Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Truckers take up Knitting & Quilting

The Wall Street Journal put up this article the other day about truckers taking up knitting & quilting as ways to pass the time while waiting for new loads.

I think it's pretty damn awesome.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Travelling with Needles

For those of you travelling relatively soon, Another Long Yarn has some good information regarding travelling with knitting needles since the underwear bomber scare.

Flying with Knitting Needles

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mondo Cable Pullover: Update

Back at the beginning of March, I started the Mondo Cable KAL with the Knitmore Girls over on

It's been a slow steady slog in creating this sweater, as my knitting time has drastically been reduced over the past several months. And, I've been helping to bring up the rear in the KAL. I know that the KAL is not a race, but it's often hard to see all the completed photos of everyone's sweater while still plugging away on my own.

3/10/10 -- I've 1-2 rows from joining the front of the pullover.
3/15/10 -- I've gotten past the 2nd cable cross of the pullover.
3/19/10 -- I've done the 3rd cable cross, and have tried on the fit. So far, so good
3/24/10 -- I've done the last & final cable cross, and have about 2 inches left before I start the ribbing. I'm actually really close to finishing up the first skein!
3/25/10 -- I wound the 2nd skein up into a ball in anticipation of finishing the first skein. (OMG that was a lot of yardage to wind! And my poor ball winder can't handle the yardage in a cake.)

I am a bit worried about the ribbing, as people have reported 'curling'. Gigi of the Knitmore Girls used the same size needle and went to a 4-2 rib and had no issues. But Bonne Marie posted this tidbit on her blog:

For those of you knitting along (wave to the Knitmore Girls KAL!!), you can see that the bottom of this sweater is pretty well-behaved. I used my steam iron and pressed the bottom from the wrong side. No rolling! If you are having that issue, try this AND also consider going up a needle size for your ribbing because your gauge might be too small in that area, if it flips. Also — bind off LOOSELY.

Top down sweaters need to have the same give at the bottom as a cast-on for a bottom-up sweater. So in the casting off, knitters need to be mindful of their tension in that area. Go up a needle size or two JUST to work the bind off. In this case, I used a #7 needle for the body, a #6 needle for the ribbing, and because I have that tight bind off problem, I went back up to the #7 when it was time to cast off the hem.

I really do love the pattern thus far. I was a bit worried about the size I had chosen, but it fits perfectly (thus far). I definitely will be making more of this sweater.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Carrying My Knitting -- and the Nantucket Knitting Bag

I'm a sucker for bags...of any sort. I have a collection of photography bags, travel bags, etc. However, I haven't exactly succumbed to getting a collection of knitting specific bags, such as Namaste, Lexie Barnes, and such.

Why? Because they aren't really my style. I don't really like "purses", but rather utilitarian bags that I can carry a book, water bottle, notebook, knitting (of course), and maybe a drop spindle & extra fiber.

Now, Timbuk2 messenger bags or Eagle Creek bags are more "me". And I use those on a regular basis and it fits everything that I want.

For day-to-day carrying projects: knitting projects are placed in Stuff sacks (aka Ditty bags) then placed in the main bag. The stuff sacks are often made of rip stop nylon so needles don't poke out, and the bright colors make them easy to find. I have several in different colors so I can easily grab a project and "go".

In addition:
-- Notions are placed in a small clear plastic makeup bag.
-- Fiber is placed in zip lock baggies
-- the spindles are placed in camera lens bag or wine carrier case (which I found at a local thrift store for cheap!)

However, I did pick up one bag, the Nantucket Knitty Bag, which has worked really well for me thus far. Currently, I use it for long extended road trips in the car or for taking projects with me to "Stitch & Bitches".

The original bag was designed for use by carpenters who need all those pockets for tools, but it works really well for placing all of your knitting & spinning supplies in as well!

Yarn on the inside
(The photo is from the manufacturer site. My Nantucket is black.)

