This last weekend, I had the chance to attend Camp Pluckyfluff for the first time.
In case you aren't familiar, Pluckyfluff is the creation of Lexi Boeger, a fine arts graduate from UC Davis (woot!). She has been creating art yarns for sale for many years now - apparently she originally sold on eBay, and then moved to her website (linked above) to sell them. She finally wrote two books - one is called "Handspun Revolution", which was self-published (and apparently DO NOT buy it from Amazon, because they are not authorized to sell it), and the second (which I have and covet) is called "Intertwined" (you CAN buy this from Amazon).
The books are filled with art yarn techniques, and great photos and essays by Lexi. However, it really came alive for me once I got to meet her, and hear her / see her explain her techniques. I should mention I got the chance to email her a while back; we did a trade for some fun stuff - I sent her some of my friend Kim's Pyrex knitting needles, and she sent some fun fibers.
So, when I saw she was having a camp in Seattle, I definitely jumped at the chance!
I arrived at the camp Sunday morning, and was greeted by a gorgeously immense house in Capital Hill, very near Volunteer Park. Lexi greeted me at the door, and even carried my bag downstairs for me, so I could maneuver my wheel! Ohhh the house was lovely, did I say that? I bet the basement, which we spun in, was over 1200 sqft by itself... And the house-owner, Lorraine, and her family were lovely, too! :)
On to the pictures! Lexi taught us many art yarn techniques, most of which involved either spinning around a thread core, or using a plying thread to wrap the singles you were spinning...
Below is a shot of Teresa's yarns:
Here is a great shot of Lexi demonstrating her "super thick n thin" yarn. You spin off a "crazy batt" of fibers, and periodically make GIANT slubs (un-attenuated or un-drafted spots of fiber) and let those ride through and wind on the wheel. Lexi travelled with a Majacraft Susie Pro that the company had sent her to try out, and she ended up packing the wheel in checked baggage, and the whole treadle assembly came out hosed and broken! :( (DON'T PACK YOUR WHEEL IN BAGGAGE, PEOPLE!)
This is one of my yarns - a super-fluffy single that is plied around a core thread and pushed up to create "supercoils". One thing that surprised me was how little yardage bulky yarns required to completely fill up my bobbin!
Here is my tailspun mohair locks yarn. The idea is that you take a "sticky" core thread (laceweight mohair works great), and you spin the cut ends of mohair / Lincoln / Icelandic locks onto the yarn, while letting the tips hang free.
Here is another superfluffy yarn I did. You have a big batt composed mainly of fluffed out mohair curls, glitz, etc., and you fluff it out over a core thread as you spin (refer to the book for exact instructions). It makes a GORGEOUS yarn, and is light as air! :)
L-R: Lexi, Mary, the-woman-who-sat-next-to-me-please-don't-be-mad-I-forgot-your-name, Deidra, Michelle (in back), the other woman with the cool mohair hat that I forgot her name (above me...maybe Pat? Pat sounds like it would be her name...). Front row, L-R: Teresa, Lorraine (house-owner), Lauren, me.
I should mention some specifics about the workshop. Two days, 7 hours each. Unlimited use of a Louet "fine" drum carder... which was funny because there was nothing "fine" about the carder. The teeth are not set very close together on either the licker-in or the carding drum. HOWEVER, you can crank pretty much ANYTHING through this carder. If you were not working to turn the carding drum, you didn't have enough crap in the carder. I worked REALLY hard on that thing, and it never budged off the table or slipped, or anything. It is a WORKHORSE... That being said, I wouldn't recommend it for ACTUAL fine carding, like cashmere or silk, etc. But if what you want is large art batts, this is your carder!
Some techniques we covered were: crazy singles on core thread (supercoils, granny stacks, beehives), tailspinning with locks, thread wrapping of singles, nubs n slubs, super thick n thin, and just basically going crazy on the wheel and learning to spin ANYTHING, from doll heads to felt beads, into your yarn.
Here is that cool mohair hat I talked about above. Lexi is modelling it. She said she should wear it and hunch down over her steering wheel and drive at 30 mph and see if anyone says anything... :)
Here is a shot of me and Lexi! Woo! :) She's so sweet.... honestly, I really liked being able to spend time with her. And a great teacher, to boot! My customary position became sitting on the floor, cross-legged, in front of her wheel so I could see what she was doing (and also it would let other women in closer, too).
Here is a shot of Lorraine wearing her freshly finished handspun tunic! Isn't it gorgeous? Lorraine had a whole repurposed high-school locker cabinet filled with art yarns. Thousands of dollars worth of art yarns. In fact, she has most of the yarn Lexi has ever sold. It was really incredible... I joked that Lexi had found a benefactor. :)
Here are some shots of yarns Lexi brought. The one on the left is called "Aura" and it's in the book. It combines pretty much every technique she talks about in "Intertwined", and sounds like a slow-moving bear to spin! BUT...gorgeous!!!! On the right is a brown alpaca supercoil she did during the two-day workshop.
There are plenty more pictures that I took, and if you would like to see them, I direct you to my Flickr album: Click here for Pluckyfluff camp photos!