Art

What I Want in 2016

At the start of the year, I like to sit back and (literally and figuratively) take stock of the progress, if any, I've made over the past twelve months. 2015 was a pretty productive year for me. I started off determined to pick up spinning and ended up with three wheels by the time Autumn rolled 'round and my spinning has come on leaps and bounds, going from a chunky hot mess of scrunched-up fibres to smooth and consistent cobweb-weight thread. I picked up knitting again after years of neglect and invested in a set of HiyaHiya interchangeable needles that have become my go-to, jumping into lace and colour work without the reluctance I'd felt in the past. I even had a crochet pattern published (with another one upcoming this month), which was the highlight of my creativity in 2015, so the question is now, where do I go from here? Here's some of my personal wishes for the upcoming year:

Spinning

I've found myself suffering from the common affliction that can only be described as "threaditus". Spinners will know this - it's when your hand automatically drafts the fibres into a consistent, thin yarn which looks great, but is actually quite restrictive in terms of creativity. I look at some of my first spun yarns with its interesting features, and then I look at the cobweb threads I spin now, and I sort of miss being able to create something totally unique and full of random characteristics. So, one of my aims in 2016 is to sit down with the copy of The Spinners Book of Yarn Designs I was given as a gift and really try to work out some of the more difficult yarns in it. I'm totally in love with beehive yarn - it's my end goal for the year. Oh, and we recently got a microwave too, so I'll be able to dye fibres a lot easier from now on too! Trying to dye yarn on the cooker is an absolute nightmare of mess, frustration and hit-and-miss results.

Painting

Another thing I want to do more of in 2016 is paint!

These are the most recent of my paintings and they're a good year-and-a-bit old now. I found myself focusing on spinning in 2015, with my visual art being put on the back burner. I found a large blank canvas in a charity shop for a couple of quid just before Christmas, so I have no excuse to not get painting. There's a couple of interesting ideas that have been nagging at me for a few weeks, so I may blog on the process of a painting from sketching to the finished thing.

Crochet and Knitting

Finally, I want to keep pressing on with making my own crochet patterns and items. Picking up spinning and knitting last year gave me the confidence boost I needed to take the step into concrete designing. I keep sketchbooks now in a way I haven't in the few years it's been since I stopped doing so much illustration work. Like most of my sketchbooks, only around 5% of it ever makes it to a complete, realised project but they're always full of useful ideas when I look back on them.

Skeletons and Sneak Peeks

I've had my Merlin Tree Hitchhiker spinning wheel for a few months now, but I hadn't gotten 'round to customising it despite sketching out a few ideas. The space on the wheel was like a new sketchbook - I never want to make the first mark in case I hate it and then I feel like the entire sketchbook needs to be written off. Only, a wheel isn't a sketchbook. You can't just rip a page out if you don't like it.

Last week I finally dismantled it and started working on decorating the wheel. Initially I wanted to do a Danse Macabre design, with skeletons spinning on wheels and drop spindles, but I went for a skeletal goat that runs around when I treadle. It's a good indicator for knowing if I'm treadling clockwise or anti-clockwise!

I used a Posca marker pen to outline the pencil work. Because I didn't seal the wood first, it's bled a little, but overall it's turned out pretty well. The subject is probably a little morbid for spinning but hey, it's a goat so it's kind of relevant. Not that I've spun any goat yet, but it's on my wishlist.

Two other things I want so share; first is a sneak peek of one of my entries for the design contest over at Amigurumi Patterns. I've still to set up a proper photo shoot for it, so for now all you're getting is a shot of its fluffy butt. The second is my Little Wave Purse pattern in print! The latest issue of Inside Crochet came out yesterday and the photos of my purse look fantastic.

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