Art Yarn Recipe

I start by gathering fibers… in this case, mostly bits and pieces that are leftover from other projects, and which I save in a large jar.  I’d call this a “destash” batt, and at first it looks like a mess.  There’s merino and lots of Cormo, and some silk and sparkly novelty fiber:

IMG_3034My initial idea is to work with mostly primary colors…

IMG_3035I organize the original selection of fibers, now it looks more orderly.

IMG_3036Layer by layer, I create a batt that will have texture and shimmer and interesting color combinations throughout.  I’ll use this batt to craft some art yarn for making notecard images, and I want the colors to be vibrant and the yarn to be thick and thin.  I’ll add curly locks and fabrics when I spin it.

IMG_3037To unify the many colors in the batt and to add more glow, I add some topaz-toned bamboo fiber generously along the top layer by placing the bamboo fiber directly on the large drum.

IMG_3038This is the underside of the batt, visible as I remove the batt from the drum carder.  Those bright warm tones are the basic color “theme” of the batt…

IMG_3041And this is the shimmering top of the batt.  I can’t wait to spin this, to see the uncontrollable ways these beautiful colors will dance together.

IMG_3043I carefully divide the large batt into 10 smaller batts, which I’ll further divide as I spin.  Very yummy.

IMG_3044I’ve selected a variety of curly, white wool locks and some white fleece — all from raw fiber that I washed, including some sweet Cotswold lamb curls and Finn lamb fleece and some fat long wool locks; and I’ve torn strips of fabrics that include remnants from sari silk and some hand-dyed habotai silk: this will all be spun into the yarn, using my favorite drop spindle, a turquoise ceramic one that’s just heavy enough to make yarns that are exquisitely thin or really chunky.

IMG_3045The resulting yarn is just what I need to craft cards that I hope will delight, comfort, inspire and please: some areas are over-spun and will be full of twists and coils; in some places the white curly locks will add whimsical softness; the silk fabrics will glow and some of the silk fabric threads will be left to extend beyond the yarn, adding more texture; other places are barely spun so they look pillow-soft.  Each of these different textures feeds the senses in different ways, and the senses are restored and nourished.

The cards I’ll craft from this yarn will express all of this; they’ll each touch each viewer in a different and personal way; my intention is to add beauty and gentleness to the world, and by my humble effort, make the world a more beautiful and gentle place.

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Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 4:17 pm  Comments (4)  

Fiber Batt Inspiration

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Sari silk remnant fabrics, re-purposed, are the inspiration for a batt that I carded and divided into a mini-batt set.  I’ll spin some art yarn from the batts and silk fabrics (snipped and ripped into thin ribbons) and then felt some small mats, using the yarns and some other fibers for embellishment.   I added lots of hand-dyed silk fibers — in shades of bright topaz, raspberry, lavender, green, gold, pink — throughout the layers of mostly Falkland fiber, adding some dyed Cormo fleece for texture.   I look forward to seeing how the silk fibers influence the surface design, because I added so much silk to the layers of Falkland as I carded the fiber — placing all fiber directly onto the large drum of my Louet.  These pics are just the batts and sari silk ribbons; I’ll post photos of the finished work some time in the days ahead!

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Published in: on July 22, 2018 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Inspired by Nature: “Plums” fiber batt

For spinning or felting:

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Published in: on June 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Felted Mat

This mat is for an exhibit with an “Animal” theme, that will be during the month of June at The Gallery Shop in Lemont.  I wanted to create a base that would look like an animal pelt, and embellish it with layers of curly wool locks that would create a lot of wild energy.  The dyed curly locks, that range from tiny little tight whorls to long loopy tendrils, are from a variety of breeds.  Felting is not an easy-to-control art form, but in this piece the results are what I hoped to create:IMG_2351Details:

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Published in: on June 1, 2018 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Energy in Fleece and Fiber

I read an article about preparing fiber for spinning low-twist singles in which the author described commercially-produced top/roving as being “lifeless.”  Her description articulated what has motivated me to learn how to clean and process raw fiber for my own spinning and felting.  Perhaps it’s the freshness of the raw fiber that gives it more bounce and vitality, or the fact that I can process it more precisely to whatever use I’ve planned.  Lovingly-processed fiber glows as if it has microscopic twinkly lights embedded inside; it has little kicks and angles that seem to express the spirit of the creature that grew the fiber; it has personality that inspires creative work.  All of these factors, and more, are reasons for fiber artists to master the art — and to experience the enchantment — of working from raw fleece.

