Archive | September 2014

Birthday Wool

Yesterday was my birthday. It was hard this year because it was the first one without Mom. So rather than wallow in self-pity, I decided that I was going to dye some yarn for funsies. Of course the base was going to be purple! But I wanted to see if I could fracture the colours like I did with my “happy accident”, but this time on purpose.

Keep Me in Stitchez's Birthday Wool

Wool that I dyed to celebrate my birthday

I think I was pretty successful at my end goal. Of course I had no idea that the blue was going to be so predominant, but I’m perfectly fine with that! This photo is also a little deceptive… There are sparkles in the wool, but you can see it in the photo.

While I was doing the in-class portion of OHS Level 1 this summer, it was discovered that the supplier that made the dyes we were using changed their formula. It was significantly stronger, which meant it took forever for the dye pots to exhaust. I had bought my dyes awhile ago, so I was thinking that they didn’t fall into this category. Wrong I was! So after doing four different strengths and at least 16oz of fibre later… Now I have a lot of really strong magenta yarn and fibre. I’m glad I like this colour! LOL

So when I dyed my fibre yesterday, I hadn’t officially came to that conclusion yet. The purple was darker than what I was aiming for, but I’m pleased with the results. And in the fashion in which I was taught, I documented what I did. While I may not be able to get the exact same results (and why would I want to?!), I know how to get the effect. That ones going in the books for sure!

Spike Stitch Baby Bonnet by Crochet by Jennifer

It was pattern testing time again earlier this week. I decided to use my “happy accident” yarn.

This is the Diagonal Spike Stitch Pixie Bonnet by Crochet by Jennifer.

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The photo doesn’t do much justice for the texture of this stitch. It’s gorgeous! As with all her patterns, this one was also well-written, with detailed instructions. I would say that it’s for somebody a little more experienced than an absolute beginner, but don’t let that stop you! I was certainly pleased with the results.

Click here to purchase your copy of the Diagonal Spike Stitch Bonnet pattern.

World Wide Artist Blog Hop with Kyla Grexton

Blogging artists around the world are taking part in the World Wide Artist Blog hop. We are to answer four questions and then link to a minimum of one, maximum of three artists who will post their answers the following Monday. The next Blog Hop post will be September 29th.

I was invited by Celina Lane of Simply Collectible Crochet and Crochet Street.

I have invited Pia Thadani of Stitches N Scraps and Tatha Lorenzen of Stitched in Love Crocheting to take part next week. Please be sure to check them out!

I have room for another artist if you’re interested in taking part in the blog hop. Please let me know and I’ll add your link. It can be any medium, not just fibre related.

The questions are:
Why do I do what I do?
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
How does my creative process work?
What am I working on now?

Why do I do what I do?
I don’t know how to answer this question in a short, condensed answer. There are a LOT of reasons why I do what I do.

The BIGGEST reason is for my son. Not only to financially support him, but to set a strong example for him. He has seen me go back to school twice now in my 30’s. He’s seen how hard I have to work to be able to maintain our very modest lifestyle. He is also seeing what happens when you follow your dreams. Another reason is so that I can spend as much time with him as I possibly can, yet still work at the same time. He’s needs my support now more than ever.

I also do it for my own well-being. With everything that has been thrown at me in the last few years (especially the death of my mom late last year), I’ve had to find something to help me keep my head above water and fight the battles that I must.

I also do it for the love of the art. It is my intention to learn as much about spinning as I possibly can so that I can pass it on and keep the art alive.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t really know if I stand out from the others. If I do, I’m sure it’s because of my love of texture and bright colours. And purple. While I’m trying to work with other colours, you’ll possibly notice a lot of purple creep up in my work.

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How does my creative process work?
A lot of my ideas seem to hit me in the shower. I have no idea why. So then I will get ready as quickly as possible and shoot downstairs to get those ideas captured in one of my many journals (before I forget!). I really should just keep a journal in the bathroom…

I find it best to be in certain moods to work in certain mediums. With that said though, the angrier I am, the quicker I’m drawn into spinning. I calm right down and am able to maintain focus on that.

From looking at my work, it’s pretty easy to see where I am. If I’m in a good place, I tend to work with bright, vibrant colours and wonderful textures. If I’m in not such a good place, the colours are more subdued. That’s not always the case though, because I do a lot of custom work. Then it’s all about what the customer wants. I’ll tell you though, when I’m in a “bright” mood, it sure is hard to stick to a project that’s solid black!

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What am I working on now?

My biggest endeavour right now is OHS Level 1. I’ve done the in-class portion, so now it’s time to apply that knowledge to my assignments. It’s not just about spinning. There is dyeing, learning about various sheep breeds and other fibres… There’s a lot to cover in 6 years!

I’m still doing pattern testing and plugging away at crochet orders. It’s my plan to slow down on the crochet orders though because I want to move more towards my spinning and dyeing.

My plan is to eventually get my loom(s) set up and get weaving. I also sew/quilt in my “spare time.” Let’s just say I’ve dropped the word “bored” from my vocabulary!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this little peak into my fibre-y madness.

Dyeing Fail… Or WAS It?

