By Amelia © November 26, 2009
I was recently asked to describe a little about my skills and background, as a volunteer reviewer for WeaveZine (haven't seen it? go check it out -- it's the "Knitty" for weavers, and then some, with articles, reviews, blog posts, forums, and podcasts!)
And, this is my birth month. So, time to describe the me-now. Stay tuned, I'm a work in progress!
Where to start?
I teach spinning, spindles and wheels, beginner to advanced; fiber prep of all sorts (carding, combing, flicking, drum carding); and dyeing (fiber or yarn). I will actually teach pretty much anything people want to learn. If I don't know it yet (which is rare, in my field), I'll figure it out and figure out how to teach it -- which usually means my children get to learn it from me.
I've studied a wide variety of spinning types -- from perfectionist 2-plies to crazy wild art yarns; and spindles, from Navajo to Akha as well as the more conventional top and bottom whorls. I love it all!
My wheels and spindles: I have a large variety of both. I have had a great wheel, and a traditional Saxony wheel, but right now all my wheels are pretty much castle style due to space. I'm lucky that spindles don't take up much room, though I do try to keep my collection in check, under the century mark. I don't count the teaching supplies -- who, after all, needs 8 pairs of hand cards? A fiber-loving octopus, maybe ...
I recently self-published Productive Spindling (and got it on Amazon! that felt like a major accomplishment!). There are more books in my future -- I did say I was a work in progress -- right now I'm working on a non-fiber writing project, but after this, I will return to a fiber topic.
I'd call myself a beginner-intermediate weaver with the focus to do seemingly complex projects. My first weaving was a four harness undulating twill, for example. We have a local study group here, so I've dived into complex topics: laces, twills, and sewing with handwovens. My favorite structure to weave is twills; my favorite items to weave are tea towels and scarves.
My looms: 3 rigid heddle (Beka, Emilia, and Cricket), usually with multiple heddles though I play with color & weave in plain weave; 8 harness Baby Wolf; two 4 harness table looms; and an AVL 24" 24 harness compudobby that I'm still setting up (yeah, it's a little intimidating). My favorite shuttles are my end-feed shuttles, so far no one maker stands out for me, I have "one of each" syndrome there; though I also love my Bosworth boat shuttles -- sold all the rest, they are a clear favorite. My preferred warping method: back to front, by far. And I'm a big fan of direct warping on my RH looms.
The craziest part of my fiber arts is likely my circular sock machine; but it's also led me to explore color, dyeing sock yarns to get patterns and designs on socks. I enjoy searching for the perfect sock recipe, and also creating non-socks.
The fiber art I've done the longest is likely knitting, closely followed by crochet; actually, I'm not sure which I learned first, at my mother's knee.
I also search out rarer arts such as nalbinding. I've dabbled in felting, needle and wet, but tend to use those as "pick-up" skills on other projects, rather than as an end in themselves.
I operated a boutique fiber processing mill for a few years -- that was exciting! It taught me a great deal about sheep breeds, the rich varieties out there, and how each has their own characteristics for scouring, processing, and spinning.
What does the future hold? More teaching and writing about spinning and fiber processing, definitely. Hopefully more experimentation with color in dyeing. Exploring more weaving, and progress on some larger knitting projects. And definitely a few more pairs of socks and fingerless gloves on the sock machine!
© 26 November 2009 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/
There are so many things we share in common. I'm really enjoying your new book and the Forrester spindle.
Your new book has re-awakened my desire to use and love my spindles as they spin, not only as lovely objects or objects to frustrate me... Already, your book has helped. Thank you!
Amelia, I'm reading your blog for the 1st time. It sure brought me back to my childhood when my mom use to spindle. She would try to explain it but I never really caught on. Being of Pennsylvania Dutch Descent I wish I would have paid more attention. Congratulations on your self publication. That's a big deal. I wish you much success. Fair Winds and Calm Seas
Thank you for sharing! Also, yes, I have your book. I don't know that it will bring me back to spindling, but even for a wheel spinner it is very useful.
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