Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My New Toy

   Fall is around the corner.  I don't know about you, but I can feel it, and smell it in the air.  Even before the leaves turn color.  I think it has everything to do with growing up in the country, running out doors all the time, and just plain being more aware of what's around myself in the world than most.
  When I get these feelings, I'm usually in the mood for fall colors as well.  That means golden yellows (the only yellow I actually like), deep maple reds, and my favorite, both bright and bronze oranges.  Of course brown makes a bigger appearance in the fall color theme as well.  On the manly side I think gray this year will be partially replaced by deep blues and greens for the colors men will enjoy wearing.  The fun is seeing if I'm right :D

   Last Saturday I received my reason for adding to this journal.  And a great excuse for a new hobby.  (Like I need that).  It's my new Turkish spindle, developed and sold by Knit Picks.  My fave yarn company of course.  but this just adds to why I like them so much.  If you're savvy to spinning, then you know what the turkish spindle is.  If you're not, here's what mine looks like after I stained it a bit.  I plan on doing another, but I couldn't wait to start playing with it, so the next stain coat will wait for later.

 Spindle 022


   I didn't know how I might like spinning, but I definitely wanted to give it a try.  But every time I looked at spinning wheels I'd about loose my breath over the cost.  Spindles looked interesting, but they too were quite expensive for my budget, with most around $45 to $50 each.  The unfinished spindles on Etsy are probably ok, but they kind of looked more like a child's toy button stuck on a dowel, with a hook screwed into one end.  And not knowing if that would even work very well,...well I could do that myself.

 But I wanted something I felt would be worth the trouble.  And so far Knit Picks has never let me down.  Not to mention they do stand by all their products  So when they started carrying this little baby, I honestly felt now was the time to try spinning.  And I certainly wasn't disappointed at all.  At $14.99 it's quite a good deal.

  And the quality of the wood was surprisingly good.  Sure it's pine, but it's good quality, not the cheap stuff they usually stick on cheap furniture.  I had no trouble getting it to spin smoothly.  What I liked best about the spin, was it didn't go too fast, and it was really easy to manage a slow spin for my very inexperienced fingers.  I seem to keep forgetting that the fibers are about 2" long in the cheap roving I'm practicing with.  No it's not sold by KP, shame on me I know.  But I wanted to practice with the cheap sub quality stuff before buying KP's good roving.

Anyway, I keep forgetting how long they are, and I kept trying to tug at the roving with my fingers too close.  Which of course doesn't budge it one bit.  Now on a fast spinning high whorl, it could've gotten ugly.  Over twisting, and spinning too fast to keep up.  But with this spindle I had no trouble, even when I stalled.  Or I could switch to a nice slow spin, and pay more attention to what my fingers were doing, than how it was spinning.  I over did it for sure, but I couldn't help myself and I wound up spinning both my brown and orange roving over the span of last Sunday off and on.  I took it with me, and practiced park and drafting in the car, which is needless to say a must learn for beginners.  If interested in knowing what it is, here's a video to check out, by Franquemont the author of Respect the Spindle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPUORvO-GZE
and part two:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAVYmG9zeK8

  The two videos really got me going on how to spin.

  So Sunday I worked with some brown and orange, and this is what I got.

Spindle 010

  Which isn't much to brag about I know.  In some parts, it's thin as fingering weight, in others it's thick as dk.  Maybe worsted, I don't know.  I've been too afraid to check it out on my WPI tool :/   It is however a ball of yarn.  Strong enough to make something if I chose.  Such as maybe a hot pad.  But not good for much else really.  I think I'll keep it as a 'this is my first ball of yarn' trophy :D

  This morning is when I started the red roving, but I learned painfully to take my time this time around.  So it'll be awhile before I finish it.  And that's also when it started turning out quite a bit better.  Although the roving quality is awful, which is why it was sold as felting roving.  It however is coming along.  I wanted to see how skinny I could make it, and hopefully learn how to keep it consistently the same thickness throughout.  So far so good, with it at least as thin as size 10 crochet cotton thread.

Spindle 023

   In this I can see just how fuzzy it is.  I think this is Peruvian wool, because it feels just like Kp's Palette yarn.  However it didn't say on the package what wool it is, so it could be scrap mixes as well.  I honestly can't wait to try out their good roving, especially the wool silk blend.  My hope is to see if the wool silk blend might not be suitable to produce yarn thin enough to use in Jacobean embroidery.  Which is why I'm practicing at making it thin as possible without breaking.  I figure if I can get it cobweb weight first spin, then it should ply at just under lace weight.  Which could work for some embroidery.

After all, back before factories existed, and even before the wheel, someone had to make the thread that was used for sewing and embroidery.  I've long admired Palestinian traditional needlework in several museum pieces.  I would be thrilled if I could reproduce a bat wing abaya, similar to what my great grandmother might have worn, with traditional embroidery.  Although thanks to mixed blood it's watered down quite a bit, I do still feel an attachment to my great grandmother's people.  And her courage to venture into a new culture for the sake of my great grandfather.  She must have really loved him to take such a leap.  But sadly her knowledge of traditional embroidery was lost when she died, as she felt it best to adopt her husband's culture and religious belief.  I can only imitate what I hope is something she might have done.

 Oh before I forget, along the subject of spinning I found this little guy in our back yard, wearing his little leaf and stem armor, which is stuck to the silk threads he spins.  He, or she is a Case Moth.  I guess while some wander until it's time to change, then they build their little cocoon, this little moth takes his with him.  Either that or it's his armor against something eating him. Either way it's pretty inventive for a little moth.  I wonder how long it took him to spin his silk?

 Case moth 2

1 comment:

cherylbwaters said...

I know you will love the KP rovings when you try them. They are wonderful. It is a wonderful goal to try to recreate what your great grandmother would have created.