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  • 11 Mar 2022 11:21 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Welcome to the Blue Ridge Blanket Project! First things first.  Below I list where else to find information on this project and how to get involved.


    • Donate to Local Cloth to support the Blue Ridge Blanket Project (LC-BRBP).  Find out details and how to donate here.
    • Get involved!  Are you a fiber farmer or fiber artist and want to get involved?  Contact us
    • Volunteer to participate in this project, there are many different aspects from skirting fleeces to weaving; business and marketing; and research.

    More Information on the Blue Ridge Blanket Project:  


    Local Cloth, a non-profit in Asheville, is undertaking a challenging and multifaceted project that springs directly from our mission statement.

    “Local Cloth is dedicated to growing and supporting the fiber economy in Western North Carolina through education, inclusive programming, and services which add value to local products. We advocate for our regional community of farmers, artists, makers and designers.”

    The first segment of this project named The Blue Ridge Blanket Project (BRBP), is now funded by a Natural and Cultural Resources grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina with a funding period of Oct1, 2021-Dec 30, 2022.

    The overarching goal of this project for Local Cloth, it members and volunteers, is to identify and develop the materials, methods, and networks to build future for-profit endeavors for fiber artists, farmers, and companies. Thus, Local Cloth will participate directly in re-booting the Western North Carolina fiber industry. 

    The location of Local Cloth in Asheville’s River Arts District, in the center of a region supporting numerous fiber artists, fiber farmers, and a strong tourist market will help support the development of the fiber market.  Local Cloth, individual fiber artists, and the regional colleges and universities such as Haywood Community and Warren Wilson Colleges, offer excellent education in various aspects of fiber arts for the aspiring fiber artist/craftsperson.

    Specifically, the first aspect of this project is to work with local farmers and local fiber mills to produce yarns for weaving blankets. Weavers will be engaged to weave sample scarves and blankets (about 40” by  60”). Possible threading and treadling examples have been made by Melanie Wilder of Local Cloth and a teacher at Warren Wilson College.  A fiber was selected that is similar to a blend developed at Local Cloth called Blue Ridge Mountain Blend (wool/mohair/alpaca). 


    In preparation for making a small scale run, volunteers at Local Cloth skirted alpaca and angora goat fleeces (mohair). Ruth Ann Goss and Louise Nuttle at Two Roots Fiber Mill blended a Rambouillet x Romney, a fine wool from a farm outside of Franklin, NC. with Alpaca and Mohair after cleaning the fleeces.  2 ply yarn was spun by Two Roots Fiber Mill. 



    The Natural Dye Interest group is in the process of dyeing about half of the yarn, with the remaining yarn to be left undyed. From the Natural Dye Interest Group:

    "We've dyed with Indigo, Madder and Walnut thus far.  Next up: Weld!  Our Weld is sourced locally, from Warren Wilson College.  We will dye with Weld on its own for a brilliant yellow and over dye light blue Indigo with Weld for a green.  We also plan to dye with Lichen for a purple hue, and possibly some more Madder. "



    The next two small runs will be with local Shetland wool and from a large donation of Polled Dorset wool.  See a previous blog describing the Polled Dorset story.


    With samples in hand, the market for blankets (and perhaps scarves) will then be explored and developed to best address a successful commercial context.

    In this blog, which will be regularly updated, you will periodically get to read about and see photos of behind-the-scenes work. I know I have many questions to ask and I hope you the readers do as well.  Please leave questions on the blog, contact Local Cloth, or email me and I will add the answers!

  • 27 Feb 2022 1:22 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    The in-person and virtual handwork circle participants have so many interesting projects.  For those of you not present or only present on the Zoom handwork circle, photos of past and present projects are wonderful to archive and look back upon later.


