Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: May 2006 Page 1 of 2

Pick-Me-Up Spinning

I was feeling a bit low last weekend, so I dug out some fiber that I’ve been hoarding. You know, the stash that you don’t touch until you figure out the perfect project for, until you are good enough, whatever your reason. You have that special stash in the back of your closet somewhere. I have to tell you, in the past 6 months, I’ve gone through quite a bit of them. Handpainted BFL. Alpaca. Silk. Qiviut/Silk/Merino blend. Angora/Merino. Cashmere/Silk. You name it. If I had it in my stash, I spun it. Good thing the fiber show season is starting again. I can replenish my stash.

By the way, I’ve found a new favorite fiber blend to spin — Cashmere/Silk. I had about 2 oz of Chasing Rainbow’s “Purple Haze” that I spun into lace weight. I’m on the last repeat of the lace scarf. Hopefully, I’ll have a picture for you this weekend. I didn’t think there would be anything to top the wonderful feel of the fiber as I spun it (during Super Bowl), but knitting it is out of this world. I don’t want it to end. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been on the last repeat for several weeks. I’m savoring it until I can buy more next weekend.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, wool from stash … I pulled out a hank of Lorna’s Laces rovings that I bought about 4-5 years ago (when Lorna still owned Lorna’s Laces) in the Purple Iris colorway. It’s been a dream to spin. The colors blend together beautifully in the drafting triangle. The fibers slow like butter through my hands. It’s quite mesmerizing. Perfect for soothing the mind and soul. You can solve all of the world’s problems while spinning this stuff. (Come to think of it, perhaps Shrub should learn to spin.)

I’ve filled 2 bobbins so far. I think I have another 1/2 bobbin left to spin, and then it’s time to start plying. I can’t wait. I’m thinking that it wants to be a lace stole.

Where I’ve Been…

The months since Martin died have been hard. Thankfully, I have my friends. Friends that called me up a several times a week to talk about sailing or knitting or just talk. Friends that helped me to deal with the boat broker for the final delivery of Matsu. Friends that kept me sane and from sitting in a dark house for months on end.

Grief is a funny thing. Sometimes, life goes on as normal. Then there are little things that just don’t make sense. Some part of you recognize that something is off, but everything is in a grey fog and you can’t quite put your finger on it.

Fiber was one of those things. I couldn’t spin. I played with my Bosworth charkha for a bit. I spun and plied quite a bit of cotton and cotton/silk blend. But I wouldn’t spin on my wheel. I tried. I honestly tried. I tried everything in my stash, including some of my favorite fiber blends to spin. I tried everything but nothing felt right. I can’t explain it, but all the fibers flowing through my fingers felt coarse and lifeless. In retrospect, it made perfect sense. I felt that way about me.

Knitting? I would pick things up, knit a row or two, and lose my concentration, put it down, and not touch it again for weeks.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t indulge in fiber retail therapy. My friends are great with helping me with that. Have no fear. But, again, it meant partially started projects, and nothing completed.

I think I finally started out of my fog around the holidays. I grabbed a group of my sailing & knitting friends and had a knitting, gnoshing good time at the yacht club in front of the fireplace.

Next time, I’ll show you how lace saved my sanity.

Bushtit NestIn the meantime, let me leave you with this essay. It perfectly expresses my sentiment about a wonderful present I found outside my kitchen window. The babies have hatched. The parents are busy bringing bugs back to the nest. I can’t wait for them to fledge. I’ll have to lock the mighty huntress in the house when that happens.

Competing Interests

Matsu at Golden Gate BridgeWhat can be more interesting than fibery pursuits? What about this?
This is Matsu. It is a 34′ sailboat that Martin and I bought for each other’s life time present. We ordered her a year ago last May for our anniversary. We had it all planned out. She goes into production on my birthday in June; launched in October, just in time for Martin’s birthday. Funny how life doesn’t ever turn out the way you want it to.

So, Matsu arrived in time for Halloween. This picture was taken in December (only in California can you take a picture like this), when we sailed out the Golden Gate for a short jaunt. A friend of mine in another boat took this wonderful shot of Matsu — I’m at the helm.

Since then, I’ve been busy honing my sailing skills. I’ve let Martin drive way too much, now I need to learn to sail her on my own. For the most part, I’ve never had problems finding crew to help me handle the boat. Nevertheless, my goal is to learn to sail her single handedly this year. Half the year is already gone — I’d better get moving on that goal. Biggest deterrent? Upper body strength to pull the sails up. I guess there’s no hope for it. It’s time to hit the gym. The spinning wheel just doesn’t do anything for the upper arms. Spindling doesn’t have the weight training — not even my beloved Golding spindles

So, what does this all have to do with fibers? I’m pleased to announce that my knitting pals who sail (or is it my sailing pals who knit?) have given this boat their seal of approval as knitter friendly. With the self tacking jib, you don’t even have to put your knitting down when it’s time to tack. The captain just pull the tiller over and you’re done. My non-knitting sailing friends like it because it means they don’t have to put their beer down during maneuvers.

I’m still trying to figure out how to get fit a spinning wheel onboard. Not so much storing one, but the right location where I can spin and still give me a full range of motion for my arms. I’m thinking spindles and my charkha is the way to go. I’ll be keeping a small stash on board for fiber emergencies.

Later, I’ll post some of the projects I’ve been working on. I need to take some pictures first.

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