Tasty Morsels

Every once in a while, you get a craving for a little something tasty. You don’t want that entire box of chocolates but you don’t have the will power to open the box and just take one. After all, once the box is open, who will notice just another one? Next thing you know, you didn’t stop until the entire box of chocolates is gone.

No, I don’t speak from personal experience. This is just what I’ve heard from others. Why do you ask?

Sea Glass Skein

Sometimes it’s like that with spinning as well. You just want a small little something to carry along with you. But spinning a 4-8 oz braid of fiber is anything but instant gratification.

PigTailsBosworthEnter Greenwood Fiberworks‘ Pigtails — approximately half ounce (label says 0.4-0.6 oz) of wool, beautifully dyed.

Just enough to take to a meeting and spin and ply the entire amount on a single spindle.

I don’t think these are part of her regular stock. I picked these up at CNCH a few years ago. CNCH 2014, perhaps? She had a small rack of these tasty little morsels. It was just too tempting.

For the first one, I split it in half and spun each half separately. I wound them off onto individual weaving bobbins before winding them together onto a 3rd bobbin for plying. I think because of how fresh the singles were, I had a difficult time plying them from their own bobbins directly. Too many pigtails.

PigTailsNiddyI think for the next one, I will spin it as a continuous strand and wind it into a center pull ball before plying. I will still split it in half, but reverse the direction on the second half so the colors will still mostly line up.

I pulled out my Bosworth Mini for this little project. It’s strange. I’ve always remembered these as fast little spindles with long spin, but that wasn’t my experience this time around. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been mostly spinning silk on my Goldings. There is nothing like those little Goldings for speed!


Speaking of on the go spinning, I’ve upgraded my little quart sized zip lock bag to this pouch. It’s a plastic (no more spilled water, tea, wine!) expandable zippered pouch that I picked up at Daiso. I use a similar one to carry my travel watercolor kit.


I came home from Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat with a lovely upper respiratory crud. I stayed home all last week to keep my germy self to myself. My work day was filled from one meeting to another.

Thank goodness for video conferencing. Actually, thank goodness for smart video conferencing software that allowed me to put up a picture of myself sailing in the Aegean instead of a makeup-less me that hasn’t had the energy to shower that day.

Stormy sticking her nose into my meetings, literally.
Stormy — sticking her nose into my meetings, literally.

However, Stormy was very interested in all these talking heads from my laptop. She wanted to have her say too. That is, before she decided I had worked enough and it was time for a nap by laying down across the keyboard.

The upside to all the meetings was that I got a lot of spinning done.

Silk singles on paper quills
Silk singles on paper quills

This represents the most spinning I’ve done on my Golding since SOAR. I might get through the second silk brick in much less than 2 years!

Here’s what the silk brick looks like in fiber form. Isn’t it pretty? I love all those subtle color shifts.

Silk Brick
Silk Brick

Spinning, Supported Style

Click for full size
Click for full size

There are many sources of inspiration at SOAR. One of them is the Spinners’ Gallery.

This pair of shawls were spun and knitted by Denise Bartels. These beauties were spun on supported spindles and plied on the spinning wheel. The spinning, the knitting, and the blocking were absolutely perfect.

They inspired me to pull out my supported spindle collection and spin on them again.  I have never been able to spin more than a few yards here an there (other than cotton on tahklis). I’m not sure why. It just seemed such a slow way to make yarn. But then, 2 years to spin and ply 2 oz of silk isn’t exactly blazingly fast either.

It also has never occurred to me to spin wool on supported spindles either. I don’t know why but I only associate short fibers with supported spinning.

Pacific Evening Shawl
Pacific Evening Shawl

Once I returned home, I pulled out my supported spindle collection. I only have 3 in my collection so I took them out for a test drive. One of them has some cashmere that I started at SOAR in 2012. I didn’t get very far with them. I spun a bit, and it was a bit of a slog.

Briney Deep Shawl
Briney Deep Shawl

I pulled out another spindle and a small bit of merino/silk that was leftover from another project. This went much better, especially once I pre-drafted the heck out of it before spinning over the fold. But the spindle shaft was too fat at the tip. I will need to sand it down.

Spun Singles!

Then I went to the 3rd supported spindle I have. It is one of a pair that I purchased years ago at another SOAR. One is maple (cashmere project) and one is walnut. Both gorgeous, but heavy. Really heavy.

Feeling a bit like Goldilocks, I looked around and found the stone bead supported spindle I made years ago and a bit of sample fluff from Corgi Hill Farm, I sat down to spin.

I think I’m finally getting it! It will be a while before I gain proficiency, but it’s definitely looking like lace weight yarn!

Will this take over as my preferred spinning method? No. I doubt it, but it is nice to have this successfully in my spinning repertoire.