Its a WoolWench Giveaway

Its a WoolWench Giveaway

Two things! First, to my utter amazement we are nearly at the 15000 likers milestone on my Facebook page! This coincides with my imminent departure for New Zealand (where I shall remain for some indeterminate time that will surely be at least 6 months), and an over abundance of yarns in my stash. These things add up to a pretty cool giveaway! I need to reduce the amount of yarn in the house and someone is going to get a bundle, some hand dyed skeins, some handspun art yarn, maybe a couple of fun cone yarns… a batt… it will be a big surprise 🙂 Are you in? Leave a comment here, share it on Facebook, and on the 30th July I will randomly choose a winner! And whether thats you or not, I want to thank you for your support and interest in the things I do here and on Facebook, I love to share that little part of our combined online lives in the places where they intersect, its pretty wonderful to feel part of a global family 🙂 So go on, leave a comment on this post, share away, and I will start making up a goodie...

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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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The forgotten blogpost

The forgotten blogpost

Thats it really. I had a brilliant idea and then it totally, utterly, and apparently irretrievably disappeared. Sorry. I know you would have loved it, it would have been the most scintillating, inspirational, intelligent, creative post I ever wrote in my life. I am quite sure of that. Instead we have this one, lamenting the lost post idea. I am thinking this is really pretty lame, in fact, how can you even know I had that idea to start with? There is no evidence of it here, I could just be ‘saying’ it was a brilliant idea when in fact I had been totally blank about that post all day. But thats just how it is and you will have to accept my word for it. I will however, consume one final coffee before totally giving up on that idea. Just in case it stimulates that specific pathway through my brain that triggered the ‘most amazing post in the history of the planet’ idea, in which case, you wont be reading this, but rather you will be transfixed to your monitor unable to take your eyes away from my blog and feeling the creative inspiration coursing through your mind as I share the utmost secrets of the universe and how to mould that into your own unique creation, which will, on completion, be so incredibly amazing that it will bring about world peace, harmony between humanity and mother nature, and above all a white Christmas with much revellry and hot choclolate with those little mini marshmellows that float around on top  like melty little snowman rafts. At this point I guess we must accept that this is not going to happen. Although perhaps I can at least bring about the purchasing of mini marshmellows in anticipation of an hour or two of peace on earth and goodwill to all men sometime next month. In the meantime, all I am left with is to show you some slightly random pics of  the ‘whats on my wheel tonight’ variety. Tonight I spun some incredibly fine and soft Polwarth, just recieved from the most fabulous Fine Fibres Farm in New Zealand. I had dyed it in batt form, and wanted to keep the colours a bit separated. I spun a fairly fine but still textured single, then coiled it. Why? Just because I like how coiling a single seems to solidify and intensify the colours, and thats what I wanted to do with this fiber. Also, as this Polwarth really is incredibly soft (feels like the finest alpaca) I knew that even with a lot of twist in it, it would stay nice and soft, so I wanted to see how it...

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I dare you to!

I dare you to!

Last week I had a particularly cool day. I went to the Hand Craft Fair held in Rotterdam, its a big event and I was really looking forward to it – not least because I was planning on seeing some people there I havent seen in a while, as well as meeting up with Deidre (Deidre Dreams) – we have been chatting off and on for months on Facebook, as well as buying each others products! So this was already cool. Add to that the potential of making awesome finds and purchases, getting new ideas, and seeing what everyone else is doing, had to be good right!? It got even better. I found the stand of the lovely Alet from Textielwerk en Zo, she was surrounded by quite a number of people talking yarns, I didn’t want to disturb that so I went in search of adventure and found where Monique was manning the spinning wheels and carders at a big table. She gleefully revealed to me a large box under the table with all the left over fibers that Esther (JazzTurtle) had brought over for the workshop back in June. I say box. I mean TREASURE CHEST. I looked at Monique and I am sure she knew exactly what was going through my mind as she pointed to the drum carders. Yes! I reached in and grabbed handful after handful, allowing whatever came out of the box to take its place in the batt, as was its right. At some point, I found a white feather, it was attached, to a feather boa. It was one of the things I had added to the pile back at the workshop, one end was quite bald, and I briefly considered plucking off some more feathers to spin into the yarn. My mind balked at this idea. I wanted to whip up something fast, make it look easy, show off  the Aura and  just what can be done with an it (as it is The One Wheel afterall). The thought raced across my mind, accompanied with an image; Why not spin the WHOLE THING into the yarn? What? But.. but… its thick.. and fat with feathers!’ I thought. Followed by ‘well, thats why you have an Aura isnt it? So you can do crazy things?’ ‘But.. its weird, isnt it? a lump of feathers in the middle of a skein?’ ‘well? so?’ Ok then, dammit! I WILL spin this boa straight into the yarn! I cut off a length about 16 inches long, and sat with it, and the batt, on my knee. There were also strips of fabric, many many different colours and fibers, sparkly christmas tinsel, and Monique even found...

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Spinning day today!

Spinning day today!

I know its meant to still be summer holidays, but here in Holland the weather hasnt cooperated with the dates, and actually I think we had summer one lovely Wednesday afternoon a couple of weeks before the vacation began. Since then we have had sporadic sunshine and a lot of rain. Today was a rain day. So I stayed indoors and dyed some sunshine, and then spun it! It was slightly accidental, in so much as, I am using a new dye brand for my yellow, and I didnt know quite how it was going to work. Now I do. Its an amazing, in-ya-face super vibrant incredible ‘Bright Yellow’ from Eurolana (World of Wool). Its so very sunny and bright, it was a very good experiment! I painted the roving with the yellow, added orange and let it blend in, then painted on some cherry red and let that bleed into the orange. Then I wrapped it all up and let it steam away. It was pretty hard to photograph, the colours were too bright for the camera! Spinning it was like catching the sun, I felt like Maui, the mythical demi-god of Maori legend, who caught the sun as it sped across the sky to make it slow down and stay long enough for people to enjoy its warmth, thats what I would love to do for our Dutch summer! Catch the sun and make it stay...

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