Become part of the circle sharing inspiration for spinning and other fibre crafting. It is a warm and reassuring place, sort of like a favourite chair near a cosy fireside, where beginners and experts come and go as they please. It's a place to share what we know, learn from each other and display what we've created -- while supporting and inspiring each other on the wonderful journey associated with handspinning and wool-related crafts.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Woolly Wednesday returns ... October 2012

Whoosh and we're back! Hope everyone has had a lovely Summer.
There have been some changes here at Spinspiration. Kelly has now returned to her homeland and is enjoying life back there with her family, we wish her well and hope to see her spinning again in the future.
With that in mind I would like to welcome new blog writers on Spinspiration -  Lydia (blogging today below) and Claire (hopefully joining in soon) and look forward to sharing this space with them and with you all, they have both linked up with our Woolly Wednesdays for a while.

So welcome to our Woolly Wednesday gathering for October, whether you are a regular or a new visitor - come and share with us all what you have been doing with wool or fibres in the last month. All crafts and inspiration welcome.It's a little quiet here some months, we would love to hear from you. Have you been spinning, knitting, felting, crochet, etc

Woolly Wednesday falls on the first Wednesday of every month. Think of it as a creative gathering, or a virtual guild meeting. Bring along any fibre-related project, whatever it may be. If you are starting out in fibre arts, share what you are interested in pursuing. Let's show each other our projects, share any tips, tutorials, ask questions, seek advice. Add your post to the Linky below and we can visit one another and share, support, encourage, be inspired!.

Please feel free to add the button to your blog's sidebar with a link to Spinspiration, a lovely way for us all to link together. Just copy the image to your desktop and then in your blog design - add a gadget, add picture -  upload the picture and then add the url (http://spinwheelspin.blogspot.com/) and the image will link to here. Join us with the linky below, link to a recent blog post of your woolly adventures in the last month or to a post in the month ahead, we look forward to seeing you, no time limits just join us when you can.

Planning a woolly Christmas!

First of all I ought to say "Hi" and introduce myself.  I'm Claire, and have been taking part in Spinspirations monthly get togethers since the offset, but now am helping with Spinspiration in a more formal sense.  I blog over at Simply...Life as well as at Aisling Designs.  I'm a mother to four children, and have been spinning for what will be two years this coming Christmas.

As a crafter, my mind is already turning to Christmas, things to make, mainly for others, and possibly a little for myself. I am currently spinning up more wool (Zwartble/Suffolk cross from Dawn) for a macBook cover commission, based on the iPad cover I made for someone.

 Earlier this year I was making a couple of rings for the Guild Exhibition that was held in July.  The Robin was the one that was eventually sent down there, and it has now made it's way back home, and yesterday I was able to give it to my Mum for her birthday present, as she was rather taken with it as I was making it.
 I also made a seascape one, which has had lots of interest in it over on Etsy.
 As I enjoyed making them so much, and as I had so many other ideas going round in my head for designs, I bought the rest of the rings from our local guild, so that I can continue playing with spinning, felting, knitting, crocheting, all to create new pictures (hopefully some in time for Christmas)
 More woolly goings on for Christmas include a batch of soaps and wool!  I think I will have very clean hands after felting this lot (and that's only half the soaps!!)
I've also been approached by our guild to see if I have any small things that I can sell at a show they are at in November.  I haven't been able to think of many small scale things to make, but the other day I came up with the idea of some embellished flowers using handspun wool.  These will be turned into brooches, hair clips, bobby pins and hair bobbles.  A nice satisfyingly quick thing to make amongst the bigger projects.

As ever, with me, so many ideas, so little time.  But it is safe to say, I will be spending the next couple of months working with alot of wool!

Off to see what everyone else is up to.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dawn - Woolly Wednesday adventures

It's good to be back for Woolly Wednesday! I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Lydia and Claire who have joined the Spinspiration team. I am looking forward to them sharing this space and reading their writing.

