Half-Assed Yarn

Half-Assed Yarn

First I want to talk about pre-conceptions, or as the Dutch would say, voorordelen – pre-judgements. Something that fascinates me about people in general, is the multi-facetedness of individuals, and the communities we create. Because there are communities inside communities, micro-cultures to which we either gravitate to or are repelled from. Its part of how we find our places, how we feel belonging, and how we reciprocate with others. It seems to be a natural order within most modern societies and an important part of how we structure our understanding of the world and the people around us. I also find it fascinating to apply these thoughts to the fiber community. I see that there are many levels to this. Firstly the overall, global population of spinners and fiber artists, all the people who spin and create with fiber. We all have this in common and can identify ourselves as being part of this community Inside this global community, there are many  sub-communities, each with their own culture, beliefs (about fiber) and what they consider to be, to put it simply, right and wrong. I can make some basic divisions here. A straightforward one is traditional spinners, and ‘art’ spinners. And this is where I come to my observations about preconceptions. Something I have noticed during workshops and spinners gatherings, listening to discussions and opinions, joining in the facebook groups, is that these two communities have quite a few preconceived ideas about each other. I prefer not to generalise, however some assumptions can be made when hearing or seeing the same ideas and opinions expressed regularly, so this is what I am doing, generalising based on things that seem to commonly take place within the fiber world. Why am I thinking about this? Well one of the overriding reasons is that I am looking at directions for myself in spinning. I am looking at what people are doing, what has been done, what people are enjoying. I notice stuff 🙂 I have noticed that within this culture of ‘traditional’ spinners, there is  a sub-culture who tend to look upon ‘art yarn’ spinning as something of a low-skill activity, as only big bulky ‘beginner yarns’ or simply thrown together fibers that are far too random and chaotic to be considered either good or well spun. I am sure that in some cases this may be the case. But from my own experience, I can say with much conviction that I put a huge amount of thought, planning, and design elements into the yarns I create, which are clearly not ‘traditional’ yarns and fall much more fittingly into the art yarn category.  In my search for new things, I have moved...

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Workshopping

Workshopping

I have a few things to share this week. The first and most important thing is the one about connection. This is where I get a little teary eyed and filled with amazement and thankfulness that my life is blessed with some of the most wonderful people. I had one of these moments today, sitting at one end of a room that was filled with fiber, yarns, spinning wheels, and people. I struck me how much I love being in this environment, how lucky I am to have connections with people like my friend Alet, who organises events like this, and Esther who brings her energy and creativity and shares them like this, and both are people who transform the lives of others with the things they do. This is something really cool to be a part of. The last few days, teaching with Esther, and the evenings working on our weavings and spinning together, have been a really great experience, learning, laughing, sharing ideas and getting excited about the same things. So I wanted to share that with you too, because I think its always good to take a moment to stop, and appreciate the positive things in our lives. And no matter where you are at, if you look, you will find something. At least thats what my generally optimistic brain tells me, and I really hope that is true 🙂 And the workshops? Awesome 🙂 We have carded, rolagged, combed, hackled, and of course SPUN ALL THE THINGS. We have had some ‘aha’ moments, and certainly some ‘oh thats how it works!’ experiences too. Its been awesome to have the opportunity to share this with Esther and I have learned and laughed a lot and am totally enjoying this opportunity to teach together. I think we make a good team! Our first workshop was with the beginning art yarn spinners, a fantastic group with much enthusiasm, humour, and talent, they made some really amazing yarns. Today we started with the second workshop for the more advanced art yarn spinners, so we are planning a nice range of yarns to spin, with the goal of also weaving them on the second day, and we have something special planned for that! So this is an update post, and I will be back later this week with an ‘its over’ post and more photos and, no doubt, with a sense of sadness that its over and also anticipation for the next one 🙂 But for now, ENJOY THE DAY....

