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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.

 

 

Contributing Artists
Melangell
EM

Saturday, January 21, 2006

It all began...

My first real introduction into the world of Fibre, other than my mother's attempt to teach me knitting as a young girl, which I quickly became quite bored with as more important interests kept me busy, began at the beginning of the new millennium. I happened to catch a television show on spinning and weaving, thought how neat it would be to learn, and if I was going to learn I was going to start from the beginning. I fell in love with each new fibre experience, from goat to coat, hard, fast and have not looked back.

This includes caring for a small spinner's herd of angora goats as well as spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, natural dyeing and more. If you are interested I invite you to read an article I wrote for Country Side magazine that illustrates how I began My Fiber Adventures.

Unfortunately I live in an area where my excitement for fiber arts is not shared. It is really too hot to enjoy wool articles and where there is no need, there is very little interest. So for awhile I had to be content in being the lone participant in my fibre adventures. My dear husband encouraged me but beyond that his only interest is in the occasional hat, slippers or other articles of clothing that I make for him.

After teaching myself to spin a loom almost literally fell into my lap. I got such a good deal on it I could not refuse and so with the help of Deborah Chandler's book, "Learning to Weave" I began to do just that, learn to weave. I decided to join an online discussion list for weavers as an attempt at some kind of contact with others who enjoy working with natural fibre and met someone who I found, to my delight, lived, not only in the same state but the same town. Finally someone to share my growing love of fiber with. We met offline and have become fast friends.

My fibre sister and I have done all that we can to promote interest in fibre art here. This includes demonstrations to a local knitting guild, library, yearly demonstrations to our state fair and the occasional private lessons. While we do get encouragement in the form of positive feedback about how nice it is that someone is still creating clothing as it was done in the not too distant past, still these comments quickly turn to how little time they have to devote to spinning or weaving. Even when they ask for private lessons and it seems as though we may have enough interest to start a guild they soon either grow board or find they don't have the time to keep the interest up. So we keep demonstrating, educating and hoping.

Together my fibre sister and I have spent many a Sunday afternoon experimenting and exploring other fibre activities such as natural dyeing, felting and I have even picked up knitting again. Once the needles were back in my hands I found that like riding a bike, it all came back to me nicely.

During one or our yearly trips to Asheville NC for SAFF, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, I saw a beautiful Orenburg shawl and vowed then and there that my goal was to become talented enough to create something that wonderful.

My first attempt at lace work was this mohair shawl that I created on a triangle loom, which is a story in itself.

The triangle loom was a gift from my husband. I awoke one Nativity eve to the sound of tap...tap...tap... and after lying there for several minutes, listening, curiosity got the better of me and I went to the source to find my dear husband on the floor nailing hundreds of little finishing nails into a triangle loom he had built. As usual he waited almost too late, the eternal procrastinator, one of the things I have learned to love about him. I felt sorry for him so I joined him and together it was finished around 6 am.

The mohair were a gift from my goats who continue to offer me wonderful fibre to work with. The darker stripes in the shawl are a result of dyeing the mohair in black walnut hulls. I was very pleased with the results and even received a 1st prize ribbon at that year's fair. But now I am ready to try my hand at lace knitting, I can only hope my talent matches my enthusiasm.

Before attempting to knit lace I have to spin the yarn for my new project. Last night I started filling my bobbin with lace weight mohair. The trick being how much twist to put into it to produce a stable yarn without the pigtailing, which is a real problem trying to spin so thin.

I managed about 22 w.p.i. and this adventure begins....

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