Thursday, December 15, 2011

Learning Something New

I've been thinking about it for awhile... learning to spin.

Yesterday I finally took the plunge. I had a gift certificate for my LYS (local yarn store) to use for classes so I signed up for Spinning 101 in January. Then... since I was going to need it anyways... I bought a drop spindle (gorgeous handcrafted spindle made from bloodwood and maple) and some top/roving to play with.

Not being a patient person (class doesn't start for another three weeks), I watched some YouTube videos, pre-drafted some wool and just started to try it out. This is my first result so far (I still have some of this colourway left to spin):

It is amazing to me how much the fibre changes when you spin it. As pre-drafted roving there looks like there is very little colour in it and I actually thought it was not very nice looking. Therefore, I thought it would be a good first practice one because if I screwed it up I wouldn't care! Unfortunately (or fortunately) I love it and wish I had a whole lot more!

It is a BFL/merino blend. Apparently, BFL (blue-faced Leicester) is a good fibre to learn on because it has a long staple. Merino is supposed to be more difficult because it is slippery with a shorter staple. I think the combination makes it a very nice first spin.

Because I won't get much yardage out of this (quite a small sample) I will most likely leave it as a single and not attempt to ply it just yet, so that I will hopefully have enough to knit something with in the end!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fibre Dyeing

Last weekend I took a fibre dying class with Sam from Yummy Yarn Studio here in Calgary. We had a great day, learning how to use acid dyes (Jacquard brand) and got to play with dyeing some of our own skeins of wool. The wool we dyed was 80/20 BFL/nylon in a fingering weight (yay socks!) and started in a natural, undyed colour.

I decided to challenge myself a little and use colours I wouldn't normally use and try not to be so "precise" in my application or stress about the results. I tend to overthink the design process of any project, but am starting to realize that half the fun is just jumping in and going for it!

Here are my results:

This one was dyed with Chestnut, Spruce Green and Golden Ochre. It is quite beautiful and bright, but I didn't get quite as much of the chestnut colour in it as I had hoped for.

This one was dyed with Periwinkle, Golden Yellow and Chartreuse and lost most of it's colour... but I ended up loving the results anyways! I'm sure that I remembered to put on the vinegar before steaming it... who knows what happened. It is truly a "gift from the dye pot" as Sam would say.

This one was dyed with Black, Silver and Scarlet. I wanted it to be very saturated, but obviously didn't work the dye through all the wool and ended up with some untouched spots. I am quite fond of the results however.

I haven't named any of my colourways yet, that's the other part that I struggle with... the perfect name. I'm also not sure what these beauties are going to be knitted in to yet. Will they be socks? Scarves? Not sure... but I am sure that they will be even better once they get to BE something!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here we are... another New Year. Hope it's less stressful than the last one.

I started my new 2011 journal last night, created the title page and, as I chose to ring in the New Year alone at home, I spent the rest of my evening slaying creatures in World of Warcraft (yes... I'm one of THOSE people).

Here is the title page I created:
This journal is going to be a mixture of a few different things: art journal, plain old writing journal, bits of ephemera and collected items journal. In the past I've put too many limitations on my journaling... this is my writing journal, this is my art journal, this is my weight loss journal... blah, blah, blah. And a month down the road I'm not using any of them because I've complicated the system and journaling shouldn't BE complicated!! But that is what I do... that's why my word this year is 'Simplicity'.

I have a few crafty goals for this year that I will share with you:

1. Take more pictures!! I'm going to attempt my own version of a 365 Project and take a picture a day for the next year to reflect my life. I plan on scrapbooking these pictures in to an album (yes, I know you can buy the nicely packaged Project Life kit and I've looked at it... it's gorgeous... I just can't afford it so I'm doing my own), which will help with my second goal...

2. Scrapbook 100 pages this year. I will never get my books 'caught up' if I don't actually start working on them, so I plan on accomplishing this goal with the following albums:
  • my 365 Project album
  • my Book of Me album
  • my daughter's album (19 years of pictures to scrap there - almost 20)
  • my son's album (13 years of pictures there - yikes)
3. Take a drawing and/or painting class this year. I've been wanting to do this for a long time.

4. Finish my quilted wall hanging... it's going to be gorgeous and I'm procrastinating because I'm scared I'll screw it up, but I need to finish it.

That's all I'm going to commit to for now... I think it's plenty. So, hopefully I will have some interesting things to share with everyone this year as I continue on my art journey. I hope you all have a fantastic 2011 and are wonderfully blessed with many beautiful things in the coming year.