Saturday, July 16, 2011


and not the wheel and fibre spinning, but the kind that my head does when there is almost to much going on to comprehend.
I got tagged, or bombed, or graffiti-ed, I'm not sure which, but it is fabulous, and I'm honored and surprised and an awe. And I have an answer to a question on how I fill my bobbins so evenly when I have a flier with hooks (spinning terms - that might confuse non spinning knitters)

At our house we have a gate, well two gates and an opening between the end of the hedge and the garage. The two gates are simple ones, a square frame made of bent tubular metal, and filled in with wire mesh. The two gates in themselves are humble, galvanized, so silvery-dull metal in colour, plain and functional. In short the main gate was plain and not very exciting to come home to every day.

Look, now I have a wonderful lace gate, white and yarn-ey, and lovely. This weekend we held our annual mid winter Thursday Night Knitters swap ... and this was gifted to me. Of course I didn't find out about it until I got home - at the end of the evening. Bear drove home and as we swung into the wee private street that leads to the garage at the back of our section ... I spotted something on the gate. A closer inspection revealed yarn bombing, and fancy yarn bombing at that, there is lace at least nine different knit lace structures, and then crochet lace as well. I know there isn't much or even any crochet here on my blog ... but I can crochet, and I do like crochet very much.

and look, every single section of lace was made to fit the grid of the gate, and then laced into place. If that doesn't impress you then knowing that the average temperature in Dunedin the day it was installed was 7.9° Celsius, and that would be 46° Fahrenheit, and Bear tells me installation took a few hours.

Jenni - you are amazing! I love you and your knitting, and I love what you did to my gate .....

and there are other things that made my head spin, I've been away at two day workshop that focused on alternative approaches to pattern cutting. Pattern cutting being the term used to describe the art of generating shapes on cloth that can then be cut and constructed into garments. The workshops, there were several options, brought together at least four 'zero-waste' designers, and offered workshops to allow participants to understand their different approaches. Zero waste is a new term in the fashion area, and refers to a goal of making garments without wasting fabric or other resources. The figures for fabric waste vary by garment type but are usually quoted at an average of 15%. So for every 10 tee shirts, or 10 pairs of jeans made and sold, enough fabric to make another one and a half is dumped. Consider the clothes in an average house, or shop ... and extrapolate that to the amount of waste fabric that is generated by the manufacturing process and the volumes get quite scarily large.

Holly McQullian's approach can only be described as holistic, considering not only the fabric, and the fit, but also aiming at a cutting scheme that has beauty as a flat graphic. An example can be seen in the Yield exhibition page for her work, which shows an image of her cutting plan - it is the image that 'isn't a dress' (yet) and sort of has a monkey face at the top. Inspired by her approach to zero waste - spent the first few hours playing with half sized patterns to see how they could be morphed into something that made full use of the fabric. Its not perfect yet, I can see potential to tweak the cutting lines to make the garment sit and fit better, ... but there is only so much one can do in 6 hours when the ideas are new and jostling in ones head.

That pattern when cut out and lifted and stitched in a few places turns into this dress. I was working in calico (in the USA - Muslin) - which is stiff, cream, inexpensive plain weave cotton, so allows all sorts of experimentation without worry about wasting expensive fabric. Now this design is shaping up I see it being executed in a more fluid fabric, and darker. At the back there is a hint of a hood, but one that falls from under the arms, and hidden in the side seam are pockets, constructed by swinging the 'waste' fabric from the armhole down and around, and folding it back. I'm going to keep playing with this idea .. and see if I can't polish it a bit more ...

On Saturday I attended a workshop with a different approach to reducing waste. Jennifer Whitty presented a workshop that looked at new garments that are relegated to waste before they are even sold. This happens for lots of reasons and happens surprisingly commonly, in scary amounts. Jennifer provided new unworn 'waste' garments and asked us to pair up and collaboratively design something from this often ignored waste source. I paired up with Anne-Marie who I had only just meet, and we had 40 minutes to create something from two generic dark polyester shirts. The shirts were 'work-wear' uniforms, and the care label had me in stitches - giggling like a little kid. Hand wash - warm water , Line dry in shade! Really - after spending a day in the kind of job where you have to wear a dark polyester blouse - the wearer is to go home and lovingly hand wash it .. and hand it to dry on a line? Polyester ? the most robust fibre known to human?

This is our 40 minute dress - I am amazed and think we worked really well together. Ok it does have a bit of a toga feeling to it, but it has pockets and a back button closure that works, and we even worked the sleeves into pockets that sit inside the dress at useful points.

