21 April 2012

Wool School

Due to my foot surgery, I will be on the couch and off my foot for at least 2 weeks. I decided to do something useful with my time and design a Lucy's Wool School curriculum that I will have plenty of time to follow.

First, I thought about the process of change in each level from sheep to shawl. What exactly are the fiber steps? I'm sure I'll make some sort of flow chart.

I designed Lucy's Wool School curriculum to educate through information and explore the diverse world of fiber by completing creative fiber challenges meant to inspire, focusing on the psychological process of each step. Being reflective of conscious practice is also something I want to explore on my blog. I am making the journal of my process an open one to inspire others to consciously explore working with fibers (I do say wool, but I really mean all sorts of fibers).


Ba Ba Blacksheep- Learn all about how sheep are raised, cultural history, types of fiber animals (sheep, alpaca, etc.) and information about how to describe their fiber, vocabulary words about the shearing process or fleece, microns, etc.

Have You Any Wool? 
This class explores local fiber sources in Wake County and surrounding areas. Network with some local fiber people I met on a fiber facebook group. Learn about raw AND washed natural fibers. Learn all the washing techniques possible. Learn about what to do after a fleece is washed-what areas are best for loose lock dyeing, and how does the fleece get into processed top? If so, how does that happen? Also explore ebay, fb buying, etc. Different ways to obtain fleece. Figure out a chart of observations on pricing for each fiber type.

Obtain a copy of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook

Extra Credit: Make a fiber sampler book (I am sure there's another name for it) to put in the fiber and add notes. Organize the notebook in a way that makes sense for easy reference. Maybe baseball card holders with name at the top and experiences/tips on the card?

Dyeing Techniques
Learn fiber types to dye: Top, loose locks, silks for nuno felting, yarns, cocoons can all be dyed for natural, and then other types of dyes for bamboo, cotton, plant-based fibers.

Learn all the dye types: Resources from Nature, Kool-aid/Easter Egg dyeing, chemicals/prodyes

Learn all the techniques: Crock pot, oven, solar, syringe, space, kettle, microwave, etc.

Goal for this class will be to see if a colorway emerges that I could name and then use throughout my little projects to truly demonstrate the wide variety of products from dyed wool.

Keep a sample of each fiber and color, and store this behind the fiber type baseball card gallery.
Combs, hackles, niddy noddy, diz, hand carder, drum carder, picker, drying racks, mesh bags, a core yarn, lazy kate, skein, swift, etc.
Process Techniques

Material Girl 
This class will explore a wide variety of materials used to both spin and felt. Bamboo, tencel, angelina, silk noil, cocoons, and other luxury or rare fibers will be discussed and explored. Encouraged to use as many as the handdyed materials from previous classes.

Part 1:  Product using several batts containing a variety of materials for the artiest art batts ever. Involves learning how to spin an art batt.
Challenge: Make something from the batt. Could be yarn, felted piece, etc.

Part 2: Product using loose fibers resulting in yarn, felted piece, etc.

Items to make with Material Girl
  *wet felted vessel
* nuno felted notebook/journal cover 
 *Crochet or knitted cowl (something else small) 

Open Workshop "Exam"
Focusing on formulating a product (the usual default setting) instead of focusing on the PROCESS (a conscious choice to see what my thinking is like during these times). How does each step make me feel? Is this work satisfying? Is there a process step I like way better? If so, what to do now?

Spinning Skills
Wheel Exploration and Vocabulary, wheel care and maintenance

Spinning techniques: smooth single, corespun, lock spun, tail spun, thick and thin, add-ins like beads and sequins, autowrapped, plying (2 ply, Navaho), beehives, coils, non-traditional spinning like using vintage sheets, cassette tape innards, etc.

How to make and use a Niddy Noddy, tying off yarn

How to steam/wash/set the twist in a yarn (different techniques, thwacking v. no thwacking, steaming v. washing, etc.

Take Mikey's YouTube Curtzy Crochet 24-part lessons and 'graduate'
Make a few samples of stuff, exploring types of hooks, sizes, stitches, etc.
Use "odd" yarn like plarn, newspaper yarn, etc.

Aim for: Corespun on a wire bendable yarn and crochet something rad from it


Geodes, wool landscape paintings, journal cover, 3D figures, wet vessels, bags, pods, Nuno felting!

Business Aspects

  • Marketing-using social networking sites, using word of mouth, networking within community like with Wake County Business Moms
  • Blogging-how to blog, build audience, make a community
  • Free small business classes at Wake Tech
  • How to apply for and win artist grants and loans, how to write successful proposals
  • Pricing on all levels of fiber 
  • How to run a business, own a LLC, pay taxes, do accounting, set up a budget, etc. 
  • Where to sell: online, consign or wholesale in local shops, local festivals (already have EZ up and portable table
  • How to approach a gallery or any business about carrying/displaying my product
  • Think of products in all price ranges
  • Think of target audience/crowd I'm looking for, make pieces accessible to a wide variety of customers
  • How to submit work to shows, festivals, and fairs
  • How to photograph products-building a light box, editing images, banners, business cards, logos, etc. 
  • Follow current trends, get inspired by other fellow artists
  • Supplies like banners, business cards, flyers, fiber bags, mailers, scale to weigh, USPS shipping, decide how to wrap it up in a unique way, and offer something extra, like a little token, or a code % off for next purchase

Community Aspects
  • Fiber Artist workshops, gatherings, organizations, fb groups, online communities, real life meetings
  • Workshops in schools, community centers, farmers markets, tabling events, etc.
  • Weaving workshops using recycled items (cardboard and milk jugs) or making a drop spindle from a discarded CD, or doing a woven wallhanging
  • Felted jewelry workshop!
  • Spin-ins in local coffee shops/gathering places
  • Wear felted products as a walking advertisement for my crafts: accessory line
  • Maybe some good ol' yarn bombing at some point
  • Spinning workshops and retreats, festivals

What classes would you include in a Wool School/Fiber School? What's your favorite process on this spectrum of fiber? Feel free to leave fiber-related links to your sites!


  1. great job, Lucy! this is so you. The teacher in you does not ever go away, does it?! Work it. Do it. YOU CAN!

  2. This is so cool! I cant wait to hear about your process!