Category Archives: hand spinning

Stash Busting

Let me go ahead and admit I have somewhat of an issue. When it comes to spinning fiber, I have no monetary control. I can’t give my money away fast enough. The highlight of my day is often finding a big, squishy envelope in my mail box. Those packages fill my heart with fibery warmth and fill my spinning bobbins with lush, lovely yarn.

Typically this doesn’t bother me. I have mad skills (typically I’m more modest about myself) when it comes to selling yarn and fiber and I’m able to end each week with a profit even when I’ve been let loose on a fiber shopping spree. However, lately the fiber has been stacking up and stacking up. I blame this entirely on the fact that there isn’t a need for a large farmers market in this area during the winter. It’s a tragedy really and as you see, it’s not my fault. I don’t have a place to go unload my yarn every Saturday so while I keep spinning, the fiber keeps piling up.

Even though I take no blame for the current condition of my fiber stash and the current sad state of my PayPal account, I will do my best to fix both sides of the issue. I found a group on Ravelry challenging each other to spin 10 yarns before buying any more fiber. It seems I run with a large crowd when it comes to fiber purchases. There is a boat load of addicts just like me. Thankfully, that large crowd of fiberholics also provided a good support group. Many times this week I’ve almost strayed and purchased some locks here, a batt there, a braid of top over in that place… but alas, I have been strong. I have many other on my side cheering me on.

I’ve spun 7 yarns so far. There are plied yarns, singles, crazy art yarns, corespun yarns, corespun on wire yarns, and yarns that have no category. I can’t seem to find the dent I’ve made in my stash yet, but I know it’s there. Hopefully when I get to 10 I’ll have a hole on my bookshelf large enough to have a good reason to go buy more fiber to fill it.

HEY – don’t look at me like that. Turn around, look at your bead/fabric/paper/whateverelseyoucanthinkof stash and then admit to yourself that we all have a craft supply hoarding issue.

Uh huh… that’s what I thought.

Now don’t you feel bad for looking at me like that?

Afternoon

There was something about the way the sun shone into the windows today that created a sort of calm on the west side of the house. The beams of light that were cast across my office and fiber studio warmed me to my toes. It was the perfect afternoon after spending the morning at the Farmer’s Market (freezing, I might add). It’s days like this that really should never end. The leaves falling outside my windows are vibrant shades of gold, orange and red. The call of autumn birds provided a nice background to the sounds of autumn. The Schmoo cat napped on the corner of the guest bed while flecks of dust playfully floated in the sunlight. The scene left me feeling completely at peace with things… everything.

There was just something about the sun shining into the windows.

It inspired me to card up and label 54 mini batts of fiber for the November Phat Fiber Box. That is a powerful thing as I usually dread the labeling part and put that off until the absolute, last minute. But today was different. Today I’m left proud of my samples, completely happy with the outcome, and looking forward to shipping them off to Phat Fiber Headquarters.

There was just something about that sun shining through the window into the mounds of fiber (seen above). You can’t even help but feel comfortable just looking at it.

Halloween Spin-a-Long

Raise your hand if you like Halloween?

And raise your hand if you like spinning wool?

Now raise your hand if you are a fan of a good, old fashion SAL (Spin-a-Long)???

I’m sure many of you have your hand up if not for all of these, at least for one of these. I have started my very first SAL over at Woolyhands. This Halloween themed spin-a-long will feature some goolishly fun batts in a mix of fibers with some spooky add ins for those who love to spin art yarns. I’ve had so much fun carding up some various batts and I can’t wait to send them out to the participants at the end of this month.

If you’ve never participated in an SAL, now is your chance. Don’t know what an SAL is? Well, you’re in luck because I’ll let you in on the secret. SALs (or spin-a-longs) are just a chance for a bunch of spinners to all spin either the same batt or a selection of themed batts (which mine will be) into yarn and show them off in a forum of some sort. The fun part about mine is that everyone who posts a finished yarn over at my Flickr group will be entered into a drawing for some surprise spinning fibers. This couldn’t be more fun!

I’ve been wanting to do this for a few months. I participated in an SAL over the summer and absolutely had a blast. Now that I’ve had a bit of time to devote to my piles of wool, I decided it was time to host this. I just can’t wait to see what people spin up with their Woolyhands Halloween Spin-a-Long Batts!

