If at first you don't succeed ...

I came across this meme over on the Facebook yesterday, and it set a lightbulb off somewhere in my scattered brain. Every single one of those 12 points refers to me, and point 9 reminded me of a funny situation I had on a crafting weekend away with my friends ... it wasn't funny at the time, well not for me anyway :P
Trying to teach me new skills always requires a lot of patience and a very good sense of humour. There was a workshop on Bullion crochet, and for the life of me, I couldn't do it. Cue much foot stamping and sulking and anxiety... which lead me into point 2 !!

It wasn't such a good day to look into ones personality traits, but hey Ho! 

Yesterday was one of those days where the Black Dog had pretty much full on control of my head, as hard as I tried I couldn't focus on anything. Cue me trying to spin, weave etc with no luck... all enthusiasm sucked right away *sigh*

I did dye some yarn though... the day I get Green wrong, is the day I hang up my arm length heat resistant gloves...

This is a new yarn base I am trialling, a HT 75/25 Merino Silk sock yarn, and i love it so much, just need to test knit it now...

My lovely friend Laura gave me a tip on using bamboo placemats on the warping beam of my loom... 
So, I ordered some bamboo table runners and they arrived yesterday. Stupidly, I thought it would be a good idea to unroll what was already on the loom and put them in... BIG MISTAKE... it made the existing warp tension even worse than it was!
I wasn't that happy with what I was doing anyway, to be perfectly honest... so I did what I usually do... and feeling utterly stupid and disheartened, in a Sarah tantrum, I cut was what was on the loom off and threw it in the bin *shakes head*
In the past, the loom would probably have followed it, but I had a harsh word with myself... 
'No, have a go at rewarping it and do the project you originally wanted to do'

So I did, it took me a good couple of hours to get it all right, but thanks to the bamboo mats (♥ Thankyou Laura ♥ )  and my sheer determination to beat the hell out of myself, I did it. And the difference in the weaving experience is amazing.
I have lots of this yarn, and it is perfect for felting, then overdyeing, so I envisage cranking out a few versions of this project, just to practice warping.

When will I learn I have to take baby steps, and stop trying to run before I can walk??

12.01.2015 | 1 Comment

Another slippery slope...

Well, today was the day... you gotta love the Skully Gaffa tape !!!

... took me about 1/2 an hour to unpack it all and reassemble it. 
The previous owner had left it all warped up for me, which was very kind!

It didn't look quite right though, so I unwound and undid things. 
Seemed like a very good idea at the time :P

By the time I got to this point, my manshapes were home from school, so Thing 1 helped me tension it all up. 

(I knew the thick brown paper that wrapped Beasts new cymbal would come in useful :p)

I'd also found a *brilliant* video on warping so I undid the 4 knots that were attatched to the cloth beam and retied the warp directly onto the front beam :) 

I was rather pleased with my progress, and so watched another fab video ... 
At this point, I thought that the heddle was too fine for the chunky yarn, as when I was trying to weave, the warp threads were sticking together and I was unable to put the shuttle through without a lot of grrrrr-ing :P
I thought I was going to have to rewarp the whole thing (insert more grrrrr-ing) which I didn't want to do, I wanted to reuse the warp already in place.

But, thanks to a lot of wonderful advice from my friends, I had a break, cooked some tea and went back to it after.

Cranked up the tension a lot more, with the heddle in the *up* position (thanks Laura) and voila....

...and an hour and a few more stripes later...

There is no way in the world it is a perfect piece of fabric, but it's a start, and I am so happy that I understand the process. I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but it wasn't so steep I felt out of my depth at all.

And I wouldn't have got this far without the help of all my friends, as always :)

11.18.2015 | Add new comment

BLooming Marvellous!

So...... *blushes*

I have been jonesin' for a Loom for quite a while now, but also heavily resisting the urge to just go and buy one from new, because I am a firm believer in the fact that things happen when they are meant to.

