Sampling

Sorry again for the slightly sporadic posting… It’s not that there haven’t been lots of things to say, I’ve still been finding a bit of time to squeeze into a few projects, but finding enough of a pause to sit down and write something sufficiently composed that it wouldn’t sound like fevered gibberish or a laundry list of swear words has been slightly more difficult.

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The Spinner’s Palette

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.

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The Home of Saori Weaving

Although I was really in Japan for some hardcore temari studies, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a look for some weaving courses. It’s hard not to fall in love with the exquisite and wonderful world of Japanese textiles, in particular the world of 西陣織 (nishijin ori), the intricate weaving behind the most luxurious of fabrics.

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I’d done a weaving experience at the Nishijin Textile Factory where I made a scarf/table-runner hybrid with all the charm and textural properties of a bag of fleas. Past that, I haven’t had much luck finding short, drop-in weaving courses. That was until I had the opportunity to not only meet the creator of saori weaving but to study in her studio.

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Tutorial: Making Paper Quills

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.

  1. A cache of an (illegal) drug; a quantity (of a drug); the drug itself.
  2. slang (orig. Criminals’). A hiding-place, a hide-out; a rendezvous; a dwelling, ‘pad’.

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The meaning of the verb ‘to stash’ isn’t much better either:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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Mixing it up

When you first start dyeing, there’s an overwhelming range of colours to choose from. As well as thinking about what kind of materials you want to be dyeing, whether you are going to need any auxiliary chemicals for the techniques you want to use, you need to think about what set of dyes you’re going to use to get you started.

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Now this is all a lot easier if you have an infinite budget and the cupboard space to match. You can just buy a bit of everything to try. Some suppliers offer ‘starter kits’ as well, with smaller amounts of a range of different dyes to get started. Many dyers will tell you though that all you need is a small select palette and you can mix the rest. So is it really worth investing in a big range of different dyes?

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Knotty Problems

Murdering skeins is a bit of a hobby of mine. I’m not sure where I developed quite such an aptitude for transforming beautiful bundles of fibre into Eldritch horrors of the knitted world but it’s about the least useful skill a crafter can have.

Sometimes it has been clumsiness or underestimating quite what a disastrous effect travelling can have on your supplies. Sometimes it has been my notorious impatience with wanting to dive into a new project. Other times, I swear I simply turn my back and when I turn around, I’m greeted with a sight that invokes the more colourful regions of the English language.

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