Tag Archives: handspun

Tools – Yarn Love Challenge

In my journey with yarn, the most important tools I have, are my hands. I am using them constantly and they are necessary for everything I do. I love them. They are small, kind of chubby, a little worn out, with bitten and chipped short fingernails, and usually a few little cuts and such – because they are the most used things I own. I would not have it any other way. I am not really someone very concerned about things like fingernails and having beautiful hands. I am not a pianist or a hand model. I do worry that as I age that all this using my hands will catch up to me in the form of arthritis, but I do try to take care of them by massaging them, soaking them in warm salt water, and resting them – but typically only when they hurt. I need to get better at that. I have invested in many solutions such as ergonomic keyboards and mouses – so that the boring computer stuff I do in life has a smaller impact. I wear gloves when I dye yarn. I do my best.

It would be hard to know where to start to talk about all the tools I use in my creation of not only yarn, but other things. I have endless amounts of things – fabric, fibre, yarn, beads, pottery supplies, papers, found objects, stationary, sketchbooks, paints, glues, a hackle, drum carders, knitting needles, gauges, scales, a skein winder, ball winder, swift, needles of all kinds, threads, buttons, and so on forever and ever.

I also have many spinning wheels but I would be in denial if I didn’t pick a favourite brand, and state clearly how I create my yarns, and just how important the Spinolution spinning wheels are to me. I was an early adopter of this brand – I bought one of the first models of the Mach I and I still use it today, though less often as I am now spoiled with both a Firefly and a Hopper. The best testimonial I can offer for this brand, as I am a dealer (so hit me up if you are interested in one), is the many yarns that I am able to create. There is nothing I cannot do with these wheels. I can spin anything from laceweight to the mega bulkiest yarn you have ever seen. I can spin handfuls of fiber, or I can spin wet linen. I can add whatever I want into my yarns and not worry about them being caught up in my bobbin or being stuck behind an orifice. There are no limits.

From the day I unpacked my latest wheels, I was stoked to really get to learning to use all the new features they are equipped with – and the excitement over the fact they have lazy kates that attach to them, and yarn winders – I feel so spoiled.

The Firefly especially has gotten me through beautiful times on vacation, but also darker times when I was on bedrest dealing with a complication with my pregnancy. It is small, lightweight, portable and so easy to spin with.

This was one of my favourite times with my Firefly, on vacation – staying at a little chalet in Quebec the weekend of the Twist festival. I hope to have a similar time this summer.

Speed – Yarn Love Challenge

These days, I feel like I do almost nothing with much speed, and definitely without disruption….but that’s OK because it’s the cutest disruption ever – my little Matilda Bee. It’s been a huge adjustment for me to be at home for this year with my baby. While I love it to bits, it has also really shown me what a busy, independent person I have been my whole life. I am pretty sure that I have not relaxed in years – like, really relaxed …while not doing something with my hands. Whenever I watch TV, listen to music and basically do anything where hands are not needed I am doing some kind of artsy thing.

I used to pride myself on my fast spinning. I still sort of do. Over the years I have managed to be able to spin very fast – on a fast speed, fast whorl, fast feet and hands, and produce several yarns in one day. Nowadays however, my yarns are more complex and take a lot more time; they are also much larger in yardage which I think is a result of the amazing Spinolution spinning wheels that I use – they have huge bobbins which allow me to push myself as an artist and create very wild and very bulky yarns.

On the topic of both speed and spinning, I have also been endeavouring to spend a bit more time making garments out of my yarns to answer the eternal ‘what do I do with this yarn?’ question. The one thing I can say is that with art yarn, because of both it’s bulk and it’s interesting elements, it allows for the very quick creation of lovely things. At the top of this post is a hat that I made from my yarn – and it was completed within 2 days. I think in some ways I am really spoiled to have access to nice handspun yarn that I can make myself so I get a bit less excited making garments from commercially spun lightweight yarns. You just end up with such interesting, and totally signature garments when you use your own yarn.

 

 

Currently Making – Yarn Love Challenge

Taking part in this challenge kind of got me invigorated to get caught up on a few things that I do, but they have been slacking a little. This is one yarny thing I am working on. So, a long time ago I was a part of a group on Livejournal that is now defunct. It was the original ‘Fiber Friday’ and each week a theme would be delivered to us and we would do something in the fiber arts to respond to it. As years past, and technology changed, I emailed the original creator of the group to see if she would mind if I took it over to Ravelry but it seems she too is no longer online. So, I went ahead and did it and the Fiber Friday group now lives on both Ravelry and Facebook. Admittedly I had not been doing the weekly updates. Life gets busy and I am not at a computer all the time these days. So, I decided to put together the graphic that can be used on all the sites and other social media and people can work along with it as they can. Feel free to participate! Tag your posts with #fiberfriday2017

Other than that I have also been working on trying to complete making a series of geeky themed yarns as I will be taking part in the Niagara Artist’s Spotlight at The Geekery Pub next weekend. The latest one I am working on is My Little Pony themed.

I also decided that as I am on maternal leave this year that I should try to take up some new learning and have settled on focusing a little more on textiles – specifically embroidery and cross-stitch. Cross-stitch had always seemed like such a dated craft to me until I came across The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and I am in love with their totally cute patterns. I am currently working away on the first of the Happily Ever After SAL (stitch-along) stories – The Owl and the Pussycat. I am finding it very addicting and trying hard to balance my time between this and the things I must do!

On the embroidery side of things I have been working for some time on the #bohosal, which is really big on Instagram. It’s a floral piece that I am just having fun with. I recently picked up the Boho Embroidery book and I would recommend it highly – it is fully of amazing photos, inspiring projects and great instructions for even the new stitcher.

