The Story of the Supported Spinning Yoke

Good morning and happy Sunday! Spinning with a supported spindle is something that I still consider myself a novice at. Sure, I have been practicing with various Russian and Tibetan style spindles for a few years now, but I still do not feel like I have developed very much proficiency with them. A huge part of that struggle is using my left hand to hold my fiber and draft from the fiber supply. It is not the struggle it used to be, and it is far easier than using my left hand to hold and flick the spindle to send it spinning.

Another struggle has been finding a comfortable position to spin, and a big part of that is where the bowl that the tip of the spindle rests in is placed. Where I place that bowl is dependent on the length of the spindle because the length of the spindle affects the position of my arm and hand that holds it. A very long spindle like my Willette Russian would require me to hold my arm up higher than is comfortable and it doesn’t take long before before I start to feel that in my shoulder. To get a more comfortable and relaxed position for my arm and shoulder, the surface that I place the bowl on has to be much lower than it it needs to be for any of my shorter spindles. For my little ebony rocket by Jim Johnson, I need a surface that sits up higher. Continue reading “The Story of the Supported Spinning Yoke”

Rhinebeck 2018

Good morning and happy Saturday! Last weekend fiber artists from all over converged on one tiny little upstate town for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, and it has a history of being quite the mob scene. This year was no exception. Each year it seems like more and more festival goers race each other to queue up at vendor booths (after standing in queues at the gate just to get in) to get the same stuff they can most likely get from the same vendor online at the same price, and without so much extra hassle. Yes, some vendors at Rhinebeck have special prices on some products for that show, or have some products that might be in limited supply. What is it about those details that turns an ordinarily sedate knitter into a rabid fiber fiend? I have never wanted yarn or fiber so badly that I would subject myself to the kind of craziness that seems to be getting worse every year. Continue reading “Rhinebeck 2018”

Russia, Russia, Russia!

As I was going through the blog posts in my drafts folder that I have yet to re-publish here, I found this gem. I don’t even remember when I originally published it on the Times Union Fiber Arts blog, so I’m doing it as a new entry here.

Quite some time ago, my dear friend Will found this Russian blog about men who knit which features us and some of the guys from the apparently now defunct menwhoknit.com page. If you’re interested, you should be able to get a rough translation of the page into English on Google.

Enjoy, and happy knitting!

A successful first North East Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat

Good evening and happy Sunday! Last weekend was the first North East Men’s Knitting Retreat, and I cannot be more thrilled about how successful it was for a first retreat. The spring retreat is well established now and in its 11th year. In fact, the popularity of the spring retreat which sold out in a matter of minutes last year and the year before is what led to the creation of this additional retreat. How could it not be successful, right? Well, both Joe Wilcox and I had our concerns which he has written about on his blog. Also, since I am notoriously terrible at taking pictures at pretty much every fiber related event I go to (mostly because I am notoriously bad at taking pictures in general) I will once again direct you to Joe’s blog because he is absolutely amazing at it.

Most of my fears that the retreat wouldn’t be a success disappeared on Thursday as more and more guys arrived. In my opening remarks later that evening after dinner, I asked the guys who had been to any of the men’s knitting retreats before to remember what it was about their first time that made them want to come back again, and try to extend that to the many new guys who came. But by dinner time, it was clear that they were already doing that. The amazing spirit of brotherhood that I have always felt at the spring retreats was already starting to grow.

When we wrapped up our retreat on Sunday Joe and I got an opportunity to hear feedback from everyone about the retreat. Many of the guys who came to the retreat, especially those who had never been to a men’s knitting retreat before, told us how fantastic their experience was at this first fall retreat, and suggestions for future retreats were shared. Afterwards, when I went to get my car to begin packing up, I sat in the car and had a little cry. A good cry, really.

It was an incredible honor to be able to bring this retreat to reality, and I could not have done it without Joe’s help and guidance. He has been an excellent mentor for the past several years that I have been helping him with as the co-organizer of the spring retreat, and I was very glad to have him as my co-organizer for our first North East Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat.

Most of all, I am honored to have been able to spend the weekend with so many talented guys who took a chance on this new retreat and registered for it. Of all of the things that have contributed to the success of this retreat, it is the guys who come to it that have the biggest impact on its success and I cannot thank you enough.

Although the retreat has been over for a week, my excitement continues because I am already thinking about next year’s retreat.

Just a few more days

Good morning and happy Saturday!

Before our two canine house guests went home last Saturday, we acquired a new foster dog. This new foster dog has a relatively short stay here with us because he gets to go to his forever home tomorrow. This last week has been fun, but it has also been a bit challenging. I had been looking forward to reclaiming my craft room when our friends’ dogs went home, as that is the only room we have space to set up an extra crate. The arrival of foster dog meant that I would have to sacrifice that space for just a little longer. We knew he would only be here about a week, so I was okay with that. I will be able to remove that crate later today.

Two boxes of stuff NOT coming home with me!

Continue reading “Just a few more days”

Remembering one fall retreat, and my growing excitement for another

Good morning and happy Saturday! Four years ago on Labor Day Weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the West Coast Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat for my first time. Until then, I had only attended the Spring retreat here in New York. I had a fantastic time at that retreat and met a number of friends in person who up until that point I had only known online. Many of those same guys are back in Seattle again as that retreat is happening again this weekend. I have been enjoying the pictures and posts on Facebook, and I am hoping I get the opportunity to join them again some time soon. Continue reading “Remembering one fall retreat, and my growing excitement for another”

The New Girl

On our way home from Provincetown last Saturday, before we got off the cape, we made a quick stop in Barnstable, Massachusetts. For most of our vacation we kept to no specific plan or schedule, deciding what to do as we go. This stop in Barnstable was different, and had been part of the plan for weeks.

Back at the beginning of June, Halo’s breeder, Lori, called me to see if we might be interesting in having another pharaoh hound come to live with us. I had told her in November when Halo and I were visiting for the Purina National Dog Show that Michael and I were open to taking in a dog should she need to re-home one. Well, that’s exactly what she needed to do, and she thought the dog would be a good fit here. Continue reading “The New Girl”