Tag Archive | dyeing

Year Four: The Reward for Year Three

It is believed that year three of the OHS spinning certificate course makes or breaks you. They say that if you get through level three, you will most likely graduate the program.

I’m not going to lie, there were times this past year where I had seriously contemplated hitting the pause button. I didn’t want to quit. Oh hell no! I worked too hard to get to where I am. However, I did contemplate more than once if this was the right time to do this course. This year has seen a LOT of change in my life, both positive and not so much. There has been a LOT of things happen that were out of my hands. It prevented me from getting my assignments done on time. I was determined to get them done though. That’s how I am – I start something, you can bet your bippy that I’m going to finish it! (even all of my yarny UFO’s will be done at some point!). I was so embarrassed when I had to ask for extensions due to circumstances beyond my control. When I explained what was going on to my instructors, they were so wonderful and understanding. I can’t express how grateful I am. Not once have they ever questioned me. I beat myself up, but they had nothing to do with that. In fact, I have been lovingly “told” a couple of times to knock it off, I’m only one person and I’m doing everything in my power. It was reiterated once again today that as long as I’m in communication if something comes up, we can always negotiate.

To me, that speaks volumes. They believe in me. They have believed in me when I haven’t believed in myself. I feel like I’m in the middle of running a marathon and they are cheering me on, wanting me to finish just as badly as I want to finish. That makes me even more determined to finish. Not only have I promised Mom, I owe them too for all of the time and energy they have invested in me over the past 3 years (it’ll be 6 years for Wendy).

This year has such a different feeling. It’s so much lighter. When I saw my classmates, it felt like a big family gathering. I will confess that my anxiety was running a little high due to one classmate. I won’t bother wasting any more energy on her – SHE IS GONE!!!!! The energy in that room this year has just been so wonderful. I don’t think I’ve smiled this much since I started this course. And it’s not like I’ve been miserable!

Saturday and Sunday saw us spinning exotic fibres. We started off with alpaca and llama. Then went on to camel. I think there was another one in there, but I’m pretty tired right now and I can’t remember. I love how our instructor reminded us of all the techniques we know now. I think the difference with this year is that we have options. In the previous years, the preparation and spinning style was set out for us. This year it’s whatever works for us. Having all of these options seemed a little overwhelming! I double-check with my instructor… “Am I understanding this right? We’re using whatever it is we have in our skills toolbox to achieve our best skeins?” She said I was correct and was hoping that that’s what we would take away from this course.

On a side note, I was amused at this whole new approach with spinning. I’m more or less at the same place in my martial arts journey. We spend the first part learning the skills/basics and when/where to apply them. After that, it’s blown wide open to use whatever it is we need to use to get the desired result. It’s the “art” part of martial arts! While both art forms are so different, my enthusiasm is very similar for both. I’m sure it’s the art and creativity I get to practice and release with both.

The last day and a half was spent in the dye room. We were playing with indigo. I have to say that I really enjoyed dyeing this time around. Maybe it was my partner, Mary-Lyn (I had never met her before Saturday – this woman is freaking awesome!). Maybe it was the absence of a bossy, domineering, controlling, sabotaging, narcissistic… Oh yeah, I wasn’t going there… Maybe it was the indigo itself. Or the instructor and her assistant. I think it was all of that. I’m looking forward to my assignment. We have to use 2 methods that we have learned. And then we have to do some overdyeing. I already have myrobalan from my project last year. I’m going to fire up another pot of that bad boy. I’m also planning on getting a nature dye that goes red. I’m not sure which one yet.

One other thing that is different this year is when our dye days were scheduled. For the first three years, they were always the last day and a half of the course – Friday afternoon and Saturday. By that time, we are all so worn out. I think having to do extra math and having the additional pressure of your classmates relying on you to get a perfect dye pot for their samples… It’s all just too much. It will be interesting to see if Friday and Saturday are different this year. At least if you’re tired and punchy, you don’t have to worry about letting anyone down. You only have to answer to yourself if you screw up. I have a feeling that I’m going to be just as enthusiastic Saturday morning as I will be tomorrow.

This afternoon we were introduced to silk. We started off with Tussah silk. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. However, I need to speed up my treadles. Then we spun some Bombyx (cultivated) silk. The really funny thing is that I had an easier time getting a consistent yarn with it! It’s a lot more slippery than the Tussah. It was weird. What was also weird is that I spun an awesome sample “over the finger.” That is NOT my go-to method. In fact, it’s my second weakest method (long-draw being my weakest). I showed my instructor. She told me to save the sample and aim to spin my homework like it because it would be perfect. She was so impressed that she called her assistant over (her assistant was the woman who had taught this section of the course for many years before passing the torch – she knows her stuff!). She was impressed. So there’s hope for me! I shouldn’t say that… If there wasn’t hope for me, my instructors wouldn’t give me the push/gentle kick in the rear I need to keep going.