    Joanne D’Andrea, for example, is an expert quilter.  She and her friends had a great idea to make squares for quilts in collaboration with each other.  Each person made a center square establishing their “look”, especially their colors that would define the quilt.  Then, the squares are exchanged with another for the next series of additions in the log cabin pattern, and so on, until the quilt top is completed. In the end, each person ends up with a quilt top to finish. Here is what they look like now (some are detail photos; the overall views are labeled with the quilter’s name):


    Have you ever felt that fiber reactive dyes are wasteful?  Unlike acid dyeing wool where all the dye is taken up, fiber reactive dyes are quite inefficient. Joanna has taken paper and placed it below fabric being ice dyed and achieved some beautiful results.  What I find exciting is that they are not one big blur of color but have white undyed spaces in places.  Joanna then sat about doodling with a pen to create something entirely new.  I have to say it reminds me of Nancy Gamon and her ice dyeing and noodling around over pictures. Check out her YouTube videos

    Here are some of Joanna's pieces from her ice dyeing experiments:

    starting pieces:

    with drawings superimposed:


    Camille Daunno has made an unusual basket with fiber and rings. Beautiful colors! First the rings with crochet and then assembled:

  • 11 Feb 2022 4:10 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Spinning Samples.

    Last week, the Spinning Interest Group at Local Cloth worked with two samples brought by Judi Jetson, the leader of this interest group.  The first was some washed Blue Ridge Mountain Blend (wool, mohair, and alpaca).  We have explored an earlier version last year during one of our interest group meetings (blog link here; Blue Ridge Mountains Blend #1, 30% Montadale, 25% Shetland, 25% Alpaca, 20% Mohair).  The second sample we explored this month was some washed Polled Dorset.  

    The Blue Ridge Mountain Blend, made from fibers grown by farmers in our Blue Ridge Mountain Fibershed, will be woven into blankets as a part of the Blue Ridge Blanket Project.  More on that later; a new link in the Local Cloth webpage is nearing completion and I plan to periodically blog on the progress of this newly funded initiative by Local Cloth.

    Our interest group participants enjoyed spinning this fiber because it was very easy to spin, soft to the touch and fuzzy, and had a lovely sheen creating an overall beautiful result.  I spun singles from which Judi made two-ply yarn.  Below is a photo of the resulting yarn. I will test it knitted up and save a portion for weaving by others.

    Blue Ridge Mountain Blend.  Z-spun singles were spun into 2-ply using the single ball, two end method.

    The second sample the Spinning Interest Group explored was a small amount of hand washed Polled Dorset fleece.  We found that this portion of the fleece was sensitive to the method of washing because many noils were generated during the washing process.

    An article by Kate Larson, 2018, in Spin Off Magazine describes differences between neps and noils with illustrations and ascribes them primarily to processing errors, particularly when washing very sensitive fleeces.  Fibers contained within raw fleeces can break and tangle for a number of reasons including disease.  Some fiber folk use the terms neps and noils interchangeably.

    Never-the-less, during our session we tried combing, carding, and drum carding this fiber.  Everyone gave up on it finding it too hard to spin and many hated the noils that clung tightly to the fiber. We all agreed that it should be processed professionally.  I, however, driven by a stubborn streak and beingmore tolerant of noils, persisted with some hand carded fiber and got the results shown below.  I don’t mind the fluffy bits that stick to the wool as I spin!

    The above two photos show the Polled Dorset sample formed by spinning z-singles and then chain plying.  The yarn was knit using #8 knitting needles.  

    Skirting Polled Dorset fleeces.

    Anthony Cole was the origin of the Polled Dorset fleeces.  He is a sheep shearer and 5th generation farmer living in Leicester, NC who after shearing Polled Dorset sheep didn’t want to keep the fleeces. After contacting Judi Jetson, he donated a 700 lb contractor bag filled with fleeces to Local Cloth. It still sits at the spot he deposited it because no one can move it!  

    Following the decision of our spinning group and others to send the fiber to a mill for processing, a skirting event was organized for once per week over several weeks. Volunteers will complete skirting the fleece to save on cost before bringing to a mill for processing.

    Joining Judi and me at the first session was Josephine Brewer, Natalie Pollard, and her daugher Rosa Lee.  Later Elizabeth joined me to finish and clean up.  Elizabeth Strub of Hobby Knob Farm is a local fiber farmer and knows more about skirting a fleece.

    So my first experience of skirting taught me it is an experience in lanolin.  Lovely stuff in my opinion.  First it feels dampish on your hands and then dries a bit later. Great for cracks in your fingers in the winter! Lanolin is also called grease.  And, when spinning fiber that contains some, it is called spinning in the grease.  

