Tag Archives: spinning

Travel Projects – Yarn Love Challenge

I bring something to do with me not only on long trips by car, plane, boat or train, but even from upstairs to downstairs in my own home. It’s just this funny habit I have of carrying around something with me in the event that before I go to sleep I decide I want to knit a little, or if while watching a movie, I might want to spin a bit of yarn. I have this bag I carry things upstairs and downstairs in.

When I travel by anything other than car, I tend to really enjoy bringing along one of my long term projects – my Beekeeper’s Quilt – and I knit hexipuffs for it because they are small and easy to carry everywhere with me.

It has been to a lot of places with me – all along the east coast of the United States and the east coast of Canada.

I also tend to keep my hands busy on car trips, and I am lucky enough to have had some kind of folding or portable spinning wheel that allows me to spin in the car while the husband is driving. I find it breaks up the monotony on those not-so-interesting sections of long drives.

I also tend to do a lot of travelling in order to knit, or work on things, especially in nice weather. It’s one of the most relaxing things in the world for me to work outside on my projects in some nice location. Here’s one of my favourite:

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.

 

 

Summer buzz!

I know this blog has been really quiet, and I sort of have too. I guess that is what happens when life it this crazy whirlwind of summertime activity and building my house into the happy little nest that I need to make my brain work. I have been on many adventures so far..making the nooks of this new house more comfy for me, my husband and our fur-family. I have a lot of fun things coming up however. I updated the ‘upcoming shows’ section of the website so you can keep up with me. A great place to find me or my stuff is the Art in the Open event every Saturday in front of the Rose Theatre in Brampton. It works in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market so you can see me, get yarn, and stock up on awesome produce in one fun morning!

 

The studio is coming along nicely with most parts pretty much ready for production work now. The last thing to get done really is the installation of a big restaurant kitchen sink that I indulged in to allow myself an easier place for all of the dyework. This week I am hoping to get it all setup so I can start dyeing up some new yarns. I am going to have a new line of bootsie-loo sock yarn and lots of mini-loo mini skeins fresh off the presses in a couple of weeks.

This upcoming weekend I will be at Art in the Open on Saturday and then heading down to Peterborough for Lang Pioneer Village’s Festival of Textiles. I will be selling my wares and doing art yarn spinning demonstrations. There will be a lot of other fun things going on – natural dyeing demos, live music, animals, historic buildings and other fun museum stuff. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday.

 

This summer has been nice but really busy. I am looking forward to taking a bit of vacation soon because things have been really non-stop, but in a good kind of way. I have been working a lot and trying to find a new balance living in a different city with a different routine. I have not been online a whole lot as I have so much real life stuff to get done. I think I am somewhat addicted to working on projects around the house. There is just so much to be done, in phases. The next big project will be putting my library together – a room I have dreamed of having for ages. It’s safe to say that I have a lot of books and it will be nice to have them in their own little home where they belong. That way I won’t feel so guilty for having so many books. I think it will be a nice room to relax in, leave your troubles at the door and get lost between the covers of a good book.

It’s also almost Wordwide Spin in Public day – September 21st! So, I am in the process of doing a lot of planning and populating http://www.wwsipday.com with lots of activities!

April 27th – DKC Knitter’s Frolic and Stitch n Kitsch

Happy Spring!

This Saturday Studioloo will be at 2 shows!

DKC Knitter’s Frolic 

Marketplace: Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario

http://downtownknitcollective.ca/wp/?page_id=14

 

Stitch n Kitsch in Waterloo

http://www.stitchnkitsch.com/

Inspired Weekend

It has been a really great weekend of getting work done! I have put a new face on the Studioloo website which I am quite happy with and will be putting up a lot of listings. I have finished so much work that is not currently posted on the site. I took a bit of a hiatus from the duties of running an online shop. It’s a lot of work – the photography, photo editing, writing descriptions of products, uploading photos, updating inventories, carts, e-commerce, FTP’ing information, website updates, and so on! It can be somewhat exhausting at times. But, I do love to get my work out to a broader audience than those in Ontario. I really enjoy selling my work in person as well – it’s nice to hear people tell you their plans for your yarns or how something you made will accent their homes.

I have done a lot of spinning this weekend. I think I caught the spinning bug remembering Janice Rosema, an incredible fibre artist who passed away last week.  She was a great inspiration to me and overall just a really sweet person. We are having a little spin-along in the Ravelry art yarn community HERE.  Feel free to join in or post your photos of your inspired works for Janro on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #spinforjanro.  I also did a bunch of crock-pot dyeing of rovings and yarns and managed to finish a bunch of administrative work for shows I am applying to and so on. My to-do list is getting a lot shorter.

