As you can probably tell by my lack of blog entries, I have had very little time for any fiber work over the last six weeks. Even knitting, which in the winter I often pick up while 'resting' from any labors, has only happened once a week, at my Sunday knitting group. It's pathetic but true, my total creative output in the fiber realm, has been limited to six rows, once a week, on the sleeve of a cotton cardigan.
I see the end of this hectic pace though, and encouraged by that, and inspired by the yearly State Fair entry book, I have now made plans to make some fiber projects.
If you have read any of my previous blog entries on the State Fair, you will know how much I love this annual event. And it all starts with the arrival of the 440 page (!) entry book. The deadline to enter anything in the fair is July 1st, and the fair itself is mid August. So for six weeks my creative energy is all directed toward projects to enter in the fair.
There is a requirement that the project was completed in the last two years, and not a previous winner of a ribbon. And ideally (laugh) the projects have all been completed this year, from Jan through July. I laugh because that is not how I work. Deadlines, I need deadlines! And before the deadline, inspiration. Fortunately for me, the fair entry book brings both.
So with creative juices all revved by categories like 'Best Collection of Jams, Preserves, Marmalades and Butters in Jars' I have made my selections for the year and mailed in my entry form for the culinary department, the fine arts and crafts department, and the textile department.
Want to play along? I will only challenge you to the spinning category, hopefully most of you reading this are spinners. I will post pictures of my skeins after the fair, and challenge you to do the same. No there will not be any judging! This is just a fun play along spinning challenge.
Here are the six categories for handspun yarn. All skeins unless otherwise stated, are to be two to five ounces submitted in two yard skeins.
1) Handspun designer yarn with swatch (includes dyed or hand painted). A skein of all handspun novelty yarn (any fiber). The accompanying swatch should be at least 6" by 6".
2) Handspun yarn for novice spinners (spinning 1 year or less) Yarn should be plied, any weight (2 oz for medium weight, 1 oz for fine) Yarn may be made from dyed or natural fiber. Yarn should be washed and put up in neatly wound skeins, tied in 3 places.
3) 100% wool plied handspun yarn, dyed or natural, medium or fine weight, 2 oz for medium weight, 1 oz for fine weight. Yarn should be washed and put up in neatly wound skeins, tied in three places.
4) Wool blend handspun yarn, (must be at least 50% wool). Dyed or natural, medium or fine weight, 2 oz skeins for medium weight, 1 oz skein for fine weight. Yarn should be washed and put up in neatly wound skeins, tied in three places.
5) Best handspun natural colored wool, not dyed, with sample of unspun fiber (lock or roving) also submitted.
6) Best handspun Merino, white or natural colored, not dyed with sample of unspun fiber (lock or roving) also submitted.
I will be entering in five of the categories, I no longer can qualify as a novice spinner :) Category 1 will be the biggest challenge for me, it is so broad to just say spin a 'designer yarn'. I have problems because I am such a consistent spinner, my yarn has no designer qualities to it. I tried over the past two years to make the design element from the type of fibers used (angora and silk one year, buffalo fiber the next) but that didn't impress the judge as designer yarn at all. So this year I need a different plan and a reading of Diane Varney's book "Spinning Designers Yarns" is where I will start. I notice there is no fine or medium weight limit in this category, which allows bulky yarns as long as they meet the overall 2-5 oz limitation.
The third and fourth categories can probably be pulled from something I have already spun this year, or can be easily done over a couple of spinning sessions. My basic type of spinning fit these categories nicely.
For the fifth category I have decided I want to use the Jacob fleece I purchased at Greencastle fiber fair this year. That means I need to get sorting and washing it!
And the last category, handspun merino, will become my much needed portable spinning project. I have a very fine merino roving that should spin into a lovely lace weight yarn on a drop spindle. Many months ago I finished drop spindling a hand combed top of rambo fiber and I had not decided what next to spin on a drop spindle. So merino it is, and hopefully a lovely two oz skein of lace weight will result.
Ahh, it is so nice to feel the creative juices flowing again.