The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft

11Apr/170

Contact Us!

This is a little public service announcement post, prompted by some unexpected website issues (argh technology!)  It seems that our contact form is not working as it should, and while we are receiving your messages from the contact form, it is not sending us your email address with your message so we can't respond!

If you have tried to contact us in the last few weeks and NOT heard back, please send us an email direct to support@majacrtaft.co.nz so we can respond to you by reply mail.

We are very sorry about this, the problem is being worked on and hopefully resolved very soon! Meantime we are going to take some deep breaths we hope you will also enjoy a quiet moment at the beach with Suzys shell circle weave :)

 

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27Feb/171

Majacraft Livestreams are coming!

Starting next month Majacraft will be hosting some special live broadcasts to both showcase their wheels and tools as well as answer your questions. Are you thinking of buying a wheel but aren’t sure which one is right for you? Or do you already have your Majacraft wheel and want to get some tips and tricks on making the most of it? Maybe you have a problem and could use some troubleshooting? Glynis Poad and Suzy Brown will be hosting these sessions, and we aim to make them informative and interactive, everyone is welcome! There will be a Q&A time during each livestream, so please send in your questions before the event, or join the chat on the day to ask! For anyone unable to attend please still post your questions on the event page and we will answer them during the livestream for you to watch later.

Following the live sessions, all videos will remain available as recordings on the Majacraft YouTube channel, come back and rewatch anytime.

Each session will run via YouTube, anyone can view, and if you want to join the live chat alongside the stream you only need to be logged into your YouTube account to participate.  We will post links to each session here on the blog once we have those set up, and we will also create a Facebook Event for each session, you will be able to find the links there too and  you will get a reminder when we are about to start! You are invited to ask your questions either during the event or earlier by posting on the Event page, we would love to know what you are most interested in!

Please make sure you are following our Facebook page for further updates on these live events!

March 27

1pm NZ Time
(Sunday 26 March 5pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 8pm Eastern Time)

Topic: Majacraft Wheels 101

Answering the FAQs on basic wheel use and Maintenance
Attaching and removing your flyer
Threading the flyer and different Majacraft orifices
Where to oil (and not oil) your wheel
Drive Band Maintenance - when to replace and when to cut and rejoin (for stretched bands)
Tension cord- to cross or not to cross?
Spinning head height

3 April

1pm NZ Time
(Sunday 2 April 6pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 9pm Eastern Time)

Topic: Wheel Focus: Get to know your Rose

New Rose Assembly Tips
What can you spin on a Rose?
Tension - scotch tension explained
Head adjustments for best spinning results
Accessories for the Rose

10 April

1pm, NZ Time
(Sunday 9 April 6pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 9pm Eastern Time)

Topic: Wheel Focus: The magic of the Little Gem

Why this is such a great travel wheel
Drive bands - direction and twist
Tips for easy treadling
Drive Band troubleshooting - when to replace?
Accessories

8 May

1pm NZ Time
(Sunday  7 May 6pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 9pm Eastern Time)

Topic: What’s on our wheels?

Glynis and Suzy share their spinning, show you their stash, and put their Majacraft wheels through their paces to show you what they are spinning and how they have their wheels set up for it. Share your pics and ask your questions during the livestream!

15 May

1pm NZ Time
(Sunday 14 May 6pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 9pm Eastern Time)

Topic:  The Suzie’s  - to Pro or not to Pro, what is the difference?

New wheel assembly tips
The history of Majacraft and the Suzie Wheel
Accessories for the Suzie and Suzie Pro
How do you choose between the Rose, the Suzie or the Aura?

22 May

1pm NZ time
(Sunday 21 May 6pm US Pacific Time, Sunday 9pm Eastern Time)

Topic: the Awesome Aura

What makes this ‘THE’ Majacraft wheel for spinning designer yarns
Assembly tips for the Aura
Modified Double Drive explained
Adjusting your wheel to suit your spinning
Expanding your range with the right accessories
The stylus kit - how great is this for longdraw on the Aura! Head tilting for max effect
Troubleshooting and wheel maintenance

3Feb/173

And the winner is….