There has been a lot of snow here lately so I have been fighting off my cabin fever just working away on things, doing a lot of home cooking and watching documentaries. They have included ‘Sweetgrass’ – a doc about sheep herders going through the Rockies with their flock, a documentary about all of the craziness and politics of the Barnes’ art collection and it’s foundation, a documentary about the making of South Park and how each episode is done in only 6 days, and a bunch more.  I am a documentary addict at this point.

I have also been working away on my Beekeeper’s Quilt and have passed the 300 mark. 300 Hexipuffs! Holy cow – one day this will be a quilt. I also designed a few charts – one of Catbus (for Studio Ghibli fans) and a few for Adventure Time. They are below:

 

 

 

Have a happy Family Day or President’s Day long weekend!

 

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

 

Camping Break

Labour Day weekend proved to be lots of fun, camping with the family – having awesome BBQs, smores over a fireplace, hiking around lovely woods, catching frogs and snakes (and letting them go of course), kayaking with dogs, and just relaxing. This is totally the break I need before a big knitting show. We stayed in a lovely area of South Eastern Ontario where there is a tiny population out in the middle of 120 acres owned by a friend. I was able to sit outside most of Saturday evening and Sunday morning and spin yarn outside while the dogs ran around, off leash, having a great time.

 

The dogs normally don’t get much chance to run off leash as I find a lot of the dog parks in the city are overrun with big dogs and lax owners who don’t really pay a lot of attention to their dogs. But the land we stayed at was basically a mowed field in the middle of the woods so the dogs were pretty good about not venturing away. Toasty, the pup, was the most adventurous so we had to keep our eyes on him a little more. But, he’s cute, so it’s allowed.

 

It was nice walking around in the marsh – although it was a bit dry because of the summer heat, but the frogs knew where the water was and there were literally hundreds of them all jumping around. This area seems to be populated mostly by leopard frogs although I did see a couple of bull frogs.

I even got to see a super cute hummingbird at the feeder near the camp site. Sorry for the blurry photo – they are always so tough to photograph or get very close to and I only had a point-and-shoot.

We took a drive to the Black River which is really beautiful black slate. The river was really calm and there were a lot of small speckled fish swimming around.

Then we got to check out O’Hara Mill – it is a nice conservation area, perfect for hiking and picnics, with several pioneer buildings – log cabin, blacksmith, schoolhouse and such. It was a nice day to wander around there.

Schoolhouse

Great poster

Mike, being Herculian

And, a cool rock

And, I got to meet my Aunt’s dog, Peanut, who is totally adorable..

Since arriving home, I have been working away trying to get everything all done for Kitchener/Waterloo Knitter’s Fair and I think I am finally finished. I dyed up a custom order lastnight and put the final touches on a few things and organized all the stock for the show. Come out and see me at The Black Lamb’s booth – we will have lots of great stuff. Other than being a great friend and partner working together at shows, Laurie is awesome because she gave me all these veggies from her garden! Yay for having friends that are basically like a CSA!

Pods and Prep

I have been a lazy blogger – but not a lazy maker. My day job has been really demanding of late and I have been preparing for shows which will bombard my life in April.

I have been working away on felting pods, dyeing yarn, spinning, potting – new bowls and buttons and all sorts on their way. I am also thankfully preparing for a much needed vacation in a couple weeks.

 

I recently decided I would join the Neilson Park Creative Centre and the Etobicoke Spinning and Weaving Guild so that is a nice thing to be excited about and have some more involvement in. I hesitated for a long time to join a guild because I am not a good rule follower when it comes to my work and I have been in a lot of guilds and groups where your work can get sort of …bossed around, or stifled by those around you. However, the folks I have met so far are wonderful. I am just going to try not to dedicate myself too much to responsibilities on a board type situation. I do enough of that already and I am feeling like in the next few years I need to take a hiatus from those sorts of things to allow myself more time for research and development on my craft and to discover new things and organize what will work for me on a longer term basis.

I should also mention the shows that I have coming up soonish!

April 14th – Stitch n Kitsch

April 21st – PENDING – Waiting to hear if I made the cut to get into the Made by Hand Show. I know there were about 60 extra vendors than the venue had room for so we shall see.

April 28th – Downtown Knit Collective – Knitter’s Frolic – I will be in The Black Lamb’s booth with all my goodies.

I am also happy to announce that I solved an issue I was having with a few dyes that I recently purchased. I had a couple of customers advise me that their yarn was bleeding a bit of colour when they washed it. Of course for a yarn dyer, this is a BIG deal so I immediately started researching the issue and found that for a few dyes I use there have been some recipe changes and they need to be mordanted a little differently. So, I have worked out the kink and tested it and now all will be well. Thank you to my customers who let me know about this problem. Things like this cannot be fixed if they are not identified.

