Hiking, day #4

After handing in our bikes, we headed to Zion National Park for camping and hiking. We got our spot, and I was surprised to realize quite suddenly that if the option is primitive camping involving very few people, or camping that has the comfort of real bathrooms, but surrounded by people, I am choosing the primitive camping.

Mr. Ink, somewhat annoyed that our head seemed lower than our feet on the mesa, made sure we didn’t make that mistake again.

20140519-104958.jpg

We were soon set up, though a bit squished in a tiny camp site.

20140519-105006.jpg

There were so many people, and a couple campsites over, a number of very young children. (I might add that there is a rule that you are not to have more than 6 people per site, an there were more than 6 children alone at that site.) This may have been one of the reasons I struggled with this type of camping. It was extremely loud.

There were also other visitors.

20140519-105016.jpg

These mule deer were very friendly and had no trouble grazing among the sites.

The rough night was tempered though, by the first view from the tent in the morning. I opened the door to this:

20140519-105028.jpg

Really spectacular.

I made the joke that the park was the Las Vegas of nature, as we headed up on a shuttle to do some hiking. Because of our thunder mountain experience, we decided we didn’t need anymore extreme hiking, so we chose moderate hikes instead. I did not feel in danger on these hikes, and the views were spectacular. I took pictures, but it seems like all of mine just don’t capture what it was actually like. However, when we were through with hiking and wandering around the gift shop before heading back to Las Vegas, I told Mr. Ink that I REALLY must come back.  I absolutely did not get enough of hiking and I hoped for more someday in the future.

And I finally leave you with one picture of spinning. Spinning I’d been working on a bit during the vacation. Pictured with a spindle bowl I picked up in Zion National Park.

20140519-110700.jpg

The fiber is crown mountain farms superwash wool. I have a totaly of 8 oz, and have been working on it pretty consistently since my return. It seems I might actually have yarn to show off at some point, if we’d quite traveling!

I’ll have a vacation wrap up post tomorrow. And then we can get on to that which I’ve been doing since then.

 

 

 

 

 

On My Spindle

I’ve been working on some hand dyed black BFL from a fiber club offered by Dyeabolical yarns quite some time ago. I took it with me on vacation, started in there, and have been working on it during my lunch breaks at work since my return. I only have just a bit of fiber left to spin, and I do believe this is destined to be a 2 ply. I like the muted shades quite a bit, and am eager to see how the resulting yarn turns out. That being said, it may be awhile, since I’ve got wheel projects I must finish up before I get too much further with plying projects.

20130822-080426.jpg

Tour Update day #5

My spinning time for the tour has certainly been hard to come by this week. By working on my wheel during what little time I had between work and a bike ride, I was able to move into the third color on my Autumn Lake bump.

20130704-065204.jpg

 

The richness of the blue on this bump is really quite lovely. This is one of the bumps that is slightly more textured than many of the bumps from Loop. I am really enjoying that fact.

I also worked a bit more on the brown/orange bump that I have at work. This one has been slow and difficult going, but next time I work on it, I’ll be moving into the next color range.

20130704-065210.jpg

 

My plan today is to spin on a bike, pretty much all day. Any guesses to how many miles I’ll have when I am done? Even I cannot know this information at this point!

Writing from the past

So, I am going to write on Saturday, day #1 of TdF, and have it post early Sunday morning. So you are getting a Saturday update on Sunday.

I began my TdF today, but not quite as expected. I had a kid to pack for camp, an appointment for service of my car, and many many errands to run. This didn’t leave me a lot of wheel time. So instead, I pulled out a bullseye bump I’d started some time before, and took that with me, along with a spindle, to have the car serviced.

I spun a spindle full of yarn, quitting when the spindle got boggy.

20130629-171121.jpg

 

The blue I had spun previous to this, but figured I should finish this bump before moving on to something else.

