Evocative of the coastlines of our fair isle, Coastline is a self striping 3-ply that has rich deep blues, heathered turquoise highlights, soft sandy drifts and gentle greens that sing of the susurrus of seaside grasses.  It’s a lovely, bouncy and squishy blend of different shades of Bluefaced Leicester wool that has been over-dyed by the lovely folks at Greenwood Fiberworks.

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I’ve been busy spinning, knitting and sewing for months now, building up skeins and other fibrey goodness to take to Fibre East in July.  One of the less fun but throughly rewarding tasks has been reskeining all my stock into 2 metre skeins.  With the aid of niddy noddy and swift, I painstakingly reskeined thousands of metres of yarn.

Urban Fox

Evergreen

Sappheiros

Lithograph

Moorland Heather

Mermaid's Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were the new skeins, ones that have been finished more recently and needed photos.  I’ll be posting their individual yarn stories over the next few weeks.

Sweet Nostalgia

Lost in Lavender

Coastline

There are more to come too.  I’m spinning nearly every day, and I’m hoping to have at least another three skeins finished before July. 

Continue reading »

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“I sort of made the pattern up as I went along, I loved the smoothness and evenness of the yarn, and the subtle colour changes.” – Machelle: www.chopped-tomatoes.com

A while back a friend of mine – a talented designer, dye artist, spinner, and writer – came to see me.  I’d just revealed to my friends and family that I was spinning, and she immediately announced that she was not only going to buy a skein, but that she was going to make the hours long trip from Cardiff to interview me for her blog.  I was both delighted and terrified.  If she did that, this whole spinning thing was going to be real, and I’d really have to take the leap into selling something that I’d made.  Despite my fears and after a little talking down from off the ceiling, a skein was purchased, mailed and knitted up in super quick time.  A few days later Machelle was awake super early to get the train from Wales.

Machelle’s trip to Cambridge was lovely, we had  glorious weather and after talking for hours about spinning, yarn, knitting, food and much more besides, my fiance and I took her and her shawl on a tour of scenic Grantchester.  We had tea and cake in the Orchard and my beloved took a photo of the three of us together in Grantchester Meadows.  As you can see, my yarn likes it out in the wild, and seems to enjoy photo opportunities next to fences.

Machelle shoots from the hip when it comes to reviews, she’s brutally honest and I love her for it.  I loved her even more when she said that she couldn’t think of a bad word to say about my yarn.  She really put it through it’s paces too.  Machelle made up the pattern for her Silver Screen Shawl, and there were a couple of places where she ripped out quite a bit of the pattern to make changes.  When she was done she blocked it fairly brutally, took it up before it was dry and ironed it because it wasn’t drying fast enough – she wanted to wear it!  Having heard the extent to which my yarn was tested, I became fairly confident that it could handle most usual (and more unusual) wear and tear!  However, please do remember folks – if you buy a skein of Secret Spinner yarn, it is 99% of the time going to be spun from a pure wool or wool blend and if you put it in a washing machine, or even hand wash it too hot, it will more than likely felt.  Unless you are trying to do that deliberately, please keep it away from the tumble dryer too.

All of my yarn is spun on my Ashford Traditional wheel Ariadne. There are no short-cut’s taken and all of the measurements are done in the traditional way on a niddy-noddy, which is why I only ever approximate the length of a skein.  I under estimate so that you’ll hopefully always have enough yarn for the project that you have in mind and since I calculate the price based on the final length of the skein you’re always getting a little extra for your money, not to mention the energetic hug from having positive energy and kindness spun into every inch.

A big thank you has to go to Machelle for letting me use the images that she took of us and her finished shawl for this post.  If you would like to read the original interview you can find it at the Chopped Tomatoes blog.  I should also mention that this week Machelle is launching her eco friendly knitting design journal recipes.knit.  It’s awesome and wonderfully useful, and I’m glad that Machelle is back with us in the land of the living after spending months with her head in the book!

 

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Hello lovelies – I’m going to do something that I don’t normally do and ask you if you could share this link far and wide. http://www.goddessguidebook.com/affiliate-redirect/?p=secretspinner&w=sems It’s an awesome resource and because I was a contributor I get a little bit of cash when someone buys a copy using my link ^^ I’m not asking y’all to buy it, or to spam the bejaysus out of your friends, but if you know someone who might be interested can you send them the link please?

