Archive for the “Spinning” Category
… since my last real post.
- Teaching. A lot. I’m working at two studios and one of those studios has a contract with a Waldorf school so I’m doing about 8 hours of yoga teaching a week. It’s great but it can also be draining. Thursdays are my longest days with 4 classes that have me leaving the house at 7am and not getting home until 9pm. Working with High School students has definitely been interesting. It’s all really great experience for me (and hopefully for my students as well!) and I’m very grateful for the work.
- Vending! Zarzuela’s Fibers appeared at the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival as well as the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival! Both shows were great and it was nice to see so many familiar faces and meet some new people as well. Thanks to everyone that came out! Needless to say there was a lot of dyeing going on there for awhile to get ready for two festivals so close together.
There’s been a bunch of other stuff going on too. My parents were hit pretty hard by hurricane Irene so there was much concern going on over that. They are fine but the house, one car and the utility shed were not so lucky. The house has since been repaired and so has the shed (at least enough to get it through the winter) but the car was totaled. Mom is now the proud owner of a brand new 2011 Subaru Forester and HWJF and I drool every time we go near it because we’ve been lusting after one just like it for several years. Good thing she didn’t get the blue one or there may have been some tears shed over here.
HWJF and I are still tourists in our new land. We took a Segway tour with his parents when they came to visit for Labor Day. So. Much. Fun!! If you’re ever in Manchester you *need* to do this!
We went to the beach in Maine awhile back. Seeing this picture on my phone on what is currently yet another rainy day in NH gives me hope that the sun will return!
There hasn’t been much knitting recently (but I have a bunch of things I finished and haven’t yet blogged about so stay tuned!) but there has been a fair amount of spinning. One of the nice parts of having a dyeing business is that I
have to get to sample things before they go in the shop so I know I’m giving my customers a quality product. Enter some merino/silk and you can imagine just how hard a job this can be!
There’s my 2 ply yarn in the Nightfall colorway. It’s already grown up to be a cowl that I will share with you soon.
There was also a bit of corriedale that I started spinning while vending.
Not sure what that will become just yet.
That’s where I’ll have to leave you for now. A big thank you to everyone that wished us a happy anniversary on that last post too! We celebrated with a hockey game in Portland, a pack of tickets to our local team and a Keurig. I bet you can’t guess who got which present!
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Sometimes a yarn can be pretty too! I’m particularly fond of this one that I finished spinning recently:
It was spun as an example of what can be done for the next Zarzuela’s Fibers SAL on Ravelry. We’re going to be making striping (or not) sock yarn!
I made mine from BFL using one length of fiber dyed in a vivid green, magenta and violet and the other two dyed in my Purple People Eater colorway. I spun one length on to each bobbin, plied the three together and came out with this yarn.
Hopefully it will knit up just as pretty into nice warm socks for ME!
Have a great weekend!
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What seems like many moons ago but was really only in March, I signed up for a swap on Ravelry. I haven’t participated in many swaps because I’m usually afraid of several things:
1. It will cost more than I can reasonably afford.
2. The person I’m sending to might not like their package.
3. I might be one of “those people” and flake on the deadline.
I knew this swap would be different though. This swap was being held in the Namaste Knitters group on Ravelry and, of course, had a yogic theme! How could you go wrong with that?
The theme of this swap was Santosha which is the Sanskrit word for Contentment. Santosha is part of the niyamas, which are a group of ideas along with the yamas in yoga that lay out the ethical guidelines for yoga practice and life in general. In Santosha, we learn to accept that which is and to identify with our true gifts rather than material objects. To quote from one of my favorite books on yoga, “The Secret Power of Yoga” by Nischala Joy Devi -
Santosha is an agreement of faith that we make with our Divine Self. This faith fastens us to the peace that abides in our hearts, no matter what the fates bring. By this affirmation we firmly identify with our inner essence rather than with external objects. Our identification then travels with gratitude, appreciating how much we have rather than how much we want.
In this swap we applied this idea by creating a package for our partner that was composed of only things we had on hand. We were not able to spend money on anything other than the postage to send the package.