Go big or go home, right?

Yeah, that doesn’t always work. I was SO EXCITED to get working on my dyeing assignment that I made a few rookie mistakes. Mistakes that deep down, I “know better than that.” But sometimes you need to make the mistakes yourself to see the results first hand. We’ll go with that… hehehe

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Blank canvas

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My studio/work station… Not kidding when I say that I have a small area to work in!

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Cooking

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This photo doesn’t do it justice, but things are so pink that it looks like Pinkie Pie threw up!

So… This is one of those cases where it looks like smaller is better. I decided that I was going to add some fibre to my dye pot to bring it up to 2oz. I’m not sure what it was that caused the unevenness to happen, but it could have been a few things. I know that I initially didn’t add enough vinegar. I also think that the fibre composition of the roving played a huge part (especially since the roving took all the colour). On the positive side though, I did end up with a beautiful “happy accident.” I guess when you mess up in dyeing, the only mess-up is if you’re striving for certain results. The only thing wrong with this is that it wasn’t the results I was after. I can’t wait to get this spun up!

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Totally NOT what I expected. While it won’t work for my assignment, it’s better than I expected! Now to get this spun up…

Fire Truck Applique by The Perfect Knot

As with all true professionals in many walks of life, they strive to grow and improve upon things like technique, skills and communication. Reputable crochet pattern designers are no exception.

Michelle from The Perfect Knot decided that her fire truck needed an update. When a designer does this, I have even more respect for them that what I initially had. To me, this shows that they really care about their customers, they’re committed to their art and the feel a responsibility to continue to improve upon something they have already put out there. I think that really shows the human side of things (before I started pattern testing and getting to know designers, I thought they were a super-human species above us mere yarn-loving mortals, unapproachable and up on a pedestal. How wrong I was! I think there’s going to be a post somewhere about that at a later date… LOL)

So after Michelle did some tweaking and refining of the pattern, here are my results:

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I think that turned out awesome! I’m very pleased with the results and that couldn’t happen without a great pattern!

You can purchase the fire truck applique pattern by clicking here. As mentioned on the listing, it is under revision (which how I came to do this test), but she will be sending out the revised version soon. If you already have a copy, be on the lookout for an update.

Congratulations, Crochet by Jennifer!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of the finished items and reviews I’ve done have been for Crochet by Jennifer. She is an amazing designer. Add to it, she’s a wonderful person with a great sense of humour and a HUGE heart! I consider it to be a great honour to be a part of her 10K Fan Celebration Giveaway!

I’ve contributed this lovely skein of yarn to the hoopla:
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To find out more information on how to enter, click here. Good luck!

My Third Spinaversary: You’ve come a long way, kid!

I’m not feeling so hot, so this post is probably going to be shorter than I would have liked. I’m not even feeling up to posting photos… Perhaps I will edit this post later on when I do get feeling better. I do feel compelled, however, to get a few thoughts out before I curl up in a ball and call it day.

So today marks three years since I first sat down at the wheel. It’s amazing just how time has flown, how things have changed. I am now in Level 1 of the OHS spinning certificate. I know I had mentioned about looking into it… Well, here I go again! I know I said in my first post about spinning that we worked with the drop spindle. While that is true, my mind was too scattered at the time to fully grasp the concept. That changed this summer when I took Level 1. It’s like something clicked. Now I’ve been using my drop spindle just because I can. I really do enjoy it! I’ve taken it with me a few times while I was waiting to pick my Goober up from school. I love how my productivity became even more portable than it already was.

I’m still spinning on my Lendrum, which I got back in December ’11. I love it even more now than I did then.

This past week I joined the spinning and weaving guild in my area. There seems to be more weavers than spinners there, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Weaving will be my next challenge. I was blown away with all the books and magazines that were there. There are also 2 different spinning wheels there that I plan on trying out.

I had the honour of having coffee with a friend that I had met at the spinning course this summer. It was so wonderful to see her again! It was the perfect way to celebrate today. We discussed possibly going to the Woodstock Fleece Festival and the Royal Winter Fair to go fleece shopping. We also need to work on our sheep breed book for our course, so it’s probably a good idea to go.

And of course I’m thinking of Mom today (as I do everyday). One thing I have learned is to make sure that it’s not too late to let your kids know how much you support their choices before it’s too late. When I first told her that I was going to take fibre arts, I knew she was skeptical. She’s from the generation that associates the word “art” with the word “hobby” or “play time” (I still run into that A LOT… Time to wake up and realize that not every “job” is 9-5 and slaving away to somebody else). I know she was worried. At the same time, I know that she wanted to support me and cheer me on with everything I do. Well, I didn’t know how supportive she was of my spinning until about a week before she passed away. That was when she told me that she was going to pay for the first level of my course. It makes my heart ache that I can’t physically hear her cheering me on or that I can’t get a congratulatory hug. But I do know that I’m making her proud and I will continue to do so.

So while I’m now three years in, this really is still just the beginning. And I’m so excited about it all!

Here are the blog post from the past 3 years:
A Brand New Chapter
Happy Spinaversary! One Year Later
Spinning: Two years later