Brave

Brave

Over the last year, as part of our Fiberygoodness activity, we have released a range of ‘Yarn Recipe Cards’. These are simplified instruction cards for spinning different kinds of yarns, completed with step by step photos. The first was a set of 12, mostly yarn designs I have worked on and developed over the last couple of years. The second set was an collaboration between Arlene (Spin Artiste) and I, and it was prompted by the words of the late Maya Angelou, an amazing woman with some astounding insights. This was Arlenes suggestion and challenge 🙂 And I say challenge because it often is just that, taking words, or some kind of abstract concept, and turning that into a tangible and solid form, in this case yarn. To me this is what makes a yarn ‘art’ – the layer of concept and abstraction that has caused it to be created at all! This is exciting to me and I love the thought exercise it gives me as well. Arlene is especially good at selecting these challenges! We chose three quotes each to work on. Today I want to share with you the motivation and explanation of one of the three yarns I came up with, it is my no twist single: ‘Brave”. This is why. The quote: In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love that sets us free. (Maya Angelou)   I adore these words. To me these words describe unconditional love, simple but complicated, daring and full of risk, and yet it leads to ultimate freedom. Love challenges us to take chances, to be brave, it takes everything we are and we give that freely, and that act itself returns our freedom to us, in my mind it is all about letting go, and acceptance, and the consequence is the removal of fear. How to express that in yarn? wow! Its so BIG! This is my attempt… The Yarn: Along with the recipe cards, Arlene and I both did a short write up about each yarn design and how we related the words to the fiber. I would like to share with you what I wrote about this yarn, and Maya’s words. I hope it gives you some ideas for your own creations and another way to form a bridge between concept and concrete in your fiber work. Brave. A Woolwench yarn. I really connected with the notion of love requiring bravery, also that it offers us the chance to BE brave and even pushes us into taking risks. This prompted my idea for creating a very very low twist...

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Gridded!

Gridded!

I just saw that the last post I made was the free recipe card with my new yarn design, I hope lots of people have tried this out and had some fun with it! Today I want to share my latest little passion with you! For a long time I have been yearning to find the time to explore book binding. This is because (confession time) I am a total stationery geek. I love notebooks, pens, fresh sheets of paper, different kinds of surfaces, and embellishments. I have seen so many amazing and inspirational things that people have done making their own books, and about 6 months ago I bought a bookbinding book, packed with different ways to put paper together! I swore to myself that I would one day work my way through that book, one recipe at a time. Well ok, that day hasnt yet come, BUT I did manage to incorporate some book making into our latest Fiberygoodness project! I learned about Coptic binding and discovered, it wasnt as hard as I thought it would be! Yay! I did some experimenting and came up with a design for some book covers, ready to go with a neat little coptic binding. The project I wanted it for was to create a record book/journal/study book to go with the course, that could turn into quite an heirloom piece. To me that meant that the entire project should be hand crafted, not just sticking stuff into a notebook off a shelf, but really crafted, page by page into something that could become really special. I talked to my mate Andy at Majacraft and sent him my design. Well ok I sent him several.. but this one worked the best, and YES he could make these for us to go with the course!  So there are a couple of reasons why I am so excited about this 🙂 FIrstly, I LOVE that this will make a really special book, a bound manuscript or an adventurers journal.. It was a very very satisfying thing to make. And secondly, because I designed it to be customised, see that grid of holes in the front? That is so cool.. it can be a weaving grid, warped at any angle and even in different sections. Or it can be a stitching board to sew into like giant cross stitch, or it can be used to sew a knitted or crocheted sample or mini artwork onto, or ALL those things at once!In this photo above you can see how I warped it in two directions… and in the end I also cross stitched over the entire weaving:This was just my first weaving, I had so...

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Workshopping in the USA

Workshopping in the USA

My first post from my first visit to the US about my first US workshop 🙂 I have to say right off that this is going to be one of those gushy ‘everything is amazing’ posts, because it really is amazing! We landed  in Washington DC, and were scooped up by the lovely Arlene, and after all our weekly Skype sessions and our collaboration over the past year on the FiberyGoodness development, it was the best thing ever to be finally sharing the same space and the extra ease that comes with actual proximity rather than virtual. We travelled up to Pam’s farm in Oxford Connecticut, my first US roadtrip, which you can read about soon on the Fiberygoodness blog (complete with Dunkin Donuts and waffles with chipped beef..) Needless to say, it was an epic trip and the warmest of welcomes at Pams LOGHOUSE – yes a real loghouse! Complete with a porch among the treetops (it was like being in a treehouse!) which was decked with Zen making wind chimes and, by Saturday morning, women with wheels and lots of yummy fiber. And the workshop. It was a bit of a squeeze to start with, but after I did some talky stuff and explained our plan for the day, we were able to spread out again. The goal was that everyone would try some multiple plying, taking some risks and playing around with putting singles together in different ways.   The porch was well used, Nicole watched by the (not real) sheep and the table out there used to demo some hackle blending too. Some amazing yarns were created, and one of the highlights was seeing Ashly master the Silk Wrapping Shelob technique and create this beautiful yarn. She added in those amazing golden silk cocoons using the ‘Wrap and Trap’ method that I figured out can work so well with the strong silk fibers, I hadnt thought of adding in actual cocoons so this was an inspiration for me too, they looked all gold and luxury texture in the yarn, really cool! I think that for me, the best best part of the day was meeting so many wonderful people, most of whom I knew already from Facebook, and/or had exchanged messages with, and I’ve been following their photos and yarn adventures. There were some Golden Fleece students there too and I feel like I really made some good friends and connections, and seeing some of the Golden Fleece yarns ‘for real’ was just awesome,  I left with a very special gift from Marti that really touched me, a ‘friendship’ yarn that gives an even greater connection between absent friends when distance parts us. There were...

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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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Weaving into Winter

Weaving into Winter

Its 9.20am and I am sitting here at my computer feeling the icy bite of winter creeping in, that time of year when it feels like all my bones are frozen and there is always that annoying gap at the back of my neck that my scarf didn’t cover, and the ends of my sleeves not reaching down past my wrists far enough. My nose is cold and I am resorting to huddling over my coffee to warm up. Yes, the heating is on, somehow I dont seem to be feeling it though. You might be asking yourself about now, ‘is this post going to be one long complain time about the weather?’. And while I would like to say, ‘why no, no it’s not, because I have other actual important things to tell you’,  in fact, if I think about it honestly, it really is all about the weather. Sorry. Here is more : well it would be if my fingers werent frozen to the keys. Ok I am exaggerating. I have been weaving this week, perhaps an attempt to create warmth in wooly cloth 🙂  What I have done this week is completed two woven objects, one an experiment in double heddle weaving on my Majacraft loom, which turned out to be really interesting to do and with results I really like! I will be writing some more about this in a later post, because, theres quite a lot to say that goes beyond just ‘double heddle weaving rocks’.   and the other, a circle weaving. Partly it was to test out the tutorial I have written to accompany the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Course. There will be a task at the end of the course for using the yarns created in each module, and I am hoping that most people are going to choose to make that a circular woven item to the guidelines we will be suggesting.  So I have made a little tutorial showing how I use my circular loom. I have added lots of photos, so I hope its clear! Here is the piece I made this week, complete with shinys and yarn with lots of angelina combed into it 🙂 This one I am planning on adding onto a bag, I think it would suit a nice rich brown leather, so I just need to find one to suit! I am really enjoying my circular weaving, its meditative, simple (or more complicated if I want it to be), its easy to pick up and put down and even take out places with me, something I have missed since I am not a knitter able to take my hobby with me in a...

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