Archive | August 2014

Day 3: Say My Name, Drop Spindle!

Today we started off carding with Julia. We worked with flick carders and hand carders. I didn’t take photos of my carders because I’m sure there are photos of them floating around here (if anyone is curious about what they look like though, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll be happy to snap a photo of them).

Now, there was a lot of “butt” talk today. No, I’m not talking about fannies. The butts we were discussing was in reference to the part of a lock of wool that is closest to the body of a sheep. But I couldn’t help “butt” giggle… If you know me, you know how much I LOVE the Minions. This is all I had going through my head today whenever I heard “butt”…

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As much as I enjoyed the carding portion, the BIG event happened this afternoon. We were shown how to use a drop spindle. There’s a reason why this was such a big event for me. I’ll even go so far as to say a VICTORY…

I won’t go into full detail, but here’s the short, condensed version. The day we were to learn how to spin during the fibre arts course, my ex decided to be a major wanker (even more than what he usually is). Let’s just say that there was a very upsetting situation unfold. The worst part was that it impacted my ability to concentrate in class and I was busy “putting out the fire” when Wendy was teaching about the drop spindle. There wasn’t any time to go back since the course was so compressed, so I felt like I missed out. I was angry because of the situation and I was so disappointed. I never bothered learning though because a) it brought back too much garbage associated with that day and b) I knew I’d be learning anyway because of taking this course. So when I was spinning on the spindle today, not only was I excited about my newly-acquired skill, but it also felt like I was flipping a certain so-and-so off. He may have won the battle that day, but he did NOT win the war.

So I spun my first skein on the drop spindle today! I wanted to break out into a happy dance. The really cool part is that it’s even more portable than the wheel. I said that I now have a new addiction. One of my classmates corrected me and said that it wasn’t a new addiction, it was just a different delivery of the current one LOL So don’t be surprised if you see me walking around town with a spindle in my hand. You know, just because I can…

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I’m doing it!!! I’m doing it!!!

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Not bad for a first try!

There was one more thing I wanted to mention… I think it’s just amazing how a beautiful thing can come out of a tragedy. I’m sure I mentioned that Mom made this course happen for me. I can’t thank her enough. She knew I needed this. What she didn’t know though, is that I have found a new friend. She is such a joy to be around! We share a passion for spinning and carrying on the art, among many other things. One other thing that we share is that we’re both taking this course because of our moms. She lost her mom a couple of months after I lost mine. This course has brought up a lot of emotions for both of us and we’ve been able to lean on each other. She understands how I’m feeling and she gets me on a level that many can’t understand unless they’ve been there. I’d like to think that I offer the same to her. I know both our moms are smiling down on us, proud of how we’re carrying on. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new friend better. She smiled at me yesterday when one of the instructors was talking about how she had been teaching for over 30 years and said “That’s going to be us!”

You know it girl!

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Day 2: Wool, Wool and More Wool!!!

Harriet and Beth were with us again today. We were learning about grading fleeces and what to look for when shopping for fleece. Wow, who knew there was so much to know?! Well, I guess I had an idea that I didn’t know much, but wow… LOL We learned what to look for in course, medium and fine fleece. Staple length. What makes a good fleece, what makes a not-so-good fleece…

We also talked more about one of our upcoming assignments. Over the next 2+ years, we need to put together a sheep breed book. We’ll need to have photos of the sheep along with a sample of their fleece and some other things. I’m rather excited about this assignment. Not only will I be learning more about sheep and their fleece, but I will have an awesome book that I will be able to take with me to spinning demos and just have in my library for reference.

I’m not sure if I mentioned, but yesterday we did some washing experiments with fleece. I was so inspired that I came home tonight and washed that Dorset fleece that I was given. It’s drying right now… I can’t wait to work with it!

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Analyzing a fleece

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As always, Little Mickey and Pooh are with me. They were a great help when it came to grading this fleece. Pooh was impressed by the crimp. Little Mickey liked the staple length. They can’t wait to share their new-found knowledge with Goober when he gets home hehehe

Day 1: Wheel Maintenance and Learning About Sheep and Wool

Well, I’m still in awe that the time has finally come! This course was but just a dream when I first heard about it three years ago. It’s just so surreal… I have FINALLY figured out what I want to do when I grow up!

There were some familiar faces between the teachers and the students. I’m very happy that I’m taking the course now while Wendy is still teaching it. I enjoy working with new teachers (and I had two fabulous ones today!), but it’s also nice to go into this learning more from the person who was there the first time I ever sat down at a wheel.

