Founders May Fair at New Pond Farm in review

Harris Hawk

The 27th Founders Fair was a great success in celebrating spring and the new growing season. The sun was shining over the 102 acre property located at 101 Marchant Road West Redding, Connecticut 06896, 203-938-2117. There were little girls all dressed in pretty sundresses wearing crowns of May flowers in their hair. The boys were excited to see the animals and try their hand at all the activities.

Find out more about this wonderful day.

Bedouin weaving project


Lakiya Negev Women video
 Lakiya Negev Weaving Project. By using their traditional skills, these Bedouin women of Israel can be wage earners, role models and artisans. They weave and spin using the fleece from their sheeps and camels. These women are also learning business skills. No children work in the process.

The Lakiya Negev Weaving project empowers women through the income generated from creating high quality rugs and home accessories. Enjoy the video and see how they spin, weave and the tools they use.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           fiber articles

Sheep to Yarn in three workshops

New Pond Farm at 101 Marchant Road Redding, CT 06896-1824
(203) 938-2117

Sheep to Yarn in Three Workshops

Wednesdays: February 2, February 9, February 23

10:30 –  11:30 am
If you love fiber or have an interest in learning to produce your own yarn, you will enjoy these classes. This three-part series will introduce you to raw fleece from our own Icelandic Sheep and cover each step as it is transformed into hand spun yarn. During the first session, you will learn about washing, carding, and drumcarding wool and you will have a chance to try your hand with a drop spindle. During the second class, you will make your own spindle and create your own yarn. The last class will teach you to dye wool. No prior experience is required. Fee per class: $10/member, $12/non-member.

Reservations are required. Please call New Pond Farm at 203-938-2117, email Kristen@newpondfarm.org or visit http://www.newpondfarm.org to sign up online.

Knitting needles of various materials

Most knitters and crocheters have a lot of hand me down needles and hooks. I am guessing you were first taught with a needle or a hook that was made of metal (most common material). The first needle or hook you purchased was probably  metal when you needed a size you didn’t have. Metal was what you were familiar with.

At the start, I found metal (aluminum) needles were fun to use, in part because of the sound they made. With time the clicking can become a distraction. Metals are smooth making knitting faster for some. On the downside they are very slippery, often loosing a stitch or two as it slips off the needle.

If you haven’t tried wood, you will be in for a treat. The needles in the picture above are made from Birch. Wood  has a nice feel in the hand. As you knit the needle warms up from the heat of your hands. They are light and smooth but not too slippery, or sticky. 

 Bamboo has the feel of wood, but can tend to be sticky. They are  mostly imported.

Plastic needles are flexible. One problem is that if bent they may be stressed enough to remain bent. They are inexpensive.

Glass (Pyrex) needles are starting to become available. They are heavy in the hand. They seem more like a novelty  though might be fine for small projects.

Material choice is personal. If you have only had the opportunity to try one type…maybe now is the time to treat yourself. This might be just the thing to renew your interest in a project you have set aside.

Knitting examiner

Lucet

Lucet photo by Asfridhr

Lucet or chain forks…. was used to make piping (embellishment) for Ladies dresses during  medieval times from around the 16th century to the 19 century. Piping is a type of cordage used to edge hems and as fasteners for clothing (prior to buttons, snaps and zippers). The cordage of twisted fibers also made necklaces and string closures for bags. Without pockets, hanging things off your waist was essential. The earliest known lucet was found used by the Vikings. 

A lucet  makes a square braid cord, that is very strong. It is made from wood today, that comes with or without a handle. In the past they were made from bone and horn also. The end of the cord starts out through the hole. You wind the cord in a figure 8. Wrap it twice and lift the bottom loop over the top loop of each tine, wrap again, continuing to lift the bottom loop over the top.

I have not tried this but it does seem like once you understand the concept, it would be easy to master. I get the impression it is not unlike finger knitting using 4 “tines” instead of 2. I suggest starting with the weight yarn as the thickness of half of the desired finished cord.

A Yarn about Wool – Childrens book review

A Yarn about Wool

A Yarn about Wool

 

“Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep – a Yarn about Wool” by Teri Sloat. The illustrator is Nadine Bernard Westcott.
This book was recommended by a 4 year old. She understood my yarn making process from having this book read to her. Her Mom calls it a “family favorite”. After having read it, I can see the appeal.

It’s spring at the Brown farm and that means sheep shearing time. He shears all seven of his sheep. Spring weather can be fickle, a mix of warm and cold days. So the cold gets his sheep shivering.

In the meantime, he takes the fleece over to Mr. Greene to wash, comb and card. The next step is to Mr. Peale’s for spinning. Mrs. Muller dyes the yarn. And Mr. Brown knits it. I can’t tell you the end, that would spoil it.

I liked the rhyme of the story and the illustrations were cute and colorful. I especially liked that the spinner was a man and that Farmer Brown knits.

This is a delightful way to introduce children to the process of yarn making. This can be read and reread with pleasure. Especially since children do ask for the same book to be repeated over and over.

Let me know what you thought of the book.

Knitting Nell

Teazel you say…

I was searching the internet looking for an interesting knitting pattern. I came across a vintage baby sweater Free Baby Sweater Knit Pattern Handmade-Adelaide-Baby.com, that required you to use a “TEAZEL” on the finished sweater. That was a word I’ve never heard so it sparked my curiosity. I love trivia so this peeked my interest to dig further. Here’s what I found. A teazel, also spelled “teasel” is a wire brush  teazle brushraising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool

allowing the finished material to take on a furry look. Gingerbread and Humbug, both Teddy bears are teazeled. My Teddy Bears – knitted bears Teazel brushes are available for purchase in the UK.

teaselwhite1_small

I also found out Teasel, is a wild plant naturalized in the U.S. and was used by early settlers to card their wool before spinning. Carding straightens out the fibers in the wool so they are all laying in one direction.spin cards

This is what my carders look like. Using the Teasel plant as a carder must have been a long and arduous task.

I believe when they were speaking of “wool” they had Mohair in mind. Mohair is the product of an Angora Goat.

Angora Goat

The goats originated in Turkey. They are sheared twice a year. As the goat ages his hair becomes coarser. The younger goats having the finer hair making the more desirable mohair. Mohair and wool are very similar in chemical composition. They differ in that, mohair has a much smoother surface and very thin, smooth scales. The scales in wool allow it to felt. As a result of mohair having smooth scales, the fiber is prevented from felting.

From this research I believe the question is To teasel or not to teasel. If you don’t want to teasel…find a furry yarn.

Knitting examiner