Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spindling and Gripping Yarn

I find that I wander while on the vast internet. Do you? My quest might begin with the search for some wool, and through a blog or website I will click on a link to another spot that interests me. From there I will meander and discover other interesting sites and people.
That happened when I was looking for information about supported spindles for spinning yarn. I came across the blog of Lisa called "Gripping Yarn". I wrote to her to ask a few questions about some spindles she showed on her blog. I found that she makes her spindles, and I ended up placing an order for two of them. I asked her to take some photos so I could see how they were made and share with all of you.
This wood is called red heart, and I chose this because of it's rich natural color. Lisa starts with a rough blank and begins carving as her machine spins the blank. Here are some of her tools. I store my garden tools this way with a little motor oil in the sand to prevent rust.
She tools it to a smooth dowel so she can begin shaping it to the piece she wants.

Obviously this isn't an indoor job, and shavings go everywhere! But aren't they a beautiful color?

She crafted another supported spindle for me made of bocote wood. I love wood, and bocote is a prize for me because of the strong graining lines.

I enjoy seeing how a craftsman can form a smooth and delicate shape from a rough chunk of wood.

After she creates the spindles on her lathe, she sands them amazingly smooth with 12000 grit paper. Then she hand rubs them with oil and gives them a light beeswax polish. There is a lot of work involved and it is obvious that she enjoys creating them.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your photos with me so I have a better understanding of what was involved in making my spindles and the safety equipment you are wise to wear with all the splinters and dust flying around! You are beautiful!
My task ahead is to work with my supported spindles more. I met up with Barbara Clorite-Ventura on the NETA group and just purchased her DVD "Spindles Around the World". With that as my guide along with some YouTube videos I have been able to spin some yarn on my spindles, and will consider this to be my "Learn something new" project for this year. That mantra is my New Year's resolution each year, and I think supported spindling will work quite nicely as a skill to learn and improve.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SPA, Knit and Spin

As an avid knitter and new spinner, I was thrilled to be able to attend the recent SPA, Knit and Spin weekend held in Freeport, Maine. Although not far from home, I chose to kidnap my friend and spend the weekend with a couple hundred other fiber enthusiasts. No classes, just informal gathering and chatting. The weekend is set up by a group of people in NETA (New England Textile Artists). It is an casual weekend where you pull out your spinning wheel, spindle or knitting wherever you are and just relax and be creative. On our kidnapping weekends my friend doesn't know where she is going until we arrive. It's such fun, and I think she had a good time. 

The top pictures were taken in the main lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. Although we had had a bad storm the night before and Freeport was without power for many hours, the power came on in time for us to have a warm and well lit weekend. Many of us left our spouses in the dark at home while we enjoyed our weekend. Tee hee!
Saturday night many of us went over to the Haraskeet Inn for the Ugly Sweater Contest and the Fashion Show. It was snowing heavily outside but the 3 hotels were within walking distance, and Freeport provided a shuttle for those who didn't want to walk. Here are two sweaters from the Ugly Sweater Contest. I didn't get a good photo of the winner, which was a well made man's sweater with an ugly fish on the front. The gentleman was a great sport and proudly wore his purple crown all evening. He had chosen the pattern, and his able wife whipped it up for him in three weeks cringing as she knit each stitch.
This wouldn't be an ugly sweater except for the long sleeves and bright color. I've made worse!!!
The Fashion Show was a time for everyone to show off items they had made during the year. All weekend we saw men and women wearing their handmade items, but this was "Spotlight" time. This is but a small sample of the beautiful work as my camera took many blurry shots as the models were moving fast and I was laughing and cheering a lot!

There were some amazing shawls, and I have the inspiration to make one. Now to just find the time...
This group of women had all used the same pattern to make their sweaters. Look at the variety you can get from one pattern using different colors and types of yarn!

This Jimi Hendricks jacket received a standing ovation for how well it was done. Tess Baumberger knit the sweater and she designed it for her son Nick. She used images from the web (with permission from the artist for the one on the front side), gray scaled them and copied them onto charts that reflected her gauge. It was a great design and just fabulous!

There were many wonderful vendors with samples and fiber and eye candy. They had spinning wheels, books, fiber, rug hooking, handmade garments, bags, accessories, music and DVD's to listen to and of course fiber...lots and lots of fiber!
Beautiful carved and turned crochet hooks, knitting needles, nostepinnes, spindles and more with lovely inlay of stones.

There were many others but I was too busy shopping to take many more pictures!

It was a fabulous and relaxing weekend. Thanks to the Town of Freeport Maine and the hotels that we subjected to our trails of fiber. They patiently put up with us and managed to staff the town for tourists amidst a crisis of power outages and downed trees. And I think many of them enjoyed our laughter in the middle of a dreary winter weekend. The tough part was returning to a home without power on Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Succession of presents...

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction."

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Howard Zinn