Tag Archives: spinning

Better Late Than Never

It’s been a week.  Between the kid teething, skipping naps, starting potty training, and generally stretching his “toddler” legs, I’m exhausted.  I had plans to rip back my Stonecroft Shawl and get it finished, but I just couldn’t get it together.

Instead, I pulled out a project that hasn’t been touched in literally years.  I busted out my spinning wheel.

(To be fair, the spinning wheel sees a lot of action when we have playdates- there’s nothing toddlers loves more than large, slightly dangerous machinery, especially if there’s a wheel involved.)

I pulled out the roving I purchased and started spinning in (Are you ready?) 2016!  That’s 4 years ago.  I got two-thirds of the way through the roving (and it wasn’t a big chunk of roving either!) and just stopped.  I couldn’t tell you why- must have just gotten bored or something.

Anyway, I pulled it out again, and got spinning.  It’s looking good, I think, and the actual spinning seems to be coming back faster than I expected.  I guess it’s like riding a bike!

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I’ll be curious to see what the yarn looks like when I’m done (since I don’t really have a plan for it), and if I can see a difference between the freshly-spun yarn and the sitting-on-the-shelf-since-the-Obama-administration yarn.

What projects have you resurrected after a long hibernation?

‘Round and ‘Round

I love getting a brand-new, squishy skein of yarn as much as the next knitter, but I also used to kind of dread it.  Un-raveling and balling-up a big (often tangled) skein is the absolute pits!  I used to have a whole system that involved two kitchen chairs, about an hour and a lot of swearing.

But then, for Christmas, my husband gave me one of my most favorite new tools!

My umbrella swift!  (I’m not sure which brand/model it is, but google “umbrella swift” and you’ll find a bunch.)

I always kind of wanted one, but never could justify buying one for myself.  After all, I didn’t need it.  I’d use it, if I had one, but not very often.  Also, they’re a little expensive- and I hate spending money.

So all that made this bad boy the perfect Christmas present.

And you know what?  I love it!  It’s the best!  It makes balling up yarn go so fast, and it’s super fun!

I undo the skein, taking off any scrap yarn that was used to keep the strands together, and put the big loop of yarn around the swift.  Then, I take the end of the yarn and attach it to the top of my ball winder, and away we go!  (Ignore the ugly avocado-green end table that I picked up from the side of the road.  It might not be pretty, but it’s very useful.)I get the ball winder spinning, and the swift twirls away, unraveling the skein without a single tangle!  It’s amazing.  This time, I balled 6 skeins of yarn in about 10 minutes.  That would have taken me hours without my umbrella swift!

Do you have a favorite not-technically-necessary-but-really-nice-to-have tool?

… Or Not…

Well, it was fun.  Spinning is great.  My wool is lovely.

But, someone in my household had different plans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook at that dumb face… he doesn’t even know he did anything wrong.

I got home from work on Monday, and Ollie was happily chewing on his new chew toy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, wait.  That’s not  a chew toy.  That’s one of my spinning wheel bobbins.  Ollie, how did you get that?  It was attached to my Lazy Kate, which has been in the living room for months and you’ve never looked at twice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, I see.  You destroyed my Lazy Kate.  Fun.  Actually, it’s kind of impressive… Ollie fully chewed through a 1/2″ dowel rod in less than three hours.  If I wasn’t so pissed, it would be funny.

So, I guess my spinning will have to wait for a bit, at least until I can get my hands on a couple new bobbins and a new Lazy Kate.  At least he didn’t chew up my lovely wool.

Thanks, dog!  You’re the best!

Spin, spin, spin

Last weekend, we went on a lovely little weekend trip to the Olympic Peninsula, and on the way back we stopped in Port Gamble for lunch.  Port Gamble is a rediculously pictureesque little vilage.  Built on rolling green hills that lead down to the water, all the old-fashioned houses are painted bright colors with white trim.  There is a fantastic little cafe where we stopped for lunch, a quilt store, and two fiber stores!  (I know- heaven!)

After lunch, my mother-in-law and I stopped into The Artful Ewe, one of the yarn stores- and it was like stepping into some sort of yarn-themed Harry Potter story.  The tiny store was made housed in an old house, and literally ever surface was full of wool!  The floor was strewn with giant baskets full of fleeces, tables were overflowing with yarn, and the walls were decked with racks and racks of hand-dyed roving.  There was even a tree in the middle of the room, hung with skeins of wool in every color of the rainbow! I should have taken a picture- but I was too distracted.

And there was a pair of two tiny, proper, little greyhounds sitting in a wing-back chair-  one of which was wearing a string of pearls instead of a collar.  Like I said, this place was like something out of a storybook!

So, of course, I had to buy some wool.

I didn’t have a project in mind, so I first gravitated toward the big skeins of squishy hand-dyed sock yarn- always a good choice.  I had almost picked out the skein I wanted.

But, then, I saw it- a gorgeous braid of roving: soft-as-a-kitten Polwarth wool, blended with flecks of shiny, shimmering silk, and dyed in the most intense, brightest jewel tones.  Amethyst and emerald, sapphire and aquamarine.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHonestly, the picture does not do it justice (for some reason I had a crazy hard time photographing this roving-  you’ll just have to trust me- it’s absolutely divine!)

I wavered for only a minute (seeing as I’m not a big spinner) before making a beeline to the cash register.  (Stopping to pet the pups on the way, of course.)

I spent the day yesterday spinning up about a third of the wool (I’m not very fast) into a fairly even, medium-sized single.  It’s been fun to watch the different colors shift and change as they go into my spinning wheel- but maybe I’m just easily amused?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARight now, I’m planning on making this wool into a worsted-ish 3-ply, but who knows how it’ll really end up.

What do you think I should knit with it?  Or should I just keep it as a pet?

Funfetti Yarn

From time-to-time I like to stretch my fiber-arts legs and try out something other than knitting (heresy, I know!).  Sometimes, I roll out the ol’ spinning wheel and, well, take it for a spin.

This time, I impulse-purchased a big bag of bright white roving, and little tufts in a dozen bright rainbow colors.  I couldn’t tell you what kind of fiber I bought, because, well, it’s taken me more than four months to finish this skein, and any notes or labels I might have had when I purchased the wool are long gone.

I spun the roving into singles with alternating long white stripes and short-ish (about 3 feet long) sections of random color.   Then, last week, I finally plied the yarn into more than 250 yards of squishy 2-ply loveliness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK, it’s not perfect…  I did my best to keep the yarn an even aran-ish weight, but with the weeks-long breaks between bouts of spinning, and my less-than-stellar spinning skills, the yarn ended up with a bit of a thick-and-thin consistency.  And my first attempt at 2-ply yarn left it with less-than-perfect evenness.  Oh well!  It gives the yarn character, right? Right?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite it’s quirks, I’m happy with this yarn… now I just have to figure out what to make with it.  (Or maybe I should just keep it to look at.)

Have you ever tried spinning?  How did it turn out?