We have been waiting (on the edge of our seats!) for the results of our big VOTE to determine the colour of this years Special Edition bobbin!

You too?

Waiting for me to mention what that result is? :D

We had an overwhelming response on the Facebook page, and a clear majority DID emerge from the four possible options which where these:

And I would just like to take this moment to mention that Andy now owes me a coffee! (lets make that a Latte thanks Andy, with some cinnamon on top) because THE WINNER IS!.....

Yes, ROSEBRIGHT!   This amazing colour, reminiscent of vibrant fuschia's and richly iced cupcakes, will bring a new excitement to our wheels and spinning this year!

Here are the overall results as best as we can count:

Rosebright 97

Caelestis 83

Phosphore 63

Cyrtherean Bloom 8

So despite Andrews overt and for me, steamed milk and coffee rich attempt to turn the voting Phosphorewards, the Rosebrights made a majority and will become the 2017 Limited Edition bobbin colour of the year! Yay! And it is going to look wonderful next to the previous purple and green.

However there is yet hope for Andrews oranges, we will reprise the two runners up in next years voting selection and Phosphore and Cyrtherean Bloom will have another opportunity to shine as you vote for 2018 :)

And now you may be wondering just who the lucky FIVE will be, the five winners of the first RoseBright Bobbins?!

Here are the names! Congratulations! If your name is here, please contact us at support@majacraft.co.nz as soon as you can with your postal address and the subject line 'Rosebright Bobbin Winner'

Linda Shevel

Jeanette Bastian

Sandra Morris Jager

Géraldine Deleuze 

Monica Ann McDonald

Thank you ALL so much for your participation, we will let you know when the bobbins are made and ready to ship. Happy spinning in 2017!

 

22Jan/170

Majacraft Retreat UK 2017

We have wonderful adventures coming up this year, one of them being the opportunity to be involved in the Majacraft Retreat being held in the UK this October. The lovely Ruth of 'The Wheel Ewe' has organised an exciting event that will not only showcase Majacraft tools and equipment, it will create a wonderful opportunity for those in attendance to learn and participate in an excellent range of workshops.

Glynis and Owen will be travelling over to the UK and will be at the retreat to share their deep knowledge of all their spinning wheels, tools and equipment. You can learn how to get the best out of your wheel, share some fab lace spinning with the amazing Stylus accessory, and you can find out how to maintain your wheel to keep it running as good as new.

During the retreat you can also participate in a wonderful range of workshops! Jane Deane will be there for Colour Blending and Yarn Design,  Janet Renouf-Miller is sharing her knowledge of exotic fibres and silks, Elisabeth Kendrick and Sarah Howard are running weaving workshops, including one specific to the Majacraft Dynamic Heddle loom. Dj Stefek will be teaching spindle spinning with the Turkish spindle, and Ruth Robinson will be running spinning workshops for beginners.

If you are anywhere near Edinburgh, or are looking for a fantastic fibre fun filled destination for your travels this year, we are sure you will enjoy the Retreat and this wonderfully rich line up of teachers and subjects! You can read more about the event on Ruths website:

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17Oct/162

Camp 2017 Workshop Info is Here!

The time is going by so quickly, and its not so many months now till our next marvellous Magic Majacraft Camp! We know many of you are eagerly waiting to find out whats on offer this time around, and I am pleased to share with you the full teacher/workshop list for this great event!

This year we will have a wide variety to tempt you with - from spinning amazing textured yarns and learning how to use them, to felting, spin tech and plying, fibre preparation, and spin to wear. Scroll down to find the links to both the full workshop program and registration form.

 

Here is an example of work by one of our teachers Laurie Boyer, she will be travelling from the USA to be with us and share her skills and techniques:

And if thats not exciting enough! We have the lovely and talented Janet Day back from Australia, Isla Fabu, Suzy Brown, Lara Nettle, Pat Old, and Pauline Chapman, all bringing their individual creativity to share in our lovely relaxed camp environment.

