Posts Tagged spinning

My Little Crafter

After struggling to put out a post that captures all of my daughter’s enthusiasm towards crafting, I decided to dedicate the majority of this post to photos and videos.

As a single parent, I try to do my best to balance normal toddler activities with my daughter and crafting time. But let’s face it, she’s growing up in an environment revolved around crafting…. that is the part that isn’t revolved around her. Luckily, she really embraces it.

Giving some love to a swap gift

She even loves modeling finished projects when I forget to have someone take a picture for me:

Beyond creating any form of art with craft supplies, she has found that they are some of her new favorite toys for imaginative play.  Just last night she decided to dump out all of our buttons and sort them into families, having the buttons talk to each other and “find each other”. Little buttons went searching clear across the bed for their moms, dads, brothers and sisters, asking for help from other buttons along the way.

M also partakes in her own knitting during my knitting or spinning time.  She often takes out some of “her” yarn and sits with me, pretending to knit.  She often creates projects that she’s making and let’s me know to whom the finished items will go.

That being said, she definitely has a love for a ladybug in our lives – my spinning wheel.  Back in the days when I would take a spinning break during her naps on weekends, she would wake up and sneak into my lap, slowly sliding her feet down to the treadles to “help” me.  This has now evolved to her going up to my wheel asking to spin.  I set it up so that any project I was working on was entirely on the bobbin so she could treadle by herself and nothing would get in the way.

Recently, she asked if she could spin her own yarn.  After months of treadling by herself, I decided adding the next step wouldn’t hurt.  I predrafted some fiber I had received during my wheel spinning class so that she could spin without needing to draft at the same time.  She sat down and went to it:

I think her first handspun is beautiful and definitely going in the scrapbook…. though I might be biased.

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A Pound and a Half

Today, I officially have a fiber stash.  An enormous fiber stash considering I only have drop spindles to spin with.  Though I plan to invest in a spinning wheel, I’m far away from saving enough to make the financial plunge.  But this didn’t stop me from buying at the Uniquities Fiber Farmers’ Market in Vienna today.  Not a bit.  Instead, I purchased another spindle to convince myself that this fiber could all be spun.

However, the longer I look at the POUND AND A HALF of Romney/Bamboo blend, the more it sinks in that I will have to find a way to store this until I have a spinning wheel.

1.5 lbs of magenta Romney/Bamboo from Wool N' Quilts Triple 'R' Farm

I placed my hand in the shot to give some perspective on how much fiber this really is, but I have a feeling that the love seat behind it may also hint at how large of a pile of bright magenta fluff I now have.  But I couldn’t walk away.  Even my mother stopped in awe of its beauty.  Oh, and it’s soooooooooo soft.  I fought the urge to roll around in it after taking its glamour shots.

The event, as a whole, was quite intimidating. As we waited a half an hour to get in… do to some miscommunications within the family about what time we were to arrive, the lobby of the community center slowly filled with spinners, many with their wheels for the spinning circle.  This was my parents’ first exposure to a mass of spinners and the fiber world in general.  It was clear that M was the only one in our group who wasn’t a bit overwhelmed.  But I went in with a plan.  I needed a new, larger spindle, some fiber wash, to walk around and soak in the fibery goodness and maybe walk out with a braid of fiber.  I certainly accomplished this… plus an extra braid, bag of pencil roving and clear trash bag of 1.5 pounds of fiber.

We made our way around the room to give everything a once-over before approaching any booths.  My father brought M to the bake sale table to encourage her sweet tooth and to support the local high schools crew team while my mother and I started digging in.  The first thing that caught our attention was the previously mentioned (and mentioned a lot) Romney/Bamboo fiber blend.  We then made our way back to the Uniquities booth to purchase the spindle and fiber wash.  As you may note in the picture below, I have already started spinning some previously-purchased Shetland fiber I’ve been dying to spin…

Drop Spindle with sheep heads stamped on the top of the whorl.

At this point, my father had taken M outside to eat her cookies, come back inside, washed her up and passed her along to my mother.  I returned to the other side of the room, promising that this booth would be my last stop as I had seen some extraordinary colors when making my first pass through the room.  It was at Wild Hare Fiber Studio that I purchased two braids of “Faux Cashmere” and one bag of “Sparkle Roving”.

2 - 4 oz braids of "Faux Cashmere" (Microfiber Nylon) in the Rose Petal colorway.

4 ozs of 63% superwash merino 20% silk, 15% nylon, 2% silver poly in the Evening Star colorway.

The photos, despite leaving the fiber in their bags, do depict the colors well.  The Rose Petal colorway is full of pinks, touches of red and a bit of coral.  While the Evening Star is royal blue melting into black with silver sparkle throughout.

