Friday, May 26, 2006

And then there was yarn....

Broken bobbin on the plying head, SO sad!

I know it's been awhile, dear blog, but I have been busy. Between fighting insomnia and exhaustion, and a sick toddler (who, of course, right before heading down the shore for the Memorial Day weekend, decided to share her head cold with yours truly) I promise I have been spinning! I LOVE MY LENDRUM! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! I finally got a hold of the seller and she explained she'd been having email problems, but she called me long distance to make sure she was sending the right part, plus she let me keep the broken bobbin to see if I can fix it and use it at all. So all is well, the new big bobbin is on its way, and then plying and bulky yarny goodness can ensue. I joined a new Yahoo group so I 'm hoping there are enough people to help me with my myriad of questions - I know there's so much more to my wheel than the settings I've been using and the things I've been doing, and since Natasha and her Lendrum live so far away, I must content myself with trying to figure this stuff out by picking others' brains!

So here are some pics of my spinning so far. This is TWO bobbins full of 70% wool/30% mohair from Linden Lane Farm. Liz is a transplanted Philadelphian, and has GORGEOUS fibers! She sells through her site and through ebay (as lizcowdery - look her up!) and her fibers are to die for! Gorgeous colors - this one is called San Clemente, orange, berry, and lime green) and her batts are so light and full they practically draft themselves! The plying did not go all. I mean it. Like, only the first few yards plied, and the rest just ran alongside each other. So I have to try to get them back on bobbins without losing their twist, show some patience for the first time in my life and wait for the big bobbin to get here, and then try plying again - once I find out how to actually do it correctly!

There were going to be more pictures, like of my first thick n' thin yarn spun on my wheel, but apparently Blogger doesn't like me anymore, so it's not letting me upload any more pics. More pics later, and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

She's here! She's here!

Ooooooh, my Lendrum is here! Happy happy day! I got home from running errands with the Hurricane yesterday, and lo and behold, on my front porch was a big ol' box! Here it is! I was so excited, I almost forgot to take a pic of the box. But it's kind of sad that I actually did take the time to take a picture of a box. A box. Yes, just a box. I am ashamed.

But it looks like the Hurricane was excited, too! Here she is opening the box!

Actually, she just couldn't wait till I emptied the box so she could close it up and stand on it like she was surfing. And that's why she's called Hurricane.

There she is! All nestled safely in her box - well, not really safely. The plying head is broken. The disc at the end opposite the orifice is snapped in half. I'm SO not happy about that, but at least I don't need it quite yet. I'm hoping the person I ordered it from (who I'm also a little peeved at - took over a week to ship it, didn't include any extras like fiber, which almost EVERYONE ELSE DOES, and then shipped it unsafely wrapped so it broke - don't get me wrong, I know she's running a business, but I could have turned around at that festival and gotten my wheel from another vendor) gets me a replacement ASAP (although she hasn't even answered my email yet, that I sent early yesterday afternoon). I'm just a little peeved that I didn't just turn around at MDSW and go to another vendor, I would have had the wheel in my hot little hands and nothing would have been broken (and maybe I would have gotten some extra fiber, too!) But that's my fault, I guess. Anyway...

Thank goodness it was easy to set up, because I was DYING to spin! I put Hurricane down for a nap (don't worry, she was due for one anyway!) and started trying to figure out how to get the brake string attached. The IKEA-like directions for the wheel assume you know about wheel bits, which I didn't. So I did Google searches for things until I found pictures of the wheel set up and figured out where the brake string went, and that it's for Scotch tensioning. Aha! Of course, I'd already asked Natasha, because she has a new Lendrum, so I probably bugged the heck out of her because I was too impatient to find out the info myself - thanks, Natasha, you're a sweetie! So once the Scotch tensioning thing was figured out, I found this site with videos on starting out. Thank goodness for that site, because I had no idea what I was doing! So I figured out how to attach the leader yarn, and got started. Well, not really. I kept losing the fiber into the orifice with no spin on it at all. After about an hour, and a good 6 foot length of merino pencil roving gone, I gave up.

