Tag Archives: rawfleeces

Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2016

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and some shopping.


I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic students.   Unfortunately, I only got pictures of my raw fleeces class because I had a bit more time.  It’s so rewarding to see the moment a new skill “clicks” with a student.


On Friday I taught Lace Knitting 101 and after talking about yarn and needle selection we worked through a couple swatches to learn some common lace stitches and how to read lace charts.  Saturday morning I taught raw fleeces and I talked about selecting a fleece before we hand processed some samples of wool and alpaca.  Lastly, I taught Bead Knitting Rockstar Saturday afternoon.  We talked about bead selection and worked through different ways of adding beads to knitting.  If you took one of my classes I’d love to see what you’ve done!

Around teaching I did a little shopping. I also ordered two skeins from Copper Centaur, which Lucy is dying up for me this week.


Non-Yarn/Fiber Goodies

Combing Spray – Something new to try!  I’ve seen recipes/formulas for combing spray but didn’t have easy access to all the supplies.  When I saw this I wanted to give it a shot. The idea is it will decrease the fly-aways when combing.  I bought the lavender scent.  The seller is Twistery Fiber here.

Soap – I’m a sucker for natural soaps since they are a lot less likely to make my skin itch (and I can recognize all the ingredients).  I bought lavender scented goat milk soap.  The soap is made by Gina’s Essentials here.

Two 3oz DK weight skeins of merino from Knitted to a T.  The deep blue color is called Sapphire.  I think I might knit another Curl shawl with it.

Hand-dyed self-striping yarn from a new company – BaH Yarns (Brenda and Heather Yarns).  This is the Mr. Sparkle Base, a blend of superwash merino wool, silk, nylon and glitz.  The colorway is Winter Sunset, stripes of yellow, orange, coral and purple.

Lastly, from A Good Yarn, is handpainted 100% superwash merino.  The first skein is a gray with spots of teal.  The second skein is dark gray, nearly black.  I plant to use these together in the form of stripes.


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Fiber Washing – Raw Merino


Let’s have a little math lesson.  Raw merino fleece + perfect weather conditions = fiber processing day.  What constitutes perfect weather conditions? Light breeze (very light), sunny, low humidity and 65-80 degrees.  Since that’s what came together Saturday I just had to do some fiber processing. Shameless plug: If you’re interested in learning how to select and process fleeces at home take my class on raw fleeces at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in early July – details under the Classes -> Live Classes page.


This is 5 pounds of raw merino I bought last year and did not get cleaned before winter (partially due to that little finger injury that resulted in an open wound for several weeks).  As much as I recommend washing your wool the same season you bring it home, this seems to have faired ok.  The locks themselves are very clean and there’s very little VM in the coat.  The biggest challenge is the tips.  They are compacted (not felted, just compressed) and trapped in those tips is a fair amount of dirt.  Some of the fleece is a bit yellow but it washed out easily.

First step was to get setup inside.  I use my kitchen because of the ease of access to hot water.  The salad spinner is my secret weapon.



I had a little helper outside.  Although he found it much more fun to run circles around my feet and bite my skirt.  Then he discovered the noisy joy of lifting the plastic watering can with his snout and dropping it to the ground.  Good times.

I did a little test on what to use to wash the fleece.  Historically I’ve always used Unicorn Fibre’s Power Scour with great results.  Last year I bought some Kookaburra Scour to test out.  I did this test on just a few locks (for each Scour) as I was trying to figure out how many washes/rinses I would need.  The Power Scour from Unicorn Fibre still wins big time.  If you wash medium to high lanolin fleeces or generally have very dirty fleeces you need this stuff.  Its unscented and cleans so well.  The biggest turn off for me on the Kookaburra was the smell.  It’s labeled as a peroxide, alkali, phosphate and enzyme free cleaner but to me it had a strong smell that I couldn’t quite identify.  It wasn’t quite a chemical smell but it wasn’t pleasant and it was quite strong.  In terms of cleaning power, it was meh.  For the same quantity, the Power Scour did a better job. And Power Scour has no smell to me.  So, I’ll be sticking with it (although I do need to order more).