And, I have managed to finish the Dark Birdcage hat for a recent show that I entered.

 

I have done a lot of photography today, and I am planning on updating this blog more and doing sort of an ‘object a day’ thing where I may not have anything to say..but I will try to post pictures frequently of things that inspire me, that I covet or make. I think this will be a good way for me to get myself back into blogging. It’s good ‘me time’.

 

 

A Car Chase to Great Thrifting and Fun Hunting!

This was a completely good and awesome weekend. I got lots done and it was relaxing and full of good things. Friday night I went out for dinner and knitting with some friends to a great local raw food place, Raw Aura. They serve amazing raw food – lactose, sugar, gluten free – yum! I had a really amazing falafel wrapped inside a big green leaf of…oops I forget! And…taboulleh. Dessert was an awesome chocolate ganache – with hemp ricotta and I had an awesome creamsicle smoothie of hemp milk, bananas and vanilla – it was all divine.

Yesterday I spent from early morning to early afternoon at the pottery studio and had great success throwing some nice big bowls, smaller bowls, and some mugs. They are drying up and I will likely begin trimming them Thursday to work on their embellishment next weekend.

Today was a trip to Port Hope to check out Primitive Designs after a friend recommended it and I totally fell in love with a 1-string guitar she had at her apartment, and I found myself wanting to pick one up.  This shop is the warehouse of an importer and there are amazing things there. I kinda spent more money than intended, but nothing too dangerous. I did however get some amazing things…

A Pinocchio marionette!

This teak chest! It was my biggest purchase but I could not resist and it was a steal at the price I paid. This is because I bought directly from an importer and not from some antique store trying to pedal imports as antiques..which is altogether too common.  It has 18 deep drawers which I will soon fill with my button collection – organized by colour. I cannot wait. I have totally haunted the presence of every multi-drawered chest I have ever seen. I plan to get larger ones when I am a super rich superstar later in life but for now, this makes me happy.

This piece of bark …darnit I forget the name of the tree it came from – but it’s rainforest reclaim and basically can be used as a non-water vase – so for dried flowers or interesting branches. I love the pattern.

And, the musical instruments – that 1-string guitar, an interesting thing…with tongs that make sounds – again..loss of real name for the instrument strikes me ..sorry, and a SLIDE WHISTLE!! Oh yes, I am going to be the most annoying person around with that slide whistle, lemme tell ya! I picture myself using it when people are doing things like sitting down, standing up, picking things up, etc. etc. etc. – endless possibilities right?

I also have to mention how truly in awe I am at the amazing finds I have had recently while thrift shopping. I swear for a few months now it has been nothing with a capital NO! But, lately has been great! I found these today..check it out!

This awesome wooden bowl:

This vintage mushroom casserole:

This awesome book on Textile Science!

But, today was not all shopping. On the long drive back from Port Hope, we decided to take the long scenic route home and we saw these old cars…

They were cool but when the followed us for a really long time, through a couple of small towns and cities, I started to giggle and Mat started to say things like ‘You’ll neva catch me alive coppa!’ and ‘We’ll Loose them at the Pass, ya See!!’ and other crazy phrases as only likely muttered by the most animated of fifties’ era gangster. It was a laugh. I kept my eye on them while Mat sped…well, around 40km/h anyhow..

The complete normalcy of our Toyota eventually saved our lives..allowing us to blend in with traffic and for the gangsters to move on..

Then, after avoiding certain death, we arrived at a sheepy farm with a donka-donk! Look…they are so cute..then suddenly either the donkey or a weird black faced sheep make a weird honking sound and they all ran away. I laughed at their bums!

Also, after hearing about the awesome, button-organizing teak chest that I got, Laurie from The Black Lamb gave me an awesome assortment of vintage buttons, because she is sweetness personified!

And, I haven’t devoted my time entirely to lollygagging – I managed to spin a couple of yarns!

Well, as I write this I feel my eyes getting heavy so I should go brush my pearly whites and get to bed..it’s going to be a bit of a long week. So, night night.

PS..Hippo says hi!

Catching up to Myself

It has been a little while since I blogged. Life happens..I am really glad I am such an avid photographer though because otherwise I would forget half of what I do in life. So, here goes…the photo memories of the last couple of weeks.  I have erected a bird feeder in my backyard that has become a constant source of entertainment, and well, dismal panic. It all started about a month ago, where for two weeks the sole purpose of the feeder was to fatten up squirrels.

