Monday, June 2, 2008


Agh!  Sorry it's been a while... apparently it's Handbag Season, so I've been pulling a ton of over-time hours at the Pickle... which usually leave my body so drained that I am only capable of then coming home and falling asleep in my chair while reading Jane Austen.  But I have been crafting a little around the edges, so I'm going to try to catch my blog up in the next week or so.  Here goes...

pt 1:  "I've named her Dartagnan"

Pronounced "dar-tan-yon"...  like from the three musketeers?  I thought she looked like a pirate ship and for some reason that's the name I thought of first.  I'm having a figure-head commissioned.  (No, really, I am!)

Yes!  That's right:  I finally got my hands on a spinning wheel of my very own!  It's an Ashford Traditional 1st Generation.... and she's a beaut.  I've had her since February and since then I've also managed to acquire a niddy-noddy and a lazy kate (see below).  I love the crazy names of fibers tools...

pt 2:  20-something Spinster

Since the arrival of Dartagnan I have spent most of my spinning time practicing with acquired fiber (stuff I didn't have to pay for.)  But thanks to Nellie, I have a ton of really great pre-dyed (and slightly felted) wool to work with.  That way, I won't waste any of the really nice stuff I've started to collect through my delusions of spinning grandeur.    

One of the first things I wanted to make was a 2-plied yarn; thus taking advantage of my new lazy-kate as well.  I started by spinning full bobbins of solid color wool.  This was where all the practice comes in.  I haven't yet gotten the hang of "drafting", or, spinning from a cloud of fiber instead of pre-prepared strips like I had been making for my drop-spindle.  (Actually, I'm not sure if I'm bad at drafting or was prevented from success because the wool was already felted).  Anyway there was a lot of preparing long strips of wool, making sure they were even, and starting and stopping the wheel while I connected the strips.  Eventually, I had two full bobbins:  one moss green and the other a fabulous turquoise.

The bobbins were then positioned on the Lazy Kate (That wood/metal dowel contraption in the lower left corner above)  and the threads were then spun together in the opposite direction to how they were originally spun.

After that, the yarn is removed from the bobbin and wrapped tightly around the niddy-noddy (no, seriously, that's it's technical term) which organizes the yarn into a 1.5 yard skein.

(Sorry for the blurry photo!  The lighting in my room sucks.)  The skein then gets "shocked,"  or soaked in hot water for 5 min, stretched and weighted, and left to dry over night.  The shocking of the wool ensures that the twist gets permanently set.  Et Voila!  Yarn!

I have two fairly large skeins of this yarn, and I haven't tried knitting any of it...  I'm half considering just shipping it off to Nell and let her try it out.  For some reason when it comes to spinning I'm always so excited by the product, by the yarn itself, that I don't want to be culpable for it's transition out of that state.  Crazy?  Maybe a little.  Anyway, for the moment I think I'll just continue showing it off as yarn.  :0)  


Elizabeth said...


katiwithanilovesyou said...

hey nora,
two things: 1. yes they are my paintings and thank you! 2. my friend's email address is, i'm pretty sure that is correct. let me know. xoxoxo good luck at the pickle! soon my sched. is changing so i'll be in the city more fri/sat/sundays. let's hang?

Nelly Face said...

What do you mean, thinking of sending it to Nell? Nell is waiting with baited breath and ready knitting needles.
Also, Dar-tan-yon is sexy.

Anonymous said...

that is sooo exciting! I'm so glad you have a spinning wheel. looks fun (but challenging)