lets try again shall we?


my previous post, explained in words (few)

my recent foray into teaching myself some new skills…

lets try a little more description and some pretty pikkies to go with the words…


cotton warp, newspaper weft (which is way too thick for the warp)

there’s been a bit of buzz recently about


oops…. not THAT shifu…

the shifu that literally means paper yarn.

an ancient japanese technique which involves a beautiful, but fittingly time consuming and technical process of spinning paper into yarn.

being a poor art student (sigh), i was sad not to be able to attend any of the wonderful workshops held by beautiful silks, during the recent natural dyes symposium, amongst them, a shifu class run by velma bolyard


being a financially poor, but creatively RICH art student, i decided that id teach myself this incredible craft

and with a huge nod to the masters in japan, who would be horrendously aghast at my undisciplined efforts, i started from scratch.

first, i needed to learn to spin.

in order to learn to spin, i needed a spindle…


as explained in my previous post, i cobbled together something using a trolley tyre from a local hardware supplier, along with a piece of dowel, two rubber bands and a cup hook

and a heap of help from the internet about “how to spin using a drop spindle”.

before long (a lot shorter time than i thought) i had lumpy funny yarn…

moving right along, no time to sit still…

next i raided the fireplace stash of newspapers…



and spun some colourful yarn.


2 days later,

back in sculpture class,

i decided that i probably needed a “better” spindle,

so i used the tools available

and whipped up these…

Imagestill a bit gluey in the middle…

but successful none the less


and after a lot more reading and looking and cutting paper in various ways to get one long continuous strand,

i finally had something that, although definately not up to japanese shifu master standard,

i am completely happy and proud to have achieved…



i am looking forward to taking this new skill and turning my shifu into artworks that will satisfy both my sculpture and printmaking folios and that will make me happy

and hopefully mr hardie will be excited that there’s another weaver in the family, who is hopefully not going to be executed for her craft!!!

happy days




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5 Responses to lets try again shall we?

  1. shemann says:

    How wonderful. I purchased a handmade drop spindle months ago and it is still sitting in the drawer, nervous to start.

    • sammiam says:

      I used Utube a lot to help me learn… Try the introduction to spinning by afranquemont, I found her particularly clear and easy to understand. There are also quite a lot of tips on the ravelry website…
      It’s fun, give it a go!!

  2. indiana says:

    loved reading this my dear…may i suggest making a small vertical incision in the whorl of your spindle, helps the filament stay hooked. …perhaps google images of “Bosworth drop spindle” to see what i’m trying to explain [which is tricky in words]

    • sammiam says:

      Thank you India! I had actually intended to cut a ‘groove’ but got so excited I just started spinning without further a-do!
      A very recent visit to MES has me wanting to try a new paper… A lot, lot lighter so I think I’m going to need to make a much smaller and much lighter spindle.
      ps Roz’ workshop is tempting…

  3. ecooutthere says:

    I’ve been playing about in the woodwork studio at work this week and came up with something v. similar to your mark 2 version. Been making some very slubby yarn. More practice needed. Your paper yarn looks great.

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