Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Then There Were Two

A second skein of Romney is spun and plied.  It took me about two weeks to fill two bobbins at my 30 minutes a day practice.  Then I spent an afternoon plying.  Can you tell which was the first skein and which is the second? Here's a hint: the second skein is on the bottom.  If you think it looks a tad bit smaller than the first, well you are right, dear reader.  More lessons were gratefully learned with this skein and they are:
  1. There is a reason that experienced spinners emphasize filling the bobbin evenly.  They are not just being fussy.  Singles on an unevenly or untidily filled bobbin do not come off the bobbin as nicely when one is plying.  Sometimes they even break and the end buries itself in the rest of the yarn on the bobbin.  Deep in the rest of the yarn on the bobbin. 
  2. If the above occurs, do not panic.  Get out all your spinning books and read everything that you can find on this situation, plus maybe a few other diverting bits of information.  Stay focused. Try finding the end by the snagging method, brushing a toothbrush lightly across the fiber on the bobbin.  Then try (as your charming spouse suggests) a piece of duct tape, sticky side out, on the bobbin in hopes it will grab the lost end of the singles.  Both great suggestions.
  3.  If the above suggestions fail, put the bobbin down, have a glass of tea, take a walk.  Then come back to the studio and take a scissors to the bobbin, the theory being that if the end is completely lost, making another will do as well. Theories sometimes work out.
  4.  Indeed this theory does work but there is a price; some of the precious yarn will be sacrificed.  The key is to cut not deeply but well.  Proceed to clip one strand at a time beginning at the spot which has now, after considerable study of the bobbin, been determined to be the most likely vanishing point of that pesky end.  Though frustration and defeat may be gathering like dark clouds on the horizon, do not just chew through all the layers left on the bobbin. A clip here and some winding off, a tie there and then another clip if needed, and so on until finally the bobbin is once again spinning regularly and smoothly on the lazy kate.  Good luck valiant spinner.  Below is the refuse of my experiment/lesson in the importance of being bobbin wise.
I also learned with this skein that you can indeed take out ply after you have over plied, washed, and so set the annoying ply.  I had a very wiry skein on my hands and I was not happy with it compared to skein #1.   So lacking the suggested tools of something called a Woolee winder or weaving bobbins and their winder on which to rewind the skein,  I simply used the ballwinder to make a center pull ball, sat said ball on the floor next to me and, pulling from the center, ran the yarn clockwise (plied originally counter clockwise) through the wheel.  I counted three treadle pumps and let it wind on. Skein and wash again.  It is JUST RIGHT.  Not perfect mind you, but we'll save that for another skein.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spinning in the Rockies

Spent some time in the high country this last week.  It is much cooler at 9100 feet than at 5000. We were at my family's cabin which is, as you can see, remote, and very rustic.  I like to think of it as camping with a real bed.  I took a spindle along for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed getting some high altitude spinning done.  I was spinning some lovely Polworth dyed by Chris of Briar Rose Fibers.  Her colors are amazing and I couldn't resist getting a picture of fiber and spindle in that glorious summer light. 
This little current bush offered to be a prop for the beauty shot.  I did come away with the fiber ball full of cranky ants though.  So there was some shaking and brushing off and general squealing that went on for a few minutes.  In the end, fiber, spinner, current bush and camera came out of it just fine.  The ants?  Well we can only hope for the best.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Miss Chanel

Among my favorite things in the world that are Chanel is the fragrance of Chanel No. 19.  Released to the public just months before her death, it is named for her birth date and I've heard rumors from inside the industry that it was Coco's own signature fragrance.  I wonder.  
Yet another of the Chanel mysteries.

Coco Chanel
Born 128 years ago today,  August 19, 1883
                          I think I'll wear my faux pearls (that's French!) tonight. 
Oh, and a touch of No. 19.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Three Stop Shop Hop: Episode Two

Episode Two finds us in Boulder, Colorado,
at Gypsy Wools, a fiber arts gem in the heart of historic downtown.  Next door to the beautiful Hotel Boulderado, the petite, sunlit shop is a welcoming spot for finding lovely hand-dyed yarn and great spinning fibers.

The spinning treats are what really brought me in.  Proprietor, spinner, and dyer, Barb Day, does a great job of stocking things that you just don't find elsewhere in Colorado.  Like long wool roving, extremely easy and satisfying to spin, and a varying array of beautiful natural colored fleeces and locks.  If you, like me,  are interested in breed specific fiber and heritage breeds, the staff here has hands on experience with the fiber and will gladly share their expertise.
Natural colored Long wools. So many breeds to try!
The vibrant, locally produced hand-dyed yarns and roving are tempting too, even to someone like me who "dyes her own".  I can spot quality and I definitely saw it here.

Spinners delight
Barb tends shop while award-winning spinner, Michele, gives an assist

 As frosting on the cake, Gyspy Wools also carries fine embroidery and needlepoint supplies including lovely linen fabrics and hand-painted canvases.  The hand-dyed embroidery thread display is  itself a work of art.
And what, pray tell, did I add to my own collection?  This spindle winked at me as I walked by and then joined some long wool in my basket.
 I said I came in for the spinning goods.  And glad I am for it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Amazing Glass

Enjoy this view of the stained glass ceiling at the Hotel Boulderado, a favorite Knitaway® in the Rockies venue.

© Gary Oberle 2011

I think I might just feel a design coming on....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Latvian Dreams

The knitting world lost a brilliant talent yesterday with the passing of Joyce Williams, author of Latvian Dreams
Those of us who were lucky enough to have known her will miss her exhuberant life force and her contagious laughter. Schoolhouse Press in publishing Latvian Dreams has done an amazing job  of capturing some of the great gifts Joyce has given to knitting.  
Thank you,  Joyce.  We'll  see you in our dreams.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Knitting Interrupted

 The harvest is upon us.  And a goodly one it is, too.  Organic green beans from a local farm just north of Denver are destined for the dehydrator to be made into one of my grandmother's favorite recipes, "shucky beans", this winter.  And thirty some quarts of spicy dill, bread and butter, and curry pickles were put by last week. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is my secret.
I only cut my fingers once so the knitting and spinning will simply slow down a bit to work around a couple of touchy fingers.
And I'll go to market again tomorrow.  The Olathe sweet corn is in, I hear.