Roving Reporter: My Madrona Spinning Fiber Finds

The Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat, held in Tacoma, Washington, is famous for its amazing classes, marketplace, and handknit-clad crowds from coast to coast. I’ve just returned home from my first year joining the event as an instructor. Even with just a few quick passes through the marketplace, I came home buzzing with ideas and an armload of inspiring spinning fiber. The Homestead Hobbyist was one of my new finds—check it out.

spinning fiber

It must be mine! Rambouillet, Black Welsh, and Manx Loaghtan wool blended with silk.

Ken Moore started Seattle-based Homestead Hobbyist in 2014, and his booth has been a must-see stop for spinners at the Madrona market for a few years. His work allows him to explore different fibers, create unique fiber blends, and as he says, “share that exploration and excitement with other fiber artists.” Based on the number of spinners who wander the Madrona halls clutching their Homestead Hobbyist purchases, I think Ken has met these goals!

spinning fiber

Many of the Homestead Hobbyist blends are created with fibers that have been dyed before blending. Note how the colors stripe down the length of the sliver. This creates a lovely tweed effect in handspun yarns that is easy to spin.

While Ken’s use of vibrant, saturated colors was the first thing to grab my eye when I spied his booth, I quickly saw that his spinning fiber bases were equally interesting. Rambouillet to Manx Loaghtan, Shetland to Finnsheep, yak to cultivated silk, the fiber combinations are unique. The different textures and natural colors of the base fibers heighten the interest of the dyeing. Ken has continued to explore breed-specific blends with his Homestead Hobbyist Fiber Club: Down(-like) Blends.

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Ken sharing more about his fiber choices in his complex blends.

One of my favorite parts of traveling as a spinning instructor is meeting fiber folks doing fabulous work. I’ll share more Roving Reporter news as I make my way around the country this year. Here’s where to find me!

—Kate Larson

Try out an exclusive Homestead Hobbyist spinning fiber: the Azure Manx Fiber Blend, available now in the Interweave store. Learn more about Manx Loaghtan wool in Spin Off Spring 2018.

Featured Image: Homestead Hobbyist Primal Urge Sampler: one ounce each of Grazing Herd, Watering Hole, Couching in the Brush, and Fresh Kill. Photos by Kate Larson.

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