Saturday, January 9, 2010

The New Year, Spinning, and Resolutions.

I keep thinking, oh, hey! I need to blog this, or I need to blog that. Because I said I was going to be a better blogger, and my google analytics are making me feel guilty! But, I'm a big damn liar. It's been two weeks or more since I've last blogged, and so there's that resolution shot to hell! Alas, I am ever-hopeful. I like blogging, I just need to be more consistent. Consistency is not my thing.

I love you blogs and coffee.
This print came from Made By Girl. When I saw it, I had to have it, because it states the truth.

Okay, what else was I going to say?

Dudes, I'm so glad the holidays are over. Really, really. It seems that I dislike them more and more each year, and how Scrooge-y of me, but it's the truth. Christmas is kind of obnoxious. I'd skip it altogether if I didn't have a kid I needed to spoil rotten. (That's the fun part, actually.)

Anyway. I am excited about the new year, since 2009 was actually a great year for me. (!) I am feeling really hopeful and happy and I'm in a really great mental space. Let me tell you what, that's been a long time coming. Seriously. The time frame from about 2006-maybe about a month of 2009 can suck it. I would like to forget most of it. I look back through my journals and wince at all the shit that was going on. Frankly, the only really consistently awesome part of my life was my daughter, who was and continues to be my favorite person ever, ever, ever. Her marvelous take on everything never fails to surprise and delight me.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), the three of us are pretty peachy fucking keen right now. I hope my readers can say the same.

Speaking of resolutions, one of mine was to get my ass in gear and learn to spin on the wheel I bought 2 years ago. I tried it out around the time that I bought it, and I could NOT get the hang of it. No comprendo. So, instead, I focused my energies on knitting, especially sock knitting, and that eventually led to dyeing, which led to my starting a business based on my love for fiber arts and color.

This summer, at one of the fiber fests I attended, a friend of mine showed me her technique on the drop spindle and it was like everything clicked for me and from then on, I was drop spindling like a mofo. I took one everywhere, and eventually I became really good at it. I have dozens of hanks of drop spindled yarn. LOTS. I love it. I always will love the zen-ness of the drop spindle, and enjoy the feel of the fiber slipping through my fingers and be amazed at the very simple process by which wool becomes yarn. It's awesome. But now I think I'm ready to master spinning at the wheel, and I felt confident yesterday, when I drug the wheel out of storage, that I would have an easier time spinning than I did the first time I attempted it two years ago.

Fricke wheel.
I was right. All of that drop spindling experience really paid off for me. The process of drafting and letting the spin travel up the fiber was easily apparent to me, and I was spinning tickety boo.

First yarn on my wheel.
All that yarn spun up in about a minute and a half. It's ridiculous how fast you can go. I'm still getting the hang of things and I need to find the proper chair/height from which to spin, but dayum! So cool! So easy! I think things just went *click* again.

Drop spindles are so much fun.
You just can't beat the portability of the spindle. I don't see myself giving up spinning this way. It's so old school and people just love to watch you do it. Instant ice breaker! It's like a gateway drug to the fiber arts. You can hook them young and old. Last week, I made two new converts to the Fiber Madness. Last summer, I taught a little boy to spin at a fiber festival because he was so completely taken by it. He was all, omg, I need to do this now, right now! It was awesome.

Alrighty then. Blog updated. Go, me! Right now, I need to get ready for Stitchers for Pitchers, which is a knitting group that meets monthly in Durango at one of the brew pubs (woot!). Tonight, we're hanging out at Ska Brewing, and there's going to be a benefit for Tony Miely, who lost his hand in an accident a few months ago. Maybe I'll see some of you there!


  1. That looks neat! {SMILE} I'm glad the wheel finally worked for you. I can see how it would be trickier, especially if it makes you go really fast right from the start. That sounds particularly tricky. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Blair, You are really cookin. I am so glad that the wheel is out--mine too. Jane got it going and I am a spinning fool when I am not moving and/or working. This spring and summer are going to be fun.

    Your blog is always inspiring and it always makes me want to write. And knit and spin and maybe watch you dye.

    Maybe you have reached malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point" where things just converge and expand. Cheers!!!

  3. You finally broke out the big guns! It's very relaxing to listen to the wheel spinning, stop, the occasional curse, and start up again. :)

    And what can I say...I'm pretty awesome! It's hard to keep it up, but sometimes I just can't help it. :P

    Let's hope this next year goes better, eh?

    Colin Mochrie...lover.

  4. Hey, Anne! I'm glad it's finally working for me, too. Better late than never, right?

  5. Hey, Christina! I'm so glad that Jane got your wheel up and running for you. She seems really adept at the whole spinning thing-very cool.

    Thanks for the kudos, and yeah, maybe the tipping point has been reached. I hope so!

  6. Hey, Stink Bug!

    I know, you really can't help how awesome you are. Look where you came from!

    Big guns, represent! Dude, did you get yer tickets to the gun show?

    I have such a crush on Colin Mochrie. I can't believe I'm admitting it.

  7. Great blog post! I'm having major spindle failure right now, personally, and DYING to save up for a wheel so I can actually spin something. For me, it feels like I can't get the spindle to pull the yarn yard enough or twist it tightly enough or something. I used some silky stuff two weeks ago and got it spun up okay (major thick and thin, overtwisted, but okay). But then I tried wool this week and it's not spinning at ALL; it untwists itself back to fluff as soon as I release my pinch grip on it. Do you have any videos to recommend online for the style of spinning you do on your spindle? I've got the book "Start Spinning," but it only gets me so far. I need to see it in action more clearly, I guess, to figure out what I'm doing wrong.
    THANKS in advance!!

    jessecreations on Ravelry

  8. Hi, Jess.

    When I spin, I use a top-whorl spindle and I spin from the fold. Also, I would not recommend using silky fiber until you've gotten a bit of experience. That stuff is definitely more difficult to handle.

    It sounds like you're pulling too much wool when you draft if you can't get twist, or your spindle starts to spin the other way. Try to draft a smaller yarn, and in order to do that you're going to have to keep that twist out of your drafting zone.

    Hold your fiber in your less dominant hand and then with your dominant hand, start the spindle spinning and immediately grab your fiber to not allow the twist to travel up it, and pull/draft it down, and then release the twist up into the fiber. It gets easier as the spindle gets further away from your hand.

    This is a good book:

    And here is a youtube video that's short and sweet:

    With practice, it really does get easier. :-)


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