Finn and Firefly

Spinning for the Hap begins tomorrow, so I have cleared the Finn that I spun for a breed sample off of my bobbins.  I managed to get 56 yards before washing, I love how it looks.  I am aware that I tend to overspin my yarn in places creating those little curls in the plies, but I really like that effect so it will probably remain.  I spun the Finn singles on the Ladybug and really enjoyed the process.  I used the Spinolution Firely to ply the finn as well as another sample I had created.  Let me back up a bit.

I obtained the Firefly for Christmas so that I can use the 2 pound bobbin (32oz) capacity to create very large skeins.  I originally intended to spin singles using my Ladybug and ply using the Firefly.  I did have to try the Firefly spinning singles first (I just had to, there was a leader already on the wheel) and this was a great way to figure out how the controls work and how well I like this wheel.  The truth is that I really do like this wheel, though I cannot pinpoint why.  There are a lot of options that allow this wheel to work however you want it to, if you like it on the floor then that works, you can put it on an angle, if you prefer it on the table then do so, you can even angle it on the table.  Should you be working with larger yarns then there is a hook rather than an orifice option.  You can easily switch between the larger and smaller heads, though the drive band is a bit finicky.  When using the 32oz option you need to turn the speed to the second dot before it will begin moving, and at that point it moves at a leisurely pace.  It is easily set up with so little pull you have to almost force the yarn onto the bobbins.

If you are looking for a wheel to help a beginning spinner focus on twist and draft then I highly recommend this wheel.  Without worrying about treadling at all the beginning spinner can focus on twist and draft while the yarn gets spun at a very leisurely pace.  If you are an intermediate spinner that wants to become more mindful of your spinning, or simply wants to be able to ply two completely full Bulky Plyer Flyer bobbins of singles together into a single skein, then this is the wheel for you, with the 32 oz head.  Actually, I think that any spinner that wants to work on bulky yarns and art yarns would benefit from this wheel.  I am certain that expert spinners can come up with even more options than I have mentioned here.

For me, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I believe that this is true of any new tool.  I like the idea of the hook orifice so I have kept that one on, but I do find that I do best when I hold the yarn straight out from the hook.  If I hold the yarn to one side or another I tend to get little jerky shakes in the yarn which can lead to breaks in finer yarns.  For plying, this is an absolute dream.  Since I am not worrying about treadling I get to focus on the yarn forming those little perfect bumps and then feeding onto the wheel.  I get to slow down my plying and see how everything looks without worrying about bobbin chicken or hurrying up to get the wheel free for more spinning.  The ability to change the speed at which I am spinning simply by twisting a knob, as well as the lack of worry about speeding up or slowing down as I get excited by the yarn/music/book/show is amazing.

If you are thinking of getting an electric spinning wheel then focus on what you want out of it.  I do not recommend the Electric Eel Wheel mini, the drive band broke on mine and I purchased the replacement recommended.  Right now, and for the last couple of months, it is under some extra tension to stretch it out a bit so that when it is on the wheel the little motor can actually spin the bobbin so that I can get some twist in the yarn.  Splurge a bit, get a really good wheel by a very reputable maker.  Maybe some of the other eel wheels are fine, but I am not impressed.  If you want to be able to spin really big yarns make sure that your model has larger spinning heads, if you want portability check weight, if you want lace weight see if the wheel you are looking at is good for that.  Above all, check reviews!

Happy Spinning!

 

Spinning for a Hap

Spin-Off magazine has their first 2019 spin along project and it is to spin and knit a Shetland Hap by March.  I had thought that I would spin for a sweater this year, just as a random goal, so this will be a great way to figure out if a sweater is a reasonable goal or not.  To that end I have chosen the fibers I want to use, I have some Shetland in brown, pinks, and greens.

There is a tutorial on knitting a Hap on Craftsy/BluPrint that I have watched so at present I am confident that this is something I can accomplish.  The official spin along begins on the 14th, so I will find out then how much work this is going to be.

I did finish spinning my Finn on the Ladybug, it is on the ball winder waiting for me to ply from a center pull ball tonight.  I am internally debating if I want to spin on the Ladybug and ply on the Firefly or reverse the order.  I find that I enjoy spinning more on the Ladybug so I will probably use the Firefly as a ply wheel since I have larger bobbins for that wheel.

Until I get started with that, Happy Crafting!

 

Paradise Fibers Video

I am always surprised when I realize that there is something that I have not even attempted.  I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person, while I do not like how I look or sound on camera I did think that I made a conscious decision not to get involved with uploading videos to Instagram and Youtube.  WRONG!

It turns out I was just a big chicken.  With the help of iMovies and my photo library I have been able to upload unboxing videos and tutorial videos quite easily from my iPad.  I admit that I have added no verbal commentary nor any music to my videos, since I tend to mute those anyway I choose to believe my lack of sound does not detract from my videos.  My explanation of how I am spinning my fiber is in this video.  I am very grateful for the Paradise Fibers challenges with this month’s Fiber of the Month Box since it required me to think outside my usual box and try something new.

On another note the first yarn for my first set of curtains has arrived.  As soon as I figure out how long I want this first warp to be I will warp a loom for my first set of curtains.  The yarn is a cottolin blend that I hope will turn into amazing curtains.

I have not set up my 2019 crafting goals, so that is in the works.  Until then, try something new!

Happy Crafting!

 

Ordered and Delayed

I officially have my Spinolution electric Firefly spinning wheel ordered.  Since they are an American based company and they make each wheel to order it will be between 4-6 weeks before mine is shipped.  This is actually a good thing, it will give me time to enjoy the anticipation and look forward to seeing if there are any huge sales that are going to occur for the other crafting materials I hope to obtain.

I know that this seems like a sudden spree, and fairly irresponsible.  Truthfully I have ensured that I am spending less than half of what I have come into, saving what I can when I can, and that I have enough left over to cover the major expenses that are going to come up in the next year.  These three purchases are not going to significantly impact my financial situation, however they will significantly improve my productivity.

For the rest of 2018 I will be working and learning to enjoy what I have and what I can do.  For most of 2019 I will be figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life, what my priorities are, and how I am going to achieve them.  At present I am overwhelmed by possibilities, and need to have time to settle down and figure out where I want my energies to go.  I know that spinning and weaving are two things that I want to have as a priority in my life.

Paradise Fibers November 2018 box was themed around Harry Potter, to the extent that they are running a house cup.  Once specific goals have been accomplished then points are assigned and the house with the highest number of points will win.  The prize is 500 paradise points for each member of the house, which in reality is five dollars off of an order, nothing to sneeze at.

On another note, my first Green Chef box was scheduled to be delivered this past Saturday, I thought Wednesday but checked again and it was supposed to be Saturday.  This did not happen, due to the weather, and I am anxious to see how the ingredients have held up over the weekend.  I will report more about this in my next post.

So, major life decisions are on hold, but pending.  Expenditures are not beyond what is feasible at this time (though some house repairs might have to be accomplished using loans).  This is going to be a year of self exploration and renewal.  It will also be a year of renewal for my home and sweeping out what I do not (realistically) need.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Instapot and Spinning

Over this past weekend I have decided to do some experimenting with my Instapot as well as some spinning.  Okay the spinning was just something that I remembered to do Sunday morning, but I managed to get over half of a batt spun into singles.  I attenuated the other half into mini nests of roving and look forward to an easy spin with them later this week.

I tried out two recipes with my instapot, Lasagna Soup and Butter Chicken.  Both of these turned out better than I thought they would.  I substituted a box of vegetable pasta and a bag of random vegetables for some of the ingredients in the lasagna soup.  It turned out quite well.  Not the same without at least Mozzarella Cheese on top, it is just like a tomato soup without the cheese.  I will certainly make this recipe again.

Butter chicken is either at Thai or East Indian recipe, and I do not think that I did it justice.  I substituted the tomato paste for a can of stewed tomatoes and the Garam Masala for cumin, coriander, cloves, curry paste and vindaloo mix that I had around.  I’ll be honest, I really liked it.  There was no explosion of heat, I was concerned about that, but there was some decent flavor.  I am going to look around and see if I can find the proper spices, but this is certainly a recipe I will keep on the back burner.

