1 September 10

My New Buddy

Wensleydale sheep On Sunday we went up to Placerville to visit the studio of dyer and spinner extraordinaire, Lisa Souza. We took two knitters with us — one a friend from Davis, another a knitter from Baltimore we sort of adopted since she was working in Sacramento for a month. Numenius went for a bike ride while Laura, Cami and I got lost in some serious yarn for a while.

Electra zen fiber -- Lisa Souza I had asked Lisa to dye me some fiber in her “Electra” colorway. The fiber is 50% merino, 25% silk, 25% bamboo, and it drapes in the most gorgeous way. Because 75% of the fibers are animal protein but silk and merino take dye at different rates, and because bamboo won’t take acid dye at all, the effect is shimmery and magical.

As I was paying for this, I noticed a dark blue-green bump of fiber in her dyeing studio. It’s Wensleydale. I shuddered and put it down — too scary. I’ve heard dozens of stories of people—good spinners—turning this super-long stapled wool into piano wire. Lisa looked at me and laughed. “It’s because they don’t listen to me,” she said. “You have to spin really low-twist and let it go, let it go, let it go.”

Wensleydale singles Let it blossom, let it snow. I have a new best friend. Two days later, I’ve finished spinning the undyed fiber she gave me to practice with and am halfway through the blue-green.

The photo of the Wensleydale sheep, above, is taken by the super-talented Birdwoman of the Birdwoman Knits blog, and I’m grateful to have such a splendid creature gracing the walls of Feathers of Hope. That’s a 10-11” staple, folks.

Posted by at 01:54 PM in Spinning | Link |
  1. I met one of these fab Wensleydale sheep recently, as I think I mentioned to you in another conversation – the darker brown version. Photo here: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/Jean.Gini/CityFarm#5504636969035171154 The sheep I met lives at Vauxhall City Farm in London, which also has a group of spinners and dyers who make very happy use of the fleece.

    Jean    2. September 2010, 07:14    Link
  2. Thank you Jean! Yes, I remember your visit to the sheep. They’re something else.

    Pica    3. September 2010, 14:56    Link

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