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Life & Work with Michelle Reynolds

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Reynolds.

Michelle, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my fiber experience with my son showing angora rabbits for 4H. I saved the fiber from his bunnies and tried to learn how to make yarn. It was slow going with a drop spindle. I kept trying and finally found a spinning wheel I could afford online.

It needed some repairs and that took some time to find someone I could send the broken piece to have fixed. I like to use bulky, chunky yarn so that’s what I make. I now have not just the rabbits for fiber but 5 angora goats( known as mohair) and 2 Shetland sheep in my fiber production herd. I also buy spinning fiber from local small farmers.

Processing raw fleeces, straight from the farmers is a long but very rewarding prosses. First, all fleeces are picked through, called skirting, pulling out stuff that’s too dirty, has guard hair, or is too short to use. Second, they are all washed in very hot water and a wool scouring soap.

After drying wool is pulled open and checked for hay, grass, or other unwanted debris that needs removal. Some fiber is then dyed. Some is carded, and brushed, to straighten fibers, and can be blended with other colors and fibers. Fiber is then spun on my wheel, Wee Peggy, I produce single strands then ply 2 strands together on my other wheel Minnie.

Once plyed the yarn is soaked in hot water and then dried to set the 2 strands of yarn as one. Once dry the yarn is ready to crochet, weave or knit with. I weave on the triangle and ridged heddle looms and crochet. What I do helps support local farmers that may not have other outlets for their fiber.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Learning to spin was a struggle, I ruined my share of fiber trying to get some steps correct. I have felted fleeces by wasing wrong. But with each misstep, I have learned.

Learning how to keep goats and rabbits housed and properly fed has taken the help of several friends.

Physical disabilities mean sometimes doing what I can that day not necessarily what I want to do, but luckily there are many jobs to do and if I hurt too much too wash fiber I can weave instead.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I want my projects to be used, I love to make bags, purses, scarves, hats, things that can be used but are beautiful.

I want them to be used, worn out, and used up. Not just left to look at. Art can be used and useful. Every so often I will make something for decoration.

Contact Info:

  • Facebook: A Tangled Mess Angoras and Crafts

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