Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Art yarns agogo

This weekend I had the most amazing time with a whole load of people, making new friends and learning newness. I also discovered I am better at spinning than I thought although I occassionally overspun my yarns.

I was truely excited when I discovered the owner of FeltstudioUK was hosting an art yarn workshop in my neck of the woods. I have bought lots of her lovely fibre and batts and admired her funky skeins at several shows around the UK. So, despite the fact it took place on the weekend of our wedding anniversary I booked a place and a hotel room even though the venue (Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset) is close to where I live.  I didn't want to risk getting caught in bank holiday traffic and miss a minute of the workshop. So having packed a lovely single on my bobbin, my cute Wendy wheel and large box of fibre I travelled down and stayed at the Travelodge in Ilminster.

Preparing for the workshop itself was great fun as it involved stash diving. For those who don't have a big stash (which I do) it is always great to have an excuse to rummage around and find braids and fluff that I've forgotten about.

So the day started with us all getting to know a bit about each other, although several of us have met previously. This was followed by a quick lesson on how to spin thin (my default) and thick (something I have stuggled with for a while). After that, we learnt how to make coils, twists and knots.

Coils are just totally yummy and it is great fun to make knots by jigging one of the threads up and down. So pleasing. See how cute it loots on the bobbin.

Next we spun a slub yarn. Oh, how I struggled to make this. I need more practice as some of my slubs were a bit monsterous and my poor Wendy has a small orifice which wasn't to accommodating for most of the yarns I made. But I'm quite pleased with my first efforts, especially when we made a 'bead' yarn.

That's my "beaded" yarn, the red and yellow ones in the middle.

Davasdu made the most amazing ones, they look like tribbles on a string! I also love how they co-ordinate with what she is wearing.

They make a gorgeous textured fabric. These are Rosanna's coils which she knitted up before dinner on the Saturday night.
Then it was time to add things to our yarns. I went for an understated yarn with beads plied at regular intervals. Very Tilli Tomas. I have more of the fibre and beads so will make another skein, I love it so much.

We were then shown how to spin items straight into the yarn (not using a carrier yarn).
The inclusions yarn is the one on the top and was a bit fiddly as I had to add my inclusions behind the orifice as they would not fit through. We were also shown how to add things such as silk coccoons and locks. I shall have to try these later as I wanted to finish my beaded yarn so didn't make any on the day.

The middle yarn was spun with a single thread carried at the same time. Again, I really liked this technique and will finish off the roving in the same manner. I used a lurex thread so it adds a bit of sparkle and should look lovely knit up.

The bottom yarn was made on the second day and is a core yarn. I made it from this mad batt.

After a day of fun and laughter we had all produced a table full of gorgeous and interesting yarns.

Several of us then had a delicious dinner at The Farthings Hotel which is opposite the hall hosting our workshop. Isn't it pretty? Oh, and for those that are interested I had  moules mariniere with chunky chips presented jenga style. I love mussels and so does Widowtwanky now!

 The second day of the workshop involved making batts. We arrived to a table groaning with fibre and everyone who had bought a drum carder placed it on the table. I added a whole bunch of fibre and inclusions to the table, as everyone else did.

Wow, I learnt so much about drum carding and also fell in love with the full size louet drum carder. Man that is awesome. Maybe I'll upgrade in the future but first I have to really play with my Ashford.

Lots of gorgeous batts were made and then we had a lesson on spinning core yarns. I showed you a picture of mine earlier in this post.

The batt table was the perfect chance for a photo opportunity.
From left to right - Jillybean, Mandacrafts, VickyW, Widowtwanty, FibreStudioUK, Rosanna, Huskytailbone, StrandedYarnsUK, WinghamWoolworks, Davasdu, me and NinjaBex. I've given their 'handle' and where possible a link to their site or blog. Don't worry you guys, I can remember your names, honest.

I made one final batt and yarn, which I love. It made me squeal with delight as I spun it.

It was a totally amazing weekend and, if you ever have the hankering after making art yarns, I would really recommend a FeltStudioUK workshop.

Finally, here are some shots of the final table showing lots of lovely yarns.

Aren't they just to dye for! (Pun intended DH, pun intended!)


Guzzisue said...

looks like you all had a great time and so many familiar names and faces :-)

Shani said...

absolutely fabulous time, in very good company. Missing you all already...

Best wishes

Bobbi said...

All of that lovely yarn is making my mouth water!
I heard you on Miss Elle's podcast and am glad to hear you talk about the yarns and batts. I'm even more eager to try these techniques.