Friday, 31 July 2009

Preparing ahead!

Tomorrow is Experimental Spinning at the guild and we're looking at spinning fat singles, dyeing them and slightly felting them. There are quite a few of these yarns for sale in the gallery and they are bright and interesting, so I had been requested for a session.

Spinning the singles is pretty fast and easy spinning. Take wool top, decide how much you need to split to get the thickness you want, split it and spin it. There's no drafting and very little twist. You want them to hold together but not overtwist. Too much and the yarn will be too harsh, dyed or not.

The dyeing is a different matter. We spend our time trying not to felt our yarn, now I want to felt it a bit, just enough to have the yarn hold together and look a little felted but you definitely don't want it to felt to each other.

My usual random dyeing methods are a good start. I use very little water, so this time I brought it to the boil, before putting the yarn in, hoping that the shock would start the felting process without too much agitation at this early stage. (Note to self: next time put a bit more water in then you wouldn't have to top it up at this stage!)

I sprinkle my dye and usually leave it to very,very,very gently simmer. This time I just let it boil, played with it too much and hoped that this would be enough for the effect.

I wound some balls of wool and waited till I was happy and was going to leave it to cool down, but thought that as a last insurance policy effort I would cool it down suddenly, again shocking the yarn.

This done, I now have to wait for the final dried yarn. I am happy with the result though am not sure how felted it was. I'll post another picture when dry.

For Experimental Spinning tomorrow, I'd like to try:
1. the same process with a slubby yarn. I assume the thinner bits won't felt as quickly as the fat bits.
2. using fleece. The problem here is that tops give you a very even yarn. The solution should be in using a drum carder. The final yarn should be different?
3. using a mix of wool top and machine washable wool top. Not sure how I'm going to spin that, and my machine washable top is a mix of grey and cream.
Enough experimenting for one day!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Happy 18th Birthday Michael

My oldest son turned 18 this month, so I now live in a house with three adults! Last night was his party with his friends. He decided to have a BBQ at our home and about 20 of his friends. As we have a big back yard we set up, on a Winters' night, with gas heaters, a wood BBQ and lit our indoor fire. With other decorations we were actually quite pleased with the way it looked.

The party went really well with way too much food and enough to drink. We got to meet more of my sons friends and had the strange experience of hosting a party where we weren't really going to a party.

This was the culmination of several celebrations. An intimate dinner on his birthday with just the four of us. A lovely Sunday lunch at the local hotel with family and close friends was a wonderful way for the family to come together.

All I can say, really, is 'Happy Birthday Michael'.

Friday, 24 July 2009

City Library

I'm so far behind in my posts, so much to tell you, so little time! However, I thought I'd let you know that my sculpture 'Windfall' can be seen at the City Library in Flinders Lane.

Richard, my sculpture teacher has been putting various student works on display and this week He chose mine.
It's always an interesting process seeing your work in a public place. I always want to stay there for the entire time and see what peoples reactions are. It's probably why I like having a market stall, getting direct reactions. I don't like phones for the same reason, you can't see people on a phone.
Anyway, if you're in the area, have a look, tell me what you think!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Back from Bendigo

The journey to the Australian Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo is one full of expectation and curiosity. This year, with the GFC, you have to wonder how our farmers and related industries and towns are faring. If this years show is anything to go by, they are doing as well as can be expected and are certainly putting in a fabulous effort to put on a good show.
There were extra tents and sheds to explore with both new and familiar stall holders. Plenty of people admiring the work, talking to each other, catching up, and, of course, expanding stashes.
With friends, I travelled on the train, 7.10am from Southern Cross, rather early for me! It was lovely, sitting there chatting and of course, knitting. For the trip back we picked up some extra friends, just lovely. Just have to do it again next year.
Here is my stash additions:
1. Banksia nut drop spindle from Ron West
2. 5mm Victorian ash knitting needles from Lewis Harper
My spinning stash was enhanced with
1. Hand dyed corriedale mixture
2. Carded bump alpaca from Fibre naturally (can't wait to try this one!)
3. Two lots of mixed Merino/Corriedale top from Ray's Ranch
The knitting stash included:
1. Natural coloured 8ply corriedale from Jarob Farm
2. Cone of 2 ply pure Finn from Marueen Shepherd at Fairfield Finns
3. Three lots of dyed 8ply from Wendy Dennis at Tarwandcoort
4. Two balls of bright blue 16ply yarn (couldn't resist)
I just can't wait to get into this lot. A fabulous mix of colour and texture.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The fog's lifting

It's an interesting feeling coming out of a head cold, that feeling that you can't think slowly lifts and at some point you realise you still have a functioning brain. This is where I am and hopefully not too much chaos has occurred. I haven't managed to clean the house, with an 18th birthday coming up this is a problem, still a week to go before the first influx of people!
Anyway, I did manage to complete some work, though some is still going having been frogged, oh so many times.
These yarns are a case in point. Yes, the last of the chocolate. The first is the chocolate wrapper, I was running out of wrappers, but managed to find more. Faced with more searching I decided to just finish adding in the last of the fabric. I was very tired at the time....
Then not being content to just ply the rest together I needed to do something, but could I think of something interesting and, just decided to rely on the standby knot yarn. I like how it turned out, but....
More pictures will come as they finish drying and I get my head around recharging the camera battery.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Beautiful Silks and Precious Purl

I've been waiting for a little while to visit Beautiful Silks. (100 Victoria St. Fitzroy) Friends have been regaling me with tales of the treasure trove that can be found there. Yesterday was the day. So on a wet winter's day we found refuge in the silk filled rooms that is Beautiful Silks.

As well as an extremely well stocked shop is a large workroom and a teaching room. We interrupted a double knitting workshop being run by the renowned Jude Skeers.

As you can see from my purchases I managed to pick up some silk yarn, more silk fabric for my silk scarves, some silk waste and fabric remnants, to play with and a couple of large beautiful yellow buttons. I think they're the wrong yellow but will be used another day!

Along with that are some yarns and buttons from Precious Purl. Unseen is more waste silk fabric already used in the chocolate wrap yarn.

After Beautiful Silks, coffee was in order. Then a search for the address and off to Precious Purl (397 Brunswick St. Fitzroy), 'just around the corner'. They are the outlet for Lara Downs and used to be in the same building as Beautiful Silks. A little shop on the mezzanine floor in a shop I didn't know about Calico House(?). Another treasure trove......amongst other things fabric for printing.

They're a little shop but well worth the visit.

On the way back, I called in at Incube8r to say hello to the lovely Isy and found two more sales, hooray.