How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

Wet felting is a technique that uses friction to blend together wool fibers into a solid sheet. Today, we’ll show you how to felt batts straight from your drum carder into a thick sheet of felt that you can cut into smaller squares to be used as mug rugs or coasters. This is a fun, fast DIY idea for holiday gifts, or any time of year, and it’s oh-so-easy to do.

Wet felting supplies - How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

Supplies:

2-3 finished batts (we used a striped batt and a heathered batt from this previous blog tutorial, the number of batts you use will determine the resulting thickness)

Mesh screen, cut into two equal pieces, approx. 20”x30”

Bubble wrap – two equal pieces to match mesh screens

2-3 plastic shopping bags

Old towel

Container filled with hot soapy water (you can use dish soap or a wool wash like Eucalan)

Large, waterproof work area (kitchen table or counter, or card table works well)

Rubber bands

Rotary cutter

Cutting mat with grid

Acrylic ruler

Instructions:

Start out by preparing the batt for the wet felting process. You’ll do this by creating a series of layers, starting with the first mesh screen. Place 1 layer of bubble wrap on top, then lay the first batt in the middle of the screen & bubble wrap.Rip second batt in half and lay both pieces on top of first batt to cover from top to bottom like so:

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

Place second mesh screen on top of batts. Your layers should look like this:

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - how to layer batts

Begin dousing everything with hot soapy water and work through with your hands by rubbing in small, circular motions. Once fibers are soaked through, rub more vigorously and add more hot, soapy water if needed.

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - add warm, soapy water

Tightly roll up your shopping bags and secure with rubber bands like so:

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - rolled up shopping bag

Starting at one end, begin rolling the screens and fiber around the shopping bags and secure with rubber bands.

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

Place a fresh towel on your work area, and then begin rolling everything back and forth approximately 50 times, working your rolled up fiber across the length of your forearms, from elbow to wrist and applying pressure as you work. Friction aids the felting process, so make sure you are very thorough!

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

Remove rubber bands and unroll everything. Remove top screen layer and flip everything over and roll up again as before, then roll 50 more times to ensure even felting on both sides. Repeat this process until the batts are felted.

Unroll, remove felted batt from screens and bubble wrap, and rinse under cold water in the sink until the soap is removed (if you used a no-rinse detergent like Eucalan, you can skip this step!). Reshape if necessary and lay flat to dry.

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - lay felted batt flat to dry

Once your batts are dry, use your rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and cutting mat to cut into 4-inch square coasters. If you don’t have these supplies handy (or prefer a different shape), you can take a piece of heavy cardstock and draw your desired shape on it, then cut it out with scissors to use as a template when cutting your felted batt into pieces.

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - cutting felted batt into pieces

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - cutting felted batt into pieces

Don’t be afraid to get creative! You can embellish your coasters with embroidery or needle felted accents, and you can even stitch two together to create a thicker quilt-style coaster. The possibilities are endless!

How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts - cutting squares to make felted coasters

We’d love to see what you’re carding, spinning and felting over on Instagram – be sure to share your photos using the #strauchfiber hashtag!
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How to Wet Felt Coasters from Carded Batts

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Staple Length: A Quick Guide for Fiber Artists

The term staple length is frequently used when talking about fleece and fiber, but have you ever wondered why staple length matters and how it affects your choice of tools and techniques in a given project? In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about staple length, but were afraid to ask!

What is Staple Length?

Staple length refers to the average length of the average length of a single length of fiber in its natural, unprocessed form (as it comes off the animal or plant). Natural fibers have a wide range of possible lengths depending on where they come from, whereas a continuous synthetic fiber or natural silk thread would be referred to as a filament. Fibers are generally classified as: 

Short – up to 4 inches* (ex: cashmere, yak down, merino wool and some cottons)

Medium – between 3-5 inches (ex: medium wools such as Dorset, Suffolk or Cheviot)

Long – 5 inches or longer (ex: Blue Faced Leicester, Lincoln, Romney, Teeswater)

You can test the staple length of any fiber by hand by simply removing a portion of it and measuring it with a ruler; this was how staple length was determined before machinery was invented for faster and more precise measurement!  