When I’ve been at my wheel these last few days, I’ve felt the same way I did when I first started spinning. Excited. Ecstatic. At peace. Smiling the whole time. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed spinning. I think I just lost why I was doing it for awhile. I’m so used to having to fight to be happy in many of the other areas in my life. I have no control of that. I do have control over this though. And I don’t have to fight. I just have to be. I have to remember that the chances of putting out perfect samples may or may not happen. Beth “told” me today… It came up about learning curves. I was saying about how when a karate student gets frustrated when they’re learning a new kata. I say “How many times have you done it?” “Once.” “Is it going to be perfect then?” “No.” “There you go. If you’ve been doing it for 10 years and you’re still at the same level, THEN be concerned.” Well, I was told to practice what I preach hehehe

We’re not half way through the course and I’m just flying high, ready to dive in to the homework. Even thinking about tomorrow, my heart starts to race and I have butterflies in my stomach. Geez, it’s like being in puppy love (except that I know that it won’t end up in a messy breakup!).

I’m hoping that I will have more time to update this blog. As I mentioned earlier, this year has just been absolute chaos. I’m hoping to be able to manage my time better. Although even those with the best time management skills would have difficulty with the things that I’ve had to endure. I got through it so far though. Again, this is where I will never be able thank my instructors enough.

Tomorrow is another day. I so can’t wait!

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OHS Level 2: Day 8

I started this post on August 27. That is how crazy things are here. It’s crazy/good though.

I apologize if anyone was waiting for this post. I got my Sweet Pea back on Sunday and we’ve been busy making up for lost snuggle time. I’ve also been trying to wash fleece and get things organized in the house. It’s been a crazy summer and I’ve been away from home for the most of it. I want to be organized for this fall so that I can get my assignments completed on the early side and so that I can spin my brains out. I’ve done a lot of prep this summer, so I should be good to do a lot of spinning this winter.

Speaking of assignments, I just ordered the mordants I will be needing for the nature dye assignment. I have a game plan about how I’m going to find out more information. I know I can use Golden Rod, but I’d like to do something different if I can. Golden Rod will be Plan B. I think I’m reluctant to make it my first choice because it’s too readily available LOL

Once again, class went too fast this year. I enjoyed it even more than I did last year. I feel so much more relaxed coming into Level 2. I’m very clear about the format now so I’m just going to let ‘er rip. I’m not just doing this to get by, for the prestige. I want to pass this art on. A few things were made clearer. Had I have known these things last year, my assignments would have looked much different. I was pleased with my marks, but I felt limited because of what I didn’t know. I have some more info I’ll be adding to my “Notes for Newbies” so those who take the course down the road won’t encounter the same limitations. 

Here are the results of some of the nature dyeing we did the last 2 days of class:

Marigold - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Our group used marigold and this was the results

Marigold-dyed fibre - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

The fleece we put in our marigold dye pot to level out the weight

OHS Level 2 nature dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Another group’s work

OHS Level 2 nature dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

And another…

OHS Level 2 nature dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

And another still…

OHS Level 2: Day 7

Today we prepared for nature dyeing tomorrow. First, we soaked our samples in a variety of mordants: alum/cream of tartar, copper, iron and a couple of others that I can’t exactly recall at 11pm. Yeah, it was a long day.

For those wondering what a mordant is… It’s like a colour booster. Each mordant reacts differently with each nature dye. It’s really quite interesting.

Then we prepared our dye stock. They all needed to soak overnight at the very least. Each plant varies. My group prepared marigold.

It was a fun day. Tomorrow will be even more fun to see the results from the dye pots! The down side is that it will be our last in-class day.

We ended the day with a trip to Marty’s. I picked up some more merino/stellina wool. I also got some nylon with the intention of making some socks someday (I will blend it with 75% wool). I picked up some more of Marty’s magical moth mix and some nettle tea to help fight allergies. And I thought I didn’t need anything there…

As I always do, I had Little Mickey and Pooh with me. I promised my Sweet Pea that I would take them with me everywhere because he left them with me to look after me. So it has become tradition that I take pictures of them doing different things on our adventures. My plan is to possibly put a scrapbook together for him someday.

