01 June 2008

Pretty Pretty

A few observations:

1. BFL is incredibly soft. Given its relative cheapness, it's incredibly soft. I could spin for the rest of my life with BFL and be happy. That is, I would if I didn't know about how shiny Wensleydale is. And about the even softer softness and pretty natural colors of alpaca. And the amazing way silk looks beautiful no matter what stupid things you do to it. Sigh. You see how easily this spinning thing can become an obsession.

2. Plying on a wheel is so easy and fast that it's dangerous. Wow. And my super-duper jumbo flyer comes with a big bobbin, which holds twice as much as the regular bobbin. So I can 2-ply two bobbins full of singles and lickety-split end up with about 600 yards of yummy continuous yarn. Love, love, love. The only problem is that it goes so fast I totally forget about moving the yarn from one flyer-hook to another and make really messy bobbins.

3. My dad had been saving his birthday present to me until I got here for a visit, and on a whim on our way back from seeing the new Indiana Jones movie the other day, we followed a sign that said "Fiber Studio" on it. This turned out to be a very glorious place. A huge room full of incredible yarns, plus a really big selection of nice beads, and a wall for fiber and a number of wheels and looms. The fiber/spinning section wasn't nearly as big as what Beth has in Michigan, but the yarn and bead section were truly remarkable. Still, I'm not in the market for yarn or beads at the moment. So I got: 1.5 lbs Coopworth in natural browns. Half a pound of Jacob. A pound of merino (so I'll stop being scared of merino, so Beth will stop making fun of me for being scared of merino) and a pretty batt of merino silk, since Beth was out of Abby batts for the moment (waaaah). In other words, I'm building myself up a pretty little fiber stash even before I get into Beth's shop in person in August, a stash-acquisition trip I've been planning on since before I got the wheel (since there are no spinning shops in NYC that I know of, and no shop I know of anywhere matches Beth's selection). Will have to contemplate storage issues soon!

4. Then again, at the rate I've been spinning, maybe not. I'm on the last half of the kool-aid dyed BFL from Beth, which is going to be knitted up with the red Corriedale, which you've also already seen, into a cardigan. Oh yes, I have big plans. I also tried out my fast flyer and experimented with spinning as thin a thread as I could get. It seemed to go well until the bobbin got kind of full, then suddenly the treadles became harder to push, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I played with the driveband tension and the scotch tension and just made things worse. So then I tried Navajo-plying what I had, and it broke every two seconds, so I think I underspun the whole thing. Next plan is to run it all through the wheel again and add more twist. Still don't understand the mystery of why it suddenly became difficult toward the end of the initial spinning, but when I went back to the regular flyer and the BFL, it was back to easy-peasy spinning, so I'm ignoring the problem for now.

5. Beth: So I pulled out all the llama fleece and....what the heck do I do with this stuff now??? So far I've only spun from fiber that was already arranged in a more or less long-lengthy-thingy that is not yet string but clearly doesn't have that far to go to become string. Do. Not. Get. The. Llama. What do I do?? Other than smell it and fondle it and making everyone I know touch it and admire it (of course). Help!

6. You're all really bad at suggesting names for spinning wheels, guys. Really. But you can do better, I know you can. Pretty please?

7. No, I haven't forgotten about knitting. I'm working on a cabled cardigan from my brown Soviet yarn, which I started in Moscow. I'm on the last third of the second sleeve (but haven't started the body yet). Sadly, it doesn't photograph well at all - it just kind of looks like the beginning of a hairshirt. You'll have to trust me that it's much better in person: