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

Month: July 2008 Page 1 of 3

October Batt Club

(Or, I’m a Loser.)

Since I don’t have anything worthwhile to show you for the Tour de Fleece, I’m going to show you something else that I finished instead…

October Batt Club Spun

Yarn Specs:

Source: Abby‘s Batt Club, October, 2007
Fiber: First Frost: 33% Extra Fine Merino/33% Baby Alpaca/33% Silk/1% Firestar Nylon
Plies: 2
Yardage: 22 wpi (after wet finishing)
Weight: 3.5 oz.

Tour de Fleece

Yes, as I said earlier. I’m a Loser, with a capital “L”. The combination of a busy life and fiber that I’m not all that thrilled about, makes for a lousy combination in terms of progress. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the fiber nor the prep from Spinderella. I just don’t enjoy spinning it because I’m not fond of spinning worsted weight yarn. And it has a little too much glitz for my taste.

Wait a minute, you say.  The October Batts have glitz too, but you love it, right?  Yeah. But it’s the amount of glitz.  And the glitz in the October Batts are much finer than the one used in Spinderella’s thrums, so the effect is more subtle.

Normally, what keeps me spinning a particular fiber are the daydreams of what I can make out of it. But the combination of the texture and the glitz, I knew that there isn’t anything that I want to make out of the resulting yarn. Since I’m not enthusiastic about the end game, the journey isn’t all that thrilling either.

What did I get done? So far, 2 bumps out of the 8 are spun onto 3 bobbins. I plied 2+ of the bobbins for a whopping 278 yards of worsted weight 2-ply yarn.

Instead of spinning for Tour de Fleece, I found the time to finish plying some leftover Chasing Rainbows merino/silk singles (58 yds, plied from center pulled ball), and the above lace weight yarn.

This is not to say that joining the Tour was a waste of time. It did get me moving again on this roving. 2 out of 8 batts completed. I will continue to work on these until they are done. But there may be other spinning in between.

Herbal Pillow Instructions

I gave my tummy pillow to Penny a few months back. She’s since asked me for the instructions on how these were made. I have to say, it’s embarrassingly easy. It’s almost not an instruction.

Finished dimensions:

  • Eye Pillow: 9″ x 3.5″
  • Tummy Pillow: 15″ x 9″


This is where you can get creative. You can use flax alone, or add lavender, rose petals, rosemary for some aromatherapy.   Don’t forget to look in your spice cabinet.  There are lots of nice smelling herbs too.

I started with 4:1 ratio of flax to lavender. This is about the average ratio I found online. I made the eye pillows, and found that I didn’t quite have enough lavender mix to fill the tummy pillow, so I kept adding flax. I think the final ratio was more like 6:1 flax to lavender. The ratio for a tummy pillow isn’t nearly as important as the eye or neck pillow, since it’s not close to your nose to give the full benefit of the aromatherapy.  And remember, a little goes a long way.  Or, if like me, you run out of lavender before you get to the “correct” fill amount, just keep adding flax seeds.

What’s the correct fill amount?  It’s really individual.  The eye pillows need enough weight to fill the contours, but not too much so that it feels like your cat is sitting on your head.  I used about 1 cup of the flax/lavender mixture.

For the tummy pillow, you want a little more weight, but not so much that the pillow is so stuffed that it no longer drapes over your tummy (or shoulders).  Just think about when you have cramps, it helps when you push on your tummy with your hands.  That’s the slight pressure you want to achieve.  I’ve asked Penny to weigh the pillow I made originally, since I forgot to write it down.

Aside: Before I had a tummy pillow, my favorite tummy pillow was my first cat, Izzy.  She always knew when I had cramps.  She would crawl up on my belly and go to sleep.  Her warmth, weight, the purring, and drape was perfect.  We would both snooze a bit, and my cramps feel better for it.  Somehow, I was never able to train any of my other cats to do it, hence the need for a pillow.

Why flax? I found online that flax holds its temperature best of all the other typical fillers: rice, beans, buckwheat. It also forms to your face/body better than beans, due to its size.

I found both the flax and lavender in bulk at my natural food store.


For the eye pillows, I made 2 with silk charmeuse plus a silk cover, and 1 with muslin plus flannel cover. I kept the cotton for myself, and gave the silks to friends. I have to say, I like the silk much better. It feels cool to touch, and warms quickly. The silk also drapes to cover contours of the bridge of your nose and your eyes much better. This keeps the light out.

For the tummy pillow, I made the core pillow out of unbleached muslin, and a flannel pillow cover for it. You can toss the cover in the wash whenever it’s needed.


For the tummy pillow, just pop it in the microwave on high for a couple of minutes (YMMV, since all microwaves are not equal. Keep an eye on your microwave for the first few times until you know your optimum time for the temperature you desire.) And place it on your tummy (or any other areas that needs a little heat). This works wonders on menstrual cramps. I should know.

Back in May, when I threw my back out, the chiropractor was using something similar (unscented). They were long lengths of these, with periodic stitching to keep the fillers in place. I think they were filled with buckwheat and kept in steamers. They put the pillows (wrapped so you don’t get burned) on the table under your lower back and your shoulders, and put you in a dark room for about 15 minutes after your chiropractic session. Hmmm. Lovely.

The pillows were about 20″ long by 4-5″ wide, with stitching running the width every 5″ along the length. Sort of like the channels in your down comforter.

Since I gave Penny my tummy pillow, I need to make myself another one. I also intend to make a few 6″ x 6″ flax pillows, without lavender, so that I can stick them in the freezer to use as ice packs. So much better than using ice, since you don’t have to deal with a drippy mess, and it’s reusable!

My eyes are too big

Bump of Spinderella ThrumsI overestimated what my free time looks like. Since I signed up, I have only been able to spin just under one bump (1 bobbin full) of the Spinderella Thrums. Of 8 bumps. Less than one out of EIGHT.  That’s less than 12% of goal #1.

What have I been doing? What haven’t I been doing might be an easier question.

Take yesterday for example.

I was out of bed and in the pool by 0800 for my SCUBA lessons. Then it was off to storage to locate my ancient golf clubs.  A quick stop at the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions that have been waiting for me for 2 days.  Another quick stop at the deli counter to pick up a sandwich to eat on the road, but snacks for the cruise out dinner.  Home to wash/wipe down the golf clubs (haven’t used them in 15 years).  A quick shower to get the clorine off. Then it was off across the bay to meet up with the cruisers for a 9 hole round of golf.  (Did I say that I haven’t used my clubs in 15 years?)  Followed by dinner and awards.  I was home by 2200.

I was out of the house again this morning by 1000 and didn’t return until 2100.  I just finished up some laundry.  I hope the towels and swimsuit will be ready to hit the pool again tomorrow by 0800.

I still have to squeeze in some reading on the manuals of my new SCUBA gear and a few chapters of the PADI book.

The rest of the week doesn’t look much better.  I have more PADI lessons, doctors appointments, oil change appointment, plus planning, shopping, cooking and decorating for a Greek Island Time party that I am co-hosting at the club this Saturday — for 100 people.

As people keep commenting, where did I ever find the time to hold a full time job that required a minimum of 60 hours a week?

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