I got as far on Saturday of testing washing about 1.5 shoebox quantities of fiber.  I know I need three washes and two rinses. I also know (and this is the time consuming part) I need to open up those tips with my fingers and carefully place the locks in the mesh bags to try to maintain some lock structure.  This is so it will be easier to comb later on.

Five pounds is a bit daunting so I’ve broken it up into about 1 to 1.5 pound increments.  It will still take a good long while but I still plan have it ready for combing by the fall.  Then there are the two alpaca fleeces I have left. . .

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2016

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a couple new classes!


I had five students across three classes.  All very lovely and smart and engaging which makes for a wonderful experience.   I switched the raw fleece activity to allowing students to look at the samples in the bags to identify, rather than just feeling.  Still pretty challenging.  The beading class may be my current favorite.  It is so fun to not only teach a skill but to see the opportunities it opens up for modding existing non-bead patterns.  And I didn’t drop a single bead on the floor. And, I had everything I needed! The same classes will be offered June 3 and 4 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Class fee is $35 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.

I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning so Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  There were a lot of changes to vendors this year and with my old favorite gone (miss you Fiber Optic) I focused on discovering new to me dyers.


My only Friday afternoon stop was at Bur Oak Studio for these flattened knitting needle bracelets.  I’d seen them online but given my itsy-bitsy wrists I needed some help with resizing.  Jen helped me adjust the size of the bracelets and I bought three.  Fun to wear and I love “upcycling.”


I kept to buying only one bag, which was hard.  This Harry Potter print of this bag by Supernatural Yarns captured my attention (she has more bags on her linked Etsy site). The funny part of this was who I bought it from.  I saw the name of the vendor, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, and recognized the name, but knew I didn’t know it from prior years at the event.  I knew it wasn’t local to me either.  Then it dawned on me – it’s one of the local yarn shops back in Columbia, Missouri where I used to live. Doh! I talked with the owners, who recently bought the shop back from a prior owner and am excited to see the changes.  They had some hand dyed yarns from Missouri/Kansas based indies, as well as other fiber tools.  I’m going back home to Missouri in June so I’m hoping to stop by there.


One of my first booths to visit on Saturday was Copper Centaur Studios, which is where I bought the yarn last year for my newly released Grace Fryer Shawl.  I was excited to show Lucy the shawl and after they took pictures of the shawl actually displayed it for the rest of the afternoon, which was lovely.  I knew from last year they carried fine thread and was able to pick some up to use for plying with beads in my spinning.  The thread is on the black cones in the top picture.

Moving on to yarn.  IceMelon’s Stash is a new to me indie dyer from Michigan.  You can check out her Etsy site here. I bought two different sock yarns, one of which I plan to use for a cowl.  That one is the colorway Darkle (blues, purples and gray) on the Oculus Sock base, a merino/cashmere/nylon base. The second one, which I think I might use for socks, is Vellamo, bright blues and greens, on her Alrisha base, merino/nylon/stellina. Yes ya’ll, I bought sparkle yarn.


Not so new to me because they’ve been at Stitches before was Leading Men Fiber Arts.  Squishy stuff, ya’ll, and a lot of different colors.  I bought one skein which they are custom dyeing for me so it can be on a fingering weight merino base.  The color is OMG Squee and is pretty much the whole rainbow.  I also got the below skein of laceweight in the colorway Eternal Kiss.  It’s an 80/20 silk blend that feels amazing.


Lastly, I bought some lace weight from A Good Yarn, which is a local dyer just south of Indianapolis.  I actually won the purple skein at the event’s get together Friday night and wanted to get some more in a complimentary color.  While she’s not new to me as a dyer this is a new base and is a lovely 80/20 merino/silk blend.  Apparently I had a thing for laceweight merino/silk blends – must be the weather.

That’s all folks!

