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A Little More Abstract

Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

Slow Start, Working on It

I want to start by mentioning a really neat article I read about keeping your handspinning resolutions: by Interweave Press.  I can tell you right now, I have already invested in a new spinning too, a Portuguese Spindle I obtained from Mielkes Fiber Arts and I absolutely LOVE IT! However I told myself that since I got the hang of it a bit I would just leave it alone rather than spin all of that lovely merino silk on it so that I had a pre-made piece to show my students….but now that I am thinking about it…that’s downright stupid!

The more I practice with it the better I will get.  The more likely I will remember what I am doing with it.  Frankly I’m not doing much with my yarn right now anyway so if the skein winds up really little, who cares?  I’m going to master the Portuguese Spindle, which is a modified support spindle since you are supposed to have it in your hand the entire time, before I start teaching my classes in April.  I am also going to buy several other types of spindles and do my best with them in the next couple of months, including but not limited to a Russian Spindle, Navajo Spindle, and Tibetan Spindle (all three of these are support spindles).  I hope to get another Turkish Spindle and a Delegan (Scottish Style Drop Spindle) so that I have a very wide variety of spindles to show my students.

My next work project is to start typing out mini-lectures on different aspects of spinning for my classes.  I would like them to go away with not only a basic knowledge of How to spin but a basic appreciation Of Spinning, as a craft, history, way of life, building block that civilization was created from.

The mini-lectures are on the following topics:  History of yarn, types of wool, trusting your twist, exploring fiber preps, prepping your fiber, plying your singles and why, And Finally Creating your own spindle and whorl.

For the History of Yarn I plan on emphasizing how important yarn and spinning really is, every culture around the world does some form of spinning, and many have modified their own version of appropriate tools to do so.  Spinning can require amazing tools or just fiber and your leg.  It really is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  I will give a wide variety of demonstrations as we go through the lecture, at the end all of my students will be using a top whorl drop spindle to learn how to create yarn.

You get the idea, there really is a lot to spinning and I am very excited to begin to share this amazing craft with my students.  My group from last year seemed to be very excited, and I am using the gift certificate they provided me with to buy three of my spindles for this year!  As for creative things I have done, well I used a tissue box and some printed paper to make a donation box at the suggestion of my library board.

Happy Crafting!

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Crafting for the New Year!

I have the crafts that I want to teach for 2018 already scheduled.  I am currently working on getting the samples created for the first six months worth of crafts.  Everything from Yarn Feathers to put on Dream Catchers, little embroidered bookmarks, needle felting, needle tatting, and more.  In April we will re-start spinning wool into yarn in a several class series.  I found out last year that I rushed things a bit by trying to teach spinning in about 2-3 classes.

The first two classes of the spinning series will be dyeing wool using pans in the oven and then pots on the stove.  Several classes on spinning, plying, etc, then dyeing skeins of yarn.  I’m really looking forward to these classes!

Happy Crafting!

Have a Very Crafty New Year

Right now my New Year looks to be full of crafts.

Almost every week I will be teaching a craft class at my public library.  They will cover a wide variety of topics from spinning yarn, weaving, making bath bombs, and much more.  I am really looking forward to these Monday’s.

In addition to this, my mother has decided that I need to needle felt a nativity for next year.  I’ve tried to explain that I’ll have to do one animal a month or some similar method to that, she is adamant so assembling the fibers for this project is next.

This year, my crafting goals are a little different.  I hope to work on assembling a collection of types of spindles from around the world.  This should be a ton of fun, and I am really looking forward to discovering how to use all of these different spindles.  In addition to my spindle and spinning exploration (and my new felting projects) I hope to advance my weaving skills in the new year.  With the Nativity I am now going to felt, I was thinking about seeing if it is viable to weave the camel coverings in bright and beautiful colors.  I do not intend for this to be anything too fancy, but I do plan on making several variations and enjoying the process.

The first step in my new year of crafting, in addition to buying the wool I need, is to cut off all of my old warps (since I wasn’t weaving them anyway) and starting fresh in the new year!

