Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mystery Fiber Revealed

There were a lot of really good guesses to my "guess the mystery fiber" question. Nobody got it, but I have to confess that I wouldn't have either. The source of the fiber is ....

This is Baby, one of my goats. She is a Boer/Nubian cross. Boers are raised as meat goats, while Nubians are dairy. Spinners know that goat fiber comes from angoras, pygoras (angora/pygmy cross), or cashmere goats. But a goat like Baby???

Here's what I discovered about Baby.

Earlier this month she started growing a down coat. Neither of my pure blooded Nubians are growing one, so I'm guessing this is the Boer genes in her. This was the mystery fiber, which I hand plucked, just a little bit because I was so curious about it. She didn't have it when I first got her last May, so I'm guessing she'll shed it sometime in the spring. I will have to try to comb it out then and spin it. I'm very curious about what kind of yarn it will make!

Thanks for guessing!

Mystery Fiber Revealed © 31 October 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mystery Fiber

Can you identify this mystery fiber?

HINT: It's not from any breed of sheep.

Give up? The answer is here.

Mystery Fiber  © 28 October 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I've Actually Finished Something

Can you believe it? I've actually finished something. Is anyone going to faint from the shear amazement of it all?

This is a knitted afghan for the Linus Project, a failed stash reduction attempt, but a nice way to keep my finger in the creative pie. I started it last March, set it aside during the hot summer months, and was motivated to get it done before our October Guild meeting. Project Linus is my Guild's community service project, and is dear to the heart of several members.

It is knit in garter stitch, from side to side, changing colors rather randomly. This enabled me to just leave the ends dangling at the ends of the rows, and later come back and use them as part of the fringe.

I later found out that Project Linus really doesn't care for fringe as a finished edge, so I cut the fringes really short, in hopes it would be okay. If I'd had to otherwise finish the edge, it still wouldn't be done!

Hopefully things will settle down around here this winter and I'll have more time for knitting and weaving. Thanks to everyone who visits in spite of my sorry blog content. It's part of what keeps me going.

I've Actually Finished Something photos and text are © 14 October 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Blue Ridge Fiber Show 2010

The official opening of the Blue Ridge Fiber Show was last Tuesday. I was on hand, with my camera, and wanted to share a few shots with you.

The show is being held in the Gallery of the Educational Center at the North Carolina Arboretum.

There was a really good turn out for this event.

With about 170 entries, I wasn't able to get photos of it all, nor take very good notes about the shots I did get.

Photos of the individual pieces as well as the prize winners, will be posted on the BRFS website in the near future.

The pieces were fantastic, as you can see. The show was hung by a member of the Arboretum staff and Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild members.

The educational component of the show features spinning by one of the Guild's study groups, The Blue Ridge Spinners.

Spinners always attract interested folks.

The other thing being featured, is weaving demonstrations on an old barn loom.

This loom has been fully repaired and restored by the gentleman on the right, weaver and WNCF/HG member Mikkel Hansen.

A few more shots of the entries.

Some of the prize winners. I wasn't able to get individual shots of these, unfortunately.

I did get photos of entries by fellow bloggers though. The ones I knew about at least! The book in the back left of this display is by Alice Schlein.

This is the back of the book (best shot I could get). It's actually a collaborative piece between Alice and Barbara Walker combining Jacquard weaving with ply-split braiding and book binding. It won Honorable Mention in one of the professional categories.

Another Jacquard entry by Alice, entitled "Hosta Mutabilis."

Another winner was by blogger Tien Chiu, (middle).

It's entitled "Eternal Love Wedding Ensemble." She won second place in the amateur constructed clothing division.

Blogger Sandra Rude entered two Jacquard pieces. The first is shown above and as an individual shot below.

"Oak at Sunrise"

Sandra's second entry, "Sunflower" ...

There was also an opening reception, for which my photos didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped.

The show runs through the end of November.  If you are in the western Carolina or eastern Tennessee area, plan to stop by!

Blue Ridge Fiber Show 2010, text and photos, © October 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Behind the Scenes: BRFS Judging

We're in the final countdown to the opening of the Blue Ridge Fiber ShowThe Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild BRFS committee has worked hard for two years to make this happen. As Guild president, I had the opportunity to preview the entries and get a behind the scenes peek at judging.

