Gearing Up for Teaching

It is a bit satisfying, a bit unnerving, and a bit of second guessing getting ready to teach multiple classes at a singular event. This last month I have been prepping for 4 classes that I am teaching at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink conference and it is almost time to put all that planning to the test.

I have been updating notes, writing handouts, doing current research and putting together samples and such. So this month I have been making yarn with a drop spindle and dyeing all kinds of yarn in a variety of ways.  I have been studying patterns and playing with beads. I have been mentally teaching my classes for hours, working on finer points and ensuring that I have everything in place.

In addition I have been putting together kits for materials for my class. Personally I do not enjoy taking classes that have lengthy material list, especially when it is not completely familiar with the things on the list. So as a teacher I have a small material fee, but I put together kits of the items needed. This might take up some room while traveling yet it is so worth it to have my students be successful with new techniques.

Now as I box everything up and start putting things together for my 10 hour drive I go over and over all possible items I might be forgetting. Life never fails I am sure I will remember something I need several hours from home, so I will be finding a replacement or improvising in class. That is what keeps it entertaining after all.

I really enjoy teaching, and how much I learn while giving instructions to others (I continue to take classes, check out why here). I am looking forward to the adventure that this week has in store…I will share my progress….

Tissue Paper Yarn Dyeing

Dyeing yarn with tissue paper? Yeah, it sounds a bit unusual, however I have been busy playing with all kinds of dyeing approaches this last week as I get ready for a class I am teaching in two weeks at the Crochet Guild of America’s Chainlink Conference.

I have been working with food coloring and Easter egg dyes, while dabbling with Kool Aid. I have been playing with multiple protein based fibers (yarns that are made from animal fibers, like wool, alpaca, silk, mohair, etc.), but it was trying to find something in my closet that sparked me in a little different direction.

I tend to be a person that doesn’t really throw much out, if I can find another purpose for it I will hold on to it to use it in the future, so tissue paper from gifts gets saved. When digging through the closet I found a stack of this saved tissue paper and I began to wonder….Can I dye with this?

The answer…YES!

I began by soaking the yarn in a bath of water and citric acid (1 teaspoon citric acid to 4 cups of water), you can use white vinegar instead of citric acid if you like (1/4 cup white vinegar to 4 cups of water), then I wrapped various pieces of colored tissue around the yarn. After covering the yarn with paper I placed it in a microwavable bowl and added some of the water/acid solution. I placed it in the microwave for 2 minutes, took it out and waited.

I have to wait after removing it from the microwave, frankly because I do not like to burn myself. After it cooled down a bit I removed the tissue paper and rinsed out the yarn. I was impressed. Some colors bonded to the yarn better than others, but that could be because I had some different quality papers. There was some white space, and different colors in different patches. Offering a bit of a kaleidoscope of possibilities.

I am continuing to play with this technique, and currently find a vast amount of ideas just bubbling to the surface. I am sure that by the time my workshop comes around in a few weeks I will have a very contagious attitude to share with my students!

Creating Some Fun Memories for Summer!

ScannedImageSo with June finally upon us, dreams of warm weather and vacations dance within our minds, at least for the most part.

 

My design and article in the Summer 2015 issue of Crochet! Magazine, about Yarn Dyeing with Kool-Aid will definitely foster new summer memories!

 

M22159_BCEasy_300_medium

Easy & Bright Market Bag Photo Courtesy of Annie’s

With simply water, wool yarn, Kool-Aid packets, vinegar, and a little heat, you can create fun moments with children and custom yarn to create your own projects. Speaking of projects, my Easy & Bright Market Bag is designed for beginners, and allows you to highlight the yarn that you created in the article! If you choose to forgo the dyeing, this bag can be created with any yarn and then accompany you to the farmers market, the beach, and the kids’ sports games.

 

If you want to take a look at Dyeing Yarn with Easter Egg Dyes, check out the post I did a while back, it makes for some fun too!

 

 

Something Special…Do Not Wait for the Moment

ScannedImageI had a moment of clarity and awaking the other day when going through my yarn stash; I treat special as something cherished and don’t indulge in it very often.

I actually have a couple of stashes around the house; one closet that houses most of the yarns I do work with, current yarns of large yarn companies, then I have a large tote that is filled with yarns that are discontinued of inherited from the stash of others that get used for charity projects (this is also the only stash the kids are allowed to go through to make their own projects). There is the little desk (that I can easily forget about) that houses yarns that I use for class instructions. Then there is last stash, a cabinet that houses those “special yarns”, ones that I have purchased of the years, ones that are beautiful to me, or one skein luxury gifts in a sense.

This cabinet is a little hodge podge of different fibers, some I have even hand dyed, some handspun, but they are all yarns that evoke some kind of memory or feeling. I keep them in a “special” category; someday I will find the right pattern for that “special” yarn. It always gets put off to tomorrow as I work on today.

DSCF0730.1

one corner of one shelf in my “special” cabinet

Yes, I attempt to save the best for last. A good bottle of wine can live decades in my house as I find the best moment to drink it, my strand of pearls gather dust in my jewelry box as I wait for events special enough to wear them to, heck even at a good dinner my favorite dish on the plate has to be my last bite saving it to be cherished longer before moving on to the next thing.

I have always been like this, but as I was going through my cabinet, I realized that some of my “special” yarn had not seen the light of day in years. A little collection of merino yarn that I created at a dying workshop that was…oh, at least 5 years ago, but no more then 8, has been sitting in little cake balls waiting to be made into anything. Some little skeins of silk I got at a show a few years ago, and a few skeins that I spun myself on my own wheel (considering that I have a layer of dust on my wheel, and it has not spun anything since 2011, I know those have been there a while) easily dance in the foreground.

Time does pass in odd ways like this, waiting, waiting for something special. I recognize its passing in everyday life, all the things I need to get done, the deadlines before me, but I seem to neglect the “special”, waiting for the moment.

I hope that with this epiphany that I can at least attempt to “make a moment “during the week to address something special. Bring more of the richness life has to offer into the every day, at least I hope that I can keep this as a conscience goal and that it does not get eaten up by time…but only time will tell.