Thursday, August 26, 2010

Favorite new tool

I wound off Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore single #1 using my new bobbin winder last night. And I kept thinking, why the hell didn't I buy one of these before?? In a smidgeon of the time it takes to wind a single into a plying ball, minus the cramped fingers of this activity, plus the benefit of being able to keep even tension at a distance on the winding yarn to equalize twist in it, I had a beautiful bobbin of yarn!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Almost" August Challenge - making progress

For this spinning project, I’m using what is becoming my go-to spindle, my Dragonfly cherry top-whorl. I originally thought I would aim for a 3-ply sock weight yarn, but the fiber told me that wasn't its true destiny. It is drafting so smoothly and thinly that the yarn is becoming a self-striping 2-ply yarn and will likely be more of a lace weight. The finished yarn will have heathered stripes, gradually transitioning between the colors, with the stripes mirroring each other over the length of the yarn. Instead of socks, I predict that I will eventually treasure a rectangular Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore shawl. I predict the shawl will be gorgeous… and I know it will take much, much longer to make than a pair of socks. It would seem my 2011 New Year’s resolution & project list is starting earlier than usual.

Even though I didn’t post about this spinning project at the beginning of the month, I did start spinning the fiber on August 1st. On that day I was under the delirious notion it would be possible to start & finish this yarn in a mere 31 days… nevermind the high priority & overlapping work deadlines, medical appointments, family reunions & road trips, houseguests, and oh yeah, regular life & housework. So 23 days later, I’ve managed to spin about half the fiber:

There are a couple of awesome side benefits of knowingly missing the August Challenge deadline… I do not have to follow the rules and therefore I will use my wheel to ply this yarn, rather than using a spindle for the entire project. Also, because I know I am getting a lot of yardage out of this fiber, and I wasn’t very jazzed about the time it would take to wind each single into a neat plying ball, I justified the purchase of a Schacht bobbin winder, which just arrived this past weekend in the mail!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spindlers August Challenge - almost

This month’s Spindlers Challenge is National Parks and I absolutely love this inspiration. However, even my rose-colored project glasses cannot blind me to the fact that it will be impossible for me to finish this spindle-spun yarn in August. Between a crazy-busy job, two family reunions in two different states, and other assorted appointments this month, I’ve had to sacrifice my “free” time to responsible choices like washing dishes and taking the dogs to the vet and other such things. But I will still enjoy this topic and use the challenge to make a good yarn, which will be finished in September.

My National Park choice was simple for me. Check this out… it’s Indiana!

See, there really is more than corn in Indiana. I grew up in northwest Indiana near the southern shore of Lake Michigan. This is a picture from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I immediately knew that I wanted to create a yarn that honored what I love about this place – the blues of the water & sky, the powdery sand, and the green of the dune grasses.

I purchased a beautiful 4 oz piece of handpainted top from woolgatherings on She was inspired by a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, but when I saw the fiber, I was reminded of spending time at the Lakeshore:

The fiber is a blend of combed BFL and tussah silk, and I love how the luster of both fibers is like sunlight shining on the lake. My original plan is to make a sock weight yarn with this fiber, so that I can have Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore socks to treasure.