Alba Ranch’s Continuing Face Lift!

Since I have been tearing the web page, blog, and email addresses apart like a mad woman the last week with the help of DH Charlie Morrison and Ashley of Neauveau Fiber Arts  I have not been spinning or weaving much.  Dust has been collecting.

Today I planned on focusing on fiber as I have a Spin Fest this weekend and need to load up the Bug and test out the actual capabilities of what you can stuff in a 1974 Super Beetle.  I have only managed to spend 3 hours on the computer so far and that was mostly on Face Book trying to figure out how to link and post things the way I want to on my Alba Ranch – Art by Melisa and Charlie Morrison fan page. It is amazing what you can figure out if you find the instructions..duh!!  Ashely also told me about a super neat Fiber Freak group called Fiber Artists and Yarn Spinners   and it is really a fun busy group.  I do so love being a Fiber Freak!

Fiber Strut Show and Sale Table

I decided to take some of the Starter Kits for Greener Shades Dyes to sell as well as all my Fiber Grab Bag individual bags.  I know that many times spinners like to get a small bag of a few ounces of a new and exotic fiber to try out before commitment to a large expense and full fleece.  I have a lot of these that are mohair locks, mohair rovings, long wool locks specially Lincoln, dog wool mostly in Border Coolie and Great Pyr, and various fleece breeds.  Send me and email if you would like anything in particular and I can see if i have it.

Yesterday I was at a spinning group.  Then met a friend that I had been conversing with on Face Book for over a year face to face finally.  That was another several hours of fiber fun time along with a lovely lunch.  Tomorrow is all fiber fun time…yahoo!!  comptuer BE GONE!!!

Neauveau Fiber Arts

Neauveau Fiber Artsis a great website to have in your fiber collection.  It is designed by Ashley, who has been a great source of inspiration and food for thought on this entire website revamping for Alba Ranch.

Neauveau Fiber Art

I am not finished with this website face lift by any stretch of the imagination but I do hope this is the beginning of a long and fibery friendship with Ashley of Neauveau Fiber Arts..

Go Check out Ashley’s shop and pick up a lovely art batt.  She has been raising money to go to camp Pluckyfluff on Labor Day Weekend.  She did just reach her goal for a plane ticket, but a girl needs some spending money.  So go check out her batts and get some lovely fiber fun to spin and help Ashley earn a bit of pocket change for camp.

This is one of Ashley’s gorgeous creations…isn’t it to dye for??


ArtPrize entries are almost complete!

Bits and Bobs drying on the mannie

My ArtPrize Entry is almost completed. I am working on the last few bits, but here is a photo of the main piece when it was drying on the Mannie in the garden and still wet.

The jacket has 6 woven panels 20 in wide by 30 in long hot off the loom. I crocheted the panels together to make the jacket and fulled it to tighten all the weaves and crochet. It is made up of all the “Bits and Bobs” that I get of yummy fiber here and there for various parties, spinfests, rock days, distaff days ect. I would say the bulk of the yarn, hand spun by me, is merino and angora. I love my bunnies!! I have a bag that is also woven mostly from alpaca, merino and angora that will be part of this as well. I am currently working on spinning the merino wool to make a skirt to match. I am not certain if this will be completed for the contest but I am hoping it will be and also for the 9th Annual Wearable Fashion Show and Boutique for the Heart of Colorado Fiber Guild in October. I would like to enter the complete outfit in both shows.

Charlie has been hard at work on his entry for ArtPrize as well. You can see a lot more details of his entry on his own web blog, but I have included a lovely shot of the four panels hung more or less how they will be for the show.

A Year in a Day

Charlie’s entry is called A Year in a Day.

What do you think of the entries so far?

Norman Kennedy at Table Rock Llama Shop

Norman kennedy at Table Rock Llama Fiber Studio

This was such a special event and so exciting that I had to blog about this in BOTH my blogs.  so forgive me if you read both.  Alba Ranch, Melisa and Charlie Morrison,  saw Norman Kennedy at Table Rock Llama Shop in Black Forest, Colorado last night.

Norman Kennedy was born in 1933 on King Street in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Charlie Morrison was born and raised in Buckie, Scotland about 1.5 hours outside of Aberdeen.  Melisa and Charlie lived in Aberdeenshire after they were married so it was exciting to be around folks from Scotland again.

