Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Little Spinning, A Little Dyeing and A Little Bit of Party

So my new friend Julia came this week. I think she may be a friend for life. She's simple, she's a smooth talker and she can spin a great yarn. This is the newest creation from Louet. The treadling is very smooth. There are 4 ratios and I could spin a good worsted weight yarn down to a gossamer weight just with the ratios provided. This does no t even take into account the available fast flyer that fits bot the Victoria and Julia. This is a strong wheel. There's one screw on the back which allows it to be disassembled for traveling. Now I wouldn't call this a traveling wheel but you could if you needed to.
For a limited time it's being shipped with the lazy kate and 4 bobbins. After the introductory period it will go to 3 bobbins standard and the kate will be additional. The bobbins and flyers are interchangeable with the Victoria.

Let's talk about the lazy kate. I think it's genius. The tensioning is done by tilting the thing toward the floor and the tension is achieved by friction with the floor or carpet. So less tension, less friction. You can tilt it all the way in the opposite direction to remove tension altogether for very delicate yarns.

Genius I say!

Here's the thing. I'm not very bright, apparently. I only ordered one to begin with. The next one will arrive in June on the next shipment. If you'd like one let me know and I'll order it right away and you can have it in June too. In the mean time come in a try out the floor model. Maggie tested it out tonight and she gave it a thumbs up...then went back to her Ladybug:-)

Natural Dyeing Workshop
In the center of this picture is Kathy Rowe. She taught the natural dyeing class this past Saturday and it was fantastic. On either side of her are Hannah (right) and Tricia, Hannah's mom.
The colors were amazing and instead of taking pictures of people in the class I just kept snapping pictures of the yarn. I have not done much dyeing and was so amazed by the whole process and the results.
Here are some mohair locks dyed with onion skins.
We dyed with logwood, cochineal, osage orange and onions. Then there were several post mordants which further changed the colors.
Just beautiful
We focused on the yarn but did a little bit of roving just for experimentation. I did do mohair in all of the basic colors and started spinning a tiny bit on my Russian spindle. Lovely.

Spinning Lessons
Here's Ryan actually sitting semi-still for a spindle lesson from Maggie. He really does want to learn and I thought this would be a great way for Maggie to get some teaching experience. She's using a Greensleeves Bare Bones which is her current favorite spindle.

Maybe this Christmas Santa will treat her to a Tabachek.

Happy Birthdays
Friday night I took Chelsea out to dinner and a movie for her 21st birthday. Maggie Moo was at the theater handing out coupons. The face on that cow cracks us both up.
Chelsea got new earrings from the jewelry clearance at Target.
Then she pretended that McDreamy is her boyfriend.

The movie we saw was 21. it was quite interesting and fun I thought. We both really wanted to see Babymama but Lou wanted to see that with me so I had to be a good wife and choose something else.

Lou and I did see Babymama on Saturday night. I love Amy Pohler.
Sunday was Chelsea's official birthday and so she came for dinner and I made a cake. Yup I did. I think it looks like the cake is going to burn down.

More New Wheels
Yesterday we had a new resident come to the shop. She is for sale and spins like a dream. This is a 30" Jensen. It is in the original style when Mr Jensen was still doing the historically accurate mixed wood wheels. It has a walnut stain and includes the distaff, 4 bobbins and 3 whorls. It's quite a fast wheel and I was spinning on it tonight and it is so quiet. Just a beautiful thing. Come and try her out if you're in the neighborhood.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The thing is...I got some batts from Abby. The mail guy brought them on Saturday. Plenty of them. I'm down to 8 batts. So here are pictures of what I have left because I don;t want to tease you with things you can't have.
I have two of theses called Magnolia Fiber is 20% Targhee, 15% Merino, 30% Silk, 30% Cashmere. Lovely. If you are interested they are aobut 1 ounce each and the price is $15 each.
I have 6 of these Lilac Tweed (I think) Fiber content is 40% Targhee, 30% Cashmere, 30% Silk. These are also 1 ounce and $15 each.

Now I know what you are thinking and NO I didn't save any for myself cause there was Beth Bait in the box.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In which I talk about whatever comes to mind.

I will start this post with something sad. Remember the great sock debate? I started this sock on two circulars using Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing. As you can see I've made good progress. Then yesterday i decided to try it on....too tight to get it over my wide foot. Maybe Brittney. She has cute slim feet. Too tight. Alright, Maggie. Again too tight.

Another one bites the dust.

So I decided that perhaps I should try the other sock I was working on with the Skacel Nickel double points. Too tight.

