Monday, July 20, 2009

New Spinners and New Weavers all in one week.

This past week was a veryveryvery busy one. Chelsea was out of town. There was knitting to do and Tour de Fleece to keep up with.
Thursday was the second class of my accellerated beginning spinning class.
There was great progress. We learned about plying, worked more on spinning a smooth yarn, tried spinning from the fold and some other long draw techniques as well as talking about skein finishing.
It was a great group and we had lots of fun and ate chocolate too.

Heather came and we had our first knitting lesson. I hope she's practicing.
Friday evening was the day to start our Andean Backstrap Weaving class with Abby.
I started learning this last year after SOAR. I had a couple of hours the first day and then would put it away a lot. It was hard and frustrating so I often found excuses for not practicing.
Well this group was dedicated and it's probably the quietest class we've ever had at the Spinning Loft.
I had some break throughs in my personal weaving. I could finally see what was happening and got to the point, with the simplest pattern, of felling confident in my decisions.
Abby's prep was fantastic and took a lot of time but the planning behind the class is brilliant. Each of us had 3 prewarped which were given to us one at a time. The looms got increasingly sparser so that we had to add things like a strap and then heddles and then set up from the start until we got to the point of warping our own.
This is Amanda and Ezara as warping partners or ayllwi-masi on Abby's portable warping board.

This is one of the more complicated patterns we worked on.
Maggie joined the class on Sunday and made good progress working with the loom and doing plain weave. She's been practicing again today and actually has almost woven the entire length.
This is where Abby keeps her needle. She also always has a one handed knife in her pocket. I am at a disadvantage since I have very short hair that won't hold the needle and my clothes seldom have pockets. I think I will have to weave myself some little bags I can attach to my waist.
Abby is a fantastic weaver. A better weaver than she is a spinner. That is not an insult at all and she will agree with me here. She's fast and skilled.
These are the weavings I did during class. The one at the bottom was the one I set up all by myself. I can see huge improvement in my selveges there. The green, gold and red weaving is the second warp we got. The bottom S was woven by Abby and the rest is my weaving. The second S is a mirror image and I'm happy with myself for figuring out how to do it.
The middle blue, gold, red warp is the first we got. the bottom is Abby's weaving then I did a couple of plain rows and was off and running - that's actually the result of about 3 hours work but the bottom one on the last day i was able do weave that much in a bout 30 minutes! Good progress. The gold and rust warp is the most complicated pattern we worked on but I was lazy and didn't work as diligently.
At the very top is a handspun warp I made. I made no progress. The yarn was fuzzy and broke a couple of times and retied the heddles several times until I got crabby and walked away. I obviously need to work on my spinning for weaving.
Abby mad me this - because of love...in less than an hour, warp and all. Show off.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Maggie's Fiber Camp

First, before I get into how the week went I just want to show this yarn. This is Romney that was dyed by Amy King at Spunky Eclectic. I am now carrying Amy's fibers and currently have Panda, Shetland and Romney in addition to the silks I've had for a couple of years. The singles were spun by Kat and plied by me this morning. I like this yarn a lot!
So here's the info about Maggie's Fiber Camp. It was a fun week. This being the first year we had a small class which was good because we were both finding out what we planned right or wrong.
The first day we had a tour of the fleece room and the whole shop. The girls touched everything and we talked about all of the places we can get spinning fiber.
Next Maggie thought there should be a quiz and so we asked the girls to write down all of the plants and animals they remembered from the tour. They did great!
Next we looked at a dirty Wensleydale fleece. talked about how to pick it and clean it before scouring.
The picking went well until I mentioned the poop!
While the fleece was soaking the girls got their spindles and decorated them with markers.
The next day there was a demonstration of combing and then Maggie showed how to use hand cards. The girls both left with several rolags they made themselves.
Then there was the drumcarding where again everybody dug into Maggie's batt bag and each made two batts to take home. Another fun day went by and I think everyone went home happy.
There was spindle spinning every day. By Friday there was huge progress and even Abigail who was frustrated on the first day was making great progress and drafting by Friday.
We made felted beads and felted soaps.
Cute huh?
On Friday after a short period of spinning there was weaving. On a side note, the girls are using the Schacht Cricket Looms. I put a 6 inch wide warp on them and was able to have two looms completely warped and a little weaving put on in only 1 hour and 10 minutes. The looms are fantastic and easy to use. LOVE!
This is Abigail with her finished scarf. We could see her improvement from the beginning to the end of the project and this fluttery girl stayed at her loom for 90 minutes. I think she's a weaver at heart.
Hannah wasn't able to weave the full length. She is a hard beater and so she and her mom may be making a spindle bag because her resulting fabric is very strong and tight.

I was happy with the camp. Maggie was quite proud and we had a great week. She's talking about next year already.
Saturday I went to Spinner's Flock, my local spinning guild, where I hadn't been in months. Those batts you see in front of you came home to the shop. They are well done with surprising color combinations. I love them and think my customers will too.
Here's a further away shot including some of her other dyeing. It's all done by Poetic Erica. Erksnerks on Twitter.
And at the other end of the table is Carla and her sock yarns and Kate 45s. The yarn colors are magnificent. The pink and orange one is named after me by the way. If you want to see those Kates in person and try them i have them at the shop. Best Kate Evah!
Just because it's pretty:-)