What is Tour de Fleece? Well, as you might expect with the name, it happens in tandem with [but is not associated with] Tour de France. It’s a great way
This week’s been a more leisurely catch-up from last week’s build to the BIG Saturday event aka Spinning Seminar at The Mannings. And thank goats for that! I’ve done a few things that I haven’t been able to do lately, including having a real date day with Rob, reading a bunch of books [almost all crafty books, but I'll list 'em out in a moment], and spinning a bunch of yarn with no real goal in mind but making pretties. Oh, and there was so much Squeegee Cat cuddling, too!
Garden updates, because people ask me [yay!]: well, the VegTrug cover is officially much too small for the plants now. The three tomato plants are pushing it up so high that if I wish to keep the birds and bad bugs out, I’ll have to make a new one. I *have* one started, but I’ve just been SO busy… *sigh*
You can check out this photo of Mr. Squeegee Cat on Instagram and see the half-naked Trug over his shoulder… http://instagram.com/p/aotRF_PPes/
Along with making lots of yarn – seriously, between last Saturday to today, I have made or finished something like 12 yarns, most of which happened as I casually demonstrated techniques to people – I dove into making some cute pompoms.
A note about the pompoms… I totally blame Kate of Gourmet Stash. Not only is she the mistress of the excellent punis, she also is a pompom pusher. By that, I mean that she makes them out of gorgeous yarn, and often includes them in her packaging. They are precious and delightful and DAMMIT if I didn’t need to buy myself some pompom makers and make some of my own. TOTALLY converted to Pompom-ism.
OH! And the reading for this week that I promised to mention! I managed to read or start these books:
Of course, Jenny Lawson/The Bloggess was hi-lar-eee-ous. The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs is now on my list of strongly recommended books for spinners – the techniques are all nicely laid out and so many are covered! State of Craft was interesting – I found it mostly dull in that “been there, done that” sort of way. Rob enjoyed it, and we discussed and decided that it’s because I’ve been a part of this sort of Indie Craft scene for so long, none of it was news to me. But as he’s newer, it seemed fresh. Homeward Bound, I just started. Look for some more ruminations on that later this week.
How about a gallery of this week’s photos? And as always – THANK YOU for reading, especially when I babble on like this!
[oh, link for Nepenthe Homebrew - https://www.facebook.com/NepentheHomebrew
Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hi hi hi! Welcome to this week’s Community Thursday! A bit delayed after some crazy storms threw off my rhythm, but still filled with all the good Community things that make it a fun read… I hope your day was free of storms and other strife. Here are some Good Things to make the evening brighter! <3
Let’s start with RAINBOWS! Rachel of OnTheRound Yarn & Fiber has a great, easy-to-follow tutorial for how to spin self-striping 2 ply yarn up on her blog. I really like how she explains how to split your roving so that when you are finshed with your singles and are ready to ply, spinning from the center and outside of a center-pull ball will line up your colors pretty well. She also covers how to handle it when the overlaps in colors are too long for your taste. Clever!
[OnTheRound is also offering a prize in our Tour de Fleece group - THANK YOU, Rachel! It's not too late to join, my spinning friends!]
This is opportune! The Purl Bee, which ALWAYS has great stuff on their blog, has a detailed tutorial for how to do Tunisian Crochet with lots of clear and helpful pics. I say this is opportune, because I need to learn this technique! [someone we know and love has been hand making Tunisian crochet hooks, ahem]
Definitely worth checking out, and it looks like it goes very quickly!
Dang if One Sheepish Girl didn’t do it again. THIS IS SO CUTE! You don’t have to do it for Father’s Day, that’s just one awesome part of the deal… but she’s got a point in that dads often get overlooked in the handmade department. This is whimsical and silly, just perfect for my sense of humor. Love it!
I don’t think human beings learn anything without desperation. Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything or creating anything. Period. If you ain’t desperate at some point, you ain’t interesting.
Diane of CraftyPod is full of great advice. And I really appreciate when she revisits old advice and updates it to keep it current and relevant, like she does on this post about what she doesn’t teach about blogging anymore. No matter if you’re a craft blogger or someone who just enjoys posting about your life in an artistic way, these updated tips are helpful – but as a crafting blogger, I found them very pertinent. If you’re not reading CraftyPod, you really should.
I love this little post from Bridgett about her family’s trip to the beach, and how she paid back the seaside for the beautiful day by teaching her children to give back when you receive – by taking some time to clean up garbage on the shore. In return, the ocean gave them many sea treasures like beach glass and the lovely piece of driftwood that she fashioned into the necklace above!
