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...

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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....

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Candy Cane, yum!

Candy Cane, yum!

Just a quick post today, to show you my new yarn for the coming season! Candy Cane, Its my one weakness you know. I loved spinning this one, everything about it is FUN! Reason one – I adore Christmas, especially the whole tinsel, candy cane, sugar plum fairy, sparkling lights on the tree kinda christmas. I grew up having a summer Christmas, the start of the looong summer holiday, the heady smell of the Christmas Lilies wafting through the house and mingling with the fresh pine of the tree, if we were lucky enough to have a ‘real’ tree – which is going to be a whole ‘nother post 😛 Since i moved to the Netherlands, I have learned a whole different kind of Christmas, closer to the pretty Disney image that I loved so much, because to me, in my New Zealand climate, it was totally magical – SNOW, icicles, and suddenly, well, all the fairy lights suddenly make a whole lot more sense as the country is plunged into a kind of (to me) semi darkness in which the sun never rises past its 9 oclock in the morning position before dropping away again at a surprisingly early afternoon tea time. Reason 2 – (I didnt forget), I love plying, and there is plenty of that here! Reason 3 – I now have an excuse to go and visit the Christmas shop to buy Candy Canes to photograph with this yarn, because without that excuse it would be ‘far to early’ to be pawing the decorations and  revelling in the sparkly stuff, right? I will have this yarn up in my Etsy store soon as made to order, I’ll post it on my Facebook page when its there, I hope it makes you smile too!...

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New Newsletter!

New Newsletter!

Just a quick one this time, but a little something that I got a kick out of today 🙂 I was very lucky to have been blessed with a pretty awesome childhood. My mum is a very creative person and never let us sit around doing nothing, even on a rainy day 🙂 We frequently had our living room table covered with an abundance of craft and art stuff, including several cones of yarn which I still remember vividly, one was a mustard yellow and felt like a coarse carpet yarn, another was bright green, what a combination! Yet I was very happy making various versions of these Gods Eyes, happily wrapping yarn around and around to make this lovely patterned item to hang on the wall. So my little mini tutorial in todays newsletter is a ‘how to’ wrap your own Eye of God yarn and stick art! I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any other ideas for things to do with these – items to add, threads to use, as well as potential end uses, please come back and share in a comment here! I would love some more inspiration! You can download it from THIS PAGE just scroll down to the last newsletter on the page, that is the newest! If you havent registered yet for get the download just follow the ‘register’ instructions and then login with the temp password you get in the email once you registered. Happy wrapping...

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A Lovely Blog Award!

A Lovely Blog Award!

The Lovely Blog award is a really cool way of acknowledging someones blog, and creating an opportunity to connect in a really cool way. Thank you so much Christiane for passing this award along! Christiane has a really awesome site – Three Ravens – and the idea is that, on reciept of the award, you make a post revealing 7 things about yourself that might not be known, and then nominate up to 15 more blogs! Easy Peasy 🙂 Christiane’s revelations confirmed for me that she really is the radical, interesting, creative, and colourful person that I thought she was, I hope my own revelations will also be interesting! So, here are some facts about me that I seriously doubt I have ever blogged about or mentioned before: In my early 20s, after a year performing with a Street Theatre group in my home town, I spent 6 months travelling New Zealand doing street acts, stilt walking, performing with giant marionettes (while on stilts), and ‘assistant’ to a fire-eater. That was when I first started making stuff, beginning with the marionettes, which I still create when the mood moves. During the tour I was attending a Performing Arts Festival in Christchurch, when there was a bit of a buzz during the evening festivities as a little guy named Peter Jackson arrived, word was that he was going places in film. He seemed like a nice guy 🙂 My mum is an inspiration to me, always patient, generous, an amazing yoga instructor, and only ever sees the best in people and situations. I appreciate this more and more as I get older and wiser! If I could go back and do anything over again, it would be the holidays we had as kids when my (hippie) parents would take us for weeks on end in our VW kombi van touring around Northland NZ visiting their hippie friends; potters, artists, flower growers, wood turners. We would camp on beaches, in secluded forests, swim in waterfalls and explore nature. Once my brother and I found a Yeti footprint by a stream. Its true! And I think my Mum still has my shell collection, me and my Dad would comb the beaches for treasure, my favourites were the little coloured scallop shells and shiny Paua shells, which I still love and use in my yarn inspiration and photos. Looking back on it, it was pretty idylic, and I really could do it all again! Another scarce known fact, I love gardens, watching BBC gardening programs, and visiting garden centers. However I seem to be utterly incapable of ‘actually’ gardening myself. I can only weed plant or hoe with company. I did however spend...

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The Day of the Wool (Het Dag van de Wol) Oijen, Netherlands

The Day of the Wool (Het Dag van de Wol) Oijen, Netherlands

Dag van de Wol is probably translated as ‘The Wool Day’ but I think more literal translation to ‘The Day of the Wool’ has a nice ring to it, a sentence in which the focus is well and truly on the Wool having its day 🙂 It was an event held here annually in Holland (aka The Netherlands) and it took place this year on Saturday, two days ago already! I am sorry I didnt get this post up earlier, but as suspected, yes, got a bad headcold. Its seriously holding up mental activity. Also enthusiasm. So you need to make some allowances and add some imagination to this post, because however enthusiastic I sound in this post, please multiply that by at least eight to get the ‘actual’ amount of enthusiasm that I had on the day, before I got sick. The Day of the Wool was held in a small place quite a hike from where I live, mostly because there are a couple of major rivers running through the country, which of course don’t have bridges conveniently placed just for me, so it was a bit of a dogleg from here to Oijen. A nice drive though and it was really a beautiful late summer day. Its held on a farm, so a nice rural setting, and most of it is inside a big barn generally used for horse riding, so a good size and covered in case of rain. Handy, but not needed on Saturday.     When I got there I first looked for Marian and her Alpaca Milestones stand, she has already supplied me with some amazing quality alpaca fleeces, currently being hoarded and exclusively used for my Lord of the Rings Elven yarns, they’re THAT magical! I found her and a whole lot of lovely fiber, gorgeous colours, gorgeous textures, and I was pleased to stop and have a chat. I hope to be able to make it to the next spinning/knitting day at her place soon, had a lovely time last time. Opposite and along a bit from Marians stand was a guy surrounded with raw fleeces, rolled up on the temporary wooden floor, hanging around on a frame, smaller amounts in bags… first thing to catch my eye was all the Wensleydale he had, but the next thing had me reaching for my wallet. He was busy talking to someone when I arrived and so I was checking out this fleece thinking, wow thats loooooong long locks on that fleece.. too long for Wensleydale, I was thinking. I instantly thought ‘Masham’ because it was hanging like dreads, with this incredible length, it wasnt lustrous enough to be Teeswater, but it...

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