March 2008

I got a spinning wheel! The Lady was kind enough to GIVE me one of hers – for free! It’s an Ashford Traditional, and I’m sure it’s seen many owners…but it still works beautifully and is simple enough for me to figure out. I got a quick one-hour lesson, which was enormously helpful, and since then I’ve just been learning by doing. I spun some green Corriedale for practice, and then I dove into my build-up of Spunky Eclectic club fiber. “Pie for Everyone!” seemed like a good place to start.

(click for bigger)

Can I just say that spinning on a wheel is awesome? I knew I wanted a bouncy, springy, bulky weight yarn, and that’s pretty much what I got. I spun and plied all 4oz in just a few nights, and I had so much fun while doing it. It’s not perfect, I could have given it even more twist in places, and my drafting needs work (though it’s loads better than it was with the spindle), but I love it.

Spunky Eclectic Club Roving, November 2007
100% Falkland wool
4 oz, 116 yards
something like bulky weight

I’m envisioning turning this into a squishy Urchin or Zeebee hat. I’m a little hesitant to knit it up because I love looking at it so much, but I haven’t knit with my handspun yet and I think it will be awesome.

Right before Stiches West, I sort of went through and reorganized my yarn. I had seen the Inga Hat a few weeks prior, and found some random worsted weight wool to use for it. It’s amazing how much nicer stranded knitting looks with real wool, instead of superwash.

Leftover Cascade 220 (lavender) and Galway Highland Heather (blue)
size 3 needles
I love the braid around the bottom. My excuse for casting this on (amongst my many other projects) was so I could try out the braid as a possible embellishment for the completely ridiculous hat James wants me to make for him. I think I’m going to give this to my sister, because I never finished her second mitten for xmas and I’ll be seeing her next week. These are definitely her colors.

Just for fun, my fabulous model:


I did end up going to Stitches last weekend, even though I almost backed out. I was thinking, “There’s not much I need, I don’t have anyone to go with me, I’ll just spend money, I just ordered yarn from…” But then my boss at the yarn store asked if she could ride with me so I decided that was a good enough reason. Realllllly twist my arm, right?

The only thing I knew I wanted to get was a new drop spindle…something simple and basic, lighter than 2 oz, but with a decent spin time and the ability to hold more than .25 oz of spun fiber. I love my carnelian whorl spindle from Butterfly Girl Designs, but I’m already slow at spindling and that one makes me even slower. After almost giving up, because spindles were quite scarce in the market…

…I found this lovely little Schacht spindle!

I was able to spin up THREE predrafted sections of Goblin Eyes on here, as opposed to the one I could fit on the carnelian spindle. And it went so much faster! I’ve already got this Navajo plied and will be pulling a 2 oz skein off pretty soon.

At another booth that did have spindles (but none that I was crazy about), I had the opportunity to try spinning hemp fiber. It was way easier than I thought! It drafts very easily (almost too easily…but it’s way easy to join again) and just look at these hand-dyed colors:

Fiber Fiend hand-dyed hemp pencil roving
colorway Sunset

The booth where I found my spindle was a fantastic new discovery, located right under my nose. A Verb for Keeping Warm is located right in Oakland! How did I not know this? According to the blog, her stuff will presently be available at Article Pract too. And, of course, she’s on Etsy. Here’s what I picked up with the spindle:

A Verb for Keeping Warm hand-dyed merino/tussah silk roving
colorway Branch

Pretty pretty. I was feeling so good about the hemp experience that I was confident enough to believe I can spin merino silk and not mess it up! Now I’m not so sure…

The only other thing I got was a few super cheap skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I got out for under $60 and everything I bought was either 1) relatively unique, 2) something I was planning to get, or 3) too cheap not to buy. AND I had a ton of fun with my boss, Bente. We got a full tour of the SWTC sponsor booth and drooled over tons of wool silk yarn.

I have about a million things cast on right now. My Ravelry projects page looks ridiculous with all the wips, and there’s a few I’ve been too ashamed to list. On top of that, I will be getting a spinning wheel for free in the very near future. If only sleep weren’t so essential…