I found this really challenging! Over the course of the swap as I kept in mind what I might like to give my partner I found myself contemplating a purchase only to remind myself of the guidelines. Each of us filled out the usual questionnaire about our likes and dislikes, and I found it really challenging to come up with something that would satisfy my partner’s likes while still coming from what I had on hand.
Perhaps it’s a bit of a cheat, but since I tend to have a lot of wool and dye on hand I decided to make a special colorway for my partner. She described her favorite colors as “I love natural-looking cool colors a lot though. Ocean colors, teals, warm blues and greens, some lilacs, etc. But sometimes a bold, rich yellow is fun too.” From that description, my OM colorway was born:
While I liked how it turned out I wasn’t sure it quite fit my partners description of her favorite colors. I spun it up anyway (my partner isn’t a spinner) and included it in the package.
It was time to go stash diving after that. Since my partner isn’t a spinner I thought a lot of handspun goodies would be fun since many people who can’t spin also can justify buying handspun yarn. She also mentioned that she would like a pair of fingerless mitts, so I decided to use my then new Amanda Mitts and Amanda Cowl patterns to make her a set. I found this yarn in my stash that I thought would be perfect:
That was the prototype for my Seascape colorway, also on Superwash merino and spun way back in 2008! It was also the first major navajo plying project I’d ever done! I think it turned into a pretty nice set of mitts and a cowl.
At the last minute I decided to include some soap from my favorite soap maker in the package so I had to make a washcloth to go along with it. And of course, it needed to have an OM on it!
I rounded out the package with some tea, some yoga themed stickers, the soap and a few more small skeins of handspun yarn. And while the package was about a week late thanks to the Canadian postal strike (and my waiting until the last second to get it out the door) the best part of all is that she loved everything! And she’s never worked with handspun yarn so I’m really glad I made that the theme of my package!
In other yoga news, after today I may have my first job teaching at a local studio! If you’d keep me in your thoughts this evening as I do my final demo I’d appreciate it. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.
And finally, I’ve started a chair yoga video podcast! This has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite awhile and just got around to trying out. I’m hoping that it will eventually be available through iTunes and on Roku but for now you can find it on the blip.tv site. The first episode you see there is just an introduction but I hope to have the first real class up before the beginning of next week. Check it out and let me know what you think!
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… to PREORDER this year’s Tour de Fleece special colorway!
The lantern rouge is the last place in the race. They may be in the back of the pack with the masses sweating it out, but their eye is always on that prize yellow jersey in the front! This colorway pays tribute to this position with rich reds and browns and a shot of yellow to keep your eye on the prize as you spin along! You can order on etsy or artfire until Saturday when Tour de Fleece starts!
And speaking of Tour de Fleece, what are your goals this year? What team have you joined?
For myself I’m on Team Crankypants once again.
My goal is pretty simple. Spin for me. I’ve been doing a lot of work toward shop goals lately so I think I deserve to spin a bit for myself and the simple pleasure of it. I do have part of a CVM/Romeldale fleece that I split with Our Annie at Rhinebeck last year that I’m working on now and a bunch of shetland too. If I could get both of those made into yarn so I could start planning a Rhinebeck sweater it would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.
Just spin. That’s good enough for me.
What are you doing for TdF this year?
P.S. I just realized that this weekend is the 3 year anniversary of Zarzuela’s Fibers!! I think this calls for a free shipping code(!) so make sure you follow me on twitter or join the Ravelry group to get it when it posts tomorrow! And check out the new logo too!
ETA: Or you can find the code on the new Facebook page!! I’ll post it there too. Hope you “like” it!
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When I decided to participate in the Tour de Fleece this year I knew that setting up hard and fast goals would be a recipe for failure. With wedding planning getting intense and everything else going on I just didn’t need the pressure. So instead I just had some ideas of what I’d like to do during the tour. I thought that I would like to get some old stuff off the bobbins (and you’ve already seen that I managed to do that) and my other thought was that I would really like to spin some angora considering how much of the stuff I have around the house. To illustrate:
Those bags and boxes are all full of bunny foof. And there’s at least one more box and possibly another bag not in that picture!
