The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers hold a national exhibition every two years to showcase the very best work from guilds all round the UK and online. It is a exhibition of some of the best talent in the country. Weavers who can manipulate cloth to make something truly stunning, dyers who create the most incredible combinations of colour, and spinners who make beautiful, interesting and textured yarns either to show as they are or to make into the most incredible garments or art pieces. It truly is an inspiration to walk round, even if the standard of work is slightly intimidating! It would be impossible to show all the pieces in this blog post so I've just chosen some of my favourites here.
I certainly think its safe to say that the standard of work is massively high at this exhibition. I definitely came away with far too many ideas for the time I have available! The exhibition is being held at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (in the Collins Building) and is on until the 29th July. If you can make it then I fully recommend it! More information can be found on the association's website https://www.wsd.org.uk/national-exhibition-glasgow-16th-29th-july-now-open/
Thats all for now fibrey peeps! I am currently working on a big update for the website which should be made available in a few weeks!
The time of year has arrived where woolfest once again rears its beautiful head, bringing with it a cacophony of beautiful fibre, stunning yarns and wonderful artists, all packed into a quirky agricultural centre in Cumbria! It is a feast of inspiration and more importantly, the best place to restock my greatly diminishing fibre supplies! Bring on the colourful photos!
I always come away from woolfest with inspiration for art yarns, dying combination and business ideas and this year was no exception! My first wool event since moving back was a big success, and I can't wait for Perth Yarn Fest in September!
Also as a quick spinning wheel update, I’ve got a new one! A stunning Majacraft Suzie Pro Alpaca! I absolutely adore her and will be doing another blog post soon to show her off to the world!
For now though, fibrey love
Who doesn't love a little bit of unicorn inspired colour in their lives! I love creating new colour combinations, and experimenting with different techniques; but these colours are unapologetically 'instagrammable'.... and I love them! I was inspired the other day to create an art batt which screamed summer, so I grabbed a bunch of bright and vibrant colours from my stash, and got to work! I wanted to maintain a lightness throughout the batt which is why I decided to offset the vibrancy with a natural white merino.
I used a variety of wool, primarily merino, with highlights of mulberry silk and sari silk fibre. I only carded the batt once (hence why it looks a little messy) because I wanted the yarn to be random and not too blended.
I spun the yarn into a random thick and thin single, putting plenty of twist in so I could ply it after. I wanted the single to have lots of texture so that when I plyed it, the coils, supercoils and spiral ply sections all had varying texture.
There seems to be everything going on in this art yarn! We've got coils, supercoils, spiral ply and all sorts of texture in between! I think this yarn would work really well as either extreme slubs in weaving, or a loosely knitted scarf. Either way I'm in love with this art yarn and I'm sure I'll be doing some more experimenting with these techniques soon!
I'm going on radio silence for a few weeks, I'm moving house so there won't be much time for spinning for a little bit... I assure you I will be desperate to get back to it once I've unpacked!
Until then loads of fibrey love
I had a free afternoon yesterday, the end of a hectic week essay writing, so decided to try a new art yarn technique... supercoils! I've seen some incredible photos online of supercoiled art yarn and for a long time have wanted to give it a go. So I set myself up outside in the sun with earl grey tea, The Guilty Feminist podcast and some hand-dyed merino fleece and got to work!
I started by making the fleece into simply core spun and then used a thin thread to ply. I wrapped the core around the thin thread and kept pushing the yarn up the thread to create this supercoiled art yarn.
I have to say I am thrilled with the result. It was challenging at times, especially when the ply thread very quickly became overtwisted! But I persisted with keeping it tensioned, and managed to get it all done in an afternoon.
Personally I am now calling this soundwave art yarn... don't you think it looks like little soundwaves... that might just be me! Anyway this was such a fun project and I can't wait to experiment more with this technique!
It's safe to say the rain has barely let up all winter and we are all in desperate need of some lovely sunshine! Well we find ourselves in luck at Raynbow Punk HQ because a whole week of delicious weather led to some serious outdoor spinning with Jett! I did a dying session a couple of weeks ago (totally forgot to photograph at the time... eek) but I indulged with some core spinning, using recently hand dyed merino fleece.
