Golden Fleece
  • The Golden Fleece Course Module 8 Final Weaving Project: Imparting Wisdom

    After almost a year, I finally reached the end of the Journey to the Golden Fleece Course and finished my final project. This module is about coming to the journey's end and creating a statement piece to tell your story using the yarn you made during the course. I chose to use the Majacraft circular loom from the course and then quickly realized that it was way too small for all the yarn I wanted to use. So I took that center piece I had started and attached it to a giant embroidery hoop I had stashed away for a rainy day. 

    For whatever reason I decided to have the center offset with the design radiating outward like sunshine rays. I used a mini crocheted piece and my first yarn with the Frozen Charlotte at the start of my journey and wove my way outwards. I actually cut up skeins of yarn which is something I never do because I wanted similar colors grouped together. Once I got started, I ended up with lots of smaller balls of yarn. It might seem crazy, but I usually don't use my yarn from courses because I like to keep them intact as sort of a record of what I did. I think I will weave something else with the leftover bits. It was kind of a fun exercise looking at all the individual parts of the yarns again and pulling out the good parts to play with. I don't have the same sense that I did after finishing Mod 7 where I was almost feeling a bit lost. I think pulling together a final piece was a really fun way to have a retrospective of the course and try a technique of circular weaving that I wasn't too familiar with.

    When I took a step back, I thought it kind of looks like the eye of a hurricane on a Doppler radar. Also a little bit yin/yang. So it's a little haphazard, chaos, and balance all in one. I'm still not entirely sure if I really like it or if it's goofy looking, but the process was fulfilling.

    I made a mistake taking it off the hoop and had to go back and reattach it. I'm not sure how I will finish off the edges to make it look nicer yet but here it is for now:

    Secret Garden in the Eye of the Storm - Final Weaving Project

    Golden Fleece handspun yarn course circular loom weaving final project - 222 Handspun

    Update: I decided to finish the edges with some simple wrapped natural white yarn:

    Golden Fleece handspun yarn course circular loom weaving final project - 222 Handspun

  • The Golden Fleece Course Module 7: Master of Two Worlds and the Freedom to Live

    During Spinzilla I decided to work on a special yarn. This is the last yarn (Mod 7) for the Journey To The Golden Fleece Course I have been taking all year. My next module is the final woven mandala piece that I am planning right now. It will incorporate all of my yarns I created during the course into a circular dream catcher like thingy.

    This Mod is called "Master of Two Worlds and the Freedom to Live". It is a balanced yarn that represents the ability to master the opposing forces between the Real World of Responsibility and expressing your creative self after completing the journey.

    For me personally, it's kind of like that let down feeling you have after planning a big event for months and months and then its over and...POOF! the feeling's gone and you're all alone in the quiet aftermath and the rest of the world spins on.

    You might have finished the project or graduated but there is some sadness or emptiness in moving on and getting back to the drudgery of the day to day, or even a sense of loss. Even though you've accomplished a lot and done the job well, how to you come off that creative high? The forces that were driving you are no longer there to push you along and kick you in the butt when you need it. It's easy to relapse into a lull or even laziness. What do you do with all your free time now? What will you do when you finish your final project and now you're left with a blank slate all over again?

    Just try to keep busy I guess!

    This is a 2 ply yarn - the first single is kind of wild, bumpy, soft yarn with tailspun wool, mohair, and alpaca locks and autowrapped in some parts with a cashmere blend laceweight yarn. The second ply is just a simple undyed white Corriedale X wool that I overspun. My goal was to balance the craziness colorfulness and texture of the first yarn with something trusty, plain, and secure.

  • The Golden Fleece Module 5: The Boon

    The goal of this module is to pushing past resistance and obstacles and to design a yarn to showcase your best skills with different interpretations. For this yarn I chose some of my favorite fibers in my stash and incorporated several spinning techniques. I spun the yarn over a thread core and alternated autowrapping the core and additional threads and yarns around the fiber. I also added some crocheted flowers that I had made (after just learning to crochet this year!).

