Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heading to the T.

I am so excited I can barely contain myself. Tomorrow I am flying to Toronto to visit my bestest friends Mary and Manda. Mare lives in Toronto now (she's from there) and Manda is in Maine, but she is flying up. I am staying until Tuesday. I can't even explain how excited I am. I can't wait to see all the cool sites in Toronto and I get to do it with two of my most favorite people in the world. The three of us haven't really got to hang out as a group since Manda moved to Maine a year ago and now that Mare has left the city, I miss them both a ton.

In yarny news, I made some yarn! This is my third batch of plied yarn, and I must say that every skein that I make is getting better. When I first showed it to Sharon she told me that it was a little over plied and over spun, I was convinced at the time... however I have since started knitting with it and she was definitly right. It feels a little "hard", so I am going to work very hard on my next batch at putting less spin into it.

Now here's a question for the spinners, if you over twist your singles should you also over ply? Just so that things even out?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Maggie + Rose

I have been spinning as much as I can possibly allow myself since I got Rose. There are all these silly things that keep getting in my way such as eating, chores and work. It's all very frustrating. I am so happy I went Rose, when I compare her to the other wheels I tried she is my all time fav. She treadles as smooth as butter, the scotch tension is ridiculously sensitive, and her ratios are vast. I am very very pleased with my purchase. I think that in the long run I won't mind the money I spent on her, as I can easily see myself spinning on her for decades to come.

This is what I have spun on her so far. The fiber is a mill end that Brenda thought might be alpaca and wool. It was on sale very cheap so I thought it would be good practice wool for Rose and me.

So far I am happy with it. I think that I really need a small kitchen scale so that I can weigh my fiber so that I know when I am half done spinning it so that I know when to stop my current bobbin and start the second (so that I have two equal amounts of singles for plying.

Speaking of bobbins, holy crap the bobbins are huge! I used to be able to easily fill one of the Julia bobbins in 4 hours of spinning, I think it's gonna take a good 8 hours to fill these babies! Then again I have only been spinning for a couple weeks, and I know that I am going to get remarkably faster as time goes on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I bought the Rose today... can't write more right now... must get back to spinning

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I am so very torn between Julia and Rose. To be perfectly honest, I am a little underemployed right now, and I can't really afford either one... but I feel like I deserve a little treat as a present to myself for finishing school. I mean lots of people go on a trip to Cuba or something for graduation, and this is far less than that! It's just that I am going to Toronto next week... and the cat needs dental surgery....

I think I need a magical money tree to come and throw some money at my house...

I know that I will buy one or the other, I just need to pick. They are both fine wheels, and I just really want to make sure that I pick the right one!! Both the wheels "spoke to me" more than any of the cheaper ones that I tried. Any spinners have any advice for choosing the perfect wheel?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Playing with Julia

Yesterday I went to the spinning group held at Sharon's in Lunenburg. It was wonderful to be able to practice with the support of other spinners. Sharon was very patient and gave me some great tips. I spent most of the time there spinning on her Louet Julia, and I really enjoyed it. She even let me borrow it for a little bit, and if I like it I can buy it from her.

Although I didn't notice it when I was in her studio when I took the wheel home I felt like it might be shaking a little, but I don't know if that is my imagination or not. I mean the bobbin is spinning around pretty fast, maybe I am just not used to any movement.

Julia and I made this yarn last night. We are pretty proud of ourselves. We're working now on spinning another bobbin of the same stuff to ply together.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Her name is Rose...

I traveled down to Gaspereau Valley Fibres today after work to look at spinning wheels... and fell head over heels in love with the most expensive wheel that they have. It's a Majacraft Rose. What I loved about it was its beautiful design, it's effortless treadling, it's comfortable height, and it's HUGE range of ratios. But it is an awful lot of money to pay for my first wheel (even if it is 15% off). I am of two minds of it, part of me thinks I should just get a cheaper wheel to see if I really stick with it, but a bigger part of me thinks that I should just get the wheel that I love and never have to buy another. I really feel like I am quite hooked on spinning and I don't think I will be giving it up any time soon.

I will have to do some thinking on this one...

I did get some fab Malabrigo lace while I was there. My first Malabrigo actually, but it is super pretty and super soft. As I was buying it I wondered if I will still buy nearly as much commercial yarn, or if I will spin most of my yarn... I don't think there is any way that my spinning could keep up with my knitting, but I may reduce my commercial stash.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I know realize that my last post was a little self deprecating, which I totally did not intend to do. I am really enjoying spinning, one of the funnest parts is watching yourself get better and better rather quickly.

Today I visited a super spinning Guru and super nice person, Sharon Orpin of Boulder Brook Spinning. I stopped by her shop in Lunenburg after my day at Mahone Nursing Home. She has about 10 spinning wheels in her studio and was nice enough to help me out and let me try her Ashford Joy. I am absolutely in love with it! It was so nice to be able to use a wheel that was all properly oiled and tensioned and maintained.

Speaking of which I am taking my wheel to The Spin Doctor on the south shore tomorrow for some minor repairs and tune ups (you may have noticed in the last post that there was a piece broken n the whorl). I am not going to put a ton of work into it because I am only going to use the wheel for a month or so, then it is going back to my mom for her safekeeping. The wheel is a family heirloom, and having it in my house makes me a little nervous.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's just say it's a slub yarn...

First off, from now on I will only answer Master Maggie, or alternatively, you may call me Maggie, just make sure that you add in the initials Msc. OT (Post-Professional) afterward. Alright, I am really truly not that obnoxious, but I am really very happy that I am all done school. Grad school was a wonderful, although very short experience, and I am really glad that I did it, but also glad that I am all done, and I can now do other things. Like this:

I have resisted the spinning bug for so very long. To be honest, I have always thought to myself, why spin yarn when you can buy it? Until it dawned on me, why bother knitting anything when you can buy it pre knit? The way I am seeing it, the closer I get to the beginning of the process, the prouder I will be of the finished product. Plus, I find spinning really very hard, and there is nothing that I like more than a good challenge!

The wheel that I am using belonged to my great grandmother, whose family brought it over on the boat with them from Iceland, but it was probably made in Denmark. I think it is what is known as a cottage wheel. It's a great little wheel, although I am only able to use it for a couple months (I am just borrowing it), and I really love the idea that someone used it out of necessity, not just because it was fun.

This is about the fourth bobbin I did, and the first one that even remotely resembled yarn. It's horrible and over twisted in parts, and not twisted at all in other parts.

Here's the next bobbin. It's subtle, but it is slowly getting better.

Finally, here is my very first plied yarn. It's really quite awful, which is hard for me, because I am a great knitter, and I am used to being an expert in the fiber project that I am working on. I keep telling myself though that I wasn't very good at knitting the first time I did it either! Anyone have any good very new spinner tips?