Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! Time for a Resolution

Ah yes, 2014 is literally right around the corner, and it's time to sit down and think about what I can do to improve myself in the coming year, or otherwise make 2014 better than 2013 in general. But in order to do that, I need to recap 2013 so I know what to resolve to improve in 2014.

Without going into the nitty-gritty, suffice it to say that this year was a year of personal growth for me. I learned what I was, who I thought I was, and who I actually am. So, just because this personal epiphany occured to me in the middle of 2013, doesn't mean it wasn't a resolution in 2013. We're all trying to be better people in the next year, whether we say so or not. So my personal resolution for 2014 is to continue to be this new-found me, and stay positive for the entire year, not just when it starts and I'm hopeful.

But enough about the personal bit...let's get onto measurable goals for 2014. I've been dreading the long draw technique since I first attempted it three years ago. I probably should learn how to do it as well as I do the worsted draw method, since it's a great way to make a soft fluffy yarn with minimal effort. Part of the reason why I didn't feel like doing it was because I didn't have the fiber prepared in a way I felt comfortable using. All of my previous attempts I used hand carded rolags, and whenever I tried the folded-in-half version or strips from batts drafted from the side, I never got the fiber to draft smoothly into yarn.

My new blending board will help with this goal. I can make the rolags as thick or thin as I want, and I can make one giant rolag or several tiny ones. My first few attempts have been successful, though I've been mostly utilizing the worsted spinning method. Once I've played with the blending board enough, I'll be able to convince myself that there's nothing holding me back from using the long draw method. The 3 mini skeins on the left are the yarns I made from fiber carded on the blending board:

And to go along with my desire to become efficient at using the long draw method is to use fibers I'm scard of. Specifically cashmere. I have a whole pound of it, and two tiny spun samples. I encourage everyone else to just dig in and try stuff out (because you can't really destroy fiber, it just changes), so why not just follow my own advice? The truth is, I'm scared. I've been scared of this pound of cashmere since I bought it a year and a half ago. In 2014, it will be spun into a project. Maybe yarn for chic gloves. Or ear muffs. Guys, please hold me to this promise!

And my last resolution for 2014 is to learn how to use my new fiber tools effectively so I can teach you all the great ways you can use them. You all should know by now that I'm a teacher at heart, and I love sharing. This one will be loads of fun (and I'll probably accomplish this one first!) because I love testing stuff out, and putting it through the ringer, so to speak. Getting to know a tool is figuring out not just how to use it, but also knowing what it will and won't tolerate. What are its quirks? What's the best technique? That sort of thing.

My new fiber tools have come from Moonsong Fibers and are both handmade products. They were highly recommended from a fellow spinner/dyer, and since I'm all about empowering small businesses who make their own products, I couldn't resist adding them to my Christmas wishlist.

With that, let's bring in the new year with the promise of being new us-es and you-ses, and remembering to keep a positive outlook on the year the whole year long!