Tag Archives: Texture

August Rolag Club: August Wakes

Standard
August Rolag Club: August Wakes

2016-09-08-17-30-00

Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are celebrating August Wakes.

Wakes celebrations began as feast days in honour of the patron saint of the parish church, and gained their name from the medieval tradition of staying awake in the church all night in order to hear the dawn mass on the saint’s day. Initially these festivals were quite sombre, involving penance and fasting. Following the reformation, however, the emphasis shifted to revelry, eventually becoming rowdy enough that the celebrations were shifted away from the saint’s day.

In northern towns, wakes became a secular, industrial holiday. Each town chose its own wakes week, and the workers were given unpaid holiday whilst the mills were closed for maintenance. Although wakes could occur at any time of year, summer was most often chosen for wakes weeks, and many occurred during August. In fact, wakes became synonymous with the town’s annual holiday, which often meant a mass exodus to the seaside!

The observance of wakes weeks has become almost obsolete due to the decline of local industries and the standardisation of school holidays, but as a child growing up in the Lancashire mill town of Oldham, I still remember the annual Oldham wakes holidays.

This month’s club represents the two sides to August wakes: the original religious observance, represented by ‘Vigil’ rolags, green tea and a meditation stone, and the later summer-holiday feel, represented by ‘Coast’ rolags and some seaside treats.

2016-09-08-17-29-07

Rolags in “Vigil” and “Coast” colourways. The flax component in the Vigil rolags should give an interesting texture, whilst the tencel adds a translucent sheen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer, however you chose to spend it!

2016-09-08-17-28-08

A coastal scene.

In this box you should find:

  • The story of August Wakes
  • 20g of rolags in “Vigil” – 67% Merino, 16.5% Flax/Linen, 16.5% Tencel.
  • 10g of rolags in “Coast” – 67% Merino, 33% Llama
  • A handspun mini skein in “Deckchair”
  • Tea in Serene Jasmine and Moroccan Mint green blends
  • Stitch markers
  • A meditation stone from Buttons Be Good
  • A recipe for Feasten Cakes
  • A stick of seaside rock.
2016-09-08-17-30-40

A mini skein in “Deckchair” inspired by the seaside classic.

2016-09-08-17-24-23

A fistful of minis.

2016-09-08-17-25-55

Tactile meditation stones from Buttons Be Good.

2016-09-08-17-31-36

Kirsty used the rolag colours to inspire her design.

2016-09-08-17-25-09

Seaside treats!

2016-09-08-17-32-35

Stitch markers: A bucket and spade, and a scallop shell. Made by Imogen.

Recipe: Feasten Cakes

A tradition from the Cornish celebration of wakes, these saffron-coloured cakes are delicious served with a little cream.

Ingredients:

  • 450g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 20g/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 50g sugar
  • Large pinch of saffron, infused for ~20 mins in 150ml hot milk
  • 175ml clotted cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g currants,
  • Milk to glaze
  • Clotted cream, to serve.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
  2. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
  3. Cream the yeast with 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Strain the saffron milk and beat in the cream, then mix with the yeast. Leave in a warm place for 20 minutes until bubbles form on the surface.
  4. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour with the beaten eggs. Add the currants and the remaining sugar and knead well. Cover and leave in a cool place for the dough to rise slowly until double in size. Knead again briefly then knock back and shape into 8 small buns or cakes and flatten slightly. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove so that the dough springs back when pressed, 20-30 minutes.
  5. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Take out and cool on a wire rack.

Reference: Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Dorling Kindersley 1987

Advertisements

Using Art Yarn. Part 1: The Easter Chicks

Standard
Using Art Yarn. Part 1: The Easter Chicks

The possibilities for art yarn, both creating it and using it, are limitless. However sometimes people struggle to know what to do with this yarn that may be bulky, irregular, highly textured, short of yardage and, above all, fun.

12439274_591970084289098_7544312052793041991_n

“Easter Chick” art yarn by Taylor Made Yarns. Photo courtesy of Taylor Made Yarns.

I bought this amazing art yarn from Taylor Made Yarns, one of my favourite fibre artists, at Fibre East. It is an irregular bulky spiral-plied yarn with little chick charms plied into it. Like many special skeins, I needed to wait for the right project to emerge. As it happened, I won a skein from Cuddlebums: beautiful, subtly-speckled handdyed skinny singles. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had found the companion yarn for the Easter Chicks.

