More spinning!

Twisted Fiber Art

without getting too OCD about it, I have been trying to incorporate some spinning into my morning routine.  Here is extra fine BFL from Twisted Fiber Art.  I had two 4 ounce braids which spun up into 200 yds. of 2 ply bulky-ish weight.

news from the homefront:

  • D#1 just signed a lease on a new apartment – she sent pictures last night and it looks really nice.  Up until now she has been living in an apartment, but it has been more along the lines of student/off campus living.  I actually haven’t seen the one she’s been in since September – which I believe to be a blessing since at the time she moved in, she didn’t have a job and just took the absolute cheapest place she could find.  let’s not think about it. It just so happens my MIL is relocating to Florida and will be shedding lots of her furniture, so D#1 will happily take whatever she can get.  All of this means there is a U-Haul in my future!
  • D#2 will be home for Easter — since spring break has never fallen over Easter, this is the first time in many years I will have one or the other here.  And I am oddly excited since we really don’t make a big deal out of Easter ……
  • now that Downton Abbey is over, I have been watching something on MTV called I Just Want My Pants Back.  You would think I should be filled with shame, but I’m not.  It’s pretty good!

news from the shop:  lots and lots going on!

  • We have tons of fab new yarns in – Fiberphile, String Theory just to name a few.
  • And we are getting our own custom colorway with MadelineTosh!  We just got a picture of it yesterday and it is absolutely gorgeous!!
  • We are also hosting a workshop in April with Alasdair Post Quinn on Double Knitting.  Have you seen his stuff??
  • Kathleen and I will be traveling to Boston in two weeks to attend Yarn Market News Smart Business Conference  – that should be interesting and fun!  We won’t be able to go to TNNA this year since Gracie (Kathleen’s girly) will be graduating on those dates, so we thought we would try this instead.


I took this picture a week or two ago during a bike ride I went on. One of my girlfriends is into biking and she has invited me to go along with her a few times – it is amazing that she keeps inviting me since I am s-l-o-w!!

Anyway, she claims this was a 14 mile loop and my ass believes her! These swans here just gave me a good excuse to stop, I was stopping no matter what the scenery. ; )

There has been some knitting going on, some purchasing going on and some future purchasing being contemplated! I am about to take the plunge and become a spinning wheel collector. Right now I have three (a Lendrum, a Hitchhiker and an antique Canadian production). Some might say that that right there is a collection and I suppose it is. But one more would really seal the deal.

I have had my eye on some Jensens in my spinning guild and recently had a chance to give one a whirl. So nice, so smooth and so pretty! I am going to wait until after Rhinebeck to make sure nothing else catches my eye ….. any opinions from all you spinners out there?

a little spinning?

Although the needles have not been flying, the wheel has been going round and round! I even brought the Lendrum out on the deck for a bit of alfresco spinning.

Once again I find myself making vows … vows to spin more, to keep track of what the hell is on the wheel and to simply try to stick with it and pay attention.  Toward this end I even started a spinning notebook – hopefully writing everything down will help to keep track of the details.  Wish me luck!

First up is some Blue Faced Leicester that was bought at Rhinebeck 2007. I decided to leave this as singles to maxamize yardage, with the idea of knitting a lacy shawl.  Although I have knit with my handspun, I have not yet managed a significant project.

Next is some SW Merino that was given to me by Christine of Now and Zen. Christine is in my Spinning Guild and has a wonderful yarn shop on the east end in Greenport. I need to ask her what the SW stands for. This fiber spun like a dream. Really lovely to work with.   I ended up with 96 yards because I Navajo plyed it — in retrospect, I wonder if I should have simply done a two ply to have more yardage. Anyway, I have a few hat or scarf patterns in my Ravelry favorites that would look great knit up with this.

I am sure some of you are wondering what became of the yarn that was in my freezer …… the project did two days in the freezer, one day defrosting and another 24 hours back in and there are NO SIGNS of LIFE! I am beginning to think that perhaps it wasn’t the yarn at all and simply the holes in my window screens. Now I have to get to knitting it to give this story a truly happy ending!



Originally uploaded by purlingswine

Do you remember that at last year’s Rhinebeck I bought a fleece? The only reason I even remember is that it has been in the garage lo these many months! Every time I park Onslow I have a guilty reminder of all those promises I made myself in the seconds before I bought it.

I figure the least I could do is get it washed before Rhinebeck rolls around again. geesh!

So washing a fleece is first and foremost a big pain in the ass.

Everything I have read highly recommends that you do not dump the dirty water down the drain since the lanolin can cause plumbing problems.

I am not into plumbing problems. I live in fear of my cess pool and will go to great lengths to keep my cess pool happy (yes, we are on cess pools here in Suffolk County NY – civilization seems so close and yet so far away) .

Fleece washing is therefore an outdoor activity.

Fleece washing takes a great deal of hot water. The last time I did this, I set myself up on the deck, right outside of my kitchen with the hot water not too far away. Well, I like to keep Mr. Boar happy as well. I may not worry about his happiness quite as much as my cess pool’s, but I at least try not to make him unhappy.

