Friday, June 17, 2011

Spindle Spun

I've been emailing with Tammy over at 365 Days on a Farm in Eldridge,IA, and we've decided to do a drop spindle class in her store next Saturday, June 25th.  She's had several people interested in learning to use a drop spindle and we talked about that quite a bit when I was there several weeks ago.  I'm not positive what the final participant fee will be but if you're anywhere near the Quad Cities area (or want to drive over from further afield), we'd love to have you join us.

The class will focus on beginning on a drop spindle but I'm sure we'll have some folks that will be ready to take their spindling on to greater heights.  If you're interested in the class, give Tammy a call at 563-285-9985.

Speaking of spindling, meet my newest spindle:
In case you don't recognize it, it's a vintage-looking door knob that I found at Hobby Lobby.  You have to make sure the hole goes all the way through the ceramic handle then take the hardware out.  You also want to try to make sure it's as balanced as possible.  I've got another one I did that's okay but not really great. Just a little unbalanced but it makes a difference.  Put it on a dowel that fits snugly, shape the top and bottom of the shaft and, woohoo, you have a spindle.

You can't see the top but I've just done a simple notch near the top so I can attach the yarn with a half-hitch.  For the bottom, I just sort of smoothed it out so it would spin nicely.  Then I sanded the shaft a bit, dipped it in some tung oil (and wiped off the excess).  It's the most amazing supported spindle I've ever seen for spinning.  In my little bowl, it spun last night for more than 90 seconds.  Perfect.  I've got some cotton on it right now and the spindle exceeds my ability to do the long draw but it's certainly helping me since I'm not having to draft AND fight to keep the spindle spinning.  It's my new favorite spindle.  Plus it's pretty!

The new spindle is posing with some bamboo yarn/thread that I spun on my Symphony last night.  I've never enjoyed my bamboo fiber spinning experiences but last night I got an inspiration to try it on the Symphony and it was love at first site, fiber to wheel, wheel to fiber.  My fiber wasn't well prepared (by me) so there was some diameter issues but I think I know how to solve that.  Now I want to do enough to make a little bobbin lace project.  I think this will work really well with bobbin lace.  This picture isn't very good but it shows a little more how fine it spun up.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Doing too much

You know you're doing too much when you get up in the wee hours of the morning to go to an event 3 hours away and get halfway there before you realize the event is NEXT weekend.  So I've been doing a wee bit too much and I was hoping to slow down a bit this summer but somehow that doesn't seem to be happening.  It wouldn't be so bad if my day job weren't getting in my way. 

And in case I get bored this summer, the Lace Knitting class at Three Sisters Folk Art School  has been rescheduled for August 19-21.  We're going to be able to spend a whole weekend exploring the knitting of lace.  Whether you're ready to stick your toe into the pond or if you've been knitting lace and just want to take it a bit further, come join me for the class.

I have, however, been able to get a few things done. 

One thing I've done is found a new yarn shop in the Quad Cities area.  They've just had their grand opening and it's definitely worth popping in for a visit.  It's called 365 Days on a Farm.  They've got some really nice yarns and are also going to carry fiber and spinning equipment. I had a really nice visit with them and may, if we can get it scheduled, do a couple of classes with them later this year.  Their focus is going to be on American-made yarn and fibers.  They hope to be able to highlight fiber and yarn made from fiber from local farms as they build their inventory.  Really nice folks. (They're at 116 W Davenport St in Eldridge, IA.  Go.  You'll thank me later.)

While there, I saw the funniest thing I've ever seen.  A young local knitter decided she wanted to make her featherly-challenged chicken a sweater so Tammy decided to help.  She had pictures that she'd printed out from some blogs.  Have a look here...and here.  I laughed and laughed and laughed.  A chicken wearing a sweater.  You can't hear but even now I'm laughing.  A chicken wearing a sweater.  Sounds like the punchline of a joke, right!

Speaking of lace, I'm getting along with my lace doily.  The main section was 106 rounds of lace knitting.  With 576 stitches on the final section, that's a load of knitting.  I've been debating whether to continue on with the edging the pattern calls for...
As you can see, the edging is a ruffle.  But, honestly, can you ever see me getting it to ruffle properly?  In case you don't know, I'll tell you.  No, I wouldn't.  I was contemplating doing it.  Really I was.  But then I realized that to start the ruffle, you have to double the number of stitches and the thought of knitting 40 rounds of 1152 stitches made me realize that if you're never going to get it to ruffle properly, you probably shouldn't attempt it.  Plus I'd like to finish it before the end of the decade.

So I had a look through my other books and here's what I came up with...

I'm quite happy with how this edging goes with the pointy-ness of the doily pattern.  In fact, after it gets blocked, I think it will suit even better than the original pattern.  Even if it's not 1152 stitches around.