*yes, there is some overlap between short and medium staple length!

measuring fiber staples

Why Staple Length Matters

Knowing the average staple length of your fleece and fiber will help you choose the right tools and techniques to get it to do what you want.  Generally speaking, shorter fibers are finer and require more twist to hold together making them more challenging to work with. You can alleviate these challenges by adjusting your fiber preparation (discussed below) or blending your shorter-stapled fibers together with longer stapled components. Longer fibers can be drafted easily and generally hold together with slightly less twist,  so a beginner would probably want to get their feet wet with some longwools before diving into shorter-stapled fibers such as cashmere or merino wool. 

Staple Length & Processing Fibers

When it comes to processing fibers, your goal is to preserve the natural staple length as much as possible. Never cut into your fiber with scissors or a blade; if you need to separate fibers, pull from either end gently until a piece of the fiber comes away naturally. 

The good news is that our drum carders are designed to be universal machines that can process the shortest, finest fibers up to the longest of longwools without damaging fibers (you can learn more about choosing & using the right drum carder for you in our free PDF guide, Drum Carding 101). 

strauch drum carder with fibers

Staple Length & Handspinning

You will want to keep your hands positioned approximately a staple-length apart as you draft. For short-stapled fibers, this can be a real challenge, and that’s where fiber preparation can come into play: some folks like to turn their short-stapled fibers into punis or rolags, which allow for easier spinning using a long draw method. We have a quick tutorial on making rolags on a Strauch drum carder, found here

Another option is to spin from the fold, a technique in which you break off a section of your combed top, fold it over your finger, and then begin drafting out fiber from the center, as shown below.

handspinning from the fold

Handspinning Resources & Tutorials

Once you understand the concept of staple length, you can dig into more specific handspinning techniques. Here are some resources to bookmark:

We’d love to see what you’re carding and spinning over on Instagram – be sure to share your photos using the #strauchfiber hashtag!

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Staple Length: A Quick Guide for Fiber Artists

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Mike’s Fiber Journal: 2019 Fall Festival Recap

As the 2019 fiber festival season winds down, we’d like to check in and share a few snapshots from our most recent appearances at the Shenandoah Fiber FestivalFall Fiber Festival and Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF)!

Preparation is key for each show – here are some Jumbo Ball Winders that are almost ready for their new forever home:

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We had a great time at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival, which took place Sept. 28 & 29 in Berryville, Virginia. It’s always fun to chat with Strauch fans while showing them how our tools and equipment can make processing fiber and winding yarns easier!

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At the Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier, Virginia the following weekend, we happened upon a booth with a familiar sight inviting us in:

IMG_5062That beautiful Strauch Double Wide Drum carder belongs to Liza from The Foldout Cat, a small business focusing on fiber and freestyle Saori weaving. Her booth was filled with beautiful colors and fibers which could be blended into beautiful batts on the spot!

IMG_0151IMG_0152Seeing the animals that produce the fibers we love is another reason we enjoy fiber festivals! We’ve seen sheep, alpacas, goats and more throughout 2019 alone. Here are a few shots from these most recent shows:

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For a truly “fleece to fiber” experience, you can shop for fleece by the bagful, sorted by breed, fiber grade, or use:

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If you’re lucky, you can watch a real pro evaluate and prepare a fleece for processing, which is always a great learning experience!

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Our final show for 2019 was the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Fletcher, NC this past weekend. We had a great time at this show, which is always a busy one to close out the season. This year’s show hall did not disappoint, it was filled with plenty of inspiration!

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We were hosted by our friends at The Earth Guild, and here is our corner of the booth, ready for shoppers:

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Mike’s daughter helped out, making sure that the ball winder was properly set up for winding demos.

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And of course, you’re bound to run into a fiber animal or two along the way. At this year’s show, we met a very large and fluffy angora rabbit!

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We’ll be adding shows for 2020 soon; in the meantime, you can keep tabs on Facebook or Instagram, or click here to sign up for the Strauch monthly newsletter!

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Drum Carding 101: How To Re-Card a Batt for Better Blending

Have you ever carded a batt and wished that the colors were blended just a little bit more to create a more subtle look? Although Strauch carders are designed to perfectly prepare your fibers for handspinning the first time through (no need to card multiple times!), there are times when you’ll want to re-process a batt for purely aesthetic reasons. In this post, we’ll show you how to re-card any batt with ease, and show you how the same batt looks the first, second and third time through a Strauch drum carder. 

New to drum carding? Click here to get our free e-book, Drum Carding 101!

How Do You Know When to Re-Card a Batt?

Some batts will blend better than others, and ultimately this comes down to a matter of preference. Make sure that you have chosen colors that will not become muddy the more they blend together – click here for more tips on successfully choosing colors for your batt project. 

