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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Classes

July Crafting

Okay, so I didn’t do a lot with Tour De Fleece.  Certainly not as much as I had hoped.  On the other end of the spectrum my crafting classes are going very well.  I have a lovely core group of ladies that are really enjoying the crafts I am introducing them to.  Wet felting was a sloppy bit of fun, needle felting went off like a rocket (if you call it stabbing something a few hundred times it generates a lot of interest), and these past two weeks my ladies have taken to spinning like they were born for it.

During my Guild Meeting I managed to weave most of a towel, I have since finished that towel, woven another and a couple of coasters since I didn’t have enough warp for a third towel.  I have also spun about half of my June Fiber box from Paradise Fibers.  Okay, so I know most people are through their July Boxes but I don’t have that kind of crafting time.

Dodec Wheel!

I received my set of Dodec Wheels from Porter Threads today.  I purchased these spindle wheels for my Wooly Wednesday Workshop Series at the Public Library I work at.  These are a very inexpensive version of a spinning wheel since they lack the bobbin and flyer component.  There are also free plans for building your own wheel, which I lack the carpentry skills to create.  I was able to buy two wheels, with four spindles and assorted parts, for less than $200.  They arrived in two separate boxes taped together.  Each box contained the wheel, two spindles, two drive bands, two pieces of paraffin, two crescent wrenches, and the wooden components that are easily assembled.

Since it is raining today waxing or otherwise staining these wheels will have to wait.  Assembling the wheels is as easy as taking the part with the pedal putting it on the ground, take the part with the wheel and slide it into the appropriate slot in the base.

Dodec 4.JPG

Each wheel also came with 2 spindles and two drive bands.  Installing the spindles is a matter of unscrewing the rectangle of wood sticking out of the front, I am going to call it the front maiden, and installing the spindle.  Finally screwing the front maiden back on.

Then before you know it, you have the spindle installed and since the bulky portion acts as your flyer to turn the spindle you have that installed as well!

Dodec 9

Once you have the drive band stretched over the flyer piece and the wheel, hook the treadle to the drive wheel and you are ready to go.

All of this took about fifteen minutes!  I cannot wait to get started spinning on the spindle wheel to see how different it is from my Ladybug!

I look forward to reporting how simple this is for my beginning students to learn this after their drop spindles.

Happy Crafting!

Day 2 Tour De Fleece

I received my June Box from Paradise Fibers just in time for Tour De Fleece!  Their Suggestion was to spin this Bloom Roving in a manner different from how it would normally be spun by me.  One of the suggestions was to spin it in the Monet style.  Well I had no idea what that meant, so I had to investigate.  From what I can find out, without paying for the book or article which I might do in the near future, this is a method of spinning where a top is divided in half then half is spun straight from the top and the second half is spun from a carded preparation.  (rolags seemed to be what I saw).  Given these parameters I finished off my bobbin from the first day, split my top down the middle and started looking at it.  Half I wound onto my wrist distaff, the picture on the right, and the other half I decided I would take into work to card up.  (My drum carder and hand carders are living at work until my workshop series is over).

I’ve been watching the Craftsy Video Spinning From Woolen to Worsted by Jacey Boggs Faulkner.  She has some great suggestions on getting a more even yarn and how to spin more thoughtfully.  Given that advice I am attempting to spin this yarn more thoughtfully and at a smaller, more consistent, diameter.  My progress from Day 2 is on the bobbin.  I am enjoying this spinning experience and hope that I am becoming a better spinner.

Happy Crafting

Class 3- Wet Felting

The ladies, and occasional gentleman, are having so much fun with these classes.  I find it so heartening that all of my students just jump in full force with all of the classes I am teaching!  I admit I keep forgetting to get pictures of everyone crafting, mostly because I am having a ton of fun right along with them!

Most of my students had created mini batts in our last class and they were using those to make their felt.  I had them wet down their batts and use soap to gently begin felting.  Since they were just mini batts they felted very quickly, though some had thin spots.  This felt is going to be considered the basis of their bookmarks as well as mini notebooks, so I would rather it be as solid as I can help them get it.  Since wet-felting doesn’t seem to be doing the trick we will be playing around with some needle felting (after another quick lecture on safety).  I hope that they will be able to needle felt in some filler for their thin spots as well as some embellishments.  (I’m going to experiment with bamboo and patching today).

These classes are so very exciting!  My supervisor has recommended I look for a grant to offset some of these costs in the future and this is certainly worth looking into.

Happy Crafting!

Class 2- Carding Wool into Batts and Rolags/Punis

My students are amazing, creative, industrious, and fearless!  They took to carding like ducks to water.  Once they had the skills mastered they began teaching each-other.  This was a glorious example of cooperation & creativity.  They wound up with such beautiful batts and rolags, I am almost more excited then they are for the wet felting class next time.  We used hand cards, a blending board, and a Brother Drum Carder.  Everything went smoothly, though I am certain the number of times I warned them to be careful if they weren’t up on their tetanus shot helped, lol.  Happy Crafting!

First Class Down, 13 more to go!