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2016 Classes – The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana

Gray Alpaca Raw Fleece

Its that time of year again!  Registration is open for The Fiber Event and I will be teaching two knitting classes and one fiber class.  I’m so excited for this opportunity.

The Fiber Event is April 15 and 16 in Greencastle, Indiana, which is about an hour west of Indianapolis.  A ton of vendors and a lot of great classes.  Registration fee is $40 for each three-hour class and now you can sign up on their website here.  You will see that there are a fixed number of spots available for each class so sign up now if you’re interested!


Friday, April 15, 9:00am-12:00pm – Lace Knitting 101

Friday, April 15, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Raw Fleeces Identify and Demystify

Saturday, April 16, 9:00am-12:00pm – Bead Knitting Rockstar

If you can’t make it to the class or would like a specialized focus please see my page here for private lessons.


Classes at The Fiber Event:

Raw Fleeces – Identify and Demystify

SoakingSo you want to buy your first raw fleece, but which one should you choose? Then what do you do with it? In this class you will discover what to consider when buying a fleece and what options are available for cleaning your fleece. We will examine wool, alpaca (suri and huacaya), angora and mohair to learn what constitutes a great raw fleece and what to watch out for. Then, participate in a discussion about skirting, washing and flicking for different types of fiber while we clean small samples from start to finish. Students will leave with a fiber selection and cleaning guide, as well as two washed samples.

Materials fee is $13, payable directly to me at the start of class, and covers all samples, handouts and the cleaning guide.


Lace Knitting 101

UntitledLearn to knit lace like a pro! This class will cover yarn and needle selection, basic increases and decreases, chart reading, shawl construction and lifelines. After practicing with small swatches we’ll start a lace shawl you can continue knitting on at home. Learn tips and tricks that will take lace from scary to addictive.

Sneak peak: The shawl will be my brand new, and not yet released, Grace Fryer shawl.

Bring to class: 32 inch circular needle in a size US 6., at least 400 yards of fingering or sock weight yarn for shawl, extra samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching (I will have some but you are welcome to bring your own).

Materials fee is $12, payable directly to me at the start of class, and covers shawl pattern, highlighter tape, stitch markers and handouts.

Bead Knitting Rockstar

UntitledLearn to add beads to your knitwear for texture and bling. You can choose small subtle beads for a shimmer or contrasting beads for a pop of color. This class will cover how to choose the right beads, two methods for adding beads to your knits (pre-stringing or as you go) and how to place beads for a desired effect.

Bring to class: Fingering or sock weight yarn(you are welcome to bring multiple samples), 16 or 24 inch circular needle in a size appropriate for your yarn.

Materials fee is $13, payable directly to me at the start of class, and covers beads, crochet hook, big-eye beading needle and handouts.


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Raw Fleeces Webinar from Interweave

I’ve alluded a couple times in prior posts that I have some exciting news.  I wanted to wait until I had more information to share and now I do!  Spinning Daily (part of Interweave Press) asked me if I was interested in presenting a webinar on raw fleeces.  Of course I said yes, so on August 24th at 1pm Eastern I will be providing a one hour overview on selecting and cleaning raw fleeces!


As with my other classes I’ve put all the details over here on my classes page, but let me give you the skinny.  In contrast to my normal three hour live classes, this will be a one hour overview via a powerpoint presentation.  It’s $20 and slides will be able to all attendees after the live webinar.  If you can’t attend the live webinar, an audio power point version will be available afterwards.  So, if you’re ever the least bit curious about buying and cleaning your own fiber, this is a perfect introduction to get you going.

If you’re interested and would like to sign up, please click on the sign up link on my classes page here.  If you have questions please email me at floofymoose@gmail.com.  I’m so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait for August 24th!   062

Here’s the summary of the webinar I put together with Spinning Daily.

About the Web Seminar:

So you want to buy your first raw fleece, but which one should you choose? Then what do you do with it? Do you have a stack of fleeces in your garage you’re unsure what to do with? Processing a raw animal fleece gives you control over the progression from animal to finished object. Choosing a raw fleece and processing it can be an intimidating process. Understanding the process, and how the fibers and methods impact you choices, will help you maximize your results.