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Enchanted Reef went off to find her new home with fabulous writer Debora Geary, author of the Modern Witch and Witchlight series of books.  There was a secret conversation between them – a whispering of what she could become – and before I could blink, Enchanted Reef was flying across the pond (although not on a broomstick as far as I know).  Almost as soon as she’d landed in Debora’s mailbox, she was wound from skein to ball and on her way to becoming the Trousseau Shawl by Carol Feller.  Debora chose to follow the instructions for the small version of the pattern, and soon she began sharing tantalising ‘WIP’ pictures of her shawl.

Even in this early picture we start to see the gentle striping and colour transitions that I had a glimpse of during her creation, but sitting at the wheel it’s so hard to know what a finished piece will look like as much depends on the pattern that is chosen and the way the piece is constructed.  I thought the suspense would drive me crazy but Debora’s shawl worked up super fast and in no time more pictures appeared.

This one is so cute and shows the shawl finished but unblocked on the shoulders of one of Debora’s children.  The striping is visible, although not fully revealed, but I just had to share this photo to once again sing the virtues of the blocking process.  What looks like a tiny, crunched up piece of knitted fabric becomes something altogether different with the application of water, wire, pins and patience.

 

After the blocking process the finished article – an Enchanted Writing Shawl for Debora’s office – is revealed in all it’s beauty and gorgeousness.  As the spinner in this process I take little credit for the final work of fibre art.  I am a small piece of the puzzle, a short chapter in the story of becoming that this fibre has been on, from when it was dyed by GeminiKnits to being knitted up by Debora.

So now for the beauty shot – a delightful demonstration of the colour transitions and finished size of Debora’s Enchanted Reef Writing Shawl.  I hope that it brings her many years of pleasure and warmth, a practical and beautiful object of adornment.  A huge thank you must go to Debora for allowing me to use her photographs for this article to share with you all.

 

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Here begins a new series of posts about what happens to Secret Spinner Yarns when they go off to create lives with someone new.  My yarns are made to be used, worked into something useful and treasured for their uniqueness, bringing to their adoptive carer a blend of beauty and practicality.  I think of my yarns as my babies, my creations, they are birthed from a place of love and creativity, of passion and stillness.  When it comes time to let them go, I think of it as releasing a living, breathing entitiy into the wild where it can flourish and grow, where it can become.

Into the Wild posts will form a working chronicle of Secret Spinner Yarn journeys.  If you have a Secret Spinner yarn that you would like to have included in the Into the Wild series just drop me a message and I’ll be in touch 🙂

 

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Some pretty cool things are happening in my life right now and I’ve got lots to be thankful for.

I’m moving house.  Twice.  First we are moving out of the rented property we’ve spent the last 2 and a bit years in and into the home of my fiance’s late mother.  This is hard, for all sorts of reasons, a few of which should be obvious to you, dear reader.  Aside from those obvious reasons, it’s sad because we loved it here.  We made our first home here, the first place we’ve lived in together without anyone else.  Just us.  The second move will be out of the temporary holding zone and into our first home that we own.  This is happy for lots of reasons, not least because it is four doors down from the rented place we loved so much.  It’s part of the same terrace and other than a few minor changes to the floor plan and some major upgrades to the facilities it’s exactly the same.  This does however mean that our life is going to be in boxes for the next two or three months, but it seems a small inconvenience in comparison to the wonder that is being able to paint the wall without having to ask permission in triplicate.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us as we ride the tumult of the property market.

Spindependence are going to be at Fibre East.  I’ve been a part of Spindependence since it was officially born early last year and although our internet activities have been fairly subdued, our real life stuff has been growing and our advocating fibre craft and it’s fun-ness is in full swing.  At Fibre East 2011 Spindependence was given a small part of a larger stand courtesy of Outward Images.  This year we are going out on our own and taking some of the friends we’ve made this year along to give them a start at a big fibre event.  If you want to find out a bit more about what Spindependence is about you can go here.

There will soon be another area on the Secret Spinner website dedicated to the more spiritual side of my life.  It will remain connected to the main site, but some of the more specific spiritual service and practice related things will live there so that the darling readers who come here to read about just my spiritual and community life and work don’t have to wade through yarnie stuff if they don’t want to and vice versa.  There will be some crossover posts, however, and that’s cool too – I’m not about to hack myself in half or anything and a lot of the time one informs the other.  I’m just trying to be organised as much as I can.

