Monday, April 30, 2012

Somehow I've neglected to show this, the very first skein off my new Schacht-Reeves wheel, even though I've had it done for two weeks.

first skein from the Schacht-Reeves

This is 100 grams of superfine New Zealand merino, spun and plied on the Schacht-Reeves.  The skein contains 1,286 yards, and the yarn is about 45-50 wraps per inch.  Super, super soft.

It was a joy to spin.  The fiber drafted perfectly, the wheel spun fast and quiet, and it was wonderful.

first skein from the Schacht-Reeves

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another wonderful weekend!  This time I went to Whidbey Island, Washington, because my friend Anne bought a LOOM!  We went up there to pick it up from the Craigslist seller.  Road trip to the Puget Sound area?  Twist my arm...

Mukilteo ferry

We had another weekend of gorgeous weather.  Sunny and bright, with perfect temperatures in the mid-60s. The flowers and trees were blooming, and these tulips outside of the little cafe where we had lunch were especially spectacular.

Whidbey Island tulips

The cafe was called Mosquito Fleet Chili, and great googly moogly, if you're ever in Coupeville around lunchtime, GO!  Their mussel chowder with homemade olive bread toast was out of this world.

Sadly, I have no picture of this delectable lunch.  By the time I thought of photography, all the chowder was in my tummy.

However, did I mention that the flowers were beautiful?

Whidbey Island tulip

We also went to The Weaving Works in Seattle on the way up to Whidbey, and I managed to find some yarn that had to come home with me.

embryonic projects

I have great plans for these yarns.  On the left is tencel - 2 tubes of black, 1 tube of gorgeous deep burgundy, and a cone of blue/purple/burgundy variegated. These are destined for scarves.  I've never woven with tencel before, but I've seen lots of weaving bloggers use it, and the finished projects have wonderful shine and fluidity.  Can't wait to see what I get.

On the right are three tubes of cottolin (a blend of cotton and linen) that are destined for dishtowels.  I've never woven dishtowels before, but have wanted to since I started weaving.  Since I desperately need some new ones, this seemed like a good idea.

In the middle are two cones of rayon chenille, but only one of them is new.  I've had the dark green in my stash for years- I picked it up at a guild sale in Friday Harbor in 2004.  It was originally a 2-pound cone, and I've used about half of it over the years.  The light green is new, and along with the dark green is becoming a scarf.

pinwheel weave

This is a pinwheel draft from the January/February 2012 Handwoven magazine.  Love this design, and the chenille fabric is coming out very plush.  I have it set at 16 ends per inch and am beating the weft in fairly firmly so that the slippery chenille doesn't wiggle around.

I love how the pinwheels swirl across the fabric.  Weaving with two shuttles is somewhat slow going, but I've gotten into a rhythm now.  I measured the warp, sleyed the reed, threaded the heddles, beamed the warp, and wove half a scarf today.

pinwheel scarf

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Last weekend, Emma and I went to the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival with some friends. This was a FANTASTIC weekend, and not just because of the fiber festival. The weather was lovely, gorgeous and sunny, the flowers were blooming, and the company was wonderful. The fact that there was a fiber festival to attend was the icing on the cake, although that part was a bit dangerous.

fiber haul

My haul.  I almost wasn't going to post this picture online, because...well, there's just so much.  But it's all wonderful fiber, and will give me and Emma many, many hours of spinning pleasure.  See, some of that is Emma's, so it's really not as bad as it looks.  Right?  Of course there's a lot of fiber, I was buying for two!

I'm too tired right now to list everything out properly, but there's alpaca, alpaca/silk, alpaca/merino, polwarth/silk, shetland/merino, shetland/corriedale, blue-faced leicester, merino/bamboo, superfine merino, and a pack of angelina that Emma picked out to blend with merino we already have at home.  Gorgeous stuff, all of it.

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that there are {cough} three spindles on the table.  Ummm, yeah.  I can't resist.  But only two are for me! 

new spindles

Mine are the Jenkins Kuchulu (olivewood, 8 grams) on the left and the Spindlewood Square Mini Featherweight (flamewood, 15 grams) in the center.  Those were the only spindles I was going to get, but then on Sunday when we went back to the market, Emma somehow talked me into getting her a Jenkins Turkish Delight (beeswing narra, 27 grams), even though she much prefers to spin on a wheel.  It wasn't really that hard to talk me into it- everyone (everyone!) needs a Jenkins spindle of one size or another.

