New (to me) Louet Classic Drum Carder: First Yarn

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Here are some pics of my first yarn (shades of soft lavender, gold, purple, copper, fuchsia, turquoise, white, black, peach) spun from fiber carded on the gently-used Louet Classic Drum Carder I purchased a few weeks ago. The fibers include Merino wool, a Polwarth/silk blend, silk fibers, gold Cotswold locks, Border Leicester, Mohair, recycled sari silk and a bit of copper-colored firestar — which I carded and then spun on a drop spindle, carefully adding strips of mostly hand-dyed silk fabrics as I spun. I’ll slightly felt the yarn — soaking it in hot water/cold water/hot water — and giving the skeins a few hard thwacks to help the fibers “bloom.” When it’s all dry I plan to crochet a cowl from the yarn, with bright vintage buttons to cinch it. It’s a delight to “paint” all sorts of different fibers, colors and textures onto and into the drum carder, and watch the fiber batt evolve; then to carefully remove it from the drum and see how all of those different elements interacted; and then to spin it into yarn, encountering different elements during spinning and making decisions about how to highlight different fibers in the process. Time-consuming work, but very creative; and when done it’ll be a useful, luxuriously-soft and lovely wearable “neck cosy” that will keep someone very warm.

A quote to start the new year: “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Philosopher and Civil Rights Leader Howard Thurman) When I first read this quote I loved it, but it also made me feel guilty: Do I have the right to do what I love to do? Do I have the right to consider what the world needs as lower on my list than “what makes me come alive”? In turning this quote around and around in my mind, in living with this quote, my initial reaction of guilt has changed. I think about teachers I know who love to teach, and who work so hard at it, and who make a wonderful and lasting difference in the lives of their students; I think about artists who remind people of beauty and wonder and issues in the world and who donate, through their art, to help support those in need; I think of athletes whose discipline and love of their sport thrills us with the potential and agility of the human body. If we can believe, as Anne Frank did, that people are basically good, then it makes sense that when a person is fulfilled and happy, he or she can share this happiness and fulfillment with the world and is more likely to know what the world needs and respond to it, because a healthy person is inclined to do good. But people who are dead inside, who have given up on believing that life can be amazing and full of vitality and wonder every single day, what do they have to give to the world, when their own hearts are so broken and they are so needy…? So make yourself happy, feed your own soul — and then turn your attention to the world that — everywhere — needs your aliveness and your joy. In this way, you will more likely make the world a better place. Happy New Year!

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Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tea Cozy

“Less Tempest, More Tea,” Tea Cosy, made of merino wool and silk fabrics, with wool embroidery; one side:

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And the other side:

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And a detail showing the finial and wool embroidery details:

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Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Work: Silk, Fiber, Silk…

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In posting about my new work here, I thank Jean Gauger, the prolific fiber artist and teacher, who has so generously shared about her techniques. These two pieces, hot off my studio tables, are examples of “nuno felting,” in which silk (or other) fabric is used as a base on which wool (and other fibers) are applied. In the technique that I used for these two pieces, a thin layer of wool fiber is sandwiched between collaged layers of silk fabrics. Jean kindly answered my questions about how to craft the fringes — that take a lot of time but add so much texture and interest and movement to the finished work. I also thank fiber artist and teacher Suzanne Morgan, whose beautifully hand-dyed silk fabrics are featured, among other fabrics, in these pieces; and Lori Flood, another talented fiber artist who also hand-dyed some of the beautiful silk I used.

Here is a shawl collar (approximately 36″ x 15″) that weighs about two and a half ounces, and which may be fashioned in all sorts of ways — folded and wrapped — using the button pin (that I made from a vintage button). I’m donating this piece to a silent auction at “The Connoisseur’s Dinner” (in State College, PA) in early February to support public broadcasting:

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And here is a scarf (67″ x 11″) that also weighs about two and a half ounces, in which I used the same technique. Because of the minimal use of wool fiber, the scarf is very light-weight, and may be folded and wrapped, tied/pinned/draped… and is a versatile wearable:

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Here’s a detail of the scarf:
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And a detail of the collar:
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I’m so grateful to teachers and mentors within the fiber arts community, who are so generous-hearted!

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment