Sometimes you go into a week a with the best intentions of accomplishing a particular list of tasks. This week my crafty to-do list looked like this:
- Finish Fairbanks Pullover
- Finish Top of the Month Club singles from Three Waters Farm
- Start plying purple handspun weaving project (on Lendrum)
- Make fauxlags and start learning long draw
- Wash, dry, and photograph handspun Find Your Fade
And, my friends, I completed one and a half of these tasks!
It was the first week back to school for us, so that always makes for being extra busy organizing and convincing at least one of the kids at any moment to focus and stay on target with studies. That in turn changes my energy levels by the end of the day and often results in a little improvisation on the crafty front. It’s knitting and spinning in real life, you know?
After school, the first distraction I had can be summed up in one word: spindles. Upon returning from vacation and checking out all the AMAZING posts in the #wemakeyarn event on Instagram, I found a couple people who had taken up the issue of the “wheel” prompt as being a little exclusive of those who spin only with spindles. Of course, that was not our intent at all. In fact, my partner in this endeavor, Mary Ann at Three Waters Farm, was actually the person who encouraged me to pick up the spindle again after only moderate success and helped me to find the right spindles for me and really, truly find my spindle love. And now, I carry a spindle with me almost everywhere I go!
In any case, I’d only brought my spindles on vacation and was kind of on a roll. Add to that the conversation about spindle spinning on Instagram and I was inspired to just kept going…
Spindle spinning is perfect for so many situations and school with the kids is one of them. I did go back and review Abby Franquemont’s Respect the Spindle DVD, just to see if there was anything I was forgetting or anything I could glean since I now have a little more experience. It can be a challenge to find really good quality spindle instruction if you don’t have access to a teacher locally, but this video is definitely quite good.
I also became curious about Turkish spindles again. I’ve used them in the past, but I’ve just never found the Turkish spindle for me. I’ve tried 3D printed ones and larger wooden ones and teeny tiny wooden ones and while I could spin with them and they are absolutely fine tools, they just weren’t the right fit for me.
I’ve always wondered about Jenkins Turkish spindles as I have only ever hear raves about them and noticed that The Woolery carries them now. Granted, these don’t have the sweet little individualized designs on them that many Jenkins spindles to, I thought it was worth trying. I hopped on the online chat with The Woolery and picked the brain of one of their resident spindle spinners to see if they could offer any advice on these and help me crack the code and find a “turk” that really fit me.
And these two were headed by way shortly after…
On the left is a 0.63oz Bigleaf Maple Aegean and on the right a 0.77oz Rambutan Lark. I’m still getting a feel for them, to be sure — the inconsistent yarn is a testament to that fact — but I’m really enjoying getting to know these lovely, well-balanced spindles. I think I can see a future with them — hooray!
The one item I did check off the list was finishing the Top of the Month Club singles.
I’ll be chain plying them shortly with my Lendrum after they’ve had a nice rest (and I get the wheel set-up).
The other item I sort of half finished was I did wash and dry my Find Your Fade. I’ll admit, I’m seriously taken with this project. I mean, there are not only a lot of hours knitting in it, but also it is wholly handspun and it turned out so much better than I ever hoped it could. I will try not to get too precious about the photography, but it’s going to be very hard not to because I am compelled to do it full justice.
In other distractions, istead of prepping fauxlags so I could start the harrowing journey of teaching myself long draw, I decided I would start first by getting a feel for the Schacht Reeves’ big whorl.
I have only done light weight plied yarns with this wheel thus far and it’s time to start branching out! Again, this is not the most consistent — it’ll definitely be a thick & thin — and I’m concerned there’s too much twist to leave it a single, but I think I’m going to go for it anyway. The fiber is 100% Rambouillet from Three Waters Farm in the Spring Lamb colorway. It is positively spring!
I set aside my Fairbanks Pullover for a spell to work on another pair of Snowfling Mittens.
Tanis LaVallee’s stranded, lined mittens are hands-down (ha!) my favorites. I love them so much, I’ve made 2 sets and I have yarn for two more pairs not including the ones I’ve started here. They are actually my mittens of choice even in our sub zero winter temps…
As you can see in this snapshot my hubby grabbed of me out at Necedah Wildlife Refuge last week. They keep my fingers nice and warm always, even when in these extremely cold snaps we’ve been having.
They served me yesterday, as well, when we went down to the Buena Vista Grasslands hoping to catch a glimpse of Short-Eared Owls. The thing about viewing Short-Eared Owls is there is a really short window to see them each day — they come out at dusk and you just have 45minutes to an hour to see them before you lose the light this time of year. But to see them, in my opinion, is one of the beautiful events to witness in nature.
I’ve seen them once before, also in the dead of winter, in a field a half hour or so from our old house. We saw 3-4 birds. At Buena Vista last night, this was the scene as the sun set in the West…
And night rose in the East…
And on this quiet dirt road, 3 vehicles quietly pulled to the side of the road, their occupants grabbed their optics or cameras and exited into the 8°F air careful not to slam any doors, and watched the graceful, lilting flight of 8-10 Short-Eared Owls as they hunted, courted, and scanned the fields on either side of that otherwise unassuming dirt road, sometimes flying close enough that I could see them without the help of my optics. My husband tried to snap photos, but he doesn’t have equipment to catch birds in motion…
So this will have to do for you, my friends.
Maybe it’s because the only time to really see these birds is during the Golden Hour so they positively glow. Maybe it’s because their flight is like a dance — their wings shaped almost like a bat, but they exhibit so much grace and agility in the air that it’s hard to believe they are of this Earth. Whatever the reason, to see this many individual birds so surrounding us, with many more in fields further away was… it was as it always is, breathtaking.
And just like that, another week has passed. Full of distractions and changes in plans, the simple pleasures, the new challenges, the breathtaking beauty these are the thingsthat make up this life I lead. All in all, it’s been just another wonderfully ordinary extraordinary week in the life of Knitting Sarah.