Sunday, March 26, 2006

Second Scarf

Well, I pulled out the spinning wheel again last night and even though I'm not thrilled with what I spun up at least I'm not as frustrated as I was before. I'm so used to spinning worsted style that spinning woolen is going to take plenty of practice. At least I've been reading up on it in a couple of spinning books, and my friend L has generously offered to give me a lesson the next time we get together.

In the meantime, I'm still working on my second woven scarf. This is the scarf that will match the hat I machine knitted for K in January. It's taking a long time because the weft is so narrow, but I really like the way it looks:

Once I finish this I think my next project will be to weave a small fleece rug out of the grey/green spinning bells I bought from The Sheep Shed Studio.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Tonight I tried to spin up some beautiful Brown Sheep roving mill ends in white with thin caramel stripes. What a disappointment! Not with the fiber -- with my skill (or, rather, lack thereof). I started by trying to do a long draw, which Lucinda kindly showed me the last time she was here spinning on her Journey Wheel. What spun out so effortlessly in her hands became a snarl of twisted lumps in mine. To add insult to injury, when I tried to go back to the usual way I spin, I couldn't get that to work properly, either. I kept trying to get an even, 2-ply yarn, and what I got was...well, not what I was looking for, that's for sure.


At least my weaving is going well. I finished the purple scarf and started on a rust/olive/magenta stripe with black weft. It's for K in Sweden, to go along with the rust/olive/magenta hat I machine knitted for her in January. After my spinning debacle, I spent the rest of the evening weaving on that. I still have quite a bit to go, but it's coming out nicely. Once it's finished, I think I'll try a rectangular shawl for myself using a simple black weft and super-bulky, ultra-soft Bohemian yarn for the warp. When I finally manage to get my selvedges under control, I'll attempt a shawl for myself using the pricey but oh-so-lovely bamboo yarn in the autumn colorway that I picked up at the Yarn Swift in Poughkeepsie.

So many projects, so little time....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blogger Does Not Like Me...

...or my photos...or my weaving...or SOMETHING because it keeps refusing to post my photos and screwing up my formatting (and, of course, this isn't a case of the error occuring between the keyboard and the seat, as DH would say, it really IS Blogger's fault, not mine).

In any event, this is what my loom -- my wonderful, glorious loom! -- looks like with some real live weaving on it:

The colors are rather washed out -- too much flash, not enough skill on my part to keep it from glaring off the yarn -- but here's a closeup of what, with any luck, will turn out to be a beautiful handwoven scarf, a Christmas gift (nothing like starting early!) for my friend who loves purple:
On The Loom

This Spring Break, I decided to finally put together the 32" Beka rigid heddle loom I bought a few months back and learn how to weave on it. After much help from DH, here's the loom all assembled:

I decided to use a microfiber yarn in purple as my warp; in retrospect, it's probably far stretchier than I should have picked for a first project, but too late now...and I LOVE how it looks with the ribbon yarn weft (you can see it in the photo, above,wrapped on my humungo-sized shuttle).

Here's how the loom looks all warped up and ready to weave:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spindlers Spring Fling Exchange

My package from my Spring Fling partner arrived, and boy was it fun to open! Amy N in South Dakota sent me:

  • an assortment of different teas
  • Hershey's kisses (plain and caramel-filled, which DH and I promptly devoured)
  • purple Peeps (yuck! I'm not a Peeps person and neither is DH, so those will go to the kids in the family at Easter)
  • Japanese jelly candies
  • colored pens
  • three skeins of novelty yarn, including a full skein of raspberry-colored Divine, which is the exact yarn I'm using in my ruana (score!)
  • a very nicely-made wooden toy car wheel spindle
  • four small samples of luxury fibers: angora, camel down, Chinese yak down, and raw quivit
I was especially surprised by the quivit. I have no idea of what to do with all those fibers, especially the quivit, which looks like it still has guard hairs in it. Maybe I'll spin some up for one of the Spin Off "Our Yarns" segments. Wouldn't that be cool, getting a sample of my yarn in Spin Off?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mystery Spindles a Mystery No More!

Well, based on the responses I got on the Spindlers listserv, I think I've got the following spindles:

Mystery Spindle #1 = a Hatchtown Farms Kaari spindle. That's pretty cool since those spindles are pricey ($40+) and well-liked by a lot of spindlers. I haven't yet spun anything on it (the cop in the photo was made by the prior owner), but I'm looking forward to giving it a try soon.

Mystery Spindle #2 = a toy car wheel spindle. Wish I knew more about the name and date, but the shoddy construction does scream homemade. Still, it's never a bad thing to have some cheap, homemade spindles, even if only to have on hand for curious kids to play around with.

Mystery Spindle #3 = a Kokovoko. The shape looks right, but most of the Kokovokos I found photos of online were top whorls, not bottom. Still, I know that Kokovoko does make a bottom whorl spindle, and this so closely resembles the top whorls that I can't imagine it being anything else.

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystery Spindles

OK, I need some help here. I just received 4 spindles as part of an assortment of fiber, equipment and books I bought through the Spinners' and Weavers' Housecleaning Pages. One is a Louet top whorl, but the other three are mysteries to me. The woman I bought the spindles from couldn't remember any details about where they came from, so I'm wondering if anyone recognizes these:

Mystery Spindle #1
Mystery Spindle #1 looks to me like it might be a Hatchtown Farms spindle, but since I've only seen them in photos online and never in person I can't be sure. It's about 7 inches long from hook to end of shaft and fairly lightweight. The whorl isn't notched.

Mystery Spindle #2
Mystery Spindle #2 looks to me like it has the whorl of a Simple Market Farms spindle. However, the shaft is clearly a roughly-cut dowel with a cheap cup hook screwed in off-center on one end, and the whorl is clumsily glued onto it. The fascinating thing about this spindle is that it's signed and dated. It says:
"Kick n' Spin"
And there's a signature on the whorl also that I can't read but that seems to be two words, the first beginning with S and ending with R (maybe only 3 or so letters long) and the second really more of a signature scribble than having any well-defined letters. There is also a hand drawing of a sheep (done in the same black ink as the rest of the writing) on the outer edge of the whorl. Unfortunately, my camera wouldn't take any clear photos of the writing. If this were just a homemade toy car wheel spindle, I can't imagine why someone would name, date and autograph it. Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Mystery Spindle #3
Mystery Spindle #3 is a real boat anchor, but I love the way it spins forever on a single twirl. I think this will turn out to be a wonderful plying spindle. It's a bottom whorl, about 10 inches long, and weighs about 3.5 ounces. There's no hook, but it does have an interesting "double notch" (for lack of a better word). The end is shaped like a shallowly-cut crochet hook, and the center of the hooked end is deeply cut. It looks like the hook is there for a half-hitch to wrap around and the notch is there for the end of the thread to fit into. Sound familiar to anyone?

I'd love to hear any ideas about what these three spindles may be. I got the deal of the century on them (all three plus the Louet for $10!), so I certainly can't complain no matter what the provenance. Still, I'd be interested to know more about these if anyone can enlighten me.