Monthly Archives: December 2015

Let Me Introduce Myself

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I found this amazing blog after this lovely lady started following me on instagram. This post resonated so much with my experiences and my philosophy, I just had to share. Enjoy. x

Healing Handcrafting

Hello to you, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I have been hovering over the idea of writing about the healing effects of working with fibers for a long time, and often dissuaded myself from taking the leap into blog-land by telling myself things like:  there are so many blogs, why add another? or, can anything new be said about the soothing and healing nature of handwork?, and of course the ultimate killer of ideas and new projects, am I “expert” enough to write about fiber art, fiber craft handwork and psychology? Well, let me make my admissions and explanations here so I can get on with it!

I am a psychologist and have been working in the field in a variety of ways since 1999, although I took a few years off to be home with my children. I love the work…

View original post 1,292 more words

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Maelstrom

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Maelstrom

Background:

A first experiment in core spinning. I love the swirl of ocean colours in this art yarn.

Story:

Storms approaching

Waves start to swell

Slowly at first

Gentle mist surrounds us.

We are not worried, This is our life, we know the terrain, we understand the fickle personality of nature out at sea.

Clouds darken. Now deep blues and purples, more ominous hues to the seafolk.

Waves start to roil

Rising and crashing

Tossing us about like beads of sweat as the grand ocean flexes her muscles.

We steel ourselves for battle.

Only one of us shall win this day.

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Information:

Title: Maelstrom

Composition: Merino and silk noil on a mohair core.

Weight: 72g / 6 WPI / Bulky

Length: 36m / 40yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0061

Fibre: Merino, Silk noil, Mohair

Source: Unknown

Status: For Sale

Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

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Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

December’s rolag club, seen here, featured ‘Evergreen’ rolags and ‘Holly Berry’ beads. I have done quite a few beaded yarns in the past and there are several ways to add these kind of inclusions into yarn. In a plied yarn it is easy enough to thread your beads or sequins onto a thread and ply that thread along with the singles, as in this yarn, or you may be able to thread your beads directly onto one or more of your singles, but sometimes you want to spin your beads directly into the yarn. Here’s how:

Assumed knowledge

  • Staple length of fibre: refresher available here.
  • Basic Spinning: refresher available here.
  • Park and Draft for the Wheel: refresher available here.

Materials

  • Fibre
  • Beads
  • A beading (or very fine) hook if you have one, and
  • Cotton thread if you don’t.
  • Something to spin on! A wheel or spindle.

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Method

I don’t have a hook fine enough for seed beads, so I am going to show you a method for threading beads onto fibre using ordinary sewing thread.

  1. Cut a length of cotton, around 20cm long.
  2. Thread the bead onto the cotton, just as if you were threading a needle.
  3. Pull a reasonable length of thread through the bead, so that the bead sits roughly in the middle of the thread.
  4. Now take the end of the cotton once more and, leaving a large loop, thread it back through the bead. Take it slowly at first, and leave yourself plenty of length on either side of the bead.
  5. Now you should have a seed bead threaded such that you have a large loop on one side, and two ends of the thread on the other side.

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Now let’s consider the fibre:

  1. Take the fibre you wish to spin and draft out a few fibres from one end.
  2. Pull out a few fibres. Just pinch at the very top as you pull gently, so that the fibres removed are a single staple length. Your bead will sit in the centre of this staple length.
  3. Twist them with your fingers, just as if you were spinning them, to make them easier to handle.

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  1. Carefully thread your twisted fibres through the loop of your cotton thread.
  2. Move your bead along the thread, towards your fibre.
  3. Pinch your fibre back on itself, such that your bead can slide from the thread to the fibre.
  4. Move your bead along and then gently pinch one end of the fibre, so that the bead cannot come off, and ease the other end of the fibre right through the bead so that the bead ends up placed in the middle of your staple length of fibre.

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Here is a close-up showing the bead being threaded into the fibre. You can see that, having twisted the fibres, they show a clear distinction between each end of the fibre, as if it were a thread. The loop which has just passed through the bead has distinct ‘legs’. As you hold one end of the fibre, pull gently on one of these legs. If you feel a firm tug on the fibres you’re holding, try the other leg. It should connect to the free end of the fibre and allow you to pull that free end right through the bead.

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Follow this procedure for each of the beads you want to spin into your yarn:

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Now put the beads aside and start spinning your fibre. Here I am attaching my fibre to my leader:

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I like to get the spun single established first before I think about spinning in the beads. Here I am checking the gauge of the singles yarn against the commercial yarn (a worsted weight single spun yarn) that I am using in my project.

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Now it’s time to start adding the beads into the yarn:

  1. In order to control the spin, I will stop the wheel when I get to the point of attaching the first bead, just as in the Park and Draft for Wheels video, seen here.
  2. When I want to attach a bead, I stop spinning the wheel and draft some fibre out to my desired thickness, just behind the pinched off twist.
  3. I take a pre-threaded bead. (It is easier to handle these by picking the beads up, rather than by picking the fibre up.)
  4. I hold the end of the fibre that passes through the bead with the thumb and fingers that are holding the twist in place, and lay the beaded fibre parallel to the section just drafted.
  5. I restart the wheel and allow the twist to run up the drafted fibres, capturing the bead and the fibre onto which it was threaded in the process.

