Monthly Archives: March 2016

EYF snapshots

I’m just back from the Edinburgh Yarn Fest, it was amazing. I was fortunate enough to meet my favourite knitting designer, Kate Davies, and she writes about the weekend way more eloquently than I could (plus I feature in it so I had to show off).

Here she is:
A fantastic time was most definitely had by all at Edinburgh Yarn Fest. Here are a few pictures. If I seem to be somewhat maniacal and frazzled in these photographs, well, that’s because I was. . . The stand in quieter moments. A customer tries on Mel’s Deco cardigan. Meeting lovely folk from my Ravelry […]

Not rant

Inspired by my new Lord of the Rings themed spindles from MirkwoodArt and fibre by WildHair Studio (both on Etsy), I wound a warp for Mr Weaving Heart based on the scary Ungoliant. 

Ungoliant, mother of Shelob was known as the Spider of Night. She wove her dark webs and devoured all light, creating Unlight. Of her many wicked deeds, she may be best known for draining the life from the Two Trees of Valinor. Afterwards she demanded Morgoth give her the gems stolen from Formenos and she devoured those as well.

The Ungoliant warp is inspired by the ‘Gloomweaver’ with touches of the unlight she creates and the light and gems she devours (unashamedly plagiarised from WildHair Fiber as she puts it so well and if I include the link maybe someone will take a look at her shop and buy something).

There are two wraps from this warp, neither of which have sold yet, most likely due to the dark inspiration behind them! However when the muse takes you…

Anyway, weaving isn’t really what I wished to write about today. This post is much calmer than the original one I had planned but thankfully I have learned enough bout blogging to know when to sit on things a few days before telling you about it. I am no longer going to use the label ‘vegan’ in respect to myself. 

I have been a member of several online communities for quite  few years now, from Ravelry to smaller fibre based Facebook groups or online forums about health issues. On the whole people I come across in those are generally friendly, kind and supportive. I have found friends through some of them and endless inspiration and knowledge.

So it was natural for me to join some vegan groups too. I have since left them all (except a couple on Ravelry) as there is a preponderance of mean, vindictive folk many of whom like to play the ‘I’m more vegan than you’ game. They feel entitled to point out that you can’t possibly be vegan because you buy things containing palm oil/figs/fairy dust or use plastic toothbrushes, frog hair or pre loved wool. The list is endless and just when you think you have it cracked another one pops up to judge your lifestyle. I have to point out that there are also many lovely member of these groups but I have found myself more upset by comments made by some other vegans in just a few months than I ever have from other online communities.

I have an illness that is exacerbated by stress so I try to minimise that as much as possible. 

It’s funny because pre vegan days no one thought to question my choices but there seems that once you start calling yourself vegan, the world and it’s cat think it’s ok to have a go. Well I’m back to being just me thanks and if you feel the urge to judge me remember that when you point a finger at someone there are always three other fingers pointing back.

Support services

The art of spinning is not as simple as it may appear. There are an almost infinite number of different ways to put a little bit of twist into fibre to make yarn, well maybe that’s a slight overstatement but there are certainly a large number.

My latest spinning obsession is supported spindling; brought on by my desire to find a consistent way of spinning cotton.

After managing a couple of lumpy wheel spun skeins (of which I’m immensely proud!), I sought the advice of some other cotton spinners on Ravelry who suggested I tried using a tahkli.

These are tiny supported spindles usually made from a steel shaft and some kind of low whorl, like a coin or bead, that spin super-fast.

After a fairly disastrous attempt I worked out that maybe I should first learn to use a support spindle with fibre I’m a little more familiar with before moving onto the tahkli with cotton.

So off to Etsy I went with my PayPal password at the ready (btw I’ve had a huge falling out with them but that’s for another day maybe) and found the wonderful Kerryspindles. Run by a woman called Lynn who started making her own fibre tools after she couldn’t find any suitable ones, I found a sweet Tibetan (there are lots of different varieties of support spindle) spindle and placed my order.

Thinking it would be a breeze because I’m such an expert spinner already (please note the irony in that sentence), I set to with some top. But wait, there’s no hook. How do you get started? I managed to fix up a leader or piece of yarn to spin on to (nb not the way to do it!) and then got stumped. 

Thank heavens for YouTube. There is a wealth of videos showing idiots like me how to spin with a supported spindle and after a little practice I’m away. Granted, I’m at the first stage called ‘park and draft’, where I stop between spins to pull out the next piece of fibre but it’s a lovely, gentle way to spin with the focus on process rather than yardage.

Now this is my very first (I have a feeling there may be quite a few) Mirkwood Arts spindle; crafted by Tibor in the US, he makes spindles and names them after characters from Lord of the Rings. This little beauty is ‘My Precious’ and I snagged him via a destash on Ravelry. He is nestling in a home made batt of some merino/tussah silk/alpaca/angora from my stash. I’m trying to creatively use up some odds and ends before replacing it (!) with plant based fibre.

After a couple of evenings I ended up with this, a tiny 18g skein of 103m plied yarn of which I’m super proud!

The only pattern I can find for such a small amount is for a tiny lacy thong; Mr Weaving Heart will be in for a shock soon I think.