2016-08-26 18.27.29

I set about making a hyperbolic spiral scarf. I planned for gentle spiral ruffles, edged in wild art yarn. I used a 4mm hook to crochet a chain to my desired length, made a dc in each chain to form the foundation of my scarf and then started my increase rows. To create the spiral effect you need to increase stitches on each row in the following way:

  • 1st increase row: work 2 tr into each dc.
  • 2nd increase row: *work 2 tr into the first tr, tr 1. Repeat from *.
  • 3rd increase row: *work 2 tr into the first tr, tr 2. Repeat from *.
  • 4th increase row: *work 2 tr into the first tr, tr 3. Repeat from *.
  • Etc.

2016-08-26 18.37.07

The two yarns I used in this project were very different and I needed to find a way to integrate them. In order to work the thick art yarn into the edge I created an eyelet row using the finer yarn. My final increase row would have been a pattern of *2tr into first tr, tr 5, repeat from *. I altered this to *2tr into first tr, ch2, sk 2 tr, tr 1, ch2, sk 2 tr, repeat from *.

2016-08-26 18.33.30

These eyelets made an attractive edge and provided holes big enough to work a crocheted art yarn edging.

I was not sure that I would have enough of the art yarn to cover the whole edge of the scarf. I decided to split the art yarn into two equal parts and work from each end. I reskeined the yarn and counted 24 wraps of my niddy noddy. I wound off 12 wraps, cut the yarn and then wound off the 2nd half.

IMG_20160825_152230

I switched to a 10mm hook and started adding a border in a pattern of *dc into eyelet, ch 1, repeat from *. Here is the scarf with half of the edging worked:

2016-08-25 17.44.42

And here is the finished piece:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is so much glorious variety in this yarn, each ruffle is like its own vignette:

Photo Collage Maker_MTWJed

And I couldn’t end this post without a close-up of the chicks!

2016-08-26 18.43.57

This was such a fun project to work on. I hope it’s given you some art-yarn inspiration.

March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

Standard
March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

2016-03-10 14.32.20

Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are Celebrating Carling Sunday on the 13th March

“Tid, Mid, Miseray, Carlin, Palm, Pace-Egg Day”

So goes the Northern saying, which helps people remember the various Lenten Sundays. Tid comes from the Te Deum hymn, sung on the 2nd Sunday. Mid and Miseray are from the Mi Deus and the Miserere Mei, sung on the 3rd and 4th Sundays. Palm Sunday is the 6th Sunday in Lent and Pace Egg refers to Easter Day, Pace being a corruption of Pasch, from the Latin and Greek root of ‘Easter’. And that leaves us with Carlin.

Many people will know the 5th Sunday of Lent as Passion Sunday, but in certain areas, most particularly the North East of England, it became known as Carling, or Carlin, Sunday after the peas which were traditionally eaten on that day.

No one seems to know why this food became associated with this festival. Carlins probably originated in monastic gardens, and pulses formed a large part of the monks’ diet. Pea dishes were often eaten throughout lent as a good (and ‘approved’) source of protein. There are lots of myths and stories about the carlin pea and how they became associated with the northern regions. Here is a typical example:

Carlins are said to have rescued the people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the civil war. Newcastle, a royalist city, had been under siege by parliamentarian allies for four months and food supplies were becoming exhausted. Legend tells of a cargo ship from europe which managed to evade the blockade, and whose cargo of carlins saved the people from starvation.

To celebrate Carling Sunday, your rolags are inspired by purple, the traditional colour of passion,  and the rich greens of the pea plant. Your handspun mini skein was inspired by the colours of pea flowers. I have included a recipe for carlings, and though I tried to source some pea seeds, it seems you can’t, so I have included information on how to adopt this variety. Your tea reflects the themes of Passion Sunday, and the unfortunate after-effects of eating large quantities of pulses … Finally we have two guest makers this month. Jennifer from Forest Valley Designs has made the unique stitch markers, and Becca from Get Hooked Crafts has made the stunning WIP bags.

I hope you enjoy it all.

2016-03-10 14.33.34

“Passion” and “Greens” rolags, inspired by Carling Sunday.

