It is time to announce the winning colour, the one of four which received the most votes, and I am pleased to say there were over 500 votes counted! The competition was close, initially I thought we were going to be having Banana Split bobbins […]
If you are a spinner who enjoys making anything you do ‘yours’, then I think you will enjoy this idea! Our wonderful wooden bobbins are just right for adding your own personal touch and turning them into something uniquely yours. I have played with this […]
This time I thought I would share some spin stuff with you, something you could make on any of our range of wheels, but especially if you like spinning finer yarns, this will even work as a heavy lace and will fit perfectly with the Lace Kit on any of the Majacraft wheels (and whats not to love about baby bobbins! soooo cute).
This yarn ‘recipe’ is an alternative way of creating a boucle yarn, taking advantage of the different properties of different fibre types and breeds. This yarn is a simple two ply, in which one single is spun from an easily feltable (shrinkable) yarn and the other from a nice curly less shrinkable type. I would recommend trying this with (for example) a single of Merino, and a single of Mohair, or you could do Polwarth with Wensleydale, or Corriedale with Gotland (or any mix and match of these types of fibres). The key is to make on of your singles the kind of fibre that will naturally want to curl into loops, and the other that naturally wants to shrink onto itself when washed and agitated.
This how the finished yarn looks: (click the image to see closer)
and close up you can see the cute little loops that are formed
The making of this yarn is surprisingly simple. There are two main keys to success, the first is your fiber choice, the second is your plying angle.
As you spin your singles, spin your shrink fibre as usual and to any thickness you like, but spin your curl fibre with some extra twist, and keep that one fine. In the example I spun both singles to a similar thickness. I started with undyed fleece too and dyed it when completed as part of the fulling process.
When you come to plying, the important part is to make sure you ply unevenly! Keep your shrinkable fleece with more tension on it and straight towards you, and spiral the curl fibre around it.
Your plyed yarn should look like a badly plyed two ply when you’re done, but don’t worry, there is another step!
Next comes the part that creates the magic! You are going to treat this yarn roughly. Wind it into a skein, then drop it into hot water (or like I did into a dye pot!). Let it relax, start enjoying itself, stretch out… then take that yarn and dunk it straight into cold water! Swirl it around, beat it a bit, then repeat! Keep repeating the hot to cold and agitation until you see that shrink fibre doing its shrinking, which in turn pulls in the curl fibre and forces it to curl. The more you spiraled the ply the more curls you will get.
You will know when your yarn is complete when it is looking nice and loopy!
This yarn will look like a boucle style, it will add a lovely and gently looped texture to any project without being as big or add the bulk of a more standard three ply boucle. You might want to experiment with making more or less of an angle in your plying , or adding more twist to your curl yarn, or altering the thickness of the two plys, you will get a slightly different result in each variation.
I spun this yarn on my Majacraft Little Gem with the standard flyer and bobbins. I love the versatility of this little wheel, and it will soon be travelling with me around the South Island of New Zealand on a teaching tour. She packs up into her bag and off we go! And yet despite being the Majacraft ‘travel’ wheel this is also my go to wheel for all my finer spinning (My Aura provides everything else so well!) and she is so stable and smooth and she now has the Lace Kit set up for fine spinning, which is my ‘relax and spin’ options of choice!
I will keep you posted of our travels over the next month or so! In the meantime I hope you enjoy your two ply boucle!
Glynis and Owen are now home safe and sound again after their international travels, in which they had many adventures (and I am pretty sure Owen also caught some fish!). We shared some of their journey on our Facebook page, and in this post, Glynis shares with us a more in depth look at the retreat they attended in the UK, organised by Ruth of ‘The Wheel Ewe.’ Thank you Glynis for sharing this with us!
With jet lag forgotten we can now reflect on the amazing Wheel Ewe Retreat that we attended in Edinburgh early in October. It was held at the very nice Capital Hotel, which provided us with excellent rooms and very good meals over the two days. Rooms for the workshops were spacious, well lit and nicely warm. Organised superbly by Ruth Robinson owner of The Wheel Ewe, the retreat attracted spinners from all around the UK as well as from Europe. So keen were many of them that they started arriving a couple of days before the scheduled start.