I'm not sure that socks are for me.
Brittney's back from her semester in London. Here she is teaching lame gang signs to her baby brother. What a good sister.
The UPS guy came on Friday.
2 Ladybugs and a Matchless thankyouverymuch! I also got a Sonata in clear finish. The collection was back to normal - 18 wheels on the floor - that is until Desiree came for a visit. I'm down to 1 Ladybug. Cindy will come on Monday for the other one. I'm hoping for a couple more Ladybugs in May. You can be sure I will be on the phone early Monday morning harassing the Schacht people for my next shipment.

Oh yeah, I was supposed to talk about my trip to the Schacht factory. It is a fabulous place. Fiber tools all around to touch and try and the quality and attention to detail is obvious. I kind of knew it by the way the wheels are packaged when i get a delivery but...every detail is looked at during the process.

I will tell you that I saw the loom room and looked and ooohed and aaahed but my main focus was the wheel area. I had a lot of questions about assembly on my end and how to address certain issues and they were all answered patiently - well, with the outward appearance of patience. My mother was not so patient.

The flyers are tested for balance. If they aren't balanced they don't go out. Each and every wheel is assembled and spun on by Jane Patrick before shipping to make sure it's all good.
When I was there there was a bobbin issue. There is a wide hole drilled halfway through the bobbin end where the bobbin core sits. Then there is a smaller hole drilled all the way through the bobbin end. Now this is where I was so impressed. There was a cart full of bobbin ends. Hundreds of them. Waiting to be donated to a children's program in the area. The one hole was offset by 8 hundredths of one inch. This was due to an equipment failure. These bobbins, if finished and sent out would cause a tiny wobble on the flyer. They were all dumped.
The majority of us would never have noticed the wobble. I touched it while it was spinning on a flyer and it was barely perceptible. But no.
These wheels are quality from beginning to end.

While we were there and I was asking questions the kids were at the Ladybug area helping to assemble a Ladybug. They loved it.

When our tour was through we went to the show room where they had a wheel set up for Maggie.

Isn't she cute? She also showed us her park and draft spindling technique on a Schacht Hi-Lo Spindle.

I think that's a great how to video right there for new spindlers. Tell your friends:-)
Shelly Lampshire was in the shop today teaching a needle felting class. I have 3 finished objects to show you. Above is LeeAnne's dog.
This is Vicky's cat.
And Gloria's bunny. There were more but I was lame with the camera.
K. off to work on the shopping cart cause May 1st is the target!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Adventures in Flying and Hockey

Sorry it's been so long. See here's the thing. There is lot's of juggling going on. And also there was a trip.

I'm working on a shopping cart for my website. I'm also learning how to edit text on my website so that I can just change the simple things myself. I'm certainly leaving the artistic part to a very talented web designer - wait till you see it all. Target date is May first.

So remember the swatching? For the designing project with the Okemos Lace Knitting group? After all of that I decided I wanted to spin for the project. There is this fantastic BFL top in the shop right now. Fab. But I really wanted a little color and a little halo. So there's a girl who told me I should blend the Blue Face with 20% Alpaca in a beautiful color of my choice. I was not sure how to do it really so that I could do a sweater's worth of batts that were all blended evenly. The Batt Diva told me how. So what you are looking at right up there is the very beginning of the blending.

Here are a few of the batts in the midst of the blending. One more pass to go. It takes some time but the results are quite beautiful.
I did finish one batt and spun it up quickly to take on my trip for swatching. Was there swatching? Noperoony.
K. We went to Denver for the Frozen Four. It's about a 4 hour flight if you go straight through. We got to the airport at 6AM and didn't get to Denver until 5:00PM. Taking the time difference into account and not counting time on the car that is 9 hours of traveling. But I had my sock and my Justin Timberlake for the plane:-)
The kids had their DVD player.

Once we got to Denver we were supposed to travel south to Colorado Springs where my sister lives. Then there was the traffic that took us 1 hour to travel 12 miles. We turned around and ate and went to bed.
The next day we went to the Denver Children's Museum and the Denver Aquarium. Both loads of fun. The kids wanted to go back to the museum the next day.This tiger was at the Aquarium. Spooky picture, huh? Really that's the way the picture came out. I didn't edit it at all.

Thursday night were the first two games. Boston College slammed North Dakota and then there were tears - from me - cause Notre Dame beat Michigan in overtime.
Friday we went to the Schacht factory. It was fantastic. So fantastic that I took no pictures until the very end when Maggie was spinning. I will reserve describing my experience there until another post. Let me just say that those wheels are worth every penny.

