Spinning Tuesdays

Really Keeping Track on the Tour

I have grand plans for the Tour de Fleece.
I’m finishing some Lynne Vogel Limited Edition Colorways from Three Waters Farm: merino/bamboo in the Black Hollyhocks colorway.

I did it myself. Pretty dyed BFL.

I’m practicing the the thick, fluffy, and arty skills I learned from Lynne Vogel and Maggie Casey in the past month, at least a bobbin full of each.

The biggie is 2 lbs of long drawn singles, slightly fulled, for a sweater from oatmeal BFL that I dyed myself after writing about it last week [see the finished results at left]. The oatmeal BFL was from The Spinning Loft.

I haven’t watched one minute of the Tour de France, but I’ve been spinning.

Soft blue singles.

As I wound my dyed and dried  BFL into bumps, I decided what order to spin the bumps in and to spin a fluffed up arm’s length of fiber at a time for long runs of color. Are you curious how I’ll keep track of where I am in the world of my BFL? Knots.

I’ve recently started using knots to keep track of where I am in my spinning project.  I frequently pick up the wrong end of my fiber, especially if the colors are close, when I come back to my spinning after a break, or the wrong length of fiber if I have several to work with.

Now, every time I pull a length of fiber from a bump or long length of roving or top to spin, I loosely knot the end of the fiber on the bump end, so I know this is where I get my next length and the end to start spinning.

And to keep my BFL bumps in the order I want, I’ve knitted them 1,2 ,3.

On your mark, get set, spin!

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Spin dreaming

It’s Knitty production week and I really should be working, but my mind keeps drifting off to this:

oatmealy BFL

Nearly 3 pounds of oatmeal BFL that I want to spin for the Tour de Fleece.

I dream about spinning it into a beautiful long-draw single that I would full and knit into a sweater.

I also dream about dyeing this bfl, national blue, bright violet with maybe touches of avocado or maybe grasshopper ( yes, those are pro chem colors). Not with total coverage —  I want some of that oatmeal to show.

What are you dreaming about spinning for the Tour?

I met Sasha this weekend at a Maggie Casey workshop. Sasha has a new spinning podcast, The Spin Doctor, where she reviews spinning fiber, tools, dvds and all manner of spinning yum. Give it a listen and tell her what you think!

Stare into into the BFL vortex - if you dare!

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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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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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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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