crochetlab issue 3

heidi of mypapercrane

i asked heidi of my paper crane to answer a few questions and she agreed!
crochetlab report




all material
© linda scharf
linda at
crochetlab dot com


mypapapercrane yarn







mypapapercrane yarn















mypapapercrane yarn














mypapapercrane yarn













mypapapercrane yarn









all material
© linda scharf

linda at crochetlab dot com





you can scroll down to read the whole “conversation” with heidi at your leisure, or you can click on a question and be directed to the answer if you're in a hurry. but what's yer hurry...?

august 4, 2005

:: smurfs or not?
:: does heidi ever SLEEP?

:: the beginning of spinning
:: spinning/plugged
:: yarn inspirations
:: spinning/learning
:: imaginary animals
:: fiber process
:: carding
:: dyeing
:: effects
:: moving & creativity
:: many media
:: indie fairs
:: plush
:: origins of the name: mypapercrane

Is it true you were raised by a family of Smurfs?

Well while smurfs would have been fun, no...I have to sadly admit I was not.

The question on everybody's mind: does Heidi ever sleep?

Haha, actually you know I get this question a lot, which makes me wonder if maybe I should sleep a little more! I sleep about 7 hours a night, somedays more--somedays less. I just like making stuff, so I spend a lot of free time doing it.

What inspired you to start spinning?

Well, being a knitter and crocheter...I always had an interest in yarn. I was always looking for weird yarn, and could never really find what I wanted, the yarn I imagined in my mind. I even took store bought yarn and fleece scraps once and sewed them to each other to create a kind of funky yarn. Then I found the talented Lexi (Pluckyfluff) through the also super talented Kat. I was blown away and knew spinning was something I had to try.

You have an electric wheel. Does this work like a sewing machine with treadle or what? Anything unique about spinning with power?

Yes it works just like a sewing machine. I use a Babe electric, and when you say you have an electric wheel people usually get all wide eyed and jealous (because electric wheels are expensive!) But mine's a Babe...which is essentially a spinning wheel made from PVC pipes and sewing machine parts...very inexpensive! It's rough on the eyes, but it gets the job done! It sure is noisy though, sounds just like a sewing machine.

How do you decide what to try next in a yarn?

As with most of my projects there is not always a lot of planning. Sometimes when I am laying in bed right on the verge of sleep an idea comes to me. Sometimes it's something that I hear that inspires me. For instance there is a great fiber arts group on called fiber_friday, every friday they post a new topic. One week the topic was vintage and the word just made me think of fabric yo right away I knew I had to make some sort of yarn that had yo-yos spun into it.

Do you continue to learn about spinning? Does the spinning itself teach you, or do you (also) learn thru other means? What, if you know, are you hoping to learn in the next short while?

I think as with everything, the more you do it, the more you learn. I have never had any formal training (like classes or someone to show me how) to spin. When I got my drop spindle from helloyarn she sent awesome detailed instructions, and when I got my wheel it came with a handy printout. But really, the things I have learned have come from experimenting and just spinning.

Any elusive or imaginary animal/creature's fiber you'd like to spin?

I'd be interested in spinning weird stuff like monster fur because I bet it would be colorful and crazy!

How early in the fiber process do you get involved?

I work a lot with raw wool, and do all the cleaning etc. I sometimes splurge and buy roving, though, for when I am feeling lazy!

You've been the recipient of free wool. Is it your neighborhood, are you a
lucky person, or something else?

No no, anyone can get free wool! You just have to track it down. My advice is to check locally and see if you have an animal sanctuary or rescue that keeps sheep or goat (or alpaca etc.) Not only can you get free wool this way, but you can feel really great about where the fiber is coming from! Or check around with local farms...I know a lady near me had bags and bags and bags of wool from her sheep and goats that she kept as pets, and she had no desire to spin, she just wanted to get rid of it. Raw wool does take a lot of hard work to get it ready for spinning, but can be an enjoyable process as well.

You make carding sound like such a joyful process. Is it like mixing colors? How much of carding is wonderful wild experiment and how much is a real "plan"?

