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From Sunlight to Sweater

Columbia Sheep

Imperial Stock Ranch

My dear friend, Jeanne Carver (Imperial Stock Ranch), has always referred to her wools as “nature’s miracle.”  She speaks of the energy transferrance of sunlight to the grass to the sheep to our finished objects.  We had a number of our handspinning students ask us for a class on the full process of taking a fleece through all it’s processing

and I’ve been to ISR during shearing a number of times so I asked Jeanne if we could use her wool for the project.  She invited our group out to see the shearing and selected the 10 for our project. Back in studio, our group rolled out their “blankets,”  the intact fleece, so that they could pick out all vegetable matter and short cuts.

A Pico Accuardi student picks her fleece

We began our washing process by talking about all the ways you can clean a fleece (some stinkier than others) choosing to scour in our studio washing machine using just Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Everybody dyed their fleece the colors they hoped to see in their sweaters.  I encouraged everyone to dye a larger percentage of their wool the overall color they wanted with a small percent a contrast color and another a deeper shade to get their color to really pop!  Some decided to blend in different fibers, such as our 100% silk, to make it softer and add deeper color interest.

Columbia Wool dyed in three colors

Our next class took place at Andersen fiber works in Gresham.  They are the one place in Portland where you can rent time on the drum carder to blend your own batts.  You

Andersen Fiberworks, downtown Gresham Oregon

can see some of the owner, Jen’s, beauties under the Hanks in the Hood label ( I’m ridiculously addicted to anything with sparkle she makes!).  Everyone took turns putting their dyed locks through the mini picker to remove seeds and then blended their fiber on Jen’s large Duncan carder and began test spinning their fiber.  Did I mention Andersen fiber works serves local beer and wine?

Wine and Chocolate at Andersen Fiberworks

The next piece of the process is going to be spinning to gauge for specific projects for the group.  We just got serious practice at the fleece to foot at sock summit couple of weekends ago- we had to go from sheep to pair of socks in 5 1/2 hours!  Yes, the yarn had to be spun to fingering weight, plied.

I think I’m going to make a pretty simple sweater out of my Lavender-mauvey-grayish fiber.  I”m still deciding about whether or not it should be fully picked and carded or just spun from locks, whether I should , how I want to ply it, etc.  Sometimes it’s fun to just let the fiber tell you what it needs to be.

Stevanie Pico dyes yarn for Pico Accuardi Dyeworks in Portland, OR.  She has also designed colorways for Cascade Yarns, Imperial Stock Ranch Yarns and Autoctona jewelry.  Her work is featured in Chrissy Gardiner’s Indy Socks,  Larissa Brown’s My Grandmother’s Knitting and Judy Becker’s Beyond Toes.

She enjoys rocking out with her three kids, running around with Larissa Brown and Deb Accuardi, playing with yarn and fabric, spinning weird yarns and singing really loud.




Get your own Sheep to Sweater on!

Pico Accuardi Dyeworks is offering a giveaway of 8 oz. of wool roving to start your own project.  Winner may have the roving dyed a custom color.  See below for palette ideas or send a photo  to  To enter drawing for this gift, valued at $32 please leave a comment  by Sunday August 28th midnight pst.  Winner will be announced on Monday.

We Have a Winner!

Mary Whited
Submitted on 2011/08/25 at 2:44 PM
WOW! What gorgeous colors! I don’t know if I could choose if I were to win. I love to dye my roving, I use the Slow Cooker method.

Posted by Stevanie Pico on Aug 25, 2011 06:15 AM | 370 Comments

370 Responses to “From Sunlight to Sweater”

  1. Barb says:

    Gorgeous! I would love to use your wool to teach drop spindle spinning to our homeschool group…….

  2. Michelle says:

    Your wool is beautiful and very inspiring. It would be wonderful to have a sample to be creative with and make something new. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Carol says:

    I’ve wanted to learn to spin for so very long. Maybe winning this wonderful product would be just the kick start I need. Thank you for this opportunity.

  4. wendy says:

    Exciting wool! My imagination is drooling!

  5. Michelle says:

    Stevanie and PAD make such wonderful yarns. What a wonderful and generous giveaway.

  6. Colleen says:

    What a wonderful article. It is amazing that you can get such beautiful colours.

  7. Tricia F. says:

    Your wool is beautiful. Thanks for the chance to have some. I am learning to spin with a drop spindle and it would be wonderful to try some of your wool.

  8. Nicole Jonsson says:

    Sounds like HEAVEN! Wine, Chocolate, Fiber, and Sheep…

  9. Susan says:

    I would love to take such a class. And, what beautiful fiber!

  10. Tiffy says:

    We’ve just been gifted a drop spindle. We’d love to feel the glory of your wool as we learn making yarn. Thanks for all you do.

  11. Lisa Sanders says:

    I spin on a wheel and love your wool!!

  12. Melanie Bachmann says:

    Oh, WOW. It is my dream to go sheep to sweater. I am shopping for a wooly sheep this weekend. Our family has 4 hair sheep that we have “tried” out to see if we are shepherds… and WE ARE! The dyes are amazing and the blog such an inspiration. Thank you!!

  13. Vanessa says:

    Drum carding, chocolate and wine in one place, heaven!

  14. Jody Evans says:

    Gorgeous colour palette! Thanks for the lovely story and pictures. I’m craving some real wool experiences after a trip to Istanbul in search of interesting fibers…too much acrylic and they seem to have a penchant for neon colours with glitter! It made me really appreciate how lucky we are to have access to such gifted dyers and spinners, and thank you for the opportunity to win some roving!

  15. Darra Ray says:

    Your wool is vibrant and full of energy. I think the closer we are to the source of our products the more energy they contain.

  16. Rosalyn Schultze says:

    Your wool is an inspiration for those of us who enjoy all of the fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, felting, etc.)
    The colors are wonderous–they feed the soul! I would love to have some for my next project.

  17. linda says:

    I am a newbie to wool crafts and i would love to try some quality wool products.

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