So maybe you’ve been interested to see what happens when someone gets a fresh fleece… but you haven’t had the opportunity to try it yourself or see it in person? Well, Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch is doing a Fleece to Garment blog series, so you can follow along as she takes a Southdown fleece and cleans, cards, dyes, and spins it… I imagine she’ll be knitting it up, too! This should be fun to watch. [and without the distinctive dirty fleece smell!]
Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
And that’s our Community Thursday this week! Thank you as always for reading along – and if you have something to talk about, LET ME KNOW! My readers want to know what you’re creating!
If you happen to find something you love in my links, it would be great if you left a comment at the blog in question letting them know where you found it and how much you love it.
Let’s share the love everywhere!
This week has mostly been filled with exciting preparation for this year’s Spinning Seminar at The Mannings in East Berlin, PA. This was my second year taking part in the demonstrations, and my first year handling a demo booth by myself. Except that I wasn’t alone, because Rob was there to help, thank goodness!
A bit about The Mannings: it’s been around for over 40 years, offering amazing fiber arts classes, a huge selection of books, tools, and yarn… and tremendously inspiring Spinning and Weaving showrooms, where you can try out various brands, configurations, and styles of wheels and looms. SO exciting to go there, y’all. I love it.
Being asked to demonstrate in a place with this sort of staff, equipment, and knowledge? Highly complimentary!
If you know me, you know I LOVE to teach. It really thrills me to see people catch fire with excitement about what they’re seeing – when the creative light goes on, they light up all over. It’s magical. Being asked by Arlene of Spin Artiste to cover the entire booth was quite the honor, and I really appreciated the chance to show off what I love to do and see people shine with the zing of creative energy when they came to the booth.
It was also really great to know that some people were looking forward to seeing the Artistic Yarns booth again, and some people had even recognized me from my videos! A couple of the highlights of the day included showing a spindler how to spin coils and spiral ply on a spindle, and showing folks how to corespin. I also showed the Pluckfluff method of tailspinning long locks using a mohair commercial yarn to trap the locks, and that definitely got the attention of some folks.
I really loved seeing people get excited by the table of finished objects and stand-alone yarns, too! There were some really great examples, including several types of weaving using artistic handspun, fingerless mitts with cuffs made from lockspun bulky yarn, and gorgeous tailspun pieces that really thrilled the crowd. I made sure to bring my paper shred yarn and as many examples of spinning styles as possible. Items featured included pieces created by Arlene Ciroula of Spin Artiste, Esther Rodgers of Jazzturtle Creations, and Debra Lambert of Picasso’s Moon Yarn Shop.
I wish I could have had more photos of all the people I saw on Saturday, but alas, you just get to see me spinning and some pics of the booth. It was a glorious day, in a gorgeous setting with wonderful people, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share a love for what I do!
Immense thank yous to The Mannings, Tom Knisely, Arlene Ciroula, and Rob L.
False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.
Welcome again to another Community Thursday post! This week has – for me – been centered around learning, challenging myself, creating [as always], and trying to improve.
This seems to be the time of the year when I’m focusing on getting more inspired, making more things, and looking deeper. Will you join me?
Summer camp for creatives? With no mosquitoes, poison ivy, hard bunks or homesickness? SIGN ME UP.
Oh My! Handmade Goodness is holding a Summer Camp that will lead us through essential business skills [and FUN] – with tons of opportunities to earn “badges” and even some prizes, too.
From their page:
June is all about Survival Skills and basic training in essential business skills. Daily lessons from our contributors will help you earn your badges in everything from filing your taxes to starting fires. By the end of June you should be prepared for whatever entrepreneurship throws at you and have a bag full of tricks to help navigate through our next month at camp.
I’ve already gotten some great things out of June’s lessons – and they’re all neatly summed up under the Camp OMHG tag, so you can easily find all the important info in one place!
Here’s the intro post – let’s go to camp!
AND THEN, because how does this serendipity happen, the Etsy blog featured a tutorial from Julie Schneider on how to make DIY merit badges. Perfect timing! You can make them for Camp OMHG or for whatever fun achievements or ridiculous skills you’d like credit for.
One Sheepish Girl is holding a June Film Camera Challenge! If you can afford the high cost of film these days or you just deserve a creative treat, you might enjoy playing along with Meredith’s weekly themes and see what you create. I appreciate that she is embracing insipration from an art form that seems to be fated to change or fade away… using it while she still can. I love my digital cameras, but I definitely miss the skill needed and surprise offered with a film camera.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
…oh hey, I see a theme here. This is a yarn holder that Carrie came up with for CAMP [ahem] but it would be perfect for traveling of any kind, especially the beach. Super simple, with easily sourced parts, this is a brilliantly simple idea!