I do believe that dumping dirty, lanolin soaked fleece water all over his new deck boards would make Mr. Boar unhappy. very very unhappy.

So on Friday, I started washing the fleece out in the yard. This is not close to the hot water. And with every electric tea kettle full of hot water that I trotted out back, it seemed to get further and further. I only did one tub full of fleece, it took me an entire afternoon and by the end I was exhausted and stinky.

This is where my friend Flair comes in to save the day. I was bitching to her on Friday night about what a colossal pain in the ass it all was. (by the way, friends with full time jobs just love it when you complain about crap like this) She reminded me that she holds the keys to the kingdom. Hot Water in the Back Yard!

Sunday saw me at Flair’s, reveling in the steamy outdoor availability, realizing that fleece washing isn’t as bad as all that and wondering just what it would take to get Boar to put in an outdoor shower?

it wasn’t Maryland, but Huntington had its own, lovely Sheep to Shawl Festival here on Sunday. And what a glorious day it was!

First off, the weather, which was supposed to be gray and rainy was anything but. It was sunny & glorious! Many Long Island guilds participated, including my own favorite spinning guild. Also present were the rug hookers, bobbin lace makers, knitters, tatter (almost said taters!) and weavers. Live music was provided by a trio of musicians and there were pony rides, antiques,food and lots of general gaiety. I even managed to learn some drop spindling techniques!

I really enjoy doing spinning demonstrations at these festivals. What a great way to spend the day – spinning with friends!

One of our guild members, Tabbethia is a professional shearer/alpaca and llama breader and shower and here she is giving one of three demonstrations.

So keep this in mind for next year – if Maryland is too far, Long Island is right here!

Navajo. not always the answer.

There has been some spinning. My guild has a smaller group that meets every now and again called The Explorer’s Club. These spinners together decide on what type of wool and then spin it for their next meeting where they discuss the properties of the fleece, what fiber prep method they found most useful and what type of spinning method yields the best results. The Explorer’s Club is great for expanding your knowledge of sheep breed, the different fiber types, staple length etc. and how this all effects the spinning experience.

Unless of course you take my approach which goes something like this.

shit. is Explorer’s on Tuesday?
I better do something then.
where did I put that stuff? what is it again?
finding stuff
~insert general historical musings~ would you look at that, ‘Southdown Babydoll’ I wonder if that’s where the name of the town (town by me) came from?
well, I’m not washing this. I’ll just do the cleaned stuff.
crap. this isn’t going well. it’s spinning for shit. I suppose I should have checked staple length etc. ahead of time.
I should definitely spin it onto a bunch of different bobbins so I can try different plying methods. Maybe that will help.
f*&! all bobbins are filled with other stuff.
that’s it. everything is getting navajoed.

Navajo plying is a very cool thing. I love Navajo plying. It has lots of useful aspects. Plus it looks really cool when you’re doing it. It cannot however, take your crappy, last minute, unprepped spinning and turn it into something that looks good. There is no dross into gold here.

The ‘yarn’ that was the result is for shit. Really, I should be embarrassed to even show it at the meeting tonight. When they ask me if I used the woolen or worsted method, instead of trying to remember what the hell that even means, I will have to confess to the lazy arse approach. In more genteel circles, this is referred to as the Last Minute Method. or maybe I’m confusing it with the “Pull Out” method! ha! truly, this is the spinning equivalent and has the same level of guaranteed results.

But what is the stuff in the picture? The stuff that actually looks not so bad? When I realized how out of control and behind my spinning had become, I took the time to get a bit organized and clear off some fiber that had been stagnating on the bobbins. I also felt the need to redeem myself as a spinner and have something that looked halfway decent. That is 180 yards of two-ply Coopworth in the Autumn colorway bought from The SpeepShed at Rhinebeck.

Boar’s The Best

10 oct 2 (9)

Originally uploaded by purlingswine

Do you see that metal clamping thing at the base of the mother of all? (I giggle every-time I say that word) It appears that I was being much too gentle with my new wheel. That clamp is the tension adjuster. When I unscrewed that piece I was able to rock the MoA a bit to change the tension, but not much.

Well when Boar came home, I was telling him about the wheel not taking the fiber onto the bobbin and asking if he had a rat tail file to try (thanks Cheryl!). “By the way”, I said, “what do you think the deal on this is?” and I showed him the clamp, the limited movement etc.

It turns out that the metal was stuck to the wood. I guess a build up of age related goop had worked to glue them together. All it needed was a good twist – my problem all along had been not enough tension.

So we are spinning!

Speaking of age related goop – Boar and I are celebrating our 21st anniversary on Thursday and I have come to believe that that is the secret to a long term marriage …. age-related goop.

in other matters, here is my horoscope for today …..

If people around you react explosively to an explosive situation today, do not follow their example — not matter how justified they may be. Screaming at someone who has been rude or inconsiderate isn’t going to mitigate the stress, it will only increase it. Be mindful of your role in every conversation, and try to be a force for mutual respect, not power struggles. You will have to take the high road today. There will be another day for you to get down and dirty and get things off your chest.

sounds like things could get a bit dicey at Costco ……