The bag measures: 15" x 10" x 6" with 1.25" handles. You can sling it like a shoulder bag, or close up the top and use it as a back pack. You can also reverse how it zips up so that all the pockets are in the inside of the bag. (I did this when visiting a house with small children).

It easily fits multiple projects, multiple yarn & fibers, and has wonderful pockets for putting in things such as full-size scissors, measuring tape, etc. It's easy to pull things in and out of it, and I can stuff it relatively full without worry.

I've been using it for car trips. For one week-long trip I carried: three sock projects, a sweater project, a hat project, all the associated yarn for said projects; two spindles and fiber for spinning. Then all the assorted tools that got placed in the pockets. It fits nicely at my feet on the passenger side, and the wide open mouth lets me immediately place in a project without any fuss.

When I'm not using it for car trips, it just simply holds yarn or fiber or whatever I'm currently working on at that particular moment, and will often get carried room to room when I'm knitting. (This is an addition to my static yarn baskets that sit by my favorite chairs.....)

The only thing about this bag is that, depending on how full you stuff it, the top won't cinch close all the way, and if it topples over, you might spill your yarn/fiber/projects out. However, I don't normally stuff it that full, so this hasn't been a problem for me.

Overall, it's a lovely bag to use.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Old Tech Meets New Tech.

I love my drop spindles because they are really portable....much like my knitting. There are often situations where I can't knit because I know I'm going to get interrupted and I need to concentrate, OR when my project is just too big to pull out to knit comfortably (in this case, a sweater). These are the occasions when I pull out my drop spindle, because I don't really need to concentrate when using it, it relaxes me, and I can literally stop at any time.

In this particular instance, I had gone to the Apple Store to see about a repair on my iPhone. I got help right away, and was simply waiting for the clerk to return. The Apple Store is full of shiny tech things, but there isn't much there that I haven't already seen (and frankly didn't need).

I realize the irony of pulling out an ancient piece of technology in a place where some of the most modern technologies can be purchased quite easily. And for the most part, I was mostly ignored as many people were too engrossed in playing with the latest toys. I was spinning merino top on my Asciano spindle.

However, it was the salespeople that eventually came over to ask what I was doing and gawk somewhat. One gent was keenly interested, and when I started explaining all about the physics of spinning, he was super eager to run out and try it out for himself. LOL.

Eventually, I got my iPhone all sorted out, packed up my spindle, and was on my merry way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Neat Commercial

This commercial is kinda awesome.

as is the making of the commercial (where you also see a crochet hook in action)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Art of Collecting Spindles

If you hit the Ravelry Spindlers Forum, Flickr Groups (such as SpindleShots), or whatnought, you'll notice that there are a LOT of spindle collectors out there.

It's much easier to collect spindles than it is to collect wheels (not to say that there aren't people who collect wheels!), but spindles take up considerably "less" space than several wheels. (Of course, if you have 100+ spindles, it might take up plenty of room!)

Of course, this is not a new phenomena. In Ancient Greece, spindles of gold & ivory were presented as gifts to women, and many have been found in the tombs of both men & women alike as burial items across various cultures. But, whether or not someone had dozens or even hundreds of spindles (if you weren't a professional spinner) is probably up for debate. I suspect that most ancient spinners might have had a small collection for utilitarian purposes, but not to the extent some spindlers have today!

Butterfly Girl Spindle & Japanese Maple roving
Resin Spindle

Spindle whorls have been created out of beads, shells, wood, ceramics, stones, bone, precious metals, semi-precious stones, and clay. Many are decorated with intricate carvings or ornate designs. And this doesn't include the modern day interpretations, such as resins, glass, and wood spindles with gold rims, etc! (I sometimes wonder what future archeologists & anthropologists will say when they uncover these tools and how they will compare it to *our* ancient forebearers.)

ZebIsis Design Spindl
Jasper Whorl Spindle

It seems to me that humans have been trying to spruce up their utilitarian tools to make them more pleasing to the eye when using them. I know I find an immense pleasure in just seeing my pretty spindles whorl in such a plethora of wide colors & patterns.

Butterfly Girl Murano Drop Spindle
Murano Glass Spindle

Insofar as myself, my collection isn't *that* big. I might have 7 spindles total, of varying materials and weights. But this doesn't mean I won't be acquiring more spindles in the near future.......

(And for now, I'm sticking with *one* wheel!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: Spin Control by Amy King

I've just finished reading Amy King's Spin Control Book. And as a relatively new spinner, I definitely like this book. It's geared primarily towards those spinners with wheels, but the techniques can be converted to those using spindles with a bit of care.

In the beginning of the book, she goes over some spinning basics -- the differences between woolen versus worseted, S-spun / Z-spun, short draw versus long draw, and the different fibers and how they react to certain spinning types. And she has some wonderful color photographs showing how a woolen yarn knit up looks to a worsted spun yarn. In addition, she goes over tips & techniques to help you get your yarn more consistent. She does not go in-depth about some basics, so if you're looking for details, this is probably not the book.

She also goes over plying and the different plying techniques. And again, lots of wonderful photographs showing how a 2-ply or 3-ply pr N-ply does with regular knitting versus cabled knits versus colorwork.

The last few remaining chapters of the book go over the possibilities of what you can do with your handspun, including core spinning, making boucle, and purposefully made 'art yarn'.

The photographs in the book are very well done, and give you a nice view of what can be accomplished and provide a 'guideline' on how things might spin or knit up. The writing style is laid back and easy to read. There's no overly complicated instructions and a lot of the step-by-step instructions are accompanied by photographs.

I have heard that more advanced/experienced spinners might not find a lot of value in the book, but I'd say for beginning/intermediate spinners, this book can show you all of the possibilities and help you get to the next level in your spinning.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Bit of History: Part III - Crochet History

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part post regarding a little bit of history on some knitting & crocheting as presented for the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition workshop on Fiber Arts. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive history, but serves merely as a primer, and my time line *stops* at the Victorian era).

Part I: Victorian Fiber Arts -- can be found here.
Part II: Knitting History -- can be found here.


The exact origins of crochet are unknown as there are no surviving examples. The first mention as *shepherd's knitting* from "The Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant" in 1812, and the earliest published crochet pattern was around the 1820s. It has been theorized that crochet might have started as early as the 1600's and originated around Arabia and parts of Asia.

Around the 1800s, crochet became a cottage industry, especially in Ireland, was an inexpensive substitute for lace. As crochet was a cheap copy of the the more expensive (and thus status symbol) of lace, it was branded as "common". However, Queen Victoria helped its reputation by purchasing Irish made crochet lace, and learned to crochet herself.

Crochet became a popular leisurely pursuit for ladies. There are a lot of patterns available for making everything from crocheted lace copies to clothing. Crochet hooks ranged from crude wood to ivory hooks.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I have an addiction.....

My name is J. And I have a Fiber addiction.

I keep looking at lovely fiber pr0n on Ravelry and Etsy, and drool at the sight at some lovely fiber combinations...DESPITE having a decent Fiber Stash(TM) that should last me for at least several months, IF I spin on a regular basis. I think to myself, "So much fiber, so little time...."

Not only do I have a fiber addiction, but I keep looking at knitting patterns on, and keep adding favorites of those I might want to make someday. I think, "So many patterns, so little time...."

And, all of these addictions are due to Ravelry. I think I might be a Ravelholic. I know I definitely need help.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to peruse Ravelry for a Ravelry Anonymous group......

A Bit of History: Part II - Knitting

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part post regarding a little bit of history on some knitting & crocheting as presented for the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition workshop on Fiber Arts. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive history, but serves merely as a primer, and my time line *stops* at the Victorian era).

Part I can be found here.


Knitting hasn't been around as long, as say, spinning or weaving. The word "to knit" wasn't added into English until the 1400s. There are knitted fragments, but it's hard to know if it was really "knitting". There are examples of "nalbinding" (cross between tatting, knitting, and crochet).

