Thursday, February 23, 2006

Michelle Aplin's Finnsheep Flock

That's Michelle Aplin in the middle telling spinners all about her Finnsheep flock that has grown from 19 to 90. Finnish Landrace first arrived in New Zealand in the 1980s and was released from quarantine in 1990. It has a fine wool of high luster.

Too bad I met Michelle on the third week of my trip and had already accumulated a large duffel bag of wool. Still, I managed to squeeze in three kilos of her luscious fiber (white, black and a two-toned gray), thanks to Pat Old who packed Patsy Zawistoski's wool when the latter was visiting New Zealand. Pat's advice: put the fiber in a strong plastic bag, use a vacuum cleaner to suck out all the air, tie the end tightly, fold it over and tie again. It worked! I brought back to the US 25 kilos of wool. That's more than 50 lbs packed in a duffel bag and a half.

Below, more fibery goodness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Meet More Poads: Robert and Andrew

...Majacraft production manager and marketing wiz, respectively.

Robert trying his hand at spinning a cocoon,...

...spinning green merino to make Kermit for his daughter, Hope,...

...lovingly tuning up a Suzie.

Andrew curiously studying the cocoon his brother is spinning, and...

below, helping a spinner with her wheel's flyer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Meet Glynis and Owen Poad

They are just about my favorite Kiwis.

Glynis taught us how to do traditional braiding with no gadgets; just the toe. She's the one who answers emails to Majacraft and appears in all the ads.

Owen created the Little Gem, modifying it over a period of three years. Now it's perfect! Here he is spinning on my own Little Gem (how cool is that?!). Notice under the chair Glynis' copy of Lexi Boeger's Handspun Revolution. The Poads rock!

Monday, February 20, 2006

What I loved about Majacraft Magic...

...the men spun so unabashedly.

This gentleman came to the retreat with his wife.

The Majacraft Men: from left, Andrew, Owen and Robert Poad.

Learning to diz from Pat Old.

Aren't they cute? The couple that dizes together, stays together.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

More photos from Majacraft retreat in NZ's North Island

Tracy White introduced her brand of blended fibers which she calls "fiber sandwich".

This is my skein spun from the fiber sandwich. Photos below show how the fiber sandwich was created.

Tracy shows how to spin and connect fiber, commercial yarn, and strips of fabric.

My piece of the sandwich, up close and half-spun.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Majacraft Magic Weekend of Spinning

Pat Old (left), well-known Kiwi fiber artist, and me spinning away on Little Gems. Read about it here.

Pat, teaching spinners how to use the diz. She also taught us a trick on how to make instant bouclé: spin a single from regular wool and another from superwash, then ply them together and felt. Voîlà, instant bouclé.

I tried to passed on to Pat what I learned from Lexi Boeger at Camp Pluckyfluff East, like the cocoon and the nubbs. In the photo is her first attempt at the cocoons, following my miserable instructions. Of course, Pat made better cocoons on her own! By the way, Pat has the Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning.

Mental note: Send for that HGA package. : )

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Updated: Mary had a little lamb...

Happy Valentine's Day! Another fun creature from In the Pink, this one a girl hugging a grey sheep with rosy cheeks.

The day was spent in Dunedin and driving back to Queenstown. Along the way, in Roxburgh, we found Tally-Ho Natural Coloured Wools run by Don and Janet Peel. They raise romney, moorit and gotland and Don dyes the fleece, which he does so evenly on the wool.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cool Sheep

Here's a cool sheep all decked in pink and green. She's from a Kiwi shop called In the Pink and I was told she comes from France.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Markets

Saturday in Queenstown means arts and crafts market on the lake front. There are a handful of spinners who raise their own sheep and knit the yarn into sweaters and accessories undyed. The more adventurous combine some dyed wool with commercial eyelash to make mufflers and beanies.

One of the wool merchants is Biddy Kerr whom I came to see today to pick up the mohair and romney I ordered from her by email from the US last month. Biddy raises romney and perendale in her farm in Gore, a couple of hours away, and welcomes homestays and teaches spinning.

Biddy at home.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sheep Mate

Veronica used to have another place, a little display shop called Little Wool Shed. The place is now owned by two young Japanese women, Toyoko and Chiyo. Chiyo, under the name "Sheep Mate" spins fabulous yarn on a Kiwi (Toyoko spins on an Ashford Joy). Her specialty is thick and thin yarn which, when made into a scarf and worn around the neck, looks like a yarn choker (see photo).

In the basket are handdyed rovings in little plastic bags. Chiyo uses Ashford dyes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kiwi Gifts, the LYS

I went to see Veronica of Kiwi Gifts, the local yarn shop in Queens- town. It was from Veronica that I bought my first spinning wheel, an Ashford Kiwi, in March 2005. She sells mostly yarns and knits and no spinning wheels, but will order from the manufacturer on request. Last year she carried Corriedale fiber, but this year, her fibers are mostly merino, dyed and natural. On the coffee table are a sampling of the merino fiber, my first purchase in NZ this year.