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Battle of the Bobbins: Sage Ridge Mill & Critters vs. Spin Artiste plus Wol en Zo Textielwerk Giveaway Winner!

by The SpinArtiste on May 18, 2014

Oh, it has been awhile since we’ve had a Battle of the Bobbins!  But, “BOB” as I like to call it is back with a vengeance this week.  In one corner, we have my friend, Linda Kernstock, the master mind behind Sage Ridge Mill & Critters.   And, then, in the other corner, we have me, Arlene Thayer.  A couple of months ago during the what seemed like the worst part of the winter, we sent each other packages of fiber.  There aren’t really any rules or requirements when it comes to these packages.  And, there aren’t any rules as to what is done with the fiber.  So having said that, both of us were surprised when we opened the packages and a little stumped.  I’m going to let Linda describe and show her process and result first and then you will see what happened with me.

Take it away, Linda!

ART's stuff for Linda“My first time….. truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect. In hindsight, I should have gone to Arlene’s website to see more fully and read other bobbin to bobbin excerpts, but I didn’t. I just thought, “I’ll wing it, cause that will be fun!”

So, I packaged up some fiber for Arlene, all alpaca and I waited for my package from Arlene to arrive. When it did, I emailed and asked if I could open it, she said yes, so I did.

Wow! Was I shocked! I am not a fan of orange or purple or artificial flowers or dyed things or silk for that matter! So I felt very, very overwhelmed and unsure of what I was supposed to do. My favorite in the pile was the grey roving and gold rick-rack!

Could I see Arlene’s “theme” in this package?? Well, I think so. I decided it was leftover dingy snow (the grey roving and black thread) with spring pushing through (all the rest of her colorful package!!)

Now…. What to do with all this color?

First I did the grey roving and plyed it back on the black thread. This was probably the easiest part for me because it was the fibers that I liked the most! It sat at that point for quite sometime in my living room, waiting to see what I would do with the rest.

Fiber on the carder 2While debating, I was also struggling with what I would do with all of this yarn when I had it done. I thought about doing wine bottle cozies for the colored bottles in my living room window. I debated about making a hat. I really struggled with this.

I finally settled on muting all this color down with some light fawn alpaca fiber and hopefully in the process creating enough yarn to make one of my triangle shawls that I love so much!

So, my next step was to go out and dust off my hand drum carder!

I cranked and I cranked and I mixed the purple with fawn alpaca, I mixed the orange with fawn alpaca, I mixed the reddish color with fawn alpaca and I mixed the blueish color with fawn alpaca. I had now had lots and lots of rologs. Gosh, I haven’t spun from rologs since I first learned to spin years ago! What fun!

Linda's rolags

As I was blending and mixing, I noted that the bright yellow locks were pretty long. I like to tailspin, but I never allow myself to get new different fibers. We raise alpaca and that seems so, well, wasteful. But now, I was getting excited to try tailspinning with some other fibery locks! So I saved the yellow, some purple and some orangeish locks for spinning tailspun into the rologs I had created.

Linda's yarn on the bobbinI also decided that, while I didn’t care for the silk, it sure was beautiful and bright and well “something different” that what I normally got to work with. So I decided to spin that as thin as I could and all by itself to preserve the brightness of it’s coloring!

As I completed each color type of the rologs, I balled them up off of my spinning wheel. What was fun, looking at the yarnballs of slightly different colors and knowing that inside of those yarnballs there were some pretty fun surprises waiting to jump out into my shawl! Yes – just like the spring flowers!!

Linda's Balls of Yarn
In the shawl, I worked the lightest oranges first, and then moved onto the louder oranges, then blues, and light purples. Ending with the loud purple and finally near the middle the brilliant silk yarn!