Weldon Walker, pictured in a blue shirt to Norman’s left, wove a lovely blanket in a tartan like pattern that was the main piece for the Waulking demonstration. Norman said that he always has the weaver of the cloth sit to his left as that keeps him close to his heart.  The piece had just come off the loom and was a 2:2 twill.  After the waulking, Norman laid the cloth out on the table to roll it with a board.  You can see it laid out here on the table just prior to being rolled.

Norman Kennedy and a freshly waulked cloth

Waulking is a step in woolen cloth making that fulls the fiber using water, soap and friction.  It is traditionally called Waulking in Scotland.  The cloth is cleaned, thickened and shrunk all in this process.

Norman has lived in the USA since 1966 and currently has a home and Fiber Art School in Vermont.  He travels around the USA doing demonstrations, classes, waulking and concerts.  He cards, spins, weaves and waulks the fiber in the “old” ways keeping traditions alive along with his extensive collection of English and Gaelic songs.  Doing repetitive work, the songs keep his rhythm steady and are an essential part of the work.  In June 2003, Norman received the  National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts in the USA.

It was lovely to see Norman and talk with him.  There was also another lady there from Scotland as well named Moira Theriault.  It turned out that she was friends with a John Taylor from Buckie, Scotland that now currently lives in CA.  His youngest brother is Donald Taylor, who just happened to be one of Charlie’s mates from school in Buckie.  Very small world indeed.

Melisa Morrison is excited so come and see why!

Sofia, Satin Angora Rabbit

I am so excited I could burst.  I plan on entering an International Art Contest. involves lots of hand spun merino wool blended with French Angora Rabbit fur and Satin Angora Rabbit fur.

Melisa Morrison of Alba Ranch plans to enter ArtPrize, and International Art competition held in Grand Rapids, MI.  The show is September 21 through October 9, 2011.  Charlie Morrison of Alba Ranch is considering entering the same contest.

Artist registration opens on April 18, 2011.  Melisa and Charlie are both already registered as you need to register on line to be an artist and you can vote in the competition from that same registration.  The other way to vote for the competition is to go to Grand Rapids, MI during the ArtPrize

This competition is different than any other competition in that is held in Grand Rapids at many different venues all over the city which are mostly within walking distance or shuttle bus rides of each other.  The ArtPrize contest is determined by popular vote through online voting, text messages and voting at the show.  2011 will be the third ArtPrize show sponsored by Richard DeVos.  It is part Art Festival and part social experiment.  This event brings community and art together as the city is swarmed by artists and enthusiasts everywhere.

Melisa, a 1996 Grand Valley State University Alumni, is looking forward to visiting her home town where she lived on Cherry St. and College in the Heritage Hill District before marrying Charlie in 1999 and moving to Scotland.  Currently the couple live in Canon City, Colorado on a 55 acre parcel in the Rocky Mountains.  Melisa is the Fiber Artist and Animal Guru of Alba Ranch, while Charlie works offshore and is the Scottish International flavour of the couple.

Melisa raises dairy goats and French Angora Rabbits.  Up until about a year ago, Melisa also raised Angora and Cashmere goats, Merino Sheep, Long Wool sheep (Lincoln, Wensleydale, Teeswater and Cotswold), llamas, and Dorper sheep for meat.  Since focusing more on her Fiber Art, Melisa has cut down on the animals greatly into specializing more in the exotic fiber of French Angora Rabbits.  She has a huge supply of wool that she raised herself including some that she also sheared.

Charlie oil paints and is a shutter bug photographer.  Charlie works in both digital and film medium for photography.  Currently he is working in Oils for his painting medium but is starting into water colors as his next adventure.  HIs forte in oils is Landscapes specializing in REAL locations of his Beloved Scotland.  His photography tends to be of a lot of oil rig installations offshore, exotic locations, and all the critters on Alba Ranch with a fair amount of Scotland Castles thrown in for good measure.

Melisa is currently encouraging Charlie to enter the ArtPrize competition with her in 2011.  Go to the Alba Ranch – Art by Melisa and Charlie Morrison face book page and fan the page.  Put your comments in the Survey postings and be heard about whether you think he should enter or not.  If you have not seen much of his work, please view and comment on Charlie’s Oil Paintings and tell us what you think. competition and register at one of the registration booths.

New Scarves listed in the shop!!

I have been listing up a storm in the shop these last few days.  I am scared to see my bill!!!  eek!!  Since I discovered my allergy to mohair, I have been listing all that on the shop as well.  I only have one bag of rovings left to list, however I ran out of the two size bags that I use specific for listings so must make a store run later this week.  Finding the motivation to finish the listings might not be as easy to locate!

