I treated myself to a yarn advent calendar for the first time last year. I loved opening the little parcels each day and ooing and ahhing over the pretties 🙂
I spent a lot of time thinking about what to make. There were 25 x 20 gram minis which is a decent amount of yarn to play with. My mum suggested making something that I could see all of the time rather than a shawl that would only come out for half of the year, and so a pom pom garland was created. And what’s great about that is I still have heaps of each colour left to make a shawl or two as well!
One of my other Christmas presents was an Ashford Blending Board.
I’m sure there is a knack to making rolags, and practice will make them more consistent, but I am having loads of fun playing! I made a whole heap and have just started spinning them, and it’s so cool to see how the colours are coming out and how the yarn looks.
It feels so fab to have such a creative start to the year.
There are so many things I want to make at the moment.
There are gorgeous frocks and skirts that I want to try sewing, weaving ideas I want to do, spinning some alpaca that my sister just bought for me, and then to top it off I received this in the post with even more lovely things:
I am extremely aware of how lucky we are right now. I am so very grateful to still have my job, and even more so to have some spare $$s to spend on making. And of course lucky to be able to roam freely around the country without worrying about the virus.
And whilst the guilty thought of a few months off sounds tempting, it is just as rewarding to pop the lovely things to one side until the weekend when there is an opportunity for them to get added to the rest of the pile of WIPs.
I got a gorgeous fiber batt at FiberTron the other weekend from Twisted Zisters. It was a mix of merino and silk in soft white, yellow, and burgundy reds.
I’ve had a couple of Annettes batts before which I’ve played with and made some passably okay yarn from, and this time I wanted to really try hard to do it justice.
I did a lot of googling and decided my best plan of attack would be to break it up in to rolags. This was something new for me, so they’re probably not the best looking ones you might have seen…
I kind of decided to go a bit thick and thin with the spinning, which was lucky because it seemed like that’s what the fiber wanted as well!!
Then came the decision of what to do next. I didn’t feel like it would make a good single, but I also didn’t want to ply it on itself and loose any of the texture. So I dug out some left over burgundy/red HolstGarn Super Soft and decided to use that to ply with.
The result is 2 skeins of barber pole, almost art yarn like, DK (ish) weight wool.
After a weekend of full on geeking I reflected on how lucky we are in New Zealand to be able to go to events in person. We can hug old friends and new, and not have to worry about whether we are putting ourselves at risk of getting sick.
Saturday was a full fiber immersion at FibreTron2020. It was the first in person yarn event since lockdown and it was crazy busy in a good way.
I helped out Julie from Wool on Wheels for the day. I feel like this meant that I got to see so many more people than if I’d been there as a customer. And of course I managed to squeeze a bit of time in to have a nice little shop, and a chat to some of my favourite New Zealand indie dyers and designers.
Talk about exhausted! As well as being on my feet helping all day it was a constant sensory overload and I loved it 🙂
Sunday’s in person geekfest was all about sci-fi, fantasy, pop-culture and cosplay at the Armageddon expo. A two day event that goes around all of the main centers in New Zealand. This year it was missing its overseas guests, though it made up for it by having them attend virtually on a really big screen. Luckily Sunday was quite a bit quieter than Saturday so it was easy to get around and have a really good look at what was there. And of course admire all of the people in their amazing costumes!
It’d be lovely to have a few days of rest now to recharge the batteries, however work awaits, (something else I’m incredibly grateful to still have), so resting will have to wait until next weekend :-).
It’s been a pretty wet long weekend. I also took a couple of days off to make it extra long. So it’s been great to have loads of crafty time, to play and to go for nice bracing walks inbetween showers.
I finished my first proper weaving project and I’m totally stoked at how it’s turned out.
The edges were way more consistent and the start and the end are even the same width! I ended up using about 20grams of the purple merino sock yarn and 2 of the batts that I’d spun from Twisted Zisters. It probably took about 16 hours of weaving time all together, not including the hour or so to thread it up.