See this…

I make it now!

Okay – sorry about the poor attempt to reference my favorite, still to this day, SNL clip.

But I make them now! I blogged a few posts ago about a batt that made me fall in love with all things wool. It only seemed appropriate that I eventually learn to do them myself. I purchased a used Strauch Petite drum carder on Ravelry about a week and a half ago. It came in a few days ago and I’ve been in love ever since. My first couple of batts were not overly colorful and didn’t photograph well, so into my spinning pile they went.

However, the next 4 batts are tugging at my heart strings. They are fluffy, textured, colorful, soft and oh so lovely. I’ve already got more wool on the stove dying up in a variety of colors so I can card more batts. I can already tell, this is going to take up much of my time.

It’s Friday – it’s Fiber – it’s Fiber Arts Friday! Be sure to go check out the other lovely, fiber related posts:

Lots to say, lots to say.

I didn’t mean to go away for an entire week! I blame the sick I somehow contracted last Sunday/Monday that knocked me down and drug me through the mud for 4 days. I think my defenses were still on vacation from my mini cold I had a couple of weeks ago because I sat at home this week with my temperature above 100 for multiple days. You’d think I’m a sickly person who catches everything… well… I don’t think I am (but I’m starting to wonder).

However, other than a leftover cough, I’m better now and back to spinning and gardening and going to work and not sleeping most of the day… ahhh, it’s nice!

This weekend was Art of Wine at work. I wasn’t in charge of the logistics of the event this year which was very nice, oh so very nice. This meant I got to help out here and there but my job was mostly to stand and smile. Oh, I did work, but nothing like last year. I’m the kind of girl that LOVES to be in charge of just about everything going on around me and I’m kind of bossy about things (yes, you know the type – I was that girl in school) but when it comes to Art of Wine, someone else can have it. I don’t need to be bossy, I’ll stand over here and smile.

Between the sick and the wine, I did manage to get some spinning in (as pictured above). I received GREAT news on Saturday morning. My sister and I will be hanging out at the Fayetteville Farmers Market not as patrons but as vendors. Yup, she’ll be selling her fabulous market bags and I’ll be selling my yarn and wool. We’re very excited. I kind of that thought in the back of my mind, the “are you sure you want to get into this – 7AM every Saturday morning” but yes, I’m sure… for now. I think it’s time to revolutionize the Farmer’s Market with my mad skills… or my ‘better than they were last September’ skills. Either way, it’s time!

I blame Hobbledehoy

During the holiday season of 2007, I noticed a shop on Etsy selling the most BEAUTIFUL bits of wool. That was the first time I laid eyes on the batts that Hobbledehoy creates. I didn’t spin yet but wanted to learn, so I asked for a drop spindle for Christmas.

In January I purchased Drunken Sailor – my first Hobbledehoy batt. It was the beginning of a fiber addiction. I held on to that batt for days, weeks months and then a year. That batt was my first fiber love – I had to hold on to it for something special. I had to wait until I knew EXACTLY what it wanted to be.

Last night, it spoke to me. It wanted to be a super chunky, way funky, plied yarn. So out it came, I spun it up pretty thick (for my standards) and plied the heck out of it. I fell in love with it all over again. I don’t know what it is going to be yet, but that will come to me… in time.

Little accomplishments along the way

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m participating in a challenge to spin everyday in April. It’s day 15 now and I’ve hung in there. I believe I talked about how this challenge would allow me to spin for myself along the way. I am happy to say that just in 15 days, spinning for myself has allowed me to try a few different things with my yarn. I attempted some slubs (although they might be the messiest ones out there) out of my own dyed roving and bits of wool from the Phat Fiber box…then some beehives on a super textured, plied yarn spun from some gorgeous roving from CloudloverAnd tonight I tried my hand at corespinning from some cheapo acrylic yarn as the base and a lovely Hobbledehoy batt (one of her Galaxy batts)…I’m beaming from what I’ve accomplished so far. I can’t imagine I would have tried these out this month if it were not for this challenge. Oh, I would have eventually tried them out, but certainly not in April… and probably not in May… even June might be stretching it a bit.