Socks are the oldest form of knitted garments found, especially tubular (in the round) knitting (Egyptian socks 1000CE - stockinette done in shades of white & indigo with Arabic decorations -- made out of COTTON.) In the Middle East, the materials available were cotton & silk ...not necessarily wool.) In the 1600s, Britain became the biggest producer of handknitted worseted stockings that were exported around the world (knitted on 4 needles)

The knit stitch is the earliest form. Purl stitches were verfied in usage in 1562, and were mostly used for decoration purposes (not for welts or ribbing)

Examples of early knitting:
• pillow 1275 in Spain.
• Gloves from 1200s.
Paintings from 1350s show some form of knitting.
• V&A example of 16th c gloves knitted in Spain. (knitted in the round)
(You can see some of these at the V&A Museum pages)
• Carpets are often found as examples of handknitting in the 1500-1600s.

14th - 16th Century: A cottage industry of knitting appeared in about 1420s, which also heralded the start of wool knitting. Previously, knitting was done with whatever fibers were the most readily available -- cotton, silk, etc.

In medieval times, knitting was guild controlled craft, and was a mainstay of exported goods (14-15thc). Sailors knitted for the same reason we do today -- it's portable, small, and gave them something to do on their long trips. This also spread the art of knitting.

Industrial Revolution in the 18th century -- transformed knitting into an automated process. Hand knitters found it difficult to make a living, as automation made cloth & clothing cheaper. There were still a few cottage industries of knitting, specifically in Scotland and the Fair Isle sweaters.

However, by now, knitting was slowly turning into a leisurely pursuit.

1800s -- Knitting was considered a more leisurely pursuit, suitable for ladies to pursue. It was also suitable for helping to decorate clothing, as well as hide any alterations of various hand-me-down clothing (along with other trim from ribbonwork, crochet, etc). Amusingly enough, there were knitting techniques that mimic'd crochet (such as picot knitting!)

There were a lot of instructions & patterns as yarn makers & embroidery houses published books to highlight their products (which hasn't changed much from today's current yarn catalogs & websites). There were also a lot of books & magazines geared towards women and teaching them these fine arts (again, this hasn't changed much!)

In the mid 1800s, beaded knitting was introduced and became widely popular, esp. in America, where ladies knitted beaded handbags.

Around the 1870s, knitting was taught to both boys & girls as part of their education, as part of a "useful skills" curriculum in schools for the working classes

By mid 1890s, knitting was considered "passe", but was still encouraged as a leisurely pass time for ladies.

There are still a lot of surviving patterns & books the Victorian era that you can easily find in Libraries or Google Books

Links of Interest

(next post: Crochet History)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Bit of History: Part I - Victorian Fiber Arts

I had actually put together a whole bunch of notes for the Nova Albion Fiber Arts panel. As I am a former teacher (and history buff), I decided that knowing a bit of history was a good starting point. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive history, but serves merely as a primer, and my time line *stops* at the Victorian era).

This is a 3-part series. So, without further ado....

A Bit of History Fiber Arts....

Victorians loved their crafts, including:
• cross stitch
• embroidery
• knitting
• tatting/netting/knotting -- a form of lacework
• Braid lace
• applique work
• silk ribbon work
• also a lot of other Victorian crafts, including scrapbooking, decoupage, etc

(If you think scrapbooking or decoupage is a modern invention, then think again....)

The Victorians LOVED lavish decorations. Elaborate designs were popular and adding trim to everything was common. (Lace curtains, elaborate quilts, embroidered clothing, lace edged hankerchefs, decorated frames, etc). These trims also served to hide alterations for clothing -- when older styled clothes were re-cut for later fashions or altered down to fit smaller relatives.

Victorian girls & women were expected to be proficient in a number of activities and to have "useful leisures" (especially in the middle-to-upper classes). Many young girls (as young as 6 years old) would have done "samplers" to show off their needlework and knowledge of the alphabet. Women in lower classes were expected to know a lot of these arts in order to make a living as sewers or to just be able to repair/make their own clothing.

