Wednesday, February 23, 2011

something new for me to obsess over

I have long dismissed the notion that I could become a weaver because of my pain issues with TMJ and Fibromyalgia. I saw weavers bent over their floor looms and my neck was sore just looking at them. That is so not a good position for me.

Then Ravelry started buzzing about rigid heddle looms and I bought Jane Patrick's new video Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom to see what it was all about. Once I realized that the loom can be tilted, which makes all the difference to my neck, I ordered a 15" Schacht Flip and made this.
So cool.

Back to spinning.... I received this comment from chevyrell on the post "a subjective wheel comparison":

This was such a great post! I'm in the market for a wheel and have been shopping for quite some time. My passion is extra bulky art yarn and I want a wheel that's capable=) Currently I am looking at an Ashford Joy with the Freedom Flyer, but have been drooling over the Majacraft Aura since xmas. I would love your input on these! I will get a chance to try the Aura at an up coming fiber fest in March. However, I'm trying to decide if it's worth the extra expense or if the Joy would suit my needs for years to come. I would love any advice you have=)

I wish that I could be more helpful but I haven't had the chance to spin on the Majacraft Aura or the Ashford Freedom Flyer. I'm sure that the Aura would be a terrific choice for bulky art yarn and likely gives you the most control over your yarns but the Joy with the Freedom Flyer should work well too. My advice for you is to think about whether you want a wheel that will travel easily. The Joy is a great traveler and its bag protects it very well. I don't think that the Aura would be as light or compact. If you ever plan to spin other types of yarn than the bulky ones, the Joy is pretty versatile too.

You might also consider the Louet S-10. It's the original bulky spinner and does an exceptionally good job. It has large bobbins and is easy to treadle because it is a bobbin lead Irish Tension wheel. I love mine! I'm not sure if the flyer allows large add-ins though.

Another possibility is the Lendrum wheel. It has a jumbo flyer and bobbin and is another of the original art yarn spinners. There is even a quill head available if you want spin yarn with large add-ins that won't fit through a regular orifice. The Lendrum is a very versatile wheel for spinning a variety of yarns.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

drum roll please....

The random number generator chose the 11th comment on the 5th blogiversary post and the winner of the two skeins of Fearless Fibers sock yarn is Amy (knitterofhats on Rav). Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about my blog!

Friday, February 18, 2011


It's hard to believe that this blog is celebrating its 5th birthday today! It doesn't seem possible that I've been blogging for the amount of time that would be needed to raise a newborn to a kindergartner.

To celebrate, I have a prize package of these two cheerfully colored skeins of Fearless Fibers merino sock yarn for one lucky commenter.

Just leave a comment on this post before Monday night at 11:59 pm (CST). Make sure to include some way for me to contact you to be eligible. If you are on Ravelry, leave me your Rav name as that's safer than an email address. If you need to leave your email address, write out the AND and DOT parts to foil the spammers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

good one

I enjoyed this. Thought you might too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

you know you've been married a long time when....

Dan and I exchanged cards today.

Too funny! I guess what they say about starting to think alike is true.

We've been married for almost 33 years. What do you suppose happens when people are married for 70 years, which I've seen in announcements in the paper?

Monday, February 07, 2011

still playing with fiber

I decided to wash some individual merino locks in cotton hankies as Judith MacKenzie describes in her video (A Spinner's Toolbox, I think, but it might have been one of the others. I have all of them. Huge kudos to Interweave for making spinning videos available by download. I watch them on my iPad and learn so much!). I carefully pulled some locks that were about the same length out of the fleece and wrapped them burrito-style in a hankie, then simmered them on the stove in soapy water. It worked great!

Here they are after drying.
The stained tips weren't an issue as they came off with a gentle brush of the flick carder.
I didn't worry about keeping the tip ends sorted while I flick carded because it's easy to tell which end is the tip by gently rubbing the lock between my fingers. The lock will "walk" toward the tip end. I spin from the tip end for consistency.
These little locks don't need to be combed. They spin lace weight yarn beautifully from the lock.

In other news, we are back into the deep freeze today after another unusually warm few days. According to the forecast this cycle will continue as very mild temperatures will be here by the end of the week. (I hope I didn't just jinx the warm spell by actually typing it here.)

I was out with the dogs the other night and the trees were so pretty! There were little icicles hanging from the branches while soft snow coated the tops of them.

I just received the following blog comment from Keri,

What beautiful results! I'm a little nervous - I too have a superfine merino fleece and just ordered the mini combs but not the extra fine mini's. Now I'm starting to worry I should have ordered those. Did you get bad results with your regular minis?

I didn't have much luck combing my super-fine merino fleece on the mini combs. The fiber was neppy. However, the mini combs are superb for general use and easier to use because you don't need as much strength to pull the fiber through the combs. My suggestion is to have both if you can swing it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

q and a

I just came in from the back yard with the dogs and it's raining. Raining!! Needless to say, the weather has done a complete turn around this week. It's actually gorgeous outside now but the rain is freezing once it hits the ground so the roads will be a mess.

I received some questions lately in the blog comments so I'll answer them here.

Mickey asked,

How do you like the Russian lace spindles?

I'm not very good at spinning with the Russian spindles. My hands are just starting to figure out how to park-and-draft with them. I'm getting better but no where near proficient with them yet. It's tempting to ditch them and just used the top whorl spindles but I feel the need to persevere with them for the sake of honoring the culture's history. And pure stubborn-ness because it's a challenge for me.

Your sock yarn looks wonderful. Do you use 2 or 3 plies?

It depends. I like to aim for 3 plies most of the time but will do 2 plies with stronger fibers like BFL that I haven't spun as finely. The Shunklies Humbug BFL fiber was 2 plied. I didn't have enough fiber to do a 3 ply that would yield enough yardage for a pair of socks.

The art yarn was interesting. I found myself trying to fit my hand into that shape and I am afraid I don't have the concept, you spin a core and wrap in one pass? Are you adding the locks to a prespun core?

No prespun core. The core is spun and wrapped in one pass. I remember reading about Judith's wolf yarn in her book The Intentional Spinner but it didn't make any sense to me until I watched her video A Spinner's Toolbox. It's one of those things that is easier to understand by seeing it. I just did a google search to see if I could find anything and lo and behold, someone made a little video showing the technique. I discovered that it's easier to do quickly than slowly. And here's a skein of it finished:

Monika said,

I just read yesterday, that Canadian Winter is getting milder. I've been here almost 15 years now, and I've been saying that the last three years or so. when we first came here, boy there was so much snow, and long, cold winter month, but not so much the last few years.

That doesn't seem to be the case on the Prairies. We've had a couple of cold, snowy winters. We went through a spell of mild winters for a while but the last couple are like what I remember from my childhood.

Jody said,

I need a little workhorse like the Louet for plying. That looks like quite a large much does it hold?

The Louet bobbins are big. Not as big as the jumbo bobbin on the Lendrum but close. I think they must hold about 8 oz. of fine yarn but I haven't tested it yet.