Little did I realize that I would spin an entire fleece!
(Skeins reclining on HWJF’s 30 birthday present, a digital piano that he isn’t allowed to use until his actual birthday next month! Yes I am evil.)
That’s about 700 yards of corriedale from “The Fleece I Did Not Buy at Rhinebeck 2009″. It’s so yummy and fluffy that it’s actually quite difficult to make nice pretty skeins of it! Now this was a small fleece, only around 3 pounds, but still! I spun up the whole thing!
On major conclusion from this: If someone else processes the fleece I actually do spin it. Perhaps it’s time to turn over the 5 or so fleeces that are sitting around here waiting to be processed to the professionals?!? We’ll see what the bank account allows come Rhinebeck….
I do believe that I will be pairing that yarn with the BFL I previously showed you into a sweater like this one for myself. Instead of colorwork I would just use the contrasting yarn for the yoke. Or maybe a Cobblestone with a contrasting yoke. We’ll see.
In between working on spinning up that fleece I did work with some angora. I decided to blend it with some undyed merino top that I have for the shop. I took my drum carder and carded up a batt of merino and a batt of angora. I then divided each batt into quarters. I took one quarter of each fiber and further divided the merino quarter in half again to sandwich the angora in between two layers of merino. This worked out well and kept the angora contained nicely in the yarn while making it a little easier to spin. I didn’t weigh anything and while there was probably more merino per initial batt than angora, you can bet that there is a LOT of angora in this yarn. My final four batts before I would sit down to spin looked like this:
I think each bobbin took 8 of these smaller batts. I made a two ply yarn and ended up with this:
There’s just over 400 yards between all three of these bobbins. As I type, the yarn is getting the spa treatment and I’m trying to decide how I’m going to dye it. The two different fibers will each take the dye differently, the angora being less likely to take up the dye readily, so the final product could be really interesting color wise. And I’m just too happy that I actually came up with enough to do something with! I’m thinking some kind of cowl or maybe fingerless mitts right now.
So how was your Tour de Fleece?
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I keep meaning to catch up on what’s been happening around these parts with y’all on the blog, but I fear that I still don’t have my act together and if I don’t just put something up here I never will. So, suffice it to say that two big things happened recently.
1. I graduated from yoga teacher training!! Yoga alliance has taken my money but I’m waiting on them to send me my certificate. Otherwise, I have my insurance and I’m all set to teach. I’ll be teaching one class during the first week of August at the studio where I studied. I’m also hatching plans for teaching a weekly class in my home. If you are local and are interested in either of these opportunities, drop me a comment and let me know! Also, I would be very interested in teaching small groups of knitters and spinners yoga that would help them keep their bodies functional while they pursue their crafts. If you would be interested in having me teach your group, get in touch!
2. Wedding planning is in full swing. We are less than three months out and I may loose my mind before then. My first dress fitting is this coming week and there are just a million things to do. I also am incredibly lucky to have had a certain amazing lace knitter complete a shawl for my wedding and I even was lucky enough to have it blocked by another generous soul so I didn’t have to do it! I’ve gone back and forth in my head about whether or not to show it on the blog before the wedding. I’m still trying to decide. Stay tuned. And thank you so very much to Cookie and Joan. I’m a very lucky woman!
In the meantime, I’m going to follow a very smart mantra and “start where I am”.
I am participating in the Tour de Fleece although somewhat quietly because my brain is otherwise occupied most of the time. Here’s what I accomplished so far:
In the bobbin clearing department:
If I remember correctly this is an angora and polworth blend. The fiber was given to me for my birthday by Chris in 2008. I spun in up ages ago but just got around to plying it.
I think it might become a smoke ring or something like that.
Next up, I purchased this fiber from Fiber Optic at Rhinebeck 2009.
Mostly spun up before the TdF began. Plied during the TdF.
The colors made this one I couldn’t leave behind. Not sure what it will grow up to be.
