Yesterday, I got to do something immensely fun, as well as something that made me feel like a fancy-pants artist-type in the best way possible: I made an appearance as one of the fiber artists featured in a traveling collection.
Not just ANY traveling collection, mind you. This one was created and coordinated by two amazing artists and supporters of fiber arts and artistic yarns: Debra Lambert of Picasso’s Moon Yarn Shop and Arlene Ciroula of Spin Artiste, and the challenge packs went to some of the most amazing fiber artists around.

The challenge packs contained 4 oz of mixed fibers, in natural, neutral shades but with lots of texture – and 4 oz of leather and lace pieces. There was some variance in leather – my pack, for example, had a very hard dark brown leather alongside an incredibly soft sueded pink leather. My lace was in the form of doilies, which ended up being cut into two different forms by me. The centers became the support for small pink suede bows that I tied into the middle of each lace center. The strips cut off the outside were threaded onto my singles as I spun them, and allowed to wrap around in big flounces. The hard leather was a bit more challenging, as it wasn’t flexible in the state it was in. I took that and spiral cut it from the outside working inward where possible, and in long spiral strips back and forth where that was called for – I let it keep as much texture as possible and sort of let it autowrap around my singles as I spun. It made an interesting textural element.

Some of the details from my Leather and Lace entry, showing both leathers and the lace.
Some of the details from my Leather and Lace entry, showing both leathers and the lace.

My yarn was called “Neither Prim Nor Proper” and is a loose representation of what I was pressured to be, compared to who I am truly. [as I said to Arlene yesterday, somehow it always comes back to being all about me! Ha!]

But enough [ha!] about ME, let me show you the yarns from EVERYONE, plus a gratuitous shot of the Spinolution spinning wheel herd at our appearance. The collection is currently showing at Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville MD, a wonderful LYS run by Jolene Mosley, who has a very lovely entry in the collection as well!

Leather and Lace 001

Some different angles of all the yarns, plus Arlene and Melissa's wheels!
Some different angles of all the yarns, plus Arlene and Melissa’s wheels!

You can click on the photo to see a bigger shot, which I recommend. You can also see closeups of each yarn, as well as the traveling schedule for them, here: http://www.spinartiste.com/view/leather-and-lace-challenge-collection

I made a few interesting observations while looking over the collection. One, it’s so true: photos cannot do artistic yarns justice. Seeing the scale of the giant textural elements of Lisa Renee McKenzie’s piece, or the delicacy of Jolene Mosley’s beautiful felted pink flower, the skill displayed in Melissa Yoder Ricks’ leather flowers, the way the blue works through Esther Rodger’s yarn? Feeling the incredibly lightness of Suzy Brown’s yarn, and the texture in Dawn Dolpp’s spinning? Seriously, this is worth taking a trek to see – and touch – the traveling exhibit if it is *anywhere* near you. You won’t regret it. Really, you absolutely must see if possible.

L to R: Me, Arlene Ciroula, Melissa Yoder Ricks. Photo by Jolene Mosley.
L to R: Me, Arlene Ciroula, Melissa Yoder Ricks. Photo by Jolene Mosley.

I spend my day with the Leather and Lace Challenge Collection with some of the best people I’m privileged to call friends and peers in the fiber world [though I look up to all of them, because they are amazing] – Arlene Ciroula of Spin Artiste, Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio, and Jolene Mosley of Cloverhill Yarn Shop.
Melissa, Arlene and I spent the day spinning – I had a drop spindle that day, giving Edie the day off – and all four of us talked to many interested folks about the collection, spinning yarn, and fiber arts in general. What a fantastic day!

Want to see more? Here’s a link to the original announcement of the Challenge, with a list of all participants [with links] and also the schedule for the traveling show:
http://www.spinartiste.com/special-announcement-the-leather-and-lace-challenge-is-launching
Here’s the link to all the closeup photos of each yarn, plus some other information you might find interesting:
http://www.spinartiste.com/now-presenting-the-leather-and-lace-challenge-yarn-collection