Sheep keds, belly wool, and how much fleece do you need for a sweater again?

Sheep keds, belly wool, and how much fleece do you need for a sweater again?

I love the Estes Park Wool Festival. To be fair, I haven't been to any other wool festival except Taos, but one thing especially draws me back to Estes every year.

The fleece and fiber judging.

Oh sure, I love the rest of it, but being able to learn so much from the fleece judge is such a treat. This year's judge was Amy Wolf. I suspect she hears a lot of jokes about her name being Wolf, but she definitely knows her sheep! She raises sheep herself, is a shearer, and a handspinner. So she can comment about the producer side of the fleeces as well as what is attractive to handspinners. Her advice about how to prepare and spin different kinds of fleece and deal with problem fleeces was invaluable. And as you may be able to tell from the photo below, she has a great sense of humor as well as a huge desire to help people understand these animals and their fleece.

Today was the white fleece judging.

On sheep street.

On sheep street.

I love learning about sheep and fleece. The heart of the matter is the material. The art I make starts with wool. Wool doesn't come in just merino. It comes in a fantastic variety of characteristics grown by a large number of sheep breeds.**

As tapestry weavers, many of us are used to just purchasing whatever "tapestry yarn" is available and leaving it at that. I think we can and should look a little more closely at the materials we use. After learning the techniques to weave tapestry, it is important to start thinking about how different materials contribute to the final piece of art.

That Sunday night stabby feeling

That Sunday night stabby feeling

For several years I've noticed that Sunday evenings feel a little rough. I get crabby and tend to react more negatively to those I love. I have a general stabby feeling that spinning or weaving doesn't soothe.

Sunday evening comes before Monday and Monday morning can be the rockiest bit of my work week.

Then again, it is really all in my perspective.

The past week presented some challenges, at least one of which was significantly daunting.

Need a great summer read? Try Hidden Tapestry

I just finished reading Debra Dean's new book, Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, his two wives, and the war that made them one. I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and the story is far-ranging. It is a biography of Jan Yoor, an artist from Belgium who spent much of his youth with the gypsies and was part of the resistance during World War II. He survived the war, married his childhood sweetheart Annabert, and eventually added her friend Marianne as a second wife to their family. The Yoors moved to America eventually and ran a tapestry studio in Manhattan. Jan designed the work and the women wove it.

Bobbins: a picture dictionary

Bobbins: a picture dictionary

It has come to my attention that the word bobbin in the world of fiber can be confusing. There are a lot of particular products that are called "bobbins". If you're new to the world of fiber, that can be a bit of a stumbling block. 

This post contains photos of the fiber things that are most likely being referred to. You'll be able to make an educated guess if you know whether the speaker is discussing a tapestry, fabric weaving, sewing, or spinning project. All of them are things that hold yarn in some form or another.