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I’m in! July 12, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I received an email back from Katherine and I’m in the Le Tour De Fleece 2008! Very exciting! While I don’t think there are real team-teams I was thinking of forming a Ravelry Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group group team, though at this point Joy is the only other person taking the bait. Oh well, we can be a two-person team!

My Goal: Get through the rest of this awful Louet roving I’ve had in my stash since 2004. It’s the oldest roving I own and I need to get it out, out, out! I’ve spun all of the grey and plied it with portions of the green and fuchsia, I am currently spinning all of the brown which will be plied with the remainder of the green and fuchsia. Maybe I’ll end up selling them as a set as they’ll all go together.

The colors of the roving aren’t horrible and the resulting yarn is actually quite nice and soft, I’ve just become sort of a roving snob since I bought these commercially-dyed jobbies. Commercial rovings feel dried out to me, now, compared to the rovings I’ve gotten from indie dyers and dyed myself. I’m getting kind of ooged out by the feel of them so I’m just trying to get through them as quickly as I can. So, no photo today – there really isn’t much to show other than a bobbin 3/4 full of boring forest green and another bobbin about 1/3 full of boring brown. Yawn.

The good thing is they’re giving me a great opportunity to break in the Ladybug and really learn how to futz with the Scotch tension and use different whorls. I keep telling myself, “This is a learning experience.” It’s especially hard as I just today received three indie rovings from a destasher on Ravelry and I soooo want to dig into them immediately (along with the big pile of other rovings I’ve already stashed) but no, I had to put them in the bin with the rest and pretend they don’t exist until I’m through this durned Louet.

In retrospect it’s a good thing I don’t have a ton of bobbins a I could totally see myself getting castonitis of the spinning wheel and leaving bits and bobs on them of the things I have no patience for. Sigh. With that, I ought to get back to it so I can do something else!

My secondary goal will be spinning at least one skein using Navajo ply. Aiee!

Spinning and my new yarn model June 4, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh, spinning.
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I took a photo of my current setup to give you an idea where I spend all day and a good part of my night…

Current setup

I never realized what a mess all those cords are, I should cinch them up or something. On the other hand I never see them so what difference does it make, really. Anyway those two monitors are hooked to my work computer and my home computer (behind the chair), they’re on a switch so I can switch from one to the other by hitting the Control key twice on my keyboard. Pretty sweet. You can see the edge of the guest bed on the left side, and also in the room are the rocker seat, the floor gym and the neglectomatic (swing) for teh baby. During the day we pretty much rotate around the equipment and she naps either on the guest bed or downstairs in my bed, and I’ll often be sitting at my desk working while nursing her.

For the times teh bebeh simply can’t be ignored I’ll either play with her or I’ll put her in the swing and spin while talking to her. She really loves to be sung to so we’ll take a break and spend time doing that for a while each day. Today I was even able to hold her in my lap facing the spinning wheel while I spun, she seemed very interested watching the shuttle go round and round. You can also see my swift clamped to my desk and a bit of knitting that I’ll pick up while waiting for processes to run. I don’t like to have idle hands :)

I have discovered, however, that trying to work full-time and care for a baby full-time is a very difficult thing to do. Some days (nights) I’ll be up until the wee hours catching up on things I wasn’t able to complete during work hours due to teh bebeh needing me. It’s the nature of the beast, I suppose, but I really don’t want to put her in daycare for eight weeks and so far I’m managing. Some weeks it feels like one huge workday, especially if I’m up until 3am and then catch a quick catnap on the guest bed before getting up and doing it all again. No wonder I sleep so much on the weekends (when I’m not working). It really sucks but I keep telling myself it’s not forever, only two more months and then I’ll be free to spend the day playing with Margaret all I want. I’m discovering a lot of things about myself as a mother and about Margaret as a baby, but I’ll discuss those in another entry when I have more time to elaborate. To sum up I feel that I am growing and it’s a really good thing.

I’ll close with some crafty news.