Later last night, I figured out that the problem was that I wasn't getting enough spin on the fiber. So I Googled something to that effect, and actually came up with something! The Scotch tension, which had to be tightened to get the leader yarn to spin onto the bobbin, was too high to get any spin in the fiber. So I loosened it, and bingo! Yarn! This is spun from a batt from this farm.

Now, what to name her?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

...and it was good.

Well, I made it to MDSW! I wasn't sure if we were going to make it, because Colleen and I were supposed to go on Sat., and then I had a wedding to go to. So my supersweet hubby said he'd drive down with me Sunday. Col thought maybe she'd be able to make it, but couldn't - you were missed, Col!

I was supposed to ring up Natasha on her cellie when I got there, but was so overwhelmed from minute one that I totally forgot until later in the day! My one chance to meet a fellow blogger/fiberfreak and I blew it! I'm a tard! Sorry, N!

I did run into Juno, though, totally by chance! I was SO surprised! In that big huge place chock-full of fiber and booths and animals and fiberfreaks, I actually ran into her! I introduced myself and babbled on for awhile about shopping for a wheel while she spun on this gorgeous wheel. Durr. I didn't melt down quite as bad as Col at Loop last month when we met the Yarn Harlot, but it still wasn't pretty! I'm sure I made a heck of an impression (more in the "who the hell was that?" vein than anything else!) Juno is one of those people who, at least through her blog and what she decides to reveal about herself, I think I would totally get along with. We hold a lot of the same views, I think...again, as far as I can tell from a superficial thing like a blog. Oh, well...

I had heard so much hype about MDSW, and maybe it was just because I was there on Sunday instead of Saturday, but it wasn't quite as awe-inspiring as I thought it would be. Maybe it was because I was 1.) broke and b.) looking to buy a wheel which was a big enough chunk of change that I didn't find as much as I thought I would. I did, however, find my wheel! Susan from Susan's Fiber Shop sold me a Lendrum complete that I am just dying to start using. Unfortunately, her booth buddy sold it right before I got back from my wandering to buy it (I mean, the woman was still filling out the damned check when I walked up!) and so I had to wait for Susan to ship one to me. I know, I know, I could have gone back to the main exhibition building and found another vendor with a Lendrum, but Susan took the time even though her booth was SOOOO busy and put me, a total novice wheel spinner, on 8 or 9 different wheels! And she's shipping it for free, so I guess I can wait!

I didn't take as many pics as I thought, but here are some gratiutous fiber animal pics!

This ewe was too precious, just leaning against the fence relaxing. And I didn't take note of what breed of sheep she is! BFL maybe?

This poor llama apparently had just his blanket sheared and was traipsing around his pen like a very weird, giant spotted poodle! Unfortunately, I didn't get over there with my camera fast enough to get him standing up; too funny!

And I just couldn't resist! Look at these tushies! Too cute!

And here is the stash enhancement (like I need more fiber or yarn!)...

From left to right, 2 skeins (200 yds each!) of hand-dyed yarn from Blue Ridge Yarns - a nice heavy worsted or chunky yarn. Pretty blue, terra cotta, toasty light brown, and wheat color - it will be a Baby Surprise sweater for my daughter. The ziplocked bag next to the yarn is a treat for Colleen, so shhh, don't tell (oh, wait, she's like the only one who reads my blog - ok, then I can't say what it is, just a ziplock bag of goodness!). Then there's a 4 oz. braid of merino or BFL (I think it's BFL, it was unlabeled and I was getting tired so I didn't ask! It's dyed in pretty dark teal, dark turquoise, a deep burgundy bleeding to a rusty color, and natural. Vurrrry puuuurty! It's resting on a 1 oz. bag of green and blue angelina that I thought was a great price at $2.50. I got that, the giftie for Col, and the next small ziplock bag, which is 50/50 Tussah silk and CASHMERE top (bestill my beating heart!) at the Shadeyside Farms booth. The big bag is 1 pound of raw Leicester longwool wool, which I think I was suckered into at $20 for the pound (sheesh, what a moron I am, huh?) but it was chocolatey brown and I couldn't resist the crimpy goodness! There is also a 4.6 pound raw fleece that is also a gorgeous chocolatey brown, named Ruby. To put it in perspective, I saw Ruby when I first entered the fairgrounds, and she was still there when we were leaving, and the seller knocked the price down to $20 for the whole thing...not just 1 pound. It's a beautiful, crimpy Romney X fleece, and I promise I will get it outside for good pics later! So I leave you with this...4 oz. of award-winning white alpaca fiber. SOOOO soft and fluffy...I love it!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where do I begin?

