Friday, February 14, 2014

Fiber Artist Review: LMS Fiber Arts

I love doing fiber artist reviews because it truly does spread the word about us artisan craftspeople. Some people think I'm crazy to put any fiber into a person's hands, even if it's not my own. Sometimes it's just because someone else dyed a really great color. Or they have a different fiber base than me. Or they had different inspiration while at the drum carder. The truth is, I am as much a consumer of the fiber arts as I am an entrepreneur in this little niche market. Though these reviews are a little old, I still remember all of the excitement I had when I unrolled a batt or pulled roving out of the bag. Look these people up when you are in need of new fiber!

Originally posted on June 7, 2012:

I busted my **** getting this one done! Whew, I have made a really daunting review schedule for this month, but I can do it. :) Let's start with the Fiber Artist review. Here is the lovely batt I had to work with, courtesy of LMS Fiber Arts:

I came about this batt through a giveaway that Emily, the artist, was having on her blog. I had about 6 or 8 choices of batts, but it was the copious amounts of super soft sari silk carded into this batt that made me desire it! It's named "Kiss-O-Gram," from the new seasons of Doctor Who. This batt weighed in at approximately 4 ounces, had several layers, and included exciting extras like firestar and cormo locks. Suffice it to say that this batt was huge and dense! And well carded too.

After taking some glamour shots, the hard part came. What do I make with it? When almost everything I dye and spin can easily remade, the decision is easier. If I don't like it or need more, I can always satisfy that need. I decided to instead look at the type of project I wanted to make with this batt. From there, I could calculate how much yardage I would need, decide on the number of plies, and, of course, make sure I had enough fiber to meet those two needs! I deliberated for a couple of days, then I just knew it needed to be made into a shawl!

I spun this with a medium twist to hold together the shorter fibers (mainly the sari silk) and to keep it from pilling too much when worn. I decided to go with a WPI that ranged between 20-16 (I would call the finished yarn a fingering weight though), and the slubs that happened were completely natural. I split the batt roughly into two equal pieces and spun them on my lace bobbin. I had to move a *little* slower than I like because I wanted a single and not a plied yarn. I'm still getting the hang of not making an overtwisted single. :) I pulled the yarn off the bobbin and wound 2, almost equal, skeins. Here are some shots of the finished (washed and beat) yarn:

The total yardage came to 400, with one skein being around 220 and the other being around 180. They're really soft, hold together nicely, and have just a touch of shine and shimmer that's not over-the-top. I was slightly concerned when I first started spinning that I would run into a "mud" issue. The batt is predominantly warm colors that are shifted towards the red/purple side. The flecks of blue and gold sari were enough to create interest, but there were also large bits of green wool in the mix too. We know from art class that to make brown, you combine color opposites (complimentary colors). The thinner you make a yarn, the muddier the colors can potentially get, and the same goes for plied yarns--one of the reasons why I decided not to do a plied yarn.

Luckily, as you can see from these pictures, the splash of green is done in a tasteful manner, and is enough to create more depth to the color than if it were left out. I say, well done Emily. Those of us with new drum carders (like me) can throw color sense out the window. I no longer feel afraid to experiment with adding color compliments, and with the help of Deb Menz, I have a step-by-step instructor to help me. Bling is always a hot issue, it seems as though you love it or hate it. I think there always needs to be a balance. In Kiss-O-Gram, there are little accents of firestar here and there, much like how a bracelet or a necklace accents the finished look of an outfit. For those loathsome of bling batts, perhaps add the bling just where it's needed, as Emily has done.

Emily has lots of stuff in her shop to check out (and cool stuff to read in her blog), so be sure to stop over and shop a while. Say I sent you fiber artists love to find out where you heard about us. :)

**Update! I just wanted to pop in here to say that I did manage to make a shawl with this yarn. It turned out wonderful. :) I used the free Cora Shawl pattern available here on the blog.