I did have the afternoon free, but it was for making lunch, napping, and gardening. Now I am on to making dinner and relaxing, and perhaps I’ll have an opportunity to pull out the wheel tonight. That would be lovely. I also had an opportunity to finish and block a handspun scarf. That hasn’t happened in ages.

For now though, I am off to spend the evening doing weekend type things, and look forward to updating Monday morning after another full day of TdF.

Why Spindles?

I love being of an age where every question no longer feels like a criticism or something I need to get defensive over. Most questions feel more like general curiosity and while I never quite feel like I explain things particularly well, they do make me think about what choices I make in my craft. Sometimes one question triggers quite a bit of thinking. As was the case last week.

Last week a friend of mine stopped over to the house after work with his son. Our kids played around the house a bit while we had a quick after work drink. Now, this is someone who understands fiber arts. His wife went to school for it, and he can sew like nobody’s business. However, after glancing at my mason jar full of spindles, he commented that he thought I was going to need another mason jar. And then asked the question “Why spindles? I mean, if you already have a wheel, why have spindles too?”

20130430-194357.jpg

Even knowing that this question was genuine curiosity, I fumbled with my answer. I think I’ve touched on it every once in awhile even here on the blog. But it is a question that keeps coming back to me. I explained I’d been a spindle spinner less than a year. That I started with my wheel and was quite satisfied with it for 5 yrs or so before I started to get it in my head I should learn to spin with a spindle as well.

In all honesty, it was trindles that did me in. I’d seen them a couple years prior, and I’d seen people who were quite happy with them, but it took the fact that I was going to be away from home much of the summer with no ability to bring my wheel that threw me over the edge. I bought a trindle. And, I spun yarn that I was quite proud of. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t too awful either. So I bought a few more trindles.

Then I discovered support spinning. It fascinated me. The people who do it look so zen and calm and comfortable with what they are doing. I also loved the look of support spindles. I loved the beautiful wood combinations and I couldn’t get them out of my brain either. After borrowing a thakli and having that go rather horribly, I purchased a tibetan spindle and learned on that. This was a complicated process for me. It took a long time to get usable yarn. Even longer to feel comfortable with it. However, I couldn’t let go of the quietness to spinning on a support spindle and I persevered.

20130430-194403.jpg

I then learned that different types of spindle spinning could serve different purposes. I also learned that I often spun faster on a spindle than on my wheel. More than that, I did more spinning on my spindles than I did on my wheel. There’s something about the relaxed, feet up on the couch feeling I get to spindle spinning that I can happily spin all evening without my back getting sore, or getting the spinning stitch in my side I often get from my wheel. It is easy to put down and pick back up. And even more wonderful? While I had always been a one project at a time spinner while working exclusively with my wheel, I now felt like I could have a number of different projects going on at a time. I mean, I often had an open spindle, all ready for my next fun little project. I spin a ton of samples on a spindle. It is a great way to get a feel for a new fiber before throwing the entire thing on my wheel. It is also a great way to take a particular fiber, prep it a few different ways, and then decide how it best spins.

I also choose to spindle spin for the same reasons I fleece prep. I want to know my art fully. I want to understand how one particular fiber works in different situations and I don’t feel I can do that without using different tools. I want to understand how the tools of our ancestors were used. It rounds out my knowledge, it beefs it up, it continues my learning, inspires me and makes me feel less stagnant of a learner and a person. Every time I pick up a new type of spindle and learn to use it, I get to hold on to, and ideally pass on, knowledge that is interesting to me but is, to some extent, in danger of getting lost in our increasingly intangible world.

20130430-194409.jpg

I choose spindle spinning because it feels like it gives me roots.

Why do you spindle spin? Or, why do you wheel spin. Or why do you choose both?

Lush

I seem to have gotten myself in another spinning bind. Meaning, I’ve got two active projects, both which are being spun into laceweight singles. So the spinning is going super slow, making me feel like nothing is getting accomplished. Meanwhile, I keep dreaming of my fiber stash and wanting to start something new. Compounding this issue is the fact that I feel I don’t have anything new or interesting to post on the blog. Then I really start dreaming of pulling out something new!