Majacraft Camp will be held

 Friday 10 –  Sunday 12 February 2017

at
Keswick Christian Camp and Conference Centre, 5 Cooper Ave, Holdens Bay, Rotorua

 

Download the full Class Descriptions HERE

And the Registration form HERE

 

To confirm your place at camp please send a deposit of $65 by Thursday 20th October 2016.

If you prefer to pay in instalments please pay $130 by Thursday 15th Dec.2016 and the final $130 by Thursday 12th Jan. 2017
Or full payment ($325 total) by Thursday 12th January 2017.

Payment method details are on the Registration Form

Please contact Glynis – Ph. 07 5433618, or email support@majacraft.co.nz if you have any questions about Camp 2017, we hope to see you there!

 

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30Jul/161

Creative Weaving

Are you one of those lovely creative fiber people who have purchased one of our Dynamic Heddle Looms? Or maybe you are thinking about it or curious about what makes it different from other rigid heddle looms.. So this months blogpost is devoted to the Majacraft Dynamic Heddle Loom (DHL) and I am going to show you just a couple of the really cool things you can do with it!

One of the best and most unique things about this loom is the magnetic heddle attachment. Not only does this give you a VERY satisfying 'click' when you place it on the holder, it also gives you a smooth and simple method of moving the heddle into the up and down positions to change your weaving shed, no fuss or fiddling required. I rather love this little added touch that streamlines the whole process as well as the look of the loom itself.

Another super cool Majacraft innovation is the dynamic heddle itself and the freedom it gives us to choose from a wide range of reed segments that will accomodate any size and thickness of warp thread into your design. In a single warp you can have giant bulky bobbly yarns next to fine yarns, you can create highlights and super textures in the warp itself. I have found that when using art yarns and bulky yarns, the ability to place them into the warp rather than being restricted to the weft only, dramatically changes the drape of the finished piece. For example, if you have a fine and even warp, and then weave your art yarns into it to create texture, it will look amazing, it will potentially be an excellent wall hanging or piece of art, but if you wanted to wear it round your neck, most likely you will find that it wants to sit flat and will not drape around your neck in a comfortable manner. However if you reversed that warp and weft, the moment you take it off the loom you will see that it will have the most delightful drape and be an extremely wearable piece of art!

Here is an example of the thick yarns in the weft only:


I do love that piece! But I have to say I found this one much more satisfying!

I actually find that my weaving itself is much more 'dynamic' when using my DHL loom.

Here are a few ideas I would like to share with you that I hope will inspire you in your creative weaving too.

Firstly, do not be afraid to try a range of yarns in your warp, this closeup shows the detail of the warp I used for the above weaving, I varied the yarns across the width of it, with appropriately sized reeds sections. The only caution I can offer is that the variation in yarns can cause some variation in tension. Mostly this does not matter so much because we are generally not weaving a 'pattern' requiring consistent tension, however if you do find it gets 'floppy' you can 'pack' that warp section on the warp beam to add tension to just that area. You can also help this issue by making sure you roll some light sheets of card in your warp as you wind it onto the warp beam, this will assist in evening out the tension as the thinner warps do not tend to dig in as much when the tension is increased.

A cool technique you can use to add texture into your weaving, even with a non-textured yarn, is to create some loops as you go. In the following example I chose to weave into a narrow section, moving back and forth across about 10 warp threads, and at each end, instead of pulling the weft in to make an edge, I left a long loop sticking out, of about an equal length on each row/end. On either side I pulled each loop up to the front of the weaving. This is a very simple technique that can be used in different ways to create interesting textures. The most important thing in creative weaving is to continue experimenting! If something you try doesn't work you 'can' unweave it if you feel you have to, or you can keep on working on it until you find something that pleases you!

