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Battle of the Bobbins!!! Jan Massie of Just 4 Ewe Studio takes on Spin Artiste

by The SpinArtiste on December 28, 2014

Jan Massie, of Just 4 Ewe Studio is, perhaps, one of the most perfect spinners for me to engage in a bobbin battle with…Jan is a much better artist than I will ever be, but we have a lot in common — a similar sense of humor for one thing and a fairly open mind when it comes to hand spinning.  Many months ago, we exchanged packages of different materials and went off on our separate ways to see what yarns would result.  Jan is a take charge, get it done type person — another trait I adore in her — and she made an amazing yarn within a reasonable length of time.

Here are the shots of her yarn – before and a couple of afters:

Jan Massie Bob - Before and After

Jan Massie BOB - After


Jan Bob - another view

Great job, Jan!  Kudos!!  I love the fans. 

Now, let’s see how I fared….

I, on the other hand, really took my time with this one.  I had a “whoosh” of bobbin challenges that all came in around the same time and my pea pickin’ brain got a little overwhelmed.  And, I also, for the first time, entered a finished item into the Secret Stash Game during the fall so I had that design challenge to work through.  So, there was Jan’s package on the lab table, staring at me:

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Kit

And, it was very “Hawaiian”-Punch-ie to me which is neither a good thing or a bad thing because I do love all things Hawaiian, but there was a lot of color here.  And sometimes, I find, when there is a lot of color going on in a design, without my trusty black or white to define the impact of the colors, I feel the overall design can feel “confused”. 

Another issue I had right off was how to handle the hula girls and the large plastic flowers.  It would have been way too easy just to thread them in and spin them into the yarn even though the flowers were already pre-threaded with some wool roving.

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Flowers before cutting

Notice the scissors came into play — if you have read some of these other posts, you know I love to take things apart…so chop, chop, chop for the flowers.

Next, I set aside all the add-in type things and combined the fibers into a pretty batt:

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Batt

I spun a single and played it with the novelty yarn and then chain played it.  And, this is where I got stuck for a little while…

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Yarn before Adornment

Even though I wasn’t actively engaged in working on this project, in the back of my mind, ideas were swirling around.  My mind started settling down on the idea of using the add ins to look like “confetti” sprinkled over top…like sprinkles on a cupcake!  I made a test yarn using some white roving and some plastic beads by crushing the beads and then mixing them with glue and water.  Viola!  I knew what I was going to do with the hula girls, beads, and flower bits.FullSizeRender-6

Um, yeah, I said, glue on the pieces.  Wait a minute…you can’t use a yarn like that for anything…except to be recognized as a piece of art.  That’s all I was going for…just something I liked how it looked.  Now, that I was happy with my design approach and pleased with my test, I proceeded to complete the destruction of the add ins — the flowers were already cut up, the beads came off their elastic, and the hula girls were chopped into pieces.  I mixed up my brew of glue and water and sprinkled my “confetti” over the yarn.  Here then is the finished yarn:

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Finished Yarn Close up

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Close up 1

Arlene's Bob with Jan - Finished Yarn in Ball


It’s fun and really Hawaiian Punch-ie to me now!  And, I will use the Brew of Glue Technique again.  In the meantime, I’ve got a couple more bobbin challenges calling my name on the fiber lab table…including one from Ms. Suzy Brown, aka Wool Wench, herself.  So, we have got some good fun in store next month with that.

I sent out a newsletter a few days ago regarding my thoughts for Spin Artiste for 2015 as well as posted on Facebook about it.  Thanks to those who responded with their ideas.  I am very appreciative!!!!  If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, the sign up spot is along the left of this page and the newsletters contain content that is different from what I post here on the blog.  Sign up to find out what is going on behind the scenes!  

Until next time, all my fiber best, Arlene

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