Yak, Silk, Merino Scarf

I wanted to create a scarf that would be soft and warm, and contrast natural tones with warm reds and gold tones, so I started by gathering a medley of fibers…


I layered the fibers and fabrics to provide a lot of texture and interest… img_3342


And worked this into “pre-felt” — yardage that is partially felted so it can be worked with and cut up as needed; and that is intended to be used for surface embellishment — but is not completely felted or “fulled” into finished form.  This partial felting keeps the fibers open enough to allow them to easily embed into the intended project.

img_3348The layout, dry, before wetting/felting/fulling.  You can see the three fluffy layers (yak, merino) as well as the shiny silk fabric strips and the strips I’ve cut from the pre-felt yardage.  I’ve added some fiber “dots.”  Fabricating the dots is so meditative…

img_3351The finished scarf, and a detail:

img_3352I’m pleased with how very soft this scarf is.  The yak fiber is short, which means that layout takes longer because I’m working with small tufts of fiber instead of longer-length fiber tufts; but this extra time is worth it, because the yak creates such a soft and finely-textured “hand” and luxurious drape — a lot of warmth with very little weight.   The scarf is 6″ x 60″ and weighs just two and three-eighths ounces!

Published in: on January 7, 2019 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Scarf with Prefelts and Curly Wool Locks


Published in: on December 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felting Day


Published in: on December 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Scarf: Pictures from a Studio Day

IMG_3234IMG_3236Layout begins

IMG_3237Three layers plus lots of embellishments — curly wool locks, silk, part of a carded batt, and some prefelts that contain silk fabrics.  Layout is done.

IMG_3241The completed scarf, almost dry.



Published in: on December 7, 2018 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Carding Batts for Spinning Art Yarns

IMG_3141IMG_3142IMG_3144Merino, silk, Cormo, bamboo and other fine fibers, including some I purchased raw (freshly sheared, which I washed and processed; most purchased from shepherdesses who raised the sheep themselves); with the most exquisite curly wool locks and strips of silk fabric (including remnant sari silk fabrics) and tufts of hand-dyed tussah silk fiber as add-ins — a visual and tactile feast for spinning art yarns.   For those who like adventurous spinning or who are seeking novel fibers for felt making (my batt ingredients are suitable for both) who wish to place a custom order, please send me an email: aspangborn@gmail.com.  Thank you!

Published in: on November 17, 2018 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.

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

Fiber Batt Inspiration


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!



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

Inspired by Nature: “Plums” fiber batt

For spinning or felting:


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:


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!


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.


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.



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