Friday, 7 March 2014

Book Review - Yarn Works by W J Johnson

How to Spin, Dye, and Knit Your Own Yarn
by W J Johnson
I have been asked to review this wonderful new book which was released in January 2014 by Creative Publishing International and is a brilliant complete guide for any spinner, dyer and those who knit their own yarns.  
Being a novice spinner, just starting out, I think this book covers just about everything and anything to do with fibre preparation,and includes several knitting patterns suitable hand spun yarns.  It is one that I certainly would recommend for anyone interested in hand spinning and dyeing their own yarns.
  It is a complete source of valuable information and would be suitable for beginners to advance spinners alike. 
This book contains so much technical information, sections include: 
fibre source and preparation;
types of fibre - animal through to synthetic;
Tools and their uses;
Spinning, with a section on draw and wraps per inch;
Dyeing with synthetics and naturals and methods;
Knitting with your own hand spun and hand dyed yarns;
fibre appendices with micron info;
how to clean raw fleece;
fibre storage and pests;
mixing custom dyes;
record keeping,
together with a history of spinning and dyeing throughout the book.
W J Johnson, the Author, has been a spinner and artist for over thirty years and she is the founder of Saga Hill Design, where she produces her own dye line, designs and teaches fibre arts.

It is priced at £20.00
ISBN: 9781589237889

For further information contact 0207 284 9300
 all the images are used here with the kind permission of the publisher
Bee x

PS. I have been busy mastering the technique of American Long Draw
 and Navajo Plying this week,
 to some success and will show and tell next week. 

I am planning on having a dyeing session soon so watch this space! x

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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Unravel 2014 - A Festival of Knitting

Did anyone go to Unravel 2014 in Farnham,Surrey,last weekend?
I am pleased to say that I did!!! whoopee
I was lucky enough to be taken their by my lovely friend, Josie, who I met at my spinning classes. We had a great day looking at all the lovely products for sale on the numerous stands and seeing some new techniques.
If you haven't had the chance to attend, it is an annual knitting and fibre related festival at the
Farnham Maltings in Surrey.
It is a smaller, more intimate, exhibition than some of the larger stitching and knitting shows in London so quite manageable if you find the bigger shows a little too much.
Here are some of my favourite exhibitors which you might like to check out online ......
a hand knitter, pattern designer, prop and toy maker
I love this display of Louise's work -
stuffed taxidermy animals
displayed near the entrance to the exhibition!
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Jenny Barnett
 - Needle felted Sculptures,
Handmade dolls, kits and workshops

Jenny's work was stunning and took my breath away!

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Ingrid Wagner
Rug and Art Creation

for extreme knitting with BIG knitting needles and even BIGGER yarns
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Here are some the exhibits from the 'Best in Show' entrants

this little cardi was a beginners work 

This was a beginners work and a rug
These are hand puppets


This was based on a dog kennels
if you get a chance to attend next year,
it is well worth the effort. 
There were many yarn companies selling their hand dyed and artisan fine yarns as well. 
Lots of alpaca, silk, cashmere and more unusual yarns, such as yak.
It gave me a lot of food for thought and was very inspiring.
If you wish to check out the Unravel website
I have a another great Spinning Yarn book
to review so pop back soon
Bee x
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Book Review - Spinning & Dyeing Yarn by Ashley Martineau

I am delighted to be asked to review this beautiful hard backed book
written by Ashley Martineau, entitled
The Home Spinner's Guide to Creating Traditional and Art Yarn
Front Cover

Back Cover

As soon as I received this book, my heart started to swoon! It is extremely stunning in every way a book can be and is 'eye candy' for those of us who love great photographic images of colourful, textured yarns. As well as a huge resource of information on Spinning and Dyeing that any spinner, beginner to more advanced, should have in their collection of reference material, it is full of stunning photographs of fibres and equipment. 

Ashley Martinue, a self-taught spinner, from the USA, provides the reader with information on:
Types of Fibre - from wool to synthetics
Washing & Preparing Fibre
Dyeing Techniques, such hand painting to solar dyeing

Spinning Techniques with a section on Drop Spindles, Kick Spindles and spinning wheels,
including a
very informative section on How to Make your own Wheel.

There is also a very in depth
section on developing a brand
for those of us who wish to start a business and also,
 a comprehensive section on resources and useful information.

as well as sections on the following spinners:
Tina Watson,
Lexi Boeger,
Michelle Snowdon, and
Ruru Mori.

This beautiful book is available from
20th February 2014
in the UK
and is £25.00 for Hardback
  and I feel it is well worth the money
published by Jacqui Small Publishing
tel: 020 7284 9300

ISBN 978-1-909342-46-0

all the images are used here with the kind permission of the publisher
Bee x
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Spinning A Yarn ...................

'No, not another tale of woe!', I hear you cry ........
BUT instead,
because I've been away from my blog for a while,
I have some lovely NEWS of what I have been up to whilst I have been on my much needed 'bloggy break'.......
To refresh, recharge and re-energise my creative spirit ....
I have been taking lessons in the
Art of Spinning

One of my hand carded skeins of yarn plied
No, I haven't gone completely mad and turned into a fitness fanatic!
(although lots of people think I have(both!))
For those of you who love knitting, crochet, felting and anything generally yarnie related,

A closer shot

I have been learning to
spin fleece into yarn on a drop spindle and then I have bought my first spinning wheel .... whoopee!

 Ashford Single Treadle Traditional Wheel
Some spun single of Blue Faced Leicester on the bobbin
The hand carded and spun yarn shown above
crocheted into flowers for Christmas Gifts
It is proving to be a lovely relaxing hobby with obviously some lovely end produce to knit and crochet with. 
I will be reviewing two brilliant spinning books later in the week for those who are interested in the art of spinning and dyeing their own yarns. 
Bee x
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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Crochet Sunshine Bunting

Here's one of my latest creations:- 

I wanted to capture some of the summer sunshine for my garden

The colours I chose to use were pastels

It is now hanging in my back garden on my fence.
I took these pictures in the forest, I wish the local woods were my garden!
bee x
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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Buzz is Back

The Buzz is back!!!!!
After a long time not blogging due to illness and general life matters, that annoyingly get in the way of fun, I haven't been able to put my efforts into the blog but I think it is time to get posting again!!
I've been updating the Etsy shop with lots of new products which I will show you shortly!
I have been doing a lot of knitting and crochet, mostly experimenting with different yarns and stitches.
Some of the work good, some not so good! My work tends to be much better when I am well - funny that!
Today, I have compiled a beautiful bird related Treasury on Etsy.  For those of you don't know what a Treasury is, it is a collection of work by other Esty artists chosen by myself to help promote their work and spread the word!
You can take a look here if you like:-
I have compiled it in honour of our little feathered friends who visit our gardens all year round. I have loved feeding my garden birds this winter and watching them have their babies and seeing them fly the nest too.
Anyway, I hope you have all been well and busy.
see you soon
bee x
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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Weekend Reading

I hope you enjoyed last week's 'reading' post.  Here is my new list of a few things I have found 'of note' on the web this week which you might like .........
1.  I love this beautiful DIY 'Pom Pom' makeover idea for jazzing up a plain jumper

2.  I found this really interesting, 'Knitting Behind Bars' where two ladies in Maryland USA set up a scheme whereby prisoners are learning to knit. They have a blog too. 

3. There are some great artworks on here.

4. If you loved the Gangnan song, you love this free crochet pattern.

5.  Futuristic knitting could help arthritis!

Have a lovely weekend!

Bee x

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