I have no idea what I’ll do with it – for now I’m just enjoying looking at it 🙂
I also spent a day spinning some fiber that I’d got from Anna Gratton Ltd, it’s a mix of Corridale, Mohair, Silk and Nylon Glitter.
The glitter was a bit hard on my fingers which were a bit tender by the end of the day, and the mohair got up my nose just a bit, it looks really pretty though, so I’m glad I persevered. I think it’s about a sport weight, I haven’t given it it’s bath yet, so it may or may not fluff up a bit more.
Then lastly the embroidery… this was supposed to be my main project for the weekend, and I’d organised in my head that I’d go and get my supplies on Friday and then get started on Saturday. But, best laid plans and all that… Seems that 20cm embroidery hoops have been in big demand because after lots of hunting around shops I didn’t find the right sized hoop until Tuesday, and by then I’d kind of lost motivation. So I started it, but only because I felt like I had to, rather than wanted to.
The carbon paper tracing was kind of fun and I thought I’d made a pretty good start – then I went wrong and had to unpick a bit, which meant un-threading my needle – and do you think I could re-thread it? I lost patience after the 5th attempt and put the whole thing away for another day!
I decided to try and make a ‘thing’ maybe a wrap or maybe material for a bag or something, anyway I started it.
One thing I wasn’t sure of (and have no idea how to find out yet – though I’m sure there are websites) is to work out how much yarn I need to do the weaving bit (the weft) to get what I want, so it will be a bit of trial and error.
I have three of these fabulous batts from Twisted Zisters, I’d spun two of them so I spun the last one and ended up with about 550 meters of a sport/DK weight yarn with some thick and thin bits (not quite art yarn, more like some lumpy spinning) I also had some nice purply merino 4ply from one of our wonderful NZ Indy Dyers (I can’t credit the right one though since I’ve annoyingly lost the tag!)
I ordered some 50 % merino / 50% rayon from Anna Gratton Ltd to use as my warp and got started.
And here it is so far….
In hindsight I think the warp might be a little thin for my inexperience and it took a long time and heaps of patience for me to thread the loom up without having loads of twisted threads, though now it’s on it’s way I’m really loving how it’s looking and that my handspun is looking pretty good.
I think the fabric might end up being a bit gappy (I think that’s called open-weave) and I’m so excited to see how it all looks at the end that I’m powering through and making great progress.
After this project I’m going to have to invest in some online learning, or try getting up to Auckland to a Handweavers Guild class so I can make the most of my wee loom and learn how to do patterns and stuff. Exciting!!
Since we moved to Tauranga just over a week ago and are still unpacking I can’t really justify the 6 hour round trip this weekend to Kumeu to Fibre Fiesta to get a top up of fibre fabulousness, so I did a little bit of online shopping instead 🙂
Up until this purchase I have been pretty exclusive with my choice of New Zealand of indie dyers and fibres for spinning, so I don’t feel too guilty about buying merino from an international dyer, especially since I am supporting Cindy who is also a fab NZ indie dyer 🙂 I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Dye Candy spins (or more like – how well I can spin it!)
I also got 100 grams of different coloured Ashford corriedale from the Agridome in Rotorua a couple of weekends ago, watched some youtube videos, and on Sunday I made what might almost be artyarn.
I started with trying to wrap the fibre around a commercial yarn a technique called core spinning. I gave up pretty quickly though – it was so fiddly! I suppose my not being very practiced at drafting corriedale (I much prefer merino and alpaca) wouldn’t have helped!
I then went onto fat and thin spinning and trying to get some kind of a regular rhythm and pattern. This was a bit easier so I went with this for a while and then tried spiral plying it on to some silver glittery nylon that I got from spotlight. And the result is what you can see.
I think it’s okay for a first go, and It’s something I want to try more of, but I don’t like ‘wasting’ fibre (or yarn for that matter!) so I’m going to do it properly and I’ll be looking out for classes at the guild and at Creative Fibre so I can learn from a pro. And I really want to be able to do beehives, I spend way to long drooling over them pinterest 🙂