Though my birthday isn't until Feb. 18th, I already have my presents. I bought my own this year, so strangely enough, they were exactly what I wanted!
Can you guess what they are? Here's a hint- think spinning...
A new niddy-noddy, lazy kate, oil bottle, and drive band! (The bobbin isn't new, it's just in the picture for scale. It's a standard Ashford.) I ordered the lazy kate and the niddy-noddy from Nancy's Knit Knacks and the oil and drive band from The Woolery. I must say I'm very impressed with the items from Nancy. The niddy-noddy is the best-constructed one I've ever used. It includes two handles, so you can make a 27", 1-yd, 1.5-yd, or 2-yd skein. It comes apart completely and stores in a tidy bag, but when it's together it is solid. The arms are attached to the handle with knobs that screw into fittings, so there is metal holding it all together. This thing does not move or wobble or creak at all, even when yarn is wound on and it's under tension. Fabulous. The lazy kate is great too- it totally comes apart and stores in its tidy bag, and works just as well as a horizontal kate. It works better than the kate I was using, the vertical Ashford one that came with my wheel, because it's so much more stable. Plus it has a tensioning device which the vertical one doesn't.
These two things were a bit spendy, but I think they're worth it. The niddy-noddy more so than the lazy kate, but I'm very happy with both. It's so nice not to have to wind yarn on the niddy-noddy gingerly, worried about whether I'll reach the end of the bobbin before one of the arms pops off. Not to mention being able to ply without the kate falling over every two minutes or the bobbin backwinding and jerking the yarn around.
I was initially attracted to these just because they are so packable, but they are extremely durable, functional tools, and also quite pretty!
So using my new toys, I plyed and skeined most of the rest of the singles. This is eight skeins, each 2.8-2.9 oz, and about 70 yds. I have two bobbins left with singles on them, enough for at least another full skein when matched up with a third bobbin.
Oh, and I also finished knitting the handspun alpaca shawl last night. I plan to wash and block it tonight, so hopefully I'll have pictures of that on Monday. I'm reasonably pleased with the way it came out, though there is a pretty obvious difference in the two skeins. The yarn in one of them was much fluffier and slightly thicker. Oh well, we'll see what happens after it's washed.