Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jasmine tea.  Yum.

Also, I no longer find sugar necessary, even for black tea blends.  It's not just unbearably bitter bitter bitter anymore.  I can taste the citrusy flavors in Earl Grey, and the floral sweetness of the jasmine.

This really is very strange, that I suddenly like tea.  I feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience.  Who am I?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A spinning wheel with a 30" drive wheel really isn't THAT much bigger than a wheel with a 22" drive wheel, right?


OK, so I measured and compared to Emma's Ashford Traditional wheel... Overall, a Schacht Reeves 30" Saxony wheel is 11" longer, 5" taller, and 6" wider.

That's not so bad.

(Stop it, Sue.  Stop it, stop it, stop it.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

All morning, through getting myself and Emma up and out the door, driving her to school and myself to work, and sitting here at my desk for a half hour, I've felt sort of off kilter.  Everything was  I was having trouble focussing, like I had been up until 3:00am again, except this time I HADN'T!  I had a good night last night, went to bed before midnight and stayed asleep all night. (Tension Tamer tea at 10:00pm! Yay!) Still, I had that off-balance, weird feeling.

I took my contacts out and rinsed them, then finally made the connection.

It's a very disconcerting feeling to have your contacts in the wrong eyes, especially considering they are two different prescriptions and one of them is a toric lens.


(I've done this before.  You'd think I would learn...)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

For the longest time, I didn't really understand why anyone would own more than one spinning wheel.  They take up space, and you can't spin on more than one at a time, anyway.  Get one wheel that you love, and enjoy it fully.

When I bought my Schacht, there was no question that I would sell the Ashford I had.  I had no need for two wheels.  I was perfectly fine with this.  Then I realized that with two spinners in the house, it was OK to have two wheels.  So I got Emma's wheel, and was perfectly fine with two wheels in the living room.

Now though, I'm thinking that having a second wheel in the house may not be the good thing I thought it would be.  Now that it's here, I realize that it's really not that bad, having two wheels.  Kind of fun, actually.  And that is dangerous.  Because if having two wheels is OK, then maybe three would be OK, too.

I also realized that with a higher wheel-to-spinner ratio, it would be possible to have more than one spinning project on the go at a time. Tired of spinning ridiculously fine laceweight from combed top?  No problem, just bring out the other wheel and spin up some lofty sweater-weight from beautiful batts!

Even with two wheels, though, we're still at a 1:1 ratio of wheels to spinners...and for some reason, Emma would rather spin on her wheel herself than let me play with it.  Her own wheel, and she wants to use it herself, can you imagine?!

So I am firmly reminding myself that I have never ever been unhappy with my Schacht Matchless, it spins any kind of yarn that I want it to, it's compact, and very versatile.  I'm sure that Emma will eventually let me spin on her wheel, and I really need to stop thinking about where I would put a third wheel.

It helps a bit that the wheels I can't stop thinking about are big.  My dream wheel is the Schacht-Reeves 30" Saxony, with the Lendrum Saxony running a close second.  They are way too big for any space I have in my house.  Way too big.

Too big too big too big too big too big too big too big too big.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I promise I'm not going to show a video of every skein of yarn that Emma spins.  But here she is last Saturday, plying for the very first time ever in her entire life...

...using the Corriedale singles she spun earlier that day as shown in the last video I posted.  Note, please, that she is (with great coordination!) plying from both ends of the ball of singles.  And here is the resulting skein.

Emma's first skein of yarn

50 yards
28 grams (1 oz.)

That was last Saturday.  Since then she has filled two bobbins with lovely natural brown Bluefaced Leicester singles.

I may have created a monster...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The bedtime whining I love to hear:

"Moooooommmmmm, I don't waaaaaant to go to bed!  I want to keep spiiiiinnnnnning!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pardon me while I try not to hyperventilate- I just ordered 30 pounds of assorted sock yarns and 5 pounds of laceweight yarn to dye so I can get my Etsy shop back up and running, and start building up stock for the Farmer's Market next summer.

I ordered merino/silk, merino/nylon, merino/cashmere/nylon, and merino/bamboo. I'm going to have so much fun playing with color.

But still- THIRTY-FIVE POUNDS OF YARN!!  That's 160 skeins!  Granted, that's a pretty small order for the big-time small-business dyers out there, but it's the largest order I've ever done.

Breathe, breathe.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Listening to "The Nutcracker Ballet" on my iPod while at work makes me want to go leaping and twirling down the hallway.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

How about a fiber round-up?  I've been busy recently, and finally got around to taking pictures this morning.

