Lots More Skillshare Classes

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Oh, I have been busy!  I’ll talk about the knitting stuff on another post.  This one is to tell you about my new Skillshare classes.  If you do anything with fibre I may just have the class for you!

For those who haven’t heard of it, Skillshare is a video-based teaching site.  Some of the classes are free, but for most of them you sign up to the site and get access to ALL of the classes.  Teachers have what is called a ‘channel’ – in other words a page where their classes are listed.  My channel page is here.

So what is new?  Quite a bit actually….  Let’s go through the classes I have published since I last mentioned them here.  Click on the pictures to go straight to that class.

For spinners there is Spinning Long Draw.

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For knitters there is Starting Lace Knitting, Lace Knitting 2, Reading Lace Knitting Charts and Blocking 1.

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reading-charts

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For crocheters there are classes aimed at the forgotten section of the hooking community, those who are left handed! Crochet for Left Handers and Crochet for Left Handers 2.

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And for dyers there are the first two in a series of four on dyeing with Kool-Aid, Dyeing with Kool-Aid to get Even Colours, and Dyeing with Kool-Aid to get Uneven colours.

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I have more classes in the pipeline, so why not ‘Follow’ me and get notification when I publish a class?  I hope to see you over there!

I’m Teaching on Skillshare!

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As some of you know, I am now teaching on Skillshare.

If you’re not familiar with Skillshare, it is an online learning community with thousands of classes on everything from business to graphic design to fashion to cooking to craft – and many more. Classes are video based, and each has a project attached to it.

So far I have published 4 spinning classes, but I have dyeing, knitting and crochet classes in the pipeline, along with more spinning ones.

By using this special link, you’ll get access to all of my classes, plus all other classes on Skillshare for 3 months for just $0.99.

The classes I have published so far are these:

Caring for your Wheel – a necessary starting point for all spinners!

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Spinning Finer – this class takes you from where you are now to spinning finer and then fine.  If you can spin a single, however bumpy, this is for you!

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finer project

Spinning Ultra-Fine – for folk who want to try spinning the finest thread possible, either because they want to knit/weave/etc with them, or as a technical exercise.

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Spinning Silk – Silk is very slippery and folk sometimes find it difficult to work with after wool.  However, once you get the hang of it, spinning silk is huge fun.

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silk thicker skein

The introductory video of every class can be watched by anyone.  I have also put these videos on my YouTube channel.

Some of the classes I have started filming:

  • Spinning Exotics
  • Reading Lace Knitting Charts
  • Stating Lace Knitting
  • Crochet for Left Handers

In the planning stage:

  • dyeing with Koolaid
  • tie dyeing with Dylon
  • more lace knitting classes
  • working with fleece
  • Estonian lace knitting stitches

If you click the ‘Follow’ link on my Skillshare page you will automatically be told when I publish more classes.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Two New Patterns

I always love it when Barbara Brown of Ancient Arts Yarn emails me asking for a pattern.  This year it has happened twice.

The first one is crochet.  I have been doing quite a bit of crochet design for The Art of Crochet, and I had told Barb about a shawl I did for them.  She asked me to do one for AAY in their new bulky yarn.  Of course I said yes.

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Being a child of the 60s I hanker towards hippy fashion!   I love the current trend for fringing so I designed a shawl which would go both with floaty summer and evening dresses, with jeans and boots AND wrap round to form a warm winter scarf.

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The shawl comes in two sizes, about 56 (75)” long  x 15 (20)” wide; approx140 (188) x 37(50) cm excluding the fringe.  The smaller one takes 2 skeins of Big Squeeze and the larger one (pictured) 3 skeins.  The colourway is Eiffel Tower.

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The second pattern is one I started a few years ago but had never got round to publishing.  You know how much I like Scotties, and this is an I Love Scottie Scarf.  The first one I made was in a handspun yarn….

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… but AAY suggested the perfect yarn would be Black Scottie from their Woof Collection.  And I agree!

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You can buy the On The Fringe Shawl here and the Scottie scarf here.  While you are there, check out the glorious yarns.  AAY yarns are all brilliant to work with and such pretty colours.  I don’t think I am giving anything away if I say I don’t think this will be the last time I work with them?!

 

Tour de Fleece – the Rest of the Yarns

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Where does the time go?  I should have out these photos up ages ago, but I have been so busy.   But here they are.