    On the freshly sheared fleece, lanolin is mixed with dust, dirt, and sweat from the sheep.  Throw in some bits of hay and some wood chips and you have a dirty fleece.  It depends greatly on the type of surface that sheep encounter as to how much and what kind of dirt is retained in the wool.  The neck, maybe the legs, the stomach, and the sheep’s bottom are especially dirty and bits of fleece there might be culled during skirting as too dirty or short.

    Thus, skirting a fleece has nothing to do with a skirt that you wear.  This is the first observation of the complete novice.  It also is not exclusively an experience in picking out bits of dirt by hand. One must remove as much debris as possible, short cuts, weak or disease-affected fibers, and any fibers that are too short to use.  We tried for at least 3” long when stretched out.

    Samples of bits of fleece from various locations and with varying qualities of fiber and dirt content.

    This section of the fleece is a keeper! Note the lovely crimp. The micron count was about 25 micrometers. The yellow is probably sheep sweat.

    Although we shook the fleece to remove loose dirt and debris, the top of the fleece (tips of the fibers) was facing down and the clean cut side up.  We flipped it over so that the dirty side was facing up and shook it and found that the short cuts adhering to the cut side fell out. There weren’t many.  Short cuts form when the shearer backs up the shears and cuts slightly closer to the sheep’s skin.  This results in the presence of short bits of fiber; these are too short to be processed and spun and so must be removed.

    This coming week, more skirting.  

  • 05 Feb 2022 9:50 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    As everyone knows, but sometimes get confused over, the Handwork Circle at Local Cloth has two different forms.  The Handwork Circle (HC) began just as covid began and when the studio was still located on Coxe Ave.  After an introductory meeting (March 6, 2020) and the beginning of the covid lockdown, we moved to a Zoom format (March 20, 2020).  The Rise of the Zoom World.

    While music jams failed to flourish on Zoom except as a social outlet, the Virtual HC florished, on Fridays from 4-6 pm, despite the visual deficits for sharing our work limited by monitors with poor resolution and poor color representation. As a result of the visual frustration, and because we were learning so much from each other and about each other, a blog was born to highlight our doings. Participants could email higher quality pictures of their work.  Check out the earlier blogs about these HC events on this site.  

    In May, 2021, we moved to Thursdays from 1-3 pm and then in June we switched to in-person Handwork Circles down at 408 Depot Street.  The new site of LC launched with the June 12, 2021 opening.  This new, expanded dye studio, learning center, Shop Local Cloth store, and resident artist booths is based in the River Arts District (RAD), fantastically across from a free parking lot. There, in the setting of warm, beautiful weather and the wonderful patio to the side of 408 Depot Studio, we saw each other in-person, often for the first time ever.  Alpha, beta, gamma, omicron come and go and so did fall and winter.

    Currently, the in-person, masked, sessions on Thursdays 1-3pm is indoors in the LC studio and is hosted by Cecilie (Ceil) Jensen.  NOTE:  the in-person is only on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month.  

    The 2nd and 4th and occasionally 5th Thursdays of the month, a zoom Virtual HC is held instead of in-person.  I lead this group.  There is overlap with the in-person participants, but the virtual group also incudes those who live too far away, those who can’t leave their home, and those who are avoiding covid/and/or having to wear a mask indoors.  Spring is not so far away now though!

    What is fun about the virtual group is that we get peeks into their home/studio space.  We can go find stuff to show as the topic of some type of handwork comes up.  We love to show our work.  It is validating. 

    The in-person group similarly likes to show things and you can actually touch it and see the real color and texture.  

    Last week a new participant came to the in-person group. Joanna D'Andrea joined our Local Cloth Handwork Circle. We were impressed with her art quilting and embroidery. She was an elementary teacher who took up handwork when she retired ten years ago. The piece with the Swiss flag is based on her high school years boarding in Gstaad, Switzerland. Her triptych is a view out her back windows here in Asheville. Welcome, Joanna!

  • 24 Jan 2022 2:54 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Here is the summary of the members meeting wrapping up 2021: our accomplishments, new board members, Strategic Planning introduction, show and tell, and membership volunteer opportunities.  Find the one that fits!!  