Links of Interest

(next Post: Knitting History)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition: FIBER!

This past weekend, I did a whole bunch of workshop panels at the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibtion. I am *exhausted* from my weekend, but my inner teacher is rather pleased with the panels & presentations, and I received a lot of "thank yous" from the various folks who attended and learned a lot.

My panels involved:
- a sewing, pattern alterations/ modifications
- wardrobe on a budget
- fiber arts
- silicon molding & resin casting

The Fiber Arts workshop dealt with: knitting, crocheting, embroidery, & trim.
I had brought materials to teach any of the following:
- knitting,
- crochet
- embroidery
- silk flower ribbonwork

As Miss Kalendar was focusing on knitting, and another teacher was focusing on embroidery, I taught attendees:

0) A little bit on the history of crochet, knitting, and trim in the Victorian era.

1) create flowers out of ribbon for trim -- how to create your basic flower using various techniques & how to create shells. I had one student create a lovely hatband out of various ribbons and embellished said ribbons with ribbon flowers.

2) crochet basics -- which amazingly, a lot of knitters had thought very difficult! I taught the simple basics: single stitch, chain stitch, half double crochet, double crochet, etc...and how each stitch builds ontop of another.

As an added bonus, I even got the lovely Miss Kalendar to pick up the crochet hook after showing her my lovely Mortimer.

Dead Bunny

There was a lot of fiber arts at Nova Albion. Miss Kalendar hosted a Social Salon which featured a lot of fiber arts. I stopped by on several occasions and was pleased to see folks with their knitting projects and even one spinning wheel.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spindle Crush

I have a spindle crush. It's with the new Deborah Doyle spindle that I bought at Stitches West. It weights 1.25 oz, and is made of dark Cocobolo wood. And it spins like an absolute dream. The spin is so effortless, quiet, and just...amazing.

Deborah Doyle Spindle

I'm currently spinning about 2 oz of merino on this spindle, and every time I flick it, I'm absolutely delighted. I can't seem to stop spinning.

I think I might have a problem.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spinner's Study: Alpaca & Merino


So, for Ravelympics, I was continuing my spinning study, on alpaca. Needless to say, I'm *STILL* working on finishing that 2 oz of alpaca. This is being spun on a Greensleeves 1.6 oz spindle. I'm not sure if what I have is suri or huacaya, but I had gotten it as part of my original box from Spunky Eclectic. It's a natural tan color.

Ravelympics Spinning

- the alpaca is oh-so-buttery soft. It's very well prepared roving.
- the staple length is very *long* = 5-8"
- there's very little crimp in a given lock, so it's not very elastic.

I'm currently spinning it at about a heavy fingering or sport weight, as it seems to lend itself better to that weight. And I'm really really enjoying spinning this fiber.

However, I definitely would like to ply this with merino to give it a little bit of elasticity. I have some pure alpaca yarns, and while I love the drape and the feel, I think it would be better (for me) to mix this in with wool.

From my Spinner Study box, I have 2 oz of white merino, which is being spun on a Deborah Doyle (Asciano) spindle (1.25 oz).

Deboarah Doyle Spindle

Can I just say that I am *really* liking merino?

- lots and lots of crimp, which means that it's.....
- very very elastic. There is definite "sproing" in the spun yarn. I can easily see this being over spun.
- I am currently spinning this at a fingering weight because I want to ply it with the above alpaca, but I can definitely see spinning this a lot thinner (laceweight) just because of the fiber properties.

Some personal notes:
While I like merino, I'm not sure if this will become my "Go-To" fiber (or Desert Island fiber). I find that I'm preferring a little bit of a longer staple length for spinning purposes. This isn't to say that I won't spin merino, but I can easily see this being blended with other fiber types (like alpaca) just to mix things around a little bit.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fostering Sweaters....

