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

Month: March 2009 Page 1 of 4

Spindle Fun

Spinning Jill on a spindle reminded me how much fun spindles are, and portable. It’s easy to tuck a spindle and a bit of fluff in your purse/bag and pull it out whenever. And to top it all off, Kristine gave me one of her fun little pouches of fiber last week at the weaving retreat. The rovings are by-products of her dyeing process and she packages the bits of leftovers into fun little pouches. You can do as you please with them: wet/needle felting, spinning, embellishments, whatever. (I don’t see any mention of this on her website nor at Morgaine‘s, although I know that Morgaine sells them.)


The pouches are full of colors and each pouch is different.  It’s a bit like finding the toy at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box.  You don’t know what you’ll find in there. (Okay, you do, since they are in a clear cellophane bag.) Kristine was spinning from her pouch with her drop spindle, grabbing whatever bit of color that she touches first. This provided a completely random assortment of colors and lengths of singles.  When plied together, you get even more surprising combinations.

I couldn’t resist. I immediately started spinning from my own pouch. I’ve also experimented by pulling several short lengths of fiber of different colors together and drafting them together for a marled single. Intermixed with straight lengths of a color, the marled single keeps things shaken up. Between Jill and this pouch, I haven’t touched my spinning wheel for quite a while. It’s addictive fun!

Blog Note: After the blog move, I’m no longer getting email notifications that a message has been left on the blog. I have to physically visit the blog to see the messages. This also means that I can no longer reply to you via email regarding your posts. I will be leaving my replies here on the blog.  A search shows that this appears to be a common sporadic problem with the current version of WordPress. It may go away on its own. I just won’t know when that might be.

Spinning Jill

I picked and washed about 8 oz of Jill.  The post wash and dry weight of Jill was just a hair over 5 oz.  That’s not a whole lot of loss.  I would have expected more loss due to grease for a merino.  But this is a pristine fleece.  I found very little vegetable matter in the fleece.  A few stray bits, but nothing else. A wee bit of 2nd cuts, again not anything really noticeable.

I’m flicking the locks and spinning directly from the locks.  After showing Judith last weekend what I’ve been doing, she immediately said that my Strauch Flicker was much too much for the delicate fleece. So, I pulled out the cat brush instead.  Much easier on my hands too!


So, there you see it. Very basic. A cat brush and a drop spindle.  (Don’t ask which spindle because I don’t know. I typically lose my tags as soon as I get fiber on the spindle, which means as soon as I get it in my hot little hands. They are meant to be used, n’est pas?) I can tell you that it’s very light. Less than 1/2 oz. (10 grams, perhaps?) What you see on the bobbin is my first spindle full. It has about 15 grams of singles on it. More than the weight of the spindle. But the spindle wasn’t even half full. But I will not be filling my spindle that much from now on. It really affected the grist of the single. I wasn’t able to draft as fine as I did at the beginning, when the spindle was still empty.  The single had to be a bit fatter to support the weight of the spindle toward the end.

I want consistency more than I want to try and pack as much as possible on the spindle. After all, it’s all about the process, not speed nor efficiency.

Oh, I wound off the single twice. Once on the first storage bobbin, and then onto a second one.

Why? Judith suggested spinning from the tip (as it grows from the sheep, or as if you are spinning right off of the sheep), and plying from the butt end.  If I only wound off once, then I would be plying from the same end that I spun from, the tip.  Twice, I get the butt end out and ready to ply. Make sense?  (And of course, we all do what Judith says, right?)

jill-in-a-bagAnd one last photo for you because it tickles me.

This is the plastic zipper cover that came with the flannel sheet set I bought for the Point Bonita retreat last week.  In it, the remainder of the washed locks that I have yet to flick.  Two neat little walls of locks, tip to butt.

I don’t know why it pleases me, but it does. The locks were a bit messy after they came out of the wash and dryer, so I gently pulled them apart. Of course, at that point, I loathed to put them back higgledy-piggledy. And so, here we are.

Jill in a bag.

A little digression

You know how sometimes things seem to align themselves in such a way that everywhere you turn, the same theme pops up everywhere?  The repetition makes you think that the universe is trying to tell you something.

My hair stylist has been telling me for years that I should shampoo less.  I used to shampoo my hair daily because my scalp gets oily and itchy. And, yes, I know what she’s saying. The more I wash, the more I strip the good oils from my scalp, the more my scalp generates oil. And round and round we go. Intellectually, I know all of that. But I just can’t do it. I bought into the whole marketing of hair products into thinking I need to wash daily to have the perfect hair.

Over the course of the past year, I weaned myself off of products containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and/or Laureth Sulfate and onto shampooing every other day. Still my stylist would like to see if I can go down to twice a week.  (We just had this discussion in January.  I was so proud of the every other day business when she dropped the twice a week bomb.)

A few months ago, I was talking with the ladies at the club about dry skin and what soaps do to our skin. I mentioned that, even if you use minimal soap, or only the mildest of all soaps, you still use shampoo. And if you shower, all that crap ends up on your body. So, to take care of your skin, you also need to look at what’s happening with your hair.

Last week, I heard a news story on NPR on shampooing less. Americans have been brain washed by Madison Avenue into shampooing every day. Less than that, you are not clean nor sexy. Hair limp and lifeless? Try this shampoo! Guaranteed body!  Dry hair? This shampoo will repair damaged hair!  Oily hair. Straight hair. Dull hair. There’s a product out there for every kind of perceived wrong with your hair. What they don’t address is that the root cause (no pun intended, but very appropriate in this case) is the crap you put on your scalp.

A few days later, at the weaving retreat, Judith mentioned a story she read about Meryl Streep’s guide to beauty, which including washing your hair only once a month. This led to a whole series of discussions over the course of a few days about the grease factor and how it’s done.

What exactly does it really mean when someone doesn’t wash their hair? They don’t wet the hair? They don’t use commercial products? They use commercial products, but just not “shampoo”?  Or perhaps they use shampoo that does not contain SLS.

I have done some research over the past several months on this whole “no ‘poo” (no shampoo) thing, and I’ve been very confused about it all. It seems that there are several different definitions of going no ‘poo. Here’s a quick run down on my interpretation of the various methods out there:

  1. Don’t use products with SLS or any products with silicone (no ‘cone movement is another subset), but mild products are okay. The premise is that you are reducing the dependency on the chemicals.  I’ve already done this by switching to various non-SLS products.  Current favorites are Giovanni 50/50 Balancing Shampoo/Conditioner, and the much cheaper alternative, Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Shampoo/Conditioner.
  2. Don’t use shampoo, but use conditioners in place of shampoo (as long as it’s non-SLS). The premise here is that all conditioners have mild surfactants, which will clean your hair but won’t strip the oils out.
  3. Wash your hair with baking soda wash and follow it with an apple cider vinegar rinse. The premise is that baking soda acts as a mild cleanser and the vinegar rinse will restore the pH balance.
  4. Really hard core — nothing but water. The premise is that your sebum will do all the work that’s necessary to keeping your hair healthy. Water will rinse out all the dirt and sweat.

So, my question is, just what is ‘poo free? I know that Wendy has gone ‘poo free, but she replaced shampoo with another commercial product.  As far as I can tell from the website, it’s a shampoo alternative.  It’s not what I think of going ‘poo free. I think it fits definition #2. This actually has been suggested by at least one stylist in my past.  I have never tried it.

So, bottom line, I don’t know what the definition of “no ‘poo” is. What do you think? What does it mean to go “no ‘poo”?

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