Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fiber Artist Profile: Candace Tresnak

What fiber art(s) do you participate in and for how long have you done each one?
I started my journey into fiber arts about 4 years ago. I wanted to learn how to weave because I was really into babywearing my youngest daughter. I wanted to learn how all these threads became cloth. Then, I bought some fiber that wasn't plied and I bought a spinning wheel, because "it needed to be plied". That was in August of 2016. Then, I needed something to do with all the yarn I was (sort of) making. So, I learned how to crochet in the summer of 2017. Then I realized I didn't want to "waste" my yarn by using it for crochet, so I learned to knit in December odf 2018. I have tried a little felting here and there as well.

When did you start working with fiber from rare breeds of sheep?
I bought quite a few fleeces before I went back to work - so in the summer of 2017. I purchased some Black Welsh Mountain, Jacob, Romedale (I have a number of entire fleeces from that breed), Shetland, as well as some Clun Forest. The first raw fleece I ever purchased was a Lincoln x. So, not eligible, but I think it retained much of the Lincoln traits.

What was your biggest surprise when you purchased your first rare breed wool?
Nothing really. I have probably over 100 pounds of wool sitting around waiting for me to process it, so I think it would take a lot to surprise me.

Have you had any challenges purchasing wool directly from shepherds?
Yes. I have had some difficulty locating certain breeds - the hair ones for sure. And Lincoln at the moment! The rest I have already purchased and it's washed or in progress.

What do you love most about working with rare breeds?
Learning about new and different wools!

What is your favorite wool from sheep on the Conservation Priority List and why?
I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying Karakul. I washed it, and when I went to comb it, things didn't go well. My go-to is combing, so I had to ask for tips. I ended up flicking the ends, running it through my picker, and I am going to card it.

What bit of advice would you give another fiber artists who is just starting to explore the world of rare breed wools?
Be flexible! Understand that fleece is going to be different from one shepherd to the next. If possible, try to get two sources and see how much different they are! Also, sheep are dirty. You're probably not going to get coated fleece (and if you are - it's going to cost a lot more). Enjoy and embrace the process!

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