For example, a month or so ago, I found a buyer for my Louet S51, and the buyer was someone I have known online for years, so I was able to catch up with her through it. At pretty much the same time, a Kromski Sonata (folding travelling wheel) came up for sale, and I was looking to replace my Louet with a travelling wheel anyway, so I could take her to Spinning meetings. 

So you see, things happen when they are meant to.

I have been half-heartedly searching for a loom for sale of late, but they always seem to sell fast, or they're not the right kind for me.
I wanted a foldable/portable one, so it will travel, and also pack away when I am not using it.
I put 'weaving loom for sale' into a popular search engine the other night, and found this lovely loom, about 5 pages in, over on Gumtree, in St Helens, for an insanely good price.

I messaged the seller about it, and then messaged a good friend on the FaceBook, who lives in St.Helens, as the seller was not able to post.

She is a 16" Kromski Harp Folding loom and she's hardly been used and comes with a stand and quite a few books. 
So, perfect for learning on :)

But the BEST part about it, is that I have reconnected with a good friend that I haven't spoken to for a few years, and it was like I only spoke to her yesterday.

So yeah, this is why I always try to wait for the 'right' time.
Just having something you want is all well and good, but when it comes alongside other more awesome things, it's like it was meant to happen, and this feels infinitely more fulfilling :)
11.10.2015 | 1 Comment

Spinzilla 2015... Team Handspinning News UK... FTW ! ! !

So, this week saw the first anniversary of the death of my Mother, and it's been very hard, for a number of reasons...
But, it was made a lot easier because I spent the week trying to spin as much yardage as I could in 7 days, with a bunch of truly AMAZING and inspiring people.
Goodness knows what I would have done without the focus, to be perfectly honest. I was just able to lose myself in the spinning process, concentrate on something other than this very heavy weight bearing down.

Of course, I had something to spin for... I want to make a 'Hopoholic' from Knittyspin, designed by Rachel Brown

I did a bit of planning a preparation beforehand, of course... I chose 3 fibres to work with Jacob/Bamboo (70/30), Merino D'Arles from John Arbon and our Spinzilla team was sponsored by Curtis Wools, so I used their Shetland for the third ply.

I spun and dyed a sample beforehand, then knitted it up, just to make sure I was happy with the fabric the over-dyed yarn made...

I managed 147g of my tricolour yarn... 
To explain the rules a little... You get the yardage for each ply you spin, then a yardage allowance for then plying it all together ... as mine was a 3 ply I managed 1059.6 Spinzilla yds ... was very hard going, 3 days work ! ! !

Spinning solid coloured fibres was quite boring actaully, so I decided to make Friday (Day 5) a 'Friday Fun Spin' (FFS of course), and I grabbed the most colourful thing I could find in my stash, and made a *beautiful* 80g 3ply 100% Merino barber-poled skein, which brought my total yardage on Sunday evening (last day) to 1756 Spinzilla yards... so close to a mile!!!

'For Fuchs Sake'

I have called this skein 'For Fuchs Sake'... which is a result of a Twitter conversation about the correct spelling of Fuchsia :P
I couldn't stop there! So, I worked like a crazy person to get the Mile, and finished spinning/plying 47g of the Curtis Wools Shetland at 11.30 pm... half an hour before it was over... PHEW ! ! !

So here it is, total yarn spun, with a Spinzilla Yardage of 2128 yds, which equates to 1.21 miles :)
To say I am happy, and really proud of myself is an understatement.I didn't even think I would make 1000yds, let alone over a mile.
I am also so proud to have been a part of it all with the awesomely talented Handspinning News UK team, led by the lovely Sheila :) 
We all challenged ourselves to the limit, supported each other when the going got tough, and moreover, I think we had a lot of fun and made some new friends.

What's not to love about that??

Massive thanks to Fibre East and Curtis Wools also, who were team sponsors :)

Bring on next year!!!

10.12.2015 | 1 Comment

F i b r e s ! !

