Grandma's birthday card that I made recently
Goodness has it really been 2 months since I posted anything. Well, since then I've been up to all sorts including having a lovely day at my spinning lesson with Annie (another Annie who is as batty as me with her fibre crafts, excited by everything fluffy, and has lots of half completed projects!). I discovered that the reason my spinning was so wild and springy is that I had all the things on the spinning wheel tightened up far too much. We loosened off the drive band and the tension thingy and then oiled all the moving parts and then all of a sudden it was easy to treadle, didn't "walk" across the floor and didn't require lots of shouting to keep it going!
I learned some of the techniques for spinning a nicely balanced yarn. We started by spinning directly from an unwashed fleece. You probably know that lovely (acquired) sheepy smell! It's quite comforting. And the lanolin made my dry hands so smooth and soft. Should get a fleece to use daily - much better than handcream! :)
We then used that yarn to ply the next yarn that we spun from a bag of leftover bits n pieces of various colours of merino. Here is the finished thing, ta dah!
Although there are still a few not so great bits in it, it was actually perfectly balanced, not bad! After I washed it and hung it to dry it didn't twist round at all. I do like to know the rules so that I can then intentionally completely break them later. I think it's nice to understand the rules then do what you like afterwards. I have still got a way to go, but it was encouraging to make a lot of progress just by being able to adjust the spinning wheel properly.
I have been told that once you really get the hang of spinning a fine yarn it can be hard to then be loose and spin a crazy wild yarn with lumps and bumps so I think I will spin up a crazy skein every time I manage to spin a balanced regular yarn to keep from getting sensible muscle memory!
So with that in mind I whipped up a carded batt from lots of colours (it looked like I'd blended a unicorn, a fairy and a rainbow!) and then spun it into a careless overspun skein.
I decided to have another go at laying out a block of colour using the new springy yarn (like the one I made in my last post). I unwound it straight from the bobbin without any plying or wetting. It was like working with a bunch of live wriggly worms!
It was springing all over the place and coiling up the base layer of merino fibres but eventually I got it all laid out and made a reasonable sized piece of felt to make several things from. I'll share more about that later but meantime here is one thing I made from it - birthday cards for my grandparents. I cut a piece out that looked vaguely landscapey...
...then cut it in half and used half for each card. I needlefelted some scrim and other bits n bobs on including some silk threads and odds and ends from my scrap tray that I keep on my worktable where all the tiny bits end up instead of the bin!
Mum came to visit on Tuesday, and I'd planned to give her a mothers day card then instead of on Sunday. So of course I left it late then it all went wrong. At about 11pm on Monday night I was about to throw in the towel when I decided to push on through. Without much thought I took a piece of handmade paper and threaded the machine with black thread and just started to sew (free motion). In about 5 minutes flat I had the words and the flowers sorted. It was wonky and messy but kind of OK! ...
...I slapped on some paint then thought it could do with some bees buzzing about. I stitched them on and put some yellow paint on. Job done I thought. Then I went to open it to write inside and discovered I'd sewn the flippin' thing shut! Made me laugh as it sums up many of my days! So I just left it and wrote on the back. Mum has shown her friends and firstly they think it's a lovely card, then a funny card when they can't open it!
I do find that often that is the best way to work. Fast & free! As soon as I let my brain interfere it ruins everything. Too much overthinking happens. I must remember that next time!
I haven't progressed my textiles sketchbook idea very much but have been doing lots of random creative things which will probably feed into it, like dyeing fabric. My long suffering husband came home to find his wooden spoons are now in a nice range of colours and unusable for cooking. Although I don't think there is sufficient evidence for a prosecution do you?! Just because they match my newly dyed fabrics! Ahem.