Summer 2016

While the blog has been somewhat quiet for a while, behind the scenes Studioloo has been extremely busy planning for the lineup of shows we have coming up:

Aug 14th – Fibre Artist’s Marketplace at Lang Pioneer Village in Peterborough, ON
Aug 20/21 – Twist Fibre Festival in St. Andre Avelin, QC
Sept 10 – Kitchener/Waterloo Knitter’s Festival in Kitchener, ON
Oct 15 – Woodstock Fleece Festival in Woodstock, ON

And…then from there, we aren’t yet sure if we will be doing more shows for 2016 and will have to see how things go as I am due with Babyloo on December 3rd!

Summer2016yarn

Also, you will likley notice that studioloo.com is looking very empty right now. This is becuase I am in the middle of redesigning it entirely, and also will begin to sell Spinolution spinning wheels again soon. So, there will be lots of new changes coming up and many fun things to share, real soon. Meanwhile, come on out and see me at a show. 🙂

Stitch n Kitsch this Weekend!!

This weekend is Stitch n Kitsch! I will have a lot of new yarns, limited edition and never before released! So, come on out and see us at Stitch n Kitsch – my setup is right inside the entrance door. There will be a lineup of amazing local artists from the Kitchener-Waterloo area with lots of goodies for your holiday shopping, or to spoil yourself a little! Hope to see you there!!

snkposter

 

Kitsch it Up, Water it Down!!

kwkg fair badge vendorThis weekend is Kitchener-Waterloo’s annual KW Knitter’s Fair!  We will be there in booths 69 and 70 and I will have a ton of new things for this show – including a few new small batch lines of yarn and some other goodies!

The  the map can be found below:

KW Fair vendor outline 2015

Apparently…I am crazy when stagnant!

My poor little pup, Toasty, developed some kind of illness in the middle of last week and through the weekend so I stayed home with him…all….weekend. I have really come to the point in my life where I can’t ever stay inside the house for an entire day. I don’t know why…but it makes me insane…and makes me think about how I could be doing a million different things but I just sit there…and watch TV.  It’s bizarre but I think a testament to the human body and mind needing nature, activity and stimulation.

So, I looked at my to do list from last post…let’s see how I did:

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Ok, not too bad…I finished 4 of 10 things but also managed to finish a few things not on the list…like teaching the husband to weave the rope rug I have been working on so he can help me and as a result I finished 2 more circles and he finished a couple. Here are mine:

 

And, I made really good food, including lovely beef short ribs. Here’s a photo mosaic of the process:

On Sunday I finally broke down and had to take a walk. Toasty was starting to feel a lot better but still just wanted constant sleep so we packed him up in his own little, cuddly crate and walked the beach. It was a nice, inspiring walk and was very nice in that I felt like part of a busy, artsy city. It was quiet and had freshly snowed.

The swans that I visited throughout the summer were there. I photographed these babies in various stages of their growing up process. Now they just look like baby swans but in an adult size.

There were guys filming a music video, singing and playing guitar. They had a cool, little rolling track that the camera could move farther and closer on.

There was even a lady letting her wee bunny take a run around on the beach. He was wearing a cute, little purple sweater and I even got to give him a little cuddle but I only managed to photograph his butt.

Then I collected a lot of amazing drift wood, some charred and a bit piece that looks like a bird head from Beetlejuice or something. I love it!

 

And there was much knitting hexipuffs for my ever-loving Beekeeper’s quilt.

And, in the shop there is a big new art yarn update! Check out the shop here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Take a peek at these handspinnies!

Also, I am in the middle of re-branding, dyeing, and photographing a ton of new sock yarn and other yarns. But, my best friend, Mat of Manspun fame has also written a lovely sock pattern for use with my yarn.  It’s called Man-Tastic Socks! and works for men or women. It’s a fun knit and great with variegates, solids or semi-solids!

Pick up your copy here! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/man-tastic-socks

 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like….

Holy buckets! It’s almost the holidays. Things have been a feverish flurry of present making and wrapping, holiday shows and so on…but it will soon be time for that lovely Winter lull – the time I will have to fully update studioloo.com with loads of brand new yarns of all sorts, ceramic work from buttons to sculpture, etc.  I will be adding an image gallery to the site as well to document projects I am working on and generally things I am excited about, but that won’t be in the shop.

There has been some spinning going on in the last while. I have been going a bit to the Sunday Sit n Spin at The Stash and really enjoying it. Susan has a beautiful shop, in a nice, quiet area. You can also find my hand dyed yarns and buttons there now.

The holidays should be very nice. I am fortunate to have a bit of a break to visit family back home and then spend a few more days away. I want to absorb myself in things like being in the hot tub, eating gourmet food, enjoying the seasonally warm weather and being a tourist. I am really hoping for some snow though. It just isn’t Winter without snow…..leaves cause for concern.  The ground needs the moisture. All this Winter darkness is not made tolerable without that bright white snow. It’s hardly snowed for more than a few minutes so far.

Here’s another sneak peek at some yarn that will be showing up in the BIG JANUARY SHOP UPDATE and now it is time to wrap more presents and plan a few feverishly last minute things.

Shop Update and New Podcast – An Accomplished Weekend!

I finished a big update in the art yarn shop today! You can check it out here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Here’s a sneak peek:

And, Episode 8 of the Muststashyo podcast is recorded, this one focusing on Mel Blanc – what a fun guy! I am cooking up some really fun things for the podcast that will be pottery and yarn centric. Here’s a look at where my thought process is going:

It was overall a great weekend of knitting, spinning, pottery and just relaxing. I had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants that have this lovely platter of dips they serve with warm pita –  kefalotiri, olive tapenade and hummus are my favourites.

That combined with a great shopping day, beautiful weather, new shoes….life is good!