Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Newfound Love

Hi, Knitters,
First, my generous friend, Jaala Spiro of Knitcircus, texted me yesterday and because the response to our new Come What May shawlette collaboration has been so fantastic she told me to give two kits away! So thank you everyone for purchasing the gradient yarn, the shawl pattern and the kits. Great news all around. 

The winners of 2 of the lovely Come What May Shawlette kits with beads, pattern and choice of gradient yarn colorway from Knitcircus are......

grahamcrackerzz ~ rav username   and  loopiedoo ~ rav username!

Congratulations to you both. I have contacted both of the winners. Thank you to everyone for entering and I will have another giveaway very soon.

Now on to today's topic at hand. 

Have you ever tried something new that you didn't enjoy, put it away only to come back to it later to have something suddenly click and you fall completely in love? This has happened to me a lot over the years. I think timing is everything. Whether or not you pick up a skill with passion depends on your desire to learn something new at that exact moment in time. I've had this happen with embroidery, sewing, quilting, spinning with a wheel, cooking, and even certain knitting techniques. 

photo from SpinCityUK on Etsy

So here's what happened. I saw this fiber called Dolly Mixture from SpinCityUK, on the wonderful Little Bobbins podcast. I fell in love with the unusual bright colors and the blend of fibers. I ordered two braids of the Dolly Mixture (click here to read about this unusual braid of fiber) for a total of 7 oz. I can't wait to start spinning this fiber on my Schact Ladybug

When my package arrived I was surprised to see that Louise included one of her beautiful dried flower spindles in the package as a gift. Click here to see a similar spindle in her shop. I was immediately enamored with this pretty spring-like spindle. There is a lightness and a sweetness to it. 

I decided at the very moment I saw the SpinCityUK flower spindle that I had to learn to use a spindle and quick. Now, quite awhile ago I had purchased another spectacular little spindle from Aaron Makes Stuff. This beautiful spindle is handcrafted with colored pencils set in resin. I love this spindle equally but when I got this one and tried it my heart wasn't into learning how to spindle spin. I was too preoccupied with other work obligations which made me feel restless when I was trying to learn. I put it away knowing that I would come back to it when I was ready.

Awhile ago I had watched a couple of videos on YouTube about spinning with a drop spindle so I knew the basic idea. Plus I have been spinning on a wheel for a few years now which helped with knowing how to draft and work with the fiber. Anyway, I picked up the flower spindle and gathered some of the fiber samples I have saved through the years. Suddenly the spindle worked for me and it was like magic. I could actually spin with a spindle! 

I feel like I get it now. I know people collect spindles and love using them to spin all sorts of fiber into yarn. It is definitely a slower process than using a wheel but there is something that is so fun about the process of using a spindle. I am already planning what to bring to spin on my upcoming travels. I think I am officially hooked. Yes, it was only a matter of time.

The mini-skeins above are my first spindle spinning attempts. The mix with the black is my very first attempt. It's pretty messed up but I learned a lot. The middle skein was next and I saw improvement. The pink and purple skein on the end is Romney fiber from Sheep Dreams, this was my third attempt. I did a 2-ply and ended up with about 50 yards and it is quite pretty and usable. 

Then I dug out my Aaron Makes Stuff colored pencil spindle. The two spindles are very different. The Aaron Makes Stuff spindle is light as air. The flower SpinCityUK spindle is much more substantial. I found a sample of some fiber from one of my favorite dyers, Friends in Fiber and started spinning with this other spindle. I am so pleased with how this spindle and fiber are spinning up. It is a really different experience but what fun!

Now I am spinning a batt that Joanna (click here for her podcast) from KnitSpinFarm threw in with another order I had made from her shop. It is 2.5 oz. of heaven. Joanna makes the most wonderful batts, honestly. She puts some sort of magic into the fiber because whenever I spin something from her shop I get the warmest, calmest feeling of appreciation for the fiber. She makes things extra pretty and sweet somehow. As you can see in the photo, the KnitSpinFarm batt is light green and yellow, so perfect for March and moving into the spring season. I feel like the flower spindle and this fiber are a match made in heaven. I am winding the singles onto a bobbin when the spindle gets too full. I am going to ply this on my wheel when I am done spinning the singles.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. Are you any of you into spindle spinning? I'd love to hear about it and any tips or tricks you might have for me as a newbie.

I'll leave you today with a photo of this gorgeous Harvest Wool from Timber and Twine.

Click here to read all about this company.

The skein above was dyed with madder and alum. It is 100 grams of an 8-ply and I think it might be about a DK weight. The yardage isn't listed. It is so pretty, rich in color and interesting. I love the messy skein, the twine, the tag, and the brown paper wrapping. It's all good. I'm pretty sure this skein will become a new hat for me. I'll keep you posted on this one, too.

Click here to check out Timber and Twine!

Have a happy and productive week ahead, friends.
xo ~ susan


Jennifer said...

I spin on a spindle! It is very slow going but it is lovely and simple. My father makes my spindles and they are all a little different. Some spin longer, some faster, some are good for singles, others for plying. It is amazing to think about how relatively new spinning wheels are and how much yarn was once spun on spindles.