I remembered, I had started something new awhile back and I never got a picture of it. And it isn’t quite laceweight singles. I bought these lovely corgi hill lush batts awhile back, being drawn to their rich color. I started spinning them on my little golding bog oak spindle, but that spindle is best used for something lighter and it wasn’t going that well. I balled up what was on the spindle the other day, set it all aside, and forgot about it.

Last night, realizing I really needed to be able to work on something besides plain brown saxon wool, I remembered the lush batts, pulled them out, and started spinning the remainder on my neal brand tibetan. It went much better than the bog oak spindle. I didn’t get much done as by the time I figured all this out it was getting late. But it was just what I needed.

20130430-073743.jpg

Like Castonitis

I don’t really struggle with castonitis. Not anymore. I don’t do enough knitting to struggle with it. In fact, I’d say I have finishitupitis if I’ve got anything at all. I don’t do enough knitting and because of that, nothing gets finished fast enough for me to want to cast on new things. I am learning to be very zen about that. Even going so far as to prolong projects for added enjoyment. Or knitting on something not because it will be done soon and I can wear it, but because I enjoy the feel or look of the yarn itself.

That being said, all the angst, anxiety, and studiousness I used to put into knitting projects goes into my spinning now. I want to start all the fiber, I want to spin and finish things daily. I want even the thinnest spun yarns to go super fast. I want to spin in my spare moments and when I don’t get to, I feel like I’ve failed. Seriously, this is just how I used to feel about knitting. It is a drive to complete that is so unnecessary and yet seems to just be a part of me.

In all honesty, this is a drive I’ve seen in myself when it comes to cycling too. I am so focused on going farther, faster, or getting up that one last hill that I rarely look up, look around, an enjoy the view. That’s a bit sad. While I bike for me and no one else, I should also remember that I can view it as an enjoyable experience, looking at the various sights around me and slowing down just a bit. I do believe that needs to be my goal in both cycling and spinning this year. Settle down, slow down, take a deep breath, enjoy what I am doing, enjoy the view, and remember that no one needs me to get there any faster than I do.

I started some JulieSpins Merino Silk. The colors are so rich and gorgeous that even though they have no sparkly bits added, the silk seems to make it sparkle on its own. And on my Amber Trindle SST, it looks even more glorious, the amber crystals being a lovely contrast to the rich blue fiber. I am spinning this quite thin and enjoying every moment of it. Which means while it has been on the spindle for awhile now, I am taking it slow and so I haven’t bothered to photograph it until now.

20130424-164640.jpg

I am also enjoying my trindle SST. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this spindle style keeps growing on me, proving that my spindle likes and dislikes are fluid. Now if only I could get a good handle on my Russian spindle!

New Toy

I’ve always dreamed of having a golding spindle. But, as they are a bit pricier and I am new to the spindle spinning world, I had not yet had the opportunity to pick one up. However, I got my hands on one from a destash on Rav recently and it came in on Friday.

The wood is 5,000 year old russian bog oak. It is a 2 inch ring spindle, and the ring makes it so that it spins for a very long period of time, and very fast!

20130317-085946.jpg

 

It was good timing on this one, as I’ve been so terribly bored of the green and lavender BFL project I can barely stand it. Thankfully, a new toy made it so I was interested in continuing the spin.

20130317-085952.jpg

 

I managed to pack a fair amount on that spindle in two evenings of spinning. This is a spindle that has certainly found its forever home at my place.

 

Yesterday Was a Bust

It all started with my work pants splitting when I put them on in the morning. Not a small split, but one which went down the back of my bum down my leg. I blame the corduroy, but I was rather upset about it. Had it happened at work, it would have been a major issue. Though this incident did lead to an amazing amount of wonderfully bad puns between Jeremy and I once I sent him the picture, so I can look on the bright side.

