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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Classes

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!

Guild Class

I joined my local weaving and spinning guild!  Enchanted Mountain Weavers, they are holding an event to teach beginners about warping a loom and other techniques that will save the beginners a lot of trouble in the future.  I managed to get into this group, I was a little late signing up but they are wonderfully accommodating, and then I received the supplies list.  This reminded me of just how much of a beginner I really was and how many supplies I lacked (also how expensive they tend to be).

One of the main things that I seem to lack is a warping board.  They want from $45 to a 4.5 yard warping board to over $300 for a warping board that doubles as an inkle loom (this one can warp over 14 yards).  I am not really willing to pay that much for that little, and I don’t have $300 for the one I would buy.  Given these limitations I have decided to follow the instructions that I was given, from Weaving Today you can download an ebook that shows you how to make a warping board from PVC.  I am very lucky and my local hardware store is able to cut the PVC for me, so I really will only have to assemble it and perhaps sand down some rough edges.

With this new warping board, my rigid heddle loom, and some other little supplies I am looking forward to starting my new adventure into weaving and taking my first class!

Happy Crafting!

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