Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Twisting Threads to Finish

I made myself a deal - if I allowed myself to buy a new wheel I would start to ply my singles. This is also imperative because July, will be taken up with Tour de Fleece, where all the Ravelry spinning people spin through the Tour de France. Fun, right? But if I meet my goal, that's another 30 balls of singles.

When I spin, I immediately wind the singles off the bobbin into a center pull ball. I can then store the singles without putting them under pressure, and can ply the singles back on themselves, which makes in theory, a more balanced finished skein.

But that leaves me with a ton of singles, because I don't have to ply to empty my bobbins out. So the past 2 weeks, in between weaving, working, and going to see Sting in concert(!!!!!!!!!!) I have been plying yarn. And plying more yarn.. Why not leave it as a single? Plying makes the colors richer, adds strength to the yarn, and makes it pretty. Nuff said.

Here is the first batch I finished. I'm now refilling my niddy noddies (PVC washable homemade niddy noddies), with the next batch.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Obsession is kind of weird when you think about it. I mean really, is it a bad thing? It can be a good thing. I personally feel obsession is a healthy reaction to the human need to know everything about a subject. Or at least that makes it justifiable.

Take for example my hobbies. A person may learn to knit, but not immediately have 38 books on the subject. I, on the other hand do. A person may learn to spin, but not buy multiple spinning wheels and have a closet full of wool that would easily last through the end times (by the way, I recently pointed out to my sister that that is a survival tactic - if the world ended, I could trade clothing for food!), or maybe learn to weave on the first loom instead of buying 23 books (harder to find than knitting books) and 3 looms.

But I do all my hobbies this way. Many hobbies now dead and buried in the recesses of my memories, and the current ones. Take my aquariums. A lovely hobby, tranquil, peaceful, full of fun. I have 6 tanks. And multiple websites that I frequent where people talk about fish. But do you realize how peaceful it is to sit in a room with 4 fish tanks bubbling away. Of course other family members say it sounds like the ocean, I say good!

I wonder what the difference is in personality that makes some simply know how to spin, and others to be driven to know everything about it, and to conquer the hobby? Many people are simply content to hike a mountain trail, others climb Everest. Probably a good thing I've never taken up mountain climbing..

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Third Looms the Charm

Once upon a time, there were 3 looms. There was a great big antique loom, a medium size loom, and teeny tiny baby loom. An ambitious fiber artist wanted to learn to weave, and she thought the big loom would be awesome! But it had too many moving parts, and lots and lots of weird things connected to it. So she tried the medium loom, but it had too few parts and too many things that needed to be attached. Then she tried the baby loom. It was teeny tiny and had all it's parts already there, but no extras. It was a match made in heaven!

So while I wait to learn my complex, 4 harness antique loom who sits patiently in the corner holding laundry, yarn, and cats, I bought another loom.

Actually this would be the 3rd. In the closet sits a Beka 24" loom that I need to get a stand for. I bought it when a spinning shop went out of business quite awhile ago. But until I figure out a stand, and aprons and whatever else it needs it still sits there.

So then, I saw these little Schacht Cricket looms. They're cute. They're small, they're self contained! They have many many videos on Youtube showing things like warping and using the looms.. As it happened fate intervened and I ended up with one from someone who was selling it used. She'd never actually used it (imagine that, a loom and not using it!) so it was just sitting there. I jumped on it and assembled it the same night it came in the mail.

But then came the warping. I watched tons of videos on it, and one night, at 11:00, I set up the warping peg to warp it. Now I understood the process, and I had their guide as well. What I didn't count on was the Bella the cat helping me. I should have anticipated this, since she goes after the yarn when I wind it on a ball winder too, but this sent her yarn meter into overdrive. After disentangling her, and straightening out the warp threads as best I could, I managed to warp my loom! And then ensued the weaving.

Of course my nephew Devin is much better at it than I am, but after a few feet my selvedges (ha! Take that, an official loomy term!) are better and I made a little scarf that is actually wearable. Now I'm working on another out of worsted weight yarn, it's so cute.

Weaving is so much faster! And it's fun! And you don't lose all your work if you drop your needle. And you can't lose the needles.. Maybe I'll figure out the medium loom next. Wonders may never cease!

Obviously all the cats love it too.. What would I do without their help?

Rosie's Story

I went on Friday and picked up our newest family member. And now I can really say I have a herd of spinning wheels. Let's just put it this way, I could teach a class here using my own wheels!

I've blogged about why I needed Rosie before and while some of the details may have been sketchy, she was still meant to come home.

You see, I started looking at travel spinning wheels, and I really wanted a Majacraft Little Gem. They're tiny, they're cute, they look kind of like a duck to me. I'm not sure why. Now I am blessed,incredibly blessed to have one of the best Spinning Shops literally 8 miles down the street from me. I don't get over to Detta's as much as I'd like, for one thing I'd go broke, for another I'm always busy. But I treated myself to a trip there. When you step inside, there's every type of wheel imaginable plus Detta herself who has tons of experience and knowledge about each wheel. You can sit for hours and spin (and I have). Plus she has dogs! Lovely sweet dogs, who will come lay at your feet and assist you. Basically it's like my house with a few more wheels (becoming less all the time). Plus, go downstairs and she has an incredible room filled to the brim with fiber and knitting needles, and yarn, and books! Anyway, so I went to Detta's to try to the Little Gem, and while there, after assembling and trying out the new Majacraft Aura, I fell in love with Rosie. She had amazing wood graining, sleek lines, and spun like a dream. If I had been looking at puppies, she would have followed me home.