Linda's dogThe flowers, oh my, the flowers were quite the stumper! My “puppy”, Curly, (who is a livestock guard dog who thinks he should be on the couch and is getting close to 70#) deeply loved the artificial flowers on the chest in the livingroom. On more than one occasion, I had to say, “Curly, no! Drop the flowers!” One day, when I wasn’t home, my son, Joe, calls and says, “Mom, Curly tore up those flowers you were saving in the living room”.

Oh well, I thought, it really is my fault for leaving them out. I was just looking at them hoping for inspiration. Joe moved them back to my desk. When I got home, I was looking at the torn apart flowers and that is when I noticed it. I noticed that since Curly had torn the stems out of the petals of the flowers that there were holes in the flowers! Wow! This is great. I can thread these flowers through a three-ply yarn! Flower problem solved. Thanks Curly!

Linda's shawlThe flower yarns were added at the bottom of the shawl. I used the grey to crochet off the top of the shawl from my loom and in the tassels only at the top corners. This made it look like some of the dingy (but OHHHH so soft!!) snow at the very top of the shawl.

I love how the tailspun yarn popped out as I went along! I was a little worried about when I felted it down. I always felt down my shawls that come off the loom. But, I needn’t have worried, none of the dyed colors ran from the locks!

Linda's shawl 2

AMAZING!!!!  I (Arlene) am blown away by where she took this.  Now, what did I get?

Brown alpaca from Linda

Roving from Linda


Suri from LindaSo, I got some loose alpaca fleece, some lovely caramel colored alpaca roving and chocolate brown suri alpaca.  For me, this presented a similar challenge in that I rarely work with pure neutrals.  I like lots of color!!!  What should I do with these materials so that I could stick close to their integrity?  I’m not good at forcing my own creativity so I set the materials out on work bench and walked by them for a couple of weeks.  Finally, I decided on a three ply yarn that would showcase each of the materials by themselves.  My goal was to build up as much contrast in the colors and a fair amount of texture, but not so much that the beauty of the original items was obscured.

First, I lightly carded the brown alpaca.  I ran the fiber through a coarse cloth carder one time.  It was not easy to stop at only one run through but I did.  Brown alpaca carded into a batt

I decided to spin a single from the caramel colored roving with no alteration or additions. 

Finally, I approached the fiber prep for the suri alpaca.  In my mind, I saw a transition of colors from light to dark so I decided to card the suri with some natural colored Cheviot roving.  I added in some gold Angelina for a little bit of sparkle.  Here is the resulting batt:

Suri battOK, ready to spin…or so I thought…

My studio has a loft.  My husband always kindly retrieves things for me from the loft but the night I was going to start spinning this yarn, he was not home.  I wanted something from the loft and I wanted it immediately.  But, as I was on my own,  I got the ladder and planned my climb.

Arlene's footThat didn’t go very well.  I fell.  Nothing serious, but my foot was kind of banged up. 

Fortunately, this presented me with an excellent opportunity to try out my new electric spinner.  I decided I would spin the whole yarn with it. 

Once I had my three bobbins spun, they looked like this

Arlene's bobbinsAt first, I was going to make a standard three ply yarn…but, I could not resist the urge to go FURTHER….

Arlene's yarn on the wheel

So, I chain-plied aka Navajo plied and I’m so happy with the results!!!

Arlene's yarn on the bobbin

Arlene's yarn spread out

Arlene's yarn cakeART's hanging yarnI’m pretty happy with this yarn!  Thanks, Linda for helping me to expand my horizons by keeping focused on the natural palette.

Fun, huh?  For those of you that have been following this series and the other series, “Can You Spin This?”, I’m focusing more on the Battle of the Bobbins style posts at this time.  If you had previously signed up to be on the waiting list for “Can You Spin This?”, and are willing to participate in this type of challenge instead, please let me know by emailing me at thespinartiste@gmail.com.  Thanks!

We have a giveaway winner for the pretty locks and wooden shoes from Alet Tienpont of Wol en Zo Textielwerk…and our winner is Sylvi!  I will be in touch with you to get you your prize.  Thanks to everyone for participating!! 


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