20130227-163412.jpg

Then, despite me telling Bug over and over that she must not ever use a round brush on her hair, despite telling her the story of the time my grandmother used a round brush curling iron on my hair and got it stuck in my hair, she chose yesterday morning to not listen. She came to me with one complete side of her hair all rolled up into a round brush. She’d clearly rolled some in, then rolled a little more in, and so on until it was well and truly stuck. I sighed and explained that this very well could mean she’d need a hair cut. But, with a little patience and no small amount of pain on Bug’s part, we did manage to get the hair out of the brush, leaving her with a rather amazing bouffant on one side of her head. We managed to make it to school and work on time.

Last evening Bug came home from school smelling like she was wearing perfume. I asked her what it was, and she told me it was a Mary Kay sample she’d received as a thank you for helping a Mary Kay lady while at her dads. Ok fine, but it was pretty strong, and I immediately noticed it made my throat scratchy. I put up with it for a bit, but then had to tell her to please get rid of the clothes she was wearing and take a shower. About the time I started her shower, I noticed something odd at the corner of my right eye. Yep, ocular migraine in progress. Most of the evening was completely shot, since I do get a headache with them, and just generally feel off. I am totally and completely blaming the Mary Kay perfume she was wearing.

I had hoped to get the leaves of the vintage sock attached and tacked down. It didn’t happen. I had hoped to get my loom set up for another go around. That also didn’t happen. I did manage to get a warp onto the warping board though, with Louet Euroflax originals. Yes, in stash. In fact, assume anything I weave is pulled out of my stash unless I tell you otherwise, since that is THE ENTIRE point to my weaving. It has actually been really good fun to pair yarns in my brain, calculate if I have enough for a warp and a weft, etc. I’d say that has been half the fun of weaving for me so far. I plan to pair this warp with handspun again. I spun this yarn in early 2009. Dyed locks, spun in the grease. They were a pretty interesting experience, I loved the fuzzy yarn, but I couldn’t ever figure out what to do with it. I think the colors involved will compliment nicely with the warp and I am hoping it will leave me with an odd, gently fuzzy scarf. Since I am certainly still in the experimentation stage of weaving, it can’t hurt to try it and see what happens!

20130227-163400.jpg

Yesterday sparkeespud talked about spinning batts, which gave me a hankering to pull out some batts too. I decided that since I have one free spindle hanging around I could start on a batt. I pulled out some dyeabolical batts I had laying around and I started on one while I was waiting for the migraine to take over my eye. I figured I could spin until I really started to feel miserable. I did get a tiny bit done, and it reminds me of how much I adore batt spinning. The thing is, I find it easier to spin fluffier with batts, and I like the squishy result. I also like the fact that I cannot force a batt to become something I want, but rather it is easier to spin if I allow the batt to do what it likes. The color on this is just a lovely olive shade. I only have one batt of each color so I am thinking two ply and then I’ll decide what needs to be done with them later. Maybe for weaving! 🙂

20130227-163407.jpg

So here is one more day where I don’t talk about MOS. Much. But, Ummeyusuf has begun a second pair. Apparently short rows is a theme for MOS this year.

 

More Sampling

Today is a slow day. A very slow day. I managed to pop something in my hip last evening. Thankfully today it is no longer a sharp pain with a dull ache surrounding it, I am left with just the dull ache. So, today we are taking it easy. My desire to spent the rest of the weekend on Vintage Vespa Loop Bump has been totally sidelined, and I’ve done some more sample spinning instead.

I finished the plying of the Spin Culture sample. There were two small strips of this, both with dark olive green, brown, and a wine color. Rather than spinning and failing to pay attention to color, I actually planned this one out. I decided that a plying bracelet would be the way I plied, and I split out the colors so that the wine would be in the middle, with the green/brown on the outsides. Once the plying bracelet was created, I’d then have a yarn that transitioned from green/brown, to a combo of green/brown with wine, and ending in just the wine color. It worked great actually, I ended up with just what I wanted. 70 yards 2 ply.

