Archive | January 2015

Off to a Good Start!

Well, I got the second assignment back yesterday. I won’t get into the specifics of marks, but I will say this… I AM keeping my promise to Mom to do my best. I have shocked and surprised myself with what I have pulled off! I knew I had a purpose in this world. I suspected it had something to do with fibre. Well, given how well I’m doing in the course so far, and more importantly, how spinning affects my well-being on a whole, I’m pretty sure I have found my purpose.

I AM A SPINNER.

I’m sure that I will have up’s and down’s with my marks over the next 5 1/2 years. I don’t want to get too confident because confidence sometimes leads arrogance. Arrogance leads to carelessness. That’s the LAST thing I want. No slacking for this girl.

I will confess that I’m not as worried about the assignment I’m working on now as I was about the last assignment. It was a BIG one. The best way I can describe it is that it felt very personal. We had to lay it all out on the table. We had to spin 11 different skeins. There was no hiding our weaknesses in this one. It was almost like writing a tell-all book about your life.

I’m certainly not down-playing the assignment I’m working on now. It’s certainly a challenge for me. After all, I only conquered the spindle five short months ago. I’m curious to see how I’ve progressed. I’m going to be including a note in my personal comments asking the instructors to please be gentle with me. Many of my classmates have been using a spindle for years. I don’t think I’m doing too bad for a newbie. I’m actually looking forward to their feedback/suggestions because I REALLY want to master the spindle. In this portion I’m not going to lose sleep over marks. I have minimal spindle experience. Regardless of my marks, I’m going to keep that in mind.

As for the small article assignment I’m working on… I’m not sure if I’m doing a smart thing by challenging myself. There is a time and a place for it. I don’t know if this is it, but I’m going to do it anyway. I had mentioned in a previous post that I’m planning on spinning “s” and plying “z” (the opposite of most go-to spinning) because my article is going to be crocheted. My thinking is what’s the point of doing something safe, something you already know you can do? I see this as an opportunity, once again, to get feedback from those who know best. If I stuck to my go-to spinning, sure, I probably would get some good marks. But I also wouldn’t be growing or expanding my skills. I want to be a well-rounded spinner. When I do go out into the world teaching what I have learned, I want to be able to share as many experiences that I can. If this means sacrificing marks because of challenging myself, then so be it. I would rather get a 70% on a challenge with important feedback than a 90% with a pat on the back and nothing new to add to my skills.

We’ll see how this goes!

Spindle Assignment – The Process

Continuing on with the assignments, I’m now onto the spindle portion. A year ago this would have scared the bejeepers out of me. Not anymore. I wrote about my drop spindle victory last summer.

I’m far from perfect, but I’ve really come to enjoy it.

I will be spinning some Blue Faced Leicester. I LOVE this wool! It’s so soft. I just hope my spindling can do it justice.

I carded the roving first to add some air to it (thanking my sister from another mister for that suggestion!). I need all the help I can get!

So I’m off to spin some fluffy woollen yarn.

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester

A New Spinning Assignment and Some Hard Lessons

Happy new year!

That was just a whole lot of insanity over the past couple of months! Lots of good things happened. There were some pretty painful lessons too. I’m now in a position where I have no choice but to make sure that orders are paid for up front before I start working on them. I lost over $200 out of my grocery money during the Christmas season because people either “changed their minds” or just simply did not pick up their orders. It breaks my heart that I trusted people and ended up getting burned. I can’t do that anymore. I just don’t have the funds for that. I know my turnaround time was long because of what I have happening, but I did make it clear about what was going on. I’m fixing that too by only accepting orders when I know I’ll be able to get them out in a timely fashion (and if they’re paid for, you know darn well I’ll be sticking to that). I bit off more than I can chew. I’m burned out. I can’t and won’t do that again. I’m so upset about this that it may even get its own post. The intention would be to warn others about what happened. I can see now why payment up front is common practice in the art world.

Anyway, onward and upward…

My next spinning assignment is due on February 16th. The bulk of it is drop spindling and spinning yarn for a small article. I have purchased some Corriedale fleece for my small article. All I have to say is that I’m glad this isn’t the first fleece that I’ve processed because it would set an impossible bar for standards! I would walk past it while I was in the laundry room and I would just want to dive in. I couldn’t at the time though because of the orders. I’m so glad I can now!

I washed and dried the fleece while I was working on my Christmas orders. I’m on the winning end now as a result! In the past, I’ve worked well under pressure. The last assignment that I did was a slap in the face. I won’t be doing that again! I’m going to give myself as much time as I can. With that said, I’ve got my practice fleece carded and working on my first bobbin. I call it “practice” because if it doesn’t turn out, I won’t be frustrated. But heck, if I can get it on the first shot, go me!

I’m going to be challenging myself with my small article assignment. I won’t be doing the traditional “spin “s”, ply “z”” yarn. I’ve heard on a few different occasions that if you’re planning on spinning for a crocheted project, it’s best to spin “z” and ply “s”. This is my plan (thus the reason for the practice fleece). I’d also better get good at this method of spinning because my crocheting friends are excited about my yarny endeavours hehehe

Here’s some photos of the process I’ve done so far. When I get my small article done, I may just do a post about the beginning to the end. It still blows my mind how it goes from dirty fleece to something so beautiful!

Raw Corriedale Fleece - Keep Me in Stitchez

This is as raw as it gets! Straight off the sheep

Fleece about to be washed - Keep Me in Stitchez

Fleece about to be washed

Washed Corriedale Fleece - Keep Me in Stitchez

Washed and dry, waiting to be processed

Corriedale on the carders - Keep Me in Stitchez

On the carders

Carded Corriedale Fleece - Keep Me in Stitchez

Carded Corriedale Fleece

This is just the beginning. I’m planing on dyeing the yarn before I work it up as well. I’m undecided about colours at this point, but I think it’s going to probably involve purple, pink and/or blue.