Friday, March 31, 2006


This has been an exciting morning. Well, not morning any longer, but it was an exciting morning. It doesn't get much more exciting than to find a comment from Franklin on your blog. I figure it must be like getting a letter from your favorite movie star or favorite dignitary, only better!!! Wow!

I have been meaning to get back to the spinning, and how could I possibly not, after that? However, I decided that I really should finish up the little hat that I knit during Anne's after surgery PT first. It was still on the circular needle, which I hadn't realized till last night, when Anne was looking for some size 8 needles. The little hat was further exposed when Anne wanted something to put the kitty pi bed on to dry, and we discovered that the brass container that I keep the week's newspapers in was just the right size. So, I decided it was way past time to finish this little hat. Here it is!

It is just a little hat, sized for a small child. Oh drats, I will go ahead and put up another photo. I had thought that putting a skein of sock yarn next to it would help give some idea of the size of the hat, but the photos I took then didn't come out as well as I would have liked. Here we go...

Anyway, the hat came out pretty nicely, and will keep some random child's head warm some winter.

After completing that finishing work, I decided I was clear to spin. I found that I had used all the short bit of roving Anne had initially given me from the big bag. All except a little bit that had been spun and I had been unspinning so it could be redone. I didn't really like the way it looked for actually spinning, and decided to use it for a future leader or something.

That meant I got to start in on the much longer hunk of roving that Anne had ripped off for me. I just realized I should have taken a photo. Oh well.... I followed the teachings of the I Can Spin video. I cracked it like a whip. From both ends, since it was so long. Little tiny pieces of fiber flew through the air. No, it wasn't as bad as that sounds! Just a little fiber here and there. Then, I divided it down the middle lengthwise, and did the same again with one half. Then I divided off one little section. I once again followed the teachings, and went down the length, gently pulling section by section, and seeing and feeling the fibers slide along each other. So, I was set, right????

I got it connected to the last spun bit, after thinning and respinning most of the long end that was left on the spindle. That process was not encouraging, as I think too much time had passed, and it all seemed so uneven and fat. I found that it did go some better with the new longer hunk of roving. I still have a lot of difficulty getting it to draft and flow nicely. I also have trouble getting the spindle spinning well enough so that it will actually spin long enough for me to get anything done! I do have the height problems too, with being 5'2". My spindle seems to love going in reverse. But, I feel that things will work out eventually. I haven't lost faith! Without further ado, here is what it looks like now.

My beginning yarn will definitely be kept rather than used. I hope it doesn't take too much longer to reach that "got it" level!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spinning Along Slowly

I still don't have it yet. That is the bottom line. However, I have not spent enough time, especially in one stretch, to have really had time to "get it" I don't think. So, the process continues.

I did go back and looked at almost every video and read almost all the text from the different choices at I Can Spin. I really thought that would help a lot, and it did in theory. I think I understand more now. It didn't help in practice yet! I guess it might have helped that I tried spinning again yesterday---and although it didn't go as well as I hoped it would, I think I have a better understanding now of why it didn't. I can't seem to get the fiber to sort of flow, as it seems to for the various spinners I have seen online. I did much more preparation yesterday, to get the fiber ready, but I am sure it still isn't enough. I think I will be much better prepared now, for the next time! It is all part of the learning experience, and I will get it eventually!

Here is a photo of my spindle, with the total accumulated results of my spinning efforts to date.

Here is a closer shot of it:

Sorry the photo isn't any clearer, but I think you can get a good idea of what it is looking like. The light really reflects off the singles, and makes it hard to get a good shot of it.

That is how it stands. I am not discouraged, although I will be really glad when I finally get it all sorted out properly and can spin consistently!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spinning Photos

Well, that is rather a teaser of a title, no? I have taken photos. I will post photos. Even though my spinning is typical beginner spinning. Maybe not as bad as some, maybe way worse than some? I have little actual visual experience to go by. In the long run, it doesn't matter, eh? Beginner single is just that, right? It is all part of the learning process.

This is what my spindle looked like when I posted last. The biggest bumps are where the leader is tied onto the shaft, and where the end of the leader is looped and knotted so that the single could be attached. It is not at all unobtrusive! I think part of the problem is that I started spinning the leader with way too much roving fiber. Oh well, it serves the purpose, and that is the big thing, right?