As I was spinning away I found I needed more bobbins.  I looked in my tube for the spares and found one full of a lovely lime green single, and one with the ends of various bits of singles from a wide variety of projects.  So I did my usual trick and plied the green against the ends.  There were some ends left, so I plied the remainder of these against the remains of the earlier TdF singles.  Here are the results:

01 first 2 bobbins

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I collect these bits of yarns and periodically knit them up into lengthways scarves, or hats.  The colours always seem to go with each other.

Now I had empty bobbins I filled them up!  The first was a set of rolags called ‘Tulips’.  I spun these fairly thick with a fairly loose twist. (They will be knitted and lightly felted.)  With singles I try to leave them on the bobbin for a while to help set the twist.

03 originals

04 one puni

05 whole bobbin

Next I went to a much gentler colourway and spun a much finer yarn.  This was another gradient colourway which spun up very easily.  I spun 5 rolags onto each of two bobbins and then plied them together.

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I had time to spin up one more set of gradients.  This was 100g of wool-based fibre and 50 g of silk brick in the same colours.  I spun the wool up to about twice the thickness of the silk and then plied them together.  I was really pleased with the result.

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12 silk wool

My complete haul for the 3 weeks or so was satisfying.  I hadn’t forced myself or set any goals this time, but I really enjoyed the spinning – which is the important bit!

Tour de Fleece 2016 – First Yarns

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For several years now, there has been a global spinning ‘event’ which happens during the cycling Tour de France.  The idea is that you spin every day the Tour is on, with your own challenges on the special stage days, and post photos of each day’s work on Ravelry.

This year I am taking part with Team Bliss.  We are spinning on our Bliss wheels and are an informal team, being more relaxed than the ‘pro’ teams!

I am spinning several different gradients, in different forms and different fibres.

The first is 100% merino, prepared as ‘punis’.  True punis are made from cotton, but these are rolags, often on a blending board, and rolled tightly round a stick.  They are used for long draw.

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These are from Shunklies, and called Mint Choc Banana.

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When opened up and straightened out you can see the colour change.

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I spun one from the chocolate to the mint and the next from the mint to the chocolate.

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I had 10 punis and spun 5 on one bobbin and 5 on the other.   Once plied it looked like this:

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And the final skein:

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My next fibre was two braids of top made from 50% merino, 25% rose and 25% yak, from Hilltop Cloud. These braids went from a very pale shade at one end to very dark at the other.

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I spun each one on a different bobbin, starting the turquoise one at the pale end and the tan one from the dark end.

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I then plied  the two to give an aran weight yarn:

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As expected. the whole skein ended up looking very ‘similar’.  The colour changed will only become obvious when knitted up.

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A Family Wedding

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As some of you know, I have a granddaughter called Natasha, or Tash for short.  Yesterday she married her longterm boyfriend, Sean.

The wedding took place in a clearing in a small wood called Happy Valley.  Unfortunately it poured with rain the whole time!

Here are a few photos I took before and after the actual ceremony.

The first three were taken by my son Ben in Kirkwall before we left for Happy Valley.  It was dry then!  The dogs belong to Nick, Tash’s father, and Ben was acting as dog sitter for 24 hours.

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My shawl is the one from my book, Magical Shetland Shawls.  Tash wore another from the same book, the Heirloom shawl.

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Although my son Nick is Tash’s biological father, she was brought up by her mother Rachael and a friend of Nick’, Craig.  So Nick and Craig decided to share the father-of-the-bride duties!  Both gave her away.  Here they are waiting to be called down to the clearing where the ceremony took place.  Tash’s sister Charlotte was in charge of Tash’s train, and with all the rain it had to be held up out of the mud!

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Nick, ever the clown, decided my hat would suit him…

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I had bought a brolly specially for the occasion, and Nick then hijacked that to try to keep Tash dry.

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As they got ready to move off down the path, I got this pic of Tash looking pensive…

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I then went back and sat in the car, as they were using frankincense, which I am allergic to.  (At least I stayed fairly dry!!)

The rain poured down throughout the whole ceremony, and when it was over, people rushed for their cars.  Tash was so wet, however, that she wasn’t bothered.

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(That is mud on the hem of her dress, legs and shoes, not lace!!)

It was lovely to see Tash and Sean so happy.  They are young, but they have been together for at least 5 years, and both know what they are doing.  I am sure they will be happy together.

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And finally, one of more of the kilts….!!

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