Tuesday, December 12, 2006

whinin' and bobbin'

I'm starting with the whining.
Because it's my blog. And I can.

Waaahhhhh....I am sick!!! I started feeling "the tickle" on Friday...I layed low all weekend with the Airborne and Zicam trying to keep one step ahead of it...I passed on a golden opportunity to hang out with Donna & Son...I skipped my pilates class...I missed another meeting of the local spinning guild (that's 3 now)...I stayed home and didn't get a whole lot of anything done the whole damn weekend...not even knitting...because all I could manage was trancing out playing WeffRiddles (thanx buttloads, Cara) and TheRoomz with TheMIG and MyFk....oh and three nights in a row now, MyFk has woken me up around 4am....and I'm totally exhausted...and I'm very cranky...and today I am now totally full blown sick...and all I wanted for dinner was some damn toast and I practically just burnt the damn house down because I'm so tired that I forgot I had put bread in the toaster and instead of toast I now have briquettes and now my house stinks so bad I can even smell it through my stuffy nose...and...and...and...

Ok. I'll shut up now.
Onto better things!:

That's yesterday's haul.
(looks like I'll be eating PB+J for awhile to make up for it)

A Katie-A-Go-Go for plying on the run and storing in small places, a loooovely Bosworth (midi) spindle, and two balls o'roving from Three Bags Full. The blue-ish one is "Peacock Tales" (merino, tussah silk, silk noil), and the black-ish one is "Butterfly Blend" (merino, tencel, silk noil)...both about 120g each. Morgaine suggested these fibers because she thought they would be a good match for my level of (un)experience.

Speaking of Morgaine of Carolina Homespun, is she totally cool, or what??!! I was a little nervous at first, but it didn't take long before she had me totally cracking up. I made some pretty effed-up looking "yarn", both on the spindle and on the wheel, and she just supportively said, "Hey. This is GOOD yarn! It might not be exactly what you had intended, but it is still good yarn."

When I tried to get going on the spinnning wheel and was fumbling around not being able to do everything at the same time (at this point treadling and simuntaneously drafting makes me feel like I'd be failing the patting my head and rubbing my stomach game), Morgaine chuckled and assured me that if I can bellydance on one leg, well by golly, I shall be able to spin.

We unearthed a few body mechanic issues that I will need to think about once I get my own wheel. Yesterday Morgaine put me on a single treadle (like I'd ever need a double), but of course, treadles are typically set up on the right of the wheel.
(Hint: I don't have a right leg. I have a left leg. )
So when I spin, I've either got my left leg reaching across to my right side, throwing me out of alignment, and causing leg cramps...or I move the wheel over and position the treadle in front of me, but then have the working bits of the wheel (must I add "orifice" to my vocabulary?? gah!) off on my left side, but when I do that, I'm prone to twisting my upper body or overworking my arms.

Additionally, I was sitting on one of her backless, three legged spinning stools, and Morgaine observed that when I am treadling with my left foot, there is no right foot to help me balance (I was working sans prosthesis), so I expend some uppper body energy maintaining my balance. Oh, and I also fell off the stool when I was getting up. Ha! Graceful. Like a gazelle.

I'm sure I will figure out what works for me, but I can see that I will need to do some tinkering.

Near the end I was feeling a little bit over saturated by all of the information, but all in all, I had a seriously great time over there. It sure was special to get the private shopping time with her. I can't imagine what the chaos must look like at her booth during a fiber convention.

I've been messing with the spindle off and on all day (not with the new fiber, but with some stuff I picked up a few months ago), and it's just fun fun fun.

It would seem I've been bitten.

Now let's just hope I can someday knit with what I make.


Wendy said...

She and her partner are cool--no matter how crowded and crazy it is at a show, they always have a smile and never make you feel like "hurry! other customers are more important!" And they do have such a nice range of great quality stuff. Plus, they are usually the only ones who have demo wheels, and usually a wide range. They rock.

They carry the Louet s17, which is Louet's least expensive wheel (but a great spinner, I love mine & its huge bobbin capacity) which is a kit wheel, it comes in pieces and you put it together, and I just put one together for a customer, so it's fresh in my mind--all you need to do to make that a left side treadle wheel is reverse the foot rail so the holes for the treadle are on the left side, and when you put the treadle on, remember to have the hole that the footman connector goes in on the right side instead of the left (i.e. flip the treadle upside down from the way the directions say). Et voila! You have a left side treadle wheel.

TheBon said...

I'll be interested to see photos of your wheel, but like I said yesterday I think your single treadle castle style wheel should much help the body twisting you had going on. Otherwise I would be all over you looking into a left-footed wheel.

That yarn you've spun is not bad yarn at all! You made it sound like you were spinning total cat vomit and it's not at all. A tip on the fiber you bought from her yesterday when you attempt to spin it. The noils are going to make trying to spin a smooth, round yarn a losing battle. Instead, you'll get some little tufty tweedy bits along the length of your yarn. Lots of character!

I can't wait for Stitches West. I think you'll have a ball and then you'll get to experience the chaos of their booth first hand. They are very good about taking time to talk to everyone and I love dealing with them.

John said...

That was a very short whine. The spinning looks like a very good addiction. And Fun.

Mouse said...

Of course you'll be able to knit what you spun! If people knit with that horrid fun-fur.. then you should have no problems with your beautiful handspun. I think ALL handspun is gorgeous.. and deserves to be worn!

Gray said...

I only know a little about spinning. However I have worked on 19th century treadle-powered woodworking and machine tools. Some of them had treadles that might be a better design than the traditional treadles I have seen on spinning wheels.

For example, some machines power a flywheel through a swinging treadle. You power them by swinging a treadle back and forth. What would be nice for you is that you never have to take your weight off of it and balance is much easier. I have no idea if this sort of thing is available for a spinning wheel or if you could ever have it done. The mechanical part os not complicated.

TheBon said...

In response to Gray, there are non-foot powered spinning wheels. Great wheels are actually turned by hand. And there's always the charka which is especially good for spinning fibers with a very short staple and that's all handpowered too. The problem [as I see it] with a handpowered [instead of a foot treadled] machine is that it leaves you to deal with everything with only one hand for the most part. And there's always the spindle like Bonnie's using which also requires no foot power.

Warrior Knitter said...

I'm trying to teach myself to spindle spin off & on. The best book I've found is Spindle Spinning From Novice to Expert by Connie Delaney. I've actually been able to turn out a couple of feet & maybe a yard here & there of not only "good yarn" but yarn I intended!

I like Morgaine's approach. "This is GOOD yarn! It might not be exactly what you had intended, but it is still good yarn." Thanks for sharing.

Your spindle of yarn looks GREAT! A lot better than my efforts.

Michael said...

I'll see what switching the treadle over to the other side would entail, perhaps not too much I think. I did the same thing with my lathe, powered by a sewing machine base, which is right sided and lathes are usually left sided.

I'll give you a report and you can decide if its a mod you want to consider.
Michael-not Your husband

~Donna~ said...

Gee, another Naruto fan. The boys would have had a blast. There will be other weekends for sure.

Must be something in the air, my kid hasn't been sleeping well either, so I'm totally exhausted too. Blech.

Feel better soon!

Gray said...

I hope that you are feeling a little better today!


Thanks, Bon. I am familiar with great wheels, but surely am the most ignorant person here about spinning. But it's all interesting.