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I was one of the students two years ago in the very first Journey to the Golden Fleece Course. Our final project was supposed to be completed around Christmas 2014. I was up to date with my Module 1-7 yarns but stalled a bit in my Module 8 final project. There was a second graduation at the later date of March 2015.
Unfortunately, in Feb 2015, I had an accident on the ranch that involved about 40-50 pounds of snow, ice, wood, and my face and head that left me with a broken nose and head injury. Believe me when I tell you that really stalled my final project. I am healing albeit slower than I like because as my husband says I was at the back of the queue when patience was passed out. I generally tell him that is not true….I wasn’t even in the room when the patience was passed out!!!
I let Suzy and Arlene know that photos were on the way a few weeks prior when I got close to completion. I had sort of given up the idea of my piece being considered for the museum showing, my ability to travel to the show, or even if Charlie would be available to be onshore at the ranch. Imagine my surprise a few days later when I received an email from Arlene and Suzy that included the following information:
The Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania will be showing a collection of Journey to the Golden Fleece pieces from October 2, 2015 to November 22, 2015.
The collection being shown will contain approximately twenty pieces. The museum has asked that we submit the pieces from the following artists for their final selection to be included:
Clare Des Bruyeres
Melissa Yoder Ricks
My final project is in two parts. Mod 1-6 is in Part One with Mod 7 being Part Two. It is a mixed fiber medium piece. All the yarn is hand spun during the course. You can see all the Mod 1-7 yarns HERE. Various parts are woven on a rigid heddle loom, woven on a circular loom, wet felted, dry needle felted, free form crochet, woven felt, and the backing was sewn on my vintage 1954 Singer 99K hand crank sewing machine. I don’t really know how to sew so that was a fun experiment starting on such a large piece. Most of it was pieced together with hand sewing or free form crochet. Part One piece is approximately 5′ x 5′.
I set myself the challenge to spin traditional yarns with architectural plies, to keep it all white, and to use the same fiber with the same prep through out the entire course. All the yarn is spun from 15.5 micron merino in a commercial combed top preparation. The only added bits are some white natural fresh water pearls strung on a white silk thread and Mod 6 yarn which includes garnet seed beads strung on a white silk thread. There is some white silk hankies used in the felted parts but not in the spinning of the seven yarns. I am excited to be included and very happy that I am going to be able to go to the exhibit.
I have finished Module Five yarn, set the twist, photographed it and wove a circle weaving with it. This module was supposed to focus on mastery. Specifically mastering a spinning technique spun previously, showing several variations in small yardage skeins. I did not find the module enjoyable because I personally hate doing small yardages, samples and other assorted test your technique stuff that many people do. I personally find it annoying and a waste of time as I tend to want to just get on with a project and spin or weave.
Since I have been focusing a lot on Spiral techniques in this course, I decided to spin 4 variations of a spiral yarn. In order to really show off the technique, I still followed my previous outline which was using the same commercial prepared combed top preparation of 15.5 Micron Merino wool in white.
All the photos have the basic spiral, extreme spiral, beaded spiral and super coil core spun style spiral in that order from left to right.
I spun a basic spiral, a extreme spiral holding one ply with tighter tension to create more spiraling, a beaded spiral with a silk thread and freshwater pearls, and a super coil almost core spun version of a spiral.
I accidentally did the super coil core spun sort in a different module but this time wanted to do it on purpose and see if I could over come the original design problem of so much twist that the yarn was coarse feeling and darker in color. When I spun this super coil core spun sort of version this time, I did keep the softness and loftiness of the merino fiber as well as the white color and I just loved it.
I am finding that with each module I have a large amount of yarn spun up that I don’t use in the final project weaving. I think that I will be weaving some circular and square wall hangings as I have had requests for more baby room wall art, as well as some scarves and maybe shawls. You will find those on my shop on Etsy.com so keep an eye out for Alba Ranch’s shop and some new projects.
Mod 3 yarn. Hmmmm… What can I say? I was on a roll and spun up mod 2 and rolled right into Mod 3. Module 2 was about Trials and Tribulations but I swear Mod 3 should have been the trials and tribulations!!
I was going for a gimp spiral yarn as on page 118 of the Spinners book of yarn designs by Sarah Anderson. Did I succeed? You tell me.
Same commercial prep combed top 15.5 micron merino. Pure white. Yarn on left is first attempt. Yarn on right second attempt.
I spun a super fine single. More fine than I have ever done in my life. Probably not terribly even and too much twist as I wasn’t even in the ballpark of comfort zone!! Spun a bobbin of single that was supposed to be twice as thick probably was more like 3-4 times. Had way too much twist in it. Bobbin wasn’t taking up properly. Thought it might be OK when I plied.
Tried plying on my new CS2. Didn’t go well. Came off bobbin like a rubber band hung around the door knob and snapping back in your face!! That’s the left yarn. It seems like a cross between a super coil and a core spun and an angry rubber band. And it feel like I spun it out of a Brillo pad. Looks cool. Not even close to what I was going for.
Attempt 2: When my big single bobbin ran out, my thin single bobbin was still half there so went and spun up a new thick single with very little twist in it but again probably a whole lot more than just half bigger than thin one. Tried to keep it even. I plied on my CS2 again. Got half way through the 2 bobbins when I realized I was plying to the right the same way both singles had been spun. Crap!!! Cut the yarn and wound off bobbin back onto my left hand until I got to beginning. Had a lot there and being over energized it was tight as well as unruly. Thought if I just started it back at beginning and doubled plyed to left it would untwist the wrong bit and re twist it up right. It did. Sort of. Tangled it in knots. Had yarn everywhere. Had hubby waiting on me to do something but me not able to put ti down as it was a tangled mess on my left hand when trying to re ply and untangle with both hands at same time. I obviously didn’t think this one through!!! Eventually got it sorted. Than joined on with the last half of bobbins, join didn’t take the best so will have to be careful of that bit when I weave with it but got it going.
It is easy enough to do when you do it right from the start!!! I believe it is a nice soft relatively even medium weight spiral, but is it a gimp spiral???
I do love my second version even if it is not a gimp spiral yarn and may have a new best favorite yarn. Thoughts??