My new toy – an Ashford blending board. A great piece of equipment for blending fibres to create wonderful ‘art” yarns. It is like mixing paints but with fibre.
The first thing I did was to try and create yarn using a piece of fabric as my inspiration source.
Picture shows just the wool bits but I also added silk and some sparkle
Then you just put the fibre on the board. Keep on adding layers until the board is full – i.e. the teeth are covered. The fibre is brushed down between each layer, just like you would on a drum carder.
Then you take off the fibre in rolags. They are a bit tighter than rolags as you use sticks to roll them., so more like punis
I then spun up the rolags. Here are three hanks. The one on the left I kept colours together in strips on the board to make a striped yarn.
There are some good instructional videos on YouTube. I like the one from Ashford, Kate always makes everything look easy
I am still playing at the moment, doing lots of samples. It is good to see exactly what a finished yarn looks like when knitted or woven. Eventually I intend making enough yarn for an actual project! The trouble is I just love playing and experimenting.
By the way for my friends in other hemispheres Spring is coming very slowly but the signs are there which are so welcoming after a rather dreary winter.
That’s all for now. Helen
Here are some of the things I have been up to lately.
Firstly I was given a wonderful book for my birthday last year.
It is a really good source of information. I have now got her video and Sarah Anderson is certainly now one of my spinning idols. She has experimented with spinning yarn for socks, then wearing said socks to see which one gets a hole first. I call that real dedication. Anyway, one that did well was a three ply yarn with two plies going Z and one going S. Then plied S.
Here are my results.
The sock is being knitted in said three ply and the hank is
a normal three ply which was used for the leg.
The next pair are going to be made from cabled yarn which will have six plies, so a fair bit of spinning to do.
Signing off now but there will be more
To continue the weaving story. The first thing that had to be done was to build my BabyWolf! Thanks to my good friend Linda de Ruiter we did it in an afternoon ( that is if you count 8 in the evening afternoon!
Here it is in all it’s glory.
I just love it so had to make it a cover for those odd times when not in use.
It folds up very easily and is then able to be wheeled about.
Now to start weaving. I download a really good video course from Craftsy. A great site for tutorial videos. I used ‘Floor Loom Weaving’ by Janet Dawson. I chose this video as Janet was using a Baby Wolf loom throughout the course. I followed al her instructions, learned an enormous amount and ended up with three cushions.
I also got some great videos from Interweave which helped me understand and try other techniques.
Block weaves with Madelyn van der Hoogt.
Double Weave Basics with Jennifer Moore
I have also tried out other techniques.
Log cabin A try at a bit of Ikat
I also attended a super weekend workshop with Janet Phillips who showed us how to do pleats. Where will this all end?
Enough for now – more later.
I have recently put a new app on my iPad which means I can write a blog wherever I am. Hopefully this means I will blog more! We shall see…
Anyway, the main thing that is changing in my life is that I am now doing less shows, talks and workshops. This gives me more time to spend at home doing my own thing.
That ‘Own thing’ at the moment is weaving – I just love it and I thought I would share my experiences so far.
It all started Christmas 2011 when FC brought me a Rigid heddle loom. Fantastic!
I got it from www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk
Ruth, as ever, was very helpful, setting me on the right track.
This was my first scarf using some hand dyed Soliloquy yarn from Tall Yarns
I then realised that I wanted to take weaving a stage further and seeing an old Ashford 4 shaft loom on E bay I decided the time was right to move on. With the 4 shaft I could experiment with twills etc.
I also tried a bit of warp dyeing – sorry about the picture!
As with so many things I soon outgrew the 4 shaft table loom – I was just so eager to do more!
I managed to sell the Ashford on E bay to a lovely weaver in Edinburgh – Fiona Daly
Having seen so much about Schachtt looms and it was so near Christmas I decided to go for The Baby Wolf. Bought from the Threshing Barn in Leek. Janet Phillips was so helpful and encouraging. Textile folk are sooo nice!
I will sign off now but the story will continue in the very near future – promise!
I am ashamed to admit that I failed to keep my blogs going last year.
But guess what? I am going to give it another shot this year. My feeling is that the time to worry is when you give up firstly, making New Year Resolutions and secondly, truly believe you are going to keep them. For years I really thought I would keep my desk tidy – never did and I’ve nearly given up on that one.
Anyway back to more important things – what did I do in 2011.
One of the most important things was that I got my cataract fixed. A couple of hair-raising days when they removed the old lens and then couldn’t get the new one in! I was sent home feeling very sorry for myself but two days later they managed it and all was well – phew! What a difference, Colours looked much brighter – I even thought my husband had cleaned the windows.
In June I opened my garden as part of the Secret Gardens of Grayshott weekend. We decided to have a quilt show as well which was great accept for the rain – Sunday was a complete wash out. We all huddled in the studio and spent the day drinking tea and eating cakes – such fun!!!
I knitted a hanging basket for the occasion. This was one of those projects that I did wonder why I had ever started – but in the end I was delighted – and it doesn’t need watering.
Michael and I went to Australia in September and I was delighted to find that my grandaughter, aged 8, is fanatical about knitting and sewing – wonder where she gets that from.
I am still spinning and have now acquired a loom – watch this space!
’til the next time Helen
Here we are in a new year and I have a new web site which I promise to keep up to date! That is one of my New Year resolutions – let's see how long I can keep this one.
Anyway, this is my first blog and as it is at the beginning of a new year it would seem appropriate to tell you about 2010.
In January I started spinning having been inspired by my friend Joanne in Australia. What a joy spinning is although I am still working on my technique!
I also visited a lot of woolly shows this year – what a great new world.
The main event of the year had to be Fashion Sans Frontiéres. After a lot of hard work the evening turned out to be quite spectacular.
For more pictures go to
|In September Michael and went on our annual trip to Australia. This year we did a house swap and joy of joys there were two alpacas living next door. I had packed my spinning wheel – of course! – so I had great fun spinning their fleece.|
As I write this Christmas has come and gone for another year and I am looking forward to making more pots and baskets (from wool naturally!) and also look forward to seeing many of you at the shows this year.
In the meantime Happy New Year and keep stitching, knitting or what ever you like to do with your hands!