Last fall, I flew to Cleveland for a day to tape two segments for Knitting Daily TV (KDTV). I just had a chance to see what we did! (It's very strange to see myself in makeup. This is not normal at all.)
Yesterday the folks who put together the TV series released a blog post that contains some of the information I posted here after I got back from Ohio. What I wrote has been edited for length, but the KDTV blog post includes both of the segments that I was involved with, in their entirety. I hadn't seen them before. Considering how brief the segments are (five minutes each), I was pretty surprised at how effectively we covered some territory that most folks may not be aware of about wool and mohair.
In the segment I did with Shay Pendray, part of episode 612, we talked about how many different types of wool there are, and how they behave differently.
Those skeins across the front of the table appear in The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (which is currently on press). From left to right, and from finest to strongest, they are Merino, Cormo, Dorset, Bluefaced Leicester, Romney, Coopworth, Wensleydale, and Leicester Longwool.
I collected the skeins during a one-day trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a couple of years ago. At the time, going out to Maryland for a single day seemed absolutely frivolous, but it was a fantastic trip, one of the best of many wonderful trips to Maryland. I not only saw friends but collected a number of items that became extremely important parts of the book project.
In gathering those skeins, which I did from a number of locations throughout the festival, I was looking not only for a variety of breeds but for colors that would look good together in photographs. The three light blue skeins were intentionally similar in tone, because I intended for us to photograph them to show differences in luster and to capture whatever tactile differences could be represented visually (which we ultimately did; they're the Cormo, Bluefaced Leicester, and Wensleydale).
Speaking of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival: It is always held the first full weekend in May, which this year means it's May 7 and 8, at the Howard County Fairgrounds, in West Friendship, Maryland. The big news around here is that The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook will be launched at this year's Maryland festival. True, the book does not officially release until June, but advance copies are being shipped to Maryland. Both Carol Ekarius and I will be at the festival. We're thrilled. This will likely be when we'll get our first glimpses of the finished books, and we'll get to celebrate with friends old and new.
There will be a reception on Saturday night, in conjunction with the becoming-traditional party hosted by Guido Stein and friends. There will also be a signing at the fairgrounds on Sunday. We'll have a short slide show about the book on Saturday, and on Sunday we'll have our pens with us to add our autographs to books.
Back to the business at hand.
The segment I did with Eunny Jang, part of episode 603, delves into the transformation from raw fiber to finished textile, paying special attention to cleaning fibers without damaging them. There's a lot more to be said on that topic, but we covered the basics for folks who haven't had fleeces in their bathtubs, with, I hope, a few tips as well for those who routinely wash protein fibers like wool and mohair.
That shawl at lower right is by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, and you can't really see how gorgeous it is: the photography only hints at its qualities (for example, I'm not sure the beads show up on camera—they accentuate the mohair's shimmer). Behind it, moving toward me, are the yarn Jackie worked with and a sample of the raw mohair fiber from which the yarn was spun.
Many thanks to Jackie for loaning us the shawl! I've been so busy spinning samples (for several years) that I don't have anything other than swatches around (some of which show up in the segment with Shay . . . and some of those were knitted by my friend Dee Lockwood, because of the short prep time we had). Whatever I made would not have been as exquisite as Jackie's shawl in any case. I only wish you could see it in person.
Let me tell you something about the makeup. It's really weird to see myself in makeup, as I've mentioned several times. What's even weirder is that Mac's iPhoto has a "faces" function, which identifies people's faces in photographs, making the labeling of who's in which image far speedier than it would be otherwise. The software "learns" identifying features, and while it's learning those it picks up a lot of family resemblances, initially suggesting, for example, that my sister, my daughter, my niece, and I might all be the same person.
Yet iPhoto's "faces," which by now has a lot of data in its reference base through which it can readily identify and distinguish the people I just mentioned, didn't recognize me in these photos. I was "unnamed person."
Anyway. You can now watch the two five-minute segments and see what we did, even if you (like me) don't have much television reception.
Wonderful! congratulations- i hear you re the makeup – same here – thanks for the reminder too about the Maryland sheep and wool festival!! this is one i wanted to put on my calender- And want to say excellent job! thanks for all you do
I love Maryland. I have worked the festival (far) more often than I have attended it, so going there is a bit like going "home"–to a home that, like Brigadoon, appears and disappears. (http://www.tams-witmark.com/musicals/brigadoon.html)
It was great fun to watch the clips, read about their making, and learn something about processing wool. And I’m looking forward to learning a lot more from your new book!
I couldn’t agree with you more about Maryland: if I could have arranged my trip east to slip in a quick flight in and out of BWI, I would have.
Fun to see the episodes — thanks for the link. I’ll sit Mom down in front of them one of these days! OX
Glad you found them, Meg. They’re lots shorter than the DVDs!