Sunday, March 25, 2018

In the grip of the muse

Sometimes you just have to go with where the muse takes you.   Today that was from this


which pleasingly turned into this 


Louis Theroux appears to approve of my endeavours, ably assisted by my daughter

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Christening

Just before Christmas one of our former guild members e mailed to say that she was selling some of her late mother's spinning and weaving equipment. I was the lucky first one to reply so as well as various warping pegs I soon became the happy owner of a lendrum with plenty of bobbins. All thanks to my past self who was wise enough to save birthday and Christmas present money instead of frittering it.


I knew exactly what fibre I was going to use for my first spin as I won a raffle prize of Babylonglegs fibre at a spinning day. As Sarah helped me check my new wheel, it only seemed fitting.

As the fibre came in three lots, I decided to spin a three ply (as a hat tip to Sarah's preferred yarn structure). I also decided to play with fractals using a one, two, three split. So, the first ply was spun across the top; the second was split in half along the length and spun and the last was split in thirds. With each ply I tried to keep the colours clear.


As always with Sarah's fibre, the spin was smooth and pleasurable and soon I had three bobbins of beauty which I was excited to start plying.

Which is when the problems began.

Everything started off fine, but then I realised I'd snapped a ply and been making a two ply for a couple of minutes. I couldn't just take that part out because of the sequencing, so I laboriously started unplying and rewinding. It took hours. It took the twist out of the singles. It made my arms and shoulders ache. I couldn't let it defeat me.

Once I had the plies unwound the only thing I could think of doing was to respin the singles to get the twist back in. However that meant I had to then spin again to get them the right way on the bobbins. I even did the same to the third bobbin to make sure it had the same amount of twist.

I joined all three plies back on and with a sigh, restarted. Five minutes of plying and the end of the bobbin popped off. By this time my shoulders were around my ears and I was tempted to cry or throw the whole wheel across the room. Instead hubby tried to help in various ways. None of which worked. Eventually, I had a strop, snapped the plied yarn and did the spin and respin thing onto more bobbins. Thank goodness this wheel came with lots of them.

Heartily sick of it all, I put the whole lot in the naughty corner and stewed for a couple of days. I came back to it and this time the plying went well, but I was really disappointed that I couldn't get all of the yarn onto one bobbin. I made this into a positive and decided to chain ply the remaining singles, just to see.



Cute enough on the bobbins, so winding them onto the niddy noddy then into skeins was very exciting. 


I'm so pleased with how these turned out, despite the wheel related difficulties on the way.   I've learnt a lot and resolved to use my Sonata for plying larger quantities. (Thereby taking a step to understanding multiple wheel ownership.) Next is finding just the right project I guess.   No rush! 



Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Sick with and of grief

My step dad died yesterday. Months of cancer and related treatment with no hope at the end of it and still I'm felled at this point.

I can't properly cry yet. I'm mostly frozen emotionally, with just the odd leak of a few tears before I clam up again. Either that or I'm insanely angry at something stupid, some thing that's out of my control. I've been a touchy cow for months at work while dealing with this. Ridiculously cross at colleagues' actions or inability to follow processes and procedures.

I'm already sick of grief. Knowing that this is just the start and that I will go through it, work through it, follow my own path through it does not make it any more welcome. I'm not resisting it, more acknowledging that it's a visitor none of us want.

The thing I already hate about it is how overbearing it is. How it takes over everything. I'm heading into work, dreading the solicitation this news brings and delaying sharing it. The caring, gentle consideration and the head tilt. All well meaning but just at this moment (but probably not in 5 minutes), too much to bear when all I want to do is be the workplace bitch, the money dragon. Just for a few minutes, just for a refuge, just to catch a bit of normal before the tears come crashing in.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Testing

Just trying to wrap my head around this

Monday, February 22, 2016

Revitalisation

I didn't realise how long it was since I'd posted on my blog.  Oops.

I've had quite a run of contracting work, so let's blame my lack of words on that shall we?

I do know that after Christmas the creative muse left me for an extended holiday - battered by Christmas and all that entails, and a less than optimum working environment.

After a rather peculiar end to this latest contract I felt the urge to make something.  I wasn't sure what.  I started knitting my beautiful lambswool hand spun into a jumper, but it's not quite right (so is consigned to the naughty corner for a time out).  I looked at my warp dressed loom (yes, I got one - he derseves a post of his own though) but didn't feel inspired.

The only thing that tickled my interest was having a play on my blending board.  I grabbed the first bag of scraps I came to and remembered how much fun these are


I tried taking a picture at night - how dull these look.  However, in the daylight...

 Kaboom!


I didn't know how I wanted to spin these and ended up playing around with coreless corespinning.  I've yet to find anyone else referencing doing this with rolags - please point me to anyone who does.

The resulting single seemed to my inexperienced eyes, rather rope-like and overspun.   Being coreless, it was still very soft and squishy.  I wanted a bit more give in the yarn and thought that I would like to ply it with something to help counteract the extra twist..  I grabbed a reel of thread and some machine embroidery lurex type stuff

And just quickly thread plied the single



I gave the skein a bath and snapped it a few times to encourage the twist to even up a little, then let it dry hung in the gentle heat of the airing cupboard

Finally, here's my finished skein - soft, poofy and squidgy!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Another first

My son finished his A level exams today, so went out to celebrate with his cohort this evening.  It's the first time I've seen him a little worse for drink!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ob-session

As predicted, I finished my weaving within the week, despite working over 42 hours in my day job.  I took it to the woolly day at Twyford (which I highly recommend - the second Saturday of the month - just comment if you are interested and within reach of Leicestershire - I'll get details to you!)

I was bowled over by the lovely comments and support of my fellow fibre fans.  I was encouraged to cut the work off the loom and knot a fringe - do you want to see how it looked?  If not - too late!




Sally wanted us to play with colour and texture - I think I gave it a good go.  I discovered I'm not keen on eyelash yarn or yarns with ends sticking out, but I love the effect of slubby yarns in the weave.  Plies of different colours tend to give a diagonal stripe effect as do random dyes.


Here's the weaving before it came off the loom


and here I am wearing it.  I'm going to wait until I've showed this to Sally before weaving in the ends so she can see the variety of yarns that went into it.  I've steamed it and will trim the fringe to even it up.  Is there anything else I should do?

I'm still pondering what loom.  Do I get something simple to start and then aim for something more for my big birthday next year?  Hubby asked me what I intended to do with whatever I wove, as he knows I like the things I produce to have a purpose.  I think that's a great question.  What do you use your own woven cloth for?

Maybe I need a course or a play day - suggestions for those would be great too and I'd be willing to travel for a weekend away