Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spinning madness

Gratuitous salad pic: Aaron's baby carrot and greens along with local walnuts and apples from who knows where: My big treat to myself recently was signing up for Camp Pluckyfluff. The woman behind Pluckyfluff is Lexi Boeger. She spins fantastic fanciful crazy art yarns, very different from the usual thin even yarns I tend to spin. I tend to mostly use thin even yarns for my knitting and weaving, but after receiving Material Whirled's amazing Firetree art yarn, I've become more interested in art yarns. At any rate, I have a glut of evenly spun, super fine yarn waiting to be knit up on size 0 or smaller needles into gloves or socks or what nots, so I figured it's time to make some yarn that's a bit bigger.

I can spin funky yarn. Taught a private lesson recently and made this fun example yarn showing corespinning and tailspinning with mohair and wool around a fine alpaca single:
But it's so much more fun spinning funky yarn with a group. And Lexi is so inspiring. I took the class at Urban Fauna, my new favorite fiber store in the bay area. (I'm a bit biased since they sell my knitting needles there, but they pack so much cool stuff into a tiny storefront. Mustache stamps! Sheep poo paper! Soaps! And of course lots of beautiful hand-dyed fiber, mostly from small family farms, and Jamie does amazing hand-dyed sock yarns and there's handspun from all over, including The Spun Monkey who I finally got to meet for a day in SF...) Six hours of spinning plus a delicious lunch of pho....a perfect day.

Amazingly Jamie and Blas made room for 5 students and Lexi and our wheels and a drum carder and two tables full of fibery goodness and another table full of foody yumminess. We took turns carding up crazy batts and spinning them into simple yet splendid thick and thin yarns.

We made coils and supercoils and beehives and granny stacks and twisties, oh my! My version used a sparkly core yarn courtesy of Lexi, with this soy silk I dyed up a week or two before:
And of course since I was preparing for this amazing class, I had to dye up a whole bunch of fiber, most of which I didn't use since so much was provided, thus I still have oodles of new colored fluff to play with. Here's a bunch on the clothesline:
Close-ups--of tussah silk batt:

Soysilk roving:Bombyx silk... ...some of which was incorporated into this yarn:
along with felted nubbies, sparkly fabric, sequins, feathers and handpainted blue-faced leicester wool.

Another crazy batt yarn:

And before...a less than crazy batt...natural colored bay black alpaca, onion dyed merino (the orangish stuff), natural warm grey merino, procion dyed bombyx silk and muga silk:Same ingredients as above, version two:
Hopefully my new batch of knitting needles that made it down to the store will help justify the cost of the class...they'll be for sale at Stitches West, one of the biggest knitting shows on the west coast, coming up at the end of February in Santa Clara. I forgot to photograph them before bringing them to the store, but here are a few pics of some of the new needle critters:

The thing that didn't make it to the store was my soon-to-be spinning wheel because it is still looking like this:
I was hoping to have it done so I can use it for class since it will have some features that will help greatly in making art yarns, but it's not quite there yet. Still waiting on ball bearings to arrive, but I finally finished carving the fish. My new goal is to have it done by the end of February so I can put it in my custom made backpack and take it on the train with me down to Stitches West. Soon, my fishies, soon...


Mel said...

Gorgeous! All of it! :)

Did you tell Lexi that you were the one who made a pair of glass needles that I bartered with her for some fiber a long time ago? :) She told me when she was here that she loves those needles!

Congrats on getting your stuff sold at Stitches West! That is amazing!!! I'm so happy for you!

I love the tailspun mohair - so curly...

And the wheel! Is that the one you were going to send me diagrams of?

Shannon said...

The bees! The bunnies! The seals! Oh my, how I want to order more for my shoppe soon! Just need to get the physical studio space in's going to be a few weeks, I think, but myself and another artist will be setting up a small retail space in the studio so we can take advantage of the touristy events that bring folks through Marlboro...

I'm glad you enjoyed the workshop...I had so much fun at the one we hosted here. I would take it again, just to enjoy the comaraderie and spend an entire day with fiber.

And the wheel...I CANNOT WAIT to see how it all comes together!