The style of batt you are making will also affect whether or not it’s a good option for re-carding; a striped batt is more challenging to re-card, while layered and heathered batts are well suited for this technique. We’ll be using two of the batts created in our previous blog post to demonstrate this technique.

better color blending starts with carding batts multiple times on a strauch drum carder

How to Prepare Your Batt for Carding

You will need to do some prep work before sending your batt through the carder again. Start by dividing your batt into smaller strips like so:

Drafting a batt to re-process in the drum carder

Draft out each strip so that you won’t be sending too much fiber through the drum carder during your second pass; make sure to spread the width of the strip out to cover the full width of your drum as well.

If you are working with a striped batt, you will first need to carefully divide each color in your batt as shown above, but then you will need to work with shorter stripes of each color and only draft lengthwise (as shown below) so that you can send all of your colors through the carder at the same time.

drafting strips to re-card a striped batt

Time to Card!

Just as when you card your batt the first time, the name of the game is to turn the drum slowly as you feed each section of fiber back through your carder. If you are making a striped batt, make sure to feed your fiber through in the same order as before so that you can preserve the color placement. 

Here’s the layered batt prior to re-carding….

layered batt prior to re-carding

After processing through the drum carder a second time….

fiber batt carded twice on a strauch drum carder

And a third time!

fiber batt carded three times on a strauch drum carder

Wondering what happens when you card a striped batt a second time? This creates a subtle, slightly more blended or “faded” effect, rather than having well-defined stripes in your batt:

striped batt comparison

We’d love to see what you’re carding and spinning over on Instagram – be sure to share your photos using the #strauchfiber hashtag!

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Drum Carding 101: How To Re-Card a Batt for Better Blending

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3 Ways to Card a PSB (Pumpkin Spice Batt)

What’s your favorite thing about fall? Whether it’s fiber festivals, trick or treating, or pumpkin spice everything, autumn is upon us! This month, we have the perfect batt project to help you celebrate: introducing the PSB, also known as the Pumpkin Spice Batt!

To card up a cornucopia of PSB’s, you’ll need a Strauch Drum Carder (we used a Strauch Petite), and 1/4 oz each of 4-5 fiber colors multiplied by the number of batts you want to make. In our sample palette shown below, we use natural/white, light tan, brick, burnt orange and cocoa brown fibers:

colorpalette

Begin by prepping your fiber into long strips, drafting it out a bit so that it is easier to pass through the carder. Then, decide what kind of batt you want to make!

From L-R: Striped, Layered and Heathered Pumpkin Spice Batts

From L-R: Striped, Layered and Heathered Pumpkin Spice Batts

Option 1: Layered

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Feed your fibers into your carder, one color at a time, starting from light to dark (or vice versa). This creates a layered effect that allows you to spin a yarn that will have a bit of each color in it.

Click here for an in-depth tutorial on making layered batts!

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Option 2: Striped

stripedbattfiber

A maximum of 4 colors works best for this option if you are using a Petite; for drum carders that have a wider drum, you can use between 5-6 colors to create your stripes. Starting from left to right, place the fibers on the infeed tray in the order you wish your stripes to appear (as shown above).

Click here for an in-depth tutorial on making striped batts!

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Option 3: Blended

heatheredbattfiber

Also known as a heathered batt, this option will mix all of your colors together for a more muted effect. You will need to feed your selected colors through your drum carder in equal amounts to achieve a truly homogenous mix – but don’t worry, if your batt isn’t as blended as you like, you can always send it through your carder another time!

Click here and here for in-depth tutorials on making heathered batts!

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We’d love to see what you’re carding and spinning over on Instagram – be sure to share your photos using the #strauchfiber hashtag!

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Warm, Warmer, Warmest: 4 Non-Sheep Fibers to Try This Fall

Don’t get us wrong – we love wool and learning about the many breeds of sheep that grow beautiful fleece for us to enjoy. But when it comes to staying warm during the chilly months ahead, there are several non-sheep fibers that surpass the warmth and thermal regulating properties of even our most favorite wools.

Some of these fibers are rarer, more costly, or perhaps even challenging to work with than wool fibers you might be accustomed to, but don’t worry – you can always blend them with your favorite wool on a Strauch Drum Carder (we recommend the Finest) to create your own unique combination.

Here are our our top 4 non-sheep fibers to try this fall, in order of warm, warmer and warmest!