Another technique you might want to try out, and this lends itself also very well to a variable warp, is to add waves into your weaving. There are a few ways you can do this, you could go out and buy a special 'beater' that is basically a flat stick with a wavy edge, it is used to push the weft into place and create the wave patterns. Or you could do what I do and just use my fingers to push the wave into the weft, this gives a denser look to the weft threads that are pushed together in the valleys, and the weft in the mountains is looser packed, which helps emphasise the wave pattern.

If you wanted to, you could use a tapestry weave technique to then weave a different colour into the valleys, building them up by weaving back and forth inside the shape of the valley you have crreated to make a straight line across your weaving again, you can see in the image below the dark blue area built up against the white that flattens out the design before I added the purple across the entire area.

Another creative weaving technique that I like to use is one of making holes in the weaving. This may cause a sharp intake of breath from very traditional weavers, however it is a useful design idea that I think can be used to fantastic effect in your weaving, whether for wearable fabrics or wall hangings.

Making holes is quite easy, in fact the simplest way I can think of is to simply weave to the place in your warp where you want the hole to be, and turn your shuttle around and weave back to the edge, just weave to this point for the size you want your hole to be and then return to weaving the full width of your warp. You can then go back and weave from the other side to form the opposite side of the hole. You can make it wider by pulling tighter on the weft, basically you are creating selvedges inside the ‘hole’ and pulling up your weft will create curves and widen the hole.

 

I hope these simple techniques have given you some ideas for your own weaving, I think experimentation is a key in creative weaving and often starting off with one idea can lead you to many more as you shape it into your own style and designs.

I will leave you with the video I made of warping the DHL with a 'direct' warping method, its fast and easy and works well with different kinds of yarns. You can find out more about the DHL loom on our Product page HERE and of course you can talk to any of our dealers about our Dynamic Heddles looms and accessories

Happy weaving!

Suzy

 

 

31May/160

Bobbin Treats!

Limited Edition bobbins? Different colours? Yes! We've got them! This is just a little heads-up if you didn't know about these already, because they are proving very popular and just go to show that us spinners love colour! Last year we brought out some super new Lime Green standard bobbins (there are still just a few left), they look amazing on the wheels and are really fun to use, and being our standard bobbin they fit all our wheels and flyers (except of course the lace and overdrive flyers.)

I love this colour, its so bright and my yarns look awesome on them which makes it even more fun to spin!

Now this year (2016) we have a new colour, in fact are you seeing a pattern here? Each year will see a new Limited Edition bobbin colour! These colours will not be repeated (hence 'limited edition'), so if you start collecting you will end up with a range of unique bobbins that you can use to colour code your spinning, decorate your studio with, and make your own bobbin rainbow!

We are loving the 2016 colour, and we are not the only ones, these are being snapped up quickly, in fact I think purple is one of the most popular colours for spinners.. maybe we should choose a pretty lilac next year to match, or should we go neon pink?! We don't know yet either :) But we do know these purple ones will only be available this year and only while stocks last. Check out your local dealer for availability and pricing!

6Apr/164

Weaving Circular!

