Whirlwind Weekend

I’ve had a busy weekend spinning, knitting, and cutting fabric for Boo’s diapers. The spinning is brown Shetland wool I bought in November with my spinning wheel. I’ve certainly improved my spinning since then. I made a 3ply yarn this weekend and I think the best bobbin was the last one I prepared and the worst was the middle. It appears as if I spun with my attention on something else during that second one. I had huge deviations in thickness over the bobbin. I have about 354 yards so far, with a bit more on the wheel still to ply. I’m going to n-ply or Navajo ply because I don’t have an even amount left, the middle bobbin ran out much quicker because I measured the bobbins by weight and some of the fiber was used up in thick areas rather then length. N-plying will allow me to ply each single against itself so I can’t run out. I think I’ll make mittens, scarf, maybe a hat of some sort.

I finished some this weekend: a reusable washable mop cover and a Calorimetry for keeping my ears warm. I followed a free pattern from a big box craft store sponsored by a big yarn maker for the mop cover or it’s online. I didn’t so much like the pattern and won’t make it again. I didn’t make pieces and sew it together, instead I picked up stitches and made the rest up as I went. The Calorimetry is from Knitty. The light brown thing is the bottom of a lunch bag for my Sweet-ums. It’s almost finished now, I’m working on the last few rows, then I have to make the draw string and handles.

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A book review: Spin Control

by Amy King, 2009

a review/summary
I borrowed this book from the library along with many others to evaluate what books to add to my spinning library. This one will be joining my library at the end of the week, making an Amazon order for Christmas. Amy challenges the readers to play with the wheel. It’s nothing I couldn’t have figured out on my own but to see it written down, permission to play with the wheel whether it seems conventional or not, somehow makes it ok to set about doing. She tells us to change a specific setting one way then spin, then make another change and see what happens. Then change another setting and asks how it changed from the previous ones. (scientific method anyone?)

After the introductory chapters she gets to the business of explaining many of the questions I had in a blog draft like how to know how much twist to put in the yarn. She shows us how to evaluate previously spun or purchased yarn in an effort to reproduce it and encourages us to keep a spinning notebook. She shows us how to spin a variety to novelty yarns and even shows several knitted swatches of different prep and spinning techniques on the same base fiber. I feel like cover to cover gets me a spinning class. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book permanently. I’m off to browse the rest of the books, stay tuned for more reviews.

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Confessions of a book-aholic

I love books. I have loved books since I was young. I can’t remember not loving books, I can’t even remember my first book that’s how many books I love. I have sung the praises of visiting the library as a child to check out my limit of books every Saturday. If you live in Michigan, check out melcat to see if your local library participates. If your library doesn’t participate, ask the librarian why not. If you don’t live in Michigan, see what your state has that would be similar. I love sitting at home and searching the database for books to request from far off libraries or ones just down the road, interlibrary loan is wonderful. I have requested books for knitting, book club, biographies, home birth, many whims and fancies and of late-spinning.

I love that at the time I searched I found 19 different books on the topic of spinning that I wanted to check out and could order then without leaving the couch. Last week, 4 books came in for me, my library had 3 on spinning, and today another 10 arrived. While I will not be able to read all of them word for word by the time they are due, I will be able to evaluate the copies to see if it would be an excellent addition to my spinning resources. The final cut will most likely be renewed just to be sure. Some of the books are out of print, so I will have to settle for used books and in some cases retired out of a library.

I made my list using various online sites that recommended books here and there. I also searched melcat for handspinning once I found that tag in common. I am doing a single elimination process. If I look at book and don’t see how I will use it or it has information that another book already has, off the list it goes. If it has new information or combines information from two or more other books, on the list it goes.

So far it’s a tentative list but here are four possibilities:

  • Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning
  • The Spinner’s Encyclopedia by Enid Anderson
  • The craft of hand spinning by Eileen Chadwick
  • The Complete Spinning Book by Candace Crockett

The first one I’m fairly certain of wanting, the second is a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read. The last two are rather redundant, so I don’t need or want both, but I don’t know which is better at this point. I’m hoping that after borrowing the rest, it will be clear.