In this box you should find:

  • 20g rolags in “Passion” – 77% Bluefaced Leicester, 11.5% Bamboo, 11.5% Faux Cashmere and a hint of angelina.
  • 10g rolags in “Greens, shoots and peas” – 84% Merino, 16% Ramie and some wool neps.
  • The story of Carling Sunday
  • A handspun mini skein in “Pea flowers”
  • Tea in ‘Love’ and ‘Stomach Ease’ blends.
  • Stitch markers from Forest Valley Designs.
  • WIP bags from Get Hooked Crafts.
  • A recipe for carlings
  • Adopt the carlin pea
2016-03-10 14.34.58

“Pea Flowers” handspun mini skein.

2016-03-10 14.40.48.png

Stitch markers by Forest Valley Designs

2016-03-10 14.36.05.jpg

WIP bag from Get Hooked Crafts

 

There are several recipes recorded for the carlin pea. I have also discovered that the day after Carling Sunday was known as Farting Monday, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Though I did include some Stomach Ease tea.

 

Carlings

225g dried green peas

50g fresh breadcrumbs

1 onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

25g butter

Soak the peas overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and put into a large saucepan. Add 750 ml water and bring to the boil. Boil steadily for 2 hours until the peas are tender. Leave to cool. Mix with the breadcrumbs, onion, herbs and seasoning to make a stiff mixture. Shape into cakes and fry in the butter until brown.

Reference: Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Dorling Kindersley 1987

img375

The carlin pea in flower.

 

Orchid Ripples

Standard
Orchid Ripples

Background:

I was commissioned to make some thick ‘n’ thin yarn in hot pink, lime green and white. I decided to spin a long-striping yarn in these three colours. The fibre was split into 5g sections and an irregular single was spun in a repeating colour pattern. I then used navajo plying to create this thick and thin textured yarn.

Story:

There’s a slice of paradise that I choose not to share.

Where the wild orchids grow, immodest in their radient pinks, standing proud against verdant greens.

I approach – request an audience. Their bobbing flowers acquiesce.

The lake appears as I crest the brow of the hillock. At the lakeside I dip my toe, and the water answers with ripples.

The orchids’ reflection is broken, like the turn of a kaleidoscope. Rippling pinks, whites, and greens. The world responds to my presence, and yet I am at peace.

 

2016-02-26 17.45.04.png

Information:

Title: Orchid Ripples

Composition: 67% Merino, 33% Whitefaced Woodland

Weight: 100g / 12 WPI av. / Irregular DK

Length: 187m / 205yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: February 2016

Skein code: 0089

Fibre: 21 micron dyed merino and natural whitefaced woodland

Source: World of Wool

Status: Sold

What’s my job?

Standard
What’s my job?

It’s only three years since I was a new spinner. I’ve reached the point where I find myself mentoring other new spinners as they start exploring this fascinating craft.

2015-12-02 14.56.23

One of the most common complaints I hear (often offered as an apology for the perceived deficiencies of the new spinner’s own yarn) is about irregular yarn. It’s something I remember about my first efforts at the spinning wheel too. I thought my first yarn was quite ugly. But at the same time I was so proud of it because I made it all by myself!

20130419_092537-1

There seems to be a common journey for spinners, with early efforts being thick and irregular, and subsequent yarn gradually becoming thinner and more consistent. Then you reach a stage where you want to spin thicker yarn again, and almost have to re-learn how to do it. And you may want to spin irregular, or thick and thin, or even more exotic yarn and so you go about learning those techniques, continually refining your knowledge, your practice and your control over the process.

2016-02-23 17.22.02

What I’ve come to realise is that, as spinners, it’s not our job to replicate machine-spun yarn. When we judge our early efforts, that’s the yardstick most of us use for comparison.

But the thing is, if I wanted machine-spun yarn, I could just buy it! It has its place and I use plenty of commercially-spun yarn, but it is a different beast from handspun. There is a sense of satisfaction for the spinner to know that, if you choose to, you can replicate the fine consistency of machine-spun yarn. But my plea to spinners (new or otherwise!) is to see consistency as a design choice, rather than a value judgement.

2015-12-26 17.16.29

I often think of handspun yarn as being full of life. And I think that relates to this question of what is my job as a handspinner. I see my job as creating something unique every time I go through the process, from inspiration to yarn design, to the final skein.

What commercially-spun yarn can never replicate is that sense of the unique creation of every millimetre of yarn: the possibility of a story in every stitch.

2015-12-14 11.40.30

Maelstrom

Standard
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.

2015-12-26 17.16.29

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

Sunset over the flax field

Standard
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:

2015-12-14 12.48.57

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:

2015-12-14 12.53.35

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.

2015-12-14 12.47.42

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