Author Archives: thewooleryguy

We Love Conservation Breed Wool!

Conservation Breed Wool Heart

Part of the fun of working with wool is that there are so many unique varieties of sheep. Wool from different breeds work better for different projects and having a choice is fun! In order to make sure we have choices in our wool fibers for the future, we need to work on conserving rare sheep breeds. Choosing to work with Conservation Breed Wool helps support the farmers and organizations who are working hard to preserve these breeds.

At The Woolery, we make an effort to provide a variety of Conservation Breed Wool options for you. We want to raise awareness and keep these rare and native herds around, so we thought we’d share a spotlight on some of our favorite Conservation Breed Wool!

Cotswold sheep

Cotswold Top
The Cotswold originates from the Cotswold Hills in the west of England. These sheep have a long history. They are thought to be descended from the white sheep that Romans brought to England over 2,000 years ago. They began to face extinction shortly after World War I due to cross-breeding and low demand. Largely due to increasing interest from fiber artists, the Cotswold population has been growing in recent years. Cotswolds have a distinguishing forelock on the front of their faces, almost as if they have bangs. The Cotswold is known for its heavy, wavy, lustrous locks.The fiber diameter ranges from 33-42 microns. It’s a great fiber for projects that need some extra durability like outerwear, rugs, and bags. We carry this fiber in 250g bags of top!

Jacob Sheep

Jacob TopNext up we have an American conservation breed! The Jacob does exist in Britain as well, but they were bred for different optimizations, so the populations are very different. The Livestock Conservancy lists the American Jacob population as “Threatened”. They are named for the biblical figure Jacob, because he bred spotted sheep. Jacobs are small and horned, with most having 2 or 4 horns. Unlike most other medium wool breeds, the Jacob has been bred with fiber quality in mind, making their wool sought after by both spinners and weavers. Also, because of their spotty nature, there are more natural color options than other sheep breeds can provide. We sell this 33-35 micron fiber in 250g bags of top in white, grey, and black.

Lincoln Longwool Sheep

Lincoln_Top_-_8oz_4The Lincoln Longwool was very popular in the mid 1800’s because the value of wool was high and they have an impressive appearance. They were exported in large numbers all over the world and have been crossbred with many different varieties. The original Lincoln breed is now very rare globally due to breeders favoring mutton production sheep over wool production. Part of this breed’s uncertainty is that breeder communities disagree as to whether or not darker colored animals should be considered registered Lincolns. These sheep produce one of the heaviest fleeces and their fiber can be used to make heavier sturdy items. We carry white Lincoln top in 250g bags.

Navajo Churro Sheep

Navajo-Churro TopThe Navajo-Churro has a long and complicated history in North America. The Churro was the first domestic sheep to be brought over from Spain in 1540. They were a main source of meat for explorers and missionaries in the region that is now Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Later, they became incorporated into Native American flocks for their meat and wool. The Navajo-Churro developed out of the Native American desire for quality weaving wool and the natural selection of the Southwestern climate. During the 1860’s, the Navajo-Churro was nearly destroyed due to the United States government’s efforts to subjugate the Navajo people.  Over time, very few scattered flocks remained. Dr. Lyle McNeal founded the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association in 1977 and worked with traditional weavers and herders of the southwest to protect the animals. The yarn produced from the wool of the Churro is very durable and long lasting with a beautiful sheen. Churro yarn produces excellent tapestries & rugs. The slight fuzziness of the yarn gives lines a gentle blur. Good for those who want to spin their own sturdy yarn and perfect for authentic Navajo weaving. We carry this 10-35 micron wool in 8oz bags in a mix of colors; black, brown, tan, grey, and white.

 

Teeswater sheep

teeswater-topTeeswater sheep have a very fine long curly fleece. They are native to the Teesdale area of County Durham in England.  Their main use today is crossbreeding to create the Masham ewe. Their long-stapled fleece is perfect for hand spinning, hand felting, doll making and many other craft uses.  A wonderful weaving yarn, Teeswater is extremely durable without the scratch or stiffness.  Knitted or crocheted items will have excellent stitch definition and will drape very nicely. We have Teeswater top available in 250g bags.

These five breeds are just a small selection of the Conservation Breed Wool we have available; head here to see the rest! If you’re interested in learning more about Conservation Sheep Breeds, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and The Livestock Conservancy are both great sources of information! Sign up for our newsletter if you want to know when we add new Conservation Breed Wool.

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What’s New at The Woolery – January 2018

It’s a new year and that means it’s time for… new stuff! We’re always getting fun new items here, but there is something extra fun about getting new things while we’re just starting out in 2018.