I rationally picked her, because of the Wild Flyer, because of the ratios, because Majacraft wheels treadle like no other. But in reality, it was her tiger stripes that got to me.

So when I e-mailed Detta later to tell her I wanted a Rose, and mentioned I couldn't get over this one's gorgeous wood, she graciously saved her for me till I could stop buying fiber long enough to pick her up. And on Friday there she was, waiting for me.

And no matter what anyone says, she does fold down, making her much more portable than my Saxony wheels...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I think I can....

1 - Eventually finish another sock (I keep getting distracted)

2 - Figure out how to make this

3 - Resist buying more fiber (in case the world runs out of batts) so that Rosie the spinning wheel can come home.

4 - Warp my baby loom so I can start to weave. A bag! I am so totally weaving bags!

5 - Knit a scarf out of every color of Noro Taiyo

One must have goals after all.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Weights and Measures

I am not good with numbers. A long time ago, when I showed dogs, I fed a raw diet and my butcher had a great deal on chicken. Somewhere around 25 cents a pound! So I promptly ordered 400 pounds of it. Except, I asked for 40 cases. Each case was 40 pounds.. Do you know how hard it is to find storage for 40 cases of chicken. In the summer? And recently, I did a change order for work. How was I to know that 200.00 of quarters took up that much room?

So all that brings me to my wool. I am not good with numbers there either. Which is why, I have 10 pounds of black superwash Merino wool in my closet. Along with 7 pounds of black Suri alpaca. What exactly was I thinking? I am not sure. Probably that it was a good buy. The alpaca is waiting to be turned into roving with silk. The superwash is a bit more troublesome. I mean, who wants a black scarf? (not me) who wants to knit a black scarf? (NOT ME!) Actually one of my nephews has been asking for one, but that's besides the point.

And that might even be ok, but evidently it's cursed. I spun up one bobbin to have it somehow in the middle of the night tangle into an unusable mess. Then last night I decided to drag it out again. The one use I have found for it, is spinning it thick, and plying it with a color into a lovely striped yarn. I decided to do that with some pink Angora/Merino yarn I'd spun into a thin 40WPI single. So I spun, then I plied. Looked lovely. I started to wind it off onto a niddy noddy, when it occurred to me that my brain earlier had said, no! Ply this into a cable with the other pink stuff. So I stopped the niddy noddy took it off and it promptly flipped into a tangled mess. Guess who was up till 2:30 AM untangling yarn?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To be in Jolly England

I think I should be living in England. At least today.

In England, I could walk over the emerald green fields, gaze at the ocean, talk with a lovely accent, and take tea. And no one would think I was weird for drinking tea and knitting. (the spinning probably would still throw people).

I could also knit tea cozies!!! Cute little flowered tea cozies like the ones in this blog here. Yup. That is what I want to do. Have a cottage by the sea, drink tea, take walks with my dogs on the beach, and through the green fields, and make tea cozies.

At least that's the thought today. Tomorrow maybe Italy, where I could knit shawls and stare at art and fountains while knitting said shawls. Or maybe Greece..

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Tisket a Tasket A Yarny little Basket..

Is that how you spell Tisket and tasket? And what are they? Something lost to time? My Grandma used to sing this song, along with a myriad of others. My favorite was always "Lonely Little Petunia". But every summer morning she'd wake us up at something around 5:30 (ok, maybe it was 8:00, but way too early by singing "Lazy Bones" and if that didn't work she'd vacuum our bedroom. I still hate the sound of vacuums in the morning. But gardening and singing about petunias had to be done, and that requires an early start. She had a huge flower garden, the most amazing that I've ever seen. Lilac trees, roses up to the roof of the house, annuals and perennials spilling together into a melange of color and beauty. It was all edged by river rock, which she had hauled by hand from the Green River, one by one. When I was really little, we used to go get that rock, and look for wild Easter Lilies in the spring. By the time I was older, the rock edge was complete, and the Easter Lilies had disappeared farther into the woods.

Anyway, here's the yarn I spun this week, evidently I was on a purple kick. There are a few balls missing, things I've already packed away. Once I spin the singles, I wind them on my handy dandy ball winder into a center pull ball, and store them that way. Then I ply from the ball, using each end of the yarn to make a 2 ply. Though one thing I want to learn is to do a Navajo ply. I might try that with one of these. After I watch more videos of it on Youtube, or maybe I'll just keep looking up old songs and memories.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Sparkle

A three day weekend! Why can't all weekends be three day weekends? Enough time to play, move furniture, relax and sleep in. Three days is a magic number!

I wasn't scheduled a 3 day weekend but I decided to take Monday off on a whim and gave myself one. This was a good thing because we had a big project planned which involved moving 3 couches, and deep cleaning 2 rooms. So the first 2 days were basically taken up with that.

But I did get some fun time, especially since I can now spin again on the new couch instead of being relegated to a chair because of my back. I even finished a yarn! Which is a minor miracle, on last count I have about 30 (I am not exaggerating here - 30!) skeins waiting to be plied, finished and wound off..

This is the yarn, waiting to be blocked. It's one batt from Butterflygirldesigns, and baby alpaca from Spinning Bunny blended together into a soft sparkly shimmery yarn. I love spinning. It's instant gratification.