farm wool fiber club – closed

THANKS EVERYONE, THE CLUB IS NOW FULL FOR THIS ROUND.

About farm wool:
‘Farm wool’ is wool that is pretty dang close to the farm. That means that the money I spent on this wool goes to the farmer and small mill where it was processed. Farm wool also means that you may find a stray piece of vegetable matter (vm) or two in your wool ;) personally, I find that all the more charming. Like the Falkland, Farm wool, has not been through the chemical acid bath that commercially processed wool goes through. This wool should also be slightly softer and retain more character and lanolin than its commercial counterpart. I promise you that spinning farm wool will be totally different than commercial top!

corriedale and shetland farm wool

Why is this more expensive than the falkland club?
Farm wool costs more than commercially processed wool, but it has also had much more care in the preparing of it. Because farm wool is so fluffy and newly processed, it is more difficult to dye and often needs to be dyed in smaller batches and so it takes more time to dye.

How does the club work?

1) What you get.

Each subscription to the fiber club lasts 3 months (in this instance, April-June). You get 4 oz of farm wool in an exclusive cosymakes colorway, hand dyed by me with Greener Shades Professional Acid Dyes*.

this is sort of a mixed bag
4 oz – 80% targhee / 20% mohair
5 oz – over-dyed brown fine fleece
3 oz – long staple corridale

the first is from a farm in ohio who i’ve bought from before.  this is probably their last year, since they are moving on from farming and have gotten rid of their goats. the second is a fleece i fell in love with at the fleece sale at Maryland sheep and wool, and had processed. it will want to be spun thin, i think. the third is also from a fleece from maryland – and when i say long staple, i mean corries are often sheared twice a year and this one was only sheared once!

2) Sign up!

I am offering this club to my blog readers first because there are only a limited number of spaces. To sign up for the club email me at cosymakes (at) gmail (dot) com with the following information and Farm Wool Fiber Club as the subject

*name and address
*paypal email (for billing) and how you would like to pay – or alternately agree to pay with a check for the full 3 months
*if you’d like to be on the waiting list if you don’t get in this round (i will note on this post when the club is full! if it doesn’t say anything when you email me, you’re most likely in.)

3) Pay.

Pay up front (preferred): $69

Pay month by month: $23/month

International shipping by request

4) Spin!

Your fiber will be mailed USPS 1st class around the 20th of each month. If you have chosen the pay monthly option, expect the bill between the 10th and 15th. I will only mail your shipment if you have paid.

corriedale farm wool

*I dye using greener shades dyes. they are low impact heavy metal-free dyes. All but the teal meet the Organic Trade Association’s requirements for organic fiber processing.

mds&w

the first day, i bought 3 fleeces and dropped them off at zeilingers for processing. i’m thinking future farm wool fiber club for these – white finn, a giant fine, but nothing in particular fleece that went from silver to light tan, and a long staple corriedale that is off white.

the second day, i poked around at some farm booths for yarn to design with and came back with these beauties

Persimmon Tree Farm – Barnyard Yarn – 50% mohair/50% wool – giant 8 oz skein, 400 yds

50/50 wool/mohair

this stuff is beautiful and soft and fuzzy. she had several wool mohair blends and i bought this because it is the one that is made out of her flock of angora goats – the other was commercial. however, i was also impressed by how pretty the hand dyed stuff was, whether her flock or commercial.

50/50 mohair/wool

and my other yarn purchase was this lovely stuff

Corriedale and Corriedale cross woolen spun yarn from Solitude

woolen corriedale

oh my goodness, how i love what this company/farm is doing! breed specific yarns from many different breeds. i’m planning to try their shropshire baby yarn and icelandic at some point.

woolen corriedale

and then i got a bee in my bonnet to do a farm wool blend fiber club. i know a farm with goats that does wool/mohair blends in OH and  I managed to snag some angora/shetland blend from the rosefield. pondering, pondering!