After my bobbin clearing mission was complete (and also, how the heck did I end up with 15 bobbins?!?! O.o) I decided to spin up some of my own dye work:
This is my “Study in Blues” colorway on BFL. I spun up all 8 oz. the first day of the tour and plied it yesterday. I decided to work on spinning a softer yarn with this fiber because I hope this will become the yoke of a sweater some day.
With just over three hundred yards, that shouldn’t be a problem! And what I’m spinning next may just end up being the body of said futuristic sweater. But time will tell.
What are you doing for TdF this year?
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So I’ve been a little busy.
Unfortunately for the regular updating of this blog, most of what’s been going on has had little to do with yarn or fiber.
That doesn’t make for great blog fodder.
So to sort of quickly recap since the last post:
I had another birthday. It was a very nice one. HWJF went to yoga with me in the morning, then treated me to crepes for breakfast. We spent some time in the afternoon on wedding planning and then while he went to work for a few hours I got my very first pedicure (love!) and went to a teacher training class where I was showered with gifts and food. Good stuff!
I had what was my last yoga teacher training before my big exam next month. It’s really hard to believe that this experience is rapidly coming to an end. I sort of feel like I’m hanging on for dear life while at the same time wanting to go farther forward. I haven’t talked about this experience much here mostly because I find it really difficult to put into words. I had even started another blog with the idea that I would journal my experiences there, but until recently, I really haven’t been able to express the transformation and what’s been going on in my mind very well. And when I feel the need to put things in words, it feels a little too close to put on the internet, so I’m using a lovely journal that one of my fellow trainees gave me as a gift. There will certainly be more about yoga on here as things progress I’m sure, but for now just know that I’m very deeply immersed and much of my concentration is going to that.
And when I’m not focusing on yoga it seems to be all about the wedding. Last weekend was a huge planning weekend for us where we had our flower trial, our tasting, finished our registry, figured out the hair/makeup situation and ordered our invitations! I’ve also finally settled on dresses for my bridesmaids and started making decisions I didn’t even know I had to make. Talk about a transformation! I’ve gone from “person getting married” to “person that must make approximately forty billion decisions about things I didn’t even know I cared about while trying to harmonize what I want with what the person I’m planning to marry wants and also what the people who are paying for this whole shindig want”. Fun?!? I’m not sure sometimes, but we’re getting our pumpkin flavored wedding cake and that makes me SO happy! And check out the flower arrangements!
These make me very happy too.
I’ve also, oddly enough for me, been doing a lot of reading lately. I’m usually not much for books, which is always a bit hysterical when someone finds out I’m a librarian and asks me for a book recommendation. I usually answer “I’m a music librarian. I don’t read books!” which is only partially true. So in a rare moment of book interest, allow me to recommend two books:
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I know it’s been all “Oprah-fied” and that gave me my doubts, but she had an article in the recent issue of Yoga Journal that made me seek out her book. And the book was one I could barely put down. I really identified with her relationship crisis and found myself wishing I had had the awareness or ability to do what she did for a year, but obviously that wasn’t my path. The only not good thing about this book? Her descriptions of deep meditation I found completely frightening. But that’s my own hang up. Your mileage may vary, but it’s a great read to me.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay
Now this one is really interesting. It’s in some ways a very typical self help book, but I think her approach is very different. The basic premise is that how we think determines how our lives run and how we feel. Experiencing knee pain? She tells you that this comes from a reluctance to step into your future and gives affirmations for helping your pain heal. Interesting eh? I had a couple of serious “Ah hah!” moments with this one.
I’ve also been thinking about food a lot since our last training weekend (one of the topics for the weekend was Yogic diet so I’m not surprised) and have been reading a couple of Ayurveda books. I’m also just starting The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michale Pollan which is already proving very interesting. I’ll have to let y’all know how that goes.
Despite all that, there is a tiny bit of fiber progress. The wedding shawl yarn has been wound and is really to go in the mail to Our Cookie for knitting once I get off my butt and mail it. Of course I don’t have pictures of it in the ball but I do in the skein!
