Tag Archives: yarn

Vacation 2010 Monday October 18-NC

Sunday night we spent in a hotel just off the interstate in Hendersonville, NC.  We have family nearby and it was a good location to start the next day’s activities.  Dinner was at a nice Italian restaurant on Broad Street and they had the best pesto butter for their bread!  YUM.  As good as the meal was, I could have eaten a meal with bread and that butter and been satisfied.

I am a BIG fan of the Peaches & Creme yarns – the last cotton yarn spun in America from American Cotton, dyed in America by a family owned business.  The factory is located in Old Fort, NC not too far from Asheville.  Sis agreed to let it be our first stop on Monday, and I am so glad we did!

I met a fellow Ravelry member that lives nearby and we were able to see all the colors and different yarns produced by the company and spent some money at the outlet store.

A few of the many colors - too many to choose from!

Here is the yarn we took home.  Sis bought a bagful for the Pink Ladies to knit and crochet baby hats and bibs – I have the rest!

Yarn and thread - what a lovely pile!

Lunch was at Mustard’s nearby and we all enjoyed our meal – then Sis and I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We wanted to get some maps and info and get to the Folk Art Center before it closed.  Success!  Beautiful structure, and just jam packed with all handcrafts you could imagine – pottery, quilting, wood working, weaving. glass work, and more.

Our hotel for the week was a lovely motel right on the river in Chimney Rock, The Carter Lodge.  We could step out on our little balcony and look down on the river and then up to see Chimney Rock!  The room was cozy and the beds were quite comfy and it was a good place to call home for our time in NC.  Believe it or not, it was still light and we ate at a restaurant in town, also overlooking the river.  The food was fantastic – Sis had the chili and it came in a huge bowl and I was a bit jealous I didn’t order it.  She did give me a bit, along with a taste of the cornbread, too.

We watched the sun go down over the mountains and I took one of my favorite photographs

 

Evening sky over the river

 

Spinning in Public

Today was gorgeous.  It was in the 70’s when I pulled into my favorite local park by the river.  You may recognize it, the scene of the anointing of my “Bird Poop Socks”.  Late in the afternoon the picnic table next to the boardwalk IN THE CLEARING was free so I set up there.

Cypress trees and moss

Cypress trees and moss

The idea was to take some pictures of my hand-spun yarn with the weathered wood of the boardwalk as a backdrop and do some spinning.

Pictures came first while the light was good – bright and mostly overcast with bursts of sunshine.  It was quite breezy so I was a bit apprehensive about setting some of the tiny skeins on the walkway and held some in my hand.

A couple of my favorite pictures:

The first yarn is Rambouillet from Lazy Dog Farm in Texas.  Very very soft and fun to spin.  Two ply, about DK weight.  I think 80 yards.

The mini skein is my “mutant” roving – the sheep breed is CVM or California Variegated Mutant.  The breed is a result of crosses of Romney and Rambouillet sheep from nearly a century ago.  Not quite as soft as the straight Rambouillet and very nice to spin.  I  have about 5 more ounces, and I WANT MORE.  2 ply, sock weight.  I was going for lace weight, and it fluffied up on me.  For comparison the white yarn tied around the skein to hold it in place is good ole’ acrylic worsted.

Spinning

A near-constant breeze and gusts made it a bit windy but not too windy to spin.  The temperature was nice and it was like sitting outside in air conditioning… After I relaxed into the process, I was concentrating so thoroughly I was startled when a woman started talking to me.   We had a nice visit and she admired the single I was making.  After she and her dogs left, others walked by and spoke including a man that mentioned his mother used to spin with a spindle, and make blankets and rugs.

It is fun to talk to people about my spinning and I was able to get a nice start on a Christmas present for a member of my family.

One last picture:

Spinning Adventures-Part 2-the woodworking store

I left off with the first spinning wound into a skein, and here is a picture of the just-wound mess…er…achievement.

The bright white parts are the acrylic yarn I used to tie the skein in a couple of places so it wouldn’t tangle.

The second spindle full was even more fun to work on, and I worked on the consistency of  my “drafting” (pulling the roving apart into spinnable bits).  Soon I had filled a second spindle full, plied, and was ready to start again.

This is so addictive and I want to show and share with everyone I know.  If you don’t move fast enough you are treated to a demonstration or if I can prod you, into trying it for yourself.

I wanted MORE spindles, so back to the woodworking store for more wheels.  I took along what I was working on to show the guys.  They were so funny.  Here I am, standing in a woodworking store that caters to wood turners, carvers, and other woods-craftsmen showing off my precious attempt at their artistry with some rough-looking string on the dowel and a bit of fluff spiraling off the top.