Rosie’s Dyed Bamboo Top

Rosie's Dyed Bamboo Top

We’re really excited about our new Rosie’s Dyed Bamboo Top! Bamboo fiber is made from bamboo pulp obtained through a process of hydrolysis and bleaching bamboo stems. This pulp is then wet spun in the same way as other pulp based fibers. This fiber is dyed in seven different vibrant colors.

 

Akerworks Swatch Gauge

Akerworks Swatch Gauge

This is the only swatch gauge tool you’re going to need! It offers both inches and centimeters and allows you to check both row and stitch gauge. The gripping teeth keep the tool in place so it doesn’t slip around while you are measuring.

 

Studio Craft as Career: A Guide To Achieving Excellence in Art-Making

Studio Craft as Career

If you’re thinking about turning your fiber art into a career, this could be a great read for you. Paul J. Stankard offers advice on self-directed learning as well as featuring 50 different art masters with their own works and advice for making a career out of art.

 

Wrist Ruler

Wrist Ruler

How cute are these? This is a handmade leather bracelet that is also a functioning ruler featuring both inches and centimeters! You’ll never be kicking yourself forgetting your tape measure again. They are super useful and stylish.

 

Erica Loom Stainless Steel Reeds

Erica Loom Stainless Steel Reed

Stainless steel reeds might not sound that exciting but if you are an owner of the Louet Erica Table Loom then they definitely are. We had these specially made for The Woolery and they offer the ability to weave with 6, 8, 12, or 15 dents. Previously the Erica was only able to weave with 10 but this makes it much more versatile!

 

Cestari Ashlawn Collection Yarn

Cestari Ashlawn Collection Yarn

New yarn is the best yarn. This new 75% cotton 25% wool yarn from Cestari is a 3ply DK weight. It’s Virginia cotton and merino wool and it comes in 8 different beautifully muted colors.

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Ask Nancy: Weaving Patterns

Ask NancyWe have a very topical Ask Nancy post this month if you’re thinking of participating in our Woolery Weave-Off!

Question:

I have just ordered a bunch of the Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn to make dish towels. Do you know of any patterns using 6/2 weight yarn? The only patterns I have found are for 8/2. I’m not experienced enough to know if I can use an 8/2 pattern with 6/2 yarn. Any help would be appreciated.

 

Answer: 
The 6/2 yarn works up in a plain weave structure very nicely at 15 or 16 ends per inch (EPI), and in a 2/2 twill at 18 EPI, and a 1/3 twill at 20 EPI.

Patterns in a book like Dixon’s Handweaver’s Pattern Directory or in the Davison book, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, don’t give you a size of yarn; they just give you a draft, which is usable in any size yarn as long as you use the appropriate sett for that yarn and that structure.  So for instance in plain weave, if you want to start out with 18” in the reed, you would wind a warp that is 18” X 15 EPI, or 270 ends.  If using 16 EPI as your sett, your calculations would be 18” X 16 EPI, or a warp of 288 ends.

If you are weaving any sort of 2/2 twill, you’ll need to consider the number of pattern ends in each motif, and adjust the number of total ends slightly to accommodate whole pattern repeats so you don’t cut a pattern off in the middle at the edge of your towel; that always looks odd!  But any pattern is just a draft, and any draft can be woven in any yarn, as long as you are willing to do the multiplication yourself.

As in anything woven, it’s always wise to make a sample first, and see how it looks and feels, and what your shrinkage rate will be.  Depending upon the weave structure you pick, your shrinkage might go from 10% on the low end (in a plain weave) to 30% on the high end (waffle weave shrinks like crazy).

I hope this helps!

Postponed: Angora Rabbit Shearing at The Woolery!

Angora rabbit and yarn

Update: Postponed Until Further Notice
This event was scheduled for January 13th but has been postponed until further notice due to inclement weather. We will let you know the new date as soon as we have it set. Thank you for understanding!

Angora sweaterCome see an angora rabbit shearing! This is a free event at The Woolery. Open to anyone with an interest in either angora rabbits or angora wool. These are beautiful animals that produce on of the softest and warmest fibers in the world! They are gently shorn every 90 days.

Rabbit club members will be on hand to answer your questions. Samples of angora garments and accessories will be on hand so you can feel the softness for yourself.

 

Sponsored by the International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders – IAGARB.com

angora rabbits

Announcing our very first Woolery Weave-off!

Woolery Weave-Off

The Woolery is excited to announce our very first Woolery Weave-Off!

We’re having a Weave-Off to celebrate how well our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn has been received. Weave a dish towel with Bluegrass Mills to compete for prizes in four separate categories.  Here’s the thing though, you don’t get your towel back, because we’re donating them all to the local women’s shelter (Simon House, here in Frankfort Kentucky), because women in crisis need the special energy that handwoven textiles provide, too!

Grand Prize Winners in each category will get Spectrum Packs of our BGM 6/2 — that’s 20, one-pound cones of yarn in a whole array of colors!
Second and Third Place Winners in each category will get $50 Woolery gift cards

 

Woolery Weave-Off Prizes

 

Now through January 31st all Bluegrass Mills Yarn* is

25% Off!

You need to use our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn to weave your entry, so we’re offering 25% off the price of this yarn from January 3rd – January 31st! 

*Please note offer excludes already discounted clearance colors.

Here’s the fine print – we ask that you read completely before deciding to enter:

The four divisions will be:
1) Beginners; those who have been weaving less than one year. Please use the honor system when determining your beginner status!
2) Rigid heddle weavers (remember, 6/2 is great in plain weave at 15 or 16 EPI; you can do that on a rigid heddle loom!)
3) Color: here’s the chance to be outrageous; remember, you’ll never need to wear it.  Be bold and inventive, and knock our socks off!
4) Pattern: stretch yourself.  Do you have 4 extra shafts on your loom that have just been looking at you funny?  Use them, be brave and inventive; learn something and get out of your comfort zone!
 
Entries must be mailed to: 
The Woolery
c/o Katherine
859 East Main Street, Suite 1A
Frankfort, KY 40601

 

  • The minimum size for each towel is 15” x 24”, washed and hemmed.
  • One entry per person – entries must also contain the name, phone number, email address, and address of the entrant.
  • Contest entries MUST be postmarked by April 1st, 2018, to be considered. Entries postmarked after that time will not be entered in the contest, and will not be returned.
  • Entrants acknowledge they will not get their submissions back. In the event that we receive too many towels to donate to one place, sister residential shelters/organizations in nearby Lexington and Louisville will receive the ‘spillover’ .
  • Winner agrees to have her/his towel and name used in photos and on social media platforms.
  • You MUST use Bluegrass Mills cotton to weave your towel – All non-clearance colors will be 25% off through the end of January!
  • Odds of winning change with number of entries received.
  • Winners will be notified on or around April 15, 2018. Winner has 14 days to claim her/his prize.
  • Lists of winners and runners-up in each category will be available by request in writing after May 15th, 2018.
  • Contest is open to entrants aged 18 years and over.
  • Woolery employees and immediate family members are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Woolery suppliers are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Entrant assumes the cost of shipping the towel.
  • Winner of prize assumes responsibility for all and any taxes/tariffs/duty fees incurred.
  • No ghost weavers! Towels must be woven by the person entering the contest.

Please direct any questions about the Woolery Weave-Off to katherine@woolery.com

Handmade Gift Giving at The Woolery

You probably already know this, but we have some talented people working here at The Woolery. Not only are they talented, they’re generous too! So many of our team members have made beautiful handmade gifts this holiday season, that we felt we had to share them with you. Theses gifts span all sorts of different fiber arts including; needle felting, weaving, knitting, and crochet.

Handmade plaid scarf

Some absolutely beautiful woven gifts have been floating around the shop. Our Customer Service Manager, Dani, has been weaving some plaid scarves on our floor model Schacht Wolf Pup.

We love the color schemes Dani is working with for these scarves! Also, the plaid patterns all all Dani’s own unique designs. How lucky are the members of Dani’s gift list?

Weaving on the Schacht Wolf Pup

Then, of course, our own Weaver Nancy has her own woven gift to show off! This beautifully textured towel was made on her Schacht Mighty Wolf using Maurice Brassard Cottolin Yarn in the Natural Lave color. The texture is a 5-thread huck lace 4 shaft pattern. The final effect is so stunning.

Gifts-11

We don’t just weave here, Business Manager Mistene made a whole collection of incredibly intricate crochet doilies as a present for her mom and sister. The detail work on these is fantastic. They are so tiny and lacy!

Group of three crochet doilies

Detail of Mistene's Crocheted Doily

Handmade crochet cup cozy

Debbie, our Shipping Manager, has also been crocheting up some gifts. How adorable are these little canine inspired cup cozies? Debbie makes all sorts of different custom styles based off of different dog breeds. We are obsessed with the fuzzy eyebrows on the Yorkie one in the photo to the left. Too cute.

