knit | spin

Wool Show Treasures

July 28, 2014

And here are my treasures from the Australian Sheep and Wool Show 2014…already knitted and spun in my mind’s eye!

IMG_3611Two skeins of Mosley Park English Leicester and Merino blend in double knitting weight.  Grown and dyed by Mosely Park in South Australia and the last of batch of Australian spun. There is about 200 grams here, hopefully enough for a sturdy cardigan for Our Dear Girl who needs really tough clothes.

IMG_3608Three skeins of sports weight Polwarth from Wendy  and Tom Dennis’s property near the Otway Ranges in Victoria, scoured in Geelong and spun in New Zealand.  Available on line at  The Dennis family developed the Polwarth breed from Saxon Merino and Lincoln sheep in the mid nineteenth century and have been improving the breed ever since.  It is a fine wool sheep that can thrive in the wetter conditions of the Otways and the first truly Australia sheep breed.

IMG_3618Indigo dyed Finn sheep fibre from Fairfield Finns.  Maureen does a beautiful indigo dye.  That colour is deeply satisfying to me and Finn is such wonderful to spin with.  I have only spun with Finn fleece before so I am looking forward to experiencing the prepared fibre.  Finn Sheep are a rare breed in Australia, although not a rare Australian breed, having been introduced from Finland a relatively short time ago.

IMG_3606A plait of Angel Bunny from Ixchel.  It is a blend of Angora rabbit grown in Victoria by Ixchel, Cashmere, Bluefaced Leicester and Tencel.  This is the kind of thing that I rarely buy because I always wonder what I would knit from it.  But when I saw it, it suddenly made sense of the Polwarth and the Finn I had bought, uniting all the colours in a next-to-the-skin softness. I have grand plans to turn this lot into a Stephen West, Enchanted Mesa that I have been dreaming about at night ever since I heard Brenda Dayne from Cast On talking about putting one together.

IMG_3625And of course, vintage buttons from The Button Lady.

Here is a treasure that I didn’t buy but as soon as I reckon I could find a use for it, I’ll be a-saving up for it.

IMG_3532It is called a phang and is made by The Lair of the Bearded Dragon of Victorian Blackwood by a clearly very talented woodturner. It is a supported spindle that you would use with a wee spinning bowl for spinning very very short fibres like yak.  I am not sure if there is a lot of yak in my future so please do suggest what else could be spun with it.  The phang is available from Spun Out.

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  1. I had no idea what an Enchanted Mesa was so I followed your link. I simply can’t wait to see your pretties laid out in that garment. If anyone can do it and make it look gorgeous, it’s you!! I look forward to the blog post on that one x

  2. What beautiful treasures you have found!! If you’re worried about not enough yarn for the sweater for Dear Girl perhaps you could do the cuffs and bottom rib in a different color and also by starting from the top you can better see how much yarn is left for sleeves. The fibers for spinning are gorgeous. Stephen West and Steven Be will be here this coming weekend on a tour of teaching and trunk show. I guess they’ll also be promoting their patterns. I think one of them is going to be at Stitches in a couple of weeks so I’ll wait for that time. The Mesa sweater looks interesting. I wonder how well it fits. I’d like to see someone wearing it. I don’t know about one size, etc. as I had really bad luck with my Blackberry Aran. 3 people could have worn it at once!!
    The Phang is quite interesting. If I had one I’d just put it in my studio along with other spinning/knitting tools until I could call upon it to do its’ job!! I really like wood.

  3. Hey, thanks for introducing me the phang! Now I have been watching videos of all the supported spindles and it looks very interesting, like a new dance to learn. My drop spindle works very well, but…yeah, I would like to learn some new spinning coreographies 🙂

  4. Oh that Stephen!! How clever is that Mesa! Loved his Swants too 🙂
    Really liked the green from Mosley Park and I think you are right, all of the colours you chose would work for the Mesa. NO pressure but we will be waiting …

  5. I love the way you talk about the different sheep, and rabbits, the yarns and fleeces come from. You’ve chosen such beautiful rich colours. I know fleeces are dyed after being shorn off a sheep but I can’t help but think it would be fun if the were dyed before, I like the idea of a flock of indigo sheep. That Phang is such a lovely object!

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