20130203-142646.jpg

Then I picked up a loop cloud sample and spun that on my trindle SST. I also used a plying bracelet for this one, and I am loving the dark wine colors on this was well. This gives me another color to add to all my lovely little loop cloud samples. 25 yards 2 ply.

20130203-142640.jpg 20130203-142630.jpg

And actually, prior to popping my hip, I did manage to get some spinning on the vintage vespa bump done. I forget how much I adore spinning super thin on my wheel, so it was a treat just to spend some time doing that. I am well into the slightly red toned white now, and am eager to get moving on it again as soon as possible.

20130203-142635.jpg

What else did this weekend bring? It brought me the opportunity to teach someone spindle spinning. Or start anyhow. My friend Marja bought some Kauni unspun, and I lent her my disco trindle, and she got started. I like starting someone with the unspun, as they can get an idea for how the spindle feels, how it spins, and what it feels like to have twist entering fiber. It is a great practice routine, and it allows the drafting complications to come later, after getting the feel of the thing. I think it is good to master different parts of the routine, I think it makes putting them all together a little bit easier. The best part? After only a few hours of work, she had a pretty full cop, and the confidence to take the entire thing home to keep working on.

20130203-142652.jpg

 

 

 

 

Sampling

I used to hate samples! I think it had to do with wheel spinning. By the time I got out my wheel, changed bobbins, and started spinning, it felt worthless to do the sample it got finished so fast. Now with the spindles, I love little samples of yarn. Pieces of fiber I can pick up in one evening, experiment with, and then end up with a tiny finished skein of yarn shortly thereafter.

Well, I cannot tell a lie, I bought more batts from Spin Culture. Spin culture of the most awesome scream batt. I just loved how they turned into corespun yarn and I loved how the cowl looked once I was done, so I just couldn’t resist. With that shipment came some wool top samples, so I began spinning them last evening. I didn’t finish actually, due to also wanting to devote some time to my lizard ridge blanket, but I got a pretty solid amount on my spindle through the evening. I do believe I’ll be plying this on a spindle as well because…well…as I said, seems pointless to pull out my wheel for such a thing!

20130202-162300.jpg

Now that I’ve managed to complete a bunch of projects last week, it is time to set a few goals for this week. I plan to work on my vintage vespa loop bump. It is back on my wheel, and my high speed whorl is back too. I’d love to get this one done so I can start messing around with my jacob fleece batts. I should also add, my jacob fleece batts are done. Since they don’t look much different than last time, I am not taking another photograph. But, from 2.5 pounds of unwashed fleece, I got a pound and 9 oz of batts total. My lizard ridge blanket from forever ago is actually seeing some action now. I cast it on in 2011 so it is high time I worked on it enough to complete the thing. I also plan to do another christmas ornament, and then there’s Month O’Socks starting on February 15. Time to get a few things done before I start that!

 

WIPs

I know I’ve shown off the BFL from chameleon colorworks before. I’ve been spinning it on my lightweight trindle for awhile, mostly when walking Bug to and from school. However, spinning while walking in the winter, or basically any time the weather is below freezing, just isn’t happening. Trouble is, I am getting a bit annoyed at having the project laying around with little to no progress. So, I took a bit and sampled spinning it on my Neal Brand Tibetan. That seems to be going just fine, so I think I’ll finish this up before starting another new project.

20130101-140729.jpg

Samples Again

A loop sample is this wonderful and perfect amount of fiber to spin up in an evening, and thus I find them downright irresistible. I’d had a really tough long day last week and by the time I got home, I didn’t have anything left for brain power. I just needed to sit and do something particularly relaxing. So I picked on the Neal Brand tibetan and started on a loop sample. By the time I put Bug to bed, I was finishing up the spinning, so I pulled out my wheel, made a plying bracelet, and plyed it up. I have 46 yards of 2 ply laceweight this time, in a lovely beige color. Of course, as soon as it was done I grabbed my green/teal sample and got started on that. All in all, the best way to relax after a long day.

