Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Sometimes, the little distractions can take up days and days: first the idea (which always comes late at night: too late to go into the studio).

The next day, there is a mad scramble, searching for materials, cutting, sewing and finishing the prototype:

spinning tools bag small

Cute! There will be more of these.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Right Place, Right Time, Right People

Sometimes we try to push things. Rightly so, in some cases: we need to get things done. Sometimes, though, everything in it's own time and place.

I've not ever been much for spindle spinning. But soon, in a year or so, I will be somewhere very far away for a period of time, working on a project for which I would like to spin. I do not plan to ship my wheel, nor do I plan to buy one while there. I might be able to borrow one, but I have not investigated that. A spindle is the portable answer.

I started serious spindle investigation when I was at Olds College this past June. Two of my suite-mates were teachers in the Master Certificate Program, and we talked spindle spinning. They showed me a few things. I told them what kind of yarn I would be spinning, and they marched me down to a vendor booth where I bought a spindle and some wool:

spider spindle

I practiced a bit. It was not hard to do, I just needed to practice. And a few tips, encouragement and advice from a Blue Duck (Ravelry link).

Then, several things coincided. We were at SOAR, and Deb had a Mongold spindle:
Mongold spindle

Heavy, durable for travel, no longer available, and not wood (there is a restriction against bringing wood products into Australia. I did not know if a spindle would be confiscated, so I planned to buy one there, just in case).

Deb handed me her spindle. A gift, she said. I could have it. Perfect! I even had wool with me to practice with: Cotswold. I practiced. I'm getting better at it.

In my new-found pleasure at using a spindle, I bought another, smaller one:

loki spindle

It's wood, though, and thus not Australia-bound. It is the right weight and size to spin the wool/silk blend given to me by Sirley and Penny from Lambspun. Perfect again!

You know, having been sickly and puny for the last 10 days (two weeks??) has allowed me to sit and stare, practice spinning, and also read:

abby's book

Lovely advice, history, photos, and spindles on every page. It has helped me in this learning process, and came at a perfect time for me, right now, with the time to slow down and perfect a slower method of spinning. Also, it's just a nice read.

I am not planning to give up wheel spinning. I do love that this path to learning spindle spinning has involved so many people who could help, give advice, help me find the perfect tools, and even provide me with the perfect tools. And no one ever stared, shocked with dismay, when I told them I wasn't much of a spindle spinner. They just helped.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Gift That is SOAR


There are a lot of gifts about coming to SpinOff Autumn Retreat. The most obvious is the friendship of like-minded people, learning from and teaching each other. There are formal classes, of course, but much is learned informally, over lunch, in the hallways or lobby while sitting among other spinners, and we also learn about different areas of the country as the conference travels around.

There are tangible gifts from friends and associates too: a beautiful crocheted doily from Lotto, a wool silk blend and some soap from Shirley and Peggy at Lambspun, Chopsticks Of Vacuum from Michael, a Lantern Moon basket from Michelle Coburn, calendar and a fair trade woven bag from Interweave, the sponsors of the event, and soap from friends who borrowed wheels and tools.

We all love gifts, the tangible and the not so much. What we are not so thrilled about is the gift of the SOAR cold: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, loss of voice (a hint?) and general malaise. Thanks. Thanks to whomever, I will try not to devolve into whining.

But I am sorely tempted. Waaaaaaaaaah!

Homeward bound today, after a few lovely Fall days in Oregon, visiting the town of Sisters and the High Desert Museum. We had the Sage Springs Spa to ourselves every afternoon for a very welcome jacuzzi and steam bath, which did ease the discomfort of the cold.

It should be a glorious drive, and I have my tissues. Wah.