There's this thrift store by my house. I love this thrift store because it borders several different neighborhoods with different population & cultural types, so you never quite know what's going to pop up there.

For instance, I once found a gorgeous Italian handmade Edwardian-esque coat. It was all wool with a silk lining. The handsewn tag & embossed lining proclaimed "Gucci". The fabric was oh-so-pettable, and it fit me like a glove. SCORE!

In addition to regular items I've found there, I've also discovered a plethora of many hand-knitted goods in this store. There are the usual suspects -- hats, scarves, shawls. But I've also found some amazingly hand-knit sweaters -- colorwork sweaters, fair isle, etc -- mostly men's sweaters. I'm impressed at the sheer number of hand-knitted goods that I find here...more so than other thrift stores I've frequented.

I fondle these hand knitted works, marveling at the weight of the sweater, the warmness, or the intricate colorwork. I want to take them ALL home with me to give them a good home, but sadly, most of them are not my color or don't fit me.

I wonder what the story was behind a sweater that was lovingly made, who was the intrepid knitter that knitted this very large man's sweater, and for whom was this item knited? I wonder how it now finds itself in a 2nd hand thrift store....and where it will end up going?

I hope one day to find a woman's hand-knit sweater in that thrift store, that is in a color I can wear AND that fits. I want to be able to foster a sweater and give it a new home and a new story.

Stitches West: Photos

I finally got around to taking photos of some of the things I got over at Stitches West this year. There was definitely more fiber/spinning purchases this year.

From Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Luscious Silk Singles

Socks that Rock Mediumweight


From Abstract Fibers:
Abstract Fibers
Bonfire - Merino / Silk

Abstract Fibers - Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate - Alpaca, Merino, Silk

Abstract Fibers - Yak & Merino
Yak & Merino -- to be plied with Dark Chocolate.

(Can I just reiterate how much the girls at Abstract Fibers are *evil*?!?)


Sheep's Feet Sock Yarn

Tess Ribbons
Tess Ribbons


Deboarah Doyle Spindle
Deborah Doyle Spindle

Turkish Spindle
Jenkin's Turkish Spindle

Monday, March 8, 2010

Review: Respect the Spindle

This past weekend, I finally picked up the book, "Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool", by Abby Franquemont, at a local bookstore.

Respect the Spindle

Can I just say this? WHERE was this book when I first started spinning on a spindle?!?! Oh yeah, she was just finishing up writing it and it was *just* about to be published. So, I didn't get the full benefit of it when I started spindling.

It came out about 3 months after I started spindle spinning. However, it's awesome book to read with a lot of information specific to spindle spinning that you don't necessarily get in other general spinning books (which mostly cater to wheel spinning). Despite it's focus on spindles, it's an overall good "spinning" book with information on drafting, woolen, and worsted spinning, plying (with some good photos on chain plying), etc. I've learned quite a bit more just by reading this book.

Abby does a really good job at breaking things down into easy-to-understand concepts about the hows and whys of spinning. Her writing flows nicely from one end of the book to the next. Her style is fluid and easy-to-read. She explains (with good photographs) the different spindle types, why they work, how they work, and what are the idiosyncracies between all of them. She goes over the physics of spinning, mathematics of spin rates, and a little bit about the history of spinning in general.

In addition to the above, there are some brief exercises for you to work on, how to determine your spinning rate, and then she also provides a few patterns for your first few skeins of handspun. She's very encouraging throughout the book, getting you to explore at your own pace, to find your own spinning "mojo", and to really understand that there is going to different ways of doing things.

(And there are also some very gorgeous photos of various spindles and fiber!)

Overall, it's a *wonderful* book. In terms of specific spindle books, I think this one sits at the top of my "recommended" list. It'll be the one I will be recommending to people who want to learn how to use a spindle. I know that I certainly learned a lot.

(As a side note: Books, such as The Bellweather's Productive Spindling (also a very good book) compliments Abby's book very well, going into some specifics (such as how to efficiently wind-on a cop for different reasons, etc).

I'll review the Product Spindling book at a later date.

