Thursday, September 27, 2012

Too many irons in the fire... or why I need to clone myself.

Sometimes I wish I could clone myself. I need several of "me"to keep up with all the things I want to do. Or more hours in the day. Mostly it would be nice to have an extra me to do the cleaning and cooking so I can pursue the creative stuff that is supposed to be my job now. Anyway, lately I have been dividing my time between keeping the Etsy Shop going and feeding my yarn/knitting/spinning addiction. And as if that was not enough I have decided that I need to dye my own yarn. For those that are curious here's the latest in some of those endeavors...

I am really having fun with these little guys and frankly surprised myself that I have not ditched the project due to its immensity. 

In the spinning department of Olliff Studio I have been improving my consistency and learning the differences in spinning various fibers. Alpaca spins very different than wools and I even tried "spinning in the grease" (spinning un washed wool right of the sheep) and learned how to Navajo ply which is a lot of fun. 

Merino/Tencel I picked up in a lovely little shop in Piedmont

Spun & plied
Alpaca/Silk from a shop in Oakland called A Verb for Keeping Warm

half a hank spun

About 200 yards spun and plied
After I finish spinning the chocolate I am hoping I have enough to make this:

It was meant to be. The pattern is called "Deb"

Dyeing is not as productive as I would like. I finally dove in and did a little but it is intimidating… 
First dyeing attempt (sorry the lighting was bad)

I took all the bits of merino, alpaca and silk in the previous image (minus the skeins) and spun them end-to-end.
Not much yardage but it was fun to see how they spin. 
Oh...and then there is weaving. I have a small table loom that has been in storage for about 30 years. I think I wove a stupid wall hanging on it and then lost interest but I'm really glad I still have it because I suddenly have the urge to use it. More on that later. 

See why I need to look into cloning?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Catching up. Again.

The problem with finding new, fun things to do is that there is never enough time to do them all. I need to look into cloning. So, with the new spinning (and soon weaving, as we found my tabletop loom and it no longer scares me) I am having to balance the creativity in my studio. And then there are the days when I don't want to do any of it or have other stuff that calls to me from 'real life'. 

Getting back to the state flower series that I have been working on for my Etsy shop I am pleased to say that I am up to (still working on) Florida. They are getting to be more fun than I anticipated but I'm still glad I'm forcing myself to go in alpha order so as to not skip over any that I might not ordinarily be compelled to paint. Here are the latest: 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rumplestiltskin would be jealous

Yesterday I decided to try spinning some silk roving that I bought from an Etsy seller (Silk & Shine). I really *should* be practicing more on the ton of alpaca that I got almost free but I really couldn't resist the colors and the feel of this mulberry silk so I started with just a little. But… before I knew it the entire length was spun onto my bobbin! How'd THAT happen? I will tell you. The stuff is so wonderful to feel and seeing all the colors twisting into a beautiful mix just mesmerized me! Here is the result:

100% Mulberry Silk
As you can see I have much to learn on consistency of twist but as many of my fellow spinners will say "If we wanted consistent yarn we would go to the store and buy it!" Still, I would like it to me a little more even. It will even out a little when I ply it with another single so hopefully I will end up with something useable though I have no idea what I will make out of this. I may just sit and stare at it, occasionally cuddling it to my face. Seeing all those luscious colors makes me want to start dyeing my own fiber now... 

For those wondering, don't worry… I have not abandoned my watercolors. I have several in progress and am up to Colorado in the state flowers series. The last one I added to Etsy was California: 

California Poppies (watercolor, original -without text-7x10)
And with that I am back to the studio to continue with this project. I think I have mentioned that I am doing these in alpha order for a reason. If I were to choose then I might be tempted to skip the states or flowers that didn't appeal to me. This makes me do them all. It is a discipline thing.