I hope everyone had a lovely Summer, anyone who reads my other blog will have seen we had lots of fun and enjoyed some lovely weather during the school holidays. Now though it is most definitely Autumn here, time for dark cosy evenings in front of the spinning wheel. Bliss. I hadn't spun at all over the summer holiday.

September has seen a revival of the wheel spinning though and plenty of time spent spinning at public events encouraging and inspiring others to take up the crafts. It has been fun, and I have even sold on my first Spinning Wheel - my trusty Ashford Traditional that started off my love of spinning. It has sat unused for a while though, except for a short loan period to a friend until she bought her wheel. So it was time to say goodbye and pay forward the opportunity to somebody new to spinning to buy a wheel at a very reasonable price, after all I bought her very reasonably too. The new owner has also joined the guild, so our paths will no doubt cross some months.

 My first wheel ... now someone else's first wheel

So spinning - the first spinning I did in on return to the wheel was some Romney Marsh spun on my Wee Peggy wheel. I started spinning this at The Romsey Show - an agricultural show that the Guild are represented at each year. I loved it this year, amongst some good friends with lots of chatter and laughter ... oh the laughter! It was a gloriously sunny hot hot day too, and the show was very busy. We had a great day, lots of visitors and many of them really interested in spinning and dyeing and weaving. A great opportunity to show people how the wheel works, the history of spinning, the fleece to yarn process ... visitors young and old. We even won a prize for our interactive dempnstration areas.
 Me on the left with friends having a great time
(towards the end of the day hence not many visitors around us!)
Our rosette and certificate proudly displayed

It was wonderful to be able to give the opportunity to many to have a go at spinning too, their eyes lighting up when you ask "do you want to have a go?". I still remember being asked that question years ago, so am always keen to offer the same opportunity.

Romney Marsh carded fibre

I spun a bobbin of the Romney and then decided I'd like to n-ply it so sat and plied it before going on to spin more of the fibre. A joy to spin, really lovely fibre with a little lanolin still there making it lovely for the hands too - the best hand "cream" ever!

My navajo plied skein awaiting washing

I continued to spin the Romney Marsh the weekend after at our Guilds open day/taster day. I ended with another couple of full bobbins which are waiting to be plied. I need to decide if I will n-ply these or make it a 2 ply for another project, I have more to spin so may see what yardage I'd get with either plying. I'm not that good at planning for projects, but trying to improve on that now as the handspun stash grows.

2 more bobbins of Romney Marsh singles

As mentioned earlier I took along the Ashford Traditional wheel too, initially set up for people to come and have a try at spinning as it is such an easy going wheel to learn on. I had a for sale sign ready to pop on after a while, although had to quickly remove it after Imogen (my daughter) stuck it on my Wee Peggy! No darling, this one really is not for sale, and not at that price! Most definitely not, although it raised a laugh and a smile amongst friends. Quite a few people had a go on the wheel, some who had recently acquired wheels and were not sure where to start, others interested in getting into spinning.

And then a friend asked if my wheel was available for a lady to try and I saw that little spark or something and thought to myself - I think this lady is going to love and buy this wheel. She was hooked right from the start, loved it, and was very good at grasping the drafting and treadling. She sat with us for a long time, spinning more and more, occasionally acknowledging her daughters who were there too and loving trying out lots of things. But she was determined that she was going to spend her time here with the wheel. A message to the husband about where it might go, quashing his crazy idea that it could go in the garage! We had fun chatting, and yes she did buy the wheel. I gave her some Jacob roving to keep her going too and she picked up some fleece at the sales table. Her daughters were as pleased to know the wheel was going home with them, I think they had all fallen for the spinning bug! It was lovely to have been able to offer the wheel to her - and making friends with a new member, and two new members signed up to the Youth Guild too.