Mondo Cable Pulli

The Knitmore Girls are having a sweater KAL, specifically, the Mondo Cable Cardigan/Pullover by Chick Knits

At Stitches West, I picked up some gorgeous Luscious Silk Singles in the colorway, Brick, by Blue Moon Fiber Arts.


The KAL started on March 1st, but I actually didn't cast on until March 2nd, because I was busily swatching, then waiting for it to block & dry. Currently, I'm slowly knitting through, and have maybe four inches of neck. I have yet to even start the body. I was stalled due to some confusion about neck & body shaping in the directions, and had asked the KAL group for help.

I sorely miss my two hours a day of commute knitting (one hour of train knitting in each direction.) I'm only glad that this KAL is all month long. I might be able to get to the body by mid-this week (hopefully).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spreading the Evil

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine (who beads) said she'd be interested in learning how to use a drop spindle. Her mother tried to teach her how to knit as a young girl & as an adult ...and each time it ended in frustrated she has no desire to learn knitting or crocheting. However, she *loves* fiber and thought that spinning might prove to be better for her, as she has watched me spin and loves the fibers that I make.

So, I got her a good inexpensive wood spindle from Stitches West (she was deathly afraid of dropping and breaking a spindle -- she saw my glass & resin spindles), and a pretty handpainted corriedale top. Plus I added "practice" fiber that I had left over from some dark BFL from my last spinning project.

Armed with Abby Franquemont's "Respect the Spindle" DVD and The Bellweather's book, "Productive Spindling", I went over and showed her the principles of parking & drafting, then left her alone while her hubby, DH, and I went off to dinner & a concert (as she was ill).

I came back with her spindle 1/2 full of what looked like a DK or worseted weight yarn. She said that she thinks she could really get into this, as it appeals to her Anal Retentiveness.....she can control every aspect of the twist (making her prefer worsted spinning over woolen).

So, I've done my part of spreading the evil....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stitches West

This past Friday, I headed over to Stitches West on Friday, because it's the least "crowded" day....not to say it wasn't crowded, but it's far less crowded than going on a Saturday (which I did last year).

I made some Major Stash Additions for both fiber, yarn, and spindles, which should keep me very busy for a long time. I also got to buy fiber & spindle for a friend whom I am teaching how to spin (and inflicting evil upon), but I digress.

Things purchased:
* Asciano Fiber Arts Tools (Debra Doyle) Spindle made of Cocobolo from Carolina Homespun.
* Luscious black merino & white merino top.
* Insanely soft baby camel top
* Enough fiber for the Knitmore Girls Mondo Cable Pulli/Cardi KAL -- merino silk blend (love, love, love)
* Sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts & Sheep Feet
* Enough Noro Yarn for a Sweater or really big shawl from Webs
* OMG amazing fiber from Abstract Fibers -- Dark Chocolate (alpaca, merino, silk) and another in Yak/Merino. (luv, luv, luv)

And can I just say the sales girls from Abstract Fibers are instigators & enablers, and I discovered that I have a weakness for alpaca/merino/silk & yak/merino fibers gorgeous jewel tones. *sigh*. They were very helpful, and pulled out stuff I had asked for...then pulled out other stuff....and other things. And then made suggestions on plying this fiber with that fiber...and...and....

But, again, I digress. Let's just say that I spent more than intended at Abstract Fibers, but stayed relatively well within the budget I had set for myself.

But, outside of the fiber-y goodness, I went to the Knitmore Girls meetup at Abstract Fibers, and saw some friends, including re-acquainting myself with another person (Cynthia) whom I've known peripheally, but is friends with a whole slew of people that I know -- making my world a little smaller. We geeked hardcore about science fiction, knitting, spinning, photography...and the whole lot.

By the time I left Stitches West (about 4-5pm) the crowds had severely thinned out, and my feet hurt from walking on that convention concrete floor. There was a show & tell at Purlescence Yarns, but I decided that it'd just be best for me to go home.