Growth, it's all about movement, change, and outward expansion. This is what excites me about circular weaving! In my mind, it is an embodiment of these ideas, starting at the centre and working outwards, expanding into the space around it and changing it in a positive way, adding more all the time. When I start a circular weaving it is all about possibility, I have made the warp, or the framework for growth, and then begin to experiment with how to use that framework, using colours, textures, fibers both spun and unspun. When we designed our first circular loom for the Fiberygoodness spinning course (Journey to the Golden Fleece) it was not obvious that this was going to be 'something', although there were already a number of people who had been following my own early experiments with this kind of weaving and it seemed there might be a few people would also enjoy this quite retro '70s idea. I started out with a large gear off a very old Louet drum carder (the teeth were broken). It was the right shape, and the teeth ideal for allowing me to warp it and still be able to lift the weaving off the loom when finished without cutting. Up to this time I had only seem looms that required the warp to be cut off and tied, or that used the loom as a final frame in the work, I wanted something we could reuse and to also remove the need to mess about tying knots (not my forte!) This was my very first circle weaving.     I made some sketches of ideas for the design, we decided that it should have 'cut outs' to make it easier to weave into, as the gear I had been using was just flat. You can see I had a few ideas! Some of them turned out to be not very practical in terms of making them, but we finally chose the one you see bottom left, as the unique shape for the Golden Fleece class. A little later Andrew added another design to become the 'standard' Majacraft loom that would be available to people not in the course too, it proved very popular! Our first prototype was closer to the original gear, and while it worked really well and I loved using it, the material it was made of was too heavy, making it slightly harder to handle and also less portable, and this was another goal, to make something people could put in their bag and take with them, much like knitting! This was the first prototype: After a bit of experimenting and discussion we settled upon using wood for the loom, it is strong and light, it feels nice to use and handle, and the colour of the wood compliments any colour, making it pleasing to use. We came up with these two looms and then added the smallest loom: There was so much interest in weaving circles on these looms that we set up a Facebook page for people to share their ideas, techniques and tips, and where we could post things we could offer such as the 'Warp Speed' warping  methods and the 'make your own' Template. You can find the group HERE and are very welcome to join in! It has been exciting to see the growth (yes we are back..ahem.. full circle again.) of this group and see the huge variety of projects people are using circle looms for! If you are starting to feel a little inspired to try your hand at circle weaving, you might enjoy the following videos, a 'basic' circle warp, an alternate warp for making earrings, and some ideas for creating textures in your weaving. I hope you enjoy them! Happy Weaving everyone Suzy x

20Feb/164

Majacraft Magic Camp 2016 Report

It's been a few days since we all reluctantly re-packed our bags and returned home from Majacraft Camp. Time to reflect on the wonderful atmosphere and marvellous things learned, as well as the good feeling of having spent time with old friends and new.

Firstly I would like to thank the Poads for the incredible amount of work and organisational powers they put into making this years camp happen for us! And in the usual Poad style there were so many carefully thought out personal touches to the weekend that really helped create a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere and set the scene for everyone to feel part of our camp community. For example, not only did we all get a well stocked goodie bag on arrival, but so did my son, complete with bubbles! Our food needs were extremely well catered for (again a family effort as well) and we had a fantastic program to enjoy over the weekend. We were well looked after!

Everyone started together in the main auditorium, the weekend long activity of journaling, sample collecting, and prettifying of the pages was kicked off by Michele Peddie, she inspired us to look at our inspirations differently with some fun exercises and the opportunity to choose images, colours, and ideas that we  could draw from later.


This initial activity was followed by (of course) Happy Hour, with much happiness in evidence! This was the feeling that pervaded the whole weekend, everyone was relaxed, pockets of spinners were scattered around the area with wheels and fluff, classes were running, the sun was shining, learning was going on and discoveries being made.

Chantelle Hill was teaching her fabulous crochet class (which I wish I could have attended myself) and I heard how much people were enjoying the techniques she was sharing.

 

Janet Knoop was amazing and everyone loved her Colour Class (even Melissa who had to deal with some bad news about her relationship with Orange!), and the tassle class results were magnificent! I cant tell you how much I loved each and every one of these glorious creations made under Janet's careful guidance.

 

I was very lucky on the Sunday to attend Pat Olds class, it was mindblowing and I needed more coffee partway through to sustain me! How wonderful to start with a bunch of leaves, turn them into a flat woven piece and then the magic of shaping that into a 3d vessel! These traditional pieces were made for food containers, and apparently those much more skilled than myself can make one in a very short time indeed (minutes not hours!). There is something extremely satisfying to make a useable and beautiful object from things we can find and grow in our environment.

Angela Daish was also busy filling hearts and minds with the joys of finger weaving! Her creativity and ideas are always interesting and the enthusiasm she brings to her projects is infectious. I am sure this is a technique we will be seeing more of!