Me on the right spinning on the Wee Peggy
The Ashford Traditional on the left with her new owner

A good month for spinning and meeting new friends. Next month our Guild meeting welcomes Wingham Wool Work who fill our hall with goodies to fondle, sample and buy. I must remember to buy more spinning wheel oil. I have sat and labelled a lot of my spinning samples and skeins in a view to linking them up to a project. I have a lot of fleece and fibre to use so can't see me coming home with much from the day, except maybe some samples and some of the more unusual fibres out there that I've not spun with much yet.

Looking forward to catching up with what everyone has been up to, come along and share anything woolly - we love to be inspired. Join us for virtual spin (or other woolly crafts) and chat, with a virtual coffee and cake!

Meet Lydia

I’m Lydia, or shearersgirl on Ravelry. I am joining Dawn to assist with Spinspiration now that Kelly has moved on. I thought as this is my first post over here I’d better introduce myself. I have been spinning, dyeing and shearing sheep for about four years. I became interested in wool when I discovered fleeces were being burnt or left to rot because they had so little value. As someone who hates waste, I was horrified. I went on a shearing course, bought a spinning wheel and joined the Guild.

I am a member of the Kent Guild of Spinners, Dyers and Weavers. Now I also run a small business, Shearer Girl Yarns, selling my hand dyed yarns and fibre from local farms. I love working with natural fibres and natural dyes. People often ask if I have my own sheep or live on a farm, sadly neither is true – maybe one day. I can also be found writing for Yarnmaker magazine and I’m on Twitter @Romneyteg. 

I’m looking forward to taking part in Spinspiration and hearing about your fibre adventures!
Here is my spinning story.

Beginning Spinning – Lydia’s Story

I started spinning four years ago. I am horse mad and I have always had an interest in farming so I was volunteering at the Working Horse Trust, a charity which promotes traditional heavy horse breeds. 

As part of the grassland management system, the trust has a small flock of Southdown sheep. I helped out a bit at lambing time and enjoyed a few Southdown sausages but didn’t have a lot of contact with the sheep. When I saw the flock’s fleeces abandoned to rot in a barn, I was horrified. I thought maybe I could learn to spin and do something with all this wool. I also thought I could save the charity some money by learning to shear. 

So I came to shearing and spinning at the same time. I went on a shearing course, then a few weeks later I was at the Kent County Show and wandered into the tent of the Kent Guild of Spinners, Dyers and Weavers. I was fascinated to watch the ladies spinning and see all the colourful things they had made. I kept going back to their tent. Eventually, one of the spinners asked if I would like to have a go. I did and was hooked. Janet said afterwards she knew I must have been keen because I kept coming back! 

I was helping out on shearing jobs that summer. One of the shearing customers had an Ashford Traditional wheel, still in pieces in its box, tucked away. I bought the brand new wheel for a good price, along with carders, a niddy noddy, lazy kate and a video. I lovingly waxed my wheel and put it together but it would not spin. I was in despair. I took my wheel to a Guild meeting and explained my dilemma. A huddle of ladies appeared around me making all sorts of suggestions and within minutes they had my wheel set up and spinning. 

I got a Portland fleece from a shearing job and washed it without sorting it because I didn’t know anything about sorting fleece. I dyed some of the fleece with Dylon dyes and felted a fair portion by accident. I carded the wool by hand and spun lumpy yarn. Eventually I spun enough to make a jumper.  A bullet proof jumper - the yarn was so dense and over spun. 

My first handspun

My never quite finished bullet proof jumper
In the meantime, I decided fleece washing was a tedious business and so I flung my second fleece, a Black Welsh Mountain, in the washing machine. Again, I hadn’t sorted the fleece, nor had I noticed the hardened clumps of poo attached to the bottom end. The poo softened in the wash and distributed itself throughout the fleece. Being forgiving Welsh Mountain, the fleece didn’t felt and I did manage to spin some.

Since then, I’ve learned by trial and error, reading books and by watching fellow Guild members. These days I also learn a great deal through online resources, such as Spinspiration!