Ruth had brought together a great mix of tutors with a huge amount of expertise and experience. All of them are published authors of books on their specialist subjects.
Jane Deane kicked the retreat off with a journaling class. We were given wooden covers with a number of pages to insert once we had woven the cover design which was based on the style of Scottish artist, Charles Rennie Macintosh.
Jane gave us a base picture that we were to look at closely and she directed us how make our way far enough into the picture that we could design a yarn depicting the chosen part. There was heaps of fibre in all the possible colours for us to spin yarns for either of the two pictures supplied. It was a great exercise that was enjoyed by all.
During the event Jane also taught spinning exotic fibres and it sounded as though the wallaby was a real challenge. I saw some great examples of the outcomes though.
Sarah Howard and Elisabeth Kendrick were there to teach several weaving classes which included pattern making and of were based around a rigid heddle loom. The range of garments that these ladies had on display to show the possibilities of a simple loom was amazing. Every day they both appeared in some new and beautiful garment. This is Sarah wearing one of her woven garments.
Janet Renouf Miller had silk spinning as her specialist subject and a wide range of options for using silk in spinning were taught.
Ruth herself taught an art yarn class, with tail spinning and also a brand new technique that she had discovered herself. This was a fun class that I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend.
Ruth had asked me to show how to spin on a stylus and I must say the students were very fast learners and I think all mastered the technique very quickly. We spun merino sliver, colourful rolags from the blending board, and lastly cotton sliver which is well suited to stylus spinning. This fibre caused a little perturbation, but again all turned out a good yarn.
Owen spent his time checking wheels for everyone which certainly was much appreciated. He had also prepared a short presentation for the attendees to see the Majacraft factory in operation and to see the people who make our products, Andy, Rob, Lance, Andrea, and Amanda, with Dylan and Toni helping out when needed.
Probably the best thing about retreats is the opportunity to meet and learn with other people who share your passion, and we absolutely loved meeting so many new friends.
We want to thank Ruth, her husband Jonathan, son Nathan, and daughters Sarah Jane and Anita, and friend Alex, for all their efforts in planning and delivering such a wonderful retreat. I do hope there will be more and fingers crossed that we will be invited to attend again.
Last week we relaunched our Dynamic Heddle weaving loom, the Majacraft variation on a rigid heddle loom. We created this loom some years ago, and included innovations we are still very proud of such as the variable dent reeds (hence ‘dynamic!’) and the rare earth […]
September 2017 marks 21 years since the Poads started with Majacraft, and we have been making the best spinning wheels and tools we can make ever since! It is very rewarding to see some of the wheels made in those early days still out and about with their […]
If you are a Majacraft Aura owner, or considering becoming one. then we have something new to share with you! This is such a unique wheel, from its beautiful modern styling and New Zealand native timber materials, to the amazing ‘modified double drive’ system that give you detailed control for ‘set and forget’ spinning.
Because this wheel is so different, we wanted to celebrate it with you, Aura owners! We have created an exclusive Club, a place where we can: share news and updates on the Aura, welcome you to participate in monthly events, live streams, and challenges (with prizes!), where we can offer you occasional discounts specifically for Aura owners, and where you can share your own Aura adventures with us, and your fellow Aura owners.
We have also created something really special to gift you with your Aura Club Membership, we have designed a really useful (and decorative) little Wheel Hanger which we will post to you (no charge) on registration with the Aura Club.
If you are already a Registered Aura Owner please follow this LINK to register for the Aura Club. If you are a new Aura owner or about to become one (congratulations!) then just Register your Wheel on the link provided with it and you will be signed up for the Aura Club at the same time. Once you have completed your Registration you will receive the link to gain entry to the Majacraft Aura Club (Closed Group) on Facebook.
We hope you will enjoy the upcoming activities and events we have planned! Our first kickoff event is a Live Stream on the 18th of September at 1pm (New Zealand Time) which will include some exclusive video of how and where your Aura is ‘born’, a tour of the Majacraft Workshops where your wheels are hand crafted by our small team!
We hope you and your Aura can join us for this, and future Aura Club Events!
See you soon!