    We hope this finds you happy and healthy in the new year. We can't believe January is almost over! Thank you to all of the members who attended our virtual Annual Meeting last week. It was great seeing your faces and your handmade items. We hope you enjoyed the brainstorming breakout sessions and our guest Greg Walker Wilson. We have an exciting year ahead of us!

    If you would like to review the presentation please do so, we have included the link below. There were lots of great photos and recaps of the fun we had together last year, so many events and opportunities to connect with your fellow members.

    Also attached is the Annual Report as well as the Volunteer Opportunity List. If you are interested in joining a committee this is your chance. Local Cloth is growing and we want your input. The contact person for each committee is included, but as always if you have any questions feel free to reach out to

    Stay safe and warm,

    The Local Cloth Team

    Members were emailed the Annual Report and the Slideshow, so check your email!!

    Local Cloth Volunteer Opportunities

    Assistant Treasurer (1)

    2-3 hours per month, meet via zoom. Should be computer literate, good with numbers, and fun to work with. Help with all aspects of the Treasurer’s job, with an eye to becoming Treasurer in the future. Contact JoAnn

    Workshop Committee members (2)

    *Attend one meeting per month, first Tuesday of the month (currently on zoom)

    *Monitor class registrations and communicate with teacher and students as needed

    *During class: help teacher set up and clean up and help during class as needed

    ***Perks: Audit the class you monitor, no charge except materials fee

    Contact Joyce

    Retail - Shop Volunteers and Committee Members (several)

    Shop volunteers - Looking for fun and enthusiastic volunteers to work a 3-hour shift 1 to 2 times per month. You’ll get to work with customers, tell visitors about Local Cloth and show folks around the Studio.  Contact Betsy


    Retail committee meets once per month (Zoom or in person). Your role could be to communicate with vendors, find new vendors and invite them to apply to sell in the shop, review potential new items, tag merchandise, maintain display areas, or organize quarterly retail events.  Contact Beth


    Marketing Committee members (1 or 2) 


    Create calendar listings for Local Cloth events and workshops on the Explore Asheville website, Mountain Xpress online calendar, River Arts District webpage/FB/press releases.  Create Yelp, Trip Advisor and similar listings, and encourage members to leave reviews. Contact Caroline


    Membership/Volunteer Committee members (2 or 3)

    • Meet and greet new members and community groups while giving tours

    • Engage current members by reviewing membership profiles and matching skills with the people who need them

    • Plan new member orientation

    • Plan quarterly members events to help build networks and community. Contact Marilyn

  • 21 Jan 2022 9:41 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    You may have noticed that the LC blogger for the Handwork Circle (me) has taken a (very long) hiatus!

    MY DISTRACTIONS AT LOCAL CLOTH (all good and fun)

    There are so many things going on at Local Cloth that beg my attention, both in-person and zoomishly. 

    • There is the Shop Local Cloth in-person store where nearly 40 artists and craftsfolk (including me) sell their products.  
    • There is now the in-person handwork circle the first and third Thursdays of the month, 1-3pm.  It is currently led by Ciel Jensen, a neighbor of mine in Leicester as it turns out.  I lead the zoom handwork circle on all other Thursdays at the same time slot. 
    • There is the spinning interest group once a month where various things might happen, such as spinning marled yarn to help Judi Jetson who will be teaching a class on the subject.  
    • Or, as in this coming Sunday's spinning event, we will get to take a peak at the newly processed local fiber destined for the Blue Ridge Blanket project that has recently been funded.  Farmer-to-mill-to-spinner-to-weaver!  
    • And, we will be treated to a visit by Trish and Ann Hord-Heatherly who will discuss their fiber farm and bring fiber for us to drool over and buy.
    • Afterwards, since the board of Local Cloth has two retiring officers, a small party is planned to celebrate and thank them for their service.
    • And then a small meeting to plan for one aspect of SAFF coming up this fall!  
    • Oh, and then there are the times that I volunteer at the Shop Local Cloth store at 408 Depot St and in the process also become another customer what with the time to browse in between customers.  Shout out to Vasanto-I bought your felted purple vest.  I love it.  