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In which we stay home and spin

I had hoped to go to White Cloud today and join in the spinning fun that occurs most Monday afternoons. Unfortunately, we were not able to, so we stayed home and had some spinning practice. Here is the bobbin yesterday and today:

As you can see, it’s a little more even and a little more full. I’m spinning rather fine yarn, so it will take me a while to fill two bobbins. I’ve decided to drop down one gear and spin a tad slower. My wheel was sucking the fiber in quite quickly and as a result, I lost hold a few times and had to fish it out again.

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In which I spin on my Ashford Traveller

I’m addicted. This is as much as I was able to accomplish. I completed the wheel early this morning, 1:30AM and then went to bed. I was able to spin two partial bobbins and then ply them this evening. I was a bit concerned that a double drive would be too difficult to begin with but it wasn’t. The flyer and bobbin do spin very, very, very fast but I was only frustrated a time or two because of speed. The furbaby helping me is Zorro. Boo needed mommy snuggles, so the yarn is on a third bobbin waiting. I need to get it off the bobbin and either wash it or just let it rest. so the twist is set.

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A Chronicle of my spinning wheel assembly

It’s a bit before midnight and since I’m blogging every day in November, I must interrupt my process and post now. (Wouldn’t want to miss a day just because I have a new tool.) I’m enjoying putting it together and I’m nearly finished. I only found one mistake in the instructions, which is funny considering it’s pictures. Luckily, it looked a bit off to me so I checked subsequent pictures to be clear. Sure enough, the one image is not correct. This goes without saying, so I’ll say it anyway, click images below for a larger uncropped picture.

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In which we go for a drive to White Cloud

Boo and I drove to White Cloud to The Old Farm Girl store today. We paid for the spinning wheel, purchased some brown Shetland wool, 2 pounds to be exact (that is a huge ball-I’m told it’s enough to make a sweater), and returned home by way of several errands. We didn’t make it to knit night last night because he was a bit out of sorts. He had a much better day today, I think the caffeine was finally out of his system.

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In which I sit down at a spinning wheel

Today we went for a drive to White Cloud to visit a store we found a few weeks ago when we were driving around looking at the fall colors. The Old Farm Girl is a knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning and fiber store. According to the website, the owner of the shop had several wheels to look at and could order all the models I was considering purchasing. We were the only customers in the store for a good while, so I was able to sit at a wheel and start learning to spin. Evelyn started some farm wool on the wheel and then sat with me to show me how to long draw. I sat for about 20 minutes at a Louet S51 DT. It was more fun than I expected it to be and not nearly as difficult. It took me several tries to understand how my hands were supposed to work. Once I did, I was spinning a mostly fine single. I would just like to say, “FUN!!”

While she did not have all the wheels I was interested in trying, Evelyn had a Kromski Minstrel at home and let me know it was not very portable. Even though the Schact Ladybug and Matchless were on my list, deep down I fet the Ladybug didn’t seem like enough and the Matchless was too much. Evelyn seemed to understand my thoughts on the matter, so that left me with the Ashford Traveller. I’m going back tomorrow to pay for it, purchase some wool, and two weeks of patience.

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Spinning wheel research

Today, amidst squawks from Boo, I was able to do some concrete research on spinning wheels. I’ve ruled out Saxony wheels also referred to as “Cinderella” wheels. I don’t have the floor space for it and right now I can’t rule out portability of a wheel. I’m leaning toward a double treadle, double drive castle wheel. I admit I still do not know which one is “the one,” but I have determined which ones are ideal from each company listed and after this research I’m ever so much closer.

  • Ashford: Traveller Double Treadle Double Drive and then the Joy
  • Fricke: there’s only the S-160 DT that’s I’m looking at but I’m not sold on it.
  • Kromski: Minstrel, Sonata then Mazurka
  • Louet: I didn’t find any that jumped off the page at me.
  • Majacraft: Rose, Suzie, then Millie
  • Schacht: I would prefer a Matchless DT over the Ladybug

I found a knitting, weaving, spinning, and something else store about a half hour from where I live. I plan to visit on Tuesday with my research to come to a decision on what I want. I probably won’t purchase one for a little while, the hospital bill for my stay with Boo arrived today, a bit more than I expected but well worth it.

Next spinning post will compare across the companies for the ones I would really like to have.

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