Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Syne,

It's amazing to me the impact you've had on my fiber life, even though we've never met. For starters, you've had Judith MacKenzie McCuin on Weavecast twice. The first numbered episode and the current episode.

I must admit that the current episode is downloaded onto my MP3 player and I have listened to it at least 3 times during my morning walks. Each time I have picked up something different from your conversation with Judith. This is such a special treat since my goal after coming home from my two weeks at Penland with Randall Darwall has been to develop my ability to create interesting, unique cloth with my own handspun yarns. Hence I have finally returned to the wheel and spindle in every available moment.

Then there was Episode 26 with Daryl Lancaster. Once again you tapped another intention of mine: to sew garments for myself with my handwoven fabrics. I've listened to that episode two times. Then I headed over to the American Sewing Expo site to see what they were offering in September. On the first day of registration, I signed up for two days of classes. The first one is on draping and the second is on creating and using a dress form. Now I'm counting the days 'til those classes in September.

As a lover of fine threads, the interview with Lillian Whipple was mesmerizing. I hadn't seen anything in print about Lillian in a long while so it was a treat to hear about her current pursuits.

Then how could your interviews with Sara Lamb and Sarah Swett be anything but colorful considering the work and personalities of these two wonderfully talented fiber artists. I've just finished reading The Blood of Flowers with knotted pile weaving as part of the story and causes me to want to listen to Sara Lamb's interview once again.

I haven't listened to the episode with Bonnie Inouye yet. Primarily because I've taken two workshops with her and haven't cataloged my samples yet. Hmm...maybe I should listen to it while sorting through that stuff.

All this, and now your latest venture with Weavezine. What fun!

Thanks so much for pouring out your love of weaving in a way that benefits all of us. I'll be sending a donation before the next episode of Weavecast goes up.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Random: all about me, in my head, stuff (mostly spinning):

Spinning A: This spinning has been languishing for awhile. The fiber is Border Leicester lamb blended with mohair, alpaca, and a smidge of silk. It was sold as top. Although it is well blended fiber with no neps or lumps, it's not true combed top (sort of a George W. Bush version of top).


I've been happy with the singles. I tried plying a few yards and the yarn became instantly boring to me. The singles is just more lively and exciting. Here's a swatch knitted with the singles:

As much as I like the yarn, an end product was just not suggesting itself and the fiber languished at the wheel. Then today I found Pam's February Lady Sweater. It's from EZ's book: Knitter's Almanac (scroll down the page). It's an $8.00 book, not much more than I paid for it about 25 years ago....A bargain in this economy!

I've downloaded Pam's pattern and will probably dink with it a bit to either round out the neckline or put on a small collar (square necks and raglan shaping make me look like a linebacker). But it looks like the right sort of garment for this yarn.

Spinning B: In this post I admitted that I've also been spindle spinning. Since that post I've spun another half ounce (a spindle full), a reflection of how much (or how little) tv I've watched in the past couple weeks.

BTW... Ted and Stasia asked about the spindle in that post. It's a Tom Forrester cherry support spindle and bowl, purchased at the '03 SOAR. I love it.

Yesterday I was in need of a little retail therapy so I headed up to Beth's shop which was full of people taking a class. Nevertheless I was able to slip into a corner and play with the spindles until this one called out to me. It's an Ann Grout .55 ounce spindle. There's a Celtic design on the whorl which this picture doesn't show. (If you ask real nice in the comments, I'll post a picture of the whorl design for you.)

However, the picture does show that it can spin lovely fine yarn as a drop spindle. The fiber here is a 50/50 camel silk top (now this is truly combed top) that is spinning up about 35 wpi on the spindle.

The only drawback I've found with this spindle is its attractiveness to the cat when in use. My other drop spindles have significantly more mass and the cat is afraid of them, but this little light thing can be pretty irresistible to the feline set.

Since the spindle was so reasonably priced, I had to take a look through the books and came home with two I had not seen before. This one will be fun for just putzing around to make straps, closures, etc. for woven items:

And this one is the Pièce de résistance of the trip:


I love Evelyn Clark's lace shawl designs for their beauty, simplicity, and economy of design. In this book, she takes you through the thought processes of designing a lace triangular shawl. There's even an appendix with charts to relate approximate yardages of different weights of yarn to the size of shawl; valuable information for the handspinner.
The book is published by Fiber Trends and is a wonderful gift to the knitting community.

That's it....gotta go wind a warp while the washer and dryer are running.

Don't worry, Ted, I left a lot of stuff at The Spinning Loft to tempt you on Aug. 2nd!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Well, both Sharon and Judy guessed the west coast.

Nope...think east coast. North Carolina...again. This time the shore rather than the mountains. The ship is the battleship North Carolina, a WWII battleship that saw a lot of action in that war. It has been well preserved and maintained. A good way to spend the one bad weather day we had that week. The rest of the week we spent enjoying the breezes, sun, sand and seafood in Atlantic Beach and Beaufort.

Not much to report on the fiber front between re-entry from vacation, getting ready for house guests this weekend, then getting ready for another jaunt after that. When July is over, I will need another vacation (retreat) just to catch up with myself.

And though I may not be letting any grass grow under my feet this month, this video reminds me once again how boring my wardrobe is:



Maybe it's because I never had an Aunt Susie?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Where have I been?

Away for a week with only my support spindle and the cotton silk sliver. Here was one of the stops along the way:






I also read two books: A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle. Both good reads. Both somewhat disturbing.
Any guesses on where I've been?