Luckily, I do plan to replace my falling-apart bookcases with one very large bookcase from IKEA which should provide more storage for the smaller packages of fiber… however I may have to buy the largest plastic tub on the market to store my pound and a half.  Totally worth it.  I may avoid other fiber events this year, or at least until I have my wheel.  But Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is only two months away……

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Crafting Under The Influence… Of Illness

M gets sick… a lot. She’s two years old, so it’s expected. Unfortunately, every time she gets sick, I do too. We are, however, very different when we’re sick. I just want to lie around and do next to nothing, while she wants to be no where near a bed and instead gets rather hyperactive. So when I found that we needed to take a day off for her to go see the doctor, all the while nursing my own illness, I knew it would be rough trying to get some crafting in.

The morning went well, with few tantrums (from either of us) and a lot of snuggling in bed before her appointment. Just how a sick day should be spent. Then we packed up and went to the doctor’s appointment. Of course, I brought both of my drop spindles, more fiber than I could ever spin on a day spent completely by myself, and a simple cable cowl I’m knitting up. Though it was highly unlikely that I would touch any of these at the appointment, I did take the time to carefully choose projects to bring that would require little-to-no brain power. I just didn’t want to risk knitting a challenging project under a cloud of sickness… I needed to just relax and zone out.

It was a beautiful day, so when we arrive an hour early to the appointment, we decided to park, roll down all the windows and talk while I pre-drafted some fiber. After a surprising ten minutes of M sitting still, it was time to go inside. Fortunately, we were seen right away and didn’t have to go through the waiting room torture of M racing out of the room every time I tried to sit down.

After her appointment and lunch, I thought I would get the lazy knitting and/or spinning time I so desired during nap time. I kept waiting and waiting, trying to calm, getting frustrated, leaving the room, sitting in the room, rocking. I did everything. Almost anything to get my daughter to sleep so I could rest and relax. When it was finally clear that this was a giant waste of time for both of us, I gave up. She insisted on watching 101 Dalmatians and let me spin sitting next to her.

It was just what we needed, to revert back to how our morning was spent, lounging and doing very simple crafting. She watched the movie and me spinning and seemed equally fascinated when I relaxed and felt productive at the same time. Now that she’s been on antibiotics for two days, while I continue to get worse, here’s hoping that this weekend is full of relaxing, mindless crafting while lying in bed ignoring the two hour restriction on screen time.

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Because I Needed Another Hobby

Spinning.  Need I say more?  After years of hearing of, reading about and now watching others spin and seeing the beautiful outcome, I really had no choice.  I mean really, I was practically forced into it… by my imaginary fiber arts friends that I hang out with all the time.

Okay, truth: I couldn’t resist the idea of how beautifully died fiber could be spun up in so many ways to create a completely different yarn. Whether it be the spinning or plying technique, how new or experienced the spinner is, or if a wheel or spindle was used.  There are just so many options.  So much to explore.

I did ease my way in to this new fiber challenge.  I thought about spinning for over a year.  I’ve looked at wheels for at least six months.  I even did the semi-sensible thing and bought a spindle first.  Afterall, a thirty dollar investment is much easier to ignore than a $600 one, especially if it turned out spinning wasn’t for me.  Plus, my local yarn shop holds one session drop spindling classes.  A perfect way to get my feet wet. I gifted myself a class and enlisted my father to watch M for the evening.  Not that I actually waited to take the class before starting.  YouTube, you saved my sanity.  While waiting impatiently to take the class, I watched videos one right after the other, until I felt the nerve to start.  Picked up my beautifully, hand-carved spindle and some variegated green fiber and attacked.  I spun an eighth of my four ounce braid of fiber my first night.  I quickly learned that my drafting needed a lot of help, but I was hooked.  Literally.  I kept snagging the hook at the tip of the spindle on everything.

Fiber Fancy's Jolly Citrus Hand Dyed Falkland

The spindling class was wonderful.  We were given/bought with our supply fee a spindle and what seemed like an entire fleece (but really half a pound of fiber is enormous).  Since the one-on-one help from the instructor and three days of practice on the gifted (it makes me happier to think of it as a present) wool, I was ready to tackle my green fiber again.  I had low expectations for the outcome, but I am so glad to say that, though my single (ie not plied for you non-yarn crafters) is about a sport to DK weight, it is much more consistent and even.

Now, what to knit?  I’m thinking a green monster that is pathetically constructed and super disfigured… since my yarn will be oh-so-varied in size, shape and twist.  It’ll be an heirloom piece for certain.

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