Prairie Girls Knit & Spin Podcast

Prairie Girls Knit & Spin, I will confess I have not managed to get caught up with this series at the time I wrote this review.  Even saying that CHECK THIS PODCAST OUT!  It is amazing.  The ladies that are responsible for this podcast are very funny, knowledgeable, and willing to let their knitting geek flags fly proudly.  They are always working on new projects or finishing up new projects.  If I was at all willing to spend more than 15 minutes knitting at a time I would be very jealous at how much they can achieve from week to week.  Since knitting is just a minor hobby of mine I’m not too worried about it and I really enjoy hearing about their progress.  They are always hosting new contests and other events, they have KALs or Knitalongs (but they don’t have very firm deadlines, which I can get behind).  While Prairie Girl Susie seems to be a strict knitter Prairie Girl Danie knits, dyes, sews bags for her website, and spins, so there is a variety of topics to keep a listener interested (and that is how they refer to themselves, as Prairie Girls).

If you are looking for a podcast featuring two very enthusiastic knitters that love to share their wisdom, enthusiasm, and donated goodies then this is the podcast for you.  They can go on for 40-60 minutes so this is not a quick listen podcast.

Happy Listening!

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

Kool-Aid Results

I still don’t have any sugar free kool aid, so the sprinkling has not been tested.  Darn life getting in the way!  Unfortunately the blue wool wound up getting some rust since the pan completely dried out and began to rust a bit. That’s what I get for buying cheap pans, but it is a good lesson for the classes I’m teaching.  Take your wool out to let it drip dry.  So I had to throw out the blue wool (I might have been able to scour it but didn’t really want to mess with it).  Before I did that though, I did try and rinse out the Kool-Aid, and it did not move an inch.   The dye seems to have stuck to the wool despite the lack of heat.  This makes sense since there are individuals that Ice Dye with Kool-Aid and then do not seem to add heat.  I’m very pleased, and I will have to try this again when I have a free weekend and can do all of the steps in a day or two instead of a few days later.

Result: You can dye with kool-aid and no heat.  It does remain in the wool, however you want to take it out of your pan to dry, and rinse within a day or two.

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!

Working on Techniques

First, I am very excited that I was selected to be one of the testers for the Akerworks Schacht & Wooleewinder Bulky Bobbin’s .  I love my Ladybug, and I really love my Woolee Winder, but the Akerworks 3-d printed bobbins are so darn cute too! I am very excited to test this bobbin out and see how it works, updates pending!

Next, I am working on seeing how well Kool-Aid dyes wool without heat.  I have some liquid that I am going to put on wet wool and set overnight to see if it sets.  I also hope to freeze some and let the cubes thaw on the wool to see how that works.  My final experiment is to use some powdered sugar free Kool-Aid on wet wool and let that set for a few hours to see how well that works.  It really should be interesting and I’ll put up a Kool-Aid results post next week probably.

This mmerino unicorn toporning I created some beautiful rolags from the Unicorn Wool Top, that I forgot to get a picture of, from part of my March Box from Paradise Fibers.  In my spinning I tend toward the short forward draw, but since I had just an ounce of this fiber, and I really wanted to preserve it’s beauty, I decided to practice my long draw.  Now I remember why it’s so much fun!   The picture is from the Paradise Fibers Website, whose link is above.img_1542.jpg

Also, an update on the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival: I have my plane tickets and entry tickets for the festival itself.  I also ordered, and received, the book from the festival that contains details about vendors, what is going on each day, and so much more!  The picture to the right is my copy, the black thing sticking out of the top is my book mark.  The cover is just beautiful!  From the book so far I have discovered Taproot Magazine, I have the first issue on order to see what it is about.  I have joined the Ravelry group dedicated to the festival, from there I have discovered the Buffalo Wool Company and their wonderful promotion to support the Linus foundation.

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!

First Class Down, 13 more to go!

My First Dyeing class was a runaway success.  The techniques and materials were simple enough that the students had no problems following along.  Everyone’s wool turned out bright and beautiful, the results were phenomenal.  I hope that every class is as enthusiastic, cheerful, and helpful.  The questions being asked proved that the patrons were there to learn.  I am so excited for the rest of the Classes.  Dyeing Wool Handout contains the methods that I taught to dye fibers easily using materials found in a kitchen.  There are a million other ways to dye fiber, so do not take this as gospel.