Happy Crafting All!

Finally Finished (part of) One!

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The Paradise Fibers monthly Fiber boxes are wonderful.  I really enjoy playing with them.  However, despite getting my box very early in the month, I have never managed to finish a ‘project’ with my box within that month.  Really, I’m still working on spinning my Gemvember box from November, and my Yaktober fiber is still sitting in its pretty bag being admired.  However for December we were sent three beautiful sets of 50/50 silk/something blends and two bags of very pretty beads.  I decided, this is it.  I am going to take the Polworth/Silk blend (since I really want to save the other two for very fine spinning) and finish a project in the same month that I received the box.    Lo and Behold, my 128 Yards of Beaded Polworth Silk.

This is the pre-wash skein so the finished product is probably closer to 110 yards, however I am still very proud of it.  I’m also sort of terrified of it…it’s so pretty and white…white doesn’t really last around me…but we will see.

Happy Crafting!

 

Experimenting

I managed to spin quite a bit of white wool.  The I wound it into a center pull ball, actually I used to strands to wind a ply ball on my ball winder.  This is the first time I have played with a ply ball.  I put a rolled up piece of paper in the center of the ball so that it didn’t collapse into itself, and plied from the outside ends.

I used a bottom whorl drop spindle and just went to town.

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This is my spindle when I was finished, the singles were wheel spun so there was quite a bit to them.  I love how my unwashed skein turned out:

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Over 120 yards of 2 ply yarn.  I really liked how the center pull ball worked for plying.  I might just hand wind a tight ball next time, since it will be a silk merino blend, instead of using the ball winder.  Trying to get a tight ball so that the singles didn’t crimp, yet loose enough so that my ball winder didn’t make that awful grinding noise.

The main advantage that I can see from winding a center pull ball is immediate feedback on what the yarns will look like together.  My ply ball would be from the Gemvember box by Paradise fibers and seeing how the separate colors would work together would be a big advantage.

Keep experimenting, there is always something new to learn.

Happy Crafting!

The Holiday Season

I cannot believe that it is this far into the season.  I have really enjoyed teaching my fall crafting classes and cannot believe that my last one is today.  We are working on completing some Sequin Houses from kits I bought on Herrschners.com.

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Above please see my sample that I completed before the class.  Honestly the sample is how I came to realize that the class was going to have to be two classes.  These little crafts take forever to get completed correctly.  However, once they are completed they are simply beautiful.

This has been an amazing experience and a true lesson in patience.  I really look forward to seeing everyone’s finished projects.  Later I will post about my personal crafting journey this fall!

Happy Crafting!

3 Tips for Drumcarding Top

http://knittyblog.com/2017/08/3-tips-for-drumcarding-top/

There are a lot of resources out there for learning how best to use a drum carder, these past three articles are a great resource for introducing a lot of the concepts involved in drum carding.  This blog is probably a good one to follow also.

With this article, I especially liked the tip where the author says to hand card some of your smaller bits of fiber first to spread it out a bit more.  I had never thought of that before, but it makes perfect sense to keep things thin and even.

Happy Crafting!

Top to Batt: More Adventures in Carding

http://knittyblog.com/2017/08/top-to-batt-more-adventures-in-carding/

Again this is a great article!

I had a similar experience recently with a beautiful hand dyed top I picked up from a local dyer.  I wanted to create a striped batt by separating out the yellow from orange from red.  The colors blended a bit more than I thought I wanted, but the end result is two fantastic batts, with sparkle (I like sparkle so I added sparkle), that I plan on spinning separately and then plying together.  As soon as I am done enjoying the fluffiness that is their batt form.

Happy Crafting, and read this article.  Short but sweet!

The Sandwich Part of My Batts

http://knittyblog.com/2017/09/the-sandwich-part-of-my-batts/

I love the newsletters I get from Strauch Fiber Equipment.  They always lead me to such wonderful places.  In this case the article points out, in a very quick way, a method of adding in extra materials into a batt, that goes through a drum carder, without getting extra things stuck in the drum carder.  Great article!

Happy Crafting!

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