Friday, October 31, 2014

Where is October Going?

Well, the month is nearly over already. October has gone by in a flash, it seems. How did that happen? First, let me talk briefly about some recent events.

I decided to reopen my shop. The reason I closed it the back in April had to do with the logistics of operating my Etsy shop remotely and asking my in-laws to deal with the shipping of orders. If a problem arose, I was helpless to fix it personally. I'm glad that my in-laws are organized so that when there was a problem, which happened a few times with international shipping, it was rectified quickly. But things changed.

I also decided that my personal environment is very important to me, and if I was going to get another master's degree, followed by a PhD., I should relocate to the physical campus. So, instead of just staying wherever and doing my master's online (again), I intended to apply for the taught master's program at Leicester. But living on campus is expensive, and I needed to pick up an income wherever I could. So, Expertly Dyed is back open.

You can check out the sidebar link to my Etsy shop to see what's new. Here are some brand new items which are making their voyage to America right now:

I also apologize for not updating the blog recently either. I needed to update and rewrite my personal statement for my grad application, which took a week to do. Then I wrote a murder mystery for our virtual Halloween party, which also took a week to write. I've also been doing about a million other non-crafty things this month, all of which are now done. Now that I'm back to my normal schedule, I'll start posting to the blog every few days. I have about 50 things to talk about, so be prepared for the information storm coming at ya! I"ll also film some new videos starting next week, so if you would like to see a specific video, now is the time to request for one!

In Seoul, autumn is just starting to happen. The trees in Urbana, where our alma mater is, begin turning colors at the start of September. By the end of October, many trees have started shedding their colorful leaves. But in Seoul, mostly because of the subtropical nature of this climate, trees don't begin to change colors until the start of October. Now that the 80 degree days are behind us, the leaves are turning beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. Here are the gingko trees by our balcony:

I'll be back with a new post about woolen yarns and my own personal journey!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: PLY Magazine Winter 2013 Issue, Part 1

I'm really excited to share my thoughts on this issue of PLY Magazine. Normally I would have had this review written up already, but this particular issue, the Woolen issue, has greatly impacted my views of the longdraw method. Since I have lots to say, I'm going to break this review into two posts. The first post will review a selection of the individual articles, and the second post will review my personal experience working through the tutorials presented in this issue. As many of you know by now, I have been unable to spin longdraw successfully, aside from small samples, but more on that later.

The article True woolen talks about what constitutes a woolen yarn. I think that once beginners understand spinning and get their feet wet with the terminology, they encounter the terms worsted and woolen. I understood the general sense of a 'woolen' yarn, and I could describe it, but I didn't exactly understand what a woolen yarn was. This article elucidates what a woolen yarn is, how to make them, what their strengths are, and which fibers are best suited for this type of spinning. The entire winter 2013 issue discusses the various aspects of woolen spinning, but this particular article provides the best overall picture of what makes a woolen yarn, a woolen yarn.

Woolen spinning isn't just for those with spinning wheels either. I've been asked how to spin a woolen yarn with a drop spindle in the past, and I only had vague idea of how it worked. This lovely article by Amelia Garropoli, from AsktheBellweather, talks about a leapfrog method of spinning a woolen yarn, using a strumming motion to control twist. It's a slightly different method for spinning than with a wheel, so the skills aren't as directly transferable as with other methods of spinning (like worsted spinning, for example). I haven't given this method a try yet, since my spindle still has cashmere yarn on it, but it is on my list of things to learn. There are lots of fantastic pictures to illustrate certain points along the tutorial, which is nice for us visual learners.

Color changes the look of a yarn, and the way in which you spin a set of colors can dramatically change the impact of the yarn. There are two articles in this issue which discuss batts/rolags and shows examples of the different ways you can draft and spin a single colorway. I've already talked a little about how to play with colors to get a more interesting yarn in this tutorial. For those of you who are still a little timid combining colors together, this is a fantastic set of experiments to get bold and step outside the box. For me, this introduced a new way of making striped batts which is easier than what I have been doing in the past. I think you'll be seeing more striped batts in the Etsy shop soon!

For anyone seeking to learn more about woolen yarns, which is presented in a logical manner, this issue is for you. I've read lots of blogs and watched lots of videos regarding the longdraw method of spinning, but nothing seemed to click until now. I'll talk more about what clicked for me in my next post.

Again, these magazines provide a wealth of information which I can't entirely comment on here. After each issue I read, I feel fulfilled and enlightened. PLY Magazine balances on the edge between entertaining and informative. Well done. :)