Plus, I have a devious plot to appropriate her spindle for myself when she remembers that she prefers to spin on her wheel.

So here's a group shot of all my lovely spindles.  The family is growing!

spindle collection

Left to right:

8g (0.28 oz) Jenkins Woodworking, Kuchulu, olivewood arms, maple shaft
11 g (0.38 oz) Jenkins Woodworking, Kuchulu, verawood arms, walnut shaft
27g (0.95 oz) Jenkins Woodworking, Turkish Delight, beeswing narra arms, maple shaft
20g (0.7 oz) Spindlewood Co. Square Standard, birdseye maple whorl and shaft
21g (0.75 oz) Spindlewood Co., Square Mini, cocobolo whorl, ebony shaft
15g (0.5 oz) Spindlewood Co. Square Mini Featherweight, flamewood whorl and shaft
8 g (0.28 oz) Cascade Spindle Co., Tiger, zebrawood whorl, mahogany shaft

On Saturday night, I started spinning one of the shetland/merino batts I got from Sporfarm, and it is wonderful stuff.  I initially only got one package of this fiber, but I liked it so much I made Anne go back to the market on Sunday so I could get a couple (OK, six) more.  And just a few other things.  Oops.

New spindle and fiber

After we cleaned out the market finished shopping, we went up the valley to the Blossom Craft Show in Odell, which was another of the Hood River County Blossom Fest weekend events.  It was way bigger than Anne and I were expecting, full of wonderful high-quality crafts made by local artisans.  Lots of woodworking, jewelry, quilts, weaving, ceramics, glass, and other fun things to look at. 

My eye was immediately caught by this bowl, in the first booth we saw as we walked in the door.  It kept rattling around in my brain and poking at me as we went through the whole fair, and ultimately it had to come home with me.  It's turned by a man who lives in Parkdale, out of bigleaf maple, and it has an amazingly chatoyant grain pattern.

maple bowl

For now it's on the table next to My Chair...loveliness holding loveliness.

spindle collection

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You know that saying about how losing someone knowledgeable in a particular field is like a library burning down?


One of my friends at work passed away in his sleep last night.  He was 56.  He knew more about fish than anyone else I know.  More than 30 years of professional experience can't be replaced.

Rest in peace, Bill.  You will be missed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I saw something hysterical today.  I can't say what, here, but it truly made my day and I want to remember when this occurred.

Ah, karma.  How perfect.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today I ran three miles during my lunch break.  Had a nice warm shower when I got back, thanks to the foresight of the company when they designed our office addition and included a shower in one of the restrooms.  Feeling very energized and pleasantly tired now.  Love that post-run glow.

I just finished my lunch, which was a container of chicken and vegetable stew that I made yesterday, a raspberry greek yogurt (Fage brand, yum) and a glorious mug of jasmine tea.  What a flavor-fest.

It was a very good lunch break.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Here is the flock:

the flock

Left to right, Emma's 1970s Ashford Traditional, my 1988 Schacht Matchless, and my 2012 Schacht-Reeves.

Happy sigh. They're all lovely.

Here's the nameplate, in shiny brass:

new Schacht-Reeves

I'm so glad I got this in ash wood instead of cherry.  Everyone goes gaga for cherry (and it is beautiful wood!), but I prefer light woods, and the grain pattern on the ash is gorgeous.

new Schacht-Reeves

Here's the back of the wheel, with the shiny brass crank.

new Schacht-Reeves

That leather bearing at the top of the footman (above the keyhole and crank end) made a hysterical chirping noise last Tuesday at Crafty Night, until I put some carnauba wax on the leather.  I've never had a completely new wheel before.  I love that except for the test drive in the factory, I'm spinning this wheel's first yarn.  It spins so smoothly and quietly now that I have all the adjustments tweaked.

And FAST!  Lookie here:

new Schacht-Reeves

The first 100 grams is done!  I wound it off onto storage bobbins this afternoon, and will ply tomorrow.  Very fine singles, spun with effortless long draw, faster than I've ever spun singles this fine before.  This wheel just flies.

