Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How does your garden grow?

I’m so into spinning these days. Here’s what’s been going on…

Black Watch singles - Coopworth/Lincoln Black Watch singles. I’ve now got about 500 yards of 3-ply Black Watch done so I’m ready to wash the 3 skeins I’ve got, thwack them and start knitting. The first 2 skeins were spun on my Louet but the 3rd skein was spun with my Kromski and, do you know, I really like this roving much better on the Louet. There’s no gentleness needed for this roving and I think I’m going to do the rest of it on the Louet. In fact, the Louet has much larger bobbins and can handle a larger yarn like this is when it’s 3-plied. I was able to spin and ply enough for a 172 yard hank of yarn on the Louet but 104 yards of the same maxed out the Kromski. Poor little Louet has been sitting off on its own since the new baby came into the house. Time to show it that it’s still needed. Awwww….

But here’s a new (to the wheel) top that fits our dream that spring may actually come someday. I’m spinning this in celebration of the fact that it was more than 60 degrees today and no rain. It’s called English Garden and is a Blue Faced Leicester top whose label says is a dream to spin and I have to agree. I’m trying to do it with a long draw which, although I’m not very good at it yet, is suited very well to this fiber. It’s very crimpy and springy and I’m going to try to spin finely enough to make a 3 or 4 ply sock yarn. It think it would do very well for socks – pretty long staple yet soft enough. I’ve divided the top into 4 (relatively) even strips and will spin each and then ply back. I may even try doing a cabled ply, something I’ve heard tell of but never experienced for myself. A cabled ply is basically making 2 2-ply yarns and then plying the 2-plies together, if that makes sense. The Yarn Harlot had a whole thing on this a while back – here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dainty Star

I’ve never made a doily like this before. It went quickly with just 62 rounds but it is the most ethereal thing. At just 2 grams, it feels almost weightless, almost like it’s not there. To block it, I soaked it in soapy water, rinsed it and then pinned it out. I don’t know if it’s because of how the thread was processed or just its size but blocking it like this made it quite stiff. Not starched, you understand, but it’s certainly holding its shape beautifully. I definitely want to use this again for something larger, now that I have the feel for it.

I watched the most interesting silent movie I’ve ever seen this afternoon. It’s a Helmut Lang movie from 1928 called “Spies.” The acting was really remarkable and the flow of the story engaging and held my attention from start to finish. I won’t go into the whole plot but I would highly recommend it, even if you don’t normally like silent movies.

One of the things that hit me at the beginning was the naturalness of the lead actor. A relaxed, smooth style isn’t often found in movies of this period. The actor looked so much like Ewen McGregor – it really could have been his double (only 80 years ago!). The lead actress was a little more histrionic but she held up her side well for all that. The villain (because there’s always a villain) was very well done, too. All very generic comments but just so much better qualities than you would normally see. But, above all this, was the ability of the director to tell the story. Especially at the beginning there were hardly any dialogue shots, although there is some translation of written items, but there was absolutely no trouble knowing what was going on nor was there a need for them to carry the story forward. I’ve heard critics talk about the rhythm of a movie and here you see it. I was never once tempted to fast forward or switch to something else and I call that a good movie. I’d just finished watching a 2-dvd set on the history of the Nazi movement and how deeply rooted it was in World War I and the way the story unfolded, I had to check the date to see that it predated Hitler’s rise in 1933. There was, for me, a quite strong suggestion of what was to come in Germany in just a few short years.