The 2011 show is being held at the North Carolina Arboretum. It will hang in the gallery of their Education Center from October 2 through November 28. This venue offers participants a much wider audience than in the past and we are delighted with this partnership with the Arboretum. Judging for the show took place in the Education Center library.

This year we have three outstanding judges: (from left) Tina Feir for handspinning; Lisa Klakulak for felting, and Daryl Lancaster for weaving.

They collaborated on quite a few awards, and it was so interesting to hear their discussions on several of the pieces.

Judging for handspinning and felting reflects the first expansion of the Show since its conception.  Prior to 2011, it was known as the Blue Ridge Handweaving Show, and focused solely on weaving.  This year the name was changed to the Blue Ridge Fiber Show, reflecting the commitment to include a broader range of fiber arts.

WNCF/HG members from the Guild's Fiber Show committee, were on hand to help as needed. Volunteers for judging included BRFS committee chair Amy Putansu, Charlene St. John, Jean McGrew, Betty Blackerby, Vicki Henson, and Susan Vezina.

The prize winning pieces were then taken to be photographed by Larry Crabtree. Guild members on hand to help with photography were Nancy Crabtree, Mary NicholsEileen Hallman, Sharon Horne, Lynda Feldman, and Bonnie Kelly.

If you're going to be in the Asheville area on Tuesday, October 5, do come to the show's opening reception. It will be held from 2 to 5 at the Education Center. That particular Tuesday is the Arboretum's free day, so it would be a great day to visit the many gardens there as well. I will be there, so please come introduce yourself.  I'd love to meet some of my readers!

If you can't make it for the opening, do come by another day. The Guild will be holding weaving, spinning, and felting demonstrations at the Arboretum for the duration of the show.

If you can't visit at all, the Blue Ridge Fiber Show website will have photos and more information soon.

If you entered something, let me know and I'll be sure to get a photo or two of your piece(s) at the opening reception. I'll be happy to email them to you and post them on my blog as well.

Behind the Scenes: BRFS Judging © September 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Guild Retreat

The Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild had its annual guild retreat today. The turnout wasn't large, but that only seemed to make the event all the more cozy and intimate.

It was a rainy, gloomy day,

but that didn't dampen anyones spirits for kool aide dyeing.

Did you know that the different drink mix brands create different hues?  For example, a green mix in four different brands will give you four different kinds of green.

Two looms were set up for working on baby blankets for Project Linus.

The spinning circle offered a time to visit and chat.

That's my Kromski Minstrel in the lower left corner.  I actually made some progress on my pol-paca! I can't believe I first blogged about it almost two years ago. Most of the yarn I've already spun is still packed away from our move.

Teena joined the circle while working on heddle making.

Walt brought his work with him, one of his custom benches with woven seat. You can see another one here.

The other fun thing we did was to weave our name draft.

Several looms were threaded in an overshot name draft with our Guild's name, Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild.

We learned how to draft our own names for the treadling.

I was familiar with the concept, but had never actually woven a name draft before.  Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a shaft number.  We learned how to add shaft numbers in between duplicates.  For example, with my first name (above top), the L, I, G, and H are all assigned to shaft 2.  By adding shaft number 3 between adjacent 2s, I had a weavable draft.

Neighboring shaft numbers were circled in pairs, and the pairs counted to determine the treadling sequence.  Since it is overshot, tabbies were thrown in between each pattern weft. My treadling, without the tabbies, was:

1 - 2, x 2 (shafts 1 and 2 lifted twice)
2 - 3, x 4
1 - 2, x 1
1 - 4, x 1
3 - 4, x 1
2 - 3, x 4
3 - 4, x 5
1 - 4, x 3
reverse (I did add one shot of 1 - 2 here, to avoid the 1 - 4 being treadled 6 times).

Here's my name treadled forward and reverse on the Guild name threading.  As you can see, I chose a space dyed yarn.

Here's a close-up.  It's been almost a year and a half since I've woven anything. When I sat down at the loom I wondered if I'd even remember how!  But it was as though I'd never taken a break.

We really had a lot of fun.

Guild Retreat © September 2010 by Leigh at Leigh's Fiber Journal