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Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

my new best friend

my new best friend

I just got back from The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and- wow. I went last year as a newly born fiber artist and had a great time, but it was so interesting to go back as a weaver with an agenda. It was utterly overhwleming, but less so when I reminded myself that I don’t need hoardes of knitting yarns or gigantic bags of roving. With great focus and incredible amounts of self control, I managed to narrow down my wishlist to things that will be useful to me in the immediate future for practical and experimental purposes.

lovely purchases, including the ugliest shuttle ever made

lovely purchases, including the ugliest shuttle ever made

I decided I’m going to get into some serious spinning and felting this summer; I got some nice merino and some silk (!) to spin, plus some yarn for weaving and that great plastic shuttle (it was the cheapest one, seriously). I can’t wait for this semester to end so I can start brainstorming.

wool vendor

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fulldropspindle

settingthetwist

Setting the twist- this jar will be immersed in a bucket of water.

I have officially decided I am never spinning for fun ever again. It’s a real workout with a drop spindle, and a real headache if you’re trying to set the twist without a niddy noddy.

I find myself at odds a lot with the techniques that relate to my field of study; there are a lot of love/ hate, bored to death/ thrilled beyond reason feelings going on. I like the idea of spinning (the idea of knitting, crocheting, etc.) but I’m learning more and more that while I admire the skill of others in these areas, I’d really rather just stick to the things I love instead of trying to make myself love things that I think I should love. Example: the MICA fiber department is crazy about surface design (i.e. screen printing, shibori, etc.) and I feel kinda bad because honestly, I’m not a fan of doing that sort of work at all and sometimes I think there’s something wrong with my fiber-majoring genes. But I’ve managed to come down to this conclusion: while it’s good to have a basic knowledge of all of these techniques, I don’t have to practice them constantly if it doesn’t relate to my practices as an artist.  Although, I am particularly proud of this one little ball:

ballofgreenmarino

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dropspindle
I decided to pick up my merino wool again- this time with some real conviction! Much like knitting, I don’t find spinning to be a very interesting or satisfying a process, but the results are probably worth it. I plan on using whatever yarn I spin to revist some small “tapestry” panels I started months ago; I’ll probably start spinning some thinner stuff when I start up again for some embroidery work and use the rest of the yarn for crocheting. If I get tired of spinning, I might do some (needle?!)  felting, provided I get up the energy/ figure out how that works. So far, it’s a craftily productive Spring Break.

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Right now I’m in an in-between stage. The Ikat project is finished, and the double cloth project will start next week; first a sample, then the final for the class. Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of work going on in most of my classes, mostly essays and reading, and since I am impossibly quick when it comes to getting homework done I have plenty of free time to get caught up on all of those other projects I have looming in the distance. No pun intended.

Actually, most of the projects I’m currently working on are off-loom; finally finish spinning the sumptuous green merino wool I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last Spring (which will take me forever, because I am a terrible spinner [I blame it on the drop spindle] and I get easily frustrated and quit early), a knitting project that I have in mind for an installation, and some embroidery work that I need to finish and begin (finish for work I plan on submitting to competitive scholarships next semester, begin work with Jacqueline McNally for a show we plan to submit in the Spring).  It’s hard to work on everything all at once, but it’s even harder to not let the inactive projects slip too far in to the back of my mind.

I’m most excited about my collaboration with Jacqueline because I’ve never really done collaborative work before, and our work is so different; she’s an illustator and I’m a fiber artist, but we have a lot of common ground when it comes to our interests, and we work together so well as people. I don’t see how we can fail.

It’s rather gloomy and unexciting outside today, so I’m going to hop on home, curl into bed with one of the aforementioned tasks (embroidery sounds good tonight) and watch Mirrormask, which is sure to be some kind of inspiration.

Weaving updates to follow this week- I can’t keep my hands off the loom!

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