Upstairs was the domain of the lovely Tracy White of Inspire Fibres, she brought her in depth knowledge and expertise to this workshop on Fleece, participants learned about fleece selection, skirting, and sorting wool for hand spinners. This is such a valuable area of education in our craft, and so relevant to us here in New Zealand were we have such easy access to whole fleeces direct from the farm. Tracys expertise as a wool classer is a wonderful asset to us!

There was also much spinning over the weekend, and I taught two classes on the Saturday in which we explored some Chain plying (Navajo ply), faux boucle making, and creating texture effects in yarn. Everyone used three different kinds of fibers in their singles and then we played with how these work with different ply techniques. For some this was their first attempt at chain plying and for others this was a new way of making loops in their textured yarns. The results were outstanding! Ian Hitch made a particularly stunning skein which I am so sorry I failed to photograph (I was a little busy with technique support to remember my camera) and it was really exciting to see how many very different yarns resulted from everyone playing with these techniques with their own colours and fibers. We had 50 something students in the spin class on Saturday and it was a fantastic experience to meet everyone, even my head was spinning by the end of the day :)

 

Then of course there was all the extra stuff going on around the Camp. Andrew spent pretty much the entire weekend in the workshop corner, busy with wheel maintenance and troubleshooting the queue of what looked like every kind of Majacraft wheel ever made!  It was an impressive effort and the wheels left camp refreshed and just like new again.

I would love to share more photos with you from camp, and I wish I had some of Glynis and Owen and the Majacraft team to share, but to be honest, they were all so busy it was hard to catch them! I will be making a little Camp Movie of the rest of my photos and will post it on our You Tube channel next week, but there are most likely gaps where I missed people,  so if you have images you would also like to share please email them to me at suzy@woolwench.com and I would love to include them in the collage!

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27Jan/160

Tutor Feature: Angela Daish!

Only a few weeks to go till Majacraft Camp! Tutors are getting ready, making up samples, sorting out fibres and  yarns to bring, organising equipment.. And I recently had a visit here at Woolwench House from the vibrant Angela Daish!


(No I don't live in a barn, this is a picture of Angela at a recent farm day!)

On her visit Angela brought some of the samples she has made for her Majacraft camp classes, and I wanted to share them here, they are very inspiring. Angela will be teaching the ancient art of 'Finger Weaving'.  Now this was something I had never heard about before, and on seeing Angela's sample pieces I could instantly see so many cool uses for this great yarnie craft! This is a technique that goes back at least 3000 years ago (amazing right?!) and although it was used all over the world it was turned into a real art form by Native Americans, who used it to make woven belts and sashes, bag and basket handles and so on. Materials used for finger weaving varied, depending on the use intended, the inner bark of certain trees, Indian Hemp (Dogbane), nettle, milkwood, and other plant fibers, even strips of moose hide could be used.

It was not surprising to me that Angela is so enthusiastic about this weaving technique! And of course, being Angela, she has been busy experimenting with different fibers, thicknesses, colours and textures, take a look at some of the designs she has been working with in preparation for teaching this workshop: (click on each image to get a closer look!)

As you can see, we can learn how to make patterned straps, and Angela has also been designing ways to use wider pieces (the weave does not need to be limited to band size), one of the images above shows a pouch she has made from a wider piece. I would like to learn this technique for making bag straps, a camera strap, some bracelets ( lots of jewellery type ideas come to mind actually), and to play around with mixes of traditional and textured yarns. I would love to use it to make pockets and add those to my loom weavings too. And the best  thing  is that these can be made without a loom or heddle of any kind, literally with your fingers and some yarn, this has to be the most portable project technique ever!

If you are enrolled in Angela's Majacraft Camp classes you are in for a treat, and not only for the technique and skill learning but also the fun of spending time with Angela, her enthusiasm for experimenting with what you can do with yarn and fiber means there is never a dull moment, and with Angela it is easy to feel like anything is possible! Not to be missed!