Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's been a few weeks since I blogged, first there was Easter, holidays, children, entertaining children, tidying up after children.  Then I got the dreaded lurgy that every other person I've come across has had.  It's like the gift that keeps on giving, then a week in hospital that interfered with just EVERYTHING..... but we seem to all be getting back on our feet now.

So, it's time to get motivated again, I surely can't be the only one who has peaks and troughs of production and it's time to get producing again!

The first new thing that I've got to show is this wonderful Lazykate.  Remember Super Jim who makes my Niddy Noddies?  Well he has turned his attention away from getting the economy back on track (and did you notice we've headed into a double dip recession since he did) to think about all the things that drive spinners mad.

This lazykate works on a table or on the floor, it's perfectly balanced.  It has a brake system so that the singles will not twist back on themselves, which has driven me mad in the past.  It holds four bobbins so you can experiment with all kinds of art yarn.

Jim, being a retired engineer put an AWFUL lot of thought into everything he produces and takes a great pride in his work, so I'm really happy to put his creations on my etsy page.

I had a big sort out of all my fibres and got myself organised today which is a weight off my mind.   I tend to keep fibres and yarn separate, some on etsy and some for sale at shops or craft fairs.  I don't want to not have the thing I've offered for sale.  But the worst case scenario happened this week when fibres on etsy sold at the same time as someone bought them in a shop.  It's a hazard of selling this way but, Carol who bought the etsy fibres was very understanding of the wait that she had while I sorted this out.  Thanks Carol.

So after my big reorganisation today I've decided to get the stuff out there.  Don't keep it back.  So I'll be uploading new fibres and yarn to etsy over the next few days .  And when it's on there I'll still be offering it at craft fairs and lys.  (I know, Alan Sugar hasn't got much to worry about)

I was inspired this week by Woolly Wormhead's blog entitled It's All Part of the Process, where she discusses her own personal design journey.  She doesn't follow the conventional route but still achieves the most original and professional designs.  If you have not been able to attend a college or university, if you are mainly self taught and follow your heart, you can still be proud, what's good is good.  Sometimes we all need to remember that.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Dynamics of a Spinning Day

Last Saturday was spent in Prescot, which is a little town 8 miles east of Liverpool, it has a rich history of spinning and weaving and an enthusiastic group of Prescotian who are keeping that history alive.

We were in the Space to Create shop which is the hub of all things Prescot, in the window of all places so hats off to the ladies who learnt to spin, which lets face it is hard enough, with an audience, some staring through the shop window, some popping in and asking what was going on. 

Spinning, as we know is a lot like rubbing your tummy, patting your head, hopping and doing the funky chicken at the same time.  Would you really like an audience?  So well done Jane, Rita and Ann who all ended up with skeins of beautiful yarn

Well done ladies, you were real troopers!  And, this is just the start of things,  some of the ladies will be spinning at Prescot Elizabethan Fair so if you live in the area, it might be worth a visit.

One of the things I come across regularly when teaching is the surprise that many students have that learning to spin is so difficult, especially when they've mastered lots of other textile skills.  It does take a little while for the penny to drop, I've only known one person to sit down and spin straight off with no trouble (and she was a 19 year old student with no interest in anything textiley, sickening eh).  I think she got up and then carried on with her law degree never to give spinning another thought.

Most people take at least a couple of hours to get to be able to treadle (use the pedal)  and draft (allow the fibres to spin).  Some people need someone else to treadle for them for a while.  I've found that age isn't a determiner either to whether you pick it up quickly so don't let that be a factor.

We try and make things as easy as we possibly can, using a fibre that is a medium staple, like  Bluefaced Leicester.  It's well known as a good fibre for beginners to learn with.

Now that's a Roman nose!

Having lots of breaks can help too, when you are learning to spin, there are many new things that your brain is going to have to learn together, remember how long it took to drive a car and not have to think of clutch accelerator, mirror, gear change before you did them?  So your mind will be tired and need a bit of a break.  Be kind to yourself and don't expect too much.

Another thing that I've noticed is that after lunch, you might forget EVERYTHING.  This isn't unusual so don't become frustrated, it's all par for the course.  Stick with it! At around 2pm, you may experience  a little bit of a slump and think the day will never end!  Then just when you think you're not going to get it, you have two bobbins and you'll be ready to ply.

Believe me, you will love your finished skein of art yarn - take it home and frame it!  You will see a marked improvement with your second skein, your mind having had time to take in all the new skills it's learned, but that first skein, you should love that forever!

If you fancy having a go at spinning, I'll be at Knit-Wise in Ormskirk on the 14th April, 12th May and 16th June, come along and join in the fun.  Here's my facebook page or call the shop on
01695 580 590