I really, really need one of these Shacht Soom Looms. If you don’t have one, you could make these on any old-school “pocket loom” like a Weave-it, Weavette, or the like – but the Zoom Loom is really set up nicely. [and Purl Soho even has a kit to get you started if you like.] I love the colors they used in this project, and the photos and directions they give are clear and easy to follow. Definitely need these!
Whether it’s a new piece or an old loom from the 70s, your tools need to be maintained to keep the wood strong and smooth and to make sure all parts perform as designed. Tool maintenance is actually really easy, and you probably have what you need in your house already – and if not, a quick trip to your hardware store will provide what you’re looking for. I use a few things, including Old English, Danish oil, and sewing machine oil for metal parts. The Bellwether has a quick post about what she uses, and they’re all great recommendations for taking care of your tools, too.
And here we are, a slightly shorter but still action-packed Community Thursday! Dive deep into your creative depths and let me know what you find, would you? I love getting inspired by everything you share! <3
This week has been “Summer-weather” hot here in Baltimore.
I don’t generally love Summer. I am a pale-skinned girl with a sensitivity to hot temps and humidity – yes, I know, why am I living in B’more again? – and I tend to wilt in the heat. HOWEVER… my garden LOVES this weather. And since I LOVE my garden, this makes me happy. [Mostly.]
Rob and I have tried to stay busy, as we do, without melting. For me, this included some reading, some spinning, some Squeegee Cat cuddles, and sometimes treating myself to fresh fruit and coffee with whipped cream. For Rob, it was all about woodworking and doing more polymer clay creations. We really don’t ever stop.
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero
I’ve been getting ready for both the Spinning Seminar at The Mannings – which happens this coming Saturday, June 8th, and you can read more about it in this week’s Community Thursday post – and also for Tour de Fleece. [GO TEAM NEVERMORE!]
We’ve had LOTS of folks signing up for our TdF team, and also volunteering prizes… this is going to be GOOD. I think this year, I’ll be looking to crank out as many yarns as I can, AND try to spin at least three new-to-me fibers. That’s the tentative plan, at least.
For the Spinning Seminar, I have a lot of stuff that needs to get done before Saturday. I am demonstrating spinning Creative Yarns [of course, right?] and I’ll need to make sure I have plenty of singles spun for all my demo yarns, as well as getting all my add-ins and core yarns and the like in order ahead of time. Being organized is the key to having a good demonstration!
I also need to gather all the things I’ll have in my booth to show off the various ways one can use these creative yarns. I’ll have the loan of some of the Spin Artiste collection, which is super generous of Arlene, especially as she has some amazing things that will really inspire the folks who come to the booth. As I wouldn’t even being demo’ing at this event if it wasn’t for her, I want to make sure it’s everything she could hope for it to be. That’s a great motivator to have it be super-awesome!
This is really what I’m all about right now, though. Locally roasted coffee from Zeke’s, topped with real whipped cream, with a side of tiny strawberry from my garden. ♥ ♥ ♥
We have tiny peppers forming, carrot fronds ALL over the place, fat sweet-n-spicy radishes, scallions slowly filling out, cucumbers starting their flowers, tender lettuces all throughout, and tomatoes TOWERING over all.
I love my little garden that Mom and Rob and I worked so hard to make happen. It is so, so happy-making.
Now if I can just somehow convince Mom that we NEED chickens…
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent van Gogh
Welcome to another installment of Community Thursday! I’m so happy to know that there are faithful readers who look forward to these posts, and I love delivering them to you. I never fail to be inspired and awed by the things my peers are achieving and creating. Thank you for reading along!
Kate of Gourmet Stash is not only one of my favorite people, she’s one of my serious inspirations. Working with her, talking with her… I never fail to get totally energized and creatively charged. Her idea for a Puni club is just what I’m talking about – in her words:
The theme of the club is “Community Supported Fiber”. Which draws inspiration from local Farmer’s Markets, CSA Shares (community supported agriculture) and working with businesses in my home state of Maryland. By having CSF as the theme, you get a “share” in creating something new that hasn’t been done before but that I hope to keep doing year after year.
If you’ve been interested in trying spinning punis, or you just love high quality, well prepared fiber, you should go read more at her blog and get ready to be blown away!
SWASH was a beautiful, textured installation that was created by Dana Barnes for Collective.1 Design Fair during the Frieze Art Fair. I really enjoyed seeing how she created movement and space using richly dyed fibers.