My First Dyeing class was a runaway success.  The techniques and materials were simple enough that the students had no problems following along.  Everyone’s wool turned out bright and beautiful, the results were phenomenal.  I hope that every class is as enthusiastic, cheerful, and helpful.  The questions being asked proved that the patrons were there to learn.  I am so excited for the rest of the Classes.  Dyeing Wool Handout contains the methods that I taught to dye fibers easily using materials found in a kitchen.  There are a million other ways to dye fiber, so do not take this as gospel.

 

Too Long Gone

I know, I have not updated in way too long.  Things have been moving and shaking in my crafting world.  I have had a lot of fun keeping up with my spinning, I cannot spin every day but those days that I do I really enjoy.  IMG_0034.JPG

I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime this summer, I will be holding weekly crafting classes at the public library I work at.  It is an amazing opportunity to introduce wool to my community and help them discover the different ways that they can create their own clothing, starting their design process from the fiber up.  It has been a blast getting everything together for these classes and figuring out what I will be teaching each class.  Unfortunately this has not left me a lot of time for updating my blogs.  I”ll work on that.

Happy Crafting!

 

Shuttle Bobbins? What?

I was watching “Get More Spun: Part 1” by Abby Franquemont on CraftDaily.com video subscription service when Abby mentioned storing singles on several bobbins to ply from later.  She stated that storing singles on several different bobbins and mixing them up before plying will help to even out some uneven spinning.  I saw the bobbins she was storing them on and it clicked, those are shuttle bobbins not spinning wheel bobbins!  I will admit to still having some apprehension about how many joins might be needed for these yarns, but my excitement is far outweighing any misgivings.

This did bring about another potential sticking point, I do not have a bobbin winder.  I picked up an attachment for my cordless drill but between my underpowered drill and my inability to get the bobbin far enough down the shaft so that I feel comfortable putting pressure to wind a nice tight yarn onto the bobbin, my winder is not going to cut it.  I looked at bobbin winders, over $100 each!  Fiber tools are so very expensive, and often for something that can only be used for a single purpose.  As Alton Brown would say, “Unitaskers!”

I sighed, pouted, and decided to see if any of the sites online (Ebay, facebook fiber tools groups, etc) had a bobbin winder that I could get at a price I was willing to pay.  In my travels I looked at the charkha a tool used for spinning cotton that Ghandi popularized in India to help free his people (it really is a fascinating subject that I intend to dedicate at least one post to in the near future).  The Ashford version looked sort of like an amped up bobbin winder, but at almost $400 it would be an even sillier investment than the Unitasker!.  However, there was another option a Babe Linten Spindel Charkha Wheel. At $150 it is not less expensive than buying a bobbin winder, and it could be argued I could get a book Charkha and a bobbin winder for about the same price, I am very happy with my purchases.

Babe’s Fiber Garden was amazing at helping me figure out if using their wheel as a bobbin winder would be a reality or not.  They even offered to send me some bands that are used for animal castration thinking that these will be a good size to keep my bobbins on their spindle.  I really look forward to playing with my new Mulit-Tasker as soon as it gets here!  I have some cotton left over from last year when the Cotton Clouds kit was on clearance from Woolery, but this playing might have to wait until Spinzilla is over!

I may even get time over the next year to tell Babe’s Fiber Garden that their new Garden loom looks like it would be good for Sprang!

Happy Crafting!

Big Project

This is where I admit that I have been Pre-Scheduling these posts so that I am able to have content each week!  Lol.  If I did not do that then I would have 20 posts in 2 weeks then it would be 3 months until I get back to it.   That being said, by time you read these posts I hope to be done with my project, but stay tuned to see how my summer went!

I promised myself I would do a number of larger projects this year.  Due to circumstances I think that my larger projects are going to be:

  1. Get the paint/rust off of my ‘new to me’ loom and heddle bars; repaint it and reassemble it for use (probably next year)
  2. Make sure that I have enough projects ready to go for a set of classes 1-2 a month (1/week if I can swing it) for the public library!  Very exciting

As a refresher, this is what my Loom looks like.

It is a bit hard to tell from here but the bar on the bottom that the pedals are attached to is completely rust covered and there are rust spots all along the paint.  Not pictured are the weights that came with this loom, since it was a Therapy Loom.  The heddle bars, pictured left, are not supposed to be that color, they are completely rust covered.

I just started this last night and since then I have managed to get the heddle bars completely cleaned off and one side painted for 7 out of the 8 heddle bars.  The 8th is being used to hold the good heddles, 734 total.  Tomorrow, if it is not raining, I plan on painted the other side of my first 7 heddles.

I have also begun trying to get the paint and rust off of the weights that come with the loom.  They are in pretty bad shape and I thought they would be a good place to make any mistakes.  Using an attachment to a cordless drill I am able to get the paint off quite quickly.  Within 30 minutes I had the paint off of one side for 2 of the pieces.  The rust is in there a little more deeply than I would like and so after I get the paint off of all of them I will get to work on the rust.  After they are cleaned off to the best that I am going to get them I plan on putting Rustoleum Primer and a topcoat of Yellow paint.

This is a huge project and I am a bit intimidated to get started with it, but I hope bit by bit this gets done this summer so I can have a fall and winter of picking out yarns to use on it next year!

Happy Crafting!

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