I have recently returned to my Ashford Country Spinner 2 wheel and decided to spin some rather fine singles on it. I know that “they” say you can’t do that but I decided “they” were wrong. Read more to find out what happened…
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.
It has been ages since I have posted to my blog. There is a reason. I had an accident in February that crushed my head between and beneath about 40-50 pounds of wood, ice and snow. I dropped the wood box lid with all the snow and such on my head when my head was in the box. It crushed my head in between, hitting me both in the back and front of the head, broke my nose, split my face open and required stitches and an emergency visit. That has all healed up, but the head injury part did not heal as quickly. It has been a long hard six months but I am starting to feel better and starting to create again. Before this it was very hard to be on the computer, type, text, talk on the phone ect. Just too much input causing too many headaches. That is why I have been absent….along with a smart phone and internet that has refused to play nice….or smart!!
This last week, we have been building stone dyke walls outside around the flower beds. Dry stacking sand stone and doing some in round field stones. It will make it much easier to strim and mow. I have found that all my lovely plants do not always obey and stay in their beds. Some of the plants like Lily of the Valley in particular, like to wander out of their beds all over the yard.
We have had some super fab lilies this last week pop their flowers. I love my double and trumpet lilies. For a week, every time I walked past the studio the scent in the evening was almost over whelming. Their blooms are past now and I am finding I am missing their scent.
The Sunflowers have started to bloom. I planted a lovely variety of RED sunflower that I am still anxiously awaiting to open. They are sooooo close. The birds however, planted loads of Black Oil Sunflower seeds absolutely everywhere and those have been blooming ….well…everywhere!!
I have been working on my final project and should have it finished shortly. The Fiber Face piece is complete. The backing is sew together, hemmed, pressed and sewn to the front Fiber Piece. I have to add two more tabs to finish out the top and steam block it. Than it is done and photos will follow. I stitched the entire backing, tabs, and hems with my new to me 1954 Singer 99K. I adore this sewing machine and with it being a hand crank, I can go as slow as I want to. It is wonderful. I have been afraid of sewing for years and avoided it since my childhood. It is so good to be creating and making things that I want to. Isn’t this machine gorgeous?
I found two lovely hand cranks. This 1954 Singer 99K and also a 1957 Singer 15K-80. Charlie has used the 15K-80 to sew himself a felt quilt padded pouch for his new lap top that is too big for his old computer bag. We went to the Hen House on the east side of the state and met a lovely group of ladies that were quilting. One explained to Charlie how to do a “french seam” and he did it for his first piece. I didn’t pay any attention to them as I was more focused on sewing a regular seam somewhat straight and not my fingers included. I thought he could show off if he wanted to.
I did get several other sewing machines as well. Five all total. I already showed you and told you about the 1926Singer 31-15 treadle. She is an industrial sewing machine. I also got a 1941 Singer 66 treadle. I will use these two once I want to go faster than my hand cranks allow.
Last but not least, I got a 1949 Singer 15-91 electric for when I want to go really fast. All told I bought five vintage Singer machines and have plans to get my sewing, weaving, and spinning nook sorted soon. Currently they are spread out all over the place and it looks like a fiber and sewing shop exploded in the house.
Good News: we finally located my brand new never been used Juki Serger and the box of all the threads. We haven’t been able to locate it in the storage units or semi for the last two years. I was convinced that it was in a specific storage unit which was the only one of our units that was broken into last fall. I was correct and it was in that unit but was not stolen thank goodness. It was just very well buried and hidden….enough so that in about 4-5 trips both Charlie and I couldn’t find it. It is found now so more progress and learning is on my horizon.
Goat Kidding Spring Season was in May. We had five kids total born this May, with three being sold to new homes. Fall Kidding season is about upon us. I have several goats getting ready to kid at the end of August and into September. Sweet Pea had a single doe in June and it was a hard one for her. Her milk didn’t come in as good as it should have and the doe kid was very weak. I was out there when she delivered so I sat with the kid wrapped in a towel zipped inside my carhart for hours.
She was so weak she would have died had I not taken her into the house for two days. She is now fat, sassy and running around every where. A blue eyed blue pinto roan off one of my best does. Her name is Aileen, which is Gaelic for “sunbeam”. She is Sweet Pea’s last kid as we will be retiring her and finding her a pet home for her golden years.
All the llamas that we gave away have all come back to the ranch. We decided to get two of them back around Thanksgiving and let the other two go for good. However, those two also recently came back to the ranch. All of them we think may well be pregnant. So we are watching them as certain ones are getting rather plump and heavy.
It has been very busy here on the ranch. Trees coming down, walls going up, flowers being planted, weeds being dug up, goats coming and going, llamas coming back. So much activity.
I have started to learn how to sew with a vintage hand crank machine. I did my first quilt bit that I made to be a pad under the dog’s water dish for drips. I have been spinning. Finally I have made three scarves with the Broomstick stitch in Crochet. I had planned on doing that several years ago but moving state and injuries got me side tracked a bit. Now that stitch is super fun! I have woven for the first time with a bulky weight single ply as my warp and silk hankies shredded and used for weft. There has been so much going on I forgot to tell you all about it. I know that this is a feeble catch up for so many months of silence but I will do better as I am able to put in more computer time. Off for now…..
Here is a little photo gallery of all of the Module yarns from One to Seven in order. Enjoy.
Module 1 yarn is my Basic Go To Yarn that I spin easily without thinking.
Module 2 is a Chain yarn made up of 4 plys.
Mod 3 is a Gimp Spiral. One ply is 50% smaller than the other ply.
Mod 4 is a Beaded Spiral. Beads are fresh water pearls strung on a silk thread.
Module 5 – 4 Variation Spiral
1. Basic Spiral
2. Spiral with extra tension on one ply to make it a stronger spiral
3. Beaded Spiral
4. Super Coil almost core spun extreme spiral
Module 6 – Basic Go To Yarn revamped
Changes: 2 plys spun even, thinner and tighter. One silk ply with garnet seed pearl beads. Silk ply trapped between two merino plys to correct a previous problem of silk ply loosening off and beads getting caught and broken out of yarn
Module 7 – Slubby Flame Spiral
One ply tight, even and thin. One ply wild, slubby with huge changes between thick and thin. Fat uneven ply spiraled around tight ply to create a balanced strong and fluffy yarn