Tag Archive | school

Twist and Grist with 5 Wool Types

DISCLAIMER: Remember, I’m still a student here. I’m still learning. So what I’ve written about my findings regarding my assignments MAY be incorrect. It is how it’s worked for ME at the time, based on notes I’ve taken throughout the course. If you’re reading this for your own assignments/personal growth etc., I encourage you to read other sources as well just to confirm because there may be a chance that I’m not understanding things correctly. There is no way that this is the be all and end all of spinning information. I definitely don’t know all there is to know about spinning. That’s why I’m taking this course!

I’m taking a moment here to do an update about the next assignment due for Level III. The only reason I’m taking a moment is because I have to wait for my breakfast to cook and cool down. Otherwise, I really don’t have the time to be updating.

Once again, life has decided to throw me some more curve balls preventing me from being as on track with things as I “should” be. And once again, all I’m going to do is do my best. That’s all I can do. Family comes first. Last. Foremost. That’s not going to stop me from busting my butt though to try to get this out on time (or as close to on time as I can). Anyway…

This set of assignments is focusing on Twist/Grist and the 5 different wool classes.

The twist is just that – how much or how little twist you put into your yarn. There are three ways you can change it up – changing the ratio on your wheel, your treadle speed or your drafting length.

The grist is the amount of fibres your allow into your drafting zone. It often gets mixed up with diameter. As I understand, grist applies more to the pre-spinning/spinning process and diameter is the result after it’s spun (WPI). Keeping a consistent grist is easy (for me) when it comes to spinning worsted-style. All I do is make sure I use the same sized distaff across the board. I’m still finding my groove with with woolen-style spinning.

As far as the wool types go, there is: Fine (ie. Cormo), Down (ie. Cheviot), Medium Fine (ie. Corriedale), Medium Strong (ie. Romney) and Strong (ie. Cotswold). The breeds in the brackets are what I’m using for these assignments. Of course, there are a LOT more sheep breeds that fall under the various categories. These are only five of them.

We are to spin three skeins of each wool type with three different twists. Of course we have to document how we achieved this – right down to our washing techniques. Then we have to do a sample swatch of each wool type with the three different twists. We have to have an end use in mind and then justify which yarn/twist would best suit the end use.

The exciting part of this assignment, to me, is the experimentation part of all of it. I think that many spinners, including myself, find our go-to spinning method. We have our ratios we like. The treadle speed we like. The drafting length we like. We’re comfortable with it and often have little reason to venture outside the box unless we’re spinning an exotic fibre or something like that. Well, this is forcing us to. This is about self-discovery. Of course this doesn’t apply to all spinners, but I think it’s safe to say that it applies to many.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to take photos, but I’m hoping to. I have taken some of the prep. They’re on my phone and I’m on the laptop at the moment (working on the documenting part of things).

 

Mohair – Orthogenous 2-ply Skein

The name of this assignment cracks me up because my spell checker doesn’t acknowledge orthogenous. What is an orthogenous 2-ply skein? In this case, it’s one ply spun from mohair and the other ply spun from wool.

Mohair Singles - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Mohair Singles

The was the first time I had ever spun straight mohair, other than playing around in the summertime. I didn’t have much left from the materials we had to purchase (that may warrant a rant of its own, but for the moment, I’m treading carefully). So I was terrified. I was nervous. I put it off as long as I possibly could. And guess what?

It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I knew that it would need extra twist to hold together. So again, I busted out the fast flyer. This time I spun it at 15:1. No issues at all. No breakage. It was wonderful. One thing I have learned is to not expect the same experience as other have shared because most of the time, I have experienced something different.

The second ply was good old Corriedale. I’ve spun this a million times. I wasn’t quite sure what ratio to spin it at. So I spun it at 12:1.

Wool Singles - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Wool Singles

I took a guess with the plying ratio at 10:1. I think it ended up being underplied so I will go at it again. I checked my notes and I didn’t see any suggestions/discussion/tips about spinning an orthogenous yarn with mohair. So I went with what I do know. I guess I’ll find out if I’m right or wrong.

Orthogenous Yarn - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Orthogenous Yarn

Mohair Assignment – Blend using kid

I’ve been prepping mohair all week and while I’m not ahead of the game, I’m not crashing and burning either. There have been a couple of kinks thrown in like two snow days in a row. That hasn’t been too bad though. I get to spend extra time with my hunny bunny, but he’s also at at the age now where he doesn’t need my constant attention. It’s actually quite pleasant. I love having him around, even if he’s doing his own thing and I’m doing mine. He’s happy. I’m happy.

So… What am I learning with this whole mohair process? Lots. The first time I ever touched a lock of mohair was in August. So there is lots for me to learn. One lesson I learned in this whole course is to make sure to go back and reread the notes MORE THAN ONCE (yeah, I learned that one the hard way in a previous assignment). Don’t assume you know what you’re supposed to be doing because you probably don’t! Thank goodness I learned this lesson when I did because it has saved me a whole world of pain with these assignments. It’s made a difference in how I’m approaching them too.

Mohair and BFL before blending

Mohair and BFL before blending

One of the things I read was that if I’m going to use a drum carder, make sure I separate the locks, lightly mist them and put them in a baggie overnight. Once I’m ready to card, make sure to put a light layer of wool on the drum carder first. These steps will help make the mohair distribution more even. Well, I did all of those steps. Since my mohair experience is nil, I’m not sure if I was successful at blending. I’m going to note this in my assignment (that was another biggy I learned – if it’s not perfect, acknowledge it!). I am content with the blending, but I don’t know if it’s up to standards. I know there will be feedback provided. And that’s the whole point of the course! I would have liked to run it through the drum carder a third time, but I didn’t want to risk damaging the fibres.

Open locks, mohair, BFL - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Open locks, mohair, BFL

The actual assignment gave us a choice of using a homogenous or orthogenous blend. I decided to go with the homogenous at a 50/50 blend with Blue Faced Leicester (BFL). We’re supposed to justify why we made this choice. My real reason? I knew I wouldn’t have an issue spinning a blend. I haven’t spun straight mohair (that’s today) and I hear it’s challenging. The frugal mama in me didn’t want to waste the kid mohair since it’s far more valuable. Now for the blend amount, I went with a 50/50 because I want the yarn to keep the shape of the end use project. Since the higher the mohair amount, the less shape retention, I figured this would be a good ratio. The mohair is still very obvious, but not overpowering. I went with BFL because of its staple length and softness. Since I’m choosing a shawl as my end use, it will be soft next to the neck and if the recipient were to wear short sleeves.

Kid mohair/BFL - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Kid mohair/BFL

I’m also seeing a huge difference in the hand between this sample and the yarn I spun the other day with mohair and Corriedale. BFL is softer than Corriedale to begin with. Add in the softness of the kid mohair versus mohair and…. Yowza! What a difference. This sample is so soft!
So I can see this blend being something I will enjoy spinning in the future. That’s what I’m loving about this course. It’s like a big buffet, allowing you to sample next to everything. I’m finding what I like and what doesn’t work for me. All this fibre, zero calories!

I’ve also learned that there is a difference between shooting for perfection and doing your best. Doing your best is just that – you put your all in, but you also remember your experience level. Acknowledge it within yourself and note it to the instructors. Use the feedback to get better and don’t take it personally. Because it’s NOT personal. In this case, I know my mohair experience is minimum. Am I going to spin it perfectly? Not a chance. I know this. Perfection is forgetting about the experience you have and stressing out/beating yourself up about it not being perfect. It where you let your marks define you and your spinning skills. Make or break. Do or die. I started off the course in this frame of mind. It was taking the enjoyment out of it very quickly. I had set the bar far too high for myself. Now… Ten years down the road if I’m still spinning at the same level, THAT is when I’ll be concerned about it. I already know that’s not going to happen though. I’m growing every time I touch that wheel. So no, I’m not going to strive for perfect. I’m just going to do my best. If I get a bad mark, I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m going to apply the feedback to the best of my ability and do it again. And again. And again if I need to. Those of us in the course have a golden opportunity with a small window. Now is the time to ask for the feedback and clarify if needed.

Mom always told me “All you can do is do your best.” I get it now.

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.

OHS Level 2: Day 6

What an amazing day!!! Wendy was at the helm today with her first mate, Marty. We did colour blending. If you know me, you know that I’m going to love anything related to colour. I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

Our first assignment was to work around the outside of a colour triangle. My group was assigned the Broken Printers Palette – that means that the cyan was replaced with royal blue (from the painters palette). One thing that I did discover from this exercise is that I’m no longer as determined as I was on the quest for royal blue. While I do love the colour, I’m not so fond of the green/blues that come from it. I think it’s too strong.

Broken Printers Palette - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Broken Printers Palette – all of the printers palette colours except that cyan has been swapped out with royal blue

Another group did the Broken Painters Palette:

Broken Painters Palette - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Broken Painters Palette – cyan was used instead of blue

Painters Palette:

Painters Palette - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Painters Palette

Printers Palette:

Printers Palette - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Printers Palette

Our next assignment was to work on a shade gradation which involved adding various amounts of black to a base colour:

Shade Gradation - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Shade gradation exercise

There was a crossing of wires/jumping of the gun in the group I was in (I was just getting back from break) so we ended up doing an even bigger gradation. It turned out so amazing in spite of not being what we were initially supposed to do.

Ten-step gradation - keepmeinstitchez.worpdress.com

Ten-step shad gradation

I don’t think I would have had any trouble with this portion of the course, but I will say that taking the intermediate course certainly gave me a leg up. I’m very confident about this part. I haven’t entirely decided, but I think I’m going to needle felt the samples for my triangle. We’ll see.

After class there was a fibre-related sale. I picked up some wax conditioner for my wheel and some samples of fleece for my breed book. I also picked up a couple of shawl pins.

Tomorrow we’re getting into nature dyes. I’m pretty excited about this. I worked with nature dyes during the fibre arts program. It will be really interesting to see it geared specifically towards wool. Looking forward to what Louise is going to show us.

OHS Level 2: Day 5

I can’t believe we’re more than half way through the week. This makes me a little sad in some ways (but ecstatic in others because it’s just 4 more sleeps Baby Boy!).

I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did last year. I went out for dinner with a couple of the girls tonight and we were talking about it. I think a lot of it is that I’m in a bit of a better place. I think they way the material has been presented with regards to our homework also plays a big factor. This year we know how to mount our skeins. We don’t have to stress about it. And Beth and Beth filled in some missing blanks today that were total game-changers. I think I said this yesterday, but I’m going to say it again. I’m actually excited about my assignments this year!

Today we really focused on worsted spinning, the prep and the assignments. I really like how it was suggested that we pick a project and work backwards in order to figure out what kind wool would be best and which spinning method would be most effective. I realize it’s not rocket science and this may just be logical to the experienced spinner. But remember… You were once where we are now. I’ve been spinning for almost four years now, but I’m still very green on the grander scheme of things.

I could probably write more, but I am exhausted. My sinus pressure has loosened up, which is good. But it’s left me coughing, which isn’t fun.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when we get to work with Wendy and Marty for colour study!!!! I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret as to how much I love colour. We’ll be doing a 30 step chart. To say I’m stoked is a SERIOUS understatement!!! Hopefully I won’t be so excited that I’ll forget to take pictures.