I found a nifty app for my phone, that can turn a set of pictures into a mosaic, something I used to do years ago with Fibres when I was teasing people about a forthcoming shop update.
I will be re-opening the shop sometime next week, when all the March Birthday madness is out of the way, and this mosaic shows a few of the yummies that will be up for grabs :)
Now, I know this is my first fibre update for quite a long time, but I'd like to ask you guys to show a little restraint :P 
It will most DEFINITELY not be the last, I am really enjoying the gentle reintroduction back into my work, so I can foresee this happening quite regularly. 
I'd like as many people as possible to be able to get their hands on some, so I will give you all as much notice as possible, so you can be online when the update goes live :)

In other news, I am about to have a 16yr old and a 12 yr old. 
03.10.2015 | 1 Comment

You have to start somewhere, right?

'Beast bought himself a handheld steam cleaner from Aldi a few weeks ago, and I know he's been iiiiiiitchiiiiiing to get into my Studio to really test it out. My Shameless cooker hasn't been cleaned in a good few years ... I could never really see the point, as I was sloshing my dyebaths around so much, I'd be forever cleaning it if I started!

So, to surprise me and make me smile (I love that man SO much) he only cleaned 1/2 of it, with promises of finishing the job the next day.

Woke up in my usual state this morning, a little anxious and wired after a broken nights sleep :-/ 

Same ol' Same 'ol ...

But, the sun was proper shining, and I promised myself I'd try to get into my studio today and finish the 'Spring Clean' (for want of a better term) ...
I am seeing it in a different way. The less excuses I have to STOP me from working in there, the better. The fact my cooker and studio is a little 'lived in' never stopped me working before :p

So am removing the obstacles. 
Piece by piece.

Clearing the floor was the biggest job, as it'd become a place to just 'dump' things, instead of finding them a permanent home. I am sure everyone understands what that's like!

The only obstacle to get around now is me !
My need to create needs to be encouraged...
... Gently.

So, the current plan I have is to go in there tomorrow, or sometime soon, and dye some fibre. Then try and dye some every day for a week. Do say, an hours work, 200-300g of fibre in that day, maybe. 
This seems reasonable, because dyeing fibre doesn't create as much steam as open and constantly-on-the-cusp-of-boiling dyebaths do. This means that if it's raining and cold, I can work with the door of my studio shut and not catch a chill.

Baby steps :)
03.03.2015 | Add new comment

Waiting for a sign...

Picking up the pieces ?
Is that what it is supposed to be called ?
Feels a lot more like 'waiting for someone to pick up MY pieces' ...
I've pretty much always lived in my own head and have never been very good at talking about how I feel. Have never really needed to, always seemed to be able to work things out for myself.
Guess I was never really taught that it was okay to tell people how you really feel about stuff, or maybe once upon a time, I tried, and my feelings were trampled and disregarded.
Lesson learned.
Who knows ?
There's really only a few people who I can 'trust' my feelings with, even now. It's not that I see myself as being particularly that precious, but the vulnerable Sarah inside of me is, and she needs to be kept safe.
The everyday Sarah you see is the bodyguard, the protector, the shield.
My headspace feels so fractured at the moment, can't hold a positive thought or even contemplate undertaking anything vaguely worthwhile.
And the worse thing about it is I feel nothing...
C o u l d n ' t  c a r e  l e s s. .
It's like I am just 'existing'... and my sense of self-worth is at absolute zero again too, but that's no surprise.
There just seems to be cracks everywhere I look , so many it is almost like I am causing them. This is a ridiculous notion, believe me I KNOW, but I see no other reasonable explanation for it.
Is my current fragility making me see cracks where there are none?
Or is my inability to face up to things preventing me from fixing the cracks? Maybe I am just picking at them, not allowing them to heal... doing my usual stellar job of overthinking everything ?
I wouldn't know where to begin to fix how I feel right now, even if I could.
Fear is a destructive emotion. It's chipping away at my defenses, seeping through the aforementioned cracks, infecting everything.
One thing I do know, and that I put all faith in, is fate. Just like people who have a 'religious' faith, and put their confidence in their chosen deity.
Signs that I am on the right path keep appearing. No positive or negative weighting to them, just plain and simple affirmation.
I know that I am on some kind of a journey....
Just hope the destination involves less chaotic noise in my head and also much cider.
02.26.2015 | 7 Comments