Blk Cherry merino mohair 4
Black Cherry Merino Mohair Scarf

This lovely little number is my Black Cherry Merino Alpaca Mohair Scarf.  I hand dyed the Merino 2 ply light fingering weft with Black Cherry Kool Aid.  I was disappointed when it did not come out the dark purple sort of cherry colour I expected, until I put it with the Red Alpaca and Faded Red mohair blends with white merino.  I just love the colours of this.  I think it POP!!  What do you think?

I also hand wove the entire scarf on my Ashford Rigid Heddle 30 inch loom, and I hand spun the bulk of the yarn, hand plying the rest of it.  This was a fun Scarf!!

Grape merino 2
Grape Weave Merino Scarf

This is my Grape Merino Scarf.  It is 100% merino, hand woven, with the wefts being dyed with Grape Kool Aid to get this wonderful colour.  Smells nice too!  This is a 2 ply light fingering yarn I had spun up by Shepherd’s Mill and it took me about 3 days or more to weave this scarf while most of the others I can do in a day.

So what do you think of this one?  It is extra long and extra wide so it can be wrapped around your neck several times.


Alpaca merino mohair 3
Alpaca merino Mohair Scarf

This is my Alpaca Merino Mohair scarf done in natural tans, taupes, browns, fawns, creams and whites.  I hand wove this one, as well as hand spun the yarn, and hand plyed it all.  This is one Hand Made Scarf!

What are your thoughts on this one?  Feel free to leave comments here on the blog so that I can see what you think.  It is all a learning experience with me as I am now weaving with yarns that I have spun, plyed, dyed and custom made myself.  It is much different than working with mill or store spun yarns.

Red Fawn Mohair scarf 3
Red Fawn Mohair open lace scarf

This is a little lovely that I hand crocheted with a larger size hook.  It is 100% pure Red Kid Mohair.  The scarf is about 2 oz or a little under so you can wrap it around your neck several times and almost forget it is there.  It is an open lace stitch, soft, light, airy and delicate.  Truly luxurious.

So again, what are your thoughts on the new scarves?  what is your favourite and why?  any ideas or suggestions? any others that you may like to see?

Mohair update…

I bought a bunch of angora goats to have my own fibre to spin.  Than the herd grew to large proportions and I coudn’t keep up so I started having them sheared and sold some.  I really enjoy the critters but I had not spun any of their fibre. I started after 1.5 years to spin their fibre and realized I hated it.  It always seems to go up my nose and irritate me.

So I cut back on them more, but I missed them greatly and decided to give spinning their fibre a second chance. I tried and it wasn’t as bad as it was the first time as I had gotten into more spinning, gotten better at it and started to enjoy spinning again. but the mohair was still not my favorite.

My health started to go down hill.  The animal numbers started to go uphill.  something had to give and it appeared to be ME!!  I started to sell my angora goat herd off, put a lot of the sheep in the freezer and went from 40+ head last winter to only 15 head right now with perhaps another 5 going here shortly.  10 is my magic number that I think I have to be at or BELOW! to be able to find a balance somewhere.

Been weaving up a storm lately, a lot with yarns that I have spun myself.  Found a lot of things I can’t do, some that I can do and make numerous mistakes.  still learning on what I can and can not do and what does and does not work with weaving hand spun yarns.

What does all this mean?  well after making at least 4-5 scarves in the last week, I realized I can’t wear Mohair.  apparently I am allergic to it.  maybe that is why I have hated spinning it, working with it, touching it and wearing it.  Anything with mohair in it gives me the creeps and I tear it off in less than a minute.  I had a sample of a 2 ply yarn that had been spun and given to me.  one ply was 100% angora bunny and 1 ply was 100% alpaca.  I wound the skein of yarn around my neck and wore it outside for 2-3 hours while I did my chores yesterday.  not only did that skein of less than an ounce keep my neck warm when normally I wear a scarf wrapped around my neck 3-4 times, but I didn’t claw it off.  That is a good thing!

I finished a 100% merino scarf the other day, and it was OK for me to wear as well.  so my intuition of having merinos and angoras for my new fibre seems to be accurate.

Today I cleaned out my entire fibre room of anything that has mohair in it.  Raw fleece, Mill processed Rovings, yarns, and even blends that have mohair in them.  Expect to start seeing me list them on line as I am going to clear all Mohair from my ranch as I have sold off all the angora goats so there will be nothing new coming up.  Wow, can’t believe I am allergic to the stuff. Maybe I should have worked with the fibre before I bought a herd of angora goats 3.5 years ago.  can you say DUUUUH!!!!????