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 […]
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 […]
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!
Waiting for me to mention what that result is? 😀
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:
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 email@example.com as soon as you can with your postal address and the subject line ‘Rosebright Bobbin Winner’
Sandra Morris Jager
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!
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 […]
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:
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to include them in the collage!
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 […]