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Monday, June 28, 2010

Never Say Never

I love to knit, and said I'd never dye my own yarn or write patterns (bunch of hippies!).  Now that I've written a few patterns and regularly dye and sell hand-painted yarn, I hold firm that I will NEVER, NEVER be a spinner (little old ladies!). 

And then I was a vendor at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene Oregon, and sat across the aisle from a spinning wheel and really nice gal who is definitely not old- Patti from Sweet Grass Wool .  Really, there was just nowhere else to look, so I watched her spin, and bugged her to death with all of my questions (for informational purposes only of course).  By the end of the weekend I had convinced myself that 'as a souvenier' I'd buy a drop spindle - "just for fun."

Enter the Jenkins Turkish Drop Spindle - and the extremely friendly proprietors from Jenkins Woodworking.  In ten minutes I'd had a lesson and purchased a spindle.

The folks at Jenkins Woodworking also had an inexpensive booklet and DVD that tell everything you need to know to get started (not that I was going to spin or anything) - and it really did.  The first 30 minutes was like trying to run backward, rub my head and pat my tummy at the same time while saying the alphabet in German (I don't speak German).  But by the end of about 60 minutes I was spinning away, and by the end of the first 2 ounces I had a good handle on spinning evenly (sort of).  Within 48 hours of returning home I had spun 4 ounces, plied it, set the ply, and skeined up my first homespun yarn (a bit more purple IRL) from some BFL top I obtained from my booth-mate, Sharon Spence.  The colorway is Bollywood, and it's really - bright.  I'm hoping there's enough to make some fun mittens for this winter.

In honor of my new acquisition and because Patti is just so darned nice, I also bought from Sweet Grass Wool some really yummy 80/20 merino/cashmere handdyed fiber in a peridot colorway. 

I really want to spin this into a 2-ply lace weight, and was concerned that I couldn't spin that fine a thread (on purpose), but it's going pretty well!

I also met Cathy from Beacon Bend Alpacas, who was right across the aisle from me.  She had the most interesting fiber - and I finally got up enough nerve to go ask her what the heck that stuff was.  It looked like this:  It's alpaca with silk (the white blobs) roughly combed through it that spins up into the softest, most interesting yarn.  Cathy and her husband raise alpaca, and angora bunnies.  Loved those guys! 

All in all, it was a very successful weekend on several fronts.  I sold lots of yarn, met some hilarious, wonderful shoppers, made some fiber friends (not cyber, - f-i-b-e-r), learned how to spin, and found another way to multi task when reading and watching TV at the same time are not enough. 

Thanks Patti (who is not a little old lady or a hippie).