Susan said...

I've been trying to drop spindle for years, and while I understood it, I never really "got" it. Finally one day, a few months ago, it just clicked. I wasn't even spinning at the time. Now I can't stop spinning!

I actually blogged about this very thing last week, and my "click" moment: http://withpointedsticks.com/blog/?p=1131

Karen Budnick said...

Hi Susan, I started spindle spinning about a year ago and never looked back. I was saving for a wheel but spent that $ on my next adventure - rug hooking. Wool strips or rug yarn - it's all fiber so it's good, right? Have fun. The only challenge for me now is getting back to spinning thicker!

Jessie McKitrick said...

I've been spindle-spinning since last May and love it to bits. My best advice is to keep doing more of it. Also, Respect the Spindle is a brilliant book if you haven't yet read it.

Nin Leavitt said...

Hi Susan! I agree with Jessie, "Respect the Spindle" is awesome! I'd recommend devising a wrist distaff that works for you whilst spinning. I use one when I'm out walking and drop spinning at the same time. As well, learning to keep it going by giving it a "kick" as you walk is such a time saver. I use a bottom whorl.
Love your blog,


Renee Anne said...

I just couldn't get into my spindles either (I have 2 or 3). I hated all the stopping and starting and my fiber wouldn't draft properly and we just didn't get along very well. I love my wheel more...but he's not seeing much love either as I've been knitting and designing and lamenting the loss of my laptop (I'm using my husband's right now).

Anonymous said...

I've been very intrigued by spinning lately, I'm glad you're enjoying it so much. My LYS has some portuguese merino fibers for spinning that always make me think about taking one of their spinning workshops whenever I see it!

Julie Turcotte said...

This post made me so happy today!I follow you on Instagram, so I saw your pretty spindle and got excited for you! I ordered myself a spindle for Christmas, watched videos, read everything but still wasn't getting something. Then, a lys held a class and it all clicked for me too! Still spinning and not ready to ply, but the process makes me so happy and content! I also ordered a lovely batt from KnitSpinFarm--it will be my next to spin! Thanks for sharing your work--it's so inspiring!

Alina said...

I would love to try it someday! But I am into too many things - knitting, crochet, machine knitting, pilates... All I need is 48 hours a day :)

Kepanie said...

What a fun, new area to explore. I need to try again once we're settled this summer.

Claudia said...

I have just started to spin with a Turkish spindle. I have always wanted to spin, and thought this would be a good way to try it before investing in a wheel. I really do like it...though there is quite the learning curve on handling fiber. The trick now is how to ply without a wheel. But singles are good too. Thanks for sharing!

barb said...

I've recently rediscovered spindle spinning, too! I'll agree with others: Respect the Spindle, by Abby Franquemont is a must. I just took a class by her last weekend! She's excellent - learned how to spindle spin when she was five! Get the book! :)

Vicky said...

I love spindle spinning! And I learned in pretty much the same way - it just wouldn't click the first time around, and then after a few months of wheel spinning, suddenly it did. It's so relaxing and so much fun! My most recent project was a fiber to shawl spin/knit and it was fantastic to make an entire shawl from scratch.
Looking forward to seeing more of your spinning!

Jules said...

Good for you on the spindle spinning progress! I have tried it with a kit that my spindle came in, but didn't have any luck. I may try it with a different type fiber. (Tanknit)

Enid said...

I am also trying to get into spinning on a spindle. I have some great help from a few friends, but getting the hang of it is a bit slow. I plan to upgrade and get a new spindle that will suit my spinning better than the inexpensive one I picked up to learn on.

JoAnna said...

You are so sweet! I can't think of a nicer thing to have my batts associated with than calm magic! Very glad you are enjoying it.

I've been dreaming about the Spin City flower spindles for a while (and a colored pencil spindle) and am glad to know they are delightful! I enjoy spindling, but don't make enough time for it. I dream of a collection of spindles too. Maybe I need to set spindling goals to accomplish every day or week... You will be my inspiration!

Julie said...

I haven't ever spun, but I almost started drop-spindling after listening to Malia ("Rhymeswithmaria" Rav name) on her "Yarnraising" podcast. She is so passionate and knowledgable, I almost took the plunge a year ago. But lifestyle-wise, I have to wait awhile and be content with my current fiber hobbies for now. I think it helps that her podcast is on hiatus know -- check out her back episodes!

Mary Elaine Henderson said...

I want to learn how to spin. There is fiber arts center near me that has classes. So I have been admiring everones posts about spinning. I will watch for your endeavors..

Prairie girl said...

I love spindle spinning. I am a relative newbie, but have joined a challenge on rav to try to use different types of spindles by different makers and discovered a real love for Turkish spindles.
I am so addicted, I have spindles in several locations in my house so I can pick up and spin a few yards here and a few yards there.
I also carry one in my purse. The purse spindle is from TurtleMade on etsy. She makes colorful plastic spindles on a 3D printer. They are inexpensive and durable enough to handle rough treatment.

RoysFarm said...

Love the photos. In a word 'wonderful'! Thank you!