Sometimes simplicity is best. After my last batch of dyeing, I’ve been trying to work through various colours to create a ‘palette’ to be able to spin from. The nice thing about dyeing top for spinning rather than dyeing a skein of wool directly is that this still leaves a huge number of possibilities for colour blending and mixing at different stages of the process.
I’ve been without a spinning wheel for quite a while now and have been missing playing with fibre so much that I’ve even tried learning to use a spindle. However, I never got along particularly well with that, until a very fantastic person gave me a 10 g spindle which revolutionised the whole process. If you’re a beginner at spindling, don’t like making aran-weight singles, and don’t enjoy putting dents in your floor, try a lighter spindle. I promise it’s good!
Warning: Post may contain photographs of tortuously twisted singles, badly balanced yarns, sacrificial fibre piles and other scenes that may be distressing to experienced spinners.
Much to the delight of my downstairs neighbours, I have decided to have another attempt at spindle spinning. Although I love wheel spinning, the total yards of handspun yarn I have successfully created using a hand spindle has stood at 0 for a very long time.
At the beginning of Spinzilla, I was busy preparing some fibre for actually getting on with some spinning. By the end of Spinzilla, I had one finished skein to admire!
This is the 50/50 silk/merino that you can see some of the preparation for here. It’s a little uneven and bulkier than I had originally intended but I absolutely love the colour. It’s a really lofty, shiny yarn with some good snuggle factor as well.
It’s Spinzilla week! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spinzilla, it’s a week for burnt thumbs, sore shoulders and empty-looking stashes as you spin as much fibre as you can in a week.
While spinners across the globe eagerly awaited the clock to strike midnight for spinning time to commence, with their piles of combed top and carded batts prepped for the wheel, I was struggling to sleep with what was going to turn out to be a really miserable cold. My fibre stash also better resembled an aimless fluff pile than anything with a plan in mind.
That’s why Day 1 of spinning time turned into Day 1 of fibre prep time…
What do criminals and crafters have in common? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, quite a lot! Their definition of the noun ‘stash’ is as follows:
stash, n.1 slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).
1 a. Something, or a collection of things, stashed away; a hoard, stock; a cache.
A cache of an (illegal) drug; a quantity (of a drug); the drug itself.
slang (orig. Criminals’). A hiding-place, a hide-out; a rendezvous; a dwelling, ‘pad’.
The meaning of the verb ‘to stash’ isn’t much better either:
To bring to an end, stop, desist from (a matter, a practice); to quit (a place). Often imp. stash it!, stash that!, †to stash the glim: to cease using the light. to stash up: to bring to an abrupt end.
To conceal, to hide; to put aside for safe keeping; to stow or store. Freq. with away. Formerly Criminals’ slang; orig. U.S. in revived mod. use.
I’m going to be participating in Spinzilla this year, which is a global event where the sole goal is to spin as much yarn as possible. Of course there’s plenty of silly events to be enjoyed too, like photo challenges, and the general, good social atmosphere to be enjoyed with these big events. Spinzilla will be running 3 – 9th October this year and registration is still open until the end of September if you want to join in!
I very much doubt I’ll be winning any competitions for most spun but I thought it’d be good to get a bit of practice in before the start of Spinzilla. Plus, this poor silk top has been sat, half-spun, for far too long. I’ve even got a pattern picked and needles prepped for the final yarn…
The stereotypical, historical image of the embroiderer is a refined young lady, sat at her frame, serenely rearranging threads to make beautiful artwork. The work is delicate, yet meticulously done, with no lapses in patience or temperament, all whilst wearing her Sunday best.
The reality of the crafter is distinctly less dignified. Dye up the kitchen walls, fridge and floor, needles in fingers and blood pooling on your whitework. Swearing. Frayed threads, wonky cutting and holes in places they were supposed to go. More swearing. Half-done projects abandoned to the back of cupboard, claims of never making a stitch again and of course, lots more swearing.
I think the myth of making things always being fun and relaxing is actually one of the things beginners can find off-putting. Unless you know how many hours of practice and learning it really takes to produce a fantastic piece, it can be really disheartening to have spent hours struggling with seams only to find you haven’t caught the raw edges properly or inconsistencies in your tension when knitting have resulted in a scarf that best resembles jelly.
For the most part, I really do love creating new projects. Daydreaming about colours, calculating up seam allowances, finally getting stuck in with the stitching. However, there are some projects that just seem to go wrong at every corner and the only joys in finishing the thing so you don’t have to look at it again.