And the first of the two shawls for my bridesmaids is progressing nicely, albiet very slowly. This is actually a very old photo at this point, but it gives you an idea of the color at least:
Wollmeise in Blue Curacao. Appropriate on so many levels.
So that’s the story from here. I’d promise another blog post in short order but y’all would know that would ensure that it would be another month. Rest assured that I’ll be alternating my concentration between yoga and wedding stuff with some fiber thrown in here and there. This weekend is already going to be a busy one with a harmonium workshop in NYC on Saturday and a chair yoga workshop in Westchester on Sunday. Not to mention there is a certain bunny that needs a haircut…
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The radio silence around here has not been all together intended. I’ve been studying my yoga, reading (things other than assignments which is rather unusual for me), dealing with wedding plans and family and a metric buttload of snow in two different storms, etc. etc. etc. February is always a tough month for me for some reason. I always seem to get sick at least once and this year it really held on for far too long. But that illness actually led to some self discovery oddly enough…
Anyway, the biggest factor in the lack of blogging has mostly been the lack of daylight for photographs (which also, not so coincidentally turned my 365 projects into an epic fail once again). I just couldn’t ever seem to get decent pictures of what I was working on and when I did have time in daylight hours it seemed like there was always some form of water falling from the sky!
But finally, finally!! There was sun this past weekend (and snow of course) so I can finally show you some of what I’ve been working on lately. First up was an Ishbel of my very own.
Yarn: Pigeonroof Studios Cassiopeia, surf colorway
Needles: US 5
Knit: Feb. 1-10, 2010
First of all, a huge THANK YOU to my dear friend Sairy for giving me this delicious yarn!! It’s got CASHMERE in it people! And could the color be more perfect for me?? I think not!
Ishbel is a lovely pattern to knit, even twice! I particularly love how the top edge curves so that it stays around the neck quite nicely. I’ve worn this quite a bit since I finished it and it’s really like a lovely warm hug around my neck.
And did I mention it has CASHMERE in it?!?! Hello?!?!?
Next up, my shawlette for the latest Zarzuela’s Fibers Spinalong!
Pattern: Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Handspun! In my Purple Midnight colorway – 100% merino, two ply
Needles: US 5
Knit: Feb. 10-16, 2010
Since I never did post a pic, here’s the finished yarn:
While I’m very happy with the end result I do think that there are some serious problems with this pattern. I’ve been far too busy to keep track of such things, but fair warning should you choose to knit this pattern. Be careful with the written directions. Either that or I just simply can’t count which, of course, is entirely possible.
This project was a great reminder of how nice it is to knit with your own handspun for me. It was a fairly quick project too. I spun the yarn in just a couple of days and had the shawl knitted up during my commute in short order too. Considering how long the yarn for my wedding shawl has been taking, this was blissful relief.
Speaking of the wedding shawl yarn… I made it my project for the recent Ravelympics. And I FINISHED it!! Seriously!! Aunt Cookie can start to breathe a little bit again now. More on that next time!
But before I go… a little gratitude to send out to the universe. A year ago today I found out about the health situation that was most of my focus last year. This time last year, I could not even begin to imagine how that night would change my life. Through all the fear and anguish of those next 3 months leading up to my surgery and through my recovery I’ve emerged on the other side of it all far stronger and with a focus and direction I never could have expected. Thank you to all of you who listened to me, supported me and encouraged me through the darkest of those days. The next time life gets hard, I hope I can remember your love and compassion and know that it will all be ok. Thank you for that gift.
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I promised spinning in the next post and boy do I have some. Mostly things I shouldn’t be spinning… but that’s how I roll lately.
Anyway, first up is something that is finally DONE.
