This one is photos of the Mackintosh inspired jewellery. My goodness there is some wonderful creativity here. There were so many more, and my original photos are more centred, but try as I might, the bloody blog thing has come out less well! Still....
These entries were unselected.
There are lots of pictures to show you, so this post and those that follow will be piccie rich, talky poor.
As the exhibition is close to home, of course it was a must visit. Those involved in producing the work should be very proud of the skill used to create their pieces. Those who put this exhibition together have produced an amazing visual treat. Well done to all involved. I know some couldn’t get there - this is for them and as a record of what it is possible to achieve in our field.
Lastly, I really couldn’t take a photie of every last piece, but what you see here is more than just the highlights. And be aware, my photos weren’t taken with a “proper” camera taking lots of time over each, so sorry for the quality. Plus (alert - tradesman making excuses for his poor tools) the way the photos come out here is very hard to curate!!
Without further ado, enjoy.
It has been a few years since I was able to get to Woolfest. France has some wonderful woolly festivals, but often you are lucky if they are in your area, so I have missed Woolfest (and Wonderwool Wales) a lot. To go this year was a massive treat and reminded me what we had been missing. I also did a stint on the OLG stand, with old friends and new - speaking English is so great!!
So without further ado, here’s some piccies of the day. If you can get along to these festivals, do. Have a budget in mind and stick to it, but other than that, go a little crazy - I have never regretted any purchases 😁. This is woolly goodness at its best!
We (being my daughter and I) decided to have a session dyeing recently. We had not done so for quite a while and fancied some unique yarn making material. We used acid dyes that we already had, and set up in the lovely warm weather outside. As a trial, we used a fish pan on a stove, which predominantly worked, but with a gas stove, fleece that touched the sides of the pan were a little sticky, so we won’t use it again on gas!
Anyway, without further ado, here are the results. We were very happy with the results and they gave us something different to spin for about 2 weeks (note to self, dye more often lady!).
Now, I have a confession to make. I have purchased an electric spinning wheel. In fact, if I’m being 100% honest, it came into my life, brand new, last summer. OK, well it feels good to get it off my chest. Why did I get an espinner? Well, it’s the foot thing again AND portability when going away in the car. I really can’t cope without spinning even on holiday, but Tess (the Aura) is a heavy and space taking wheel when the car is full. So an espinner is a good option, as long as you have electricity (which makes me feel really guilty when I have two usable legs).
Therefore let me introduce Peter
Peter is an Ashford espinner mark 2. Now, as you can imagine, one is a little miffed (read pretty cross) that just two months after my investment, the espinner mark 3 is brought out and much smaller. Still, let’s not stop our enjoyment because of it shall we? *rage building up*
At first when I started using it, I giggled a lot, because I was making yarn with my legs crossed. Now I am past that stage!
The good points are the obvious. Portability; ability to make yarn even when you’re legs can’t do the treadling (knee issues, arthritis etc); ease of use; constant speed for “normal” spinning (ie each day you come to a project doesn’t depend on how fast/slow you treadle)
The not so good.
Control (not using your feet to slow down/stop when you want is not as easy as you would think); noise (certainly not as quiet as Tess); using electricity (as a green person, this one is big, even though I’m told it doesn’t use much juice) and this last one is really attached to control, but I’ll make special mention. I have the foot pedal for stop/starting, which I wouldn’t be without, but doing art yarns, which at times need you to stop treadling many times, are just a pain to try and do. Plus when you switch back on, it is to full speed, whereas your feet would ease back in. However, I didn’t buy her to do fancy art yarns, so that’s fine, I’m just saying, some types would be too difficult, therefore I am grateful I don’t have to rely on him.
Peter lives on a small, low, ikea table with wheels on the base, so he can be wheeled around. I have to say that I sit back on our deep sofas, mostly crossed legged, and spin in a fairly meditative (read vegetative) state. It is delicious. And when we go on holiday, he happily doesn’t take up much room.
For plying, it is an absolute revelation. Set the speed and feed it in for very fast consistent ply. When doing a simple yarn, it is a joy.
So there you go. Peter has good points and flaws, but overall, I wouldn’t be without him in the spinning wheel family.
Now then, how cool is this. I’m blogging again so soon!
Now I have gratuitously congratulated myself, let’s get down to business.
Christmas was THE most relaxed and wonderful Christmas for many a year. It was delicious. So, I was able to invest lots of time in spinning (which added to the deliciousness). So I thought I would share those yarns and how they were made.
Firstly, I really wanted to make a good (if I do say so myself) bead yarn. Bead yarn is not for the faint hearted, as there are various processes to make it. So, I decided to cut one part out, by using a cotton yarn to ply with, so I didn’t have to make a 2 ply yarn (cheating, but....). Then I made an overtwisted thick and thin from the commercially prepared fleece. Overtwisted because once the two yarns are plied together to make beads, you reverse spin the same area a lot, so you don’t want it to come apart.
This is the result.
The next yarn was the same fleece, but spun as a single, with a little overtwist so that I could full it once finished, to make a stable and substantial single. Because of the wonderful colours in the blend I used, I didn’t want to ply and lose all that loveliness in it becoming muddy.
