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If I had a million dollars October 25, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, knitting, spinning.
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Ugh, frustration! I’ve lost my niddy noddy. I’m sure it’s just misplaced under the avalanche that is my stash currently, but it also means I need to clean this crap up before I find it. I’ve had a dyed 900-yard skein of sock yarn hanging here for over two months waiting to be broken up and I really need to get it measured out.

I also got a major score on eBay recently of six one-pound cones of Pendleton natural wool yarn in DK weight – I need to wash some of it to see if it blooms to worsted as the seller claimed. The suck thing is that there are no labels on the cones so I can’t resell it as Pendleton yarn since I can’t prove it. In any case it’s really nice stuff, sturdy and perfect for outerwear. I’ve been moving away from super-soft merino lately as I worry about pilling and durability, not to mention I already have a sizable stash of roving to spin and yarn to dye. Not that I’ll ever find the time but hey! I can collect, I guess. Sigh.

I am being positively tortured by a building in town that has been for sale for at least a year, maybe two…a “PRICE REDUCED FOR SALE” sign went up on it recently and it would be perfect, PERFECT for a studio – over 2,000 square feet – big enough for workspace, retail space, even space for Michael to have his painting stuff set up permanently. It was formerly a machine shop so I’m pretty sure it has concrete floors and it’s one open room, built in 1900, brick, with huge windows all around it on all sides so it gets tons of natural light. It’s on a pretty busy street so it’s very visible, on a very small plot but has its own parking lot, and frankly the less grounds to tend the better. The only maybe drawback is that its literally RIGHT next to the railroad tracks (like 10 feet away) so twice a day one would have to endure the train going by but honestly I kind of like that aspect of it. On the other side of the tracks it’s all trees and very lovely to look at.

Want to see?

This isn’t the best angle – if you look at those windows on the shorter side fronting the street, similar windows are all along the other side of the building. I could TOTALLY see opening up that garage door on nice days and letting the breeze blow through. In fact during the Summer I’d put some sort of screening over it and leave it open all day long. You can also see the parking lot and all the trees right behind it.

If I had a million dollars.

I do have a lousy cell phone picture that I took of the other side so you can see all the windows:

If I had a million dollars.

And another one, this shows where the RR crossing is in relation to the building:

If I had a million dollars.

Argh, ARGH. It’s so perfect. If I had the money I would buy it TODAY, but it’s just not possible. It’s currently at a fantastic price, practically a steal, but it’s still as much as our house and we just can’t afford to own two properties in the current economic climate. I keep daydreaming that I could go to the local Chamber of Commerce and find out about grants, loans, etc., for small businesses but I know in my heart of hearts that I can’t do it alone. Maybe if I didn’t have kids I’d take the risk and put my life into hock to buy it, but I’m just not in that place any more. It kills me to keep driving by it every day and I really hope that it doesn’t eventually get demolished though I fear that will be its future if it sits vacant for too much longer.

Along those lines I did send an email to Melodi at the Portland Fiber Gallery…before I got called back to be a contractor full time I was considering teaching some fiber classes at my LYS or, if they weren’t interested, going through Adult Education since I’ve already done that before and I’m familiar with it. I had mentioned this to her offhandedly when I was in the shop and she said that she’d like to be my supplier if I go through with it. That would be really perfect as I could get everything from her – materials and equipment – and do her a good turn by advertising for the PFG to class attendees. I asked her for more details on what sort of arrangement she had in mind, to sort of get the ball rolling in my head even though right now I have NO spare time, even for my own projects. I also threw in there that if she was ever considering expanding the PFG to my area that I’d be her woman. Heh. Who knows, maybe someday it’ll come up. I’d welcome the opportunity to get out of this working at stuff I don’t even like crap. It adds nothing to my life other than a paycheck and is more of a hassle than its worth.

Well, in the midst of writing this entry I did find my niddy noddy and I measured off one 400-yard skein. I feel somewhat accomplished.

Spin spin spin! July 7, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I’ve been drowning in work – three and a half more weeks and then I’m free!

Even better news: The Ladybug is here! I was finally able to make time to pick it up from the Portland Fiber Gallery and it is awesome. Photos of it soon. I am in love with it and with its tensioned Lazy Kate (which Melodi gave to me as a baby gift, she is just the best!) Love love love this wheel!

Even with work I’ve been managing to spin…I’ve been working out the kinks and getting used to the new wheel, it’s been a learning experience. First is the last yarn I spun and plied on the Louet:

Handspun two-ply yarn

I’m not super happy with how the plies came out, again, the Louet and I had a tenuous relationship. This is a really big hank of yarn, I haven’t measured it yet but it’s about the size of a canteloupe.

Handspun two-ply yarn

Handspun two-ply yarn

Handspun two-ply yarn

These two skeins I spun up on the Ladybug. I think they’re kind of fug but I intentionally used contrasting colors so I could really see my plies. I’m trying to get a nice tight ply without it being twisty and unbalanced. I think I may be growing out of the two-ply stage and I’m thinking about giving three-ply a try, or even (gasp) Navajo plying which I haven’t been brave enough to attempt yet.

Handspun two-ply yarn

Another big hank, about the size of the orange one, maybe a little heavier.

Handspun two-ply yarn

It wasn’t until I spun this smaller hank that I’ve started feeling like I’m getting the hang of the Scotch tension and getting the right amount of twist in my plies. I still think my singles are too twisty to start with.

Handspun two-ply yarn

Handspun two-ply yarn

Overall, though, the Ladybug is a very fun wheel. It moves like lightning and I have been extremely happy with how easily it treadles. The Louet felt like a ton of work so this is nearly effortless in comparison. Since I can’t seem to spin anything heavier than sport weight the bobbins do me fine for the moment. I really want to practice spinning thicker yarn, I think I just need to slow down a lot.