Roving Reporter: Icelandic Wool and Turkish Spindles in Milwaukee

Traveling around the country to fiber events large and small is my favorite way to try to spinning tools, fall in love with new fibers, and meet other wool-obsessed folk. I made the trek to Wisconsin a few weeks ago for the Midwest Fiber Frolic, but I also came home with a Turkish spindle, Icelandic wool, and other goodies from new-to-me makers. Organized by Ogle Designs and Susan’s Fiber Shop, this new event gathered a great group of spinners, knitters, vendors, and instructors.

Here are two talented fiber artists you should know about:

Second Twist Fiber and ParKelm Farm

Natasha Paris had a beautiful spread of lopi yarns handspun from her flock’s own Icelandic wool in addition to rovings produced at her family’s new woolen mill. As a high-school agriculture education teacher, Natasha has a dynamic approach to farming. She says, “I teach my students that the most important things are healthy soil, healthy animals, and healthy communities, and that there are lots of ways to achieve those things.”

The new Second Twist mill processes fleeces from Natasha’s flock into easy-to-spin, airy rovings that she loves spinning. Why did she and her husband choose to raise Icelandics? “When deciding on a breed of sheep, Icelandics were a natural fit for us. Their hardy nature makes them a good fit for our Wisconsin climate, and their historic diet of sparse grasses promised they would do well on a pasture-only diet, and they do,” she says.

Icelandic Wool

Icelandic spun into a lopi-style single shows off the multi-coated beauty of the fleece. Natasha’s handspun here shows the black tog (longer, coarser fibers) and the white thel (shorter, much finer fibers) that were both present in the sheep’s fleece.

Snyder Spindles

Scott Snyder’s spindles have been catching major buzz in the last few years. While I’ve admired these spindles in the hands of happy spinners out and about, I had not yet added one to my collection. So, when I met the Snyder Spindle team, looked over the lovely rows of Turkish spindles available, and clearly one was not enough. Two new spindles—yes, please!

(See another of Scott Snyders spindles, a dealgan, in action in “You Need to Try Spinning on a Scottish Spindle”.)

Icelandic Wool

Snyder Spindles: one is not enough.

Mark your calendar!
Midwest Fiber Frolic
February 8–10, 2019

—Kate Larson

Featured Image: Icelandic roving processed at Second Twist Fiber Mill. Photos by Kate Larson

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