TBT…Fleece edition.

I have a confession to make…

I sometimes shove a load of pictures from my phone into blank posts and save them as drafts, only to forget they exist. I can’t tell you how many of these “pictures only” drafts I’ve deleted from my blog after looking at them and not remembering what I wanted to write.

It just so happens that this is one of those posts.*




Hand carding! Making Rolags! Excitement! Adventure!

I can tell you that these were the pictures I took at Friday Night Knitting when Courtney brought over the fleece we bought at Stitches West. We dumped it on a bed sheet, separated and weighed it.


Courtney playing with the hand carders.


These big clear bins are great for keeping my fluff in.

After making some rolags, I tried spinning some of it. It’s nice and soft.


I thought I would try spinning some of it.

I can tell you this…I am not done carding it. Carding this stuff is one of my least favorite things. I mean, I dislike brushing my own hair, why would I enjoy brushing sheep? It’s pretty sad…but on Friday nights when my friends come over to knit, I’ve been recruiting them to do it for me. I’m lazy, really. I did hit up a friend that just moved in nearby to see if I could use her drum carder to finish this stuff. I know I’ll make a mess, but it’ll be way more speedy than how I am doing it (or not doing it) right now.

Hopefully she can find it among all of her moving boxes. Keep your fingers crossed!

(*These pictures are over 2 months old. I had a lot of drafts that were FAR OLDER than this.)

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I’ll get there eventually…

I am sure that everyone has different ways of calculating the enormity of their stash. I believe mine boils down to volume. I’m constantly justifying it by saying things like “Once it’s spun down, it won’t take up nearly as much space”. The problem is that I haven’t been spending much time (until recently) spinning it down.

I live in a condo with three other humans that also have stashes of their own. From sports cards to toys, it all takes up space. Space we don’t seem to have. Sure, I have an armoire dedicated to my yarn (and some beads and other craft supplies), but I also have a pile of garbage bags behind my closet door filled with fiber. I have it jammed in a cabinet in my dining room and in the closet by the front door. It’s everywhere and it is starting to feel overwhelming.

(There you go…I’m sharing my fiber hoarding secrets with you…)

I am also starting to feel like I should be making more things with my hand spun yarn. I haven’t done much with what I have so far yet. I’ve sold some, or given it as gifts, but I should really be making things with it too.

On the other hand, I am trying not to beat myself up about all of my fluffy things. I will get there. I am skipping yarn crawl…so maybe that might be a good weekend to binge spin.

In the meantime…you can take a look at my new pretties… all dry and skeined up! They’re just waiting to be tagged and placed in the space I made in that armoire for my very own yarn.


This is some scratchier fiber I spun up. I am not sure what to do with it yet. (I’ll take suggestions…)


Blarney Yarn Fiber, Red Fish Dyeworks and Octarine Fibers!

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Stitches West 2014: Adventures in Fleece

It was a few years ago when I had convinced myself that I wanted to adopt a fleece. I had gone through this whole phase of wanting to go from sheep to garment. This involved me bringing home a dirty fleece once. A really dirty fleece. So dirty that I gunked up my kids’ bathtub and then my husband instating a Renfroe household rule banning me from bringing dirty fleece into the house.


Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…


Walking the floor with two bags of fleece.

The household rule banning my possession of dirty fleece is common knowledge amongst my knitting group. But Courtney is a smart girl, and adept at getting around the rules. So months ago she told me she had an idea.


Courtney and David with Bella and Lucky.

Courtney did her homework and came up with the perfect plan for us to wash a fleece in the hotel bathroom. She knew exactly how to sell it to me… my husband couldn’t possibly get upset with me if I brought home clean fleece.


The bag of Bella fleece.

So David, Courtney and I went to Judy’s Novelty Wool booth and we split 2 fleeces, three ways. Now, Bella was already cleaned, so no problem there. She was greasier than David liked, but I don’t mind my fleeces slightly buttery. That lanolin is good for my skin. So half of the work was done and Bella was tossed aside. Lucky, however, was our dirty one. The three of us put down a shower curtain on the floor, dumped the fleece out, and started to sort pieces into “dirty” and “less dirty”.


Starting to sort the fleece.


Proud parents!


I actually took this picture by accident when trying to take some video.

We stuffed the fleece into lingerie bags to soak in the tub.


Lingerie bags are ready!


Soak #1 with plain water…


Check out that water! Here is where I let Courtney know she is making me nervous holding her phone over the tub.

We soaked the fleece for twenty minutes in plain hot water. Then we soaked in hot soapy water. Of course there were multiple soaks, but I passed out on one of the hotel beds sometime before 1 a.m. I hear that Court and David were up until 4 a.m. They let me sleep because I had to drive us home from Santa Clara and they knew I needed the rest. Of course, this means I don’t have any photographic evidence of David breaking one of the salad spinners that they used to dry the fleece when they were done. Sorry, I’m no journalist.


Courtney and Dawn.

Now, this isn’t the end of the story (or process). While I have Bella here at home, Lucky is still at Courtney’s house. Lucky was dry enough to bring home in the van, but she still needs some work. I am hoping to get together with Courtney sometime soon so we can finish work on her and get her ready to spin!

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CFR 2013 – Here we go!

I should know better…I never sleep here.

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CFR 2013 – I made it!

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Holy *@!%! It’s Christmas already?

Sunday, December 20th, 2009 | blah blah blah, fiber, FO's, knitting, sweater, UFO's | No Comments

Man have I been a busy girl! It seems like December just flew by!

Well, as much as I said I was going to avoid Christmas giftie-type knitting, I just couldn’t. I say it every year and I always make *something*. This year I was prompted to get off my butt by my son. Even at 4 years old, that boy can appreciate Mommy’s crafting. He came up to me one night and flat out said “Mommy, I want a hat!” Thank goodness he asked for something easy! I walked him back to the stash and let him pick out his own yarn.

Of course, this also means I have to make a hat for my little girl too. She also visited the stash for some yarn.

So, in the midst of the Christmas knitting…I was working on my own projects. I finished my Vaya Shrug first…

Vaya Shrug on the duct tape form

Vaya Shrug on the duct tape form

Then I started and finished my Whisper Shrug…

The Whisper, in an unfinished state...

The Whisper, in an unfinished state...

I don’t have any pictures of it completed yet, but it sure looks awesome blocked. I even bought some Habu Silk to make another…

Then I started a sweater that has no name, because it has no pattern. I am mixing and matching and making it up as I go along. I am knitting it with True Love Fiber yarn in Bruise that I got at Unwind. I am needing to get creative because I have two balls in one dyelot and one ball in another. So far it is looking pretty good.

I love this sweater!

I love this sweater!

OH….and that etsy shop I keep promising to start? Well, I am working on it, despite my not having put anything up online yet. I have been carding batts like a mad woman. I am sure poor Wendy would love her drum carder back…one of these days I will have to get one of my own.

The Drum Carder of DOOM!

The Drum Carder of DOOM!

I have gotten my fingers injured a few times while cranking these things out, but they look oh so pretty!

Alpaca and wool with a little glitz

Alpaca and wool with a little glitz

Wool with a little carbonized bamboo and some glitz

Wool with a little carbonized bamboo and some glitz

So much to do this week. I am sure I will have more completed projects before Christmas actually gets here!

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Time for the Retreat!

It’s Friday night and I am here. Woohoo!!

I am here in Tehachapi eagerly anticipating CogKNITive’s First Annual Fiber Retreat. I am in my room. I have gotten all the tubs of stuff out of the back of the van (I am hauling merchandise for Unwind) and I am ready to go. I haven’t heard from anyone I know yet, so I am not sure who is here.

I did meet nice woman downstairs (Kathy), her husband, and their cutieboo 150 lb. dog. I also saw a woman hauling in tubs of yarn while I was unloading the van. I am guessing she is a vendor.

Don’t get me wrong…I am hardly bored while waiting. I have my trusty macbook and a boatload of projects.

Nuzzling some of my own dyed-by-me roving I am donating as a raffle prize

Nuzzling some of my own dyed-by-me roving I am donating as a raffle prize

Carbonized Han Solo Bamboo that I am still spinning (from Stitches West)

Carbonized "Han Solo" Bamboo that I am still spinning (from Stitches West)

Arm Warmers and my Vaya Shrug aka The Boobie Holder

Arm Warmers and my Vaya Shrug aka "The Boobie Holder"

Not to mention I also have my spinning wheel and some cash in my pocket for shopping tomorrow. Hopefully I can get something done!

For now I am gonna knit and goof around on Facebook!

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Summer is coming…

…so why am I looking for alpaca projects? I do live in Southern California after all…

Lots of things happening around here. I wish more were fiber related, but we have been super busy and my folks came out to stay with us for a couple weeks to help celebrate the twins’ fourth birthday. There have been trips all over the place, including Disneyland (which I hear will not allow needles in the park…good thing I didn’t have any down time there)!

So, it started with the Cookie A class I took after meeting her at Unwind. I designed my first pair of socks! Of course I am still test knitting them…so we’ll see how they turn out. Then my folks came bearing gifts from Frankenmuth.

PIctures from my parents trip to Frankenmuth

Pictures from my parents trip to Frankenmuth

My folks scored me 2 3/4 pounds of fluff!

1lb. white combed top, 1 lb. white alpaca, 3/4 lb. of dyed alpaca

1lb. white combed top, 1 lb. white alpaca, 3/4 lb. of dyed alpaca

I am now swimming in alpaca and I have no idea what to make with it. The hot weather is here, but the office has been in deep freeze, so I might have a good reason to make some alpaca garments. I still have the bag of alpaca and bunny that my mom got me on her last trip to the mill. That will be the next thing I spin. I have some yarn on the bobbins right now that has just been chillin’ there. One of the bobbins is a surprise project I can’t write about here….the others have just been waiting for me to get some time to dump my photos onto any random computer I can find so I can make room to take proper, non-mobile phone pictures.