Being the lover all of things fuzzy and feathered, I am not one of those people who obsesses with keeping squirrels out of my bird feeder. For about two weeks though, no birds. But I think my complete lack of caring about what the squirrels did caused much gossip in the wildlife community and the birds finally overheard there was a shangri-la in my backyard. So, now I am overcome with mourning doves, sparrows, starlings and from time to time cardinals, crows, and yellow finches. How can this cause dismal panic you ask? Well, the other day I came out to check out the bird feeder and possibly refill it when I found…..a dead bird….a little house sparrow, in the bird bath. My face dropped and I was immediately consumed by the wonder of how this happened, and more like me, how did I cause this? Arg….Everyone around me has assured me that birds just die sometimes and it was nothing to do with the construct of my bird feeder, however, I have decided to remove the birdbath portion. No water equals no possibility of drowning.  So I am slowly mentally recuperating from that.  Not nice.

In the world of knitting, I finished a lacy cabled cape I had been working on and I am now on the fourth section of the Citron Shawl. I am planning on trying to make some progress on it tonight at Stitch n Pitch.

I think I have developed a distaste for working on really large straight needles. It is just not easy to manipulate and kind of makes my small hands confused and clumsy.

A couple of weekends ago, it was the summer spin-in day at The Black Lamb and we had a lot of fun. It was lovely sitting in the garden and spinning with great friends. We had a potluck and it was really yummy.I am always happy to marvel at the beautiful garden that Laurie and Steven have.

I feel like I have my spinning mojo back. It was gone for a while, perhaps just because I have a really big list of things to do, work is really stressful and the weather has been quite scorching for the last while. But, I have been spinning like a fiend since returning from spin day. I think it’s so therapeutic to be around people in a group doing something they enjoy. It’s hard not to be inspired.  This is my completed haul of yarns for Tour de Fleece. There are times where I think I really could have gotten so much more done, but I am happy to have finished what I have.

I am also really into corespinning wire right now. It’s a really nice and fun, functional technique. The fibers are spun around a wire and yarn core in a round horizontal motion. The finished yarn is moldable, sculptural, can be bent into shapes and used for art pieces, or for making baskets, jewellery, decor, or really what your creative spirit desires. Here is one that I just finished. I call it ‘Blue Moon Festival’ as inspired recently by an event in a book I just finished reading titled ‘Spinning Forward’ by Teri Dulong. I agreed with the reviews on the book which stated it was really predictable. This is true, but it is also the kind of heartwarming happy ending story you need to read sometimes to rekindle your sense of humanity. The only complaint I had was that the main character was a whiny, spoiled brat – but that is no reflection on the writer. Dulong’s writing has a lot of flow; makes you want to keep the book in your hands, and has a lot of charm, with the perfect amount of descriptive elements.

If you are interested in learning more about corespun wire, I started the August spin-along in the Novelty and Art Yarns group on Ravelry with a focus on this style of yarn. So, jump right in!

I have also been doing a bit of baking. I made banana bread and a dark chocolate bundt cake, which tasted much like a whoopee pie, last week. The cake is now a distant memory but there are a couple slices of banana bread still left, assuming it wasn’t snatched up for today’s office brown bagged lunch.

I have also been able to do a bit of hiking and taking some walks in nature now that the heat wave seems to be over for a bit. I learned something really interesting about young male mallards. I saw this duck and initially thought he was some kind of hermaphrodite or something because he looked very female but had the coloration, sort of, of a male.

As it turns out, and as most people know, when ducks are born, they all pretty much look the same. But, it takes quite some time, a few months, for a male duck to reach the level of maturity that his iridescent head feathers grow in. So, this duck is likely only a few months old and he is still undergoing his path to maturity. I thought that was really neat.  It was also kind of funny to watch this herd of different birds swimming along the promenade, following a little girl with a bag of bread crumbs she was tossing out to them.

I am also growing poppies. I have no flowers yet but I do have some adorable leaves popping up. I have never grown potted poppies before so I am not sure what to expect.

I went to Michael’s yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out they are now carrying the Stitch Nation (Debbie Stoller) line of yarns. They were originally only at Joann’s in the US. But, alas we now have them. I picked up a couple of skeins of Alpaca Love in the colourway Cobblestone to make something lacy.  It’s nice to see some more natural fibers at a big box store which don’t feel like a yak’s guard hair against your skin.

Alas, it is time to get to work…but I will leave this post with a couple of lovely things…I spun this yarn called ‘Secret of the Walnut’ with some beautiful walnut halves I picked up on one of my walks.

And, I received this lovely package from the Odd Ducks Swaps on Ravelry – the Element theme. Just look at the amazing cowl!