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Mohair

Forget about those hairy sweaters from the ’80’s – today’s mohair is incredibly soft with a lustrous sheen! There are 8 types of wild goat species, but just one domestic species that produces the fibers we love to work with – the term Mohair is an Arabic word meaning “choice” or “select” and refers to the downy underfiber that all goats produce, rather than a specific breed of goat.

These animals are dual coated, meaning that they produce two types of fibers: the long, coarse guard hairs that protect the downy undercoat that is prized for its softness and insulating qualities. While all mohair fiber is sleek and shiny with excellent drape, there is a wide range in fiber quality that is best grouped into three major categories:

  • Kid mohair: The finest, softest fibers grown by very young goats and typically only assigned to the first shearing. These fibers are comparable to Merino.
  • Yearling mohair: The midrange in terms of softness, these fibers are from a goat that is 1 year old, as the name would imply. While these fibers are still quite fine, they are more similar to a mid-range wool.
  • Adult mohair: These fibers are as the heaviest and most coarse, but are also the most durable of the three fiber types.

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Angora

Fibers from angora rabbits are not simply soft and fluffy, they are also lightweight, yet incredibly warm.  If you crave the softness of cashmere for a fraction of the price, give angora a try!

There are 3 general classes of rabbits: French, English and German. All rabbits grow three types of fibers: the strong, straight erector hair, the awn, which is a slightly finer protector hair, and the down, which is the soft crimped down found closest to the skin.

While we strongly recommend washing just about any other fiber type before carding or spinning, it is actually better NOT to wash angora fibers before working with them to avoid creating unmanageable clumps of fiber, as angora fibers felt quite easily. We also recommend dyeing angora fiber after you have finished spinning or felting with it, rather that prior to, for the same reasons.

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Yak

These hardy animals are native to the Himalayan region, where they withstand harsh weather conditions. As a result, their fiber is extremely warm and insulating – in fact, yak down is warmer than cashmere!

Yaks grow three types of fibers: a long outer coat of guard hair, a midrange coat, and a soft downy undercoat. All of these fibers are very strong – the outermost coat is known for making exceptionally sturdy rope, for example. While the midrange coat has many textile uses, it is the soft downy undercoat that fiber artists are most interested in. These fibers are typically quite short, with a staple length ranging between 1.25-2.25 inches, making it a challenge to work with: you’ll need enough twist to hold the yarn together, but not so much that the yarn becomes stiff or overspun.

muskox

Qiviut

This ultra-luxurious fiber is the cadillac of the luxury fiber world. The term qiviut refers to the soft downy undercoat grown by Musk Oxen, animals which are native to arctic regions such as Alaska, Greenland and parts of Canada. These fibers are rare and costly, but the good news is that they blend extremely well with other fibers such as cashmere, merino wool, silk, or angora.

The very best qiviut fiber rivals that of the finest cashmere – it’s extremely soft, fine, and lightweight, with incredible insulating qualities. On top of that, it’s also quite sturdy, not to mention a great option for those with wool sensitivities.

We hope you found this post helpful – make sure to pin it for future reference!

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Mike’s Fiber Journal: Setting Up The New Home of Strauch Fiber

We’re getting settled in our new home in beautiful Hickory, NC!

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Since our last update, the upper assembly area and lower shop have really started to come together:

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We’ve also hired our first employee! This is Taylor,who will manage our office and shipping operations.

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Of course, we couldn’t do it without the help of some friends. Otto and Joanne have spent several weekends here in Hickory helping us get up to speed. Joanne’s keen eye and attention to detail is much appreciated.

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We’re also grateful for Otto’s guidance and moral support during this process.

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Carol (in the purple top, who worked in the Virginia workshop, has been on-site to help with organizing the ground level shop, making sure that each machine is placed properly for efficiency.

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As we get closer and closer to being 100% operational, we’ve hit some milestones such as receiving our first supply delivery in Hickory: 1800 lbs of ash lumber for carders!

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And we’ve got plenty of boxes on hand to ship orders:

boxes

It’s safe to say that we’re off to a great start in our new home – we’ve even been getting some interest from the community! A few weeks ago while I was in the lower shop, a North Carolinian who lives 30 minutes away (and is an alpaca breeder!) stopped by to take a look at our drum carders. Luckily, Joanne was handy and gave a live demo to our first-ever in-house customer who is now the proud new owner of a Finest!