I’ve been burning some major midnight oil to squeeze in “me time” while teh bebeh (and the rest of the household) is sleeping. Exhausted though I may be, it feels good to get something done that I actually care about (as opposed to work, though I do care about getting paid).

In that office pic there’s a basket of roving torn into slivers waiting to be spun. Here it is, spun up…I was surprised how much it compressed down, quite a lot!

Brownish single

I put that aside and tore up the orangey roving I’m planning to ply with it, I think. It’s so fluffy! (The brown and orange roving is from handpaintedyarn.com, I love their stuff!

Much more to do

Last but not least, I made Margaret pose with my yarn. You’re never too young to start your fiber education!

Teh bebeh is the Gerber Baby of handspun!

My winsome yarn model

My winsome yarn model

*sniff sniff* hmm…

My winsome yarn model

NOM NOM NOM

My winsome yarn model

I actually finished something! June 2, 2008

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I forced myself to use the Louet last night, and honestly I’m glad I did! I told myself I need to finish off the roving I started on it so I can have the bobbins cleared off in preparation for when my Ladybug finally arrives. I spun up the remaining two ounces or so of roving I had in my basket and then plied what I could – it got easier to spin as I went, I guess I’m getting the knack of the “wobbly” orifice.

The biggest and best discovery, however, was while plying – forever I’ve been using the slowest whorl without really thinking about it, but on a lark I tried putting the drive band on the highest speed and whoa, nelly, did that thing move! I got so used to using the same whorl all the time with the Ashford (and honestly not really knowing better) that I never thought there was a difference. Well, let me tell you – there is most certainly a difference.

Here’s what I accomplished on the bobbin (plying hides many sins):

Plied yarn on bobbin

I still have a little bit of single ply left on one bobbin to contend with, sigh:

Spun single

Here it is wound into a skein:

Plied handspun yarn

And of course the obligatory cheesecake shot (as creative cropping hides many sins, as well):

Plied handspun yarn

The purple roving is from an eBay seller, I bought three rovings from her last Autumn and haven’t seen anything from her since.  It’s too bad, I liked her stuff so I guess I’ll just keep stalking her.

I have a couple of things in my “to do now” basket that I’m looking forward to digging into hopefully this week. I suppose I have made my peace with the Louet after all. As it turns out using a good chair makes a world of difference.

Fiber basket

I am horrendously antsy for that Schacht Ladybug to come in – it’s only the first day of June and I am antsy, antsy, antsy. With my job going away I feel like I’m sitting on a goldmine with all the yarn and fiber I have to dye and spin to sell, just at the moment with the full-time job responsibilties on top of the daily bebeh care my hands are tied and it’s maddeningly frustrating.

Ooo lookie lookie! January 25, 2008

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I finally, finally got around to bidding goodbye to the Ashford Traditional I was renting from the fiber gallery. It was really hard to bid it farewell but I was determined to make a change before the baby arrives.

Sitting in my living room right now, fresh out of the box…

…the Louet S-51DT

Eek! How exciting!

It still stuns me that I can walk out of there for $5 a week with a brand new wheel. It feels like stealing.

I actually got to assemble it (quite simple) and I am the first one to use it! I’ve only spun on it for a few minutes but it is fast, fast, fast. It comes with a high-speed flyer that’s going to take some getting used to – I haven’t yet gotten the hang of the sliding hook doohickey. It’s very different from the Ashford Traditional. It’s much higher so I can’t sit on the couch and spin. I think I’m going to need to get a stool or something, so that’s kind of a bummer. It is very, very solid, however – while the Ashford was needing some tightening, the Louet is bolted together, the pieces fit into deep slots, and it has very few parts so I don’t see it getting creaky on me at all, ever. And as I mentioned, that thing really flies.

I wanted to get my hands on something truly different so I can compare brands, especially before the bebeh-to-be makes her appearance as I’ll be at home a lot immediately afterward. The jury is still out, I’m going to give the Louet a week before forming any opinions.

(yay!)