Wednesday, November 6, 2013

20 min spin, shop updates, report from SAFF

from spindolyn onto ball winder heading for ply baby bracelet

20 min spin

The "5 min spin" challenge for myself evolved into something different since the last time I posted.
 It did get me to start thinking about making time for spinning, but I discovered 5 minutes was not enough, and I began feeling anxious about the timer going off .... so I thought about the timer and what else I use it for. I use a time often when cooking (scatter brained person that I am, burning things is a real hazard) but normally, when I set the timer, I start washing the dishes, or cleaning the kitchen. So what did I do? I delegated those chores to someone else in the household...I cook, you clean.
 And while the dinner was cooking away, I have been spinning..major change in my state of mind, happy with progress, and the peace and calm that comes with settling down during that time of day!
Course, there is no way I can afford the full hour and half that it takes to roast a big chicken, but I have been getting about 15 or 20 minutes time before I go back to work at Cady Mays Corner or back to the kitchen to prep the salad or vegetables or out to the yard to chase the *&^%&&% goats (aka "spawn of the devil") and put them back in the pasture (I am soon transitioning to an "all sheep, all the time" farm, and the goats will be like a bad nightmare)

 report from SAFF

SAFF was a wonderful! I want to say a special thank you to all the lovely spinners I met, and it was interesting to take special spindolyn orders in watch people use their hands and voices to describe the wood and the shape that they wanted in their spindolyn, and to listen to them talk about what type of spinning they like to do best.

The above photo is some finn fiber I brought home to do an "autumn" themed pair of socks, they will be mostly the maroon, but the yellow and maroon random spinning will be for accent (haven't decided where I am going to put that in the socks yet)

Shop update

Which brings me to my Etsy shop...yep! it is still empty, had to catch up on orders from, then special orders from SAFF customers (still working on those, today I get to work with curly maple, woohooo!) and hopefully by friday will be able to start on my Etsy shop special spindolyns, I have some new cherry that looks really nice and reddish and some more kentucky coffee tree wood, which I think is dreamy...
parts is parts...misc wood pieces that are seasoning by the back door of my shop...the gate is to keep the goats out.

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 min spin, wanna play this game?

I love to spin.
I am terrible busy and don't have as much time as I would like to spin.
I have guilt when I spin when I should be doing chores...
So, I got this "great" idea that the way to squeeze more spinning time into my day in this time where things are so hectic was to make it like a game.
Set the timer for 5 minutes, every day, no matter how busy, and see how that goes and how much gets done.
Well, like many of my "great" ideas, it had a few pitfalls to start. First, I am not a "game" person, when people ask if I want to play cards or whatever, I usually pass (I have searched, but can't find a competitive bone in my body)
Second, under the pressure of the timer, I had a hard time starting the leader, then it got tangled, then I dropped it, then the spindle base fell apart because this spindle is not glued yet, as I am toying with the idea of a larger base to fit on the floor extension. (so why was I using an unfinished prototype?    'cause it was purdy and I wanted to play with it, lol)
After several false starts,  I shoved it back together and commenced again (hear that timer, tic.tic.tic?) Now I get the roving all tangled (once again, from the pressure of the timer) and decide that I would be better off using the handee distaff, so I go get it and start again, and I realize there isn't going to be much on the cop when the dinger dings...

But by now I am laughing at myself, and laughter is good, and the timer rings and I say...well, that was a start, and there is always tomorrow! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Spindolyn accessory! (the floor extension)

Ok, I am stoked!
For years, I have been trying to figure out a way to use the spindolyn from the floor beside my chair, then a customer told me that she always used hers on the floor in front of her...this got me to thinking about it more,  I tried to visualize what she was doing, as she said she was in a regular sized chair, and all I could picture was her hunched over...because when I use the spindolyn on the ground, it is from a low place, like this rock.....

(course, this was almost 10 years ago and I am a bit older and wider now, lol)

I tried several ways to elevate the spindolyn, on elaborate stands and what not, but as is often the case with inventing things, the simplest answer is usually the best, so I ended up with the most basic way of extending the spindolyn to be used on the floor...and now, without further ado, let me introduce the "spindolyn floor extender"
 It fits into the bottom of any traveler base by simply removing the pedestal foot that came with the traveler base and inserting its dowel into the floor extension base. If you carefully press fit all of the connectors so that everything is perpendicular, you will have very little wobble. You can then set this on the floor in front of your chair and spin like crazy with increased drafting height, or use it like I do, at the side of your chair, at an angle, so that you can get more drafting distance across body (to protect my bad shoulder)
I have been spinning more since I came up with this, and that is a good thing, as I have lots of fiber waiting!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kentucky Fiber Festival, summer color and spinning