This is what it looks like today. The only differences between this photo and the last one are: I re-wound the single on the spindle, and I cut off (very very gently!) the halo I mentioned before. That little halo of fiber that could easily be moved up and down the length of the single. I carefully, so as not to lose the twist, unwound the single, winding it onto my hand. When I got to it, I snipped off the halo, and I am glad I did! Once I had the shaft above the whorl clear, I started rewinding onto the shaft. I had read somewhere, I don't remember now exactly where, how to wind the single onto the shaft for optimal space and balance. I will probably do better with this part too, with more experience, but I think it is immensely better than it was, so I am happy with it. I have a lot more space now too! I do find that the end really does lose its twist and fuzzes out, so I do a half hitch near the top of the shaft, and then wind the fiber around the hook. One more picture!

Here is a close-up! It really doesn't look all that bad, I don't think???? As mentioned, the very fuzzy bump at the bottom is the beginning end of the leader, and the fuzzy bump about half way up is the other end of the leader and the joining with the single. I do feel confident that I will actually be a "spinner" some day!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spinning Along

I finally made (as in "purposefully took the time") another chance to spin. After the good luck I had with relatively smooth spinning on the leader, all went to h*** in a handbasket. Oh, it isn't really that bad, I don't think? But, not nearly as good as I would have hoped. I still haven't done nearly enough for it all to click, and I am sure that is part of the problem.

I really like the low whorl spindle, but I do like the mechanics of the high whorl spindle better, at least in theory. At least as far as the leader situation and the winding on of the spun singles goes. That long leader is the problem. Well, not really a problem, I guess, but it makes it a tad bit more difficult for the beginner? No photos today, but I will try to put one or more up tomorrow. Then you will see what I mean, perhaps?

I do find that drafting is hard. I expected that, but after reading so much about it, I had hoped it wouldn't be as hard? But it is hard. I also feel that I tend to get too much twist into my singles, and I really have to re-read Spin It again, as she addresses that problem, and I think she also talks about how to know if it is too tight or not tight enough.

For the most part, I think my spinning for the day tended to be thinner than I wanted, and a bit bumpier! One of the bumps was caused when trying to smooth a bump---I ended up with a little halo of fiber that can be moved up and down the length of my singles, but does not wish to be removed. I would have to cut it off.

I imagine next on my list too, is to do more looking around online. I wish I had found a little bit more info on all the beginning things. Even when you have a leader, it isn't always clear, from site to site, whether you just spin onto the end of the leader (which is sometimes what it seems like) or if you loop it through, and then have to cut it off when you have finished winding it onto a bobbin or whatever. Or just what you do at some of these points of the process. I guess it is this kind of thing that is made easier by working with an experienced spinner. On the other hand, I am willing to bet that there are almost as many ways and views as there are spinners. I don't imagine all those ancient and not as ancient spinners worried greatly about it, they were happy to have yarn/thread for weaving, knitting, etc. and knowing that clothing would be the end result. Maybe I should worry less about this kind of thing and more about just enjoying the process and looking forward to the day when it all clicks and "life is good!" Not that it isn't already, but in my spinning world, it isn't there yet!!!!

That is it for the day. I have been busy around the house. I got Mike's cave cleared so the new bookcase can go in when it finally arrives. Have also been working on laundry, balancing the check book, etc. It has been a good "putter around the house" day.

Jo---I sent an email to your regular email addy. It was good getting your email from the folks email address! Sounds like you all are having a good time and getting a lot done!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Follow The Leader....

Success, with some help from Anne!

I did, bravely but with some hesitation, give the spinning a bit of a go in the family room, where Anne could see me. Well, I did start out in the computer room, hidden away, but switched rooms. I did try out her spindle, and I actually don't find it easier, and in fact, I think I find it harder to use. I don't know if I had already become accustomed to mine, in the tiny bit of time I have spent with it, or what. Anyway.....

I went back to my spindle, and got to work on spinning a bit of singles long enough to use for the leader. I had made a similar attempt on Anne's spindle, but it was awkward, and the result was not long enough---I stopped too soon. I managed a long enough bit of spun wool, and got Anne to hold an end for me so the twist didn't come out. I got the one end tied to the spindle and got it wound around the shaft as required. I decided that was my goal for the day and it was sufficient! That means I didn't feel up to spinning any more in front of Anne--I know she is good about not snickering at me, but I didn't want to risk it!

So, here is the spindle with the leader on. The knotted end is quite fat and fuzzy, as it fluffed once the twist was able to relax a bit. And the other end, through the hook, is fluffed out too, since it isn't being held by anything. I need to make a loop in it for attaching fiber for spinning.

I don't know if I will actually get any spinning done today, but I am all set if I decide to. I am talking to Brian on IM right now, and that might take a while!

I guess that is all on the quilting/knitting/spinning front, so I will go for now. I think I will blog on Sally's Stuff too, so go take a look!

Edited to add: oops, that photo is a bit bright. Sorry about that. I am afraid you can't really see the leader that well, too much light there. I hope to have bette pix soon.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Okay, I Bit

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are "turbo" charged.Fast moving and classy, you get things done with power and grace. Your expensive tastes can be deceiving, since what you really value is quality and efficiency. As you're careening around those corners in life, finishing a dozen knitted objects each month, stop and smell the roses. Don't miss the beauty of process!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Well, I am not sure how that came out, especially about all the knitting projects each month. Cute quiz though. Anne had it on her blog and I tried it out.

I had to run to the post office today, after getting a box ready, birthday cards ready to mail, etc. I haven't spun yet, but I may still get to it? I do have the rovings and both spindles in here with me, but it is also getting late. I may just address the leader issue, and save any other attempts for later today or maybe over the weekend---I guess I will wait and see what happens. I really am not procrastinating or avoiding, some things really did have to be done. Meanwhile, my brain continues to analyse the spinning process, and that can't hurt, right?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Slow Going

The spindle arrived in the mail yesterday! I think I already told you that?

Back up to earlier in the day yesterday. I asked Anne about her spindle, the one I could not find to photograph along with the rovings she ordered. It actually was on the sofa, and I just missed it when I looked. I tend to forget how little it is, it makes it easy to get lost among things. Oh well.....

Her's is a top whorl spindle, and mine is a bottom whorl. We will see how it goes.

This is my spidle (laying on its side)! I will like it a lot more once I can actually use it properly. It is unfinished---I don't think they have to be finished? I am not sure about it. I don't think Anne's is finished, but it does have a certain patina from use.

Here are the two spindles together. You can sure see the difference in sizes. The red yarn on Anne's is her leader, which you attach the fiber to so you can start spinning. I am having a little bit of difficulty getting started along that line. The Spin It book suggests hooking some fiber, spinning a bit, and then take it and wind it around the shaft of the spindle, and then snake it up the shaft and through the hook. I have sort of managed a couple of times, but didn't really like the way that worked, it didn't seem secure enough. The online directions at Joy of Spinning, where I ordered my spindle from, says to make a leader by tying on some yarn, and shows how to tie it to the shaft, take it down below the whorl and wind it around that part of the shaft, and bring it back up, etc. It looks like a really good method. My problem is getting a long enough single spun, and keeping it spun long enough to do all that! I have tried, and although the spinning of the 18 inches recommended isn't a problem, keeping the spin in it to do all the rest is! Maybe it doesn't matter if the spin partially/mostly comes out of it? But I think that weakens it, and that it would make a difference. So, I am still playing with it. Anne did empty out her spindle again yesterday, after deciding to spin, and said I could try hers too, and see how I like it. It might be easier to start learning on the high whorl instead of the low whorl?

I had planned to spend some time working on it all this morning, and that didn't happen. I made a trip to the base today, had to make Anne's insurance payment, and pick up a few things at the commissary. Glad I did, strawberries were down to 59 cents a pound. I will definitely make some freezer jam, got the pectin today too.

