#100daysofspindlespinning – Day 93

I’ve been participating in #100daysofspindlespinning over on the Instagram world. It’s a friendly challenge – inspired by the much beloved knitwear designer and spindle spinner Andrea Mowry of Drearenee Knits. Essentially, you join in by trying to spin a minimum of 15 minutes a day, on spindles. It has since widened to include all spinning at large. The event began December 1 and will go until March 10. Some started sooner and others started after the fact, but all are welcome.

So far I have spun on my spindles, every day for a minimum of 15 minutes, even before the challenge started. I’ve incorporated support spindle spinning into my morning intentions/meditations and evening reflections and gratitudes. I ease my way in and out of the day with a beautifully made spindle in one hand, wonderfully prepared fibre in the other, and the action of making yarn uniting.

My goal over the 100 days of spindle spinning was to spin on my favourite spindles so I could possibly see a pattern. In working with each spindle, I strove to fill it to capacity. How large a cop could I get? Could I keep it stable?

I have a large collection of spindles. I say I need such a large collection because I teach spindle spinning, and it’s necessary to have a good class set. But it’s also because I bought support spindles with reckless abandon, focusing initially on the beauty of the object. I wasn’t yet attuned to functionality, apart from “is it balanced?” Over time, and as my skills grew, there were spindle styles that I reached for over and over again. I wanted to explore this further and 100 days of spindle spinning would be a good time to set myself a question (or two). What are my preferred spindle styles and why?

Here are some photos of what I’ve done so far and some things I have noticed:

Having a stable and firm cop is key to being able to fill a spindle to capacity.

I started to notice how much of the shaft I left for flicking and temporary cops.

I rewarded myself by buying two new spindles from Carry Cherry. The removable shaft/whorl set-up appealed to me, as did the beauty of the woods.

I was reminded how much I love the wee luxury of a wool/silk blend.

So far, the tibetan style spindle is winning out – I like a spindle with an even shaft, a narrow flick area, and a good sized shelf to build my cop against. Support spindles with those features are winners in my spinning style.

Stay tuned.


Wedding Throw for Mandy and Andrew

It all started with this wonderful fibre you can see in the photo below. It’s blended Corriedale – called “Trutti Frutti.”  It’s eight different colours that follow a rainbow sequence – with the exception of the yellow, which is really a “grellow” and what truly makes the difference in my final project. Just watch the way it behaves as it blends with other colours.I picked up these eight (100g each) bundles of joy at Fibres West in March 2023 from West Coast Colour and Carding. I couldn’t choose a colour, so I purchased one of each. I was so smitten with the possibilities for these colours, I picked up another set (eight @ 100g) when I returned the following day.

As a way of assessing the potential these colours and fibre offer, I spun up some two-ply mini-skeins. Placed in a rainbow sequence, and using two rolags for each mini-skein, I made sixteen different colours. Red + Red; Red + Orange; Orange + Orange; Orange + Yellow and so forth. Here it is below, all set-up to make 16 yarn samples. Here’s an up close look at the effect of the marled yarns. Marled yarns are yarns that use a different colour – when the contrast of colours is strong, they are also called barber pole yarn. I decided I liked the yarn that I was making with my spindles and my wheel, so I proceeded to make 50 gram amounts of each of the 16 colours.

There it is in progress. The mini skeins helped me keep track of my spinning progress. Which was a very good thing. This quickly turned from being spinning/plying colour management explorations, to an actual project. A friend was getting married and a photo she sent to me of her son playing with his cars, gave me the idea for the gift.

His love of rainbows and loose adherence to them in the activity, appealed to me. I wanted to explore this in weaving. I lined up a photo of the sixteen yarn samples and an idea started to form. But first, the yarn needed to be made.

While I made the yarn, sometimes on my wheel, and mostly on my support spindles, I got into a relaxed state of making the yarn. I worked to enjoy each part of the spinning process and developed a daily practice pf spinning and reflecting on life and feeling incredibly grateful to have such a task ahead of me.

Next post I’ll write up about the weaving process.

Finished shawl from SGY Advent Fibre Calendar 2022

I have finally finished my Sweet Georgia Yarn Fibre Advent project. I spun the entire project on my support spindles. Fortunately I have plenty of spindles, so I don’t need to empty them to continue the project. Once all the fibre was spun, I was able to line up all the spindles organize them into a kind of gradient. The plan was to create a simple two-ply yarn.

There were a variety of fibres and colours in the advent gift packets. The colours were mostly solid, so after a few days of opening plain packets, I decided to save up a few, add some sparkle and sari silk and make some unique blends. It’s all about fun so why not?

Once done, I lined them all up, and put them two at a time into my make-shift lazy kate – plastic basket with rocks to add weight. See below. From there I wound a two-strand plying ball. When one spindle ran out, I chose the next one in line, and fused that fibre to last one, for a continuous thread. There were many different wool blends in this mix, so I had my fingers crossed that everyone would play well together once washed.

I continued winding and adding new yarns until all the spindles were empty and I was left with a 203 g plying ball. And then, to get the job done quickly, because there is a part of me that is quite impatient once I get this far into a project, I plied this baby using my Majacraft Rose wheel. I washed, admired, and wound the yarn into two cakes ready for action. And then they sat until I figured out what they could be.

My plan was to make some kind of simple shawl that would feature the hand spun yarns. The Grain Shawl by Tin Can Knits came to mind. I worked from the middle out on both balls of yarn. To add a bit of fancy, I added an eyelet couple of rows and finished off with (seemingly never ending) picot edging. (Not in the Grain pattern.) Washed, blocked and posing for photos, I think she’s going to do the trick. A nice cover for a cool summer evening, and a cozy shawl/scarf for colder winter walks.