First, though, I want to show this:

Emma's really getting the hang of spinning!  She finished her first full bobbin of singles at Crafty Night this week, and is well on her way to filling a second this morning.  I really can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than a mother/daughter spinning session.  After all the miserableness of the past year, this brings me so much joy.

Now, onto my show and tell.

This is a project from a couple months ago.  It's special because it is a blend of Corriedale wool and mohair, and the mohair is locally grown.  The goats that grew this fiber live in Summerville, at Pleasant Hill Farm, about a half hour from my house.

wool and mohair

I blended the fibers on my carder, 80% wool:20% mohair, and spun a fine singles.  This yarn is a 3-ply, from three batts, and the skein is 340 yards, 137 grams (4.8 oz).  The spinning was delightful, and LOOK at that shine!  It's drapey and smooth and soft and will develop a lovely halo.

wool and mohair yarn

I have a pile of mohair left (I went a little crazy when Emma and I were at the farm...) in white, silvery black, and light tan, so watch for more of this yarn.

Next up is the gray-brown Romney wool from Christmas, which I finished off on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.  Emma and I had a quiet night to welcome in 2012, with our dinner of shrimp, cheese and crackers, clementines, a homemade veggie dip tray, and raspberry lemonade.  This is the second year that we've done this as our "traditional" New Year's Eve party, just the two of us, and I found myself looking forward to it as much as she was.  It was a very pleasant evening of snacking-for-dinner, watching movies, and spinning.


I ended up with about 420 yards of 3-ply yarn, a total of 241 grams (8.5 oz). This will work very well as part of a future sweater with the Christmas Tunis and Friday Harbor Border Leicester-Romney that I have tucked away in the closet.  Some may be dyed, or maybe not. Not a decision that needs to be made immediately; for now I'm just collecting yarn.


Next, here's a Work-In-Progress.  This is the superfine New Zealand Merino that I bought with Emma's wheel.  It's lovely stuff, incredibly soft.  I'm spinning it very very fine (surprise, surprise...) and have finished the first batch.

fine wool singles

This is 19 grams of roughly 130 wpi singles, but it's hard to measure accurately.  It'll be easier after plying.

skinny singles

Another Work-In-Progress: I'm still going on the bundle of Fiber Optic merino/bamboo top that I got at Sock Summit.  I have almost three-quarters of it spun, with only 32 grams left.  I'm spinning this very very fine, and savoring every inch.

merino and bamboo singles

And one last Work-In-Progress to wrap things up.  This is the Fiber Optic pencil roving from Sock Summit, 50% superwash merino and 50% bamboo (rayon).  I pulled this out after I finished the gray-brown Romney because I needed some color...and just because.

Oooo, shiny!

Lovely greens.  The pencil roving comes as a doubled strand, so the first thing I did was split it in half lengthwise and wind each into a ball.  I'll spin each from the same end, and when I ply, hopefully the colors will mostly match up.

merino and bamboo

I started spinning the first half last Tuesday, at Crafty Night.  I'm drafting this out very very fine (are you seeing the trend yet?!) for laceweight.  I have tentative plans for this to be woven into a scarf, using it for both the warp and weft.  The long runs of color should give a plaid-ish effect when the yarn is crossed with itself.

merino and bamboo

Whew!  So that's what I've been doing.

Monday, January 02, 2012


Why do I suddenly like tea?  I have never liked hot drinks in general, and most tea was too tongue-curlingly bitter for me, even with the masking effects of sugar.  Mint tea with honey when I had a sore throat was about the only hot drink I would ever want.

Now, suddenly, I find myself reaching for a mug of tea more and more.  Usually not anything with caffeine, because it makes me jittery, but I find that I'm really appreciating a warm mug of herbal tea recently.  The exception to the no-caffeine rule is when I've had an insomniac night and feel like crawling under my desk at work for a nap by 10:00 am.  Then the full strength Earl Grey with a little sugar really hits the spot.

Mint (dried from my garden) is probably still my favorite so far, but I recently tried Tension Tamer from Celestial Seasonings, and it is very nice.  I think it even helped me sleep better that night.  If there's anything I need in my life, it's something to tame the tension.  I've also enjoyed black tea with mint, mint-lemon, peach, cherry, and raspberry blends from various brands, as well as Passion and Wild Sweet Orange from Tazo.  The Sleepytime was OK, but I don't think I'm a fan of that much chamomile. 

I have a whole stash of tea (Ha! Stash- get it?) that I've accumulated, mostly bought for (or by) guests, that has been languishing in my cupboard.  I'm working my way through the taste-testing.

Tea.  Me?  Who knew!