Tag: wool

natural wool

I stumbled across the wonderful podcast Woolful by Ashley who is also going to built up a wool mill. There are some great people she speaks to designers – knitters – wool shearers – wool mill owners. It’s a beautifully composted kaleidoskope of interesting people. Take a look and see for yourself!

Her podcast reminded me of one goal I once set for myself – to work with natural fibers only. I have eliminated acrylics from my yarn list (except for some impulse bought sock yarns) because I simply don’t like the touch of them. After making the Takoma out of woolen tweed from Ireland, I realized how the quality of pure and less processed wool improves with each time you wear it. It becomes softer, dirt does not stick, it smells slightly sheepish and it’s so much warmer than any other fiber without making you sweat.

fuchs1

Ashley from Woolful brought up another important aspect – to scource the wool locally. This is a trend going on in many places right now, but wool very often gets processed elsewhere than the country of origin. There are some companies I know who source and produce their yarn in the US only, but being from Germany I want yarn from here and not ship it around the globe.

After some wild planning what it would need to make my own wool mill here on the property (yeah, that’s some crazy drive to get the kids from school), I looked up if there are already some places where I could buy locally processed german wool or process my own wool – if I found a sheperd from the area.

I have made the same search some years ago with disappointing results. There was so little out there it was a shame. Turns out things have changed! I suppose it’s the growing interest in local things and the support of our ever growing fiber community that made it possible for small businesses to arise in the fiber processing area.

fuchs2

So back to my search for finished wool: I found an estamblished sheep farm which is run by a small community of enthusiastic craftsman people.The Finkhof. The website is completely in german.

They run the farm since the 70s and it’s great to see a long term farm functioning this way. They focus on processing their own sheep (machine spun) which is a rare german breed called the “coburger fuchs”. Coburg is a town in Germany and fuchs means fox. The wool has small red fiber in it and has an overall slightly redish look – it’s so beautiful!

The demand for their wool products has increased so much in the past years, that they scource organic wool from other local farms, too, but mark which of their wool is from their own farm so nothing gets mixed up. I could resist and bought 400g of sport weight, 200g of the thick “coburger fuchs”and 100g thin sock yarn in grey. They have dyed yarn, too, and some other wools, but I was more interested in the “fuchs”.

finkwolle

On tuesday the wool arrived and at first I must say I was a little bit off because the wool is not super soft like alpaca or fine merino. But! Now that I’m knitting it, it get’s softer every time its moved around. Some scratchiness will remain, I’m sure of that, but you get used to that. My woolen Takoma has softened over time so much, I can wear it on my bare skin now.

So what am I actually knitting with this stuff? It’s the Seacoast sweater by Joji Locatelli published in Wool People 7 by Brooklyn Tweed. I’m very excited because my yarn is only slightly thinner than Brooklyn Tweeds yarn Shelter and it matches with my own gauge which is all that matters.

seacoast1 seacoast2

 

Selfish knitting

Sometimes knitting should be selfish, right? I cannot possibly explain why on earth I knitted 2 warm sweaters in the middle of summer and also TWO sweaters in a row just for me. Usually it’s work with a little hint of family knitting. I went overboard buying tons of yarn at Lanade, my favorite supplier of DROPS yarns (which I adore, they have absolutely every yarn weight and fiber combination at a resonable price). So next sweater is the first sweater I knit for my hubby. It’s a raglan, too, knit with DROPS Lima in dark petrol/blue 65% wool, 35% alpaca. I took the measurements from a very well fitting jacket he has and I hope it will fit well.

briocheraglan1

Half Brioche Raglan in Drops Loves You 3 50% wool, 50% alpaca. Incredibly soft and light.
The patterns is selfmade following the instructions on top down raglan from here: http://www.raglanvonoben.de (german)
For Brioche stitch look at my tutorial here.

 

reverb1

This is the Reverb by the wonderful Tanis Lavallee. The knitting process and the fit is a delight! I used 6 or 7 skeins of Drops alpaca.

 

Tour de fleece Day 11 – resting day

Day 11: rest day! At least considering spinning. I started my new project in terms of using up a lot of fabric – a large quilt for our large bed. It will be 2×2,50m when finished and therefore be the largest thing I’ve ever done!

I got 2 bags filled with fabric lately and in search of a place to put them I realized (again) there is no space for fabric anymore. Back when I was sewing medival style dresses between school and university I bought a lot of fabric in denser colors. A lot of dark greens and navy, but also a bolt of red. After someone at the Climbers TdF group said she always pairs colorful pieces with black in her quilts, I thought it would work with some of my darker fabrics, too, and of course with the red.

Also I cut squares of some of my precious fabrics ( you know the ones you hate to cut and the smaller the last piece gets, the smaller the pieces become you cut from it simply because you don’t want to use it up) and a whole bunch of former shirts and vintage pillow cushions.

I’m happy doing a some sewing again. My fabric stash is out of controll and in need of regulation 🙂

Tour de fleece Day 6-10

Day 6

Plied 439g of rug yarn.

Day 7

Fiber washing day. I spun only 2 small balls of chocolate yarn to match my chocolate mint yarn.

Day 8 happended a rainy birthday and the only spinning that happened was located in my mind and busy with damage control 🙂

Day 9

Perfect weather. Spinning on the balcony some handdyed green-blue-creamy roving.

Day 10

437g of singles

Tour de fleece 2012

I’m participating in the Tour de Fleece this year (June 30-July 22). My goal is to spin that 5 yellow bags of sheep (and cheap) fleece I bought back in 2004 from a local farm filled with enthusiasm and naivety that it would be that hard to make something really cool with it.

After washing a handfull wool I found out (back then):

1. Raw sheep fiber smells very strongly.

2. Sheep have quite a lot of lanolin.

3. I don’t like the touch and smell of that thing there in the bags.

My conclusion was some what repressing: I put the bags in my cellar for the next 8 years and had a bad conscience about it every time I saw the bags (which was not that often, I really stuffed them in the backmost corner).

But! This year my Tour de Fleece project is to finally give this poorly neglected fiber a purpose and spin it all. Yeah! All the 5 bags. I want to get at least 3 bags done. That’s one bag every week.After spinning that load of wool I want to crochet a rug with it.

Here is my progress so far:

Day 1: 550g singles in bulky weight.

Day 2: 128g fluffy merino in chocolate mint. The mint yarn is handdyed, the brown one is natural sheep color.

Day 3: My fleece is not dry yet so I had plenty of time to ply my singles. The yarn is 4 wpi now.