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Valentines yarn 2013

Valentines yarn 2013

Something fun to do is make themed yarns, and of course the special days of the year are idea inspiration sources! I did the Christmas yarns: (click on the pics for larger images) and an Easter Yarn:  and also last years Valentine yarn with Roses (for which I also did the video – check that out on the Downloads page among the videos if you’d like to see one way of integrating objects). I didnt yet do a Halloween yarn, but this year I will for sure!) But now I am working on this years Valentine yarn 🙂 Its not really finished yet but I wanted to share it with you already, also cos sometimes its just interesting to see how something develops! I started out with a hot pink, yellow, orange, and purple merino roving. I spun a single, and after a few yards I stopped, broke off the roving and pulled some yarn back off the bobbin and wrapped it into a mini ball, and started crocheting it to make the little crochet hearts:  I started by chaining 4, then joining it into a circle with slip stitch (my crochet description is not going to be very technical because I am hopeless with patterns, but I will describe what I did!) Then I chained two, then *yarn over and put the hook through the middle of the circle to pick up the yarn and pull it through, yarn over and pull through two, yarn over pull though two again. I am not sure if this is double or triple stitch! I am sure someone will know and hopefully leave a comment with the proper term for this! I get confused between the english and American stitch names.. Ok then chain one* Then repeat * to * three times then chain two (this is the point at the bottom of the heart). then repeat * to * again. And thats it! When you get to the last stitch, pull the yarn all the way through to knot it, then I wove it back through the heart to the center and made one more chain there to fasten it. At this point you might want to treadle a little to make sure there is enough twist left between the heart and the orifice, and then join the roving back onto the unspun end of your yarn and spin more until you want to make the next heart. I wasnt sure if I wanted to leave this yarn as a single or to ply it, I felt that the proportions would be better though if it was plied. I happened to have a while single leftover from something else sitting beside...

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In Which a Departure is Made and An Unexpected Journey Begun

In Which a Departure is Made and An Unexpected Journey Begun

What a month its turning out to be. Because of several things, including but not limited to: opening my second Etsy shop (thats a big YAY) with a slowly growing collection of my handmade accessories, a woven scarf so soft and cosy it would even keep the chill away if you suddenly found yourself at the feet of the Misty Mountains themselves, a beautifully whispy Mohair Cowl that I hand dyed in very pleasing colours that would not (in my humble opinion) see you feeling out of place in the court of Galadriel herself, and a lovely art yarn cowl completed with the most delightful of jewels created to match by Diedre Dreams, a legendary maker of treasures, and yes, I do believe there is a certain Dragon coveting this particular set.. And of course, there is the Gandalf the Grey cowl, because no journey can even be contemplated without him. Bringing me to the next part of this months journey. Did you know that the new Hobbit movie is due for release soon?! Peter Jackson is Premiering it in New Zealand next month! I am so looking forward to seeing it, and in anticipation of this event I am stepping up creation energy on my LOTR yarns. I have a collection of about 7 different yarns now, from Nazgul to Hobbits, Morder to the Shire, but I still have design ideas for a few more! If you have been following my Facebook Page you might have caught some sneak peaks of individual yarns. I hope to be ready to reveal the entire collection to coincide with the Hobbit Premiere in Middle Earth (Wellington). And then, of course, I will be looking for ideas of what to do with them! Some I can replicate and sell individually of course, but I want to keep the collection together, I am thinking about making some epic kind of LOTR yarn weaving, or something… Well, the journey is only part-way to its end, so no doubt by the time we get closer I will have come up with an idea for the conclusion, and no, dont worry, I am not going to do a Peter Jackson and stretch it out to make THREE pieces, I know a good story can be told in one go 😛 Yes I am a little …. concerned… that they are making three movies out of the Hobbit, it wasnt THAT big a book huh? But we will see won’t we, hopefully they have just been especially clever rather than ponderously slow.. Now speaking of ponderously slow, we have a departure to consider in this post too. And its not a physical one, no one has left or is leaving, its...

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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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