Once the parents left I went a little cuckoos mcgoos. The last two days I have spent dyeing fiber after the kids have gone to bed.

Messin around with acid dye

Messin' around with acid dye

I dyed some mills ends wool with some Jacquard acid dyes. I was messing around with dye to try and find my groove. I am new to this.

Then I decided to take that pound of alpaca my folks brought and hit it with some black food coloring. It turned out gorgeous!

Alpaca in purty greens and purples...

Alpaca in purty greens and purples...

Of course, this whirlwind of crazy doesn’t include all the stuff I did last night which included handcarding some other stuff I dyed and making goodies for my Fiber Collective Swap Partner. But those are secret….shhhhh…..

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Marching Forward…

Friday, March 20th, 2009 | blah blah blah, fiber, knitting, spinning, UFO's, yarn | 1 Comment

Ok, I am determined. I am determined to finally get my shit together and start doing what I need to do. I keep putting things off because I need to deal with real life, but real life is overrated. So I am buckling down…working on logo ideas…trying to knit and spin as much as I possibly can. Come on! I know I can do it!

So, on the agenda:

Finish the Kusha Kusha Scarf.

The lavender Stainless steel/silk and taupe wool look good together.

The lavender Stainless steel/silk and taupe wool look good together.

 Finish my True Love socks

Mmmm. Bubble Gum pink koigu

Mmmm. Bubble Gum pink koigu


Maybe get this sweater done?

I really suck when it comes to actually working on sweaters...

I really suck when it comes to actually working on sweaters...

 Learn to dye roving and maybe a sock blank…

I have almost all the supplies I need...

I have almost all the supplies I need...

 Maybe start selling some things on etsy perhaps. I have only been talking about it FOREVER! Over the past week I had people ask why I am not selling my needle protectors or stitch markers online. Why am I not selling them, who knows?

In other news, I also recieved a lovely package from Stashymama on Ravelry. She sent me some batts from the fleece she bought at Stitches. All cleaned and fluffy. I can’t wait to start spinning them. Lucky me, now I can because I actually cleared my bobbins off last night! I finished spinning and navajo plying the last of my pink and brown Merino/tussah that I purchased in November from Bee Mice Elf. Go me!

Yay! New fiber!!

Yay! New fiber!!

Merino/Tussah before plying the second bobbin...

Merino/Tussah before plying the second bobbin...

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Best weekend ever!! Part Two

So, Saturday we got up bright and early and just kinda did not a whole hell of a lot. We had all decided that we could do things at a slower pace since we had done one full round on Friday. Um….I didn’t really realize what kind of yarn induced haze I was in on Day One, but boy did I see a whole boatload of stuff I didn’t see before!

I got to the marketplace sometime around lunchtime and it was packed. Thank goodness for twitter. At some point not too long after we hit the Brooks Farm Booth, we got separated. It wasn’t a bad thing, but I am the only one in our little group that does the spinning thing. That is when I tracked down the ladies of The Fiber Collective via Twitter.

I met up with Bellatrix at the Carolina Homespun booth. We tried to track down Dr. Gemma from the CogKNITive podcast, but she was lost in a sea for fiber (later to find out she found someone to show her how to draft). So Bellatrix and I headed over to the Purlescence booth where we got the chance to meet with Jasmin and GiGi of the Knitmore Girl’s Podcast. We grabbed some goodies bags and tried to reach Gemma again. Time to move.

This is where my day got interesting…Bellatrix and I, the ladies of The Fiber Collective, and Dr. Gemma all converged on the Carolina Homespun booth. It was fun to watch Dr. Gemma try out all of the wheels. She showed enormous restraint in not purchasing, because she sure had me wanting to buy another wheel (which would have broken my budget)!

Dr. Gemma on the Majacraft

Dr. Gemma on the Majacraft

At some point, Stashymama told me I needed to follow her to a booth. She had found a raw fleece and wanted to show me. OMG, this thing was beautiful even with dirt! I wanted so bad to go in on it with her and then all of a sudden reality hit me in the face.
1. I have never washed a dirty fleece before
2. I live in a tiny condo with
3. Twin toddlers
What the…? Boo. Stashymama ended up buying the fleece though and hopefully she will let me buy some from her now that she cleaned it. She is totally a fiber rock star!
At this point, the ladies of the Fiber Collective had to go, and I decided to venture out on my own to shop. Talk about scary. When you don’t have someone to reign you in, you can go a little nutty. I bought all kinds of fibery goodness from Tactile Fiber Arts, Mary Jane’s Attic, and Red Fish Dyeworks.
Stash Aquisition, Day 2

Stash Acquisition, Day 2

So, I popped out of the marketplace and tracked down my friends at the bar where they comment on how wide-eyed and crazy I looked. Then I verbally barfed at them about my afternoon. It was awesome. 🙂
Day Three
Not much happened on Sunday. I drove us home, and I finished my Christmas Herringbone Rib Socks (not necessarily in that order). Yay!
Christmas Balls Herringbone Rib Socks

Christmas Balls Herringbone Rib Socks

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