Oh summer, where hast thou gone? The bright mornings and the long evenings, not stumbling to and from work in the dark, and the general piece and quiet of being in a city that seems to lose a significant proportion of its inhabitants over the summer vacation… All gone… Seemingly in an instant. As I’m doing most of my dyeing outside now, it’s probably also coming towards the end of dyeing season and the start of needing the daylight lamp for any fine embroidery work. I think I start to understand why some people are seasonal silk shaders, it’s much easier when you can actually see what you’re doing!
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‘The BIG Book of Fibery Rainbows: Creating and Working with Multi Colored Fibers and Palettes’ by Suzy Brown and Arlene Thayer of Fiberygooness was always going to be one of those books that someone would have to actively dissuade me from buying after reading the title. Fibre, colours and books, what was there going to be not to love?
Kiel is a charming city in the north of Germany, only about an hour and half from Denmark, with plenty of beautiful waterfronts. Maybe inspired by the slightly… brisk weather during the winter though, it also seems to be home to a surprising amount of spinning, weaving and wooly goodness.
My first adventure of 2019 was to St Gallen, a Swiss town famous for its bustling textile trade and, if you want to be fair to all the official Swiss languages, otherwise known as Sankt Gallen/Saint-Gall/San Gallo/Son Gagl. As you might guess, its history in the embroidery, lacemaking and fashion industries has left a footprint of the city of great interest to anyone with a passing interest in textiles, crafts and art and this charming little place has plenty more feasts for the eyes as well.
After a visit to Stonemountain & Daughters Fabrics, I headed towards the water and The Black Squirrel, a store promising yarn, fabric and excellent design. This was not the most logical way to do my trip (I should have headed to Lacis first as it’s less than a fifteen minute walk from Stonemountain) but I didn’t realise this until afterwards. Poor planning on my part! I was curious though to see exactly what The Black Squirrel was all about.
After trying some ice dyeing and really enjoying the results, I though I’d give a try to a combination of speckle dyeing and painting. Normally I tend to dye fibre to spin but it’s a little bit hard to maintain defined spots of colour in the spinning process, plus, while handspun definitely has it charms, there’s a lot to be said for the near perfect regularity of mill-spun yarn.
A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without following some of its legendary coastlines and dropping into a yarn shop or two on the way. In the quaint, picturesque little city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, is the aptly named, Knitting by the Sea. Maybe knitware and sand aren’t a combination that instantly springs to mind, but this lovely yarn shop will soon have you convinced.
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.