Fleece for dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Fleece that was added to the yarn samples

Samples of plants for dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

A sample of some plants that can be used for dyeing

Dye plants - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Some plants we’ll be using for dyeing tomorrow

I also had a bit of a self-realization moment today. It came to me while discussing group leadership versus teaching. I’ve discovered why I’m not a leader in a group situation if the group has other ideas. If the group is respectful of my assigned position and has an open mind, I’m totally comfortable with that role. I’m totally comfortable in a teaching role. There are some situations where it may be expected or understood that I would be in a leadership role within a group. I have no problem with that unless I’m accosted by a bossy and/or domineering person or people. If my peers don’t respect my assigned position, I won’t argue with them. I have been through too much BS to even try to get somebody to listen to me who clearly thinks they know more than what I do (they may or may not – but I was assigned the role for a reason). I’m weary from fighting to be heard. I have little left. I have nothing left for those who don’t care to open their minds. I would much rather focus my energy on somebody who is open to what I have to share. I may not know all there is to know, but you’re missing out on what I do know if you choose not to listen. We all have different experiences and I enjoy sharing mine. You may even learn something.

The other part of it is that if you think you know better than I do and you screw up, I don’t want that reflecting on me. There has been more than one occasion where I’ve been in a group scenario and the group decided to not listen to directions. If I was taken seriously as leader, there’s a very high probability that that wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I’m very detail-oriented, which is probably one of the reasons I was assigned the role. I would have gone to the instructor to verify if there was any doubt. But hey, you know best, so just go right on ahead. I’ll be over in my corner waiting for instructions.

I think what it comes down to is the abuse that I endured. Everything was always my fault, even when I wasn’t involved. I got the blame for everything. My thoughts, opinions, experience and feedback meant nothing. So now as a result, I’m constantly in cover-your-ass mode. So if I’m in a group that doesn’t want to take my leadership role seriously, I’m not going to kiss there butts. Plus, my ass is covered for when they screw up. If I was in a leadership role and the group actually listened to me and the team screwed up, I would take responsibility for it because clearly I had passed on misinformation. But if the group chooses not to listen to me and there is a screw-up, it’s not my problem, is it?

Teaching/assisting on the other hand, is completely different. If I’m teaching/assisting, obviously I’m there specifically to pass on my knowledge and adhere to the set out curriculum. I’m there for a reason and that reason is because I’m a fit for the job. I was asked what I would do if I encountered a student who gave me a hard time or chose not to listen. Because let’s face it. I can come across as a bit of a pushover. Again, it comes down to choosing my battles. I have encountered a scenario where I had a student who challenged me. It was in dog training, but it was still a teaching job. He was on a mission to make me look like I knew nothing. I didn’t claim to know all there is about dog training. I’m not a behaviorist. That’s a whole other field. I was given a set of guidelines that I needed to follow for my classes and I did. I did it well. I got to the point where I had to tell the student that I was there to pass on what I know, which met the expectations of the company I worked for. I wanted to see him and his dog succeed. But if he had an issue with my methods, he was free to discuss the situation with management. If my classes weren’t meeting his expectations, then he may want to consider finding another dog trainer that can meet the needs I’m not.

After that, he had nothing more to say and my classes went smoothly.

Teaching and group scenarios are two different things. If you’re teaching, it’s because you have worked hard to acquire the skills and knowledge to pass on to others. People are there with the intention to learn from you. You can learn a lot in a group setting as well as long as you go in with an open mind. Many don’t. They judge before you even open your mouth. Who’s losing out though? Not I because I won’t expel the energy on somebody who has no interest in my experience, therefore, does not deserve it.

On the Wheel Today: July 18/15

Merino/Stellina blend, dyed by me - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Merino/Stellina blend, dyed by me

I had started this post on Saturday at the artisans market I attended, but I got too into the spinning to finish it. 

I also discovered the “before” picture too…

 

Merino/Stellina blend dyed by keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

I dyed this earlier this year


And after spinning and plying…

Spun and dyed by keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

2-ply, sport weight-ish (haven’t checked the finished WPI)

I’ve been doing a LOT of spinning and dyeing since my Sweet Pea had to go last Sunday. He was so upset, so I’m sure you can guess how I’ve been. But rather than let the darkness win, I have dove head-first into my wool. I know some out there were counting on me shutting down and being depressed. But I bet they didn’t count on me fighting back with colour and fluff. Who says wool can’t be used as a weapon?

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!

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…

Baby Shoes and Spinning

I know I was on a roll with the posting and then it seemed to come to an abrupt halt. I’m in the process of tweaking and trying to figure out how to schedule things better. Also, tourist season is quickly approaching in my little section of the world. I’ve been working on items to sell at the Kinmount Artisans Marketplace. I’m also working on finishing up some orders so that I can focus more on spinning.

I have a couple of pattern tests that I have completed. They will get their own posts, along with my thoughts on the patterns (be excited about this because they are both AWESOME! hehehe)

Here are a few things that I’ve been working on recently (which I guess would explain the lack of posts):

baby shoes

dying tnt

In the dye pot

dyed tnt

Just off the wheel… Thick ‘n thin style

blue tnt

Stay tuned for the pattern reviews… I’m off to write them right now!