We then went out to lunch with Stephanie and Cindy from Schacht and payed a visit to Maggie Casey's store. Maggie wasn't in:-(
Saturday night was the final game. BC vs ND. That picture is the Boston College Eagle. I went to the game with Lou understanding that I was still hurting about Michigan's loss and wouldn't be clapping or cheering. Boston College won. They lost last year to Michigan State so i was happy for their win this year. (The Michigan loss still hurts down deep.)
Sunday it was time to head home. This is me and Maggie at the airport at 4AM before we knew what misery lay ahead of us. Let me just say that we left the hotel for the airport at 2:45AM and didn't get home until 10:30PM. Taking the time change into consideration, that is 17 hours of travel time. Not fun.

Know what was fun though? At the airport there was funkadelic George Clinton. I took pictures of him from accross the terminal. He was traveling on Alaska Airlines to Seattle. Their flight actually left Denver.
Lou wanted to know why I just didn't go ask to have my picture with him. Being a Paparazzi is a lot more fun. Though there's no money in it for photographers like me.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I couldn't resist another post today

Here is my darling Ryan singing his High School Musical Medley this morning. I hope you enjoy it.

In Case You Were Wondering

I got this from Jessica. Just thought it was interesting.

Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ESFP)

Your personality type is playful, charming, open minded, and energetic.

Only about 7% of all people have your personality, including 9% of all women and 5% of all men

You are Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And There's More!

This is a new wheel I just got. It's called Mach 1 by Spinolution. I was intrigued by the thing. It's just new on the market and there are only a few people who have one and I am one of them.

I got the thing yesterday and started playing with it - putting aside the paperwork and paying of bills I was supposed to be doing. It took a little finagling but I finally got it. It's very different than any wheel I've seen. There treadles kind of rock back and forth and the wheel is pretty when it spins. It has those two little pedals on the sides to stop the wheel when you want instead of sticking your hand in there and breaking a nail.

It does have really good movement and the momentum is great. It's a little noisier than I would like but we're talking about the early stages of production here and little improvements will be made little by little - as I complain about stuff:-)

It works sort of like a scotch tension wheel I think. The tensioning knob is above the bobbin. I don;t have photo of it - bummer. The front of the flyer snaps off and the bobbin slides out. The bobbin is HUGE. I need to spin some yarn and see how much it can hold but I think it's bigger than a Louet bobbin.
I kind of like it and I have a feeling it might grow on me.

It's a little heavy - heavier than a Schacht Matchless - so you wouldn't want to be toting this thing around very much. It comes unfinished and so I probably will put a little wax on this one to protect it since I have plenty of people coming in to try out wheels.

Current Retail on this wheel is $495. It does only come with one bobbin - which we have talked about - but additional bobbins are available.

Come in and try it if you're around.
Next are my samples from the Abby workshops. First up spindle tricks. I made this teenytiny little skeinlette on this teenytiny little spindlelette made by Abby's own hands. It is a dowel and a tiny toy wheel. No notch was to be found on the shaft. Half hitches all around and I was spinning. It actually worked very well - especially as I got a little yarn on there. We spun and spun and then we learned the Andean method of plying. Not what you think - go check out Abby's YouTube videos and her blog. You can really get some twist on that spindle if you spin it from your palms! Three hours of spindling and some went home and some stayed over.
Around 11PM Abby made me a mini batt of Masham and Tussah. It was a beautiful thing. I just want to say that the girl is anal about the carding. Light touch and smooth movements. I made a tiny skein of singles yarn. It hasn't been washed yet.
Saturday morning off we went to learn about sock yarns and we began with a striped yarn of 2 colors of Blue Faced Leicester. This is a poor picture. It's better in person. This one is a 2 ply.
There was chained plying of SWTC Karaoke. (I'm a master at that now that I had Patsy's class:-)
There was the bouncy springy yarn. The dyed yarn is Jitterbug that I bought in Frankenmuth and wanted to copy. I was convinced by the way it moved that there was elastic in it. But the label said 100% merino. Check out the white on the right. The twist angle in the ply almost matches it exactly and the springiness is fantastic.
I am also going to be carrying Abby's Batts at the shop - oh, yeah I told you that already. Well, I swiped these before anything went on the shelf. Alpaca and some other stuff that I can't remember cause I am a poor listener and never write anything down.
Remember the orange yarn from Abby Batts? Well she brought me some coordinating batts cause pink does go with orange. The colors aren't showing up very well here but there are streaks of orange in those pink batts. I wonder if I have enough to make one of those shawls? The article calls for 18 ounces and 1040 yards of spun yarn. I only have 5 ounces but....hhmmm.