Nov 19, 2009

To the Drawing Board and Back Again

I hope to create a fun pattern before the end of this year. Here is the initial experiment in various phases from carded fluff at bottom left, to skein and needles, and a quick pair of practice mitts (from a pattern) at top.

The objective: create an original fingerless mitt / texting mitt design for sharing here. At present I'm noodling with different thumb gusset options. The design I'm hoping to birth will be quite different from the above. (So far: hashing out a gauntlet cuff that ruffles and skewed stitches that zig and zag...)

Also ~ other big, big Thanksgiving holiday plans are brewing that involve core spinning yarn with electrical wiring, a soldering iron, LED lights and some extremely colorful 6 inch curly, woolen locks. My daughter is the culprit behind both the fingerless mitts and the electric wool experiments. Yay TEAL! She is also making Turducken for everyone. (As I understand it this is a dish involving a hen inside of a duck that is then nestled into a turkey which means there should be wish bones enough for everyone!)

On another note, the fiber studio now extends into the home kitchen refrigerator where a petri dish and a zip lock bag are resting quietly in the crisper and each contain about a zillion silkworm eggs. The little treasures are in their Winter hybernation. Looks as though silk will be raised on a grand scale next Spring so I best start locating wild mulberry trees now! Lots of mouths to feed.

Sometimes I wonder if my little fiber studio is the wonderful, woolen fortress of solitude I believe it to be or, is it really an evil lair of insanity? (I meant that to be a rhetorical question.)

Anyway, good or evil much of the studio is traveling with me over the river and through the woods for family gatherings and maniacal experimentations involving textiles and turducken. Hope to come back with pictures taken right when the lightening hits the slab bringing the yarn to life. There ought to be some sort of twinkling aftermath to display here upon my return.

"Tell me where is fancy bred,
In the heart or in the head?"

Nov 11, 2009

A Flurry of Weekend Fiber Activity

Here are a few collage photos of the adventures had this past weekend. Above, and in the center of the spinning group is the wonderful Lexi Boeger leading a class at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN. At top right is a picture of her book, Intertwined. It is a great resource of creative endeavors in the spinning of art yarns. Great fun to sit in on Sunday and watch the creator of some of my favorite novelty spinning techniques. Very happy to have picked up a few new tricks too! I'm sure this artist has many future suprises up her sleeve. (The big, blue "Pluckyfluff" lettering under the photo is a link to her site.)

Great fun as well to meet some of the handspinning folks from down south. Well, Minneapolis is a good distance south of my turf anyway. I met a fellow silkworm gal (for lack of a better title) and learned a bit about how to process my spent cocoons. Much to play at in the days ahead...degumming the cocoons, stretching out and dying the wonderful silk, harvesting eggs and refrigerating them for next year...

The above is a closer view of the yarns that this gathering of wild spinners created before I even got there. All of this lovely, lovely, fibery yardage... (Imagine the earflap hats one might knit up if one were to possess such a stash!) These people are exacerbating my terrible fiber addiction! Sunday was a great day to be a spinster-woman (again, for lack of a better title).

And, SATURDAY was all about needle felting (was I in Heaven this weekend or what?).  I tell you, offer a class about jabbing and stabbing wool with extremely sharp and brittle needles and you WILL meet creatively adventurous folk. Below, a collage of woolen works-in-progress. These photos definitely do not do justice to the unique details that each doll-maker put into her project:

So, you see I do actually put shoes on and leave my woolen fortress of solitude from time to time. Of course I'm packing along several pounds of wool and fiber equipment but, it still counts as getting out-and-about.

And, from both adventures I returned with less fiber stash! That's right. Nary a new purchase was made and I actually returned home with less of the precious, precious woolen supply. This is true progress on the addiction front and I boasted to Claxton about how these gatherings with other fiber enthusiasts were actually self-help wool-anon meetings of sorts.

He mumbled, "If you believe that you're just kidding yourself."

Great big thanks to Shannon Cousino, Education Director of the Duluth Art Institute for again extending to me the opportunity to teach the felting class. What a resource we have here in the DAI - for sharing, learning and creative expression. And parents, the DAI offers opportunities for children to jubilantly try their hands at everything from painting to pottery.

Thanks as well to Linda Hansen, Education Director of The Weavers Guild of Minnesota for bringing Camp Pluckyfluff and Lexi Boeger to Minneapolis last weekend and for mailing my forgotten coat and mittens back to me. Oops.

Nov 7, 2009


This is to be quite a busy weekend. I'm teaching a class today and taking one on Sunday. Both require planning for supply needs and packing a large amount of my fiber stash and equipment. Our house has multi-levels and when I'm bouncing all around (jubilantly) organizing for these activities I find myself,  repeatedly either at the top of a staircase or the bottom of one proclaiming, "Wait a minute. What did I come up (down) here for?"
Everybody my age says they do this. It happens more frequently about the same time that one enjoys walking staircases less. So, I was chalking it up to getting older until...

I found myself just sitting at the top of a staircase holding a cocoon that had new life bursting forth. Now, I did not come up here to do this. I'd come up the stairs and into the "silkworm experimentation lab" (extra room), several minutes ago, with a specific purpose: to obtain some notes kept on a bookshelf. But, here I was just sitting on this busy morning, holding a cocoon, and feeling fascinated.

Apparently I've had yet another digression from the tasks at hand. But, this time it's not so much a sign of aging as it is evidence that a childlike nature continues to thrive somewhere inside this middle-aged moth lady who can't remember why she came up the stairs.


Nov 4, 2009

I'm Surrounded By...

...Silkworm moths having   S.   E.   X.

Once the above is complete (right now it's all about diverting my eyes because this scene is playing out all around me) the male goes off into a corner of the egg carton in search of a cigarette and the female...

gets to the serious work of laying about 500 eggs.

 Now, it might just be my middle-agedness talking here but, I find the below picture exciting!

Soon there will be 100 of these lovely, lovely SILKEN cocoons emptied out and ready for spinning action! That's enough for some tiny fibery adventure. So, I'm guessing in about a week the Roman Holiday will have wound down and the real fun of harvesting lustrous silken noils shall begin in earnest. Meanwhile, I'm going to give these kids their privacy.