More Classes

As you can see I am still working on samples for my cup cozy classes as well as working on my latch hook tutorial.  I admit I am having a blast with these crafts.  I think that I might finally have something of a handle on wet felting, and crochet has always been a passion of mine.  I am really looking forward to teaching the Latch Hook class, it is over a couple of class periods so I think that the patrons will have a chance to make some real progress on this.

I am still prepping for Spinzilla, I hope to have a progress picture on that in the near future.  Time just flies when you are having fun.  I also know that some of you might be directed from either pinterest or my instagram account, if so, Welcome! I am currently experimenting with Hootsuite to coordinate my blog and social media accounts, please forgive any glitches along the way.

Happy Crafting!

Current Spinning & Class Prep

I thought about not adding in the ‘service announcement’ portion of this post, but politicizing crafting irritates me to no end.  *I am boycotting Jo-Ann Fabrics.  They sent me an e-mail asking me to oppose the tariff because it would increase the cost of their supplies thereby increasing the cost of my ‘American Made’ crafts.  Shinybees podcast just recently mentioned something about that, how a yarn slaps the label on in Britain and calls itself a British Yarn.  Jo-Ann Fabrics buys most of its supplies inexpensively overseas, marks it up horribly so that they can put out their ‘40% off’ coupons all the time, and then sells it to crafters that then create something from those supplies.  If I oppose the tariff it would be for reasons other than to keep Jo-Anns making a fortune off of marking up foreign goods.  If I were to support the tariff I might say that marking up foreign goods may give some domestic products a chance to flourish, but I do not know enough about economics to make an educated guess.* End Service announcement.

I am currently getting ready for a class that I will be teaching in October on Latch Hooking.  Over the past couple of years of teaching crafting classes my students have mentioned that I am willing to  work on just about any craft.  That is true, I love crafting and I adore that I can figure out just about any craft there is.  I’m not always good at them, and sometimes I get bored, but I can usually figure them out.  Latch Hooking is a very simple craft, take a small length of yarn use a tool to form a larks head knot over a piece of canvas  and repeat ad Infinium until you are done with the yarn, and pattern.  I will create a tutorial with step by step instructions and be done with it until the class in October.

More interesting I just received permission to do a Book Binding series of craft classes for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month in November which is also National Family Stories Month.  The act of binding a book is really three acts that are rolled into one.  First the Cover must be created, then the pages to go inside the cover and finally the entire thing must be assembled.  Since there is considerable amounts of glue involved in the process these three steps need time to dry in between.  A week should do it.  So there will be three separate classes on book binding.

Among all of this I did manage to get some spinning done, Moon Rock Farm of Western NEllen's Flockew York has a sheep named Elvira.  I obtained about 8 ounces of Elvira, the wool spins like a dream, and managed to spin over 148 yards of a 3 ply yarn.  The yarn is 10 wraps per inch, so the yarn is considered a worsted weight yarn.

So I will leave you with a picture of a full bobbin and wishes for Happy Crafting!

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!

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!

Slow Start, Working on It

I want to start by mentioning a really neat article I read about keeping your handspinning resolutions: by Interweave Press.  I can tell you right now, I have already invested in a new spinning too, a Portuguese Spindle I obtained from Mielkes Fiber Arts and I absolutely LOVE IT! However I told myself that since I got the hang of it a bit I would just leave it alone rather than spin all of that lovely merino silk on it so that I had a pre-made piece to show my students….but now that I am thinking about it…that’s downright stupid!

The more I practice with it the better I will get.  The more likely I will remember what I am doing with it.  Frankly I’m not doing much with my yarn right now anyway so if the skein winds up really little, who cares?  I’m going to master the Portuguese Spindle, which is a modified support spindle since you are supposed to have it in your hand the entire time, before I start teaching my classes in April.  I am also going to buy several other types of spindles and do my best with them in the next couple of months, including but not limited to a Russian Spindle, Navajo Spindle, and Tibetan Spindle (all three of these are support spindles).  I hope to get another Turkish Spindle and a Delegan (Scottish Style Drop Spindle) so that I have a very wide variety of spindles to show my students.

My next work project is to start typing out mini-lectures on different aspects of spinning for my classes.  I would like them to go away with not only a basic knowledge of How to spin but a basic appreciation Of Spinning, as a craft, history, way of life, building block that civilization was created from.

The mini-lectures are on the following topics:  History of yarn, types of wool, trusting your twist, exploring fiber preps, prepping your fiber, plying your singles and why, And Finally Creating your own spindle and whorl.

For the History of Yarn I plan on emphasizing how important yarn and spinning really is, every culture around the world does some form of spinning, and many have modified their own version of appropriate tools to do so.  Spinning can require amazing tools or just fiber and your leg.  It really is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  I will give a wide variety of demonstrations as we go through the lecture, at the end all of my students will be using a top whorl drop spindle to learn how to create yarn.

You get the idea, there really is a lot to spinning and I am very excited to begin to share this amazing craft with my students.  My group from last year seemed to be very excited, and I am using the gift certificate they provided me with to buy three of my spindles for this year!  As for creative things I have done, well I used a tissue box and some printed paper to make a donation box at the suggestion of my library board.

Happy Crafting!