    I am not the busiest person at Local Cloth by any stretch. Lots of wonderful volunteers; we are, after all, a non-profit.  


    Over the past year, the in-person handwork circle has proved very popular  and a few sessions were held outside prior to Omicron and the cold weather.  Even with masks, the in-person handwork circle is still popular.  There are some of us who are also very comfortable in the zoom circle despite the inability to see colors and projects very well. It is very cozy at home.  

    This past week was an unusual one since the Shop LC inventory prohibited the in-person group from meeting and so we carried on over Zoom. Yes we are having fun, and yes we are at home, and yes we look better in person and not with our chins in the air!  Susette Shiver, Camille Daunno, Karolyn Burkhart-Schultz, Paula Entin, Ceil Jensen, Mary Kelley, Rebecca Norris, Kathleen Lewis, Martha Brandon.  Yesterday Kathleen asked everyone to tell a bit of their history leading up to present day fiber interests which was fun.  We are a highly educated group.  A few have had lifetime professional interest in fiber.  The rest of us have had a lifetime hobbyist interest with recent increased education via classes at Local Cloth and elsewhere in town. Everyone has tried many techniques and fiber applications.  Rebecca is the only one we know, however, that stitches Japanese temari.  We hope that she will teach a class this year at Local Cloth or perhaps start an interest group.


    Several times we have discussed how to identify unknown fibers in the form of yarns and fabrics.  The burn test is very accessible to a novice, but requires more than a modicum of caution and preparation.

    Here are some recent data collected from the internet:


    a video and chart (see below)

    and another video on burn test for yarns.

    Signing out for today,

    See you all soon, 

    Susette Shiver

  • 03 Mar 2021 7:43 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    The Local Cloth Spinning Study Group began last September 2020 and each month we get together to spin four local fiber samples (currently on zoom, but.....soon together!).  

    Previous blogs have highlighted local fiber farmers, many of whom sell their fibers. 

    • You can go directly to their website or facebook page by checking out the Local Cloth blog "Highlighting Fiber Farmer LC Members" from 04 Jan 2021.
    • Check out for locally produced fibers, yarn, and more (~100 mile radius from Asheville).  (EDIT: 9/30/2022, the online shop is no longer available)

    Our running summary of the activity of the Spinning Study Group can be found at "Spinning Study Group Samples: Sept 2020 - to present"

    Jacob sheep

    at HobbyKnob Farm (Elizabeth Bell Strub)

    Conservation Breed (American Jacob), rare

    Ewe and Ram weights:  80-120, 120-180

    Fleece Weights: 3-6 pounds

    Staple length: 3-7" (HobbyKnob sample: 3.75", 4.3")

    Fiber diameters: 25-35 microns (HobbyKnob sample: 27 micron)

    Colors: white or lilac with black, brown-black, gray, brown, spots. 

    Horns: 2, 4, or occasionally 6

    Use: wool

    Live Stock Conservancy information on Jacob sheep.

    See also The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius, Storey Pubishing, 2013.


    This photo is taken from the HobbyKnob Facebook page where Elizabeth says "...these little twins are now 2 weeks old ... for those of you that don’t know, the spotting pattern is unique to each sheep, just like your thumbprint"


    Just like all of us, the mature critter looks rather different, and can be very diverse in appearance; see photos and this note from Elizabeth.  

    "They can have 2, 4 or more horns. Their spotting pattern is like our fingerprint, specific to every sheep. There is a wide range of acceptable traits for registration but they all must fall within a range of 15-85% color. Also a range of fleece character. Rams specifically cannot be finer than 23.5 micron. And yes, we test if we (the inspectors) believe a ram is too fine and he will fail if he is below 23.5. You will notice in one of the photos a lighter looking ewe, she has a color we refer to as “Lilac”  a dark color with a lavender like hue instead of black/brown. You can tell she is a bit lighter than the others. " Elizabeth Bell Strub


    This light colored Jacob is almost lavender in appearance (probably not adequately seen in the photograph).  



    This is a Jacob ram.  The rams can, amazingly, have different numbers of horns.  This guy has four horns (how must his neck feel at the end of a long day?).  As a scientist, I would find it fascinating to study the development of these horns from embryonic bud to fully developed adult horn and then try to understand the nutrition costs to the animal relative to coat production, for example.  