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We’ll share more of our progress on Facebook or Instagram, or click here to sign up for the Strauch monthly newsletter!

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Guide to Fiber Producing Animals

As a fiber artist, there is no shortage of exciting fibers to explore! Especially if you are working with a raw fleece, these fibers benefit from proper preparation, and our drum carders can process virtually any fiber into beautiful batts. Even your most prized fibers can be processed without fear of damage: because the drums don’t touch, there is no risk of fibers getting stuck or jammed during the carding process.

We’ll be sharing more tips and resources covering all aspects of fleece and fiber on future blog posts; today, we kick things off with an exploration of the five broad categories of fiber-producing animals.

sheep in a field

SHEEP

Wool fibers are known for their resilience and naturally temperature-regulating properties, plus they are naturally flame retardant. There are thousands of sheep breeds for fiber artists to explore, each with their own unique characteristics. When describing a particular breed of sheep or even a single fleece, there is a special vocabulary to describe every aspect, from fineness to luster to crimp….and beyond!

In a future blog post, we’ll delve deeper into this vocabulary and also talk about some of the many interesting breeds available to today’s fiber artists. In the meantime, there are plenty of great resources where you can learn more! We recommend Deb Robson’s Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook and The Spinner’s Book of Fleece by Beth Smith to start your breed-specific wool journey, visiting a nearby fiber festival to meet the farmers who raise fiber producing animals, or searching out breeders’ associations for more information on specific types of animals and fiber.

alpacas in the mountains

CAMELIDS

The camelid family includes alpaca, llama, guanaco, vicuna, Bactrian camel and dromedary camel. Guanaco, vicuna and Bactrian camels are found in the wild, where they live in groups. Alpacas and llamas have been domesticated and are perhaps the most well-known fiber-producing animals within this group.

The fibers these animals produce is technically classified as hair, but the softer fibers are often referred to as wool – and some of this fiber is quite fine! Some fleece have very coarse, stiff guard hairs that can be used to make rope or rugs, but need to be removed before making into yarn.

goat eating grass

GOAT

There are 8 types of wild goat species, but just one domestic species that produces the fibers we love to work with. Mohair and Cashmere refer to the downy underfiber that all goats produce, rather than a specific breed of goat. These animals are dual coated, meaning that they produce two types of fibers: the long, coarse guard hairs that protect the downy undercoat that is prized for its softness and insulating qualities. New cross-breeds of goats such as cashgora and pygora have been created to produce cashmere-like fibers with longer, more lustrous fibers, but it should be noted that the quality can vary widely.

EXOTICS

Any animal that grows hair or fur can have these fibers harvested for use. Today, we’ll cover some of the most popular exotic fibers among fiber artists:

bison in a field

  • Bison: Once on the brink of extinction, nearly all bison are raised on ranches, although you can’t exactly call them domesticated (read: they are not fans of being shorn). These animals grow at least five types of fiber which is shed every spring. The two outermost coats consist of coarse hair; the next two coats contain shorter guard hairs, and the final coat consists of a fine, soft down, which of course is of the most interest to fiber artists!
    The Muskox (Dovrefjell Norway)
  • Musk Ox: These animals grow several types of fiber, with the most prized being the soft downy undercoat referred to as qiviut. This fiber is rare (and usually costly), and it is extremely soft, fine, and lightweight, with incredible insulating qualities. On top of that, it’s also quite sturdy, not to mention a great option for those with wool sensitivities. These fibers blend well with other fibers (we recommend very fine fibers such as cashmere, merino wool, silk, or angora).angora rabbit
  • Angora rabbit:  This luxury fiber is cashmere soft, but much more affordable. There are 3 general classes of rabbits: French, English and German. All rabbits grow three types of fibers: the strong, straight erector hair, the awn, which is a slightly finer protector hair, and the down, which is the soft crimped down found closest to the skin.
    Tibetan Yak
  • Yak: These hardy animals are native to the Himalayan region, where they withstand harsh weather conditions. As a result, their fiber is extremely warm and insulating, consisting of a long outer coat, a midrange coat, and a soft downy undercoat. All of these fibers are very strong – the outermost coat is known for making exceptionally sturdy rope, for example. While the midrange coat has many textile uses, it is the soft downy undercoat that fiber artists are most interested in: these fibers are extremely fine and cashmere-soft (some are even as soft as qiviut!).
  • Other exotics: Any animal that grows hair or fur can be used by fiber artists, including wolf, dog, cat, horse, and other fur/pelt animals such as mink, fox, etc. Obviously, there will be a huge range in quality among these fibers, and most of these fibers have not found their way into commercial yarn production just yet. If this is your first time working with any of these fibers, we recommend blending them into a familiar fiber (such as a sturdy wool) to make the spinning process a bit easier for you.