Honeymoon sweater yarn. If you’ll recall I’ve been spinning up one ply of a mystery bump and one ply of a Borderleicester cross fleece that I’m processing myself, both of which were purchased at Rhinebeck 2008. Well I’m finally out of the mystery bump fiber so this is the end of the yarn. It worked out to be about 1660 yards in a heavy worsted weight. The plan is to knit two Cobblestone type sweaters, one for HWJF and one for me, to be worn on our honeymoon. However, I’m thinking 1660 is probably not going to be enough for both sweaters so my thought at this point is that I’ll need to spin some two ply out of only the fleece and that will be the cuffs, neckline and hem on HWJF’s sweater while it will end up being the majority of my sweater and the yoke of my sweater will be made with some of what you see above. I’ve been thinking I might knit up HWJF’s sweater during the Olympics. Not sure if I’m insane enough to commit to that yet but I need to get a swatch done first. Also, I need to wash more fleece!
But instead of washing more fleece I decided to spin up some of the corriedale fleece that I did not buy at Rhinebeck in 2009 (ahem) that Annie delivered last weekend.
Not sure why I was over spinning it so badly toward the end there but you get the idea. It’s so soft and yummy and a joy to spin. I have dreams of something from the book “A Fine Fleece” dancing in my head as I spin this but that’s definitely going to have to wait a while.
I spent most of the weekend on the couch sick instead of doing the yoga classes I had wanted to do. Spinning was about the only thing I had any energy for and since we’re starting another spinalong in the Zarzuela’s Fibers group on Ravelry I thought I’d get a little bit of a jump on my project (I’m not in it for a prize after all ). I chose my Purple Midnight colorway in merino.
I find that spinning this fiber is much easier when I predraft it first.
And then I went about spinning it.
3.5 hours later all four ounces were done! I’ll let it rest and hopefully ply it up later in the week.
Of course all this is really just procrastination tactics. As I’m pretty sure Cookie will point out, I should really be spinning this:
My wedding shawl. A mix of cormo and angora. Yummy for sure but boring as heck to me right now. Maybe it’s the winter blahs but I just really want some color in my life. Then again, what you see hanging off the wheel is all I have left to spin of the first bobbin. I really should just sit down and do it.
I did work on it for a while last weekend though. Baby steps.
Then again with only 244 days to go until the big day as of this writing maybe I should have Cookie
come over and whip my ass into shape give me some encouragement! O.o
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I had a great time at WOOL this weekend! I went up with Sairy and Sharon and still can’t believe we fit all of our crap AND all of my fiber in Sharon’s car with room to spare! WOOT! I had a serious bout of camnesia during the weekend but I did manage to get a couple of pictures.
Sairy making friends with a local moose when we stopped for souvenirs.
The view down the lake just before we left
Besides all the fun and the spinning and hanging out with a fun crowd there was one other major highlight for me. Doing yoga outside the Lake House Saturday morning. I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing yoga outside before and it was really something to look up to the sky and actually see SKY! Doing heart openers was not a problem during that practice I must say!
You really should just head over to Tina’s blogpost about the weekend for the real low down. And pictures of a great use for fun fur. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed. And many thanks again to Tina for everything she does to make this weekend possible for all of us!
I got a ton of spinning done during the weekend. I made some serious progress on the yarn for my wedding shawl.
I know it doesn’t look like much, but that’s many hours of work! And I’m still not through the first batt, but I’m close! Kim exclaimed at one point that it was so thin she couldn’t even see it. I also was moved away from more than once because of the breeze my wheel was creating while I was spinning. I guess the fast whorl and treadling like a mofo might have had something to do with it. And it was cold. Dang cold. Low 50s at night! No one needed any extra breeze!
When I couldn’t stand spinning white any more I picked up a braid of my own Superwash merino in Camo (similar to this braid) and spun that up in just a couple of hours. I plied it at home and it came out like this.
(Still in need of a bath.)
I have high hopes that it might become a Button Up Neckwarmer from the last issue of Spin Off. We’ll see.
I also bought some destashed merino from Kim that I spun in the evening and plied at home.
(Also needing a bath.)
Turned out to be about 150 yards of two ply. HWJF likes it so it may turn into another cowl or something for him.
The spinning needs a rest for now though. My knees need a break. And I’m busy knitting something with some other handspun….
Shhh!! If you know what it is, don’t say! It’s a surprise!
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