Next, I used a merino and silk blend, and this time, did make an overtwisted 2 ply yarn. Overtwisted because the next step was a thick and thin that I just wanted to ply with, but again, there is a chance of the yarn coming apart if you are not careful, so overtwisted is best. So, rather than make beads, this time I just plied the thick and thin with the 2 ply. It could be argued that a single, rather than 2 ply would have worked, but 2 ply, although extra work, does give a more stable yarn to ply with.
As it is almost impossible to not have a little bit of single left when making a 2 ply, I decided to make another new art yarn from the leftover. Often, I will Navajo ply the remainder, continuing on the same bobbin from the 2 ply. But, I end up with bits are that a bit useless. I plied the leftover blue with a gold thread and dark blue lurex thread. The lurex was allowed to do what it wanted as I sat spinning. Interestingly, it was fairly even! The gold and blue were alternately plied back on themselves to create small beady areas. Because of the gold thread, it is quite a harsh yarn, so will need to be used thoughtfully and not next to the skin, but it is very pretty (blimey, blowing trumpet again, this just won’t do!)
Finally, I spun 200g of white merino, which I won’t add a piccie of - tad boring. However, it won’t be when it is dyed later on. Natural dyes will be used and I can’t wait to get back to it when the weather improves. Not for the dyeing as such, but the drying thereafter.
So there, a productive time and lush. Life doesn’t get better than this!
Love and light.xx
Well, it appears it’s happened again. Life has got in the way of art! Now, don’t get me wrong, spinning never stops - never! But blogging, well, that gets shoved to the side whilst life gets in the way. So, to rectify this, I am going to try and post at least once a month next year (yes I know, a dreaded resolution, except now they are intentions for me - very different!) I do tweet about my spinning as well, so now I just need to expand that into a blog post, that will record my work, if nothing else!
Reflecting on this year, it has been difficult personally. I won’t go into the details, but I am finishing it a happier person than when this year started. As far as crafting is concerned though, I feel it has been very positive and I am looking forward to moving all areas forward next year.
So, definite positivity about the future, and yes, excitement.
Below are a couple of projects lately, and soon, I will tell you about an electric wheel I bought earlier this year. Plenty to talk about there. You see, started my New Years res - erm intentions early.
This is a piccie of some Christmas beads I did recently. Just playing, but love how they turned out.
and this, which looks a lot like tinsel, is actually a Navajo plied wool yarn, which, because I wasn’t concentrating on what I was doing, was not good at all. So I plied it with eyelash yarn, and created this lovely “tinsel”.
Well, I've gone and done it. A saori loom has entered the house!
As I mentioned, I fell out of love with weaving. Mainly because all the looms I have had bar one have been a pain, in one way or another. Now you may say a bad workman blames his tools, but I think one size does not fit all. I got fed of making warps; I got fed up of expensive looms not performing and as a result I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I sold my octado and eventually kept just Ken (see previous post) and one rigid heddle. Now - I do love floor looms, if I am going to weave at all. The rigid heddle loom is great, but has limitations and Ken - well he has needs that was part of the boring bit of weaving. So, a search later and enter the world of Saori. Firstly, let me introduce you to Jennifer:
Basically she is a 2 shaft floor loom. Her maximum weaving width is 60cm and get this - you can buy ready made warps up to 30m long!!
Now I do intend to make my own some time as well, but to be able to getvones already made is perfect. They are available in black, white, cotton, wool and colour combinations. The one you see on the loom, is the original 6m warp, which not only came with the loom, but was already threaded through the shafts and reed! My idea of heaven. I have purchased 2 other ready made warps, one black wool (this one is cotton, but I am a wool girl) and raspberry something or other - basically 6m of raspberry coloured different warps. Lish!
I've had it a week, and nearly finished the first 6 m warp - mostly because it is 38 degree heat outside, and quite frankly there is very little you can do!
With this warp I have been playing. The philosophy with Saori is that there is no such thing as a mistake, only a design creative. Mmmm - I'm liking this, although it is hard to think like this when all your weaving life has been aimed at creating perfection. But Misao Jo, the Japanese lady who created this form of weaving over 40 years ago, wanted weaving to be an art form made using creativity that a machine would be unable to do. You are not taught saori weaving, only the basics of how to do it, then use your own creativity to make cloth.
It is so simple, with a wonderful big shed and lots of lovely little details that show how well thought out the loom is. I am in love! You can get a 4 shaft version, and I may invest in updating Jennifer at some time, but for now, she is perfect just the way she is, and I am happy making cloth again!! And , I have a couple of books on creating clothes with simple designs. This could be where the wheels come off, because I may look awful in them, but for now this is a great deal of fun.
So, weaving is back on the agenda and I'm loving it. I will keep you posted on cloth made, garments made and more adventures in weaving. This doesn't mean spinning has stopped. Far from it. I am beavering away during the evenings making white yarn for dyeing, because next on the creative path is an indigo dye vat. All ingredients are in the house I just need to get on with it. The loom has kind of taken all my spare time after working in the permaculture garden and renovating the house. But I can't wait to do indigo, and as the natural dye garden is starting to develop, I really do need to get back to some dyeing as well. Now where did I put those extra hours in the day I ordered............