November 24, 2012

Zoee 101: How I got into Fibre Arts

Fibre arts has a special spot in my heart. My grandmother was a weaver (I have some of her woven towels, hand cloths, and rugs) and produced beautiful woven pieces of her own designs. She also was a master at sewing, knitting, and crocheting. Some of my best memories with her were spending time together going over her creations. I recall when she purchased me a little plastic weaving loom meant for children. My woven pieces would always end up way too tightly woven. She would also sew and knit all my barbie doll outfits. My grandpa made a little barbie closet suitcase where we could hang all the little outfits that grandma made for us and store our barbies in them as well. I really wish I still had some of these outfits.

[My grandmother in 1956]

My adventure with fibre arts didn't really kick off until I was a young adult though. As a child and teenager, I always was more into drawing, painting, pottery, and whatnot. Although I did get into batik dying and a little bit of sewing. It really started when I was about 20/21. My early adult years were actually pretty rough. My social anxiety was extremely severe to the point where I couldn't handle most interactions and avoided most places where I'd feel trapped with other people. I spent most of my time alone at my little bachelor pad with a whole lot of free time on my hands. This was when I got into learning HTML so I could design really hideous looking angelfire websites dedicated to Days of our Lives. Oh yes. True story. I also started to crochet. The next thing I knew, I was crocheting like a fiend. I made hats, scarves, gloves, and so on. It was all very experimental as I had no idea how to read a pattern.

[Left: My first computer, Trusty Phil. Right: My first crocheted hat!]

Crocheting brought a sense of peace in me. It also gave me a purpose. I wanted to keep learning. It also forced me to go out and buy supplies so I could keep creating. I always remember that time as a really good time in my life. I was having so much fun learning new stuff and connecting with like-minded people via the internet.

Two or three years later, I inherited a spinning wheel. I honestly cannot remember how I even got the thing. It was falling apart and I had to tie it together so I could use it, and boy did I ever use it. I was sold. It was so fun and so much went into it. Purchasing the fibre, dying it, carding it, and spinning it (and sometime plying it). I would then usually crochet with it. I made some pretty elaborate hats. Unfortunately at that time, my camera was a piece of crap but I would scan some of my yarn. I also got into needle felting as well but have no pictures of that, unfortunately

Later on, I discovered that I was spinning "the wrong way" and it was actually way more time consuming than it needed to be. Also, I found out that my spinning wheel (after consulting with a spinning guild) was not even supposed to be used. It was more meant for display. But hey, I used it! It fell apart after a while and I got a plastic spinning wheel that I ended up hating with a passion and I just gave up on it. I moved away from fibre arts and started to do more digital related stuff such as photography, digital manipulation, and website stuff. Around this time, I got an used spinning wheel, a traditional ashford, from a local spinning guild. I find it quite intimidating as it's so different from my beloved spinning wheel.

It has been a few years since I've spun and dyed. I miss it! I have a whole lot of wool just sitting around, waiting for me to finally come back to it. I'm hoping that this winter, I'll finally start experimenting again. I'd also love to start quilting again, but that's a whole another post!

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