20121229-102904.jpg

Because I Love the Tibetan

I decided I should spend a little more time with my Russian spindle too, in hopes that it clicks with me now that the tibetan has. And honestly? It did. It asks me to hold it at a bit of a different angle, it has less heft to its base and wants to pop off the bowl as I spin, but it is still a nicely effective spinning tool and I don’t think I am ready to part with it. Entirely unlike the Turkish spindle which I sold off about as soon as I could due to absolute distaste for the thing.

I’d started some wool/silk/cotton/hemp blend quite some time ago, but didn’t get overly far. I picked that up again and have been spinning at it quite a bit. TO be honest, the russian spindle also works best with a large cop. I think it provides it with the heft it lacks. The tibetan doesn’t spin as well with a larger cop, so this is just a difference I’ll have to work around.

There really is no way to spin this yarn anything but slubby, however I am enjoying the resulting single and am eager to see how it does ply up once I am done with it.

20121125-093114.jpg

Today is our day of decorating tree and home. I’ve been cleaning a bit in anticipation of this. Trying to make it a relaxing day as my last day of vacation. I must admit, I’d have no problem filling my time if I was always on vacation at home!

Making Friends

With a process that is. I’ve been trying for months to conquer support spindling. I started with a tahkli, it didn’t go so well. Then I got a lovely Russian style support spindle, and while that wen’t better than the tahkli, it still didn’t really click. About 2 months ago I put in a special order for a Neal Brand tibetan style spindle, and it arrived over the weekend. I’d also gone to our local weavers and spinners guild show that morning too and so I just happened to have some lovely BFL/Silk from The Dyeing Arts that was desperate to be spun. And then it all clicked. The spindle spun beautifully and the fiber drafted amazingly well and while I am not perfect at it, I have yarn that is gorgeous. It took some time, but the learning process was entirely worth it.

 

20121119-071953.jpg

That thing I said?

That thing about making thicker yarns more often? Yeah, I am going in the opposite direction with this project. This is some BFL from Chameleon Colorworks that I purchased a long time ago, perhaps 2008? BFL is one of my favorite prepared fibers to spin, since it really does draft out beautifully and into such thin thread. And I can say, what I am doing right now really is a thread. If I keep this up, even if I make it into a 3 ply, it will be a laceweight. I am enjoying achieving that on a spindle, so I am going to stick it out even if it takes a lot of time. Heavier weight yarns can wait for now, I am busy making thread.

20121029-181521.jpg

If I had only known…

I honestly wonder, at this point, if I’d known in 2007 what fun spindle spinning was, if I’d even have a wheel right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wheel and am not interested in parting with it. Ever. But spindle spinning has opened up such a new world to me right now that I am entirely curious if it would have satisfied me back then. Probably not, the learning curve might have been too high at the time. That being said, I am enjoying my trindle so much right now. And I don’t believe trindles even existed in 2007.

I finished the superwash merino that I dyed a long time ago. 1/3 was plyed on my wheel, 1/3 plyed on an old “toy” spindle I bought years ago but never used, and 1/3 plyed on my trindle. Now honestly, given the chance, I’ll probably do most of my plying on the wheel in the future. It just didn’t work out this time. The toy spindle worked surprisingly well, but is a little wobbly and not as fast as my heavyweight trindle. I allowed my trindle to get quite full this time, I don’t think I’ve ever built a copse this big before.

20121025-165006.jpg

In the end I have 520 yards of 2 ply light fingering weight yarn in a semisolid. I am sure there will be some striping but the colors blend nicely and it is overall a lovely green color.

20121026-170048.jpg

Moving Right Along

I feel that my last post was somewhat anticlimactic. It seems that while I can be absolutely frustrated to the point of giving up knitting entirely with one project, no words can properly convey that to the reader. So after angsting over the cloud chaser for so long, I barely know what to say!

