The One Wheel is Adventuring (aka: There and back again!)

The One Wheel is Adventuring (aka: There and back again!)

The One Wheel, my extra special WoolWench Aura, my baby, my pride and joy, my spin companion, my much counted on right arm, missing since I have been back in New Zealand as she remained behind in the Netherlands, loyally waiting as I spun shamelessly on ‘the other wheel’, the (also very lovely) Aura on loan to me from Majacraft. Until now… because MY AURA IS COMING HOME!! I am so excited 🙂 I am already planning what we will do together when she arrives! Luckily last time I was at Majacraft I filmed Andrew assembling an Aura for their ‘How To’ series, so I have a head-start for putting her back together and am confident I can have her up and spinning in no time, like we have never been apart.. (how could it have been two years already?!). I am looking forward to once again enjoying the beautiful wood and grain, and the amazing customisation I have SO missed of the Elven script Andrew engraved her with to make this truly my One Wheel.         This view is home to me! There is nothing quite like your OWN wheel is there. Even though my loan Aura was wonderful, it just wasn’t ‘my’ wheel, it didn’t fit me quite the same even though I could spin just the same on it. Its amazing really how something like a wheel could become such an integral part of our creation process that it becomes like a part of us as well. Of course we create our own history with our wheels too. If you don’t already know about how the One Wheel and I got together, you can read about it on my blogpost about her arrival to me in The Netherlands. So what do we have in store for us next, my One Wheel and I? Check out these goodies I have been saving for her return (and her trip to New Zealand is as much a return home for her as it was for me! She was born just 4 hours drive from where I was!) Here we go… what shall we start with? This yummy kid mohair? oh oh what about this batt?! Or I have these lovely Gotland lamb locks (thank you Yvonne Monk!!) Or would my One Wheel prefer to start with our familiar rainbow of colours in this lovely squishy Polwarth? I believe this is what is known as being ‘spoilt for choice!’.. the kind of dilemma I LIKE.. I am thinking I will start out with the standard head, spin a bunch of bobbins then swap to the Overdrive and PLY ALL THE BOBBINS! Just because I can 🙂 Perhaps after that I will use the stylus and...

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The Majacraft Overdrive Revolution Begins

The Majacraft Overdrive Revolution Begins

If you caught our Fiberygoodness live broadcast last night you will have seen this already, the Overdrive, the bigass bobbin and spinning head that is now (probably permanently) afixed to my One Wheel, (my Aura). This is my baby come home! Over the last year of being let into sharing this process with Majacraft, I can tell you, it was like christmas at my house when this finally arrived. It took almost exactly a year from ‘first contact’, and discussing what features and systems a giant Majacraft bobbin would need, to make it something super special.It needed to work well as a ‘production’ wheel as well as keep the Aura characteristics that make it ideal for constructing the architectural yarns I am currently working on and the art yarns that I know many people enjoy spinning. Good things take time, no, I mean.. amazing things! It was so worth the wait. This has the features I already loved about my Aura, large scale. Bypassable orifice and guides, amazing tensioning system, easy treadling, and great visual presence too. And it spins so well, there is almost no transition to make between spinning on the Aura and spinning on the Overdrive, the same tension, the same fine responsiveness, no big difference in weight as the bobbin fills, it treadles the same way throughout. Having spun on ‘other’ large capacity wheels I can say for certain that the difference is the same as if you were to compare say, driving a tractor and then hopping in a Rolls Royce and taking it for a spin, it almost drives itself. But unlike the Rolls, this is no elitist item, if you are used to the Aura you will find this works exactly the same way, but  this is not exclusive to the Aura, for Rose and Suzie owners, Andy has designed it so it will fit these wheels too, effectively turning them into Aura style production spinners with a simple (2 minutes max) head exchange.   You can find more details about the Overdrive on the Majacraft blog and the Product page on their website. Another super fun part was planning the whole release-launch of this product, and again, I was grateful to be included in that, we found some cool stuff! Like the Bachman Turner OVERDRIVE track Andy posted with the teaser! I wonder how many people see the connection there now? It was a bit obscure.. and you were lucky you didnt get the 70’s video version with the big moustaches and skin tight silk jeans.. OMG! Well lucky THEN, because I am sharing it with you now! I had suggested to Andy that he should sport one of those ‘special’ moustaches for the...

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Alpaca Milestones Summer Wool Days

