Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's Been Spinning?

Having more than a foot of snow on the ground over the past week has inspired me to spin some warm and cozy yarns, and provided me with enough free time to spin spin spin away. I've been a busy little person on all my snow days, and it looks promising that I'm snowed in again this weekend! I woke up this morning to this view out the kitchen window.

Of course, the only way I knew it was new snow was because it had covered the path I shoveled last weekend. So here I sit, again today, with the prospect of being snowed in all weekend staring me in the face. I looked out the front door, and saw this beautiful wintery scene.

Last weekend, my snow days afforded me the opportunity to spin a lot of fiber, sew a little, and bake cookies! Yum yum. The recipe I use was aptly renamed by my BIL "Crack Cookies," because they are like crack, apparently.

I also finished sewing up a baby sling for Sister Dear! It's not exactly a surprise, but I thought a shot of just the fabrics was best for now. Reversible and trendy, not too boyish, and perfectly suited to Sister Dear's style! And in a few short months, Sister Dear will have a wee little one to cuddle in this sling... Check out their progress here.

Last weekend, I finished spinning up some BFL I've been saving for Tillie. The purples turned out beautiful, and I can't wait to find a project to knit with it!

Today, I'll be finishing up a beautiful merino yarn for LoveBabyMama, my first try at a true three ply yarn. I love the way it looks, squooshy and soft, but also a little rugged.

Once that's done, I'm going to get started on some Shetland I got at Greenberry House this autumn. It's a beautiful cocoa color, what sheep people call "Moorit," which comes from the Icelandic for "red as the moors." I'm trying a new spinning technique that makes a softer, loftier yarn, and I want to practice on something easy to spin, which Shetland definitely is!

It will be another spinning weekend, for sure. The yards Tillie's traveled already... And next weekend, I'm off to a sheep shearing (assuming the weather cooperates). Replenishing my fiber supply with a fleece or two from Rising Meadow Farm, plus I expect my lovely "Patty" fleece I purchased last year to be back from the processor soon... It truly will be slow fiber - grown outside Greensboro, NC, washed and prepped here in Stuart, carded in Ruckersville, VA.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meet Tillie...

Four and a half years ago, POSSLQ secured his title of Best-Gift-Giver-Ever and bought me a beginner's spinning wheel for my birthday. After some very frustrating hours learning to spin, I was off!! Add a few bunnies, a few sheep fleeces, and you have a very happy ME. Then, at a fiber festival in September of 2008, I met a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel. I wasn't even shopping for a new wheel, I promise. I sat down to help a woman who has having a tremendous amount of trouble at a busy vendor's booth, and spun for about 5 minutes. I was sold, but it's been a long road to try to save the money for this pricey little beauty...

Thank you, Paypal, for being an enabler and offering me financing I couldn't refuse. Of course I'm going to take advantage of 0% interest for six months... Especially on a wheel I've been lusting after for so long. Thank you, Copper Moose for having a great deal on the wheel and extra flyers. I ordered on Sunday, and that lovely package arrived on Thursday. I was so excited I hugged the UPS man... I'm only a little embarassed by that. And I unpacked it at work, so I could leave all that packing material in the recycle pile.

On my way home from work with the wheel packed carefully in her super-uncool bag, her name came to me - Tillie. When we were kids, sister dear and I watched An American Tale about three times a week. There's this great little part where the sister says, "Popa, they changed my name to Tillie, maybe they changed Fievel's name to Filly!" And I thought, what better name for my imported Polish spinning wheel?

Speaking of Poland, ask POSSLQ about the poor Polish child slave who (he thinks) made my wheel, his impression makes me giggle... In actuality, she was handmade by a member of the Kromski family, then imported to Georgia. I know the day she was made (and might throw her a birthday party) and she's signed by the maker, just like a Cabbage Patch Kid! She folds up all nice and neat and travels beautifully - I took her out to the coffee shop this morning for a little Saturday morning spin-in-public, and a meet-n-greet with my spinning buddy Liz.

Last night I oiled her up, figured out how to use the braking and tension systems (which are totally backward from my old wheel), and spun up 88 yards of lovely dark grey wool. I'm going to make a little tiny sheep for Tillie. Then I added some patches to un-dork her travel bag a little. I only need a million more to really make it mine...

This morning, I started working on some BFL that POSSLQ got me for my birthday over a year ago. It's been waiting for the new wheel...