I took my plying balls with me to my girlfriend’s house yesterday in order to ply some of my trindle spinning up on my wheel. (My wheel resides out of my house most of the time. I know that is really weird, but it works for us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.) Even though I am not actually finished with the spinning part of this superwash merino I dyed, I still felt it necessary to begin to see how it would turn out. As most of my spindle spinning is right now, there are thicker and thinner sections, but I double it will be overly noticeable in a knitted item. I made plying balls assuming everything would be easier that way, but I suspect plying from two separate balls of yarn would work just fine for wheel plying. So, since I’d finished another spindle full, I stuck that on a ball winder and made a center pull ball for the next plying attempt.

I am still spinning while walking Bug to and from school. It remains to be seen how long that can continue before my fingers freeze in the morning. I am very much enjoying that tiny bit of extra spinning time, when we are not busy with spelling word quizzing that is. What is on the spindle right now is just the amount that gets done during one day of walks.

I won’t bother to count yardage yet with this skein, since it seems pointless when there will be another skein shortly.

20121015-170137.jpg

So

So I love my trindle. I love spinning with it more than I ever imagined. (Please ignore the fact I haven’t picked it up in about a month, I’ve been busy trying to bust through some knitting!) I decided I needed to try a few other kinds of spindles, just to see how I felt about them. I borrowed the tahkli, but we all know how that went. Not to be deterred, I wondered if a russian or tibetan spindle would work better for me. Little did I know, nice ones are tough to get ahold of! While that was frustrating initially, it also made me realize that purchasing one would not be a problem, as its resale value would be high providing I couldn’t make a go of it. I special ordered a tibetan from Neal Brand, but it may be a few weeks before that gets done. In the meantime, I’d been stalking The Spanish Peacock etsy shop trying desperately to get my hands on a Russian. Well, it finally happened. I scored a Russian with a matching bowl. And then I went on Ravelry and saw a tiny Turkish spindle for sale on a destash. I grabbed that up too, knowing that too would resell just fine.

I’ve been deep into the challenge of finishing the cloud chaser vest. I spent all day yesterday on it. The collar is finally complete and I am working on the armholes. But I waited all day for the mail, just hoping my russian spindle would be in there. Much to my surprise, both the tiny turk and the russian were there! I quickly took two spindles I didn’t even know how to use and got yarn started on them.

The russian works far better than the tahkli. This I think I can live with, even get a good hang of eventually. It doesn’t help that the batts I am trying to use are naturally slubby, as my yarn is quite thick and thin, but it is a great way to get some practice time in. The tiny turk I am not quite as impressed with. I am hoping a little more yarn on it for weight will help it spin a little longer, progress on it is quite slow right now.

What I have on the tiny turk is mulberry silk from dyeabolical. I’d ordered 2 oz, and she so kindly threw in a second 2 oz for me. It is really awesome when your favorite fiber dyer is also a friend!

20121007-082059.jpg

20121007-082106.jpg

Tahkli Part 2

The wool blend batts couldn’t do it. The cashmere couldn’t do it. What did it? A batt which is a blend of silk, cotton, hemp, and wool. Now THAT spins on a tahkli.

I had a bit better luck with the cashmere, but it seemed sad that I was spinning my cashmere so poorly, and at one point I broke the single and couldn’t get it started again. I had 3 other potential options. One was some cotton I got in Kansas, the other was a small amount of hemp fiber, and the third was these batts I’d received in a swap that I’ve always loved for their undyed natural nature and interesting fibers. Now, I never imagined these batts would spin smoothly, which doesn’t bother me in the least, but I did hope to spin them into something I could actually use. That, I do believe, is actually happening on the tahkli right now.

Oh, and you must check out the little dimpled spindle bowl I got on Etsy. Very pretty!

