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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Dreaming

Dreaming

Its that time of year for it, making new dreams, New Years resolutions, promises, getting more determined that this next year will bring at least some of our dreams to fruition. Well actually, here’s a confession, I never make New Years resolutions, ever. I figure that if I want to do something that bad why wait till January 1st to decide and do it!? I mean, want it, or not? Ok so I am bad at waiting and impatient at best. I might sometimes take a long time to make a decision but once I made it, I dont hang around. Action oriented, thats me. So I for one won’t have some responsible New years resolution to break at my first opportunity (yes thats another reason I dont make them!). I already decided that I love my dreams, and if they come true thats great, if they dont, the best thing is I still have them. Sometimes I replace them with new ones, or make adaptations to them, occasionally they even do come true 🙂 But I do find that having dreams is something of a comfort as they become familiar like a best friend, always there for inspiration and motivation. Sometimes I have actual dreams. And remember them too! Not all that often but perhaps thats because I dont really sleep as much as I should.. but anyway, I also occasionally dream about yarn (and I am pretty sure that won’t surprise you) or about something I am going to weave or make. Its pretty cool when inspiration comes to you in a dream, its like all the hard work of thinking has been done automatically and your subconscious is just offering this wonderful idea as a reward for just being a good girl and getting some sleep! Or maybe its coffee overload 😉 Whatever it is, its what inspired some of my yarn creations. Here is one of my more recent ‘dreamed’ yarns: I thought I would share with you how I made this one, its pretty simple, but I think its really effective! So basically, this is a three ply yarn, spun as three singles, then plied twice. I first made a brightly coloured single from the hand dyed pinky purply fiber. I used commercial roving for all the singles, to make a smooth yarn and keep good definition between the plys, but its also fun to make the first single in a textured yarn too, like a lockspun. Then I made a second ply of a simple black single. Next I made an (overtwisted!) two ply of the black  single with the coloured single, creating a kind of candy striped yarn of the two. The...

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An Abundance of Wheels and the Landelijke Spindag (Netherlands)

An Abundance of Wheels and the Landelijke Spindag (Netherlands)

TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY! Can you believe it? 230 spinners all together and all spinning at the same time!  Last weekend was the annual gathering of the Landelijke Spingroep (National Spinners Group) of the Netherlands. This group functions a bit like a guild, organising demonstrations at events, hosting information about regional spinning groups on their website, and of course, organising this national event once a year. And yep, its a biggie! Many people arrive on the Friday evening and stay till Sunday afternoon, with the main events happening on the Saturday. There are lots of pics in this post, because there was so much to see 🙂 Patty and I arrived on the Saturday morning, after a bit of a drive through some very pretty dutch forests and villages, thatched roofs and narrow streets and much greenery. And we were right on time for the THING, yes, the THING everyone had been waiting for, the market! This was spread around various ‘rooms’ and halls of the venue, a warren-like conference center in the middle of the forest. We wandered from room to room and emerged eventually with a few scores, I got some Yak from Mandacrafts, travelled to us from the UK, and I also scored some Dutch raised Corriedale, yet to be washed and reported on but STASHED 🙂 And of course my usual market day purchase of some intense coloured bamboo silk from Woolness (a lovely couple who not only import silks from India but also produce a pretty awesome range of wool related tools made of recycled materials – check them out! ) I was scheduled to run a couple of short workshops in the afternoon, so caught a bit of spinning time first. And I was in good company! Check out my spinning bud Patty’s wheel! Yep it is, its a Golding and wow is it smoooooth. I think these wheels make a pretty good set! Patty was spinning super fine on the Golding, and it has the perfect ratios for lace weight, she was barely treadling. I was busy with some corespinning and making some sample yarns for the workshops. There were some very old wheels, such as this 1859 model and we spotted this super cute little Louet, which is unfortunately no longer in production: The workshops were great. The day was organised with about ten workshops on offer, and the chance for people to get to a couple of workshops in the afternoon. They were quite short (one and a half hours each) so really just time for people to get a taste of the activity, great for inspiration and creative idea sharing!  My workshops were full and I was impressed (again) with...

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