 

Debbie with her crochet dog cup cozy

Handknit shawl with tasselsOur knitters are not to be outdone, they have been working on some gift projects of their own. Annie, our newest Customer Service Representative, knit up a cozy shawl and cowl for some lucky recipients. Annie is going to be teaching some beginning knitting classes next year at the shop so if you’re wanting to make some gifts like Annie’s check out our class schedule!

Annie modeling her cowl

Socks are one of our favorite gifts this time of year and David, who is also a Customer Service Representative, has been knitting up some fabulous socks for his daughter. What an awesome dad! They aren’t quite done yet, but we’re confident he’ll finish in time for Christmas.

Handknit socks

Gradient Knit ShawlEmily, who works on our Creative Marketing (including writing this blog) has also been knitting away to finish some gifts in time for Christmas! The shawl to the left is for her grandma and if you’re curious, the pattern is Shaelyn on Ravelry.

Emily also has branched out into weaving since starting working at The Woolery (you can’t work here without wanting to try ALL the fiber arts)! And even wove up a scarf or two on her new Schacht Cricket Loom.

Handwoven scarf

And finally, our Customer Service Representative Anna, worked some needle felting magic to create gnomes for some of her Customer Service co-workers! They are one big happy gnome family!

Needle felted gnomes

Have you already made some gifts this year, or did any of our projects inspire you? We would love to hear about any handmade gifts you have been working on this season! Share your projects below or in our Raverly Group! We can’t wait to see your creations!

Woolery Favorites – Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes Woolery Favorites

We love the holiday season, aside from it finally being cold enough to wear all our woolies, it’s so great to spend time with family and friends. And while we visit with our loved ones we tend to be eating, or making delicious things to eat. Our Woolery team members wanted to share some of their favorite holiday dishes with you this year.

First up we have Natalie with her favorite Monkey Bread recipe. Natalie notes that the original recipe called for raisins but, “No raisins are in my recipe because that is poison.” Fair enough Natalie, we’ll keep them out.


Natalie’s Christmas Morning Monkey Bread 

Ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • 2 cans large size biscuit dough
  • Brown sugar – 1 cup firmly packed
  • Butter – 3/4 cup melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 cup large fluted tube pan.
  2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a large plastic food storage bag.
  3. Separate dough into 16 biscuits, cut each into quarters. Shake in sugar bag to coat. Arrange in the pan.
  4. In a small bowl mix brown sugar and butter. Pour over the biscuit pieces.
  5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn upside down on to serving plate, pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

 

Next up we have Nancy, who loves to make candy this time of year. Nancy is sharing her Buckeyes recipe with us, which are a local favorite. She insists that hers are the best around, and it’s all in the chocolate. Let’s find out her secret!


Nancy’s Best Buckeyes

Ingredients:

  • Butter – 1/4 pound
  • Peanut butter – 1 1/2 cups
  • Powdered sugar – 1/2 pound
  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon
  • Semi-sweet or bitter chocolate – 8 oz

Nancy would like to note that because there are so few ingredients, it is really important to make sure that they are the very best quality. Nancy suggests natural peanut butter (just roasted peanuts and salt), very good butter (no margarine), and the best vanilla. It’s also important to pick the finest chocolate you can find according to your taste, (Nancy likes to use 70% dark).

Instructions:

  1. Mix the butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Chill after mixing, then shape into balls about 3/4″ in diameter. Chill again while you melt the chocolate.
  2. In a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate.
  3. Impale the centers of the peanut butter balls on a toothpick and dip into the chocolate, leaving a penny sized circle uncovered at the top.
  4. Transfer these to a parchment covered sheet and when you are done dipping smooth over the tooth pick holes.
  5. Chill until firm and store in an air-tight container in a single layer.

 

Finally we have a family recipe from our owners, Wave and Perri. This recipe has been served at every McFarland Family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner since 1977. It belonged to Perri’s mother, Carolyn Gaertner Patberg.


McFarland Family Christmas Cranberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • Raspberry jello mix – 2 packs
  • Hot water – 1 cup
  • Cold water – 1 cup
  • Whole berried cranberries – 1 can
  • Sour cream – 8oz can

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve both jello mixes in hot water. Add cold water. Add cranberries.
  2. Place in refrigerator and when the jello is just beginning to solidify, add sour cream.
  3. Place entire mixture into jello mold pan or serving dish of your choice. Refridgerate until firm.

McFarland Family

Happy Holiday wishes from our family to yours!

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery team

 

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