I spun the fleece around a pink wool core... doesn't Jett look pretty today!
I spun two colourful bobbins of single core spun and then plyed them to make a super chunky art yarn. I adore the effect when I ply core spun, I find the fleece opens up slightly making the colours pop and the yarn softer!
The final art yarn I've now called 'Fields of Lavender' because it reminds me of happy days spent at Norfolk Lavender.
I don't think life gets much better than a day spinning in the sun! I still have a couple more hand dyed fleeces to play around with, next time I want to give halos a go!
That's all for now, fibrey love
Core spinning is one of my favourite methods of spinning, especially with an art batt as I feel the beauty of the batt really comes through in the yarn. So I decided to carry out a little experiment with core spun yarn. I wanted to try two different finishing techniques on two skeins of identical core spun yarn. I started with choosing the colours I wanted to use in the art batts.
This rainbow fibre plait is made up of a variety of wools, mostly merino with a little blue faced leicester, and two stunning shades of sari silk.
This fibre I then painted onto the drum carder, at this point getting really excited to see how this gorgeous blend with spin up!
After creating two art batts using the same materials I got to work on spinning. I genuinely think that an afternoon spent spinning with no other agenda is heaven on earth!
Using my beautiful Kromski Fantasia (Jett to her friends) and purple jumbo bubbin, I tied on a pastel pink wool core and allowed the art batt to remain quite textured, I wanted to see as much of the beauty as possible. Now comes the experiment bit! With two skeins in hand, both of which were inevitably over-twisted, I took one and used the steaming method to set it (see the top photo below). The other skein I purposefully tried to felt slightly by submerging it in hold and cold water and using slight agitation (see the bottom photo below).
I found it a lot of fun to experiment with these two methods and to be honest, I think both look really beautiful and both have worked well. The steamed yarn is slightly softer but I really like the effect of the partly felted yarn. My conclusion is both yarns work well and both have maintained the beautiful colours so I'm so excited to continue using steaming and felting methods in the future!
I recently decided to invest in a new spinning wheel as my old one was proving inadequate for bulky art yarns. I did a lot of research, looked at a lot of different wheels and eventually decided on the Kromski Fantasia. I read a lot of good reviews about it, many people didn't have a bad thing to say about it... so I took the plunge and ordered one. I opted for an unfinished wheel as I loved the idea of adding my own unique twist on the beautiful wheel, so off to the paint shop I went. I am completely thrilled with the end result, its such a gorgeous wheel and beautifully smooth to spin! Her name is Jett, after the suffragettes (notice the women's symbol on the foot pedal) and I can't wait to create a paradise of colourful yarns with her as my stunning companion!
There's not much more to say here. I will be posting updates in the coming months of how I'm finding her as a wheel but for now I couldn't be happier with how she's turned out!
Fibrey love from Meggie and Jett
I am currently on a much needed study break for Easter which can mean only one thing... as much spinning as I can possibly do in a short space of time! Of course I wanted to start with a celebration of
Easter, one of my favourite times of year! Spring is on its way, the trees are starting to blossom and I find myself inspired by the changing colours of this time of year! So I had a rummage through my fibre stash and found 5 pastel spring colours to combine.
First I used these stunning colour to make a thick and thin yarn base. Then I used a golden wool yarn to ply with and used differential tension to spiral the thick parts of the fleece around the golden yarn. Then pushed this up and anchored in place to make these merino coils. To my great joy the resulting yarn looks like a bunch of mini Easter eggs, which couldn't make me happier if it tried!
I think this yarn might be used in a weaving project to add some gorgeous texture. Although first it will just sit in a yarn bowl on the coffee table over Easter. The good news is there is still plenty of time left to spin over this mini break so next project is some art batt core spun.. ooh exciting!
Recently I finally finished sorting my studio, and it's now done and ready for business. So what better way to celebrate this than share some sparkly shots from my new studio. This is a rather picture heavy post, so they're all in a gallery below... enjoy!
Well I hope you liked this post readers, it has taken a lot of work and tweaking to get the studio looking like this but it's finally ready for some serious fibre art!