Tag Archive | OHS level 1

OHS Level I – Small Article and Drop Spindle

I’m a little late with posting this, but this is about the latest assignment I sent off. Of course I forgot to take photos of my setup, but I’ll add that later on if I remember. This is the final spinning assignment for Level I. Now I have a paper and a grading chart left to do before I start Level II in August. I’m so excited!!!

Drop Spindle

I was given this beautiful cherry drop spindle for my birthday. After using this, I love it ALMOST as much as I love my wheel. I really do love how portable it is. Anyway, we are supposed to spin a sample skein on our spindles for one part of our assignment.

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

My beloved spindle and carded Blue Faced Leicester

We’re still working with woollen, so that means our yarn has to be light and fluffy. What I didn’t know is that when spinning a woollen yarn from roving, it is best to card them into rolags. That helps add more air and keep the yarn light and fluffy.

Andean plying on the drop spindle

Andean plying on the drop spindle

The photo above i showing Andean plying. It’s were you wrap the singles you just spun onto your wrist. It then enables you to pull from both ends of the singles in order to ply the yarn.

Small Article

I figured the best way to show my process for the small article I made was to set up a slide show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I spun this yarn z/s (which is opposite of most “go-to” traditional yarn). I had read and heard from various sources that spinning this way was better for crochet projects. Even though I’m sure I would have spun a prettier, neater yarn if I went with the go-to method, I wanted to test this theory out. I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity I have now of getting feedback from those who know best. With yarn spun this way, it does not lose its twist when you’re crocheting, unlike yarn spun the other way. While I was working, I did find that my hook didn’t get caught like it normally does. This is a method I want to work with more so I can find out for myself.

The results of the slide show above:

Crocodile Stitch Pixie Hat - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

The hat that I made with handspun/dye Corriedale fleece

So now we wait. These assignments have been sent off and I’m awaiting to see what my results are. I’m thrilled with how both projects turned out.

If you would like to make your own hat as picture above, you can get the pattern here, but Thread Softly.


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’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.

Spinning “S”, Plying “Z”

I know I still have some catching up do with documenting my OHS spinning journey. I will get there and probably back date it. Anyway, I figured I should take a bit of a breather and do something a little different with my hands to help avoid injury from repetitive motion. It is that time of year between the spinning and the crocheting orders. So I figured now was a great time to update my progress.

Today I decided to give some “s” spinning a shot. It’s part of the next series of assignments. I must confess that I don’t spin “s” very often. I don’t think many people do. I am interested in exploring this method more though because I have heard a theory that yarn spun “s” (plied “z”) works better for crocheting .

Spun "s", plied "z" - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Spun “s”, plied “z”

I’d better take a step back here because if you’re not a spinner, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about! “S” and “z” are in reference to the direction the wool is spun.

Spinning yarn counterclockwise is adding twist in the “s” direction
Spinning yarn clockwise is adding twist in the “z” direction

How I remember is z=clockwiZe

While I was spinning “s”, I discovered that I needed to treadle faster and put more twist in. It was breaking on me, even when I was just spinning the single. And then when I went to ply, it broke on me again. This is the part where I would LOVE to bust out ye olde fast flyer, but I won’t. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to in this course at this point. Even if I was, I still want to get a feel for the effort I need to exert to achieve the desired results with my regular flyer.

So obviously I have some more practice to do. And that’s okay. A friend and sister student had used a term in her post that has described my experience to a “t”… Perfection paralysis. I think it’s so important that we remember that really, in the grand scheme of things, we’re still newbies. We ARE going to make mistakes. Our spinning is NOT going to be perfect. It if was, then what the heck are we doing taking this program? I just got to the point where my attitude is “I’m giving everything I have and if it’s not good enough, I still know I did my BEST.” I know I have a lot to learn, so if it’s not perfect, I don’t give a damn. It just means that I need practice. Marks, schmarks. This is the part where I just need to focus on becoming a better spinner. I’m not spinning to get high marks. I’m spinning to learn as much as I can so that I can pass it on. I think the very humbling experience I had in the Fibre Arts course has helped me stay level. I know I keep saying this, but it is my mantra… Mom always said “All you can do is do your best.” I’m on it Mom!

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


Blank canvas


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




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!


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…

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