The image below shows a handful of raw Cormo fleece on the left, and on the right, some washed and carded fiber from that same fleece.  The yellow and brown colors are from lanolin and dirt.  I knew when I bought the fleece that the fiber was good quality, worth the effort of preparation: it’s important to research before you buy!

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The second image shows some rolags I carded and then pulled off my drum carder yesterday; these are some of the first rolags that contain various fibers I’ve washed and carded, including Cormo and some Gotland lamb.  I’ve paired the rolags with various hand-dyed curly locks and some sari silk ribbon purchased from fiber artists who’ve mastered dyeing.    I am eager to learn how to dye fiber — to get just the colors needed in just the right amounts; and intend to learn how to use environmentally-friendly dyes as well as continue to explore eco-dyeing and eco-printing.

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The third images shows raw fleece soaking in my studio sink.  The first soak in tepid water removes some dirt and dust, and begins to loosen any other unwanted elements from the fleece.  It’s a gentle way to begin the scouring process.  I place the fleece on a plastic tray that has openings on all sides and the bottom; sometimes I first place the fleece inside a mesh laundry bag, if I want to retain the texture of the structure of the locks.  To avoid felting the fiber and to retain the individual character of the fleece, the whole process is done with TLC.

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Published in: on April 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Madras” Fiber Batt

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Published in: on April 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fine, Custom-Blended Batts for Spinning/Felting

I am currently doing a bit of “de-stashing” — carding up and offering for sale some highly-textured batts for art yarn spinning and for felt making — to make room in my studio for new fleece and fiber purchases.  Please let me know via private message (aspangborn@gmail.com) if you’re interested in a custom batt in any colors or themes.  Blending batts is sublimely therapeutic, and I welcome the opportunity to share some of the “bespoke” fiber in my stash with others who’d love to play with luxurious and funky fine fiber.  Since I’m both a spinner and a felt maker, I am careful as I blend batts to make sure each one has qualities that will yield functional and unique yarn as well as fine-quality felt, even when the combo of fibers is quite variable and eccentric.IMG_1934

Published in: on March 17, 2018 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Corsages in Progress…

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Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Facebook Page: Wooly Bliss Ox Cart Shop

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I’m happy to share that I just launched my first online shop, “Wooly Bliss Ox Cart Shop” on Facebook.  Right now, I have 20 Art Yarn cards for sale there; in the coming weeks I hope to add some felted pins, scarves, fiber batts for spinning yarn… and more, offering free shipping until (at least) Valentine’s Day.

I invite you to visit my little virtual shop and I hope you’ll be delighted with what you see.  Everything offered there is the work of my heart, carefully crafted from beautiful materials.   I sell my fiber art at several gallery shops in central Pennsylvania;  by offering some work for sale via the Wooly Bliss Ox Cart Shop, I’ll be able to share my work with more folks.  In addition to the larger pieces I sell, it’s always been a priority to me to offer small and very affordable items for sale, because of the importance of making it possible for people to be able to enjoy having and giving hand-made work.

Working with fiber is a blissful experience, and I always hope that the peacefulness and pleasure I experience as I work is expressed through each piece, and bring delight to others as they slow down and get lost in the colors and textures of the work.  I am so grateful to those whose labors make it possible for me to obtain such fine quality fiber; and grateful to have benefitted from so much support for working as an artist over the years.

 

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Back in the Saddle Again…

IMG_1599Tomorrow marks six months since I fell, running up our backyard stone steps while glancing sideways to see what was rustling in the ferns, and got three fractures in my upper right arm.    After a few months, as my arm healed, I was able to resume spinning art yarns, with a renewed and celebratory appreciation for the joy of working with beautiful fiber as well as gratitude for the ready-to-spin fiber in my stash.  Today, I look forward to getting back to felt making, as I marvel at the miracle of healing, count my blessings, and dive into the stash.

Published in: on January 19, 2018 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment