After trying out a friend’s spinning wheel, I was addicted to the soothing, rhythmic feel of spinning. My first spinning wheel was a 13th birthday gift from my parents two years ago. A dear friend helped me to put my wheel together, supplied me with my first fiber and tought me how to spin fiber into yarn. She is my spinning partner and I go to her with any questions related to fiber, which are quite frequent.  Once I start spinning, it’s hard to stop. The calming motion puts me into a spinning trance as in one motion my feet treadle which spins the wheel which twists the fiber as my fingers guide the twist up wool that my other hand has prepared. And of course I love the end result of a beautiful imperfect skein of yarn, every inch spun by you and your wheel. It makes the knitting of the yarn ten times more special too.

Allow me to introduce you to my industrious wheels.

Mrs. Louet S10:  DSCF7882

And Miss Ashford Kiwi:DSCF7896

Here is my first bumpy lumpy skein of hand spun yarn. ( I have a practice skein too, but I’m not showing you that one 🙂

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It was turned in to a birthday cowl for my mama’s  birthday in March. This pattern is called the Ridged Lace Cowl.

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My second skein was 4 oz. of  a cantaloupe colored merino, tussah silk, bamboo blend. That is now a Reverse Rice Stitch Cowl and Saving Grace Headband set for me. I’m wearing it in the above picture

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My interest right now is going all the way from sheep to garment. As you know, we have plenty of fleeces from Arcadia Farm’s herd of sheep. One of my winter projects was dying some of the wool from Pippi Longstocking, a Tunis Dorset cross sheep in our herd and the first animal  that was born on our farm when we moved here.

DSCF8978 I dyed it with Black Tea. I got inspiration and instructions from various sites online including Pumpkin Spins and That Yarn Store and of course my spinning friend, Angie whose beautiful hand spun yarn is available from her Etsy shop, Good Ground Farm Fiber.

First I soaked the clean, carded wool in soapy water.

DSCF7858 Then I made a very strong big pot of plain black tea. DSCF7867When it looked dark enough I removed the tea bags and put the wool into the warm tea.DSCF7871The end result was a lot lighter in color than I had expected, but still a pretty creamy light brown.DSCF7877Here’s what it looks like now, spun and waiting to be plied. ( Plying is where you spin multiple strands of spun fiber together to create a stonger, thicker yarn.)DSCF0351 DSCF0350

This is my first year participating in the Tour De Fleece. The Tour De Fleece is through Ravelry which is an online knitting, spinning, crocheting, and felting community with millions of patterns, ideas and fiber loving people. June 29th through July 21 team members of the Tour De Fleece spin along with the Tour De France bike race. We have different themes for each week and a forum where we post our spinning progress. The main goals are just to get motivated to spin, to try and spin every day, to get ideas, to try new things and to have fun. I’m a  member of Team Mosaic, a Wildcard team off of the main Tour De Fleece on Ravelry. Mosaic is a lovely yarn store in Roanoke and Blacksburg. It makes you happy when you walk in to the friendly atmosphere of sweet people and yummy yarn, patterns etc. Mosaic Maniacs is their group on Ravelry and that’s where we post our progress. If you are a fiber person, you should definitely check out Ravelry and the Tour De Fleece, the Mosaic Yarn Shop and I’d love to hear from you if you are visiting Ravelry. I’m known as Nubianmilker on Ravelry.

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I’m excited to keep you updated on the Tour De Fleece in upcoming posts.

Here are some summer pictures of farm and family and friends at a recent Arcadia Farm potluck.

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Happy July!

This entry was posted by sophiemoeckel.

10 thoughts on “Fiber

  1. NUBIAMIlKER! Love the alias. So amazing the process you go through to turn wool into yarn..serious patience needed. Well you are very talented to be able to produce such wonderful things out of a ball of wool. Once again the pictures made me feel on the grounds of Arcadia farm. Signing off gringobikerunner!

  2. Cool! Beautiful work. You brought back fond memories…I used lichen and chestnuts to dye my wool. I also spun the wool without a wheel, so it was quite uneven – but then I wove a tapestry on a handmade loom. I remember using bits of unspun wool for clouds. Love your blog Sophie 🙂 Say hello to your parents and Ola and William for me.


    • Did you use a drop spindle? The tapestry sounds beautiful. I’d love to learn more about dying with natural dyes. What colors do lichen and chestnuts produce!
      Thank you so much!

      • I did use a drop spindle. The lichens gave a pretty pale greenish blue and the chestnuts various shades of browns. I also loved you in all the wool! I can remember the fragrance of washing the sheared wool and the feel on my hands. Excellent for those dry Wisconsin winters!

  3. I loved this entry, Sophie, and I’m not even a spinner or yarn person. It was so beautifully written and I forwarded it to another one of my fleece-loving friends. As always, the pictures are great. Sorry we missed your cookout.

  4. Beautiful work, great blog. You have inspired me to add more pictures to my blog again. I am spinning left footed now as I broke my right ankle, but it is worth the effort. I am Karen’s friend- I’ve met you a few times and love your enthusiasm.

    • Ouch! I hope your ankle feels better soon.
      I love your beautiful website and blog. Pretty sheep!
      Thanks for the comment. Are you on Ravelry?

  5. Sophie, I love the new look for your blog! You are such a great writer. I am having fun getting caught up on your blog and reading your July posts. I love your pictures too, and I love how you describe spinning.

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