  • The Golden Fleece Module 4: The Meeting With the Goddess

    For this module we were exploring the nature of our truest love in order to create a yarn that encompasses the feeling of discovery or connection to your True Love. I was inspired by a kimono print robe someone was wearing in a movie I watched a while ago. The robe was beautiful and sensual looking and the colors of the flower print were gorgeous on a black background. I did several takes on this yarn from a thin corespun base with the final one being a Coil Boil  (Navajo /Chain Plyed Corespun Coils).

    An outtake - Thread Plyed with Coils

  • The Golden Fleece Module 3: The Vision Quest Yarn

    I've had a lot of catching up to do for the Journey To The Golden Fleece Course. I had made several attempts at different techniques I wanted to try, but nothing I was really happy with, so I decided to power through it and finish them all this weekend.

    Concepts for the third module are finding (or rediscovering) your own individuality, style, inspirations, and developing your unique creative voice. For this yarn I was inspired by some styles and techniques that I wanted to emulate. I used mostly fiber that I purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and some I had in my stash. This is a very thick jumbo yarn with wool, alpaca, mohair, recycled sari silk and ribbon, angelina, and hand dyed wool locks spun around a thick nylon craft cord.

  • The Golden Fleece Module 2 Yarn - The Road of Trials

    My “Road of Trials” yarn for The Golden Fleece Module 2 was surprisingly very enjoyable to make. I decided for this that I would do a bumpy textured yarn to represent the bumps in the road that I’ve encountered along my journey - missed opportunities, self-doubt, and rejection among them.

    I core spun and then coiled the yarn from an art batt that I hand carded. It’s wool with a bit of Angelina to add some tiny sparkles and bright points in the darker parts of the yarn. I liked the simple corespun which was much smoother. At first I almost kept it that way, but I gave the super coils a try to see what would happen when I added all the “bumps”. What I discovered is that I really loved the texture of the coils and they added a whole new dimension to the yarn. Without all the bumps it would be pretty simple and although nice, a bit boring - just like my journey so far.

    I was really digging all the fuzzy squishiness so I chained a piece to wear as a necklace using a jumbo crochet hook.

  • The Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate - Starting My Journey and Module 1 Yarn

    Back in November I signed up for a brand new online creativity course, Journey to the Golden Fleece, from the Fibery Goodeness masterminds Arlene (Spin Artiste) and Suzy (Woolwench). I've always been fascinated with myths and tales of heros and their epic journeys since listening to Joseph Campbell lectures in my college days. Arlene and Suzy have pulled together a fantastic course based on the journey of Jason and the quest for the legendary golden fleece. The goal is to boost your creativity through exploration of the course themes and challenges much in the way of the hero's journey.

    I created my first yarn in December. The Module One theme isThe Call To Adventure. The goal is to spin a yarn that represents who you were at the beginning of your path to creative discovery. Granted, it was right before the holidays and I had a lot going on so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time spinning, but I was inspired early on to do some self-exploration on how I got started spinning. Recognizing what came “before"  and confronting the agents for change was an important part of the first module theme. I started looking around and collecting objects that I felt represented myself and my environment before I got started in the fiber arts. 

    Collection of Materials for My Mod 1 Yarn

    Cotton boll, mini crocheted flowers, Frozen Charlotte Doll

    I used a variety of fibers in the yarn and actually built some of the sections separately using a drop spindle, crochet hook, and a spinning wheel to chain ply most of it. The start of the yarn contains mohair yarn with pearl beads. I then crocheted (I just learned to crochet!) metal wire and threaded the yarn through the chain and secured the Frozen Charlotte doll with the wire to the strand of yarn I was building. 

    Crocheting the Frozen Charlotte Doll With Metal Wire

    I incorporated other fibers and sections of yarn spun from raw cotton, cashmere, wool locks from local farms, Angelina, and bits of fabric and sparkly trim and chain plyed the finished piece.

