Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you give an engineer a spinning wheel

Writing about the Bad Bobbin reminded me of a story from my childhood. Taking a page from Alison's book (and possibly her blog), I share with you an anecdote:

Mom and I were taking spinning lessons together (which you can hear about in this episode of Cast-on), and we had come home with a spinning wheel. Enthusiastically, I filled the first bobbin, and Mom and I changed the bobbin.

I tried sitting down to spin again, and it wouldn't work. It wouldn't GO. The wheel was moving, the flyer was spinning, but nothing was happening!

Mom turned to Dad and deferred to his degree in Civil Engineering. He and a friend (another engineer, though I'm not certain what flavor he is) fussed with the wheel for over an hour. No luck. They determined that the wheel was broken and COULDN'T work.

We called the teacher the next day, and she suggested checking the tension. Which was dangling, unfastened.

Spinning Wheel: 1, Two Northwestern Engineers: 0.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In which I confirm the definition of "crazy"

I had a ... challenged week last week. To say the least. I intended to close the week with some soothing spinning.


It turns out that some of my Schacht bobbins (the high speed ones) are a little defective. One wasn't tooled properly. Instead of assuming that, I spent the better part of friday night beating myself up, and restringing my driveband.

(Because CLEARLY if the driveband has been working properly for everything else, that must be what the problem is when the only variable that has changed is a bobbin.)

So, we restring the driveband. No luck. I oil. No luck. I stomp my feet. Andrew suggests working on something else until I can ask Sandi if it's a break-in issue, or a *gasp* BAD BOBBIN.

So, Saturday morning, I take the Bad Bobbin, another stiff bobbin from that batch, the Control Bobbin (which works just swimmingly), and the appropriate high speed whorl. Sandi confirms my suspicions, and lets me know that she'll call Schacht to see what their solution to the Bad Bobbin is. I buy two more High Speed Bobbins, so that I can do this:

Totally worth it, right?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright , Tallulah!

The fleeces from the Monterey Wool Auction (and Booneville) have been trickling in. That is, a trickle the size of a tsunami. When I get a box from Shari, the routine goes like this:

Step 1: Open the box. Call Shari. Gush. Pay.
Step 2: Divide up the fleeces by fleece. (Meaning, if there are 3, separate them into three piles.)
Step 3: Figure out if any of these are "shared" fleeces.
3a: Yes? Divide total weight evenly. Make calls.
3b: No? MINE! Roll around in them. Bag them up by individual fleece.
Step 4: Place in le stash.

This wasn't the case with Tallulah. I pulled her out to divide her into thirds, and it was lurve at first sight. I knew I had to start spinning her, pronto. I spun the first 8 oz in under a week.

I knew it was love, because even spinning her as fine as she wanted (my guess is 55ish WPI), I'm plowing through it:


I had to force myself away from her, to make sure I didn't grow bored and totally blast through the 20 oz. I've spun 4 oz of Crown Mountain and 4 oz of the Romney thing, and I'm back to Tallulah again.


See? Progress. I can't even tell you how much I love spinning this stuff. I honestly thought I'd get bored, since it's all one color- a NATURAL color at that! Not the case.

I'm thinking it's going to be a 4 or 5 ply in order to make gauge for the Mariah sweater. I think this might have been the first thing in Knitty that I ever saw, and I've loved it since Day 1.

Part of my attraction to the Mariah is that it feels like a redux of the Twist (for me). I loved knitting my Twist cardigan, and I'll be honest, I think I wouldn't mind knitting a second one. But, I know myself, and I know I'm a fickle knitter.

I think I'll be finished with the spinning on this in the next two weeks, so I'm projected to finish plying, skeining, and setting the yarn by the end of the month.

Can anyone else say "Mariah in May"?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For my next trick...

Impressive disappearing trick I did, no? Andrew and I both took some time off of work, and took the oh-so trendy "staycation", where you take time off work and stay home. This economy is AWESOME!

Andrew started this off by building me a new closet.



Before you get all judge-y, remember that I'm only 5'1", and have an unparalleled love of shoes.



Fancy, right?

Now, After and full!:


Huge difference. I can reach all of my "everyday" stuff. There is room for all of my shoes. Andrew also redid his closet, and I've been offered some real estate over there as well.

I have a drawer for my shawls, and my "special" shawls (my Alison shawl and my Orenburg) have their own sweater box and shelf, and I am in OCD hog heaven. Andrew is also thrilled, since he usually got stuck putting a stack of sweaters away, since I couldn't reach them. Now there's even a little room for my stepladder. (Look to the space at the far right. It's there.)

My next step is to build the closets for seasonal clothing storage, and move my spring dresses in where my suits are hanging. (Suits. As in four of them. How did I end up with four suits?) This way, my heavy winter coats won't monopolize our hall coat closet, and our guests won't have to pile their things behind the couch. Very civilized.

There has been knitting. There has been spinning. There has also been some crazy awesome organization. Stay tuned.