    This is his fleece seen from the top and parted to show down to the skin.

  • 31 Jan 2021 11:34 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Paula is bubbling over with ideas.  And, as she relays them to me, I will post here! Let's discuss at next Friday's V-circle this idea from Paula,

    I've only a couple of times tried to reverse engineer something - it's best to use cotton yarn for testing, because it's easier to rip out and doesn't felt, like wool would. 

    And being really diligent about keeping track, row by row, and change by change, is both essential and difficult.  The words "oh, I'll remember" should NEVER pass one's lips or thru one's mind! 

    Let's ask the group next Friday how many of us have done that! 

    cheers, paula

    And another message, this is to Martha!

    for Martha!

    dyeing with kitchen waste!  The avocado made me laugh at the memory of Martha's experiments. 

    cheers, paula

  • 28 Jan 2021 4:48 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    This page summaries the work of the Local Cloth Spinning Study group from its inception September 2020 to the present continuing via monthly meetings. Eventually, we plan to produce a booklet detailing information on fiber obtained from farmers and producers within our Blue Ridge Fibershed.  Updated last: Feb 2021

    Below are snapshots of fibers spun at study group sessions since September 2020 to jog our memories and so that others can see our starting materials. 

    • I hope to add photos of finished yarn down the road from the participants! 
    • Please see the blog entitled Local Cloth, Fiber Farmers for more details on many of the fibers and where they were obtained.  

    For the study, fiber samples are transported to Echoview Fiber Mill where various characteristics are measured.

    • Here is a link to a glossary of measurements made of our study fibers using the OFDA system at Echoview Fiber Mill.
    • In particular, fibers with a comfort factor (CF) of at least 95% are best for for clothing worn next to the skin, such as scarves. This means that 95% of the fibers have a measurement of 30 micrometer (abbreviated μm) diameter or less. For comparison, a human hair is between 17 μm to 181 μm.  
    • To see a wool fiber at the cellular level click here with indications of how the structures in a fiber contribute to the fiber's overall properties, from Woolmark.

    Summary of Fiber Characteristics

    • Listed below are the study group fibers listed by month with comfort factor, fiber diameter, and staple length data that is most relevant to spinners.  
    • Link to the Excel file for this data (Sept 2020- Mar 2021).  This chart and the reproduction below will be updated periodically.

    For reference, links to the actual data from Echoview Fiber Mill are listed below.

    Photographs of Fibers by Month

    September 2020

    Alpaca from Last Penny Farm

    Montadale from Windy Wool Windings

    Mohair from Good Fibrations

    Shetland from a farm in Henderson County

    October 2020

    Blue Ridge Fine #1 from Local Cloth

    Blue Ridge Blend #1 from Local Cloth (at top)

    Jacob from Hobbyknob Farm

    (CF = 73.3%, 74.2%; Micron 27, 27.1)

    Lincoln from Hobbyknob Farm

    (CF 28.8%, 28.2%; Micron 36.3, 36.1)

    November 2020

    3/4 Blue Faced (Border?) Leicester x 1/4 Leicester Longwool (first shear) from Love Handle Farm

    (CF= 54.9%, 59.4; Micron 30.0, 29.3)

    3/4 Cormo x 1/4 Corriedale from Martha Owen Woolens

    (CF= 93.5, 94.1; Micron 25.8, 25.2)


    Romeldale CVM from Windy Wool Windings

    (CF= 99.2%, 99.4%; Micron 22.2, 22.3)

    Tunis (Tebo Tete) from Wellspring Farm

    (CF= 59.7%, 60.4%; Micron 29.6, 29.5)

    December 2020

    Cormo from Sebette Hamil of Wooly Ridge Farm

    (CF= 99.1%, 99.2%; Micron 20.3, 20.5)

    Dorset from Brian Grimm of Blackberry Ridge

    (CF= 73.4%, 74.1%; Micron 28.0, 27.7%)

    Icelandic from Katie Gaddy of Hidaway Farm

    (CF= 40.1%, 73.7%; Micron 34.8, 26.9)