The other amazingness I’m going to have to be a little more cryptic about until it is up and running. I don’t want to count my chickens before they are hatched and I’m already tempting fate by giving voice to my joy about the house.  For now I’ll say that it feeds into the new bit of the website, and will hopefully give new focus to the spiritual and complementary therapy skills I’ve been building for the last decade-ish. I’m hoping to launch the new area in late February, but it all depends on how the house goes.

So, with regard to the title of this post…

Everything is in order.

I’ve done as much as I can for now.

I’ve dared to dream.

Now all I have to do is believe.

It’s all part of the journey.

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I wrote this post some time ago but couldn’t bring myself to upload it.  This year has been incredibly hard.  I’ve lost a mother and a sister, neither one related by blood, but the loss has hit me just as hard as losing my own mother did when I was a teen.  I originally intended for this webspace to be just about my spinning and fibre related shenannigans, but after a year of challenges and introspection I’ve decided to broaden it’s reach.  My fibrecraft is a fairly recent addition to my creative life, but I have come to realise that it is also one of the most important parts of it.  I am learning to trust myself, to go with the flow of creativity and inspiration and not to let my Self be broken down by the critic in my head that tells me I’m not any good at anything.  I’m not fishing for anything when I say this, it is simply a statement of how things have felt for me for too long. So I’m going to talk about the stuff I’m doing and thinking about when I’m not elbow deep in fibre.  I hope you’ll stick with me on the journey, but I understand if that’s not your path to walk.

Of Butterflies, Sparkles and Unbounded Celebration

Sitting quietly in the sundrenched morning mist a butterfly fluttered by and I am touched.

Blessed am I to have known a sister so briefly and become deeply changed for the better.  A lady so grace full, so strong and thoroughly kind, brimming with humour and music.

In celebration of her time this time, I created a yarn that makes me think of her instantly, makes me smile and give thanks for our friendship.  A blend of wool and silk, both strong and warm with a little angelina sparkle to make it extra special.  Purple – naturally.

I hear her.  In my head.  Chiding my inner critic so gently but with absolute authority, so that when it pipes up to challenge my validity, my worth, it is unceremoniously silenced with a simple “Now Sweetie, you know that’s nonsense.”  And I smile.  She is with me, part of me, always.

There are times though that my heart aches, the cracks in my joy of knowing her widen and the tears flow.  Though tears are not what she wanted, they escape and I wish for her gentle hugs and unconditional support, for her touch and the sound of her laugh.

In celebration of her generosity, I have gifted some of this yarn to her Purple Circle, just some of the women she inspired with her creativity, passion and joy for crafting and life.

 

Losing the the mother who was not my Mother has been unbelieveably hard, and the ripples are still widening.  She took me into her home four years ago without expectation or question.  I love her son and that was enough.  I was enough.  I watched her slip away from us, fighting until the end that came sooner than anybody could have predicted.  I’ve retreated, cocooned from my life, both online and elsewhere.  I’ve knitted, cried, slept and done what I have to to keep my life ticking over.  But plans are afoot that I hope will benefit not just me but the wider community.  I am slowly emerging – adding back the things that I’ve let slide – and beginning again.  I want to return to my Holistic and Complementary Healthcare studies and services, providing comfort to those who need.  There are possibilities I could never have dreamed of on the horizon but they are secret and safe for now in their cocoon too, not quite ready to spread their wings and fly.

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I’m seriously excited and nervous.   I’ve just made my first ever pattern available for sale.  They’re super quick and very easy.  Currently they are available from Etsy and Ravelry.  I’d love to know what you think 🙂

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Gosh, time has flown so fast since Fibre East happened.  I had a lovely time, and so enjoyed talking to people who love fibre as much as I do!

I’ve been to the North – My grandma was 90 at the start of this month and I knitted her a shawl to mark the occasion.  It’s made from Rowan Alpaca Cotton and is snuggly soft and super warm.

I’ve had a birthday – I’m now 30.  I’m happy and relatively healthy and trying to build a life for myself doing what I love.  It’s slow going, and there are generally setbacks that are health related, but I’m walking my path one step at a time.

After my return from sunny Lancashire, I had the pleasure of joining a spinning and fibre craft demonstration with Spindependence at the Cambridge Rock Festival.  We introduced folk to spinning and felt making, and the great music was a fabulous bonus!

 

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