Not only did we use all of the two black polyester blouses, but we even made use of the care labels and two buttons from other projects in the same room. I think we should call it the 40-minute zero plus dress!

I thought that if I sorted this all into a blog entry ... well my head might spin less with all that has happened in the past few days. But no ... a little clearer but still buzzing with ideas and pleasure at the lovely gate at the end of my front path ...

so I'm off to finish unpacking, write few messages of thanks .... and make a cuppa tea, and I'll leave you with Holly's update on the event, venue and Exhibition that was held at the end of the workshops.

na Stella

And the answer to a spinning question posted recently

Woollyprimate asked recently in a comment on a post "May I ask how you fill your bobbins so evenly when you have hooks on your flyer? It looks like you used a woolee winder. "
Well it has to do with the arrangement of the hooks. The flier on this wheel has hooks that are offset - rather than exactly opposite each other ... and the arrangement of the orifice and design of the flyer allow the yarn to be strung from both sides of the flier. I hope this photo shows how the hooks on the top arm are not lined up with the ones on the lower arm, but are instead between them. Effectively the hooks on the top arm allow the yarn to fill in the valleys that the hooks on the lower arm create. Two or three of my vintage wheels have this feature, and I think it shows that the wheel maker was considering how the wheel would be used, and perhaps was a spinner themselves. My modern Majacraft wheel has a sliding hook that allows me to achieve the same effect.


KathyR said...

Wow! Jenni's yarnbombing is excellent! What a lovely surprise to come home to.

woollyprimate said...

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for responding.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I hope you won't mind a brief off-topic question regarding your review of the W├Ârther Slight pencil at Dave's Mechanical Pencils.

In your review you mentioned the small rubber tube with spare leads housed in the barrel and stated it prevented the normal pencil rattling sound from occurring. Did you mean only that there is no rattling when you use the pencil to write/draw or further that there is very little or no rattling even if you shake the pencil? I am just trying to understand how silent it is.

Thank you for you very interesting review. I enjoyed reading it.

Stell said...

Good question, My Worther Slight is totally silent - even when I shake it :D, and most definitely when I use it to write.

Anonymous said...

Stell, Thank you for the quick reply. I'm surprised as mine makes an obviously audible noise when I shake it up and down or even side to side. To be clear, it isn't the lead inside the tube making the noise. If I take the tube out and shake it, there is no noise. The noise I hear with the tube inside the barrel is because the tube is shorter and not as wide as the barrel it is in. If you are certain yours doesn't make any noise at all in the way I described, I have to wonder if mine is defective or a slightly different (earlier?) design then yours.

I should also add that there is no noise when I am writing with it, so perhaps I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it bothers me. ;-D Thanks again.

Vanda Symon said...

Love the gate!

Stell said...

Interesting, I had a bit of a play with mine after you commented back. When I have two leads in the soft inner tube the is a slight soft click if I hold the pencil right close to my ear and shake it end to end, with three or one lead - there is no noise at all.
Autopoint leads are longer than the Worther leads by 4-5mm and I have to snap a bit off to make them fit inside the tube. There appears to be no clearance either end of the tube, if I leave the leads longer so the tube cap protrudes then the end of pencil won't fit down into place. My guess is that in my pencil the tube is fitted almost exactly into the space lengthwise and cant move so I only get a very slight noise from lead movement if there are 2 leads in the tube with enough room to move.

Worther do a lifetime guarantee so perhaps email them and ask if they can eliminate the noise?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the additional comment, Stell.

I have to wonder if your tube is longer then mine or if the little piece with the eraser is or both.

Again, how many leads are in the tube (one, two, three or none) makes no difference as to the rattling noise when shaken. It is the tube making noise against the barrel. I noticed that if I don't push the stopper or cap of the rubber tube all the way down, the noise isn't as loud when I shake it.

It also seems likely, if not clear to me, that the noise I hear is louder then what you hear. I contacted Worther and a member of the family emailed me back. She wrote that she had never heard a noise as she had never shaken her Slight pencil previously. Anyway, she said she did hear a slight or very quiet noise when she shook her Slight. As with what you heard, I think it likely what she heard was less loud then what I heard (and hear). ;-D

To use a favorite cliche of professional athletes here in the US these days, it is what it is. Since it doesn't affect the performance of the pencil, I'll just accept it as is. Though I'll email Worther back to see if they have ever changed the size of the rubber tubes. There is certainly room for a sligthly larger tube in my Slight pencil.

Thanks again for your taking the time to discuss this off-topic matter and for your excellent review at Dave's.