We hope you found this post helpful – make sure to pin it for future reference!

Infographic about fiber producing animals

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Mike’s Fiber Journal: From New Castle, VA to Hickory, NC

Since becoming the new owner here at Strauch, I’ve been training with Otto and Joanne at their workshop in Virginia and going to fiber festivals in my quest to learn everything I can about the fiber arts world. After a month in training, I began the process of moving everything lock, stock and barrel to Strauch’s new home in Hickory, NC.  We’re almost fully operational in our new facility, and today I want to share the process of this journey with you!

Having a background in woodworking has been extremely helpful in this process because I don’t have to start at ground zero. Instead, I’ve been learning the specifics of what makes each Strauch product unique and how to maintain the level of quality the Strauch name stands for. It starts with carefully preparing the raw materials…

prepping raw materials

And processing the wood…

processing wood

We covered every aspect of the business, right down to stapling the packing inserts!

stapling packing inserts

Of course, my biggest priority is learning the intricacies of building the key product line – drum carders!

building drum carders

mastering the art and science of building drum carders

I’m proud to say that I’ve mastered the art and science of building Strauch drum carders, and Otto has given me his seal of approval to prove it! Here we are after making the very last drum carder at the Virginia facility:

Otto and Mike after making the last Strauch drum carder in Virginia

We even took a photo of the last piece of wood to be cut in the processing barn at the Virginia workshop:

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After that, we began to pack everything up for the move to Hickory, North Carolina. Hundreds of components needed to be boxed up:

packing everything up for the big move

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Our hard-working crew took a well-deserved ice cream float break….

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…and then it was time to load everything on the truck. Next stop: Hickory, NC!

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Our new facility has two levels; here is a shot of the ground floor being prepared – it’s where we’ll process the raw wood.

wood processing area at the new location for Strauch

Here, the machines arrived are being loaded into the processing facility:

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Next, it’s time to prep the assembly shop, which is located upstairs.

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Things are coming together at our new location, and I can’t wait to share more about it with you! In the meantime, you can keep tabs on Facebook or Instagram, or click here to sign up for the Strauch monthly newsletter!

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Mike’s Fiber Journal: Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival and Blue Ridge Fiber Fest

There’s no better way to jump into things with both feet than going to a fiber festival! My first show as the official owner of Strauch was Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival (KSFF) in Lexington, KY the weekend of May 18th & 19th. Otto and Joanne were on hand to help as we joined our friends at The Woolery to give live demos at this show!

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It’s possible that a love for all things fiber is contagious, because I found myself learning how to spin on a wheel before the weekend was up (yes, I am a “shoes-on” spinner!).

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I found some time to explore the marketplace to see what kinds of yarns, fibers, and other fiber-related tools and accessories could be found.

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I met a lot of interesting people at the show, and it was particularly exciting to meet the next generation of fiber enthusiasts! Here’s a group of kids learning what a drum carder does; their teacher is Sister Margaret-Mary of St Joseph Academy in Walton, KY.  Although she’s 95% blind, she uses sophisticated computer programs to help her function within the fiber community. Amazing!

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Not too long after KSFF, we headed to Sparta, NC for the Blue Ridge Fiber Festival on June 7th and 8th (Subaru Outbacks are the “official” mode of transport for Strauch!).

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Joanne helped with setup while Otto was put in charge of photos to make sure my second-ever fiber festival was properly documented.

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Live demos are what it’s all about, and here, Joanne is ready to put the Finest through its paces while a customer looks on. Seeing is believing!

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For anyone who simply couldn’t wait to start using their yarn until they got home (no judgements!), we provided a courtesy yarn winding station.
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I’ve enjoyed getting to familiarize myself with all of the fiber-producing animals at each show, too. There is so much to learn!

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In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing the process of learning the ropes here at Strauch and relocating the business to Hickory, NC. You can also keep tabs on Facebook or Instagram, or click here to sign up for the Strauch monthly newsletter!

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Mikes Fiber Journal

Posted in About Strauch, Fiber, Mike's Fiber Journal, Shows | Tagged | Leave a comment