    Detail of My Module 1 Yarn

    When I first became intrigued with the idea of spinning my own yarn, I had no idea where to start and I was just learning about different fibers. I’ve always loved cotton (I even tried to grow some but it never sprouted L). I had purchased a kit with raw cotton of different types and then put the box away and never touched it. This this yarn represented the beginning of my journey I decided it was finally time to take the cotton out and try to spin some. I used a drop spindle and really didn’t do anything to prepare the fiber – I just jumped right in. Cotton has a short staple length so I had to get used to spinning it, but I found it lovely to work with. It’s so amazingly soft and there is something very pleasing about the feel of cotton. I had that commercial theme song in my head the whole time as I was spinning (the touch, the feel of cotton…) I know, goofy but they were right. I’ve lived in Virginia for 18 years and cotton has a rich colored history here in the South (being raised a Yankee girl that’s still hard for me to admit). But controversy aside, I think it’s underrated as a foundational fiber by a lot of handspinners.

    I’ve mainly stayed with protein fibers in my yarn (wool, alpaca, mohair) and haven’t ventured too much into cellulose or synthetic fibers. I kind of have a tendency to stick with what I know so this was an opportunity to try something news. One fiber I had never spun (most because of the cost) is cashmere. This represents to me some of my earlier perceptions about fiber – it’s sort of considered the Cadillac of fleece and produces the ultimate luxury yarn. It also brings me to the beginning of my journey and how it ended up in my Mod 1 yarn…

    The weekend I received my first course module I felt like getting out of the house and was looking for something different to spin, so I decided to go to a yarn store about 25 minutes away. I’ve always thought that things that were meant to be happened for a reason, even the bad things. This is kind of a long story but about five years ago I started working for a company on a short term six-month contract. I had just been laid off from my previous job and was willing to take a job with a longer (terrible) commute. I wasn’t totally happy in doing so, but it paid the bills blah, blah, blah. I kind of felt like this was a turning point in my career and my outlook in general. I ended up there because I took a risk and left a perfectly good job at a company I had worked for several years to go to another company to work for someone I knew. I chose the seemingly wrong fork in the road and the new job was a dead end. Within five months I was left stranded and was looking for a new job.  So I took this contract to basically pay the bills.

    But as it turned out, I met a really great coworker there who loved to knit. I had been looking to take spinning lessons for a long time with no luck finding any. I had Googled it and tried to find a guild near me but the Interwebs were no help. I mentioned this to my new friend and she said, “hey, there is a great yarn store down the road and I know they teach spinning there”. We went there on our lunch break and within a few weeks I had taken several classes and purchased a spinning wheel. I left that contract a few months later to work for an online education company that provides alternative learning to students across the country (a mission I fully support). Someone I worked with previously at that “good” job I left recommended me for the position and I’ve been there since.

    So getting back to the cashmere... I just so happened to go back to that yarn store where I took my first spinning lessons on the same day I got my first Module for the course. This wasn’t intentional (at least not on a conscious level), but it brought me back full circle to where I started my journey. They had some packages of cashmere fleece there and I eagerly grabbed a bag because it was so irresistible and I had never spun cashmere before.

    Another funny thing happened that day. On my way home I decided to stop by Craftystitches, a design studio that teaches sewing and knitting based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning. I had wanted to go check it out for a while and I spontaneously decided to pop in that day. I got to chatting with the owner we ended up planning for me to do some spinning demos and teach the kids. I’ve always loved the idea of teaching and supporting education through the arts for children so this was right up my alley. So I went from being a student to a teacher and passing on handspinning to the next generation all in one round trip. And that’s the story behind this yarn. It starts with a Frozen Charlotte and along the way are feathers, seashells, crocheted flowers, lace, a key, and a tiny compass to remind me of where and why I began and where I’m headed.

    My Finished Module 1 Yarn

    Materials: Wool, cashmere, cotton, fabric, trim, Angelina, feathers, metal, porcelain, seashells