Finished, Finally

About 13months ago, I stopped at a local shop and picked up this spindle.

IMG_0900I had been spinning on smaller spindles and I felt like trying something heavier just for spinning singles, but also to give me a few more options when it came to plying. This Tracy Eichheim spindle came very highly recommend by the shopkeepers and weighs about 1.7oz so I gave it a whirl.

I grabbed some random green tonal merino top from Wild Hard Fiber Studio that I’d acquired long ago…

IMG_0902And I really just experimented. I spun thick and thin and just all across the board getting used to how it all felt. The spindle spun wonderfully and I really was enjoying it.

I got about this far, and then the project — for whatever reason — went into the little ninja bag you can see in the back ground there…

IMG_0916And it didn’t resurface until a few weeks ago. I have no idea why, but it just started hibernating. Then a few weeks ago, I stumbled across it as I was tidying up my yarn & fiber space and I decided I just needed to make this yarn happen.

I still had about half the 4oz left to spin, but I’m much speedier these days with a spindle than I was a year ago and after just a few days…

img_5076I had finished. Now it’s worth noting that this is not the entire 4oz. Since I only have one spindle this size, I wound the singles off onto weaving bobbins. A weaving friend sent me a couple a while back in an exchange and while I’ve hand wound them in the past, I recently added a bobbin winder to my collection of tools (to go with a couple boat shuttles for my loom… but that’s a story for another day) which made the process super quite and easy. It’s also worth noting that this spindle was HEAVY. I generally assume I have super bionic hands, wrists, and arms partly because I vary my crafts and make a big effort to never over-do it with any one craft. This full spindle, however, was hard on my hands and wrists. I will stick with my mini spindles for the most part, I think!

In any case, I wound all my singles onto bobbins and opted to ply on my wheel. This is often my course of action — not because I can’t ply on my spindles, but by the time I get through the singles on my spindles I’m often a little impatient to see the yarn. I have the wheel, so I figure why not?!

And the results of my 13months of on/off effort?

skein2This super fun, uneven, one of a kind skein.

swirl2And this is something I truly love about spinning — I can take fiber that I quite literally approached as haphazardly as is possible just to get to know the spindle and then I can go ahead and ply it into this fun skein of totally usable, 100% unique, lovely yarn. It is such an incredible thing.

I didn’t really take much time to measure — being all fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants on this one — but it’s roughly an aran weight and probably in the 180-200yard realm, maybe a little less. At some point it’ll make a very fun hat or I could throw it into a stashbuster scarf on my loom. Whatever it becomes, it’s been a long time in the making, that’s for sure. Finished, finally — I’m ecstatic that not only do I have a fantastic one-of-a-kind skein here, but I have a very familiar working knowledge of my “new” spindle. That was definitely worth the time investment!

Sleeping, Spinning, Hiking, Spinning, Sleeping

I have so many great things to share with you this week, but first I kind of want to share a little bit about my weekend. It started here.

IMG_0905With a sleepy Moose. That’s where most of my days start, of course, but this was extra cute as he covered his nose and every breath sounded like a deflating balloon. He’s such a goof.

In any case, last week I had some pretty epic yarn mail that included no fewer than 4 projects that I am dying to get working on (and include some special deals for you!), not to mention the sweater I’ve been knitting for my son. After writing the spinning post on Friday and then doing the little spinning Periscope on Saturday morning, however, I was really inspired to do a little spinning myself. So I did.

I had just a few minutes after the ‘scope before I had to take the kiddos to a fall festival, so I grabbed these ‘puni style rolags’ from naturallyknitty.

IMG_0920I got them back during the Tour de Fleece when my expectations for how much I would spin were well beyond reality. They are a cormo-cashmere-falkland-firestar-merino-other-silk-corrie cross blend in a colorway called Grumpy Rainbow.

IMG_0896Using the purpleheart sperm whale Turkish spindle I picked up from Snyder Spindles at the WI Sheep & Wool, I instantly became completely hooked on this fiber and the new spindle. The rolags are beautiful and just really, really easy to spin. Wow, do I ever recommend them! In the interest of full disclosure, they caused me to immediately seriously consider getting myself a blending board to make my own rolags for spindling. I think I’ll put that on my Christmas list, for sure.

The spindle is excellent, too. At 1.3oz it was a little heavier than I’m used to, but it spins really nicely and I have to admit I just love the novelty of the sperm whale. The kids and I once watched the coolest documentary on sperm whales in which they dissect a beached whale and a comparative anatomist talks about its coolest features. It was so incredible that even though it’s been more than a year since watching it when my kiddos see me spinning with this spindle they immediately start recalling all these amazing sperm whale facts. It’s pretty awesome. And it makes me want to watch the documentary again. And maybe spin while watching it.

After a morning of fall festivities with bouncy houses,  wagon rides, and apple cider kettle corn (it sounds weird, but it’s delicious), I thought I’d earned a stop at The Woolgatherer’s. A family store that originated in Germany and then relocated to the US, this shop is where I got my very first basic spinning fiber so it seemed appropriate that I stop back in after having just taken that trip down memory lane of my early days of spinning. I was looking for a spindle to replace the one I’ve been letting my daughter use and I found a beauty…

IMG_0900It’s 1.65oz and made by Tracy Eichheim and it was love at first spin. It was recommended by Sara and Hans, the owners, complete with instructions that I be very careful with the hook which is slightly and strategically bent to make it spin longer. They were wonderful to chat with and I learned a ton — from how these spindles are somewhat rare right now since the Eichheim’s relocated to how commercial linen yarns are made vs traditional methods to how Icelandic Lopi is spun (so fascinating!). And of course, I asked about a good starter loom — something I’ve been toying with trying for a while now and will also be on my Christmas list — maybe not for this year, but for a ‘someday’ Christmas.

Alas, I just walked out with my new spindle and got right to spinning with it when I got home.

IMG_0902It’s a pretty simple spindle, but I kind of love it for that. The signature on the bottom is such an endearing touch, too.

The rest of the weekend involved a lot of sleep. I’ve been fighting a pretty sore throat and just generally feeling under the weather, so I’ve been trying to rest a lot. On Sunday, I did take the kiddos and pup out for a hike though to Horion Marsh. It’s a beautiful time of year, after all, and I was raised on the idea that light exercise in the fresh air is an excellent way to fight colds and other non-serious respiratory ailments.

IMG_0908It’s that time of year that all the colors are vibrant and the kids were happily bundled, running and playing despite a stiff wind.

IMG_0910Moose was a little confused by this trail since he had to 1) stay leashed and 2) not go in the water. He is actually an excellent off leash dog, so we tend to take him places where that’s ok, but I needed something a little more low-key so the easy, must-stay-leashed trail was it. As usual, he was pretty happy just to be with us.

I got home and spun a little more in between a bit of knitting.

IMG_0916As you can see I started to get a little braver, flexing my spinning muscles and changing up the yarn weight at will and creating a thick & thin single. This is the original fiber I started learning to use the spindle with this summer, so nothing about it will be uniform anyway. I thought I’d embrace that and use it to my advantage and really see what I could do as far as controlling the yarn I was making.  It’s a blast and I’m loving the range of weights this spindle lets me create with ease.

All in all, it was an awfully nice, mostly low-key weekend that even though it involved an insane amount of sleep it was pretty productive. I could not be any happier with my little acquisition and even though I’m still not feeling 100% yet, I’m glad I was able to do some spinning and that we got a nice hike in, too. Oh, and of course there was some extra fun knitting that happened, as well. I’m totally addicted to my latest project and I even have a new coupon code for you should you want to try it out, too. I’ll be sharing that soon– I promise! — So stay tuned!