Thursday, October 14, 2010

No More Fiber Side!

Not here, anyway.  Please use this link  (My Life With Knitters) to keep up with my fiber doings.

Next up: Fiber Maine-ia, University of Maine, Orno, Oct 16 & 17!  Gently used fiber arts books, handspun, hand-dyed Maine yarn and other goodies for spinners, knitters, weavers, crocheters, hookers, etc...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fiber Fix!

 I've been playing with all the different fibers I've bought over the past month or two.  I'm calling the products of this daily practice RANDOM ROVINGS.  Above you can see a pile of various rolags composed of combinations of merino/silk & mohair, coopworth & mohair, & coopworth & merino/silk, dyed with Cushing dye (Egyptian Red, very weak) and handcarded.

This is a LOT like painting...

Back in the day, when I got tired of painting, I'd turn to sculpture.  I've used welding wheels like the one shown below as a 3-D material many times in the past.  (A blacksmith's wife always has a few of these!)

Best artist question ever: WHAT IF...?

A yarn sculpture! 

Actually, this is a new idea I have for displaying my handspun, which is beginning to take over the house as well as my bookstore.  Here you see a few of the skeins I've completed recently.  Jeff is helping by supplying me with hand-forged hooks.

Here is one of my current favorite spinning raw materials: Coopworth locks.

I spun some yarn directly from the natural colored, uncarded locks, then plied it.  I got a marvelously soft, fat yarn (it's a little too brown in the photo). Swatched it on #13 needles. Cushing is sending me some more dye this week, so I'll be making more of this to color!

Different fibers, beautiful swatch:

"Art Yarn" I think they call it.

The beautiful bench below was completed this past weekend by the husband-blacksmith.  The owners provided the rock & asked Jeff to create an iron support for it.  Don't you love it?

More from this creative outpost in a day or two, when the Coopworth is dyed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Down the Road I Go!

First stop, Fiber College in Searsport.  The Fiber Side of Village Books got to share a booth with Knitting Out Loud this year.  As usual, we met a lot of interesting folks, including
WAYNE, who paid me the ultimate compliment by stealing the knitted grafitti I put up at the FC gates a few months back.  He was cold and he needed it!  Looks great, doesn't it? (Knit by Toni Weiner, btw) As a cowl, it's da bomb! (sorry, couldn't resist)

Popular teacher Mary Jane Mucklestone and friend show off their multi-tasking skills.

Fiber arts books reproduce at night, I swear!

Knitting Out Loud at Fiber College

Many thanks for valuable spinning tips from Heather of Highland Handmades and Debbie of Purple Fleece.
After 3 days of spinning, I finally vacated the chair...

Next up (after a few days rest): the North Country Spinning & Knitting Fiber Festival, in Presque Isle.
It was Worldwide Spinning in Public Day, so most of us did.  These ladies' wheels were really turning!  I just kept practicing.  Several people, including 9 year old Dylan, watched me card mohair and other fibers together, then spin it into my own unique yarn.  Dylan immediately decided he needs a wheel of his own!

This time, I had to do without KOL owner, Kathy Goldner, and run both booths on my own.  I managed... but it's more fun when Kathy & I work together. Knitting out Loud was bi-locating - Kathy was doing the Fiber Fest down in the Fingerlakes Region of NY.

There was A LOT of fluff at this event, including that of the Angora bunnies behind this spinster, plus Alpaca, Shetland, Corriedale, Cormo, and the Angora goat locks that I brought along.  The books & audio books were different & attracted a lot of attention here.

There were several weavers demonstrating.

This was my haven for two lovely nights.  It's The Old Iron Inn in Caribou.  Kate & Kevin are lovely people.  This is the Amoeba room.  The walls sport lovely old engravings of microorganisms, the bedside lamp is a beautiful old microscope and there are terrific fossils on the bathroom walls.  Perfect! And books everywhere!

Highly recommended!

My only regret is that I only managed one yarn bomb during all these events - a little one at the rest stop up in Medway, Maine.  I sewed this on in broad daylight with people all around & not a soul asked me what I was doing.  Makes me wonder what else I could get away with...

Now back to making yarn!


