun.
I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: Job 5: 8-10
The Spring Fair was a great opportunity to reach out to new friends and old. Several of our past clients were thrilled to see us again - Especially remembering the children and noting how much they had grown...What a blessing!
You can see that our eldest son (Tech) has his new section for his start in chainsaw carving and he created and set up our 'commercial' for all to see. Our 'Lil Farmer loves to share his appreciation of creation with his photography cards, makes natural soaps and he custom creates crocheted items you see hanging amongst his found vintage items he likes to fix up and remarket as well. Lil Miss had her hand poured candles scented with essential oils and her natural soaps as well. She also knits and crochets and makes bubbling bath salts that coordinate with her soap!
Everyone took turns spinning (except Dad) and helped to answer questions about our angora fiber and fine fiber batts that Mom had made. Additionally, we spoke with several families interested in raising their own angora rabbits, organic herbs and produce and the fun of 'homestead life'.
We are so very thankful for the opportunity and pleased to rekindle and start new friendships with other fiber enthusiasts.
We are having a blast at the Shepherd's Extravaganza in the Washington Spring Fair!
We have met many kindred families and folks encouraged by all the amazing skills on display at each of the colorful booths. The fiber supply and used & new fiber industry items are plentiful and quite the 'eye-candy'.
Every year these gents and gals work hard to put together a fantastic fiber event and they have done more every year. Our last vending presence was FOUR years ago - what growth has continued since then!
You should see the tables and displays of quality used items too. Another vendor found & snagged a set of wool combs for just $20! The same price got another gal a 3 bobbin lazy kate! (In the busy-ness of set up and excitement of chatting with old friends and new - I missed both deals...but what a score for these ladies.) There were several full size and table looms and a couple of spinning wheels, a drum carder, hand carders and even more accessories for weaving and spinning. Just across from these items are several tables of demonstrators using all of these tools and more. We were happy to see and learn from a gal demonstrating Tunisian Crochet. This has been a 'new' (for us) method of crochet we've been recently enjoying.
We doubled the size of our booth this year and it has made room for our Eldest son's chainsaw carvings - a new addition! Our younger children have offered their custom crocheted and knitted accessories plus their all natural, essential oil scented soaps and our daughter's hand poured, naturally scented candles! Our son has his photography on display with his hand made cards that offer a 'Taste of Trickle Creek' as 'Vintage Texts'!
We're so thankful for our wonderful patrons and visitors and if you are taking a look at our website for the first time - know we appreciate you and were pleased to meet you!
If you are looking for anything that has to do with hand spun yarn, fibers or the accoutrements to create it or perhaps you just love to learn by demonstration...you can't miss this event!
It takes a special person to keep it all humming, vendors happy and the 'J' barn appealing to visitors - this year we have Linda of Sunset Fibers to thank. She has also volunteered to share her great pleasure in the quality of our angora fiber. She was the first person to share with us, years ago, that she could - only with our fibers- finally spin up and enjoy angora again. For too many years the fiber had irritated her so much, she couldn't use it! The special care taken in our rabbits' diet and lifestyle make a difference in the quality and even lessen the allergic reactions - Linda's happy to tell you! Feel free to ask when you check out her beautiful fiber options.
Here's a picture of our humble booth from our very first public event Four years ago....Look for the new booth pics...soon!
This is our journey.