27 February 12

Back from the San Juans

Tip of Orcas Island from Ferry I spent last week on Orcas Island in Washington at a spinning retreat with Judith Mackenzie McCuin, one of the world’s most famous spinners. And certainly one of its best teachers.

Fine fiber spun samples What I learned, among other things:

1. Not to be afraid of qiviut.
2. That the reason I’ve had so much trouble with my cable plying is because I’ve spun the singles normally, which for me includes a lot of twist. Underspinning and overplying result in perfect cableplied yarn. When this involves bison, it’s a bit unicornish.
3. Almost any lichen will make a dye, not needing a mordant. Almost all the colors are like compost, though. For people with pink skin and white hair, this is a disappointment.
4. JMM and I share a bewilderment at the Canadian obsession with the Queen.
5. Angora bunny is held to have curative properties such as an ability to alleviate arthritis pain, and that it’s REALLY warm. I don’t think it’s as warm as qiviut, though.
6. Spinning flax with spittle is better at breaking down pectins than spinning it with straight water. Break them down further by boiling in Tide.
7. To spin semi-woolen. OMG. The possibilities.
8. That bald eagle courtship happens in late February in the San Juan Islands.
9. That spinning cotton straight from the seed isn’t just possible, it’s easy, no super-fast flyer required. I’m going to try and get all kinds of cotton bolls from now on. We’re planting cotton later this spring at Farm 2.6. Cotton grows in many natural colors.
10. Cross-plying pygora onto reclaimed cashmere yields a yarn of unimaginable luxury and makes the pygora go oh so much further. Pygora, a cross between African pygmy goats and angora goats (the cashmere ones), is the world’s newest fiber animal.
11. One load of laundry from a week’s worth of exotic fiber spinning will yield enough dingleberries for a large tweed sweater.

Posted by at 07:52 AM in Fiber Arts | Link |
  1. Just looked up qiviut, and then muskox – wow. wow.

    Jean    27. February 2012, 10:55    Link
  2. Thanks, Jean. I was lucky enough to have been given a good amount of qiviut by someone who can’t spin any more. It wasn’t de-haired, I did that myself before the workshop-but it’s amazing high quality stuff. Happy me.

    Pica    27. February 2012, 10:59    Link
  3. What fun to stumble through this arcana, making up meanings as I went along! Like reading Tolkien for the first time :-)

    Dale Favier    27. February 2012, 11:09    Link
  4. Oh my goodness, you must have had the most incredible time. I’m trying not to succumb to hideous jealousy…

    Lisa    28. February 2012, 19:52    Link
  5. It’s just so cool that you’re doing this. I especially like #11!

    beth    3. March 2012, 10:02    Link

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