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  1. Repeat as often as desired, and the result is a beautifully beaded singles yarn:

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Adding beads whilst spindle spinning

This is slightly trickier as you have to control the spin, as well as the beads, with your hands. Review the technique of Park and Draft on the Spindle, shown here. I would spin this sitting down so I could hold the spindle between my knees to keep it still when needed.

Follow the steps as above, to the point you want to add your first bead into your yarn.

  1. Stop the spindle and hold it still.
  2. Make sure you have your pre-threaded beads to hand.
  3. draft out a length of fibre to your desired thickness.
  4. Pick up a bead and lay the threaded bead alongside the freshly drafted fibre.
  5. Position your hands such that the finger and thumb that are pinching off the twist can hold one end of the threaded fibre in place, and you have other fingers available to stabilise the other end of the threaded fibre.
  6. Use your free hand to restart the spindle spinning and let the twist travel into the drafted fibres, capturing the bead as you go.

A video tutorial will follow as soon as possible and I will add it to this post.

December Rolag Club: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

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December Rolag Club: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

December 24th: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

So many traditional celebrations fall in December. It seems almost universal for a culture to need a cheering festival of light as the days reach their shortest point. With so many festivals remembered and still celebrated, it has been a challenge to choose a forgotten one. This celebration is not so much forgotten as lesser-known outside of the local area.

This month we are celebrating Tolling the Devil’s Knell on December 24th.

Tolling the Devil’s Knell is a tradition local to Dewsbury in Yorkshire and dates back to the middle ages. The legend tells that in 1434, Sir Thomas de Soothill, in a fit of rage,  committed the  murder of a servant. As penance for his crime, he donated a tenor bell to his parish church in Dewsbury. The bell came to bear his name, being known as “Black Tom of Soothill”. Sir Thomas is credited with starting the tradition of tolling this bell, once for each year since the birth of Christ, ending at midnight, just as Christmas day begins. This was probably not such a mammoth task in the time of Sir Thomas as it is in 2015! The tradition continues each year at Dewsbury Minster, only pausing during the war years. Dewsbury Minster’s website lists all the bells in its bell tower and their inscriptions. The tenor bell, “Black Tom”, is inscribed:

I shall be here if treated just

When they are mouldering in the dust

Bells are the dominant theme of this box, inspiring one set of rolags, the stitch markers and the extra treat. Further inspiration comes from the traditional sights, scents and tastes of this season. I hope you enjoy it.

x

In this box you will find:

  • An introduction to the tradition of “Tolling the Devil’s Knell”
  • 20g of rolags in ”Medieval Metal” – 60% Merino, 25% black diamond bamboo, 7.5% gold stellina, 7.5% bronze stellina.
  • 10g of rolags in “Evergreen” – 60% Shetland, 40% Bamboo.
  • Seed beads in “Holly Berry” – be careful when you open these!
  • A Handspun mini skein in “Jack Frost” – Falkland plied with glitter thread.
  • A set of stitch markers.
  • Tea in “Three Cinnamon” and “Spicy Chai” flavours.
  • A winter-spiced tealight.
  • A chocolate bell.

 

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Sunset over the flax field

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Sunset over the flax field

Background:

I made this rolag set as a sunset-inspired gradient, and decided to spin it as a single gradient yarn. Here you can see the process of selecting each colour to spin in turn:

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I love the addition of the linen in this yarn. Its bright white seems to intensify the beautiful, rich colours, and it adds an interesting bit of texture to the yarn.

Story:

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You may not recognise the golden flax from the field of blue flowers.

It’s hidden inside the stems, needing work from the hands and sweat from the brow to free the fine fibres.

The colours change as the sun descends:

Bright white at first, so the sights of the field are vibrant and clear.

Honey yellow matures to deeper shades.

Tangerine sky becomes cherry red,

As darkness creeps up to put flax to bed.

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Information:

Title: Sunset over the flax field

Composition: Merino/linen/angelina

Weight: 100g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 195m / 214yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0059

Fibre: 21 micron merino, linen, angelina

Source: Rolags by Story Skeins

Status: Sold

Fraggles

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Fraggles

Background:

Do you remember Fraggle Rock? The vibrant colours in these fibre blends brought me right back to the adventures of these childhood companions!

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Story:

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“Dance your cares away,” they said. “Worry’s for another day.”

I challenge you to feel anything other than happy when looking at these colours.

The oranges of Red’s amazing, expressive hair, the purple of Gobo, the blue of Mokey – truly a noble race! Captured in yarn to surround you with good cheer.

So, let the music play!

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Information:

Title: Fraggles

Composition: Merino and silk noil

Weight: 100g / 10 WPI / Worsted weight

Length: 182m / 200yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0064

Fibre: Merino and silk noil

Source: Sara’s Texture Crafts

Status: Sold