20120907-192445.jpg

Tahkli

So, in my magical thinking brain, I truly believed that once I got my hands on a tahkli, I’d be able to spin beautifully with it in the first moments upon picking it up. Not so. There was a good deal of frustration, and then Jeremy asked me to hand it over. He quickly decided that the issue is that the fiber I was using didn’t want to draft out very well. So, I put it down and left it. Then contacted Corrie, who had loaned me the tahkli in the first place, and she suggested short stapled slippery fibers. Next up? An attempt with cashmere and alpaca. Both of which I have laying around in my stash cabinet. Not much, but enough to give it a try!

To be honest, some of my frustration is from youtube videos. I watched them, deemed supported spindling fast and easy looking, and decided I needed to do it. But, I forgot that there just *might* be a learning curve to all this. Now I’ll just hope that mastering something I find difficult will just make the process all the sweeter.

20120904-165101.jpg

I Managed It

I managed to make yarn on my spindle. I did it!

350 yards of 2 ply fEnglish wool. The wool is the sid fishious colorway by dyeablical yarns. I didn’t do a whole lot of planning on how I wanted to colors to work, I just wanted to spin. So, once I had full spindles, I’d ball them up together and get on with the plying.

Saturday evening I had 2 more balls of yarn.

20120826-212152.jpg

I then could not resist finishing them both. I just couldn’t. Stayed up a bit later than usual in order to finish, washed those two skeins this morning, and now I’ve got 3 not at all matching skeins of yarn. Because I didn’t worry about the colors, I ended up with one skein that is particularly halloween colored. It gave me the idea of knitting a wingspan for halloween. We shall see if I have time for that!

20120826-212628.jpg

First yarn

I finally have my first spindle spun yarn. I worked pretty hard on it once I had no more knitting, and ended up with two spindles full.

20120817-150954.jpg

Once I had that, I watched my copy of Respect the Spindle again, and made my two spindles into a 2 ply ball of yarn, and then plied it together on the spindle.

20120817-151139.jpg

I still have a bit more fiber to spin, but if all goes well it won’t be terribly long before I have another hank of yarn. I have not yet counted yardage on the one I have, figuring to wait until I am finished before I do so. There is a little bit of thickness at one end of this yarn due to being a beginner spindle spinner, but the remainder isn’t bad at all.

I went to the local yarn shop today to get needles for my sock skein. Unfortunately, the needles they had were about double the price I wanted to pay and also a brand I don’t particularly care for. So, instead, I picked up some Mad Tosh for a Color Affection shawl. I have the appropriate needles for that here, and I can get started before I get back on the plane to come home. I will have to call this my Jewel Affection, as the tones are lovely jewel tones that should really pop when combined.

20120817-151633.jpg

A Second Try

Yes, I know. Long time no blog! I am deep into preparations for my upcoming bike ride across Iowa so crafting has taken a bit of a back seat. I am working on the featherweight cardigan and my noro lace scarf quite often, but not much has changed with them so it feels pointless to photograph them.

Due to the excessive heat during my bike ride, I am hoping to mostly leave in the early mornings. This will potentially mean that I have time in the afternoons for other stuff. I plan to take a bit of knitting. A pair of socks, and a shawl. And also, my new toy.

I picked up this trindle simply because I’ve heard good things about them. My only other true experience on the spindle didn’t go overly well. This was also back in 2008 and I was a fairly new spinner. But it did really scare me off spindles for a good long time. It just seems that recently everyone is taking up the spindle with great results and it seemed like a good way to get some spinning done on the bike tour as well as potentially when I am on vacation. Packing up a wheel and bringing it to the east coast just doesn’t seem the least bit doable, even though I often desire to spin while I am there. The bonus? Loving the purple skull beads!

Of course, I needed to give it a try before I leave, just to make sure all is well. And it is! I pulled out some Dyeabolical fiber in her sid fishious colorway and went to town. Then had to stop myself, reminding myself that the point was to have something to do on vacation!

20120718-101039.jpg