Tag Archives: Beads

Life on the Outside

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Life on the Outside

Background:

These skeins were commissioned as a gift. They are what I call a Companion Set: two different, but harmonious, skeins with one deliberately simple in design, and one towards the art yarn end of the spectrum.

Here the plainer skein is inspired by dew drops on grass. It is spun from a mixture of mallard-green merino fibre blended with rainbow-dyed trilobal nylon. It was spun as a slim single and plied with a green glitter-thread. The companion skein is an art yarn. The blended fibre was spun as a gently-textured thick-and-thin single. I spun the butterfly charms straight into the fibre for stability, and the colourful flower buttons were threaded onto the same green glitter-thread before plying.

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Story:

A cosmos in every sphere. Whole worlds, as far as the eye can see. Dew drops cling to every blade, flexing in the breeze, splitting the light that crosses its path, capturing its colour. Looking further afield, there the colours come into view. Less ephemeral there, though hardly permanent. The borders are home to delicate hues, flashes of bold colours. Life in many forms. Garden creatures flash by: circling, darting, diving through air. The fauna visits the flora, life cycles uniting to allow each to continue. Today’s dance promises the future.

Information:

1. Title: Dew Drops

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Composition: Fibre: 70% merino 30% rainbow trilobal with a synthetic glitter-thread ply.

Weight: 104g / 20 WPI / sockweight

Length: 463m / 506yd

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date:  November 2016

Skein code: 0094a

Fibre: Merino, trilobal nylon

Source: World of Wool

 

2. Title: Flora and Fauna

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Composition: Carded blend of cashmere, tussah silk, merino and trilobal nylon with a synthetic glitter-thread ply, metal charms and plastic buttons.

Weight: 133g /11 WPI / Irregular, worsted weight to DK average.

Length: 320m / 350yd

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand wind only.

Details:

Date: November 2016

Skein code: 0094b

Fibre: Cashmere, Tussah silk, Merino and Trilobal nylon

Source: The Rainbow Fibre Fairy

Status: Sold

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July Rolag Club: St. Swithun’s Day

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July Rolag Club: St. Swithun’s Day

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are celebrating St Swithun’s Day on the 15th of July.

St. Swithun was an Anglo-Saxon bishop, born around the year 800, who lived until approximately 862. His feast day is on the 15th of July, and in popular lore he is remembered for the famous weather myth:

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mare

Swithun was appointed as bishop of Winchester by Æthelwulf, the Anglo Saxon King of Wessex. He was known as a pious and deeply spiritual man, preferring to share banquets with the poor rather than the rich. Upon his deathbed he begged to be buried not inside the church, as dictated by his place in society, but “outside the north wall of his cathedral where passers-by should pass over his grave and raindrops from the eaves drop upon it.” In 971 Swithun’s remains were moved to a new indoor shrine, and legend grew up that the heavy rain on that day demonstrated the saint’s displeasure at the move. So grew the idea that if it rains on St. Swithun’s day, it will rain for the next 40 days.

Funnily enough, there is some meteorological truth in the proverb. The jet stream that influences our summer weather is usually fixed by mid July and tends to remain steady throughout August. If this jet stream lies to our north, high pressure from the continent leads to a warmer, drier summer. Alternately, a jet stream lying to the south of our islands brings arctic and atlantic weather systems, possibly including 40 days of rain.

This month’s rolag club is themed around our changing weather. You have a set of rolags inspired by glimpses of rainbow colours in a cloudy sky. We have an abundance of guest makers: your mini skein from Setting the twist is based on summer showers, you have the most amazing stitch markers from All Wound Up, and to cope with all this weather, you have handmade lip balm from Lifebloom. I’ve thrown in a few extra treats, including your tea, which has a bit of a twist this month.

Enjoy!

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“Shy Rainbow” rolags were blended with white falkland and alpaca, and colourful silk.

In your box you should find:

  • The story of St. Swithun’s Day
  • 30g of striping rolags in “Shy Rainbow” – 50% Organic Falkland, 30% Mulberry Silk, 20% Baby Alpaca
  • A handspun mini skein in “Summer Shower” by Setting the Twist
  • Flower tea
  • Stitch markers by All Wound Up
  • Lip balm by Lifebloom
  • A mini umbrella (or parasol – you get to decide)
  • Silver-lined clear beads – beautiful little raindrops!
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Weather-based stitch markers from All Wound Up.

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Blooming Flower Tea from The Exotic Teapot.

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Handmade lip balm from Lifebloom.

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A handful of raindrops: clear, silver-lined beads.

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And a little umbrella (or parasol!) to match.