We started off with Wendy and wheel maintenance. Since she’s such a thorough, excellent instructor, this was more of a review for me. She started me off in the right direction so many of the things that she taught us are second nature to me now. Like taking the belts off the whorl and bobbin to help better preserve them. She also told us about an assignment we’re going to have to do about spinning wheels. I’m a little nervous about that, but I know I’ll get through.

We started off by doing a bit of spinning. I was kind of out to lunch, so I spun a little thicker than I should have (I was pet sitting all week and sort of all over the place). Oops!

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Spinning Blue Faced Leicester

Next we moved on to learning about fleece and sheep with Harriet. I only hope I can learn even half of what she knows! I also had the honour of meeting Beth. It’s so wonderful to finally get to put a face with these names that I’ve been hearing for the past 3 years.

In the photos below, we’re looking over some fleece. We were to rank each fleece (to ourselves). Then tomorrow we will come back and revisit them after learning more about grading them.

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It was a good first day!

A New Path

I’m going to keep this post short because I’m having a hard enough time keeping my emotions under control. It’s been a long road. And here I (we) am. For the next 6 years. I’m being true to myself. No more humouring others. No more pretending to be something I’m not.

I am a spinner.

Thanks again Da Mama.

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This One’s for You, Da Mama

I NEVER have any trouble sleeping. In fact, I’m usually asleep before my head hits the pillow. Tonight I even have the opportunity to sleep in one of the most perfect places in the world… In the peaceful quiet of country, windows open, rain gently falling, breeze coming in the open windows, under a down duvet. Perfect recipe for me for a peaceful night’s sleep.

And I’m wide awake.

Maybe it’s because I got 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep the night before. That NEVER happens. I’m usually lucky to get 6 with my busy life. I think the real reason though is that I got some yummy fibre on my wheel earlier this evening. That would do it for me.

That, and the fact that I only have FOUR MORE SLEEPS!!!! Four more sleeps until I get to move on to the next leg of my dream.

Before Mom passed away in November, she told me she wanted me to have my Christmas gift early. She NEVER let us have so much as a clue in past years. But deep down she knew she wasn’t going to be around to give it to me. I was dumbfounded that evening when she told me from her hospital bed that she had paid for Level 1 for me. I knew she was supportive of me, but I had NO IDEA that she was so supportive of my spinning. I had no idea that she saw how much peace it brings me. She knew that I was going to need something to keep my fire going after she was gone. And she knew just what to do. As always.

She also knew that if she made me promise that I would finish all 6 years of the course, that I would see it through. She didn’t even have to tell me that she wanted me to go all the way and get my masters. That goes without saying.

She knew that I have intentions to do great things with this gift she has given me. When I get to kick back and look at the certificate I will be getting, it will be one of the greatest ways I can honour her.

Well played, Da Mama.

I’m going to put my all into it. I’m going to be the best damned spinner I can be. I’m going to continue to document my journey so I won’t forget a moment. I’m going to work hard to perfect my skills so that I can pass this knowledge on to the next generation. Mom has helped me help keep the art of spinning alive.

Every piece of yarn that comes off my wheel will have a piece of her love in it. She helped make this happen. She helped keep me going through one of the darkest times I’ve ever gone through in my life.

I’m dedicating this course to you. I’ll make you proud Da Mama.

Let the Games Begin! The Scavenger Hunt is Now on!

Earlier this week, I had posted about the scavenger hunt I have contributed some of my yarn to, put on by MNE Crafts.

Click here to play!!!!

I won’t go into too many details about prizes since my friend over at Cre8tion Crochet did such a great job (see Lorene LOL), but here are the prize packages that are up for grabs!

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There are also some mini games going on too!

As a bonus, everyone who completes the hunt will receive TWO free patterns:

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Beaded Slouch Beanie from MNE Crafts

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Santa’s Little Helper Hat pattern from Acorn Tree Creations

Make sure you check this out! The hunt ends on Monday. Good luck!

P.S. More yarny photos coming soon! I just set the twist and dried 10 skeins today!

My Contribution to the Scavenger Hunt

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Here are a few of the skeins that the third prize winner gets to choose from in the scavenger hunt hosted by MNE Crafts. I don’t have the details such as weight and yardage figured out as of yet, but I will soon. And in the meantime, if you see a skein you can’t live without, they are also available for purchase.

So make sure you pop on over to the scavenger hunt. There are some mini games going on right now. Don’t miss out!

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