Yarn Recipe!

Yarn Recipe!

I realise that my posts here are becoming a little more sparse than they used to, the simple reason being that I am more regularly blogging over our on Fiberygoodness.com website, I find it difficult to blog in two places! However apparently I have no trouble spinning on two wheels, although I havent yet figured the trick for doing that all at the same time.. yet.. Anyway I am just going to repost here the same thing as I posted last week on the Fiberygoodness blog, just because I would like everyone to share this fun yarn recipe I made up 🙂 Heres the post..! This week we would like to share something with you! Perhaps you already know about our Fiberygoodness Yarn Recipe series (for sale in our shop), these are spin techniques largely developed by myself (Woolwench/Suzy) and Arlene (the awesome SpinArtiste). They have included quite a variety of spin recipes and one of my favourites has been Arlenes ‘Helix’ yarn, a method of integrating locks into a ply. I love including the concept and activity of weaving into everything I do 🙂 Well I carried on playing with this technique, and not too long ago was lucky enough to be up to my elbows in the most amazing Teeswater locks at the farm of Virginia Scholomiti (The Yellow Farm) USA. I was teaching, and it seemed logical to focus the weekend on… locks! And now was my chance to do some more Helix spinning, this time adding locks into an Nply weave. I used some of the colours we had been dyeing that weekend and a neutral single I had spun earlier and made this:Up till now, the only people I have shared this technique with were the ones at the workshop 🙂 And I say up till now because.. today we would like to share the yarn recipe with YOU! It has morphed a little since I did that one, but mostly in the colours I have chosen, I have been busy with a lot of rainbows recently (for reasons that will be revealed in the next couple of months) and so I wanted to see what this one would look like in rainbow colours. I had a stash of rainbow locks that Arlene and I had dyed together in the US, and this rainbow batt just calling my name, and this is what i came up with 🙂   You can get your free download  with instructions to spin this yarn by clicking the image right here: I also made a video to go with the recipe card, in which you can see each step of the construction of the yarn pictured. I hope you...

Read More

Majacraft Fusion Engine Drum Carder

Majacraft Fusion Engine Drum Carder

  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a review on the Majacraft Fusion Engine Drum Carder, and I thought it might be a good idea to follow that up with a video showing some of the cool features it has. One of these features is a special favourite of mine, partly because I had a role in its development! When I was out in NZ in 2013 I was able to use the prototype carder that Majacraft had developed at that stage. It was pretty much as you see it now (although there have been invisible changes and ‘tweaks’ since then), and there has since been one addition that I am very proud of, the Direct Injection Tray. This is an accessory for the carder that allows you to make super textured batts for creative yarns. It came about as I was playing around with the carder, Andy had asked me to put it through its paces, (he also told me to try and break it because they needed to know it would handle anything that was thrown at it.) I had made some lovely smooth and blended batts on it, and then wanted to make some really textured ones, with lots of locks and add ins. I figured if it was going to break, it would happen if it got jammed up with lots of fibre. I found that the carder was actually so very efficient, it was difficult to get it to ‘stop’ opening up the texture in the locks I was feeding in, as it beautifully spreads them out over the big drum in even a single pass. I looked at the clever design with the feedtray placed up high and how it increased the time fiber spends on the licker by feeding it in at the top. So I bypassed that tray and held the fiber at the bottom of the licker-in to see what would happen. And there it was! From that position the fiber gets whacked directly onto the main drum, retaining most of its textured locky glory! I told Andy about this and suggested that it was an ideal position for feeding in ‘fiber sandwiches’, stacks of fiber that effectively stash the textured stuff between two smooth layers. In no time Andy had created the Direct Injection feedtray that allows this feed position to be used with no danger to fingers or fiber. And it works brilliantly! This feature gives me the option of creating any kind of batt I want on the one machine. Using the standard 72tpi cloth I can create beautiful smooth blended batts AND crazy, highly textured fiber batts suitable for all kinds of creative yarn spinning. There is one...

Read More

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

What do you do when things get complicated? Me, I revert to simple. I have noticed this tendency in myself recently, and how it comes out in my fiber work, and actually quite subconsciously. Over the last couple of years I have done a lot of what I think of as ‘yarn architecture’, complex constructed yarns made with multiple plying passes and layers of techniques. These constructions fascinate me and I have enjoyed pushing myself to create new yarns and combine textures and fibers and colours and techniques in different ways. Stuff like this:   But today, and the last few weeks, I have been yearning for spinning simple yarns, smooth and gentle and uncomplicated. I had some corriedale I had sourced from a local farmer, and it just called to me with a quiet voice asking to be spun fine, you know the sort, a tempting cloud of softness that promises to gently glide through your fingers, undemanding and easy and willing to last the distance of at least three Dr Who episodes. It was just what I needed, back to basics spinning, simple, straightfoward, back to basics and not asking me to think hard 🙂 I realised it was in direct relation to my current feeling of being over-full of tasks, responsibilities, demands from children (school holidays, yay) and general, well, life stuff. So while part of me was trying to guilt trip the other part of me into making some new and exciting multi-plyed yarns to go with an article I am meant to be writing, the other part of me just said f**kit, relax and enjoy 🙂 So I did. And it was good. I have to make a note-to-self somewhere obvious as a reminder that I actually do have permission to simply sit and spin and spin and spin and let the world go by....