This corespinning (all 51 yards of it) has worn me out. I’m going to go plop down and watch some Ghost Hunters. Goodnight!

Edit: Hey everyone – do fibery posts make you super happy? They make me happy! If you’re like me, then go over to the Fiber Arts Friday listing and check out all kinds of fibery blog posts, you wont’ be sorry.

A Challenge

I have enjoyed spinning since December of 2007 when my mom gave me a drop spindle for Christmas. If you have followed my blog, then you know I purchased my spinning wheel this past fall. I have spun, spun, and spun some more ever since. I’ve tried to fill my shop and my Holiday craft sale tables with my handspun lovelies and have succeeded in doing so.

Since getting some wool to dye a little over a month ago, my attention has been diverted over to the dye pots. Spinning was put on the back burner as I mixed dyes and steamed roving. A challenge set up by Tara of Blonde Chicken Boutique was JUST what I needed to get back to spinning. She set up a group in Ravelry to spin or dye everyday in April. My challenge to myself is to spin everyday.

I’m only 2 days into it but I discovered something while spinning tonight. I’m not choosing wool to spin in order to fill my shop back up with yarn, but instead, I’ve spin for the past two days just for myself. I picked roving that I purchased for “me” yarn and I took the time to try a realllllly thin single in order to ply it into something not so artsy and bulky. I wasn’t spinning this to sell, I was spinning this just for the pure delight of spinning this lovely wool.

Huh. Who knew this challenge would lead to that so quickly.

The yarn I worked on last night and tonight is seen above. Spun from roving from kcknits.etsy.com on my Fidelis wheel. I cannot wait to knit something from it. I’m keeping this one for myself.

Sometimes you create

And sometimes you clean. Saturday’s are usually reserved for grocery shopping and crafting. Today I shopped, spun some wool (which was more frustrating than it was relaxing – I was having issues today) and cleaned/organized. My house has kind of been in a semi mess since Christmas. There was a small pile of Christmas decor that I forgot to pack away before the boxes were taken to the basement, my sewing machine was still out from a past project, spinning supplies had taken over a corner of the living room, dust filled the corners and wool was oozing out of every bit of storage space in the guest room. It was time to take back my house.

It only took a couple of hours and a few listings on FreeCycle, but I finally feel like I’ve taken back the downstairs portion of my house.

The upstairs bedroom is an entirely different story that I don’t care to write about.

My spinning stash got 2 new cubbies is as neatly organized as possible (as you can see above), I found some yarn I forgot I had and needed to list on Etsy and everything else just got put away. It’s not a huge difference, but I just feel better while walking around. Now I feel like I can tackle some decorating projects and eventually the 2 boxes sitting next to my desk that never got unpacked when we moved.

And now I shall leave you with some new yarn porn – enjoy.

Blue Jean Baby

While watching some football this evening, I decided to work on predrafting some wool. Well, actually not having to predraft as much as I do to spin. I worked on a lovely skein today (spun from a couple of Hobbledehoy batts), seen here, and while I’m completely in love with it (my best thus far) it took me more than half of the UT vs. OU game. Okay, let me break that down: the spinning took not long at all, the predrafting took FOREVER. I took some “extra” batts that were sent to me with some orders earlier this year to work on the drafting.

I can’t say that it was any better, I’ll just keep working on it, but I can say that I ended up with something even more beautiful than I imagined when I started out. I just used two batts from Hobbledehoy that kind of matched (no blacks, lots of colors, and both had brown = matching). They were some freebie extras that she included in various orders. After spinning them up and plying them with some white thread (note to self – get clear thread next time you’re out), I fell in love. This was the perfect yarn for a cowl or hat to wear with your favorite blue jeans. Hense the name “Blue Jean Baby”. I’m really pleased with how spinning is turning out.

While still on my high from my yarn, I found a message that I had been featured in a blog. Designs by Vanessa (over at Etsy) featured my Autumn Splendor bracelet on her blog. It’s a great blog and the post does get you in the mood for fall. I am truly thankful for all of the artists on Etsy that choose to feature other shops. It really shows the team and community that can be found on Etsy. Thank you.