Spindle Spinning for Beginners

Spindle Spinning for Beginners

Today was the Spindle Spinning for beginners workshop at Woool in The Hague, it was a really cool afternoon! The day started with a lot of rain and melting snow creating slush and puddles. We managed to leave on time, tooled up with a box of Louet spindles and another box full of dyed roving and the kits I had made for everyone. The kits included some lovely light Corriedale, which I think is perfect for beginning spindlers, its easy to draft with a good staple length, I also gave everyone a three page info sheet covering the basics of what I would be showing during the workshop, because I think its always handy to have something to take home as a reminder of the key points. The rovings brightened up the dull morning! I really like going to Woool, because Pauline (Woooly proprietor) has a great sense of humour and is possibly more of a yarn geek than I am, and she is also a very talented knitter who makes awesome things with yarn. And also, well, this shop is full of yarn! Really pretty yarn. Whats not to enjoy! So anyway, when I got there Pauline had everything ready in this Aladdins cave of fiber, people started arriving, and all twelve of us settled ourselves with spindles at the ready. . We started with the basics, fiber choice, drafting, making a leader, twisting wool.. There was less dropping than I expected and a lot more spindling than I had hoped for! These people were all naturals! Even Pauline, who was sure she wouldn’t get it, was making a lovely yarn within about 15 minutes of getting her leader on the spindle. My biggest worry for the workshop, knowing myself too well, was that I would skip something important, go too fast, do things in the wrong order, or miss something entirely and only realise when it was too late and everyone had gone home and there was nothing I could do about it, unless the Doctor turned up and gave me a lift in the Tardis back to the appropriate time, at which point I would casually add that important piece of forgotten information in such a way that no one would notice there were two of me, perhaps with some clever voice throwing or maybe by creating a yarn avalanche distraction whilst shouting ‘and dont forget to keep the tension on your yarn while winding it onto the spindle!’ Er… ok I think in the end, my usual over-preparation before teaching anything must have helped, because I don’t think I forgot anything, and by the end of our two hour session everyone had a spindle full...

Read More

Valentines yarn 2013

Valentines yarn 2013

Something fun to do is make themed yarns, and of course the special days of the year are idea inspiration sources! I did the Christmas yarns: (click on the pics for larger images) and an Easter Yarn:  and also last years Valentine yarn with Roses (for which I also did the video – check that out on the Downloads page among the videos if you’d like to see one way of integrating objects). I didnt yet do a Halloween yarn, but this year I will for sure!) But now I am working on this years Valentine yarn 🙂 Its not really finished yet but I wanted to share it with you already, also cos sometimes its just interesting to see how something develops! I started out with a hot pink, yellow, orange, and purple merino roving. I spun a single, and after a few yards I stopped, broke off the roving and pulled some yarn back off the bobbin and wrapped it into a mini ball, and started crocheting it to make the little crochet hearts:  I started by chaining 4, then joining it into a circle with slip stitch (my crochet description is not going to be very technical because I am hopeless with patterns, but I will describe what I did!) Then I chained two, then *yarn over and put the hook through the middle of the circle to pick up the yarn and pull it through, yarn over and pull through two, yarn over pull though two again. I am not sure if this is double or triple stitch! I am sure someone will know and hopefully leave a comment with the proper term for this! I get confused between the english and American stitch names.. Ok then chain one* Then repeat * to * three times then chain two (this is the point at the bottom of the heart). then repeat * to * again. And thats it! When you get to the last stitch, pull the yarn all the way through to knot it, then I wove it back through the heart to the center and made one more chain there to fasten it. At this point you might want to treadle a little to make sure there is enough twist left between the heart and the orifice, and then join the roving back onto the unspun end of your yarn and spin more until you want to make the next heart. I wasnt sure if I wanted to leave this yarn as a single or to ply it, I felt that the proportions would be better though if it was plied. I happened to have a while single leftover from something else sitting beside...

Read More

2013 Workshops!

2013 Workshops!

Well here it is! I just updated the Workshops page with the 2013 schedule! Whoot! I am most excited about the Themed Yarns workshop, I love this! and I can’t wait to see what inspirations people will bring for their themes, and I also can’t wait for the dyeing day! Its probably one of my favourite things about playing with fiber, and I might just have one or two tricks you don’t yet know, which I will be sharing, and a goal is that for the day we all get out of our usual colour go-to’s and try something new. I would also love to do a totally experimental workshop that would be like a big brainstorming session to see what new techniques and yarns we can create together! Some planning still required for that, but I think it could be really exciting to have a major yarn design session and make some trial yarns together, who knows, maybe we can come up with something completely new! A must for this will be the attitude that there is no ‘wasted’ fiber because each yarn is a learning experience and of value. I have also found that Saori weaving is a great way to use up bits and pieces of yarns that might not have succeeded as knitting yarns but work brilliantly between a warp! So those are just a few of my ideas, I have a lot more of them! But for now I am working on being realistic 😛 If there is fiber related activity you don’t see mentioned but  you would love to do, let me know, maybe we can work something out! I hope you will take a good look through the workshops list for this year, and that something in it will be calling your name.  Just contact me via the Contact form on this website, or message me on Facebook  if you would like to register your interest in a workshop, I hope to hear from you soon! xoxo...

Read More

Snow Day

Snow Day

Its really pretty outside! After ten years of living in the Netherlands you’d think I would be a little bit used to a the once or twice a winter snowfall, but in fact, I still tend to react to it with wonder, seriously, I could sit and watch the snow falling for hours. I spent most of my life in the part of New Zealand that never gets snow, I mean really, never. I could see the snowcapped mountains in the distance every winter, looking west as I drove to work to check the peaks and see if there was snow up there and if we would be getting a really chilly wind that day. Its not a weird sight for me, but actually being IN the snow? That was the kind of mega adventure we would have as kids, if the snow came far enough down the mountains to be reachable by car, and we would get bundled up with our rarely worn gloves and hats and taken to play in the snow and build snowmen. That certainly wasnt every year, and in reality, the snow we could get to by car on a Sunday drive wasnt exactly a LOT of snow, now that I have something to compare it with. It was more like, patches of icy stuff in the shady parts of the valleys, sometimes deep enough to crunch underfoot, and not really enough to roll up into a ball without including quantities of leaves and forest floor debris. But it was still pretty exciting for kids who almost never saw snow except in Disney Christmas specials! I did once or twice, as a teenager, end up at the Chateau, a pretty fancy hotel at the base of the Mount Ruapehu ski fields. Even venturing higher on the chair lifts. However those were times when there was in fact, not really much snow. It is still pretty exciting though, as its an active volcano, standing on that, with or without snow, is pretty cool! Those were the days when we used to all jam into the old Holden and, for lack of anything better to do, drive from Napier to Taupo (2 hours on a good day) for a burger, burning rubber to ACDC, Pink Floyd, and, depending on the driver of the day, occasional bouts of Neil Diamond; I Am I Said… because thats just how we rolled. Ok, so my point is totally lost by now in nostalgic meanderings! My point is actually, I was feeling particularly blessed this morning, during our walk to school, with the ability to clothe myself and my kids in super warm stuff, handspun and handwoven scarves, that are...

Read More

Teeswater weaving

Teeswater weaving

I just wanted to share a little look at what I was weaving this week, because I was happy with the result but when I started it had no idea if i would be or not! I was worried that the little curls would get trapped and lost under the warp, but I found that I could flick out the curls as I wove, and the end piece has a lovely curly texture. Which is great, because I didn’t have a plan B....

Read More