Yes, fiber people get excited about spinning in the fall, when the air starts to get nippy...but I also have this spurt of inspiration at the beginning of each may be softness of the greening leaves, or the bright colors of the flowers that gets the creative juices flowing. I start picking up my knitting and spinning more often, I start making more time in the evenings after long days of work and gardening.
 Or maybe it is the way dew on the petals reminds me of dampness on wool and how well it cocoons and protects us..or maybe it is the smell of all that freshly shorn wool waiting to be washed and dyed.....
ahhh, anyway, I just got back from the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Festival in Lexington, and it was certainly a wonderful time, I played with lots of lovely wool from the mostly finn sheep of Bella Luna Sheep and Wool
I think I am in love with spinning finn, especially the way Susannah has it prepared, in pin drafted roving that is "fluffy not flat".. it drafts divinely.
I talked to some very talented spinners, knitters and felters at the festival, and picked up a tip or two about dying.
Here are some photos from the festival. None of me (of course) but some of the spindolyns and Susannah teaching some future fiber addicts artists to spin.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mr. Rodgers sweater, spitting snow and hot pink

If you ever wear an Angora sweater while turning wood on a lathe, that sweater will never be used for anything else, as it will be impregnated with a thousand little slivers and curls of wood. I usually start out with my denim "turning coat" over my sweater, get into the moment, get warm, and take the denim coat off...
So, having ruined two (already worn out) sweaters in the shop (slow learner?) I have adopted a new "Mr. Rodgers" technique. I leave the "turning sweaters" in the shop on a nice coat hook. I wear my normal farm sweater out to the shop, and upon arriving, I take off my farm sweater, neatly hang it on the hook, put on my turning sweater, my turning hat and my dust mask...for some reason, all this clothes changing at the beginning of the task makes me a bit like Mr. Rodgers.....all tidy and kind .

I can not say it has been a hard winter, no terrible cold waves, no mounds of snow, but it has been a dreary winter, lots of bitter winds and overcast days. We finally had a "real" snow recently...well, it stuck on surfaces anyway, first of the winter and not till March.
I took a walk to enjoy it and my little flock followed me around the pasture.
Here they are up the lane behind the wood shop, which you can see in the background.
And again, on up in the pasture, enjoying the view.
Finally! a little while back I finished the hot pink socks and have had plenty of opportunity to wear them this very cold late winter (not yet spring, though it aughta be)
These were completely spun and plied on the spindolyn (navajo three plied as I went, aka "ply on the fly") The fleece was pretty neppy, so are the socks, but that's all good, they are not for competition They are also a bit strange, as they are toe up, and I forgot which pattern I used for the first one, and so the heel is completely different on the second one, and sadly, I can't find the "recipe" for the first one, which I really liked better, as the heel was a bit rounder, and I can't even remember the how of it. Oh well, another thing to relearn, and learning is fun. ; )

Thursday, January 31, 2013

wildcrafting wood for spindolyns

Technically, wildcrafting refers to hauling yarbs and plants out of the woods to make up medicines and potions. But gathering anything from the woods, even interesting rocks, or twigs or feathers is healing in and of itself.
And so in my lifetime I have drug home plenty of limbs because they were "special" in some way. And I would have hauled home entire tree trunks that had fallen if I had had a way to do so.
Everywhere you go, there is downed wood to be reclaimed and rescued!
See this cherry the storm blew down? taking down a maple and hackberry with it.

(for more on my affection and inclination for using native species instead of exotics, see this old post)

I got me a thing for wood, always have. It has always been hard for me to burn a pretty piece of wood in the wood stove. Somewhere between the wood box and the firebox something about a stick of stovewood will catch my eye, and I will admire it and set it to the side for a few days, reluctant to burn that lovely curly cherry, or a log of hickory with a nice little burl on its side. Pieces of wood that could make something, something pretty. Some of those piece never do make it into the stove, but have ended up in the corner of my shop, sometimes turned into little things, sometimes still waiting.
How many species of wood can you see in my firewood shed?

Here are my old timey tools that I use for getting usable wood out of stove wood.

Happily, the time has come that I have a chance to spend a little more time with some of those pretty pieces of wood.  In the slow time after the holidays, I have been learning ways to prepare stove wood and downed tree limbs and other findings to work on the lathe. It is not so easy as just chucking it up in the lathe and having a go, there are technicalities to overcome..wood too punky, or too much moisture, or too cracked, or worm holes, well, all kind of things...and you just have to learn about those things as you go along. A couple modern things that have helped me out a lot recently are a wood moisture meter, and an old microwave in the shop. If you google microwave drying wood, you can read lots of people's takes on it, but the one thing they all say, and that I have learned the hard way, is that you can't rush it, unless you want your wood to dry too fast and split and crack till it is not useable. Ah, patience,one of the most difficult of words.

Here are my "new timey" tools for wildcrafting native woods.

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