other than buying stuff, i spent a good deal of time getting sun burnt, hanging out with good friends, and eating not so good for me food. BUT! the lion’s club was the best, coming through with the real ice cream and letting us fill our water bottles at their fountain drink dispenser.  the balance from saturday to sunday is huge at this show – saturday was hot, packed full of people, and crazy.  sunday was humid, leisurely, and much less intense.  needless to say, i needed monday to recuperate.

maryland, the land of rain and sun

maryland sheep and wool was great fun, although it does always give me a slight headache.  so many people!

mdsw

ate: cotton candy
watched: sheep to shawl – quick!  there’s no wikipedia entry on this!
found: a fabulous artsy knitter
conversed: with an older farm woman who wanted sheep smaller than suffolk because she was sick of getting butted by 300 lb rams. who can blame her? she was considering jacobs.
met: hobbledehoy liz by the out houses where there was no line ;)
splurged on: a bit of yarn from green mountain spinnery and a needle gauge i’ve wanted for a while.

mdsw

saw: the ravelry founders in the parking lot of my motel, along with this lady, and this one, and  this one i believe…  and a bunch more people i did not recognize, and what were they doing? i think maybe re-enacting michael jackson’s thriller. i kid you not.  i was in a car nearby and felt a bit like the uncool kid and a bit like a stalker.
bought: corriedale from my corriedale lady. her corriedale is so soft and fluffy. it makes me happy.
considering: a road trip to rhinebeck with the same group – my friend rachel and her mom.
lusted after: a knitting bowl.
took pictures of: sheep, sheep, and only sheep.

mdsw

spotted: amy from knitty and ysolda
said hi to: mia, paula, my friend maria from SOAR, and anne who met at tnna last year if you remember. and now i see her everywhere :) gotta love that.  she’s quite lovely and a fabulous designer.
missed: seeing mel, rachel-marie, and tara who were all there. next time!
lugged around: a freaking heavy gallon of eucalan that i was so pleased to find.
knit on: baby surprise jacket number one – three more to go!

mdsw

the specials

the farm wool has been rolling in lately and i’m hoping to start dyeing it soon.  along with my regular wools are some very special wools… for who else, but my mother-in law?

first, i got my usual batch from my friend cindy at dancing heart farm. white, grey and a bit of tan to over dye. i think one of the things that i like about cindy’s flock is that they seem softer to me than that of farms with larger shetland flocks. anyhow, the specialty fiber:

shetland neck wool

shetland neck wool

shetland neck wool

that is 4 oz of shetland neck wool from bruce the ram. neck wool is what traditional shetland shawls were made out of because it is soft and lovely.

next, i ordered some CVM from yellow creek cottage. i got some white and some grey to over dye here also, and then my mother-in-law ordered this for me to spin for her:

cvm/silk/angora

cvm/silk/angora

that would be cvm/silk/angora blend. yum! my goal for both of these is, although not lace weight, perhaps something close to fingering or sport? we’ll see how that turns out! and we’ll see when i get around to it…

p.s. if you want some for yourself, i recommend contacting the farms directly.

esther’s place

since it wasn’t too long ago since i was raving about farm wool, i thought it apt to jump into all the SOAR stuff with the market.

the marketplace at SOAR ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and was open to the public for much of that. while other people were in a mad rush to buy silk and other such pretty fibers, meghan tipped me off to a farm co-op in illinois that had a booth there.

esther's place

so, as you can probably imagine, i saved most of my money for that co-op.

farm wool!!

i bought several 4 oz. bundles of montadale top, some farm wool merino top, and some merino batts.  i’m excited about the montadale because i’ve never come across that breed before.  when it’s spun up, i’ll do a little wool review for you.  i’m hoping to do some dyeing tomorrow morning, so you may not have to wait that long.

