Raw Material: Working Wool in the West

Raw Material: Working Wool in the West

Raw Material: Working Wool in the West is a new book by Stephany Wilkes. Stephany is a certified sheep shearer, wool classer, and author. She had another life before this one and you can read about her transition to her sheep-y career in the book. She lives in San Francisco.

I love this book. I had not heard about it before receiving a copy for Christmas from my resident sociologist and I read the entire thing in a few days. The story starts with Stephany’s experience in shearing school, a journey she undertook on something of a lark because she wanted to figure out why her local California yarn store had no California-made yarn. California is the second largest wool-producing state in the US after Texas and it didn’t make sense that there was no local yarn in the shop. California produces a lot of wool, but almost none of it is processed within the state.

Big loom decisions and messing around with color

Big loom decisions  and messing around with color

With #studiofridays in full swing now, I have loom decisions to make.

On my first Friday of the year, I warped my Leclerc loom. To be honest, I don’t have a concrete plan for what to weave on this loom. I do have a consultation client who just purchased one and had some questions about warping. So I cut off the two holiday pieces you can see on it here and set about putting a useable warp on it.

Studio Fridays

Studio Fridays

In yesterday’s blog post I talked about my focus on writing my book for the next four months. I came to that under pressure of deadline and with some wise words from Liz Gipson, aka the YarnWorker.

Another good artist friend said something to me over the holiday break that really stuck because it was said so honestly and with a genuine intention to help me see myself better. She said,

Just pick one right now

Just pick one right now

I have lots of ideas. There is never a span of time where I don’t have forty-five things I could choose to do right that moment. At least a handful of them at any one time are projects that I feel are important and need to be done as soon as possible.

Being creative and having lots of exciting things to work on is not a bad thing. But it does lead me to feel discouraged from time to time. Because I try to say yes to it all, I often don’t finish one thing for a very long time.

Yarn-mas: winter adventures and a congregation of knitted creatures

Yarn-mas: winter adventures and a congregation of knitted creatures

I had a bit of a vacation over the holidays. A few days in my hometown of Gallup, New Mexico and some time high in the Collegiate Peaks area of Colorado. I laughed with my family and friends, took leisurely walks in the desert, snowshoed in the mountains, and while chatting, doing puzzles, and playing games, I knitted. With all that time around kitchen tables I probably could have knit half a sweater. But I didn’t. Instead I made a gaggle of tiny creatures.*

The chickens were my favorite. They showed up everywhere and eventually a gang of punk-rock chickens appeared.

The best Christmas Tree ever

The best Christmas Tree ever

When I was a kid, my father had an ongoing joke every. single. year. He threatened to paint a Christmas tree on a white window shade* To decorate the tree, all you had to do was grasp the bar at the bottom of the shade firmly and pull down. At the end of the season, grasp the same bar, give a sharp downward tug and let go and the shade would roll up.

Needless to say neither me or my sister thought this was funny. And every year Dad stuck a real tree in a stand. In later years they were trees in pots from the nursery which were planted after Christmas in the back yard and all died about two months later.

Maybe this suggestion that real trees were a lot of work when brought inside the house has stuck with me. Or maybe I’m just fundamentally lazy. But a real tree has not found its way inside my house since I left home.**