Making Fiber Art: It is all in the details

Making Fiber Art: It is all in the details

Check this out. This is my most recent yarn…

It was made from this fiber I dyed a couple of weeks ago. The first in the new dye space.

So this fiber was a miss mash of mill ends, farm wool, angora from my late great bunnies, and sole roving ends. I could not tell you what breeds of wool was in there. This was in a box and I just needed it dealt with as opposed to actually having to sort it into the organized stash. I did not even bother to card it all together. I just dumped it into the dye pot. It was my first run in the new dye space and I just needed to see if my set up needed tweaking. When I spun it up, I just divided the whole batch in half and set about spinning it up into a mindless two ply I could make while watching a movie and using my espinner.

There is something about the mishmash of subtle textures that is just awesome. Look closely, you can see a sheen from a mixed fiber containing silk, some fuzz from the angora, rich colors where the dye strike was deeper in one type of wool compared to another. There was also a good bit of white in this batch. I know so many dyers hate having white in their batches. I think the white provides a much needed separation in some of the colors. The white also affects the range of values for the colors, adding a lot of depth within the yarn.

Check this Superwash BFL dyed and spun similarly. While this is a lovely even yarn, there is something predictable about every inch of the texture. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is interesting how just the subtle difference in the wools of my recent yarn adds so very much interest was. This yarn was also dyed with no white, and a smaller range of colors that were within the same value.

You can see while these yarns are similar, the subtle differences will affect how I use each skein.

While I love this new yarn and I am all about art weaving lately, I have to admit, I do not think this new skien would be best suited for art weaving. I think the texture would get lost against the warp (I am not a big fan of weft face weaving). There is a lot going on within one skien, so there is not much need to add to that visual language with other yarn. I really would like to use this skien in some knitting. But chances are I will need to add come other skiens to stretch the yardage for a project. Those yarns will need to just amplify what is already going on in this skien, be it a color, of texture. That may be as a compliment or a contrast.

The BFL skien however would be great in some art weaving. It has a subtle enough variegation to make a weaving section to work in concert with other sections and a panel as a whole.

So yeah, for me fiber art is not necessarily about high end materials or even the techniques I use, as much as it is finding the the ways to show off the best part of each material and technique in a whole piece. You kind of have to really get down to the details of your work and how each bit contributes to the aesthetic of the whole. It is really not that different from what you may be doing as a hobby knitter/crocheter/weaver, It is really all about being thoughtful and observing how each of your choices affect your project as a whole.

Want to know more about how to take turn your knitting/crocheting/weaving hobby into honest to god fiber art? I am hatching a new offering. Sign up here to get updates and notices for when these lessons go live.

A Fiber Artist’s Guide to DIY Equipment

A Fiber Artist’s Guide to DIY Equipment

Ask any serious knitter, and they will ALL agree…fiber arts can be a slippery slop into crafting ADHA. Knitting leads to spinning leads to dyeing leads to felting leads to weaving. It seems that there is always a new and more interesting technique just around the corner. And because the fiber art community is such a tight knit group online, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of wanting to try them all!! Heck, just this blog makes me a serious enabler.

This week in the Fiber Arts Collective, Helen mentioned her struggle to resist picking up weaving(I guilty of trying to enable her with my seductive art weaving videos). And I too, spent months anguishing over dropping a couple of Benjamins on a new loom for a craft I was not sure I would love. I also spent an entire weekend researching alternatives to a rigid heddle loom. And there are quite a few out there. So today I give you a few links to get your DIY on instead of buying a bunch of new equipment.

You can spend a week looking through all the fiber equipment DIYs on Pinterest. And yes as far as getting started carding/spinning/weaving this will save you in equipment that you might not end up using long term. But just know, I have yet to have a DIY solution work smoother and more efficiently than getting real equipment. So try the DIY and if you are feeling the love, then start saving up, and combing for used equipment like here and here. Or just buy the equipment new. Fiber art equipment, when kept in good working condition, does not depreciate. Seriously, most used equipment is not that much cheaper than new. Unless of course you find someone who has no clue what to charge for what they found in their attic. That alone is worth keeping an eye on craigslist. It is how I got my $50 4-harness vintage table loom. If you decide to resell, you will get your money back, and even in some cases be able to charge a hair more than what you paid for it.