Anyway....I have checked some more sites, have watched some more video on spinning, and I hope that once I get the leader situation under control, things might go a little easier. I did really think, I guess, that I had a very good handle on it all, after watching some online video before hand, reading the book, etc. I imagine I had this idea that I had it all in mind, under control, and that it was going to be so much easier than it actually is. That wasn't very realistic, was it??!! I don't think I am going to get around to trying today, but I plan to give it a good go tomorrow, while everyone else is either out of the house or asleep! This is definitely not something to do with an audience, even a kind one--I get too self- conscious.

Check back tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Gentle Teaser.....

No, this isn't my stuff--it is Anne's latest ball of singles and the rovings she ordered---I get a share of them of course!!!! The hunk of darker red rovings in the front is the sole unspun remainder of the rovings her friend sent her. This is the hunk of roving that went walk-about, that she finally found hidden on the sofa! And the only reason you don't also see her spindle is....I couldn't find it! It normally lives in the family room, in a box that the "rovings from her friend" lived in. Hunk of roving in box, spindle not. I checked under her stash of stuff on the sofa, I looked on the floor, I looked under the bags of rovings pictured above. Could I find her spindle? No! Surely she isn't hiding it from me? She did offer to let me use it, and I did assure her I would wait. All I wanted was to photograph it. Maybe she has hidden it in her bed, to protect it? Just in case I have changed my mind, now that my book has arrived? I will have to wait till she is up to get the answers to this and other life altering questions!

Oh, would you like another, closer photo, of the lovely rovings? Yes? Okay, here we go!

Pretty, no? I hope my spindle arrives today!! I am thinking of re-reading the book, and maybe giving the "spinning with just the hand" a try. Just to try it out. We will see........ Check back here, I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Book Arrived!!!!

Yes folks, the book arrived before the spindle! Hurrah! I have read it cover to cover, not that it is a huge feat, as the book has only 32 pages. But, they are packed full of info on dealing with fleece--washing, carding, etc, but most importantly, all the important bits about spinning! I can even do some beginning stuff now if I want, as she first shows how to spin using just your hands and the rovings, and then with a hooked stick (made with wire hanger!). We will see. Oh, by the way, the title of the book? It is Spin It, Making Yarn from Scratch by Lee Raven. Packed full of information! I am sure I will read it again and again before actually trying anything. Now the spindle can come, and I will be really happy! haha. Once I do get started, I will try to record my experiences and progress here, as I did with the Olympic socks.

Well, I had best go, as the bug guy is due any time now, and I don't want to miss the knocking at the door! More later!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It's On Its Way!

My spindle has been shipped! I got the email about it today. Hurrah! It will be fun to try it out. Now, if the book will just arrive before the spindle, or the same day, or not long after, if it has to be that late!

I looked at the hand spinning on a spindle videos on the Joy of Handspinning site click here, and she makes it look so easy. I know it won't be that easy, but it was good to see the videos. I am sure I will be checking them again before actually trying any spinning. By the way, if you go to the site, read about the gal who does it. Really awesome.

I am catching up on newspapers today, and doing some laundry, so no casting on yet. Maybe later? This looks like a really bad week for television, so I do have a feeling that I really will get back to the knitting!

Go see Jo's sock if you haven't already, the link is in the side bar! So cute!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Oh Dear....

I have been so slack. No knitting started. The fingers are itching a bit, so I guess I will get started soon. There has just been too much going on. There was the fridge, which took up hours of time. Throwing away thawed things from the freezer, perishables from the fridge, carting it all out to the garbage cans in the garage, it all seemed endless. I had to put out both garbage cans, both full, for the garbage pick-up on Friday. Still, it was a really good exercise in clearing out both the freezer and fridge, and getting rid of things that probably should have been gotten rid of ages ago. How is that for the optomist's outlook?

Then there were 3 doc appts for Anne this week. It just worked out that way. At least the eyes are good. You have probably already read on Sally's Stuff that she will have surgery on her wrist in April. She is still recovering from the mono, and the nurse-practitioner has ordered a new ultrasound and new blood work to be done the middle of April, to see how things are going, and will see Anne again in May. She is feeling a little better, but still has a ways to go.