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I updated! I feel bad, but in a nicely tanned (for me), finally back from Florida kind of way! As you recall, I was heading to Florida to visit the newly retired parents with the toddler in tow...alone...on a plane. Didn't hear the screaming early Easter Sunday morning? That's cuz there wasn't any. From me or from the toddler. No, really. She handled the plane ride with the skill and aplomb of a hardened businessman. No screaming, no kicking, no temper tantrums or freakouts. Takeoff - no problem. Landing - no problem. Two plus hours in a carseat with no chance to get up - no problem. The kid's a champ, and I have to stop underestimating her. Nuff said.

I was even more concerned because she had spent the week before we left sick. Wednesday she felt better, but then Thursday night, while DH was winging his way to Kenya, I was scooping toddler vomit out of her crib. But she pulled through and Sunday morning dawned on a finally better baby girl. I at least made it to Florida and into bed at my parents' house before getting sick. Yup. I spent my first 5 days sick as the proverbial dog with a 102 degree fever and stomach upsets. Ick. What a way to spend a vaca. But at least I was with my parents, who watched over the increasingly rammy daughter while I lay on the couch moaning and popping aspirin in a desperate attempt to keep my fever from going ever-higher. So when DH arrived safely home from Kenya with lots of stories, 17 rolls of film and no funky tropical diseases (yet!) I asked if I could stay longer. Which I did. By a week. Didn't really plan it that way, but didn't want to change my flight for one that would cost my parents (who paid for our tickets down) even more money. So a week it was. I'm glad. We had TONS of fun, I miss Florida and my parents (doesn't help that it's about 55 degrees and miserable here right now!) and want to go back. Ok, want to MOVE there. But that will have to wait until we hit the lottery, I suppose, because we can't afford a $200,000 house right now...although it would be worth every penny! I mean, if you love nature, you have to go to Florida (I know, I know, there's plenty of other places that are chock full of all types of nature-y things, but I haven't been those places! Ask me at the end of July how nature-y Maine is and I'm sure I'll be waxing poetic about that, but for now, Florida is the way to go!) Helps, too, that my godparents are down there, and I do adore them and miss them terribly. My godfather Paul is like a Pied Piper for daughter would have followed him anywhere, and he does nothing to endear himself to children, he just is. Very cool people.

So I leave you with pictures of my fiber room that I promised oh so long ago. It's not DONE, not completely, there's still crap on the floor and things that need to be arranged better, but the storage is in and it ROCKS! Need simple storage for your fiber? Get thee to an IKEA. Get thee an Expedit. You won't regret it (hey, I think that's what they use to hold the yarn at Loop. Cool stuff!)

This is column by column (the room's WAY too narrow to get the entire monstrosity in one frame) of Expedit. I was hoping to fit the fiber I'd purchased from one particular ebay seller in the entire bookcase...instead, I fit pretty much ALL of my fiber in the bookcase. Rock on!

Four columns, 16 cubes of fibery goodness. And on top like icing?

My adorable canvas stripey storage bins from Target that I didn't think would fit on top (need ceiling fan clearance). But they do. Those stacks of yarn between the bins? MY handspun. Nice.
Spin Sisters
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