    Romney from Barnardsville 2019

    (CF= 51.8%, 47.3%; Micron 30.5, 31.0)

    January 2021

    Llama from Peace of Eden Farm

    (CF= 50%, 55.3%; Micron 31.9, 30.8)

    Merino from Khakalaki Farm

    (CF= 97.6%, 97.9%; Micron 21.1, 22.0)

    Black Shetland from Sourwood Fiber Farm

    (CF= 61.0%, 59.0%; Micron 29.5, 30.0)

    Teeswater from Dry Creek Naturals

    (CF= 18.6%, 15.6%; Micron 34.9, 35.0)

    Hand Spun Teeswater at Dry Creek Naturals

    February 2021

    Border Leicester from HobbyKnob Farm

    (CF= 40%, 43%; Micron 31, 32)

    Icelandic from Hand and Horn, Caroline Williford

    (CF= 30%, 71.7; Micron 27, 39)

    Merino from Wellspring Farm

    (CF= 100%; Micron 17)

    Mohair from Out-In-Jupiter

    (CF= 72%; Micron 28)

    March 2021


    Gulf Coast Native


    Romney X

  • 24 Jan 2021 4:37 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    So far this month of January, we have been meeting, making, and literally, chilling out. Cold weather is the best inspiration for making woolen sweaters, socks, and shawls; they keep your lap warm. January has also been a good month for quilting and sewing small creatures.  

    At the start of our first session this new year, Martha and I were treated to a gallery of tiny attendees lined up on Kathleen's sofa. 7 of them!  Kathleen may have admitted that the beautiful quilt over the back of the sofa is the only one she ever made. And, did I mention?  She is a professional sewist and retired from a business that she developed to manufacture clothing and other items to order. A consequence of her retirement is that she has a huge inventory of various leftovers from all the orders over the years and that now provide a constant supply of small animal parts to sew up : )

    Martha is demonstrating something in the photo above, but for the life of me I cannot remember what!!  The problem is unless I take notes and write the blog immediately, details fade. Since I'd rather knit and chat, I fail to write enough notes. At least this push-pull is trivial compared with the push-pull of home versus work obligations that I used to experience as a working mother!

    ....I am still trying to remember what Martha was talking about....ah! Perhaps it was when we were discussing Shibui yarns, Shibori knits, and Michael Smith's Shibori t-shirts. 

    First off, I had never heard of Shibui yarn. As I understand it, not having read in depth on the subject and not an expert myself, Shibui Knits, a small independent company, was founded in 2007 by Darcy Cameron in Portland Oregon.  According to the Shibui Knits website,

    "On a visit to Tokyo’s Ginza market in 2004, Darcy Cameron picked up a handwoven bag dyed with persimmons. She loved the bag’s pure simplicity, described by her Japanese friend as “very shibui,” or “elegant with a touch of bitterness.” This inspired an enduring aesthetic." 

    The Shibui Knits website store boasts already prepared and mixed yarns as well as the resources and instructions to blend your own yarn.  Using different yarns, yarn weights, and blended fibers you have to power to design the texture and look of your yarn; i.e., you direct the production of your yarn to your specifications. Their mix of yarns is spun together to create different textures in the knitted fabrics. Check out their resources page for more explanation.  This shop gets into the finer, more subtle details of knitting to allow you to explore textures and colors, to knit the project in the correct size you want, and using the best knitting techniques.

    I have to admit, the first time I glanced at my notes, I misread Shibori for Shibui.  Shibori yarn means dyeing hanks of yarn using tie, clamp, or other shape resist techniques.  Shibori knitting or crocheting would be, similarly, using shape resist on knit or crochet fabrics. From Interweave: "Asian Influence and the Magic of Shibori Dyeing", one learns how to indigo dye a piece of cloth created by crochet.

    I myself have hand dyed a knit hat and headband using Shibori clamp resist. The making of this hat reaches back to this past fall when I Iearned to spin yarn.  In September 2020, I attended the Fiber Farmer's Day 2020, and joined the Spinning Study Group of Local Cloth (Sign up here)!  This hat was made from hand spun Shetland fiber from Sourwood Fiber Farm, knitted, then Shibori clamp-resist dyed using pre-reduced indigo.  

