Friday, February 20, 2009

The History of the Spindolyn

The History of the Spindolyn

Part 1 The Loom (where in little Cady May gets wild and wooly)

My Daddy was, like many rural Great Depression Era survivors, a resourceful, creative, do-it-yourself kind of guy. His response to those early life challenges developed in him a passion that went a little beyond most DIY'ers, and spilled over into inventing and tinkering. He loved farming and gardening and dabbling in creative ways of constructing things and approaching gardening challenges in the hopes of stumbling on something that might make farming both easier on the body and the earth, something that might lead us to a more sustainable future.

He passed his enthusiasm for an "endless list of projects" approach to life on to me, whether by example or genetics, I am not sure. His support of anything I was willing to try was unconditional and he gave all of us children free reign with his tools. Safety was approached a little different back then, you were told, "keep your fingers out of the table saw or you will not have fingers," and the rest was up to you. Personal responsibility develops more naturally if it is naturally expected of you, but I digress.

Anyway, Dad was also an auction hound, bargain hunter and packrat of tools and materials so that our garage and later barn, tumbled over full of every possible antiquated hand and power tool, scrap metal, parts, bolts and fasteners. A veritable disorganized hardware store of stuff that might equip one for any possible endeavor into woodworking, metalworking, maple syruping, organic gardening, welding, sandblasting, glass cutting....well, you get the idea.

It was Daddy who showed me how to bend wire, use a bandsaw, split firewood, make a dovetail join and so on, and it was Daddy who brought me home from a yard sale my first loom, for my 14th birthday (he also brought me home a plastic greenhouse for my 16th birthday, but that's another story) This floor loom was a two harness rug loom with a sectional beam and I flat out wore it out, not just with rag rugs and later handspun mohair rugs, but with wild wooly wall hangings, tapestries, bags and vests.

It was the wooly wall hangings that eventually led to spinning. In the 1970's there was a growing interest in handspun yarns, and they were wooly, lumpy, ropes of wild abandon and unfettered creativity (kind of like the times~insert a sigh of nostalgia) Those types of wall hangings just cried out for handspun, and big, chunky, bottom whorl spindles (or a potato on a stick) were used to create them.

I had learned to knit in Junior High, and Mom and Granny taught me to sew and crochet, but it was Daddy bringing home that loom that really started me toward exploring spinning as a whole fiber world in itself, a world of possibilities.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

looking to spring with a yarn desktop



It’s that time of year when the very faintest of blooms start to show on the maple trees, and cast a yellow purple haze on the mostly gray limbs covered hillsides. The daffodils are starting to peek out, and we have made it past the red and white winter yarns of valentine season. And no, I did not finish my valentine finger ringers in time…rats.  They woulda been cool though, red with white angora hearts.

But ever onward, I offer you this yarn mandala (click to view larger for a yarny meditation, or use as a desktop when the gray gets to you.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bean Bag Base or Pouch for Spindolyn

handspun pouch
The base is finally done, and already hard at work. It is amazing how much more flexibility it gives you in locating the spindle for spinning.

This is a pretty simple pattern. It can be found as a downloadable PDF here.
You may recall from previous posts that I had to spin additional mohair for the interior tube to sort of match the outside pouch, and in doing so, remembered why I love mohair so much and miss my goats. But somewhere, right now, is a goat-herdess watching with a careful eye as her angora goats approach kidding season, and I am now a ripe mark for her shearing season economic stimulus bonus.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Winter Whites and Wool

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Soft, two ply sport weight, handspun targhee

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Note frost on Rose’s main, not exactly wool…

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It rained a lot before the snow, so the creek was rushing through white (click for a closer look)

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Welcome to Spindolyns At Cady May's Corner

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