Spinning for Feral Beginners

Monday, April 27, 2009


What to do -- some whorls I'm playing with for spindles. Each one is unique, even when I get multiples, as they are machined individually and are made from natural stone, so they have individual quirks to 'em. I really like the yellow one and am fussing over it's best use. I've put them on wood for the photo, but they're not built yet. Hmmm. No time to spin with them tho.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Observations of a fibre dyer painter person

I was trying to explain to someone the other day what I did for a living and they just didn't understand. "So you own a wool shop," they said. No, I design and make yarns and fibres for people to use in their own creations. And I design and make my own pieces to sell and wear. The second part makes sense to them -- "Oh, you make clothes." 

Well, yes and no. I realised that the hat(s) on my head kept switching. I could almost see it over their heads like a cartoon bubble. 

But even then, my response was, "well, sort of."  When I responded that I make artpieces, sometimes vests, sometimes bags, sometimes just objects out of recycled fibres , they said, "why would anyone want to do that?" Well, actually, lots of people do it. And when my grandmother's mother did it, it wasn't called recycling. 

Clearly, this person needed to back away from my place at the Port Markets, right? No sale there.

It was a long Sunday after V left (that's Vellan, spinner, smartypants, gamester, and all around ace company person).

All this querying got me thinking. I don't see myself as a yarn peddler. After all, there are a lot of places to get knitting and spinning stuff around. I guess I think of what I do as  trying to get people to see their own knitting, spinning, crocheting, etc... in new ways. I'm also aware that I'm more used to seeing hand-dyed yarns than most of the knitters I meet here in Port Adelaide. One woman told me she was shocked by all the colour from my stall the first time she visited. I'm used to it.

I guess that's why most yarn shops, with the exception of a rare few, just don't do it for me. 

Quote from Sunday -- woman looks at a hank of hand-painted, pure Aussie 5ply, 100gms and sees the price. She looks at her husband and says, with disdain, "$22 for a ball of wool!" When I advise that it is hand-painted wool grown on a farm in Victoria and spun specially in small lots, she says, "ridiculous," throws the hank down, and huffs off.  This happened twice on the same day -- 2 diff market visitors of course. The first version -- they weren't so huffy.

Clearly, she wanted that wool, or she wouldn't have been so angry. I guess my years in the psychoanalysis reading study group at UMC pays off every now and then. Or perhaps, given the endless discussion of the Crisis, it seems disgusting to ask someone to pay that much for 100gms of knitting wool.

The flip side of this is the fab woman who came by with her first half of her new scarf -- knitted in Little John, some lovely Aussie 8ply pure wool -- def not superwash -- and she'd run out of the first hank already. Whooosh -- out goes another hank. I am grateful she brought her knitting by to show me, as her scarf looks gorgeous -- the orange pleasantly zigs and zags up the scarf in a sea of blues and greens. She advised she was going to make it for one of her children, but she's changed her mind. It's def. hers. Too right! OK, do -- does anyone need an expensive scarf? I dunno. I know she's enjoying watching the colours change as she knits happily along. And she will remember that happiness when she wears it. Can't buy that at David Jones.

Showing me that scarf made me so jealous -- I now want one too. Oh wait? I can paint more! I actually sometimes forget that. And there is definitely a disconnect between when I paint something and when I see the yarn knitted by someone besides me. I forget I've painted it and think, gee, that's nice! DOH!

Two years ago, at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, I walked into the exhibit area where the knitting entries are -- and there I was, staring at a shawl on the wall. "Huh, that looks familiar." I stood there for a few minutes, seriously, until it dawned on me that it was my Versailles Shawl design from Yarn Mag. I had the strangest feeling. It meant a lot to me that someone would knit that design and enter their shawl into the contest that year. So thanks to the knitter near Melbourne who did that. 

I have to remember the good stuff on days when the negative goes over the top.  Yeah, sometimes I just want to say, "right, so you like wearing cheap acrylic then do you?" But I don't. Some days I think -- it's be easier to buy a traditional shop and sell yarn  -- but that isn't what I do. That would mean no time to do what it is I actually do.

m, still SIOz -- tired, having just finished a very large lot of banana palm silk painting



Thursday, April 16, 2009

All knitting and no spin make M a dull girl

Where is the time going? I have just finished an enormous project for the US, so this week has been a post-partum kind of week. I miss the piece already. Bye bye for now.

The fibre sits here -- unspun again. I bagged the icky mill endy bits of the soy top I dyed last week and it is ready to go. Only I'm not. 

Here's a photo of my girlygirl, the love of my life, enjoying the remnants of nacho nite. You can see she is an enthusiastic eater.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Soy. Painted, not Spun

Hand-Painted Soysilk in V's colours
drying, not prepped for sale yet
I'll blame V for this colourway -- we were a-talkin' about her Urban Decay Cowl and I said I would like to paint something of that flavour --  chatted a bit about acceptable and unacceptable combos. This is my take on it.  The darker charcoal is a blue black.
It's positively evil.
In a good way. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

my spindle and me

Managed to sneak in a few minutes of spindling yesterday at the Port Markets. It's deadline season, so my woolly pile is just sitting there. V. sad.  Using one of these gemstone spindles (above). The picture isn't fab --- I worked a shorter hook on this spindle and really like its speed. On the spindle -- McLaren Vale CSW (South Aussie of course). It is going to be a 2ply for a shawl. I hope.

Really want to spin this hand-painted CSW (merino x) -- Wanting to see how the new deep blue blends.