Is it any wonder that I haven't cast on yet? I know, I know, some people do crafty things as destressers. And I get that. I think I just have trouble starting things when there is too much going on. If they were already cast on, that would be fine. I could just knit away and that would be fine. Or, if the bindings were already cut and machine stitched on the little quilted bits for Michelle's room, it would be the same thing, I could sit and do the hand-stitching to finish them up. But, the fabric for the bindings still sits on the ironing board, in the dining room, mocking me. It is much easier to just pick up a book and read, and that is what I have been doing. Oh well!

I have moved beyond inertia, however, and ordered a drop spindle earlier this week! Hurrah! I can hardly wait till it comes! Anne has been spinning, and keeps improving. Her good spinning friend tells her to enjoy these days of thicker spun yarn, as it will be harder to achieve once she is in the groove and her yarn is thinner. She has been working on the un-dyed rovings that came this week, and her yarn is looking nice! She has kindly offered me the use of her spindle, to give it a try. More than once. I really don't want to mess up her spinning though. I am not quite ready to give it a try yet. I really want to read the spinning book I ordered from Amazon, which should arrive next week. I like to read first and know what I am getting into before I actually try it. I know, there are plenty of places online to read about it. And I probably will check them out. But I also like something that I can sit in my chair and read, can easily refer to when I am trying it out, etc. I think I will have a couple of weeks at least before the spindle comes, so there will be plenty of time to read up on it before I am able to give it a try.

Maybe those little socks will get cast on and knit soon after all!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

As Promised

I was taking pix anyway, so I got out the things I knit while Anne was doing physical therapy after her surgery. The ends aren't woven in yet on the blanket, and I forgot that I hadn't finished up the one little hat (solid navy) yet. The knitting is all done, although the final stitches are still on the needle. It has to be sewn up the back and the top closed. So, almost done. The bigger hat is a slightly modified version of the quick hat that the Yarn Harlot had on her blog before Christmas. It is made long enough to cuff, which I did--cuff it, that is! The smaller hat is an even more modified and smaller version of the same pattern. I will take another photo when it is totally done!

No new knitting going on, although I feel some coming on soon. I am debating whether I should press on with the socks, try out some of Grandma's slippers, or work on some fingerless handwarmer mitts, as CIC has a challenge going on and they hope to have 150 pairs by sometime in April.

I do have something fun to write about though! Tiny, tiny circulars! Size 1 (US), 12 inch! Cute as the dickens! I worried about how short they looked when I first took them out of their envelopes, till I remembered I would be doing the 2 circular method! In any case, now I know I will be able to knit socks, with sock yarn, without fear of ladders or loose stitches at the junctions from dpns. (Not that I have left ladders, etc, but I do really like the 2 circular method better than the dpns!) Hurrah! I think they show up better on the table so I photographed them there. Be sure to click on the photos so you can see the enlarged versions!

I guess I should have put something to show the size, but I didn't think of it. They are 12 inches (total length), so that will give you some idea! I think they will be really fun to knit with.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Olympic Knitting, Revisited

Edited to add: I meant to first and foremost, thank Franklin for the lovely and totally fitting gold medal he designed. How appropriate to use a classic Greek design and adapt it to the knitting motif! Having lived in Greece for 3 years, I especially appreciated his inclusion of the Olympic's "roots."

I realized this morning that I never did post a photo of all the socks I completed during the Knitting Olympics! So, I am here to remedy that slight error. I do have the excuse of jury duty, right? Two long days at the Court House makes it hard to keep up with the other chores and joys of life! Anyway, without further ado, here they are!

I am really pleased. Especially since I wasn't at all sure I could complete one sock, let lone a pair, or even more. My only regret is that I spent so much time trying to master the short row heel, rather than continuing to knit what I already knew from my first sock--the heel flap. I am sure I could have completed at least another pair or two. I do still have to knit the mates for the little socks, but I hope to get that started this weekend.

I have a feeling there will still be enough of the yellow yarn to knit more little socks (after mating the shown little socks), and I have the green kool-aid dyed yarn Anne gave me to knit up into little socks too. After reading on the CIC site that most often the socks are worn indoors, without shoes, I realized that knit slippers really are of value to them too. I think I will knit up some slippers from the slipper pattern my grandmother used to make.

I still have to weave in ends, photograph, and show you all the things I knit while Anne was doing the pt for her neuropathy after her surgery. I knit a baby blanket, and two hats. Look for them soon.