Monday, March 31, 2008

My Cosy New Shawl

I had a hard time getting to sleep, at the yarn shop sleepover after Abby's class. My sleeping bag was musty from storage, someone was snoring, and I was wound up. Finally I got up and put my regular lavender-scented nighttime lotion on, and draped my new shawl over my face. It was soft and warm and comforting, and as I drifted off to sleep I decided that I liked it very much.
Beaded edge. I was planning a wide knitted border, and tried a few, but the shawl preferred this simple but elegant edge. Verity threaded the beads on the yarn for me, and I did a simple crochet chain/ single crochet border.
Forgive my perpetually tousled curls.

Spindle-spun merino-silk 2 ply,
woven in a 2/2 twill on my triloom


On my way home from spinning class, I stopped to visit my friend Cary at Serenity Farms. She sent me home with lovely fleece samples from her long, crimpy, fine Corriedale fleeces. Most of her fleeces are sold before they even come off the sheep, and I can see why. They are perfect candidates for combing. Now I have dibs on Donna's fleece, the lamb that she named after me. :-) It was fun seeing a sheepy Carissa, and Deborah, and Denise....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spindling Class with Abby Franquemont :" Now go do it right!"

Here's the proof. I saw Abby Franquemont with my own eyes. Even though I recognized her when I first saw her, I felt instantly that I have never seen a picture that does her justice. And my own picture continues in that tradition.

Here she is, browsing through some of Ellen's enviable fiber book collection. Behind her is the ever generous Beth, who in her own philanthropic way invited Abby to her shop so we could all see her.

Here is a picture of some spindle spun cloth that Abby brought ....I don't remember the name of it, but she wore it as a child in Peru, as generations of children had worn it before her.....the threads here are fine but very firmly spun, making them almost impermeable to water. What I love most about this cloth is the striping...see the striping in the center black panel? That is achieved by variations in twist direction.....and allows the cloth to lie flat in spite of the great amount of twist in the threads.

The class centered around low whorl spinning and plying techniques. With plenty of concepts thrown in..... some of these....

* you only need the simplest of tools to spin, and spin well and fast.

* the spindle allows for the highest level of excellence in spinning, even to a greater extent than a wheel.

* rethink twist. The more you use, the more durable your finished textile will be. Durable is good, and does not in any way preclude loveliness. When you think about it, in this day and age, spinners are the only ones who have an opportunity to produce durable textiles. Textile mills are simply not interested in turning out products (either yarns or fabrics) that will last years, let alone generations. Yet before the industrial revolution, handing down textiles from generation to generation was expected.

Some of the techniques I picked up on quickly....many still feel awkward to me. I will be practicing for a short time daily on my low whorls til I am comfortable with these techniques. Some of the plying techniques I am not sure that I even understand! Sigh.

The truly beautifully spun yarn that was being passed around, in tandem with my own bottom whorl awkwardness, was a bit humbling. But no matter. When faced with failure, one can simply handle it in the Andean way....."Now go do it right!" And so I will, until I get it right.

Here are some lovely cookies that the marvelous Faina brought along. Don't you think that they are pretty, with the spinning ladies, and little sheepies? Well, they were yummy too. Faina can spindle up a storm and designs lace. (think Forest Path Stole) I sensed that she could coax out lovely yarn no matter what spindle she was given, top whorl, bottom whorl, or supported; it mattereth not. And she was only one of the talented spinners who surrounded me.

I very much enjoyed being in the company of other spinners....though I was so busy spinning that I beg you not to ask me their names.... all in all a lovely time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Eaves are Dripping

the sap is running....
the kids are smiling....
It's warm enough to play outside!

200 yards of fingering weight yarn from Spunky Eclectic's "Pie for Everyone"
To make socks for Mercy

New Ann Grout spindles for Christmas! A present from family in California finally arrived this week..... beauteous! that is green cotton on the little one.

The big one should be a fine plying spindle.....I didn't have one of those!

A little 75 yd skein of yarn that I spun up from a 1 oz Loop sample batt,

nestled on top of BFL fiber that I dyed and am in the process of spinning up for the knitted border on my grey triloom shawl.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Exploring the Down Wools: Wrapping up Hampshire and British Suffolk

Here is 100 yd. of finished Hampshire two ply. It is nice soft yarn, but hard to draft at that fatter grist.....I got tired of struggling. From now on, down wool explorations will be 3 ply fingering weight for socks so that I can compare apples with apples. I will not be making socks with may end up being a hat for one of my little guys.

Here are my finished ankle socks with the British Suffolk. Love 'em! Love the color, love the fact that spring will come and I'll still be wearing them.....

They are a little harsher underfoot than I anticipated. They are fine in shoes, or on carpet. But when pinched between foot and hard floor, the yarn is not as nice as I'd like.

More afterthought heels are definitely desired in my future! Loved it!

Next up for exploring.....Clun Forest.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


As I lay awake, a picture came into my head.

A library, where I went as a child.

Small, but graced with shining wood

With old and brittle books,

And sculpture.

In the children's section where I stood

There was a girl,

A girl of white marble,

Not much smaller than me,

And standing on a pedestal.

She puzzled me.

She looked to be a country girl,

With rough-hewn skirt,

And a sheep at her side.

Her hand was raised,

Her fingers held something,

Something delicate, something invisible.

And her other hand held something,

Held it as if ready to let it go

(Or had she already let it go?)

Between thumb and long finger

Something thin like a shaft

Swelled in the middle

with What I could not tell.....

It blurred

As if moving, hovering.

I puzzled over that graceful white girl

When I was a girl, long ago.

Something there I could not see.

But now I see.

Now I do.

Copyright. Please do not use without permission.

"Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

May all that puzzles you become clear.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And the Winner is..........


She'll be getting a new spindle kit.

Thank you all for the congrats! I've had fun visiting some new blogs, though it will take me a while to see them all.... :-)