I’m always amazed when I see what my handspun yarns look like when they are plied. It’s kind of like blocking a lace project when that strange looking pile of knitting suddenly transforms before your eyes. Three bobbins of singles which on close inspection do have their own flaws and inconsistencies that I could go on and on about (yes, I’m my own worst critic) come together into one beautiful even yarn. A two ply yarn would probably have been just as lovely, but I like the extra roundness and evenness that the addition of the third ply provides.
Early on as a spinner I thought how fun it would be to spin fiber that started as a raw fleece. Then I washed my first fleece in the bathtub at home. It was a bag of wool that I got for free from a sheep farm in Vermont. It turned out to be lovely wool, but the washing process isn’t exactly exciting. Also, after seeing what was left behind in my tub afterwards, I wasn’t too thrilled about the cleaning up process after cleaning the wool. Not to mention that I was forbidden to ever wash another sheep’s fleece in the tub again.
I’m still processing my thoughts and feelings on the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat, so before I attempt to re-cap the weekend in a way that does it the justice it deserves, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I’ve referred to in the past as the “scarf project that I cannot blog about.”
At last year’s Spring Knitting Retreat, I volunteered to organize a fiber to scarf exchange amongst some of the guys who attended and planned to attend again this year. Each guy participating in the exchange supplied an amount of fiber that was sent out to another guy participating in the exchange to be spun and knit (or crocheted or woven or any other manner of construction) into a scarf, cowl, neck warmer, or other “scarf like” object for the guy who supplied the fiber. Continue reading “The scarf project I can FINALLY blog about!”
I placed my order for my Hilltopper spinning wheel shortly before Christmas, and I was thrilled to receive an email from Jim at the end of March telling me it was ready! On the following Saturday I made the 3+ hour drive to Ithaca to pick it up, and to visit with Jim and his wife Susan of Susan’s Spinning Bunny. Getting to spend time with the wheel and the man who made it was a fantastic opportunity, especially being somewhat new to double drive wheels.
I did something on Saturday that I almost feel just a bit guilty about since I like to consider myself a big advocate for supporting local yarn shops, farms, and fiber artists. I went to WEBS Yup, “America’s Yarn Store” the big yarn mecca with the super sales and endless selection of yarns. Some may know them only from ordering online, but their store in western Massachusetts is just as big, well stocked, and busy as you might have heard.
Yes, it’s that time again, the day when Punxsutawney Phil tells us if we’re getting an early spring or six more weeks of winter. At the time this post is going up, I won’t know what his prediction for this year is. Last year he predicted an early spring and I recall repeatedly cursing him through the end of March, threatening to track the little bugger down and turn him into stew or make a hat from his hide. His prediction last year was completely off. But this year I’m not sure it really matters what he tells us. If it’s six more weeks of the winter we’ve had so far, would it really be all that bad? It’s barely been winter as it is. Sure there have been a few cold days and a few dustings of snow, but only a few. Temperatures have been higher than what we typically get, with the past couple of days being a real treat with temps in the 50’s!
I sometimes wonder, if we get that global warming they’ve been promising us for years and our winters continue to be this mild, would we still need all the warm wooly winter gear we make? Continue reading “It’s Groundhog Day!”
It is no surprise that practicing one craft can lead to an interest and desire to learn another, especially with fiber related crafts. Many people who started with crochet have learned to knit and many who started with knitting have learned to crochet. There’s a lot of crossover between the two. My love of spinning definitely arose from my love of knitting, and more importantly, knitting with natural fibers. From there I have developed a healthy appreciation for the art of carding and combing spinning fiber to the point where I’ve invested in tools to help me with that task. I have even dabbled in dyeing yarn and fiber, but I will leave that for folks with a greater passion and skill for it than I possess.
So where is a crafty guy like me to go next? What is left to learn? Actually, lots! Some of you sharp readers might have picked up on the hints I dropped in last week’s Rhinebeck recap and if you guessed weaving, then you are absolutely right! Continue reading “One thing leads to another…”
<strong>The question:</strong> Do you really need MORE yarn?
Some possible answers:
• The color works perfectly with some yarn I already have.
• I wasn’t sure which colors would work with the yarn I already have, so I bought some of all of them.
• This yarn is perfect for this new pattern I just bought/a pattern I already have.
• I was worried about not having enough yarn for this project and I figured since I was in the neighborhood of the yarn store I should stop in and get a little extra.
• I don’t have anything in my stash in this color/fiber.
• I’ve never been to that shop before and I didn’t want to just leave without buying something.
• I reorganized my stash and found I had more room than I thought.
• It’s alpaca, and there’s no such thing as too much alpaca.
• It was on sale! Continue reading “Excuses, excuses!”
I spent some time over the weekend on Ravelry catching up on the conversations and threads in some of the groups when I came across this account of one Raveler’s Lendrum spinning wheel being stolen from the spinner’s circle at a fiber event in Oregon. To make matters worse, it wasn’t just the wheel but the carrying bag too which contained some personal items, hotel keys, and some fiber that she had just purchased from a vendor. It’s suspected that the thief is not interested as much in spinning but instead is interested in the cash value of the wheel. Continue reading “A Spinner’s Nightmare”