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52 weeks of wool

52 Weeks of Wool

52 Weeks of Wool: The beginning

January 8, 2016

A few podcast episodes back I shared about a new project I’m embarking on over the course of the next 52 weeks…well 51 now. I thought it might be good to share a bit about my hopes and goals for this project.

For the past year I’ve mentioned off and on about my hope to learn to spin on a wheel, while at the same time agonizing a bit over the thought that it will take precious time away from knitting. However, the desire to spin has nagged at me ever since I took an Intro to Spinning class at A Verb for Keeping Warm exactly a year ago, and so I decided to go for it.

I am a total newb to spinning. I’ve only spun with a drop spindle twice. I’ve had a wheel in my house for the past 6 months and only practiced treadling on it. When I decided to do this project, I purposefully opted to wait and not practice, so that my first week and first spin would truly be my first.

Years ago I learned a nifty thing from Kate Bingamam-Burt called ‘Automated Directives’. You can find more info here, but the gist is to set up a sort of rule system to give some direction to your creativity. It’s something many of us already do in lots of ways, but I found the more rigid system helpful when I really want to learn and reflect my creativity in a specific task…in this case spinning. So I set up my guidelines and here they are…

-Each week, for the next 52 weeks, I will spin a different breed of sheep wool or fiber
-I will learn a bit of the story behind each fiber and share here on the blog. This includes the farm it came from and any other details I can share, such as photos.
-I will share my learnings from spinning and handling each specific fiber, as well as my learnings of spinning in and of itself.
-Each week’s wool, after spinning, will be knit into a swatch, and once all 52 weeks are complete, I will join all the swatches to create a blanket. I am SO excited about that part.

And my goals…

-Learn to spin. This goes without saying, but there’s so much I don’t know with hands on experience. I plan to learn a lot.
-Become a skilled spinner. Improve drafting, tension, speed, plying, etc.
-Experience as many different types of sheep breeds as possible, familiarizing myself with the different wools and their qualities.
-Improve my processing of wool. Some fiber I’ve received is neither washed or carded. My own fiber from my sheep is still unwashed or carded…so I’m looking forward to getting better at this and improving my efficiency.
-Share these wools and fibers stories with all of you, spreading the love for small farm yarns and celebrating the hard work of these farmers.
-Finish the project. I’ve got a lot on my plate these days and I really hesitated for awhile as to whether this was something I wanted to take on. But with some encouragement from David, I dove in and my greatest hope is that I’m able to keep up and finish the project and knit the blanket from these wools/fibers. I do however believe in grace, so if this project takes me a few extra weeks come the end of the year, so be it. 🙂

Lastly…I’m still looking for more wool breeds for this project. If you are a farmer/rancher or a fiber folk who knows a fiber farmer/rancher and would like to be a part of this project by sending me a small amount of wool to spin, I’d love to have you and hear your story! Send me an email at hello@woolful.com

Ok, I think that’s it for now. If you’re on Instagram you may of seen my photo this morning of my first week’s wool. I’ll share more on that specific wool and it’s farm, so stay tuned.

Woolful Podcast

Episode 44: Ryan Fitzgerald – Political and environmental studies, architecture, family business and Quince and Co.

December 23, 2015

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Sponsor:  Taproot Magazine, is a quarterly print magazine full of delightful stories and photos written by and for people living fuller and digging deeper. Each issue is created around a subtle theme, featuring amazing recipes, crafts, and tales, all with the intention of inspiring people who are interested in deepening their connections to their families, communities, and themselves as they strive to live locally and closer to the ground. The content in each issue consistently blows me away. It is fulfilling and inspiring. I was thrilled to find that the most recent issue Shelter had a yurt on the cover, being that we just finished building our own yurt. This morning I laid in bed after having spent our first night in the yurt, reading this issue and soaking up all it’s goodness…for the head, heart and hands. You can visit Taproot Magazine online at Taprootmag.com and on Instagram @taprootmag.

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Fiber folk: Like many of you, I’m a lover and supporter of Quince and Co yarns and all that goes into bringing this amazing brand to our fingertips. But many of you might not know the man behind the scenes. Ryan Fitzgerald is an integral part of what Quince and Co is today, working alongside his mother Pam and their incredible team to provide some of the most compelling pattern and yarn collections. His journey is a unique one, from environmental and political studies to architecture and then finding himself increasingly invested in Quince and Co. You can find Ryan at quinceandco.com

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Sponsor: I want to thank Taproot Magazine again for sponsoring this week’s episode. Right now Taproot has a special holiday pop up shop featuring goods from some of our favorite makers. From wooden bowls and planters to screen printed and paper goods. I highly recommend taking a look at taprootmag.com and helping support all these amazing makers and Taproot who has brought them all together.

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Woolful Knit-a-long: And if you’ve seen the latest issue of Taproot, Shelter, then you know of the most recent pattern from Carrie Bostick Hoge, the Portland Pullover, designed in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn. I’m in love with the elegant yoke of this design, and it’s neckline. So much so that starting January 1st I’ll be hosting the next Woolful knit along featuring the Portland Pullover. I’ve ordered my yarn today and I hope you’ll join me in the New Year, rewarding yourself with some selfish knitting after the holidays. I’ll share more on the blog in the coming week. And if you don’t already subscribe to Taproot, visit taprootmag.com to subscribe or grab the latest issue Shelter which is where you can find this pattern.

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52 Weeks of Wool: I have an exciting new project starting in January, 52 weeks of wool. Each week I’ll be hand spinning a new wool breed from a fiber flock from here in the US or abroad, and sharing my experience through photos, on the podcast and in a blog post. My goal for this project is to handle as many different types of wool as possible, and share a bit about each farm and flock that the wool comes from, helping bring light to many sheep breeds and producers. If you have a flock, fiber farm or know someone who does, I hope you’ll consider joining me on this project by sending me a small tuft of fleece to spin. If you’re interested, shoot me an email at hello@woolful.com.

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Update: And for those of you who listened to last week’s episode, you know that we are in the process of insulating our yurt with wool insulation from Montana Green Insulation, which happens to be last week’s guest. The 500 + lbs just arrived and we’re gearing up to spend some long days under the yurt insulating the flooring. We’ll eventually also add a second layer of insulation to the walls, but for now insulating the flooring will help us the most. Stay tuned as we share more of our process and the results.

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Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway is, Lissa Zambo. You’ve won the most recent issue of Taproot magazine and two gorgeous skeins of handspun Polwarth, mohair and silk yarn and the Groh shawl pattern from Boho Chic Fiber Co. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Taproot Magazine and they’re giving away a two year subscription to Taproot. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on today’s episode’s blog post.

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Music by Jónsi.