Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More spinning fun

For some reason, this new little wheel from SpinOlution (the Echo) has captured my imagination lately and I have been spinning almost every day for hours at a time. Dyeing rovings, fleeces and carding up art batts has been filling my days as well. There is nothing like playing with fiber. In between, I have been knitting up socks for myself in preparation for winter, kind of like a squirrel stocking up!

I have posted a few more photos of some more traditional handspuns that I have been doing, ranging from sock weight to bulky. It is an interesting change from art yarns for a while. I had decided that I would spend the rest of the summer spinning, dyeing and playing with fibers and have been really enjoying this little interlude.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dyeing and spinning

This week has been a busy one, filled with dyeing rovings and fibers, washing fleeces and hand spinning yarns. It is a great feeling when the stars align and everything goes smoothly and even allows time for a nap!

Here are a few photos of this week's accomplishments. I love the colors. Creating interesting colorways is always a lot of fun for me. Hope you enjoy these!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More spinning fun

This week, I have been lucky enough to be able to keep the prototype SpinOlution wheel which has officially been named the Echo at my house. Needless to say, I have been a spinning maniac. This little wheel is a delight to use and easy to move around. A fellow spinner (wildharefiber) was the inspiration for SpinOlution to create this wheel. When I took it with me to LisCat on Sunday to share with the spinning group, everyone trying it loved it. I took a photo of Jamie (fiberfreek on Ravelry) spinning using wildharefiber roving. How sweet is that?

Additionally, I have posted two photos of another singles green yarn I spun on the Echo as well as a bobbin of two ply spun by (bettymo on ravelry) on her Mach I/II hybrid. I am loving how this looks. Jamie sent me home with a bag of intriguing fibers which I am going to be exploring this week.

On Sunday, August 16th, there will be a yarn tasting held at LisCat in Long Beach, CA and a group of us will also be there doing spinning demo. Do come and join us for all the fun!

Also, I have included an amazing wedding gown created using handspun Lincoln longwool. This is a real tribute to imagination, spinning talent and design. Hope you love it as I do.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tip toe through the tulips!

Yesterday was a glorious day! My husband and I got up at 5:30 in morning and proceeded to go out together for breakfast at our favorite little local restaurant (Gramma's Kitchen in Banning) where the food is good, the waitresses and customers are so friendly that it does feel like you are hanging out in Gramma's Kitchen! After that, we took a drive through the local mountains where it was cool and the views wonderful. Then we headed to Temecula past one of the many Dutch dairies in the area, this one is kind of special as they make Gouda cheese, winning many ribbons and even being featured on the Martha Stewart show. Woo-woo! Since Louie's mom is Dutch, we always pick up some lovely cheese for her to enjoy.

We ended up at Trader Joe's for olive oil, rosemary plant, French roast coffee beans, fresh garlic/cheese bread and TULIPS! I love this place as they have truly delightful things lurking in every aisle. The wine alone is worth the trip.

We made the full circle returning home with eco-friendly bags filled with all this bounty. The tulips ended up keeping company with Joan of Arc (a wonderful garage sale treasure) and the iris painting by my friend George Keahey. Seeing flowers in the study always lifts my spirits. The rosemary ended up with all the herbs on the patio and smells wonderful.

The rest of the day was spent washing fleece (Soay, Icelandic and a lanolin-rich Corriedale) and spreading them out to dry. Also, I was lucky enough to be able to have the new spinning wheel shown below for the weekend! I am so excited and have been spinning like a mad woman (I have to return this prototype wheel on Sunday.) Can't wait to have my very own.

I did stop to make dinner: roasted chicken rubbed with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and roasted vegetables as well as home grown tomato salad. It smelled divine and tasted even better. Yum! looking forward to a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Isn't she lovely?

Ta-dah! Here is a new offering from SpinOlution, an entry level spinning wheel that sells for $450 which includes shipping. It comes with one bobbin and has three speeds (4:1, 6:1 and 8:1) and will have an upgraded flyer assembly for an extra $50 with speeds up to 18:1 as an option. She weighs in at about 14 pounds, stands 29 inches tall, orifice height is 25 inches and she is about 19 1/4 inches wide. The innovative SpinOlution treadling is standard on this wheel and she also uses standard Bee bobbins but there is more room here for filling the bobbin as the flyer arms have been moved a bit in this design. The tensioning is very nice and adjusts well in small increments and does hold.

I had a chance to actually spin on the wheel today and really enjoyed this. I love the size and weight of the wheel and really hated to see Michael (the wheelmaker) take this home as I wanted to keep spinning. I have already placed an order to add to my wheel collection which is reproducing as quickly as rabbits in my living room! Yikes! Will be listing this new wheel for pre-orders on my Etsy site. I have shared some baby pictures here so you can see that this little darling is just the cutest thing!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday at LisCat

Another lovely Sunday in Long Beach with Katrina in her wonderful and friendly store called LisCat. It is a great place to spin, knit and just hang out in general. Also, we had a little party for my husband Louie's birthday, complete with cupcakes and pressies! There was also lots of fiber and yarn for all the yarnies. In a couple of weeks, I am going to start teaching some workshops at this shop and you can see some of the samples displayed of what is upcoming.

I am also including a photo of Betty's using her hybrid Mach I-II (Mach I body with Mach II upgrades) You can see she has a beautiful yarn in the works on her bobbin now. Jamie and I are participating in a fiber study and this week I washed Targhee and Cormo fleece and just have to card it up and spin. He was working on spinning a gorgeous alpaca fleece today which is a yummy reddish brown and so soft! Linda and Velvet brought their wheels and had some fabulous skeins that they had spun (didn't move fast enough to get photos). Abraham does the most amazing counted cross stitch and was working away on a commissioned piece. I will snap some photos next time! I have also included a group of knitters in the comfortable seating area along with Katrina. Doesn't it look inviting? Come join us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Re-organized my work space

Phase One is complete! It was a lot of work but finally the work space is looking pretty good. I have great new storage and used an antique oak bookcase with doors to hide all my bolts of fabric. Everything is accessible and organized. It is a pleasure to be in this room and work on projects. I now have a large table to spread things out and work. All the spinning wheels are close by as are the fibers and my drum carder. Ah, happiness! This has sparked a whole new phase of creativity and some new sweater designs for Fall, which are currently in progress.

Phase Two - The Archives - more yarn and fiber storage is still in progress although great strides have been made in there too. I am still culling out the old and re-arranging the things I want to keep. Finally, all the reference books and magazines are in one place which makes it much easier to find what I want. I love Ikea for their storage solutions and am slowly getting everything compartmentalized. When that room is ready for primetime, I will take photos and share them. Right now, it is a little crazy looking!