there were many, many other things to drool over at the co-op booth besides fluffy white wool :) i’m not sure that other people get as excited about that as i do… so there were large multicolored layered batts, needle felting kits, yarn, and much more including some beautiful samples of work done with their wool. if you’re interested in buying from esther’s place, i recommend just giving them a call or an email.  my plan is to call them every once in a while to see what kind of wool they have in stock.  the first day of the market they also had some handspun hanging front and center.  that’s where i found this, my one splurge for the festival

natasha's handspun

honestly, i’m in love. there’s good chance that this will remain as a pet skein for a while since i’ve no plans for it. just looking at it makes me happy. it was spun by natasha, the founder of esther’s place and a former SOAR scholarship recipient herself. she’s a fabulous fiber artist and i was happy to have a piece of her artwork, even though she was skeptical about the red/orange and pink together :) this skein has corriedale wool and lincoln locks in it. her other work includes really gorgeous needle felting, wet felting, spinning, making batts and i’m sure every other fibery endeavor. the most amazing work done by her that i saw was a recently finished dress. here’s an article about how natasha and how esther’s place got started. natasha is now 21… she turned it at the festival.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATASHA and thanks for the good work with warm wool that you do.

farm wool

i’ve been wanting to write up an entry on farm wool for a while… and what better time than when i just get a box full in the mail? in The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, Clara Parkes recommends that we “Consider [farm yarns] the ‘whole grain’ versions of the highly refined white-bread yarns you’ll find in yarn stores.”  That said, they are lovely roughish wools good for outerwear and accessories.  Parkes also points out that most farm yarns are minimally processed, which proves better for everyone involved.  i bought these skeins off of craigslist, after looking at the photo and deciding that it wasn’t your normal every day yarn and guessing that it was probably farm wool. and no, i’m totally the dork who did not ask the person what kind of yarn it was!

farm wools

one small blue skein from Autumn House Farm, 4 skeins of this blue from Walnut Bottom Farm, and 5 skeins of the red from Bartlett Yarns, plus one skein of white and two of green, probably from one of these sources. it was a good haul for $3 a skein.  scrummy lofty, fluffy wools.

close-up

technically, the mulespun from bartlett is not a farm wool, but i would consider small spinneries wool very close in feeling to farm wool in more than just texture. small spinneries like bartlett and green mountain usually work directly with farmers to buy the fleeces that go into their yarns, giving them control over who they buy from and giving the farmers more money for their fleece. also similar to farm yarn, the yarns produced by small spinneries are low process and better for the environment and for us! either way, you’re getting right up and personal with the people who keep the sheep or the people who do the dyeing and spinning, and sometimes all three.

farm wool handspun

i also like to, when possible, buy my wool roving/fleeces directly from farms. when i lived in vancouver, there was one particular farm that dyed its own wool and sold through my wool shop.  i would pass up combed merino top any day to have some of their slightly rough and fun wool.  the wool shown on the left above is from the farm in bc, bought as dyed lambswool locks, hand carded by me and then spun.  the right skein – light blue wool – is from a different farm also around vancouver. i bought a bag of dyed straight off the sheep wool one year at fiberfest. i scoured, carded, and spun the wool and then plied with some of my hand dyed multi-colored corriedale.  another reason to love farm wool, unique local flair and supporting your actual neighbors!  connection.

firstish crocheting

my love of farmish wool goes back quite a ways. when i was a newish knitter still, my mother-in-law and i took a crochet class while i was visiting in alaska. they recommended some smooth acrylic to practice on, but i was having none of that. i chose this crazy blue roughish stuff (i’m thinking it’s philosopher’s wool?!?).  apparently i’ve always liked yarn with some texture to it… and that it can be a part of helping out farmers, the earth, and small companies while i’m at it is fabulous.

so questions.  have you ever tried farm wool?  did you like it?  where did it come from?  i’m fishing for your stories here.  it’s even okay if you hated it ;)

currently, the one i’m hankering to try is beaverslide dry goods.  even better that they’re from montana! my homeground.

baaaaa

cindy sent me this picture of her starter flock of shetland ewes!! aren’t they beautiful? look at all of the colors. when i met her, she said that she does a lot of colorwork with the natural colors of her flock.  at the bottom of the farm site (linked above) there a picture of a fair isle sweater that is just gorgeous.

starter flock

for a larger pic, click over to flickr and click the ‘all sizes’ button above the photo.