“If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
I love Karen of Seredipity Saori Studio’s blog – it’s a simple thing, with some photos for inspiration and a little look into her world of weaving and beauty. Every time she posts, I want to go running to my loom and make beautiful things. [this means that her blog is working! Hee!]
This post is so full of wonderful whimsy with just a few photos and one idea: what to do with weaving scraps. Well, of course you should patch your jeans with them! LOVE it.
A free transfer for your yarn bag, designed by Emma Trithart and featured in Emma Magazine. This is a super simple project, and fun for your stash/project bags. You should check out the original Yarn Party photoshoot that this bag design was a part of, it’s delightful!
I’ve seen quite a bit of discussion about Emily Matchar’s book Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity on the internets, but Diane of CraftyPod’s review is the one that’s got me adding it to my library list. I like her description of:
…And I love this book even more for not painting a falsely rosy picture of the handmade lifestyle. In fact, my own quotes in it are decidedly curmudgeonly musings on the crafty business bubble. But I applaud the sense of balance here! Emily talks with people who are happily engaged in their DIY lifestyles, and people who are struggling with them. She points out that there’s a healthy dose of mythology in the idea of living in a handmade way, and she openly acknowledges that the realities are not for everyone. She even digs into the culture of comparison online and the unhealthy feelings it sometimes creates.
Definitely take a moment to read her review and if you decide to read Homeward Bound [or already have] I’d love to hear your musings on it!
So excited about this! Bridgett of Rambling Designs and Mrs Hudson’s Yarns and Teas has created a pattern for a crocheted “Steampunk” style top hat, and I am helping to test crocheting it! [I'm not the only one, don't panic *grin*]
If you’re in the area, Mrs Hudson’s will be having a combined workshop using this pattern, where they will crochet and felt it, then embellish it. SO FUN! The pattern’s not available yet, but I knew my readers would like this, so I had to talk about it… and of course when the pattern’s available, I’ll make sure you know!
The Mannings is a one-stop studio and showroom in East Berlin PA for all sorts of fiber artists, and has been in business for over 40 years. Each year they have an amazing Spinning Seminar that happens in June, and it’s a wonderful event for learning about all aspects of the fiber arts connected with spinning, from raising sheep to preparing wool to different techniques for creating yarn.
This will be my second year as a demonstrator there; last year I was lucky enough to be a part of the Creative Spinning booth with Arlene Ciroula of Spin Artiste and Elizabeth Stottlemyer of Hobbledehoy Yarn + Fiber. This year, I’ll be mostly by myself, but I know a bunch of other talented artistic spinners will be coming to visit me and show off what they do. In addition to my booth, there are a HUGE amounts of topics covered; if you’re in the area, I would strongly suggest that you come out and see what’s happening, shop the studio and talk to all the demonstrators. There’s so much knowledge here, and it’s all FREE.
Not to mention, the area is gorgeous, there’s a small river there, and it’s perfect for pic-nics and spinning time.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnd… that’s it for this week! Thank you SO MUCH as always for all the support, recommended links, comments, and friendship. Go fondle some fiber! <3
“Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… now you tell me what you know.”
― Groucho Marx
What is Tour de Fleece? Well, as you might expect with the name, it happens in tandem with [but is not associated with] Tour de France. It’s a great way to challenge yourself as a spinner – you can either try to spin every day, or set a specific goal, or something else that happens during the TdF. It was started by Star Athena in 2006. It has grown into its own thing on Ravelry.
This year, the Tour de Fleece starts Saturday June 29 and runs until Sunday July 21nd, 2013.
Guidelines (NOT RULES):
* Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday June 29th through Sunday July 21st. Days of rest: Monday July 8th and Monday July 15th. (Just like the actual tour.)
* Spin something challenging on the challenge day (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 18, on Thursday, July 18th, when they climb Alpe d’Huez twice).
* Take a button if you want one. Then we can use the button on our blogs in show of solidarity.
* Wear yellow on Sunday July 21st to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour – but here we are all ‘race leaders’)
* Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter – think FAST), Polka-dot (climber – as in uphill), and white (rookie)
This year, I’m doing it without posting or registering in the official Ravelry Tour de Fleece group. There *will* be talk on the Threeravens Rav group, as well as on the Threeravens Facebook page. I’ll also update my progress here on the blog; I recommend that if you want to play along, that you do the same, because it’s fun!
Here’s the images you can use:
Oh hey, did I mention that there will be prizes? THERE WILL. I’ll be announcing those closer to the start date, but let me just say that they’re not all from me, and they’re all excellent.
Want to join in? Just sign up officially by commenting below! If you have a blog or website, please link it when you do, and I’ll make a list of our team mates with links to you all. Let’s get ready to SPIN!