Do you have a method you have been dying to try, but have held back because of the equipment cost? Leave me a comment below. And if you like this article, please share this on social media.

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How to Spin Art Yarn

How to Spin Art Yarn

 

This is the second video of this series on how to spin art yarn. If you missed the first video, you can find it here.

A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl had posted in my private Facebook group (the UrbanGypZ Fiber Art Collective, join us here) wanted to know how to spin art yarn like this:

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So I set about making the batt, and spinning it up and this is what I made.

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Check out the video. It is pretty long (30ish minutes!) but it really is a full lesson on art yarn spinning. Grab your favorite beverage and press play.

The art yarn flyer for the Louet wheel can be found here. There it is. That is how I like to spin art yarn using an autowrap ply. Come over to the Fiber Arts Collective and share some of your favorite hand spun yarns with us!

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Making This Yarn: How to make an art batt

Making This Yarn: How to make an art batt

So, today I have a new video for you. You see I have a new Facebook group for peeps on my email list called the UrbanGypZ Fiber Art Collective. Each week I open up the opportunity to ask me anything…fibery, business, life, anything. Last week Cheryl wanted to know how to make this yarn: bkgrd So, today I am showing you how I card up the art batt for this yarn. Enjoy!

So there you have it. We will spin it up next week.

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Finding My Art Yarn Spinning MoJo

Finding My Art Yarn Spinning MoJo

I have not done any art yarn spinning in months. Seriously…months. And it is not that I do not love making yarn, I just got distracted with more profitable areas of my business. But ironically it is my handspan that I felt truly expressed my art the most. I am finalizing details of an exciting workshop that I am teaching early 2016 (details coming soon, I promise). So getting back in touch with this part of my work is even more important.

Dusting off the wheel, puling out the languishing braids of roving, I decided to start with just a simple 2 ply yarn. Nothing fancy, just a warm up with one of my favorite yarns to spin. I love watching the colors change inch by inch as I spin a single. And the barber polling as I ply? I am in the LOVE IT camp.

As I sat down, I realized just how rusty I am. Not with the muscle memory of  spinning a yarn, but the outright uncertainty of my color choices was surprising. If you know my work, I am pretty bold with my colors. But spinning yarn? Why am I feeling “meh” about my colors?

I remember when I was first spinning art yarn. I was in the zone, cranking out new yarns, so many ideas. I was fearlessly making the mistakes and finding all my favorite techniques. That is where I want to be as I reemerge with my yarn spinning. The creative zone.

My articles normally have some definitive steps and secrets for you. But this week I am sharing my hopes and plans.

Get okay with making the mistakes.

I have written a lot about this here and here. It is not easy to make the mistakes. But some of my more brilliant ideas were born out of big mistakes, so this step is huge. Like put a post-it note on my wheel huge.

 

Start exactly where I am.

And that may be with some ugly yarn. I have a huge stash of languishing rovings and fiber bits. I have no need to make more. Some of my best work involved limiting myself to what I have on hand.

 

Consistancy. Make that body of work.

Another thing I have written about a good bit. Just doing the work. Showing up consistently, diving deep into making a lot of the same thing, tweeting tiny bits until my heart sings.

 

Art Journaling.

I am guilty of letting my journal practice lapse the last few months. I like using my journal to keep my daily creative practice fresh is very small simple baby steps. So I have my space ready to go.

 

And finally, do some much needed wheel maintenance.

I suppose this is something I should do more regularly. And because I don’t right now my main wheel is super wobbly and needs a bit of rehab. It has truly been one of the main things that keeps me from doing the work. So, it is super important to nip that excuse in the bud.

 

Do have a practice you are wanting to come back to?

Lace knitting? Socks? Spinning? Leave me a comment below, post it on the Facebook page or shoot me an email

 

Spin along with me!

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