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