Inspiration for my next yarn. Thank you Georgia O'Keefe. Single Lily with Red from the Whitney Museum in NYC.
Kid mohair locks in white and green, moorit merino locks in brick red, hand dyed merino top in yellow and forrest green. Run through my wool picker and ready to spin.
People meet, fall in love and get married. Traditionally, this is usually a long drawn out process. Time spent dating, being engaged, planning the wedding. I dated my husband for six years before we decided to tie the knot. We were not rushing to get married.
After we finished college we moved in together (although we did share a dorm room for two years). It was during the time in our little cottage that I made my first of many quilts. Pieced and quilted by hand while sitting in front of the woodstove. Slowly, as the seasons changed, the quilt was finished and I dedicated it to my true love.
This summer we had the privilege of attending the wedding of my brother-in-law Bobby and his girlfriend Sarah. They had the most beautiful wedding on a Brooklyn pier over looking the Statue of Liberty. After the wedding they flew off for a romantic honeymoon in Tanzania.
I never know what to give people as a gift for their wedding. I knew I wanted to give Bobby and Sarah something meaningful from our family to theirs. I wanted this gift to represent something relevant to their lives. I wanted our whole family to be able to participate in constructing this gift, which can be a challenge when you have young children. Lastly, It had to reflect upon my creativity as a fiber artist.
My husband searched the web and found a beautiful piece of east African fabric, known as a Kanga. It was hand printed in Tanzania and would be perfect for the front of a quilt. It was printed with a saying “Mungu Ndiye Kimbilio Letu” which means god is our refuge. I picked out coordinating fabrics and set out with an open mind and a creative heart. In order to include my children in this process, we decided that a freeform quilt would be most engaging. One child would sew, the other clip threads, and I would iron, pin and cut. We pieced strips and cut them up again. Occasionally, we held up the pieces and inspected the visual balance. When the backing was done, I met up with a good friend Mary Eddy of the Jelly Bean Quilter and she quilted all the layers together. Before having kids, I would have quilted by hand, but that free time is long gone. I bound the quilt and embroidered an inscription.
All the members of our family contributed to this gift for a brother and new sister that are truly cherished. Time and hard work went into this quilt just like cultivating a loving relationship. We hope that this quilt will remind them of their wonderful honeymoon and keep them warm and snuggly together, forever.
Last year I got a beautiful Mohair fleece at the Rhinebeck Wool and Sheep Festival. When I saw this fleece, I marveled at how thick and formed each lock was. When I pulled the locks apart, the bubbly crimp was like kid mohair. It was silkier than traditional mohair, which usually leaves me itching. I realized that I have been purchasing fleeces without processing them and as a result I have a stockpile of spongy, soft, amazing locks sitting on the shelf of my studio. Like so many fiber addicts before me, I made a vow not to purchase any more wool until I dyed and spun some of my bounty.
So it begins.
I started with an amazing teeswater from the famous Natalie Redding at Namaste Farm. What a joy to spin up the big thick and lofty locks. The dye soaks up easily and there is no vegetable matter, which makes for a soft yarn. Spinning from the lock kept all the texture in the little curls. I love it.
I wanted a similar feeling from a yarn spun with an airy mohair fleece. Excitedly, I dyed one pot neon pink and green, another in minty greens and the last, purples and pinks.
To prep the fiber, my picker would prove to be the best tool for the job. I liked the way the wool looks when I pull the locks apart. The picker mimics what I do with my fingers, only faster.
I can add other fibers such as angora, merino, threads and sparkle to add interest. I opened up the fibers and blended all the different parts while not combing out all the cute curly “Q’s”.
I can see everything so clearly now. All the components for my batts are in plain view. After emptying out all the surplus from my studio, I have been working several nights in a row. I have spun up a lock spun yarn, carded up a batt, dyed a whole fleece and it feels so good. I look forward to many more nights.
I started by throwing out or “freecycling” anything that I had not used in the last 5 years. Then my husband, with the help of Ikeas amazing storage ideas, hung up extra cubbies for me to store all my wool. I picked up all the fiber from the floor and loaded up the new storage units. Packing up all the fleeces that still need washing and dying, freed up lots of floor space. We rearranged the furniture and removed 4 extra chairs. A total of 6 big bags left the room.
I have felt very unproductive for the last few months. I was finding it hard to focus on things like producing batts, turning them into yarns, and dying fiber. Things I used to love doing. Even updating the shop seemed to be a huge motivation.
I have spent the last few months concentrating on so many other exciting and creative aspects of life that I hadn’t realized how disorganized my creative space had gotten. How could I possibly produce anything when all my stuff was so messy? It was time to clean up my studio with the hope that it would turn around the artistic funk I have been in.
In other news about life and my glorious husband, over the last few weeks he worked to make me this great website. In light of that, I have put together a list of goals in an effort to keep this site/blog focused.
My intent is to draw people to http://www.newtwistyarn.com for general information about wool, yarn, spinning and patterns. I want to use the site to help broaden the depth of my knowledge and of those people reading or viewing the yarn archive. I intend to post technique videos and my inspirations in the hopes they will inspire you too. Aside from my obsession with fiber, I love working with all manner of handcrafts, cooking traditional foods and cultivating connections with local farmers.