Categotry Archives: crafts

Journal posts for CaySwann Crafts

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The Tassel Belt in Action

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Remember when I made a tassel belt in less than 48 hours for Nat?

Here’s the performance and the belt in action:

If the embedded video doesn’t play for you, go to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfBSYxHMk2Y – Jennalah’s Dance Party “Cashbah Belly” at Skinnys Restaurant January 2011: Twisted Gypsy

You’ll also see why I’ve purchased shiny embroidery threads and shisha mirrors (http://tinyurl.com/5wfgppe) to further decorate the belt. Hers looks too plain on stage in comparision to all the other belts.
Friday I’ll also be working on floral hair clips with my friend Adrienne. I’ll start with some pieces I can wear myself, and see if I want to make any for my friends. Primarily I want to figure out how to make “dreads” on hair clips for dancers, but I only own 2 flower clips right now. And there’s nothing like coming up with new costume accessories.

If you didn’t know, I’m studying dance AND drum with all these folks. This is the dance style and the drumming that I’ve been working on since June 2011. I’m completely addicted. The only downside? Figuring out when I will drum versus when I will dance! *grin*

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Letting Go

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For me, making yarn includes falling in love with the yarn I’ve made. One problem with selling my yarn: I don’t get to keep the yarn! And today I let go of yarn in less than 24 hours. So I’m definitely in love with taking photos. If nothing else, I have my photos and memories of the work I’ve done.

First, the White/Pink order was completed:

135 yards, and the first skeins with my new tags

I created some new printed tags to label my work (yards, ounces, grams, wraps per inch, fiber type, dye type) and included my various craft website links. However, since one order could include more than one skein, I also make some smaller “skein 1 of 3, 2 of 3…” type of flags. I really like the presentation of the finished yarn: I feel so darn professional. But I suppose after spinning (and teaching and conducting demos) for more than 15 years, it is only natural to actually *feel* like a professional now that my yarn is selling for actual dollars!

Next up, this dollmaker needed some Brown with Pink:

Browns and Pink, Wool and Alpaca

This yarn was started just after midnight, finished around 3 am, and picked up / paid for before 3 pm. Wowsers. I definitely need to collect some warm and natural browns for my stash. Her next brown yarns should avoid black and/or grey fibers, and many brown fibers in my stash lean towards the grey.

Spinning for a specific tassel belt has been wrapped up:

Bulky wool from the Dread Viscountess Seelie, photographed in the setting sun

The multi-colored bulky yarn will be paired with the bulky blue indigo yarn I made earlier. But I adored the fiber so much, I couldn’t just use it all up for tassels. I decided I need some “me time” spinning: Ultra thin, personal yarn.

The same multi-colored wool, now spun ultra-thin on my very first spindle ever!

I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the office yesterday. I’d grabbed a smaller spindle on the way out the door, without looking at it. Turns out I accidentally found my VERY FIRST spindle. I hadn’t seen it in ages, and I think I’d even loaned it out once (and it wasn’t returned for several years). I’d forgotten how much I loved that spindle, and have really been relaxing into the tactile memory of the wood. When I first learned to spin, it was as if a Bell had sounded throughout the Heavens and a voice announced, “Hi, I’m Spinning, and I will be Your Addiction For Life. Go dig coins from your car to find enough money to purchase This Very Spindle, RIGHT NOW.” And obediently, I did. I dug money out of the car and scraped together just enough to go home with a permanent addiction.

Letting go of the brown and pink yarn in under 24 hours is easier, since I still have my first spindle sitting here beside me–full of promise and many miles of yarn to come.

Additional photos here: http://www.cayswann.com/v/Projects/2011/crafty_projects/?g2_page=3

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Working by Color

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Pinks and Purples

One of my customers placed an order for some yarn in White and Pink and some in Pink and Purple. To get ready to spin, two weekends ago I spent several evenings prepping the fiber. I’ve been dying fiber for several years, just saving it in my stash “for someday.” I can hardly contain my excitement that “someday” has finally arrived!

The pinks and purples are ready now, and I took some nice photos last week.

The full collection of pinks and purples, fluffed and ready to spin

Comparing the dyed materials to some undyed white wool

I spun for one evening last week, but I haven’t taken any photos yet. I’ll finish the pink and white yarn this week.

Starting the Blues

I set aside the Pink order this past weekend to do some last-minute quick hand-sewing. A close friend needed to wear a tassle belt for a performance on Sunday night. After class on Friday night, I volunteered to put one together for her.

Detail from photo by Richard Lowe Jr, (c) www.richardlowejr.com
See the original photo here: http://tinyurl.com/495fz5o

The top layer of shiny fabric comes from scraps I had in my stash (a dress from 15 years ago); the lining is made from scrap linen (a dress from 10 years ago); the top band is a hand-woven inkle woven piece of trim I won in a raffle (made by my friend Joe/Balthazar); and the tassles are attached with a 4-strand viking whip cord braid I’ve been working on since last summer.

The tassles are temporary, because they are made from primarily chenille yarns. Chenille is too fragile to hold up to the vigors of regular dancing, so this was always intended as just a “round one” version of the belt. You can see her wearing the belt here: http://tinyurl.com/4b5w9pq

I had about 30 minutes before my drum class last night (which I take with/from these guys: http://tinyurl.com/4lmmpwz)  and so I sat down at the wheel with some indigo hand-dyed wool from my stash. The wool as been around since the Fiber Retreat in 2007. You can see the original wool drying on the fence here:

The original wool dyed at the Fiber Retreat, 2007
The original photo can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/4j2kqva

My camera was in the car, but I snapped this image with my phone.

73 yards of yarn, measured out on my warping board. Quarter under a single strand, for scale.
The white strings are helping me mark 10-yard measures of yarn. Original photo: http://twitpic.com/3ti2fi

I set the twist last night, and I’ll be making new tassles from this yarn. I’m already excited about the next wool in my stash that I plan to use and finally spin.

I love that Someday is Finally Here.
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