In addition to the speed, I am really enjoying having the flyer hooks on the same side and staggered.  It makes it much easier to fill a bobbin without having peaks and valleys.  I didn't mess with that bobbin at all for the photo shoot, that's how it filled!

And lest you be concerned that my Matchless won't be getting any love now that I have a shiny new toy, fear not.  The pretty purple Merino top that I dyed a couple weeks ago...

merino on the Schacht Matchless

is becoming very fine singles.  Not as fast as on the new wheel, granted, but the Matchless is a pleasure to spin on.

merino on the Schacht Matchless

It's all good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yes, loving the new wheel.  It's everything I hoped it would be.  I am perfectly happy with my choice of 30" drive wheel, single treadle, flyer-on-the-right, and ash wood.  All day long, I was (mentally) sitting at it chortling and rubbing my hands together gleefully.

First bobbin, continued

It's a dream to spin. I spun for three hours last night (one at home, then two at Crafty Night), and accomplished about a third of a bobbin of very fine merino singles, a total of 33 grams.

Oh, yes, I took the Schacht-Reeves to Crafty Night.  It's a highly non-portable wheel, but I couldn't not spin on it the very first night I had it, and besides, I had to show my friends!  It will stay at home from now on.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

OK, so first there was this,

New Schacht-Reeves wheel

and this,

New Schacht-Reeves wheel

then all the pieces were accounted for

New Schacht-Reeves wheel

and then I had this.

New Schacht-Reeves wheel

And really, I see no need to ever leave the house again.

New Schacht-Reeves wheel
It's here!

Schacht-Reeves boxes!

The very exciting big boxes came JUST as I was walking out the door to go back to work.  Yay!

But ARRRGH, now I have to go back to work!
"Out for Delivery"!  The website says "Out for Delivery"!

Monday, April 09, 2012

How am I possibly going to be able to wait until tomorrow afternoon?  My Schacht-Reeves wheel is currently sitting in the UPS facility in Hermiston, Oregon, waiting to be put onto another truck and driven to the La Grande facility, after which it will be put onto another truck and driven to my house.

Hermiston is only a bit over an hour from my house, and my wheel has been there ALL DAY!  It was scanned in at 7:40 this morning, after spending all weekend in transit from Commerce City, Colorado.  And it just sat there all day!

I should have just driven over and picked it up this morning.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

I love that Emma still so thoroughly believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy.  It's not even a question in her mind if they're real.  They just are.

She picked up her room last night so that the Easter Bunny would be able to leave treats in her basket.  I didn't say anything, it was totally on her own initiative.

Every year since she's started school, I've wondered when one of her friends will say something that makes her doubt and takes away the magic.  She's eight now, and I can't help feeling that this might be the last year she truly believes that a bunny leaves candy for her and hides her eggs.  Will she be in on the secret this time next year, or even next December?

When that happens, we will both have lost something precious.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Eeeeeeeeee!  I have a tracking number for my Schacht-Reeves wheel!!!!!  It's on its way!

Monday, April 02, 2012

I've been busy for the past several weekends, dyeing, dyeing, dyeing.  I've done sock yarn and top, but mostly top since that lovely box arrived, one week ago today.  This afternoon, Emma and I finished chaining up the batch of top that I dyed over the weekend.  No picture of the sock yarn yet, but look at this:

new dyeing

That is 20 100-gram bundles, a total of almost five pounds of lovely merino top.

new dyeing

It dyes wonderfully, takes color like a dream, and is so squishable.  I even managed to avoid felting any of it! (I have a problem with wanting to fiddle with things when they're in the dyepot...)

new dyeing, with a smile

"Color with a Smile", that's our motto.

new dyeing

I love them all, but see that purple one?  That one's mine.  ;-)

new dyeing

I just love color.

In other news, LOOOOOOOK!  Look look look!

last week of waiting!

Yay!  Almost all the squares are crossed out!  My wheel is shipping this week!

Today was the earliest day that they said it could be shipping, and I just couldn't stand it any more.  I broke down and called the dealer I ordered it from, to see if Schacht was still on schedule. She called Schacht, and while they are running a bit behind, they should be shipping it out this week!  She said they are doing the "final tweaking" on my wheel, and assembling my bobbins!!

It's really real!  It's almost ready!