Oh carding really is! I like to play around and mix color, different types of fibers etc. Most of it is unplanned, throwing whatever into the mix, but
sometimes I will decide on a say, all pinks, and go from there.

What about dyeing? What are the particulars; what sorts of things do you use for dyeing? Do you go for particular colors/effects? How often are you surprised by what comes out?

Well as for dyeing, anything goes. I have used kool-aid, egg dye, food coloring, RIT, and jaquard dyes. I never keep track of what I use for the colors. I know some people like to measure everything out and keep a swatch of the wool so they can re-create a color, but personally, playing around with the dye is the fun part. It's like a wondrous surprise when you get this bright snot green! I usually have a good idea of what the color is going to look like when I am mixing...from the old red and blue make purple kind of knowledge...but sometimes I am surprised by the deepness of a shade or hue.

What kinds of effects do you build into your yarn? How much do you take into account that your yarn will be used for crochet/knit/weaving projects?

Personally, I never think about how the yarn is going to be used. I spin like a mad woman concentrating more on how the yarn will look once spun. I do sometimes try and space out odd things (like the pom poms) because I know they could make it hard to knit if there were, say, 50 lined up one right after the other!

You've recently moved. How has that affected your creativity? Any tips or recommendations for artists moving? (things to pack last, etc?)

Ahhh, our move has been wonderful for my creativity! I now have a nice big studio to use and use and use and leave dirty if I see fit! Before, all of my stuff was in the kitchen so I was constantly having to clean up after myself. I did go a little stir crazy in the few days that everything was packed, so I suggest leaving some project out if your moving. I actually ended up going out and buying yarn and crochet hooks to give myself something to do in the evenings!

You express yourself in lots of different media. How do you decide, among
all the activities, which to engage in? Is it just obvious/clear what form
your expression will take at a particular time? If so, how does spinning
make itself known, say, "I am the one you want to do now."?

Yes I do like doing lots of different things! I have always been interested in more then one art form at a time, for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I just go with whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes my activites are based on what is going on around me. For instance if I am sitting in the car waiting for my nine year old to get out of school, you will find me working on a crochet project that I keep in my purse at all times. If my husband and I decide to watch a movie, then I might work on carding wool while we do that (because of course my wheel is noisy!!) But most of the time it's just whatever I feel like doing. I go through days when I don't feel like spinning and people might be emailing me asking when I will update new yarn, and it makes me feel bad...but I just don't want to do anything unless I am feeling it!

You sell your yarns, paintings, etc. at indie craft fairs. You've also signed up to teach people drop spindling. How has that gone? I know I was pleasantly surprised to see handspun start turning up at craft fairs!

I have signed up to teach drop spindling at the Philly Zine Fest (ed:now past) this year and I am very nervous. I am quite shy, and of course always worried that there will be someone who is opposed to me using "wool" from animals. I just hope that if someone is upset they will let me at least explain where the wool is coming from (the animal sanctuary nearby). I am planning on bringing ramie, and cotton, though, for anyone who might want to spin but does not want to use anything from an animal...or possibly be allergic to wool.

Plush, the phenomenon. What's your take on it?

I love it. I am a big plushy collector and love seeing the imaginative stuff people come up with in plush form!

For those who do not know, tell us about your name: mypapercrane.

Well when I first decided to start my own website I knew I had to come up with a name. My husband and I had always talked about opening a store someday (as our little dream fantasy) and we always talked about how we would hang cranes from all over the ceiling and have a bubblegum machine that dispensed paper cranes in those little plastic bubbles! So yes I loved paper cranes, just something about the fact that you can take a plain square of paper and turn it into something so magical looking...well of course was mypapercrane just came along, it fit and now I couldn't imagine it being anything else!

mypapapercrane yarn

* the yarn used in crochetlab's logo (top left) is also a yarn from mypapercrane :)

top of page living thru experimental crochet
art and research about what happens to string when it is
hooked up to a stick, turned loose and encouraged to run wild


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