My colourful process :)

I am sure I have shared my process when spinning for a 3 ply yarn before, but as this blog is kinda of an online journal for me, I'll go over it again :)
I like to take lots of pictures of every stage, because it helps reaffirm my fibre choices as I go. Colours may look wonderful and perfect when they are still a roving, but things do change once you have spun them.

Step One: Choosing the ingredients ...

(Left to Right) Southern Cross Fibres Polwarth, Southern Cross Fibres Corriedale and last but in way least, JulieSpins Falkland

Step Two: Once I have made my colour choices I then begin spinning, one roving at a time, taking pictures of every stage, just in case something has changed after the roving has been spun.


Step Three: Plying

Once it's plyed, it gets a bath and a little bit of manhandling to help it balance out.... This picture is pre-bath ...

Sometimes the yarn works out just as I hoped, and sometimes it doesn't :P This is a little on the pink side for me, so it will have to be rehomed!!

01.22.2015 | 1 Comment

For Sale!

I've had this Louet S51 DT for a few years now. It's a discontinued model, and I bought it from Janet at the Threshing Barn.

I love Louets, they are such intuitive wheels, what you see is what you get, no overcomplications, just plug and play :) I've owned a few over the years, so I am speaking from experience ;)

The poor thing is sitting in my understairs cupboard, all lonely and un-used... it's be a perfect first wheel, I learned on an S10 :)

It comes with 5 bobbins, which hold loads of yarn.... and I am looking to get £350 plus carriage for the wheel and the bobbins, or you can come and collect :) Then you'd get a look in my studio and maaaybe some fibre too ;)

Just email/Rav/FB or Tweet message me... am not too hard to find :D

01.13.2015 | Add new comment

Spinning again :)

Went to a Spinning/Crafting Day on Saturday, and managed to clear away some fears of 

a) Being in a large group of semi-strangers and 
b) Not wanting to craft in public (self-confidence issues, I guess)

This might sound ridiculous (I know reading it back does :P, trust me) but I do get anxious about dealing with people and their reactions to me now, after losing my Mum. 
I had to deal with SO much of that whilst up at my Folks place, as my Mums passing was so very sudden. Dealing with other peoples grief is somewhat difficult, especially when you are trying SO hard to deal with your own. 
But, the next few months will be full of dealing with things like this, and I am so very lucky to have very awesome friends who hold me up and encourage me forward ♥
Anyway, I had some gorgeous BFL already on a bobbin, that I got from the awesome Freyalyn... bought it from her at Fibre East this year, and it got left alone due to hollybobs and knitting and well, Life in general :P 
I continued with the plan that I had for it, and my wheel decided to be very kind to me ... 

... and the fibre just flew out of my hands and onto the bobbin.

Always a good sign.

I finished spinning the whole 115g of it over the weekend, and chose some semi-solid bluey/grey Polwarth-Tencel from one of Southern Cross Fibres Club packages to use as the other ply, yes my friends, a 2 ply... *Shock~Horror*... (right now am looking to actually produce something, not get 1/2 way through a 3rd bobbin for a 3 ply and lose interest :P)
I spun a little of the Polwarth-Tencel last night, to make a sample skein, just to be absolutely sure I'd made the right choice...

I needn't have worried about that :p

There's about 32g there, didn't measure yardage... will do that once I have set the twist.

I have no idea what it will all become, but YaY to a little creativity and productivity :)

12.16.2014 | 2 Comments
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