10 Reasons To Love Rolags

 

pink rolags

Rolags are small hand blended rolls of fiber ready to spin from either end. I love them a lot and here are some reasons why.

 1.  They are great for beginning spinners.  You don’t have a big bundle of fiber to manage.  Roving and batts can feel like a huge, unwieldy chunk in your hand.  Tearing them down sometimes feels a bit sacrilegious, or maybe you aren’t quite confident in your joining skills yet (although the answer to that is practice!).  At my January spinning retreat we were all laughing about the way I hold a bundle of fiber.  I admitted I hold my bundle “like an animal” and people laughed and denied it, but I was telling the truth.

2.  Rolags are easy to spin on a hand spindle or wheel.

3.  You can create a very unique yarn by spinning two different sets of rolags and plying them.  We all spin because we want to make something unique, right?  Rolags make that so easy.

4.   There don’t seem to be any ugly rolags.  As an experiment, I’ve purposely tried to make ghastly combinations.  I’ve blended colors that brought some very unpleasant images to mind, and they turn out fabulously.  I just don’t think is possible to make unsightly rolags.

5.  They spin up quickly and who doesn’t love instant gratification?  I know I do, and I’m certain that everyone can see a time and place for it.  Sometimes we want a big complex project that really grows our skills and sometimes we want candy – a project that is pretty and easy and gives us quick and beautiful results.  Rolags are for the times you want candy.

6.  They are unique combinations of fiber that are difficult to get in any other way.  You can get this if you work with batts, which brings you back to that big bundle of fiber to handle.  Rolags are different than batts in other ways, you can better see what is coming with rolags.  Don’t get me wrong, batts have their uses, and I love them.  But rolags are much easier to spin, and you get beautiful blends of gorgeous fibers in them, just like in a batt.

7.  You can buy or make ones that are sparkly.  Many of us love a little sparkle once in a while.  If you don’t, no problem, just buy or make yours tinsel-free.

 

brown rolags

I personally love it sparkly.

8.  You can experiment with expensive fibers without spending a lot of money.  Since rolags are made in small amounts you can play with things like camel, yak, and quiviut without breaking the bank.  That’s always nice.

9.  You can get color combinations that are impossible to achieve by dyeing roving.  Rolags are made from fibers dyed previously, so you get cool striping effects and can blend colors that would make a mud color if you painted them on the same roving.

10.  They expand your horizons as a fiber artist by introducing you to new fibers.  You’ll never know if you love camel, rose fiber or llama if you don’t work with it, right?  Rolags are one of the few ways you can play with unusual fibers.  One of the reasons we spin is to grow and learn, and trying new fibers feeds this.

11.  Bonus Reason – Wool rolags are wonderful for hand felting.  They can be torn apart to separate the colors, or unrolled and used as is for a more free form work.  And you thought rolags were just for spinners.

multicolored rolags

I hope I’ve convinced you to give rolags a try.  You can find them all over Etsy and, if you are lucky, at your local fiber festivals.  Here are the rolags currently available in my Etsy shop in case you are in the mood for a bit of fiber porn.

I’d love to hear about your experiences spinning rolags or about your plans to do so, please comment below to share them with me.

 

Friday Finds Nov. 6, 2015

This week we begin with a poem.

Love This Tatoo From How To Be A Bitch 101

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” ― Mary Oliver, Dream Work –

 

Mr. Money Mustache solves the world’s problems here.  Ok, maybe not every problem, but he has some great ideas about things we all see around us.  I love that he recommends a book on personal happiness by the Dalai Lama in this post.

 

Wicked Witch From Snow White
Wicked Witch From Snow White

Here’s a post about from NPR that discusses why old women are often the face of evil in fairy tales and folklore.  I found this fascinating!

And for the fiber lovers, here is something for you.  What would you create with these glorious colors?  You can see more pictures of these wool rolags in my Etsy shop.

Juicy New Rolags
Juicy New Rolags

Until next week, stay curious!

 

 

 

Hand Dyed Fibers – Brights

Last week I competed four new hand dyed rovings. I love them all and secretly halfway want to spin them all myself. But, I’ve decided to list them in my Etsy shop and share the fun.  As you see, I was having a brightly colored kind of week.

Here’s Acid Spring.

Acid Spring

This makes me think of a Tropical Getaway.

Tropical Getaway

Here is a tribute to Semi-Precious gemstones.

IMG_1530

I also made a roving I called Citrus Explosion.

Citrus Explosion

I also finished two skeins of worsted weight 100% wool yarn.  The colorway is Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas

Soon I’ll be taking a short trip to Western Michigan where the hydrangeas will be sensational. They’re one of my favorite things about summer on the Great Lakes. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for other color ideas while there – watch for more nature inspired colorways in the near future.

Completed Projects

I updated my Etsy shop yesterday with several finished items.  One million thanks to Cheryl, my business partner, who has become a fantastic photographer.  Her pictures just sing!

Here is a cowl I knit on Labor Day.  I really love the fall colors!  It’s a Noro 100% wool yarn.

And, a shawl I knit last winter.  The colors on this one are fabulous, too.  I call this the Vineyard Shawl.  This one was lots of fun to knit, I really enjoyed watching the color changes.  This is knit in Kureyon, one of my favorite Noro wools.

Something else I knit is this pretty shawlette, called A Perfect Day at the Beach.  I kept dreaming of the beach as I knit it, the colors made me think of one of those great beach days with blue skies, a little breeze and lots of cool water.

Here’s the Plum Tree Scarf, knit in a terrific Noro yarn that is silk, cotton and wool.  Fabulous nature inspired colors and wonderful texture are this yarn’s trademarks.

Cheryl finished some great things recently too.  I don’t know how she finds time to knit so many items!  She is the most productive knitter I know.

Here’s a cowl she just made.  This is the Royal Burgundy cowl, the yarn is so smooshy and warm, it’s 64% wool, 24% silk, 12% angora, and 100% wonderful!

And, she recently completed this completely gorgeous Leaf Scarf in another 100% wool Noro yarn.

She made another Leaf Scarf too, in a different colorway.  This one is wool and silk.  It’s also beautiful.

Here’s a vividly colored Ruffled Scarf she knit from Noro yarn.   This yarn is silk, cotton and wool.

There are a few more new items too.  I’ll feature them next time.

I’ve been spinning, here’s a picture of my latest single in progress.

I’ll have a finished yarn from this soon.  The vibrant colors are a joy to spin, and the roving (blue faced leicester) is lots of fun to work with too.

Hope to get some spinning (or rather plying) time in today.  A couple of kitties have a doctor visit this morning so stealth preparations must begin soon for the transport operation.  Really looking forward to that (not).