I though I'd share some of my class experiences from my trip to SAFF last month. I signed up for three classes and I think overall it was a little too much for me. I was in class almost the entire time I was there, but on a bright note, it did keep me from spending too much money.
My first class was about fiber dying. The class was fun, I liked the instructor and I did learn some things. We talked about preparing fiber for the dyeing process, mixing dyes, applying and setting the dyes. I enjoyed dying the fiber - but I really am not please with my fist attempt. She warned us about putting too much dye onto the fiber and I took it to heart. I didn't use enough dye and ended up with a dull roving. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to produce enough hand painted fiber to sell - but I would like to try again at home. I think I might give it another try this spring when I can comfortably work outside.
My second class involved preparing fiber with sparkly stuff for spinning. I'm at complete loss on why I signed up for this class. I am not a sparkly person by nature at all, but I signed up anyway. We learned several different ways of incorporating the glitz into fiber from spinning, but I found the drum carder to be the most fun and the only thing I couldn't have tried by myself at home. Who would have thought that there are even different types of sparkle. The stuff in the photo is leftovers from my class. I did purchase a small bag of sparkle to see if I could come up with something more to my liking at home.
The last class I took was on novelty yarns. Another puzzler of a selection, but I think I was really aiming to try something new that I wasn't likely to try by myself. The first yarn we tried was a cabled yarn. Which in this example is basically two 2-ply yarns plied together. I like the was this one looks and will working on one soon. I'm thinking of trying for a cabled sock yarn. I'll be sure to post the process and results.
Next we tried a knotted yarn. It was interesting and for a novelty yarn I can see how it would make an interesting texture in a scarf or something. Mine was create by plying two of my homework singles together. I think there would have been a lot more contrast if I had used different colored singles or even different textured singles. I might try some more of this one too.
We tried soft twist singles and a marled yarn which just means putting two colors together while spinning. This picture shows our soft twist singles, the marled yarn and to top it all off we plied the whole shebang with thread. The poofy white parts are my soft twist singles and towards the bottom you can see the purple/white marl. It was interesting trying to spin two different fiber together in one thread.
We also tried a couple of types of boucle yarns, including a three pass boucle and a core spun boucle. I had a difficult time getting a nice consistent effect with these. It would take some practice.
We tried using beads too. I like the idea but found the process we used difficult to master. We strung the beads on thread and fed that into the fiber as we spun. I'd like to try making a beaded yarn again to see if I could finally master the task.
This class did challenge me to spin in different ways than I was comfortable with and I think that was my overall goal for the class. My hands had to work at the wheel in ways that they normally don't. I like that trying something new if fun.
When I first walked away from the classes I was disappointed, most likely because I didn't have very pretty results from the dying class and my spinning classes produced no usable yarns. But reflecting now, I do think that I got a lot out of some of the classes. I've decided that I need to be a little more selective in picking the classes I'm going to take.
I still have most of the singles I created for class and I need to do something with them so I can reclaim my bobbins for other spinning projects I want to do. If you see something you'd like more information on let me know. I'll practice the techniques and then try to create a detailed blog post with instructions. I know that I'll be doing the cabled yarn soon.