Friday, August 20, 2010

My first dye job...
if you don't count my hair!  Here is the gorgeous combination roving I bought from Guinea Ridge Farm in Union during the Open Farm Tour.  I spun it and plied it. I set the twist (yes, I did, Jeannine!) Then I pulled wads of jewelweed from under the apple trees (much to the goats' chagrin - they love jewelweed) and boiled it up.  Can't say I cared for the smell much.  I soaked my handspun, 2 ply in warm water, with a little cream of tartar dissolved in it.  Then plunked it in the dyebath for only ten minutes or so, since I love this light, creamy orange. Et voila!

Village Books has been reorganized to display the gorgeous roving that my friend, Toni, & I have been producing for sale.  Currently on offer are Maine Finn, both dyed & undyed, Romney dyed & 2 shades of natural roving, white Dorset, white Border Leicester & some lovely brown llama roving from Eolian Farm down in Newcastle, who also provides me with Shetland roving on occasion.  

Since I'm just a neophyte, I'm keeping most of my doings for my private use, but I did sell my first skein of yarn this month!  My spinning wheel is busy every day.

Meanwhile, lots of new books have come in, from the latest great fiction to histories to classics in knitting  (I use these big hand-forged hooks to hang yarn).  The Fiber Side of Village Books will be a book & roving vendor at Fiber College in Searsport, Maine, happening September 9-12.  This is a beautiful venue and a wonderful learning & networking opportunity for crafters.  Come check it out!  And stop by my table to introduce yourself!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gateway to More: Thank you KOL!

Look here to see my fiber horn getting tooted by my dear friend, Kathy Goldner, creator of Knitting Out Loud and FORCE OF NATURE.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Roving!

This hand-dyed, Maine-raised Finn wool flew out of my shop yesterday!  Toni Weiner, who creates this lovely stuff here in Washington, Maine, brought me a smidge more this morning.  In the upper left hand corner, you can see the swatch I knitted up after spinning this gorgeous roving!  $3.00 an ounce.

Here's the Finn roving undyed.  Delicious and back in stock! $2.00 an ounce.

New! Toni has over-dyed this beautiful Romney & gotten lovely teal streaking.  Swatch on the way!
$4.00 an ounce.

And finally, look at this knitting book that just came into Village Books!  Yvonne Taylor, my cashmere mentor, is Swedish and has gotten me interested in that culture.  This book is entirely in Swedish & features knitters from all over the world, including Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.  A treasure! Paperback, 1980,  $20.00.

To buy roving, yarn or books from The Fiber Side of Village Books, you can contact me at  I accept Paypal & personal checks.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gettin' Woolly!

A Bowl of Pure Winnie

This morning, while minding the bookstore, I've been busy picking fleece.  Village Books not only has an amazing selection of used books on every imaginable subject; I also have this fiber thing going on in the store.  The above snow white bowlful is pure cashmere, hand combed & hand picked (dirt removed) by yours truly.  It's ready to be carded & spun.  I'll keep you posted...

Starting August 1st, I'll also be carrying some Finn roving.  The sheep were raised in Maine, the wool was processed at New Aim in Waldoboro and then it was all hand-dyed here in Washington by Toni Weiner.
It will sell for $2.00 an ounce, undyed and $3.00 an ounce dyed.I'm knitting up a sample even as we speak.

Meanwhile, on the table we are displaying a lot of goodies: Romney ready to spin; audio books from Knitting Out Loud; a handknit sweater by Eileen McCormack alongside some of her gorgeous Prairie Wind handspun.  I threw two Mary Thomas pattern books on there too (classics!).  In the back you can see a handmade quilt by my big sister Kathlene O'Roark, as well as some Fiber Side handspun (in the bowl) and some lovely yarns spun by Toni (in the basket).

I'm really excited about knitting & spinning & plan to carry as much Maine-produced roving as I can get my lanolin-covered hands on!  The stuff above is plied Romney & Merino.

New books on the shelves include The Green Mountain Spinnery books, Sally Melville's The Knitting Experience: the Knit Stitch; Folk Socks by Nancy Bush; several Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's and other treasures.  Plus classics in weaving, spinning, crochet, design & more.

The Fiber Side's next public appearance will be at Fiber College in Searsport in early September.  Otherwise catch me at Village Books, 18 Waldoboro Rd, Washington, Maine (207)845-2133.  Fri., Sat. & Sun. are safest, 10 am - 5 pm (sometimes I have actual paying work during the week) or you can call ahead!

Look forward to your visit!

The gardens at Village Books