 Courtney will guide you through an overview of what to consider when buying a fleece and what options are available for cleaning your fleece. She will discuss wool, alpaca, angora and mohair to learn what constitutes a great raw fleece. Then, she will walk viewers through the process of cleaning a fleece – skirting, washing, drying and flicking the locks. Drawing on her fiber processing experiences, including lessons learned the hard way, she will cover what to watch out for when buying a raw fleece, what types of soap work best, different drying methods and tools used for flicking tips. Using close up photos, see exactly what Courtney does to select the perfect bag of fiber and produce a clean fleece with confidence.

Raw wool fleece

What You’ll Learn:

  • Select a raw animal fleece that meets your needs
  • Understand different types of animal fibers including wool, alpaca, mohair and angora rabbit
  • Skirt a fleece to remove veg matter, short cuts and other undesirable pieces
  • Wash and dry a fleece for superior results
  • Flick locks to prepare the fiber for spinning, combing or carding

Who Should Attend:

  • Handspinners who want to buy their own animal fleeces with confidence
  • Handspinners who would like to clean animal fleeces
  • Knitters or crocheters who want to buy their own fleeces for processing at a fiber mill
  • Fiber animal owners who want to understand what spinners look for in a raw fleece



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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2015

Another fiber festival is in the books! I had a wonderful class with two fantastic students.   I did some shopping, some socializing, some teaching and then some more shopping and socializing.

Non-Yarn/Fiber Goodies

Happy Hands Lotion – This stuff is great for knitters and spinners because it dries quickly and isn’t greasy.  Today I bought the Clover scent.  I also like Mandarin Clove and Sweet Dreams.  Our local yarn shop, Starstruck Cat, carries the lotion and it is available directly from the Etsy site here.

Yarn Bowl – This is the second year I’ve bought a yarn bowl from this vendor, Beech Grove Clay Works.  The glaze jobs on their work is amazing, as well as patterning in the clay.  And, they are reasonably priced.

Project Bag – Another project bag from Unique Petites.  These have a flat bottom so they stand up.

Yarn Ball Pin – This was actually a gift from a vendor (Froebe Fibers) Patty and I both bought the same yarn from.  And she will be at Stitches (as a participant, not a vendor) – we hope to see her there!

Yarn and Fiber

021An alpaca/merino/tussah silk braid from Knitted to a T.  The electric/denim blue colors are deeply saturated.  The colorway name is Janie’s Got a Gun.

014Hand-dyed yarn from Froebe Fibers.  This is the Shady Leprechaun Lace, a blend of 70% superwash merino and 30% silk.  There are 1090 yards in the 100 gram skein.  The colorway is a silvery gray with bits of teal blue/green over it and she dyes using food-safe dyes.  Her online store is here.

019Lastly, and from a new to me dyer, is yarn from Copper Centaur Studios.  The dye on her yarns is a deeply saturated tonal, nearly solid.  The base for the yarn I bought is Slightly Silky – a very squishy fingering weight blend of 80% superwash merino and 20% silk. The colorway is “Intentional Tardis” and is destined to be a Dr. Who shawl.

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2015

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as my first class!

I had four people signed up for my class and three show.  I don’t want to give out in spoilers but I learned a few things.  Identifying fibers is challenging, I dislike yelling over heaters and I need to allow more time for the activity.  But, I had everything I needed!

Shopping commenced right after teaching and lunch, of course.  I did most of my shopping Friday afternoon and ran into a lot of friends.What did I buy? Gray angora, undyed merino, undyed silk (all for blending), dyed black alpaca/silk from Spotted Circus and dyed alpaca from Fiber Optic and a card-it up kit from Hello Purl.

By the time I got home Friday I was *worn out*.  My family arrived that evening and Saturday morning I took them to the fiber festival – their first ever.  Chris was delighted to learn he could just about everything and his favorite question quickly became “what kind animal is this?”.  You’ve got to admit he has good taste – camel and silk.

