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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

 

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