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How Paper Clips Save My Spinning Sanity

I love paper clips!

I am a spinner that likes to take my wheel everywhere with me. I am also a spinner who tends to drop and lose things. There are days that, as I carry my wheel, I feel like I’m a dandelion shedding fluffy fiber and tools everywhere.

The tool that I most seem to lose no matter how I tie it on, keep it in a wee basket or even carry it in my purse is an orifice hook. I lose 1 or 2 a year.

Behold the everyday object that saves my spinning sanity:

Paper clip magic!

I throw a small handful into every bag I carry, and if I’m orifice hook-less I grab a paperclip and unbend, leaving or creating a small hook at one end.

Adjust the hook size to your wheel’s orifice and you’re ready to spin. If you’d like, curl the hookless end into a loop, string it on yarn and hang it on your wheel.

Even if I somehow don’t have a paper clip they are sure easier to find or buy on the fly than an orifice hook. Be sure to buy the coated kind because they won’t snag on silk or other super smooth fibers and they come in the best colors!

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The Tortoise and the Hare

I just returned from a color and art yarn workshop with the great Lynne Vogel.  I’ve become obsessed with coil plied yarns and I was determined to learn to spin a yummy, yummy, soft coil plied yarn. I was also determined to do it all, practice all night and just generally rock my own spinning socks off.

Plus I wanted to unhook and relax, as well as deepen, renew and make new friendships. Baby, I was gonna bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan!

Determined to me means to dig in with gritted teeth like a Jack Russell on a rodent, like the Hare in the fable. This is not the frame of mind to teach your hands and mind to spin new yarns, or to relax.

More dreds than yarn. George Clinton are you out there?

Here is some of my first coiled yarn <–

This is after setting it under tension. Anyone need their pots scrubbed?

I was crushed when it didn’t work out. I’ll admit that I gave up a little and just went along. I slept, I walked in the woods, I listened to stories, made friends and drank beer. I may have laughed a time or two, so hard, that I both cried and drooled.

You know where this is going, right? Sunday, while everyone else is practicing and picking Lynne’s brain before we leave her safety nest, I sat. I changed my whorl. I set my tension. I spun. I spun with purpose, but not gritted determination, like the tortoise. I spun hands to head, not head to hands, because in spinning your hands always know and your head trips them up.

Cushy coils.

I spun soft and beautiful coils –>

When your spinning or learning isn’t going quite right stop to think: are you being the tortoise or the hare?

Tortoise yarn on top, Hare yarn on bottom

Fiber is Spunky Eclectic hand painted Shetland, Three Sheeps colorway.

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Post from on the road

Lynne does an awesome job of jigsawing 5 grown women's baggage post trade show

Amy  here. I stole Jillian’s password. Don’t tell her.

My bags are in this Ford Flex somewhere, and right now, I’m in a Panera near Toledo, Ohio, using their lovely free wifi to let you know that TNNA was great and we have so much new stuff to share with you for the upcoming First Fall issue.  There were more new products than I remember seeing in a long while, and a yarn I fell in love with that will be making a featured appearance here in a future issue of Knitty.

But even before the issue comes out, we’ll share some  of what we saw. This week.

Stay tuned.

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Box of Love

box of love contents

I have a fiber shopping problem: my desires frequently exceed my monetary means, especially at fiber events like Maryland, Rhinebeck and SOAR. Adding insult to bank account injury, I often buy the same or very similar fiber/colorway when I’m on a fiber jaunt as I already have in my stash.

Discovering that we all have the same problem, my fiber sisters and I came up with a plan.

We call it Box of Love. When faced with a fiber show we bring along a box or bag of our “right now fiber obsessions”, what we love the most currently in our spinning lives. The Box of Love helps keep shopping within our budgets in several ways:

there is a LOT of love in that box

It reminds us we have a lot of stuff, so there’s no extra shopping due to impending fiber scarcity.

It fulfills the current fiber obsession because our Boxes of Love contain our most loved fibers, so we buy fewer duplicate fibers and colorways.

It lets us feel rich with fiber. At the end of the day at the hotel, when everyone spills out their purchases in a huge fiber wallow, we have our Boxes of Love to add to our modest, within-our-budget purchases, to create our own mountain of fiber love.

I’ve been bringing a Box of Love along on fiber excursions for more than two years. It lets me shop wantonly, but wisely.

love.

A peek into a current Box of Love shows my current fascination with: merino blended with anything shiny, shades of dirt, Briar Rose, Spunky Eclectic, Lynne Vogel and Tanis Fiber Arts spinning fibers.

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The happiest day of the week?

Perfume oil from Bathing in Luxury

It’s Obsession Thursday again! Here’s what I’ve been coveting lately:

Bathing in Luxury

No alcohol, no plasticy smells. These perfume oils are luxurious smelling and last all day. Plus they come in glass roller-ball bottles – no spilling.

My favorites, so far, are Daydream – a bright smell with citrus and vanilla, and Stroke Me (hey, it’s really the name) – deep and warm sandalwood, musk and vanilla.


Roxanne earrings

Roxanne earrings

Huge (2″ x 2 1/2″) and light. I want to wear these every day.

The swirliness of them is so over the top girly that it makes me laugh. Amy’s surprised I didn’t buy the green ones! [editor’s note: yes, I am!]

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Spinning Lessons

the precious abbybatt

I have a bunch of Abby Batts in my stash and I won’t spin them because then they’ll be gone. What if I want to use them for something better later? What if I totally suck spinning them? Abby herself would laugh her ass off knowing her batts had hit Most Precious Status in my stash. “Just [expletive] spin them” she’d say, and she’d hand me a beer.

So I did. And it was good.

Lesson: There are no precious batts.

advice taken.

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What Happens In My Backyard When It’s Warm

katherine, amy, carla

As the weather gets warmer spinners head to my back yard like wild birds. Check out this photo from this Spring. This was the inaugural spinning in the backyard day. Carla (she of the orange pants) came over to spin. Then neighbor Katherine (she of the green, dyed by her own hand fluff) looked out her window, ceased whatever she was doing in her house and came to spin. Then Amy (she being the Knitty Goddess) after driving five hours from her house to mine came to spin (she stayed longer than the afternoon). The warmer it gets the longer the spinners stay and the more spinners come. There is always fiber trading, opinions and laughing. There may be dinner, or dyeing, or a nap in the hammock. It’s different every time. It doesn’t happen every week, but often enough for it to feel like a bit of summer camp for the grown ups.

The bags, boxes and pillows are all from Ikea (I know you want to know).

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