Alpaca Milestones Summer Wool Days

Finally we seem to have achieved something that resembles summer here in the Netherlands! Blue sky, warm sun, birds singing (at least in our garden) annoyingly peeping and dive bombing the cat. Apart from that though, it’s now definately a time to be outside. So last weekend I packed up my wheel, some Fiber, and my hand combs, and went off to enjoy the Summer Wool Day at my friends Alpaca farm in Ridderkerk. It’s always a pleasure to visit with Marian, not to mention the amazing Fiber she always has! I’m talking really fabulous quality alpaca fleece. It was Marian’s Fiber that I used for my Lord of the Rings concept yarns, my favourite of which is actually one of the simplest, hand combed white alpaca with a silver thread. It has the most amazing drape and definition and I am SO still hoarding it 🙂 Back to the day 🙂 It was gorgeously sunny, and populated with some amazing people, I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces, and sitting in the shade with Patty to spin, and (I am quite proud of this) I also managed not to maim her with my hand combs as I paused my spinning to comb the next bunch of fiber. Just as well too as she needed some concentration to work on her band weaving! I really like combing alpaca, I think it gives a much nicer preparation for the yarn, less fluffy, and I think it enhances the drape, or maybe thats just me 🙂  And I also usually blend in a bit of sparkle as I am combing too. In this case I also added an extra colour as well to make a nice reddish brown. Sophie was also with us from Belgium, and was curious about the hand combing, she tried it out on some newly acquired Ouessant fiber (I very nearly bought the black fleece!) This is a lovely fiber, from such a cute sheep – read about them HERE if youre curious too 🙂  As you can see in the pic, Sophie found that combing it worked really nicely!   The hosts of the day, Douglas and Marian, also took a tour to see the Alpaca, including a week old cria.  This is a working farm with a focus on producing top quality fiber, while they remain very much animal focussed, with the wellbeing of the flock, coupled with care for the environment, being one of their primary interests. You can visit them too, at least, virtually: at their Alpaca Milestones website. These ‘Summer Wool’ days are an annual event at Marians, and I can totally recommend going next year, such a lovely atmosphere there, and of course, awesome...

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Christmas Giveaway and Newsletter!

Christmas Giveaway and Newsletter!

Time goes so fast doesn’t it?! I can’t believe we are almost at the end of 2012 already, in some ways it feels like its been just the blink of an eye, but in other ways, thinking back on the things I have done and achieved, its been an incredibly full, exciting, and interesting year! Some highlights for me have been, my One Wheel Indiegogo campaign and all the associated yarns spun to fund my Majacraft Aura, including a feature on the Majacraft blog and the amazing design Andy Poad so skillfully etched on the wheel for me, its truly the One Wheel 🙂 Another highlight of course was the weekend when I received my wheel, unboxing and assembling it during the JazzTurtle workshop at the home of the lovely Alet. That was a magic couple of days, meeting Esther Rodgers, sharing the learning experience with some amazing women, and enjoying the lovely environment so generously provided by Alet.  The next highlight for me was taking part in the Leather and Lace secret stash challenge, dreamed up and hosted by the lovely Arlene of Spin Artiste, and Deb Lambert of Picasso’s Moon. This was a huge honour for me, it was set up by invitation, and I was so excited to see my name and yarn among those of my fiber heros such as Lexi Boeger, and Ashley Martineau, in total about 20 spinners whose work I utterly admire. This travelling yarn show is now progressing along the East coast of the US and will reach its final destination in April at the SWAY Guild Art Yarn Festival, where the yarns will be auctioned, with proceeds donated to the Farm Animal Sanctuary. Another Spin Artiste highlight for me has been the opportunity to make some guest posts for Arlene, interviewing some very talented fiberistas on this side of the planet, what an honour and a pleasure! Other writing this year included the ‘Spinners Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocolypse’ for the Entangled Magazine, as well as a feature of one of my yarns in the ‘Fiber Lust’ section of the same edition!  I also have an article coming in the next edition of the Dutch magazine the ‘Spin en Verfkrant’ – soon to be known as ‘Vezels’ (Fibers). I am looking forward to that and will let you know when its out. Another highlight has truly been the Find Your Inner Fiber Hero Workshop I hosted and taught right here in the WoolWench house at the beginning of the month. It was a real thrill to see people enjoying fiber, making new discoveries, helping each other, and just generally being as excited about spinning as I am!  I am thrilled to have had...

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Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

It only takes about an hour to drive from here to The Hague. Its a really nice city, Dutch center of government, home of many embassies and diplomats, site of the wonderful Peace Palace, a truly international city. And this extends even to the yarn stores! Woool is a lovely little shop packed with fibery goodies and creative activities, Pauline runs regular workshops and knitting groups, and she has a great eye for colour, its a visual feast as soon as you walk off the narrow street and into this cosy shop. And today it was truly an international hub of creativity. During the open day today the shop was buzzing with activity, I found myself speaking to people from all over the globe, UK, US, Holland (of course!) I heard a South African accent, me the only Kiwi, and did I hear a Scottish lilt at some point? And the focus of the day, fibery creations. There were people poring over knitting patterns and books, discussion about stitches and designs, others browsing the yarns and making their selections, and there was a lot of interest in the activities of myself, doing some corespinning from a multi-mixed up batt, Victoria Logan was there with her stunning animal creations ( http://www.victorialogan.co.uk) Andre was spinning on his Louet, from various bags of raw wool originating from, among others,  the Dutch Blauwe Texelaar breed, and Patty, with her wonderful Saori looms, a great attraction that took everyones interest young and er, less young! In the above picture you can see Patti demonstrating the Saori Piccolo loom, it was a major hit with the kids that had come along with their mums, and it was impressive to see how fast they picked it up and started creating fabric! I am quite seriously wanting this loom pictured below, (this VERY LOOM) to be my own. See my name written all over it? SEE? Patty is a Saori Dealer, her website is still under construction but she can be contacted via the email address listed on her page Here . She is a very knowledgeable weaver and happy to answer questions (at least, she hasn’t gotten sick of me asking them all the time, yet!) Anyway, I did more than just drool over the loom, really! Here is the proof! Above is my spinning from the afternoon, a soft and super bulky chain ply (navajo ply) made from one of my batts, which I especially packed with extra sparkle! And here below, are some of the yarns that are now in stock at Woool, hanging on the wall! I do believe there were some sales involving my yarn, and some batts too I think, and I know Pauline...

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