Sunday, December 26, 2010

new year a comin’

and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming….
I refuse to make the list of resolutions, instead, I am just going to start doing every little design thing that pops into my head I will sketch, no matter how silly.



Monday, December 13, 2010

What are you wearing?

To stay warm, that is. I was wondering that this morning when I was out feeding the rabbits, chickens, sheep and goats with the windchill at –3. I was actually pretty comfortable in my layered merino sweater under a pair of coveralls and a wool earflap hat and scarf, but I could use a wool vest for in the house and some angora boot liners.
I was wondering if other knitters are happy with their wool “warmies” or if they have given the best stuff away and still need certain warm things for themselves. So my question is, what are you wearing and what do you wish you had already knitted for yourself before this terrible cold descended?

                           Snow falling with the sun shining outside my kitchen window.

The snow is beautiful, but the  unseasonable cold is a little frustrating for me, I have Christmas spindolyns that need to be finished and shipped, but with temps in the single digits and teens, the little electric heater in my shop (aka: barn stall) will not cut it to bring the temp up high enough to run the power tools. I know this is not like being stuck on the interstate in a blizzard with nothing to eat or drink, but it is a problem that is hard to explain to anxious customers…we don’t normally have this kind of weather in TN. But weather is no longer “normal” so I really will have to do something about the shop before next winter.
But the view from my spinning wheel is nice!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

new spindolyn models! and what wood would I if I would…

I have been asked a few times about the woods that I use to make the spindolyns. Why I don’t use exotic woods, why I limit my production to certain woods. I do so, because I know that to some extent (as much as can be said, in this ruthless world that we live in) that these particular species can be harvested sustainably, that they are fairly common and resilient species, and that their harvest provides income for many people in the South Eastern US, parts of the Northwest and Canada. I can’t know this personally about imported woods, so I stick with what I know.
Wood for me is an emotional thing (it is, another form of fiber, after all)  So follows is a dissertation on why I use what I use, with more personal info than you probably want to know
I love wood, and I love trees. So much so that the minor for my degree in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan is in Forestry. At one time I was a park ranger, and then later in my life I was  passionately active in a lobbying the state Tennessee to adopt legislation to insure best management practices in logging to protect future stands of timber and stream quality in the state.(this effort failed, of course)
  This coincided with  a time in my life when I lived at a sawmill and it was a giant conflict for me, to see big dead tree bodies come in on trucks, and then to see fabulously beautiful walnut, oak or cherry come off the mill or out of the kiln. I couldn’t wait to get ahold of some of the scraps from the “real lumber” and run to the woodshop with it to get started making something, a spindle, a lap loom, furniture for pixies.  Contrary-wise I also couldn’t stand to see the empty places on the Upper Cumberland where the forests once stood. Life is about conflict.
I also knew plenty of loggers personally, and saw as the small scale sustainable loggers where pushed out of business by the large scale loggers using giant, immensely destructive logging equipment. But then over the years, I have watched as trees filled back in, slowly  and stunted and certainly not majestically, and missing much of the diversity of flora and fauna that the old ways of harvesting preserved. But at least I can see regrowth, and at least I know the enemy. I can’t say that about exotic lumbers or far off logging practices.
  The bases, mostly “ready fetched on” as Granny would have said, are either maple, Canadian birch or fir. These are also “somewhat sustainable” woods, grown in the US or Canada, and for the spindles, I stick with the wood I know, cherry, oak, walnut and poplar, wood grown in the forests I know.

I have added a new base (the Orbia) to the spindolyn lineup. I like the stability of the cubia base so much, that I added this one, with roundier corners, that let you tilt it easy for winding on.
Unlike the cubia, the tube sits in it straight upward, instead of at an angle…if you want the angle, you just tilt it..or not.
Also there is a new whorl model. I have named it the Melody, it is like the mezzo but just enough larger in diameter to give you more capacity and a wee bit slower spin, good for thicker yarns and plying.
And, ta da! I have finally opened my Etsy store, and have posted and sold some fancier spindolyns, out of cherry and walnut and oak..Etsy is fun Smile  I can’t wait to have some time to get some pixies up on Etsy, too.

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