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A pair of rainbows!

Dark Side of the Swoon

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Dark Side of the Swoon

Background:

I made this skein for a mystery Valentine’s Day swap. I tried to disguise it as best I could with an anonymous label but, needless to say, I was caught out straight away!

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Both the yarn design and the name were inspired by the iconic Pink Floyd album cover. This was a really fun yarn to spin and I loved the result.

Story:

Maybe dancing butterflies and bluebirds on your shoulder is not your thing.

Maybe it’s the hidden, the unknown, or the unwise that pulls you in.

The secret known to only two souls. The destructive pas de deux. The live fast, split young experience. The intensity of life ruled by wild impulse. The same basic instinct that drives many beings to seek out one who makes us realise we’re understood, and part of a greater whole. It’s just some like things to be … that little bit darker.

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Information:

Title: Dark Side of the Swoon

Composition: Black Welsh wool, commercial glitter thread and beads.

Weight: 100g fibre weight / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 210m / 230yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand Wind

Details:

Date: February 2016

Skein code: 0087

Fibre: 100% natural Black Welsh wool

Source: World of Wool

Status: Swapped

Milky Way

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Milky Way

Background:

I made this skein for a competition winner. I wanted to do something really special for her, and was inspired by the “Constellstion” range of fibres. What Sarah did with this yarn made it even more special, and is one of my very favourite memories from the first year of Story Skeins.

Story:

Trace the constellations telling stories in the sky: the distant, fiery hearts of other worlds. 

Would our stories make sense to them?

Would they recognise the warrior, the queen, the beasts of myth?

Does our sun play a part in their stories?

What do we look like to them; all those thousands of light years between us?

Such are the questions the heavens can inspire.

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Sarah did beatiful things with her yarn, and even continued the story:

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As the atmosphere shifted the stars aligned and the stories as old as time were drawn into the skies.

Pictures were shining out to the eyes wide with wonder.

In those bright eyes history and amazement fought to shine through and she knew then that the night sky was her truth.

She wondered if the stars knew she was there, what they thought as they watched over her.

As her eyes began to close with the sleepiness of a fulfilled 3 year old, the night sky became a wrap that enveloped her in all its warmth and kept the terrors at bay.

The girl could finally sleep, ready to wake when the sun made its appearence the very next day.

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Milky Way as a Road Trip Scarf, expertly modelled.

Information:

Title: Milky Way

Composition: 70% Merino, 30% Silk plus nylon thread and star beads.

Weight: 130g fibre weight. 237g total. 13 WPI / DK

Length: 231m / 253yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand wind.

Details:

Date: June 2015

Skein code: 0045

Fibre: 70/30 merino/silk blend.

Source: World of Wool – Constellation range.

Status: Gifted/Won

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.

Adventures in Space & Time

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Adventures in Space & Time

Background:

This was such a fun commission! By the time the yarn was made I could just imagine a little tardis whizzing through the scene.

Story:

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Space.

The vast, empty void. The vacuum of space.

Empty.

Apart from the stars.

But the rest of space is empty.

Except for the planets and moons and comets and asteroids.

But there’s nothing else.

Apart from the nebulae, showing off, all blues, pinks, reds and greens.

And apart from the galaxies, some spiral-armed and twisting together with the inky blackness.

But aside from all that … empty.

If you don’t count the neutrinos and photons and muons and …

But otherwise, nothing there.

(Except, maybe, dark matter?)

Even black holes are thought to emit radiation.

So really, what is there to explore?

What adventures could you possibly have?

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Information:

Title: Adventures in Space & Time

Composition: Merino, silk, sequins and seed beads

Weight: 120g (fibre weight) / 14 WPI / DK to sports weight.

Length: 360m / 394 yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0049

Fibre: 21 micron dyed merino, 70/30 merino silk blend

Source: Supplied by Wingham Wool Work. Blended by Story Skeins

Status: Sold

Totoro

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Totoro

Background:

A first foray into art yarn, with deliberately chunky spinning and beads spun into the yarn. Based on the Totoro character, with natural coloured fibres and forest-green glass beads.

Story:

Unseen observers. Guarding the forest

With you in need, yet not part of your world

Childlike belief (wisest of all?)

Such wonders we miss

When we forget to see.

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Information:

Title: Totoro

Composition: 53% Bluefaced Leicester, 22% Superwash Wensleydale, 20% Bamboo, <5% Nylon, <5% Glass beads

Weight: 134g / 6WPI / Bulky

Length: 125m / 137yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: April 2015

Skein code: 0011

Fibre: BFL, SW Wensleydale, Bamboo

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted