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

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

Circular Cooperations

Circular Cooperations

Do you remember a while back we released the online fibre creativity course ‘Journey to the Golden Fleece’..? And with it came the lovely wooden circular loom that we worked with Majacraft to create for the course? Well we are not the only ones enjoying this amazing little tool, and since then there have also been lots of non-Golden Fleece people who have picked up on this idea that circular weaving is really a great deal of awesomeness! Shall I tell you why? (cos I have made a little list) Its mega easy and fast to warp Your kids can also use it! Weaving on it can be as simple or as complex as you like Its a tool that fits in your bag and you can take with you to places where you usually (as a dedicated weaver) must endure watching ‘other’ people knit or crochet while your floor loom calls you from far away… With this you can also keep your hands busy in social situations and prevent excesses in other potentially less healthy indulgences Its light and really easy to handle There are a myriad of ways to warp it and things to create with it Ok that was just for starters 🙂 You know there will be more after I have consumed second coffee.. The point is, that this is such a versatile piece of weaving equipment, and its so easy to use, that it’s easy to get enthusiastic about it! We recently started a new Facebook group on Circle Weaving, and one of the first things I have noticed that makes this group such a pleasure to hang out in, is the sense of cooperation and sharing among the group members. I think this is encouraged by the very nature of the loom and the kind of weaving we can do on it, because it is FUN and SIMPLE and non-threatening. Its not something high-brow or elitist or specialised, things that sometimes lead to a high level of competitiveness and individualism. Nope our little circular loom is a humble wee thing, but just look what people are doing with it! It blows me away, AND the willingness of the Circle Loom group members to share their ideas. This has been the other spectacular thing I have observed (and taken part in) within the Circle Weaving group, the actual development of these ideas on the group page.   This to me is complete awesomeness, someone posts a question or an idea they are trying out, someone else posts to add more ideas that have sprung from the original one, suggestions go back and forth, its a whole cooperative creative process that actually gives us all the ability to...

Read More

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...

Read More

First FiberyGoodness Live Broadcast and… Majacraft New Product Reveal!

First FiberyGoodness Live Broadcast and… Majacraft New Product Reveal!

Backstory: Remember a few months ago I was in New Zealand? And I was visiting at Majacraft? Glynis made mention in their newsletter that we had spent some time in the design room while I was there. One of the outcomes of that was the creation of the circular looms that Arlene (SpinArtiste) and I had been discussing with them for a while, in conjunction with our Golden Fleece course. The OTHER thing that we were doing at that time was also seriously cool, I haven’t been able to tell anyone about it yet, but it was a continuation of an on-going development that we had started way back at the beginning of  2013, something a bit more complex than the circular loom, a bit bigger, and a lot more technical. It was something that went through the drawing stage, involved various ideas sent back and forth that were used, or dumped, or  modified, adapted, and tweaked. Then it went to the prototype stage, as Andy created the design that so far looked great on paper. It looked great in reality too, only… it didn’t work in quite the way it should have. At this point it was put aside for a short while.. thinking time. We continued to discuss it (yes ok I continued to nag about it) and the plan was that when I was there, we would take another look at it together in the workshop and see what could be done. There were a couple of key features that I was determined it should keep. And guess what, during the testing of the first prototype, we came up with the perfect solution! And it was, of course, the simplest one. It did mean scrapping some of the first cool ideas, but Andy is the Design King, and the final solution he has now created is no compromise, it’s a very elegant product and I am sure when you see it you will agree! The Live Event! Now ‘it’ works perfectly, better than perfectly. It is awesome. I don’t think I am saying this just because it is a bit ‘my baby’, I really think its going to blow many socks off 🙂 And it will be revealed in just over a weeks time! We will be running our very first FiberyGoodness live broadcast, it will be the first of many, and the plan is to interview  one of our Fiberygoodness affiliates, one of our sponsors, or a course participant, in each broadcast. For our very first broadcast what could be more perfect then, than an interview with Andy of Majacraft, this company’s backing has been a fantastic boost to our Journey to the Golden Fleece...

Read More