Read More

DIY Rainbow Roving

DIY Rainbow Roving

I thought it was about time I posted a little project, and I am currently preparing some rainbow roving for the Colour Blending Workshop I will be teaching at the end of the month, so thought it was appropriate to share it here too! This is an extension of the Colour Blending Course that we have available online from our www.FiberyGoodness.com website, so if you are interested in extending your fiber and colour experimenting you might like to check that out too! I have been making this for a while (since I got my hackle!) and when I was preparing this workshop a couple of months ago I made some specifically to spin this: and I also used some to spin this:  and in a little while there will be a Part Two of the Colour Blending course that will cover spinning techniques for making the most of your colour blended fibers! So here we go with the Rainbow Roving! You will need:    A Hackle, a Diz, some sparkles, and fiber in the rainbow colours of your choice. Here is one of my secrets, don’t just use plain old dyed fiber for this, do what I do, take some extra time, dye (or buy) only the three primary colours red, yellow, and blue, and then blend those with your combs or drum carder to make the gorgeous rich tones that are only possible when blending coloured fiber, trust me, its so much more complex and subtle than a simple dyed colour, once you get blending you will see! Use your primaries to make the secondary colours, orange, green, and purple. Add in some sparkle as you blend. If you are going to use dyed rather than blended, you can also add in the sparkle as you load the hackle, or (also cool) just give each colour a quick blend with the sparkle before you load onto the hackle, it will give you a more delicate and subtle mix. 1. Start loading the hackle with your first colour, make one not too thick layer all the way across the hackle. I used blue first: 2. Load on the next layer, try to make it about the same thickness as the previous one. My second colour was purple, and I added some extra bling to this layer: 3. Follow this with a new layer, again, all the way across the hackle and about the same thickness as previous colours. The reason for taking the colour all the way across the hackle is so that your stripes run the full length of the roving. 4. You can see we are building the rainbow horizontally across the hackle now! The red layer...

Read More

Warp Speed Giveaway (Win a circle loom!)

Warp Speed Giveaway (Win a circle loom!)

Warp Speed? Are we really heading to the final frontier, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before…? Maybe 🙂 Warp Speed is the culmination of a few months work and collaboration between Andy Poad and myself, following the growing discovery that this simple little circular loom that we designed and developed really contains all kinds of hidden depths, ones which we hadn’t originally anticipated! But upon exploration these depths have been slowly revealing themselves, in the form of a big variety of warping possibilities and potential patterns for creating a huge range of different kinds of weaves and shapes and forms. Once we put our thinking together we found that between us we could dream up all kinds of possibilities, and really wanted to find a way to share those with other people who are also discovering circular weaving. Having already started the Circle Weaving facebook group, and seeing how willing everyone was to share idea and techniques, we were very inspired to make Warp Speed into something that not only would offer patterns and designs for people to use, but also become a way for other people to create and share their own patterns too. So what is Warp Speed? Its not really a command from the bridge… Its more a suggestion 🙂 It contains a way of writing and reading a pattern designed specifically for circular weavings. Andy is very good at creating logical progressions of constructions and then also explaining them in a clear and simple way. We applied this to Warp Speed and came up with a neat way to explain different kinds of warps in a really consistent way, and it can be applied to any kind of circular loom (not only the Majacraft ones) as we wanted it to be as universal (see what I did there?) as possible. So it has the pattern key, it has a bunch of patterns for warps that Andy and I dreamed up and trialled, it also has some fabulous photos of some very inspirational weavings done by members of the Circle Weaving group, AND it has a template in it that can be printed and used for you to develop your own patterns! So here is the next cool bit! Majacraft is GIVING AWAY four of their new Mini Looms! And these are the coolest wee things, mine is now permanently in my bag with a project on the go, and they are super cute too 🙂  To be in the draw what you need to do is this:  if you havent already, join the Circle Weaving Facebook group (you will...

Read More

SWAY Art Yarn Festival, Florida 2014

SWAY Art Yarn Festival, Florida 2014

It has been a few weeks now since the wonderful SWAY art yarn guild event held in Sarasota Florida. However I can still feel the warm sun and the welcoming environment that I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy there. This event is an annual one, growing every year, and the organisers, Karen Simpson, Deb Lambert, and Kim Perkins did an amazing job of creating a weekend full of great opportunities! There were some incredible products on sale from the well selected vendors, including the stunning fiber from Kim Perkins of Batts in the Bellfry (who I finally had the great pleasure to meet!), and really cool upcycled clothing, Saori looms and equipment (Kathleen Keenan) and the delightful Mary Egbert of Camaj Fibers who let me come home with some serious handfuls of her amazing Soffsilk product. The people attending this event were also amazing, so friendly and fiber nutty and fun, and what a great experience it was for me to meet everyone, in many cases putting real faces and voices to those I have met online through my Facebook page. We, (I had brought my daughter Ana along for the whole ‘USA’ experience) were welcomed so warmly it was easy to feel quite at home. Here are a few images from the days we spent together.. Above is Amy, who totally nailed the challenge she chose randomly from the challenge cards I made up for the event. Her challenge? Make a plied yarn without a wheel or a spindle. And what a yarn she made! Not only was it a perfectly spun plied yarn, she also went the extra mile and added in those lovely locks too! All done without the aid of any manufactured spinning equipment 🙂 And then there were other yarns created, including this stunning one from Mary (Camaj Fibers) As well as spinning we also did some weaving on the circular looms, supplied by Majacraft especially for this weekend:    I was very sorry to leave, there is something very special about a room full of creative people, the energy is fantastic, ideas and chatter and much laughter.  I think its one of the great pleasures that we have as fiber people, getting together and sharing these events, and I was also struck by the openness and friendliness of my American spinsisters,  I very much hope to be back in the USA again. My thanks to everyone who made it possible, it was an adventure that I will treasure 🙂...

Read More