My parents bought me this cute knitting tote from The Felted Garden.

003I bought my mom this bracelet as an early Mother’s day gift from Bur Oak Studio.

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Greencastle Fiber Show Prep

It’s the night before and I’m packed up and ready to go. PS – I’m posting this straight from the iPhone app so I apologize if it looks funny.


Everything for my class is packed up and now in the back of my car. I’m reasonably certain I haven’t forgotten anything.


Most important – samples for my students. I know I’ll have at least four students plus possibly any late people who want to sign up. I’ve got enough kits for 12, which should be more than plenty. Any I don’t use will be saved for the June class. There is some awesome 17 micron merino in those sample kits. So awesome I bought some for me!


Snacks and Dew for the day. I have oatmeal and tea for breakfast but will need the caffeine to keep it up. And I’m hoping with the snacks to not have to buy lunch there.


And last but not least, my shopping bag and purse.  Phew! Now, wake up by 6:15. Although, bed by 10:30 on the night before – pretty amazing!

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2015 Fiber Classes – Greencastle and Hoosier Hills

Gray Alpaca Raw FleeceI promised a post about the classes I’m slated to teach this year and here it is! I’m teaching the same class twice – once in mid-April and once in early June.  As of today, that’s as far out as I have anything scheduled.  If you’re interested in taking this class or something on a different topic in a private setting please see my “Classes” tab above.

As a little preview I will say I’ve been getting my hands on some different fibers for us to examine, including mohair and some alpaca with short cuts, and I have a fun activity planned at the beginning of class to test your fiber ID knowledge.  I think this will be a ton of fun and very educational if you’re interested in buying fleeces.

Class Description:

Raw Fleeces – Identify and Demystify

So you want to buy your first raw fleece, but which one should you choose? Then what do you do with it? In this class you will discover what to consider when buying a fleece and what options are available for cleaning your fleece. We will examine wool, alpaca (suri and huacaya), angora and mohair to learn what constitutes a great raw fleece and what to watch out for. Then, participate in a discussion about skirting, washing and flicking for different types of fiber while we clean small samples from start to finish. Students will leave with a fiber selection and cleaning guide, as well as one or two washed samples.

  • April 17 (Friday) 9am-12pm at The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana.  $35 plus $12 materials fee.  Click here to sign up. Greencastle is about a little over an hour west of Indianapolis.
  • June 6 1-4pm at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, Indiana.  $30 plus $12 materials fee.  Click here to sign up. Franklin is about 30 miles south of Indianapolis.


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2015 Events (and Teaching a Class)

I’ve started thinking about what events I’m going to attend in 2015.  It’s always subject to change but as of today I plan on going to each of these.  Please let me know if you will be at any so I can say hi! I will also be teaching in April at The Fiber Event.


  • Roving Indiana Yarn Crawl in Central Indiana (2/27-3/15) – There are a lot more stores this year so I don’t know if I will hit all of them but I will likely spend a day going around to different shops with friends.
  • The Fiber Event at Greencastle in Central Indiana (4/17-4/18) – This is really the big fiber festival for us in Indiana.  It’s always well attended with a competition and classes.  I usually go both days, especially if taking/teaching a class.
    • EXCITING NEWS: I am teaching a class at this event! More details in my next blog post!
  • Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Central Indiana (6/5-6/6) – Sometimes I take a class here, sometimes I don’t.  Unless I take a class, I will only go one day.
  • And the biggie! Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, Illinois (8/7-8/9) – I will be there Friday through Sunday with friends.  Likely not taking any classes but will have plenty of time to shop, relax and knit/spin in the lobby.
  • The Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio (TBD) – Dates haven’t been announced yet and this is my “iffy” one since stitches in the month before.  But, I really like all the vendors that come to this one.

If you’re new to the world of fiber events I wrote the following post last year on Preparing for a Fiber Festival.  Once I hear more about the possible class at Greencastle I will be sure to let you know!

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