Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer of workshops

This year it has been a bit of a working holiday. I have been involved in three very different workshops, and I just love spreading the word about crafts!

The first was on the 19th of June. There was a large youth festival in town with musicians and artists from all over Sweden. This was the final round of a festival that had toured the country and the best acts had qualified for this final meet. Someone on the organizing committee had gotten the idea to have guerilla knitting as one of the workshops. I somehow volunteered and had one weeks notice to do something. I bought bags of bright yarn, collected needles and made a file of great examples on knit graffiti from the internet. On the big day the room, a nice café, was filled with about 30 teens and I asked if anyone could knit. No. OK, look at these pictures, knitting is cool, let me get you started. And they all went to work. Most had knitted once or twice during the compulsory craft lessons in school, and a couple did crochet or finger knitted long strips. After the class I sewed the knitted pieces together to make a long scarf, but I left it to be used at an event the following day and don't know what has become of it.

The week after this it was time for Midsummer, and I help out at a large celebration at the local outdoor museum. Since 2005 me and one other lady have helped visitors to make flower wreaths to wear as they dance around the maypole and celebrate summer. I spend a few hours in the morning picking wild flowers and birch and blueberry twigs. Then we get a couple of long tables out and supply thread and scissors and help for 3-4 hours. I always start out by making demo wreaths for my own children. This is the on my daughter got this year.

Finally last weekend I had to forsake two spinning events because I had promised to host a day of wool at the craft society. I brought samples of different kinds of wool, my yarn and equipment and a pile of woolen shawls. The other lady who worked there brought more knitting and some felted objects. We also showed some tunisian crochet (krokning) and nålbindning. The room was a bit dark, so I photographed my stuff when I got back home instead.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I can do it!

It's been a while since my last blog post, for many reasons. On of them is that I have been busy learning new skills, and now I have come out the other end of the tunnel and I can call myself a spinner! Today I made my first three ply yarn. It is also the first time I have worked with raw fleece that I have washed and hand carded. It is also my first effect yarn with added goodies. Finally it is the first yarn I make on a spinning wheel, if I don't count the three samples that I will never be able to use.

Let's go back a few steps... In November last year I got my first spinning wheel. It was very old, green and didn't work very well. I then took care of two more old wheels in need of care, but none of them are in order yet. I think that will be a summer project so I can take them apart, clean, grease and straighten them up outdoors. Meanwhile I stumbled across a local girl who had bought a Kromski Prelude last year and decided to sell it again. I got it at a good price and finally had something that worked. I soon realized that my preferences lie towards thin yarns and I fond a dealer, Den Gamla Skolan, who had a faster flyer and extra bobbins. She also had the clever idea to use inexpensive raw fleece to fill the parcel up, and that is how I ended up with 600g of very smelly Gotland wool. This is what it looked like after washing:

After a couple of days of hand carding and spinning I finally had my three bobbins of thread, but before I could ply it I had to figure out where to place the third bobbin since the Prelude only holds two. I asked MrP for suggestions and he said flower support sticks. I actually found one that was just right and then put it between my knees, and it worked perfectly!

When I got my first, green spinning wheel the owner tried to make me take a lot of other stuff, and I came home with a skein winder that I didn't know anything about. I later learned that it is a 'knäpphärvel' and it is just brilliant. It is supposed to make a snapping sound after a certain number of turns, but mine only has a clock-like hand that turns slowly and I still have to count the number of threads in the skein and them multiply that with the circumference of 1.5 m.

Did you see the lamb that just happened to be in the in the background? My son got it at his christening and it is actually a Gotland sheep!

Finally the yarn! I still have some wool left, but so far it is 280g and actually about 280m. I think I have almost 200g for next session. To the wool I have added hand dyed Tencel from Ullaffären (The Wool Business) that I visited last Wednesday. All about that visit can be found in the group Långbacken on Ravelry, so I won't write that here (but the lambs are gorgeous...).