Monday, September 23, 2013

From the Mountains to the Sea

I've crisscrossed the state this week, from the ocean:

(that's Phil the slug, with Diane's wine and a view of the ocean from the hot tub! Yes, she named the slug....there were several-many Phils, some of whom became former-Phils, as they had a tendency to secret themselves under the hot tub cover, defying notice until summarily dispatched, accidentally, of course, for which we are duly repentant. I learned that squished slug leaves a plastic-like film on the fingers. Ugh! Slug!).

To the mountains:

Snow! up the hill this weekend :):

It just kept coming. Both pics taken from the kitchen step, because cold! wet! rainy! snow...and I'd not the proper footwear to be out in it. It is definitely Fall here at home too, although experience tells me we will get an Indian Summer and few more warm days before the cooler weather is here to stay.

Spinning continued while traveling, on charkha and spindles:
This is wool, from Diane, the last of the first order and now I have pounds more from my recent re-order, a sweater's worth, if my calculations are correct.

and cotton, spun on charkha at the ocean, plied on spindle in the mountains:

I'm getting more adept (can't say proficient yet) in the charkha, and really truly try to practice every day. I've missed a few days, what with all this wild driving around, but most days....

What is all this mad-dash traveling to and fro? Well, the Ocean was a spinner's retreat, coinciding with a trip to the California Wool Festival, where (hee!) I felt right at home:
Lamb Palace Cal wool show

I am sure I do not have to point out the glorious rays of sunshine shining down upon me... :). I have in my hand a spindle and nostepinne: plying silk! just to round out the fiber fest that was these last few weekends.

The mountains was a work weekend: close up the cabin, meet with a few workmen for various chores and maintenance, and make sure the propane tank is full for the coming winter.

I hope to stay closer to home for a few weeks, I have weaving, packing and shipping to do, and, while spinning on the road gets some things done, working in the studio is far more productive. Gotta get to it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Place Marker

A quick update post as I head out the door for a weekend spinning retreat:
blog Sept 10 017

Charkha! Well I can't say I have mastered it, but whole cops have been spun without breaking, and (not much!) snarling :). I am plying the second set of cops:
blog Sept 10 020

Yes, resorted to spindle to ply. I have wound off the two cops together onto a nostpinne, and I am plying straight from that. It frees up the charkha for more spinning: I am almost out of this cotton (the brushed top from Kate Taylor) so next up is some brown cotton top from Toni Neil. No plans for this yarn, as yet, so I will just experiment with All The Cottons.

The first small skein:
blog Sept 10 011

is really a tight little cord, perfect! for a drive band. :). A lot of trouble to make string, let me tell you.

I've also been working on some handspun silk/cashmere for a scarf:
blog Sept 10 001

I've spun all the colors up, and run the warps. and as I started to put them on the loom I could not arrange them in any way that seemed pleasing and I realized: it's the colors. Too much flipping back and forth between blue-based and yellow-based colors:
blog Sept 10 003

so I tossed them in a dyepot:
blog Sept 10 005

Better! (purple dye, for the curious) Still I wanted a bit of contrast, so I plied up some of the small remaining bits on bobbins:
blog Sept 10 008

And added them in:
blog Sept 10 023

Now? Love :).

Must go pack, hop in the car and be off! Thanks for all your comments and emails about SOAR and its demise: we are indeed sad. I think Charlene said it best:

SOAR changed my life so very fundamentally, brought me people I'd never otherwise have met, fiber I'd never otherwise have bought, toys and adventures.

I do so very much hope for a Next; a Better Next is hard to imagine.


Sunday, September 01, 2013

As The Wheel Turns

I have one more scheduled deadline, but things are winding down (hee!). So, time to break out the new toys and begin the learning curve:
charkha 002

Cotton, spinning on the charkha. I am having fun, and learning, but I am not good at this yet. I need lots more practice! I got a demo one day this summer from another spinner: Will Taylor, and his wife Kate gave me this cotton: brushed top.

I can now draft and insert twist, but not necessarily at a constant or coordinated rate :). I park and draft, and break and re-attach, but I have managed, more than once, to hit that spot where all is going well. I know how that feels and I am confident I can get there again, maybe permanently. Until then, I snarl, yarn snarls, and we all snarl together....I have even started naming the snarls (spider snarl, pigtail snarl, and knot snarl are my not-so favorites).

Cotton fiber is cheap, I have lots, and no plans for this yarn, so it can be odd and bumpy, snarly and smooth by turns. I have the time to practice, and I am getting better!

I bought this charkha used from someone's de-stash. Yes, we "stash" yarn/fiber/tools and then de-stash, in a constant cycle :). It was still pricey, even used (these things tend to hold their value) so I did a bit of de-stashing myself to fund this: I sold off some spindles.

I know! Me! The obsessive spindle collector. Fear not, there are several left:
charkha 007

(I cannot believe I have the guts to post this photo: my walk of shame in the spindle hoarding category!)

But there you have it: these are what is left(!!!). I had this odd assumption, when I first started spindle spinning, that I needed two spindles alike for a two ply. It comes from wheel spinning: spin a bobbin of singles, spin another bobbin of singles, then ply them together. So I tried to acquire my spindles in sets: two for spinning and one for plying. Then...there's a three ply! Three spindles for singles, and one for plying! You see where this madness leads?? So, I, ahem, had a few extra.

The blue vase contains all the spindles that were given to me. I don't want to ever sell those, so I sequestered them. In that vase is a Moosie (spinners will know, but it's made from moose antler), yes! a gift from a very generous friend, a Mongold, also a great gift, an IST, several Goldings (my total favorites) and the best ever spindle for a spinner like me:

KCL spindle 004

Made by KCL Woods: a single whorl, and 3 shafts. Spin one shaft full, exchange it and spin another, and then ply both! on the third! You see? all in one, no hoarding needed.

At any rate, I spent time looking for matches for the gift spindles, and plying spindles to go with them, and I found (and bought, mostly on other people's de-stashes) many of them: a moosie, several other wood Bosworth's, some IST's, finally: overload hit. It comes to everyone, it came to me.

So I traded, bartered and sold spindles, until I had enough cash to buy the charkha. It's a good turnover, and please Bob, may I not become obsessed with charkhas and have to try them all?? (luckily, there are far fewer charkha makers, so that would be a smaller collection...).

I am starting on my second spike (spindle, bobbin, whatever it is called: snarl-maker?) and will ply these two sad examples of cotton spinning together, and keep going. This should entertain me for a least another few months, one hopes, until I can claim competence and decide if I like this method of spinning. It appeals, right now, for it's portability, quiet efficiency, and the general coolness factor of learning a new skill. Plus the tool is a beautiful one, and well made, a pleasure to use.

So the wheel turns, the charkha turns, spindles turn and turnover, and we twist and snarl. Who knew this could all be so much fun?