Thursday, November 27, 2008

Site Review: Little Barn

If you haven't been to Little Barn yet, you'll want to go there. Lewis White and staff are really helpful if you need advice about your fiber project. My favorite items that they carry are the silk offerings, both the silk spinning fiber and the silk yarn. Tussah silk is really great for spinning. I like to buy a couple of pounds at a time, as it's more economical to ship, but I'll warn you, a little silk goes a long way! The tussah silk that Little Barn carries is a fine, soft fiber, really easy to spin. I usually don't spin it plain, though, as I've had the experience of hopelessly losing my end on the bobbin too many times. What happens is that you are spinning away, and suddenly, you lose hold of the fiber, and your end slides through the orifice and gets buried in the fiber. Usually, with wool, you can find it again. However, if you are spinning really fine silk yarn, you can have trouble. I do the following two things with Tussah silk: I hold a long rope of roving, and a single of wool or angora yarn, and ply in the silk as I go (counterclockwise). In other words, you don't have to go to the trouble of spinning a silk single. You can ply it directly from the roving. Try the Bombyx or tussah roving from Little Barn, it is nice and you'll be glad you did!

Secondly, I like to blend silk roving with other wools and fibers on my drum carder. It makes a nice strong shiny batt. You can also use silk noil, if you want a nubby tweed effect. Generally, I dye the silk (especially the noil) a different contrasting color, and then blend it with my drum carder. I love silk. Little Barn carries both. I want to order some of the silk waste they offer and throw spritzes of that on my batts. The silk dyes easily too.

I also want to order some of their silk yarn to use for warp in weaving scarves. I can imagine buying some plain white yarn from Little Barn, and dyeing it various purples, aquas and magenta and weaving some beautiful scarves.

If economy is important, have a look at their web exclusives page. It changes every so often, but there are always some lovely fibers at great prices.

If I was not already buried in wool, I'm sure I'd buy some of the various wool offerings from them too. You really ought to visit and I'll bet you won't leave their site without finding something you'll have to buy! The link is: