Trials and Tribulations

My first dyeing class of the year went off without a hitch, well the actual class did not have any hitches.  Unfortunately the individual that is supposed to be in charge of the classes has chosen to set new parameters that she let me know about by sending me a very rude e-mail.  The situation is a little too complicated for me to write a lot about, but it boils down to:

I have been doing these programs for 11 months alone and with no real supervision so I Have done the best I am able, and they have flourished.

Four months ago, in the beginning of December, I gave this supervisor a plan covering a years worth of crafting classes that specified what the materials fees would be going toward and that these two classes would be 3.5 hours long.

Two weeks before the class was going to happen this supervisor e-mailed me all sorts of accusations, what was I going to do while the speaker was there (“We’re paying you to be there…”), they need to approve speakers before they come in (never mind I let them know that I was approaching a speaker and they gave no indication further action was required on my part), etc.  I managed to take this to our respective supervisors and we temporarily have things hammered out.  Unfortunately my attempts to open up channels of communication, sending out a confirming e-mail that I had the details of the meeting correct, was met with radio silence for a week.  Then upon prompting I received “it looks fine” as a response.  Just like that, no capitalization and no punctuation.     These details might seem petty, but we are supposed to be grown-up professionals.

Due to these troubles, I know that I will see my commitment through the end of June when my spinning classes come to a close.  However, I am not certain if I will pursue this through the summer and rest of the year.  I love doing the classes, but if there is no communication I will not wait around for the next bullying e-mail from this individual.  By discontinuing the craft classes I will be taking myself out of their sphere of influence.  I also have plenty of work that I can be doing, computer tutoring, computer classes, developing my collections, etc.

Right now I am going to wait and see if this supervisor sets up a meeting to go over the programming planned for May and the summer.  If this meeting does not occur and no further efforts toward communication are made, then I will see my current commitment through and ask for written guidelines so that I can consider picking these classes back up in December.

*I seriously considered deleting this post, it can sound like whining.  However, I firmly believe that it needs to be put into a public forum that just because you love doing something you do not have to put up with bullies to be able to do what you love.  If I do decide to discontinue teaching these classes at the public library I intend to find another forum to express my love of these crafts.  Whether it is lessons on this website, setting up private lessons, creating a studio, requesting opportunities through the local arts council, seeing if my guild will sponsor events, etc.  I want to pursue this, I need to pursue this, and I will find a way.  Just because someone tries to beat me down only means that I will arise stronger and more determined than ever.  I will not be bullied, and I will not be stopped.*

Happy Crafting

Prepping For Class & Akerworks

This has been a very exciting week.  Let me start with the parts not mentioned in the title of this post:

  • My copy of “51 Yarns to Spin Before you Cast Off” By Jacey Boggs Faulkner has arrived, and I have submitted my ‘Default Yarn’ for her competition.  So far I adore this book, although I’m only about 20 pages in.  I plan on reading more today, and writing a review as soon as I can.  For my submission on Ravelry I used my current favorite skein from the Paradise Fibers Olympic Spin, and mentioned that I am more likely to crochet than spin.  Jacey Boggs Faulkner asked if I’d share what I crochet, *squee* so now I’m working like mad to crochet up a shawl using that yarn.  I’m loving how the shawl is turning out and really hope it will be done for Maryland.
  • I added a listing of my spindles owned/desired to my leather notebook I’m taking with me for MS&WF, trying to think of what else to put in there.
  • Ordered & received little presents for my Aunts who are hosting and hauling me for MS&WF.
  • Will finish ordering tickets for all three of us to get into the festival Friday.
  • My first guild meeting of the year we are going to start a lace project, it should be a ton of fun.

Okay, on to the titular subjects.

For my first dyeing class of the year I created samples.  Part of what I hope to get across to the students is that the dyeing is only the beginning of their fiber journey, it changes so very drastically from step to step that you cannot even begin to predict where your fiber will end up.  Not to mention that since it really is just wool, spinning is not the only place that your fiber can end up. wet felting, needle felting, or just using it as an applique.  They are all viable choices, but if you want to spin it, the results can be very different that your starting dyed fiber.  I know, that was almost like a mini class, lol.  I dyed up some samples and carded half of each color into rolags.  This shows how very different the carded rolag is from the original dyed fiber.  Then for one of the colorways, the pink at the top of the post, I spun one of the rolags into a mini skein of yarn.  I don’t have a photo of the mini skein yet, but it again shows how different the fiber is.  I am really looking forward to this first class!

Now the other half of my title, Akerworks Bobbin.  I received my collapsible Akerworks Woolee Winder compatible bulky bobbin for my Schacht Ladybug.  I absolutely adore it.   My minor, well for most people it would be minor but it was driving me insane, problem with the WooleeWinder bobbins was the rattle.  To be entirely fair and honest it wasn’t really a bad rattle, it didn’t shake the teeth out of your head or anything, it was just this noise while I was spinning.  Since I love the convenience of not having to stop to change hooks all the time and still wind up with a nice even bobbin, I thought I would just have to deal with the noise.  Not so!  I still use Lithium Grease on my shaft and orifice, but the rattle is just about gone.  I have a squeak that I think is due to either uneven foot height on my wheel or a loose screw at the back that I need to work on, but that tiny sound is not a problem at all.  The bobbin fills up evenly, it spins beautifully, I can see the fiber between the spokes when the bobbin is filled up more which is just pretty, they hold a ton of yarn, and there is no annoying rattling sound.  I honestly think I’m going to pick up at least 2-3 more of these bobbins once they are officially on sale.  (Probably 3 if a 3-ply is going to be my new default spin I’ll need something to ply onto).

That’s it for this past week, so much more to come next week!  Happy Crafting!

Kool-Aid Progress

IMG_0787As you can probably tell, two pouches of the strawberry-kiwi kool-aid did not do much for an 8″ round pan of soaked wool.  It only saturated a few places on the wool, I expected it to go much further.  I plan on seeing if this much color will adhere to the fiber without heat before either using more Kool-Aid or rinsing out the other pan of wool.  It does not show as clearly in this picture as it does in person, but this is actually a very pale green color.  While it shows up as a striking contrast in this picture it barely shows in person.

 

blue-koolaid-wool.jpg

The blue raspberry kool-aid on the other hand shows up as an amazingly vibrant blue, in the few places that the two pouches covered.  This is an example of trying to keep what color I did manage.  I am more willing to lose the little bit of green than I am this pretty blue shade.

It has been a couple of days and I am still chickening out on rinsing these out, tomorrow I will have to bite the bullet and see if the green has remained.  Wish me luck, I’ll post an update then.

Happy Crafting!

Spindles, Storage, Thread Bowls, and Bullet Journals

This is actually going to be a busy entry I think.  Let’s start from the top!

I believe I told you that my ladies from my Wooly Wednesday classes were lovely and gave me a $100 gift certificate to Woolery.com.  If not, well they did in August of 2017.  I decided to use that certificate to buy up a bunch of different kinds of spindles, supported and drop.  I know, if you don’t spin you’re probably wondering: “How many different kind of spindles are there?”  Suffice it to say, there are a lot.  Right now I have a Navajo Spindle, got on sale from Dharma Trading, Portuguese from Mielke Fiber Arts, Russian, Mayan, and Medieval from Woolery, and a Tibetan Pu Yok from Hipstrings.  I already owned a Tahkli (Made popular by Ghandi for cotton spinning) as well as top and bottom whorl spindles from when I was beginning to spin.  Shockingly this 9 spindle collection is barely scratching the surface, especially since I forgot my Mayan Spinner!  Okay so right now I have 10 spindles that I own personally and haven’t even really started collecting, lol.  Since I Hope to travel with my spindles, I need to find a way to safely transport them.  They are, unfortunately, not cheap.  Fortunately there is something called “Pick Pluck Foam” that can be used to customize a storage solution.

Given this I purchased a Pick Pluck Foam sheet and managed to store all of my expensive, new spindles, except for the Navajo Spindle.  Since that is over 3 feet tall, I think I will just have to carry it.  This did bring up another concern.  If I just transport the Pick Pluck Foam (with bottom) in my bag there is every chance that it will bend and distort thereby putting my spindles in peril.  This will not stand!  So I wound up purchasing a case, that comes with its own pick pluck foam (can you tell I really like that name?).  The case is hard sided, much like a toolbox, and will be a perfect solution in addition to possibly being a good way to transport my other three spindles.  If you are wondering what the foam and cases are usually used for, then the answer is those table top figurines that people use for gaming, guns, cameras, and essentially anything you want to transport without getting it broken.  There is one other item I hope to put into my new case, and that is a bowl for spinning.

Now hipstrings sells some really pretty bowls, and $12 is not a bad price for them.  (Don’t worry, since hipstrings has a new blend called Space Unicorn, they’re getting more of my money anyway). However I believe I mentioned in another post that I am very cheap.  Well really I’m a bargain hound.  I hoped to find a bowl for a dollar or two (at least under $5) at my local craft store (it’s a chain not a Local Yarn Store or I would mention a name).  However instead of finding a bowl I found a “Make your own Thread Bowl” kit.  Well, who am I to pass up on that?  No one, that’s who! I love it.  I am not fond of the fact that the glue was dried out and separated, but that is okay.  They advised that you take cotton fabric to reduce some of the sticky-ness of their double stick tape form that you lay on the bowl first.  That didn’t work for me, so the small bowl form is still really sticky on the form (I peeled a bowl off which is how I know that).  For the second attempt I wound up putting down a fine layer of Trilobal Nylon cut apart, it’s really fine and sparkly so I hope it looks good when I peel the bowl off.  Fortunately my mother is a crafter and has always encouraged creativity so we have glue all over the house.  I found some Sparkly Glue and my first bowl is looking really neat.  A thin layer of the watery stuff out of the kit, then a layer of sparkly glue, then a layer of clear gel glue, then a layer of Aileen’s Tacky Glue, over the course of two days.  I didn’t really let the last layer dry enough before I peeled the bowl off.  Some of the threads stuck to the tape and had to be tapped back in place.  The entire construction is a bit flimsy feeling to me, so I am in the process of reinforcing the inside with more glue.  Starting with, surprise, a sparkly glue layer.  My second attempt, the largest bowl mould, has a thick layer of Aileen’s Tacky Glue as its first layer and I hope that this will add a lot more structure to the overall result.  If I can manage these, not only will I put up a picture, but I hope to teach it along with Spindle Construction at the end of my spinning series.

Speaking of teaching, I warned you this would be a long one, I am currently working on learning how to Bullet Journal.  I hope that I can learn enough to teach it as a class for my local library.  My journal really started with this article from Interweave,  as well as a colleague at the Community College I work at.  She has a really neat notebook that is bound with discs.  There are a few different versions from Levenger, a little out of my pocketbook, to Martha Stewart, to Arc from Staples.  I wound up with Arc from staples and I bought the punch that goes with the set.  It seems a little expensive at first but in reality it will save me a lot of time and trouble in the end.  I have spent these past couple of months working on my organization and trying to keep my every day information close at hand.  This was partially inspired since Apple screwed up their calendar and I cannot see what appointments I have at a glance, and partially out of a desire to keep track of how much I do in a day. I have only started the bullet journal part a week ago but I have already found the value in having pages for thoughts, desires, and wish lists.

Thus ends my really long post. Happy Crafting!

Dyeing to Get Started

I cannot believe that my Spring and Summer Classes are only about a month away!  I am still running a few experiments on how to dye my fiber to the best advantage and teach at the same time.  It occurred to me this morning I can look at St. Vincent De Paul’s to see if they have any cheap crock-pots, I’m hoping for under $5 and 6 crocks.  If not, well I have enough pans for the pan dyeing and can use my stockpots for the pot dyeing.  If I manage to get what I want then I can do the pot dyeing right in the room, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope.

As for what I am doing for my own crafting, I have my loom over half warped so I hope to be threading the heddles sometime in the next week or so.  I have a guild meeting this Friday, so I have to pay my dues and sign up for the lace weaving project.  Then purchase supplies for the lace weaving project, lol.  My spinning is going well, right now I have spun a sample of the Perendale that I bought from Camaj Fiber Arts.  It was a bit rough spinning, the unfinished sample was a very sturdy and shiny yarn.  I have a 45 yard skein washed and drying.  It will be very interesting to see how it looks when knitted and crocheted.  I almost plied it as a 3 ply, but decided to be more consistent with my sampling.  I have also spun up my sample of “The Oncoming Storm” given to me by Hipstrings when I bought my spindle and their Dr. Who Merino Pack.  I really like how the yarn turned out it is about 15 yards of a 3 ply yarn that is currently washed and drying.  I cannot wait to see how that will turn out!  On a slightly different note, while most of my samples are spun up on my Schacht Ladybug with my Bulky Woolee Winder I have decided to give spinning some of the ‘Vegan’ Fibers, bought from Camaj Fiber Arts a year ago, a try on the drop spindles I have for my students.  Right now I have some TriLobal Nylon on my spindle and I cannot wait to finish this sample and ply it, it is so thin and sparkly.

On a related, but slightly different note, the Akerworks Company has decided to create a bobbin for the Bulky Flyer WooleeWinder for the Schacht Brand wheels and they are looking for test spinners.  I have put my hat in the ring, and I have my fingers crossed.  At heart I am a bargain hound, so I have been coveting some of the items from Akerworks, in addition to a couple more bobbins for my WooleeWinder.  Whichever one has a good deal first is where I am probably going to put my money.  Admittedly, if I get a couple grand and already have my 16 shaft loom, then I will probably get the electric wheel from WooleeWinder.  Oh well, so many more crafts to play with before I worry about that.  Besides, I have an electric eel wheel on the way from the kickstarter!  Admittedly, I think I was 500 or 700 in line so it will be a little while but he did send out an update that the first 100 were being assembled and ready to go out in a week or so! Very exciting!

Happy Crafting!

Having a Blast with the Breed Study

I am having a blast with my breed study.  Right now I’ve got one sample blocked, one soaking, and I’m knitting up the last of the breed studies.  I’ve got 14 different breeds that I have managed to spin and knit.  Some I have managed to crochet, single, double, half double, into samples that are also on the breed study cards.  There was an amazing suggestion that I create weaving samples as well.  I managed to do so for one of the breeds, at 8epi.  I have as much information about how each of the spins were accomplished as I could manage, and I know what I can do differently next time.

The next time I do a breed study, which since my guild is planning on doing some fun spinning event this year might be pretty soon, I know what I can do to improve my spinning.  The first change I need to make is the time I spend on the spin.  I need to begin to enjoy the spin, working on obtaining a consistent spin and ensuring that I get as much yardage as I can to create samples and discover what I want my yarn to be.  I am thinking about utilizing some of the amazing information compiled on each breed then copying that information, with appropriate citations, onto a page placed in the back of each of the breeds I already have present in my study.  This would give me an idea about what each breed is good for.  I’m enjoying the spinning, enjoying sampling and seeing where things go.  I do know that I over-spun the Corriedale at least, but I really enjoy playing with what I’ve spun.  It certainly has inspired me to work with some of what I have created.

On a different note, Paradise Fibers has decided to create a Spin Along for the Olympics.  They are calling it the Spinlympics, and I plan on joining in.  I ordered the Brights pack, since I had a $20 coupon and they were having a 25% off sale I wound up getting the entire thing, shipping included, for $9.  The bag that is coming in with the kit is $8 on its own and the sticker would be a dollar as well, so (in my math) the wool, which is amazing, is free, just how I like it!  I’m getting my wool tonight so I am working on planning how I want to use the wool.  A fun aspect of this is that I am also planning on doing the Ravellenic Winter Games as a fun challenge.

A Good Idea in Progress

I now have two pages completed for my new fiber artist journal.  Grey Norwegian Wool Top and White Charollas Wool Top.  They are both spun, knit in lace & cable, then crocheted.  Mom suggested putting them in sleeves, which is where the glare came from, so that they will stay cleaner for longer.  It was a fascinating experience working with these two fibers and then yarns.  I can certainly see why a lot of people are hesitant to take the time to sample.  There were seven fibers in the Paradise Fibers Sample Box from January, I managed to spin five up quite quickly.  The sixth is spun, but the seventh is going to take a bit of time (I don’t feel too well so I don’t want to spin sick, knitting seems fine though).  Since spinning, plying, setting the ply, drying, balling up the yarn, it has taken quite a bit of time for me to knit up a lace and cable sample then crochet the left overs using single, double, half double crochets.  Once the samples are knit and crocheted they get another wash, then they are blocked and left to dry for a couple of days.  That is what is happening with the Black Welsh Fiber, once it is dry I will get started on the Mixed Blue Faced Leicester (I have the lace knit, I’m working on the cable next then crocheting the rest.)

In addition to creating a new, healthy, useful, practice, I am learning a lot about my spinning.  Mostly I am learning that I am not spinning nearly as thin as I thought I was, but that isn’t a bad thing really.  I don’t like working with the very fine yarns, okay I do want to make a very light fine shawl some day, for the most part I like having a sturdy yarn in my hand.  My knitting has gotten a lot better, I am not really afraid of ‘knit two together, yarn over, repeat 3’.  I am starting to understand what the lace looks like, I know I’m not doing it really ‘correctly’ yet, but I enjoy it.  My cables are getting better too, talk about something else I was afraid of, and I am starting to understand how many rows should be between cables to create certain effects.  The entire process is enlightening.  I am beginning to, sort of, see what knitters are talking about when they say that a two ply is better for lace than shawls, but I like how my cables are popping…I think that has more to do with using needles too small for the cables.

This is really a learning experience all around, and I hope to be able to instill some of these practices into my students…LOL.  I still have to figure out how to sample my yarns as weaving also.  Fortunately I have the backs of these samplers to put any weaving samples I can manage.

Happy Crafting!