    Another part of this Shibori discussion included Michael Smith.  He is behind Manifest Color and you should check it out for stunning Shibori designs on silk for starters and an extensive line of men and women's t-shirts.  His website is beautiful. If you are/were participating in Conversations on Cloth led by Yoshiko Wade and Ana Lisa Hedstrom, you might be able to visually parse the Shibori patterns to determine the type of Shibori resist used to create these complex designs.  

    Conversations with Cloth, Series I is hosted by Slow Fiber Studios and it has been an amazing learning experience for me.  Yoshiko Wada covers the history of traditional Japanese Shibori forms showing many examples in photos and from her collection.  She describes the techniques, both old and new, used to create them.  There is rich inclusion of film clips as well. In the second portion of the 2 h presentation, Ana Lisa Hedstrom presents work from current artists producing high end Shibori art, including her own work. For those who missed it, these streaming 2 hour Zoom episodes were recorded and will be issued as DVD's with additional learning materials sometime in 2021.

    Behind the quilt, in the photo below, Paula is holding up a recently finished quilt. In the next photo you will be able to see the contrasting front and back of her quilt. I apologize for the bad color representations in these quick screen shots! The true colors of the quilt are better represented in the small picture showing front and back beneath the larger photo.

    Martha Brandon has been making sweaters and such for grandchildren.  She just finished a hoodie sweater from a book entitled Kids' Knitted Seaters and More- by Cabin Fever Designers (2006).  However, if you want to get this book, it will have to be a second hand copy or you might find individual patterns from Cabin Fever Designers on Ravelry.

    Kids' Knitted Sweaters and More - Over 30 projects by Cabin Fever Designers

    I learned from Martha that a mattress stitch is the perfect stitch for attaching the hood since it looks the same on both sides. I'll have to ask her more about it and get a close up picture of the front and back of the hoodie she made. An internet search turns up, at top of the list, a YouTube video from Borocco Knit Bits.  In this video they show how to use the mattress stitch for joining two stockinette knit pieces side-by-side. However, I imagined the hood attachment joins the top of the body to the bottom of the hood, so it might be quite different.  Someone educate me!!

    In our last session on Jan. 24, 2021, Myrna joined us for the first time from Burnsville.  Myrna is a knitter amongst other things and she sent me several pictures illustrating her recently finished projects. The first photo shows The Lotus Crescent designed by Kieran Foley; the color work and the lace patterns surrounding the small color work patches is very eye catching.  Kieran Foley's webpage is entitled Knit/ Lab, Inventive Knitting Patterns by Ken Foley. I think Kieran Foley is part of the current wave of interest in knitting, particularly multicolor and complicated patterns of fabric construction. I might have to buckle down and actually learn some new tricks for my knitting! Myrna's second piece is a scarf with frills from the Knitting Stitch Bible.  

    We were marveling at something else that I ran across.  The art of using two sets of circular needles to knit two socks at once (each in the round). A quickie exploration on the internet that we screen shared in our Zoom session, led us to Tin Can Knits, a website of patterns for knitted seamless garments. There we saw a detailed description of the magic loop method.  Martha, a fount of knowledge concerning knitting, led the discussion on the best circular needles.  I have a dozen or more circular needles, with different length cords and different sizes and style of points.  What a mess in a box.  I never have the one that I want. Martha suggested the interchangeable sets.  Although much more expensive, in the end you have greater flexibility.  Her first choice, Knit Piks, she would not recommend.  However, Chiaoggo Twist, 4" or the 5" tip for larger projects are excellent.  The cords are red lace and of interchangable lengths. I still will probably always knit socks and mittens on 5 double point needles (I have a complete set). However, one goal of mine is to make a seamless sweater of the top down variety, in the round.  A higher goal is to do it using hand spun yarn.  Even reaching higher, I desire to make a top down sweater using hand spun, hand dyed yarn, designed by me including some  color stranded work. I will let you know in the next 10 years how it goes!

    See you soon!  Join us 4-6 Fridays for our Virtual Handwork Circle! You can sign up on the Local Cloth Workshops page--look for "V-Handwork Circle".

Local Cloth, Inc.

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Asheville, NC 28801

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