On Wednesday my first experiment with one of the ‘meals in a box’ delivery services arrives.  I have three meals coming, two servings for each meal, and I look forward to posting a review of that service here.  Crafting is a large part of my life, so there will certainly still be crafting posts, but I intend to expand this blog to include other aspects.

As far as my crafting life goes, I have an e-mail in to a dealer of a variety of wheel I am thinking about obtaining.  I had some questions and hope that they get back to me this week.

Happy Crafting!

Spinzilla Totals 2018

spinzilla 2018 9

I had an amazing time spinning this year, and managed to exceed my 2 mile (3,520 yards) spinning goal.  To explain, every yard of 2 ply finished yarn counts as 3 yards, one for each yard of singles spun and a yard for the plying.  This means that for the yardage totals for my yarn, all of which is 2 ply this year, I get 3 times the spinzilla yardage.  Below please find my totals along with whatever information I have about the yarns.

Spinzilla 2018 350 yard skein

This formidable skein is 350 yards which counts for 1,050 spinzilla yards.  This is wool from Moon Rock Farms in Western NY run by a friend of mine.  It practically spun itself and was completed within the first 2 days of Spinzilla.  So fluffy and squishy I cannot wait to see what it looks like washed and ready to go.

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This is white left over from the original skein, plied from a center pull ball which is my favored plying method.  At 44 yards it counts for 132 spinzilla yards and should be a squishy accent for some project.

 

Each of these little skeins are about 10 yards (30 spinzilla), from various mini batts or experiments.  They will also make good accent yarns for some small project, or be incorporated in a larger hodge-podge project.

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This 70 yard skein (210 spinzilla yards) is my faux mohair and sari silk skein.  I don’t like how it looks, and hope that it works up to be prettier than it is in skein.

spinzilla 2018 3

This random blue art batt wound up being 76yards for 228 spinzilla credit.

spinzilla 2018 6

The purple pop is 124 yards for 372 spinzilla yards.  Like most of the yarns here this was such fun to spin and ply.

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My pumpkin spice yarn is 37 yards, 111 spinzilla, of squishy glory!

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104 yards of maritime bliss accounts for another 312 spinzilla yards.  This was a beautiful roving of superwash targhee I obtained at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival from the daughter of one of my aunts friends.  It spun like a dream and should make a very pretty project for someone.

Spinzilla 2018

This 168 yard skein reminds me of a beautiful mellow spring, it counts for 504 spinzilla yards.

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This slightly bolder 158 yard skein might pair well with the targhee to make a larger project.  It accounts for 474 spinzilla yards and was quite fun to spin.

Last but not Least is the skein created from the Rolags I made using the Alleghany Fiber Arts roving.  spinzilla 2018 13

At 142 yards, 426 spinzilla yards, this is such a lofty and squishy yarn.

I wound up spinning long draw and creating wonderful woolen yarns.  I have not washed any of the yarn yet, and so they have not reached their full squishiness.  If they bloom more than I expect I will post just a collage when they are all dried.

For those of you keeping track I spun 3, 939 spinzilla yards.

Happy Spinning!

Bobbins Cleared and Wheel Tuned

The bobbins are cleared and ready to spin, my wheel is tuned and ready to roll.  I have more fiber than I should be able to use, from yak silk to an amazing roving from a local herd.  I actually plan on starting with the fleece from Ellen’s flock since I have a spin in event tomorrow.

Ellen's Flock Spinzilla 2018

If I decide I am bored spinning normally then I have a sari silk tweed batt and a couple of Art Batts to spin.

Then all of the rolags I have been preparing throughout September, but I already posted those.  Spinzilla begins 1am EST October 1, 2018.  If I am honest, I hope that I am not awake for that, but I do think I will try and wake up one hour earlier than planned to get some spinning done.  Sometimes life stinks but you need to get up and find joy in something.

Happy Crafting!