Being a Yarn Architect

Being a Yarn Architect

Back in November last year I made a post, in which I mentioned something of my current direction in spinning, I am calling it ‘yarn architecture’. I know, its yarn.. a bunch of fibers twisted together. But .. what twists we can create! Yarn architecture: building – constructing – layering – intersecting lines and angles. I love the complexity and the simplicity. I also love the challenge. I had already begun this particular direction earlier in the year, looking for ways of plying and creating, and tending towards over-thinking things anyway, it seemed a natural way for me to go. I particularly liked the idea of taking traditional spinning methods and using them with non-traditional preparations, like, a cabled yarn, made with uncarded locks, or like this one, with bits of sari silk splashed around here and there.   There were also practical reasons for this as well as aesthetic and experimental. I wanted to also identify some interesting techniques that anyone could spin on any wheel, knowing that at any given workshop there will always be a wide range of wheels, each with different capabilities, and also spinners, each with different preferences for spinning thick or thin, smooth or textured. Yarn architecture can be adapted to any of those things, traditional fine singles plied in a crazy multi-layered way, or bulky textured singles tied down with a fine wrap.. and then more layers, wrapping with silk hankies like the Shelob yarn I designed, these things add depth and excitement to spinning and the final yarn, not just in texture but also in colour possibilities. I loved this three ply cable with the textured neon in the middle, its a simple construction but the ability to play around with colour makes it an adventure to spin: That is another yarn that can be made large and crazy wild, or fine and intricate. Its really fun to move between those things even within a single construction, to really explore it. There are also possibilties for taking really standard constructions such as a boucle, and to play with the elements within that, for example, I made this super bulky boucle with a fine (traditional) single spun from Wensleydale (for the curls), and plied  with a very bulky merino, instead of the standard fine single that would normally be used in a boucle.   This has all the elements of a ‘standard’ boucle, but I altered them a little to really change the end result. I also really liked how the sheen of the wensleydale worked against the soft bulky merino it was plied with. This is what I find most interesting about being a Yarn Architect, taking a standard construction and...

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Life in Colour

Life in Colour

Time is an issue. Theres never enough of it when you’re busy, or way too much of it if you happen to be somewhere you don’t want to be. Half the time its the wrong way around, especially when you have friends and family on the other side of the planet and something you just neeeeeed to tell them when actually its 4am there and theyre not gonna wake up just because you have this THING. It flies when you’re having fun and never just lets you reset it back to an hour ago and have that all over again, and yet it has no problem compressing a year or twos worth of memories into one little blurry block that feels like it was done and over in a week. And did you ever get that feeling when you arrive back from a holiday and it eerily feels like you never left? Time can rip you off. But fear not, this isnt going to degenerate into a simple rave about negative stuff, this is actually going somewhere. Organisation Thats where! I have decided that the trick is multi-tasking but in a kind of, one thing at a time way. Like taking multiple realities, and living in all of them, but not all at the same time, hopping between them, except, this isnt multiple realities is it? Its more like… multiple time streams. I know. But I can make this work. So if I can just ‘imagine’ that in one of those multi-time streams, I have already completed everything on my to do list, suddenly things get better. I can relax, safe in the knowledge that at least one version of me, somewhere in this space time continuum multi level reality flow, HAS done enough to be able to sit back and watch a movie and finish Bioshock Burial at Sea on the xbox. At which point, I can imagine I am in THAT time zone thingy and can do that too. No guilt. Trust me, it’ll all  work out. But the most important thing, the THING thats been taking all my available time from both this and other levels of time reality, is THIS thing, or rather TWO THINGS. Two brand new ebooks in the Fiberygoodness.com shop... oops make that THREE! The first and my favourite is one I just finished writing, on one of my favourite fibery subjects- BLENDING COLOUR! There are so many wonderful things about blending colours in fiber, all the subtle mixes, the amazing effect of seeing all the individual coloured fibers close up yet from a distance they form this beautiful blended colour, and its just plain exciting to almost magically create an entirely...

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Tools That Make you go Mmm

Tools That Make you go Mmm

I guess anyone who has been following my blog for a little while might have noticed that I am a bit of a tool geek as well as a fiber geek. I do rather tend to covet beautiful things, and to me, beautiful things are also invariably, functional things. Over the last year I have been developing something that is taking form in my mind as an approach to weaving, freeform weaving, but ‘my’ way. While I love the idea of complete and spontaneous ‘free’ weaving, I am also story oriented and I need a reason and a purpose to drive my creativity. This tends to come through in my weavings, which generally begin in quite a structured and planned, intentional way. Its only ‘after’ I have developed my ideas to a point where they are transferable into something concrete and tangible, that the freeform comes into it. By then I have already made decisions about (and even spun specifically for) the colours and textures I want to use, and I have a general outline in my mind of what I want to create. I dont make a pattern, but I do make a plan and sometimes sketches. Later this year I will be sharing with you my design methods, as I think I have developed a process for this that might be very helpful to others too. I collect up the tools I need. And when I think of ‘freeform’, in my mind, this doesn’t just refer to the idea of not using  a ‘pattern’, it also refers to my rather eclectic approach to the techniques I use, drawing from different areas of textile art,  and it also refers to to my gathering of equipment and tools needed to create the design. This is part of the ‘WoolWench Approach’ to weaving that I am currently developing. I think its really fun, and of course, it feeds my interest in tools and things I can use to create my visions. So in todays blog I wanted to share some of my newest tool acquisitions with you, and these are really special. These are some handmade Tapestry Bobbins, created and finished to an amazing standard by Ian of The Wood Emporium in the UK (the rather exotic sounding Isle of Wight to be exact)  These ones are Ebony, with brass tips. They have the most amazing weight to them, and the hand polished finish is just beautiful, not only to look at but to have in your hands as well, just a joy to use! On Ian’s website he also has other shapes and sizes, and choices of quite a range of beautiful wood types as well. Ian doesnt only...

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