They get a demonstration, and it encourages them to talk – ones mother-in-law crochets THOUSANDS (his words) of preemie caps and has made afghans for everyone in the family.  He continues and looks at me and says quite seriously, you know, you can buy yarn.  I laugh.   He kind of grins, too and says, “There ought to be a more efficient way of doing that…” and you can see the wheels turning in his head. I nod and say there is, a brand new bit of technology called the spinning wheel, merely a few hundred years old.

He gets a good laugh out of that one.

Maybe I should take a picture of a kick wheel in and show them.  I bet they could give me some advise for making one!

Adventures in Spinning with a Drop Spindle

You can tell I’ve been busy – no new blog entries!  So I will catch up with my spinning narrative and will try to be more attentive to the blog.

I can now talk about a new set of adventures!  Spinning!  The easiest spindle to make according to my research uses a toy wheel and dowel.  Both easily available at a woodworking store about a mile from my home.  Most designs include a cup hook/eye hook at the top but I was too excited to actually begin.  A hook might have been easier, but a half hitch looped over the top fastened the yarn to the spindle worked just fine.  And I didn’t have  to wait until the battery charged on the drill,  so began using it as it was and it WORKED.

First Spinning

First Spinning

I yarned!  Well, made a “single” and just kept going and going.  Now I know I put too much twist into the single but it was FUN.  I took the spinning to one of my knit groups to show off, and the other spinners looked at me in amazement and said, where is the notch?  You are spinning with a drop spindle without a NOTCH??  You are braver than me!

I could see their point – the “cop” or bunch of twisted single wound on the spindle was getting big enough that the angle had changed and the half hitch was slipping, showing how the drop spindle earned its name.  DROP spindle…it DROPS to the floor.  No sharp implements with me to modify the design so when I got home I hacked a notch in the side of the wheel (“whorl”) and another at the top of the spindle itself.  Really holds the half-hitch in place MUCH better.

One of the experienced spinners suggested winding the single into a center pull ball and pulling from both ends to ply, or twist the single into a real, true yarn.

The ball winder fastens onto the kitchen counter and I got the brilliant idea to use the in-sink dish drainer to help support the spindle while I wound off onto the ball winder.  Perfect!  I held the first ball of ready-to-be-plied single in my hot little hands and grabbed the spindle to start on the next part of my journey.

A plastic cup made a good ball holder on the floor along side of me, or so I thought.  A tangled mess.  So I grasped the cup and held the two ends apart, allowing the ball to twist. Success!

I didn’t know how much twist to put in the yarn, but since I twisted the life out of the yarn on the first go around decided to do the same with plying.  Got to the end of the ball and the first plying was done!

A “swift” would make the next step easier, but my keyboard drawer is right there so I unwound the spindle onto the drawer to make a skein.  The diameter is 47 inches and I calculated that the first skein was about 30 yards.  Wow!  That is a lot…and then not much at all.  No problem, I can make more!

So I did.

Spinning adventures continue!

Adventures in Knitting – shhhh – it’s a secret!

The focus of the latest adventure is not for public consumption yet.  I’m knitting a small tote for a Ravelry Group Swap and don’t want to give too many details in case my victim/swappee reads this.

It is an adventure, though.  I was planning on knitting something in my beloved cotton yarn, but it wasn’t speaking to me and didn’t feel right.  So that went back in the barn for the next project.  I carpool to knitting group and my buddy S wanted a chart keeper for her new lace project.  We stopped at Michaels and she picked out a cute mini-lunchbox tin big enough to keep her yarn.  Of course we couldn’t leave without checking the yarn.  Still no update to the yarn section, but there are some additional yarns on 99 cent special – including Lion Brand Feltable Wool.

Ping!  My inner designer liked the thought of a brilliant eye-knocking color felted bag.  A few skeins jumped into my cart – I wish I had glommed more and off we went to knitting.

I enjoy reading patterns and then winging it, especially when it is a simple idea.  A rectangle for the bottom, pick up stitches and knit around and around.  But how many stitches?  Hmmmm… 47 was the last cast on I did on a dishcloth.  So I did 50.  Like round numbers.

It grew.  And grew.  It got wider and wider, almost like magic.  I didn’t take into account I had switched from 4 mm to 9 mm needles.  Ooops.  Big isn’t a problem with bags, but it was too narrow and I didn’t like the proportions.

Rip

Returned home and located the pattern.  Only 25 stitches??? That would be wayyyy tooo small.  I want the bag to be big enough to actually use; a paperback book, an apple, and a sandwich should fit.  Or a small knitting project.  So I cast on 35 stitches and like the size.  I’ll felt carefully so it doesn’t shrink to nothing.

The pattern strap may be changed too.  I’ll have to think about that.  I like smaller handles on small bags as I usually stuff them down a larger bag.

Yes, I have Too Much Stuff.  How did you guess?

Got lots to do…better get this proof read, posted and move along.