Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Thought I Was Done

Well, I am indeed done with spinning this yarn. And I thought I was done with spinning altogether (more on that in a bit).

According to my Ravelry file I began this spinning project in June 2008 and finished it in October 2009. Rather a long time, wouldn't you say? Naturally there were some life events, like moving to the mainland, and a good bit of knitting along the way, but still.

So what is this stuff? Okay. The fiber is superwash merino from Crown Mountain Farms in the "Say A Little Prayer" colorway (Aretha Franklin song, in case you were wondering). The resulting yarn is a two-ply laceweight, of which there are 6 ounces and 1200 yards. And all of this yardage was spun and plied on spindles (as well as another two ounces that I messed up in the finishing and have put aside for some indeterminate future use).

Why laceweight? I'm not sure. It's just what the fiber wanted to be. Who am I to argue with a truly determined fiber? Just for fun I put it next to the Fiddlesticks Zephyr Laceweight I'm using to knit the Celtic Knot Stole. Take a look.

Yup, that's a laceweight. Mine is much more tightly plied than the Fiddlesticks, which may not be a good thing. We shall see when it comes to the knitting.

After taking such an incredibly long time to spin what is, after all, not so very much yarn – just enough for a nice shawl – I was feeling rather negative about the whole spinning thing. I tucked all the spindles into a basket and put them out of sight. And then . . . heh.

Then I learned that the Southern California Handweavers' Guild was having their annual fiber festival a mere 30 minutes' drive from my residence. Of course, I had to go. And of course (you can guess already, right?) I met tons of friendly, happy fiber-enablers. They showed me their spinning wheels, offered helpful tips, displayed gorgeous fibers. You know how it goes.

So, for the past week, I have been obsessively researching spinning wheels – a truly challenging task. There is a lack of clarity about terminology and functionality that is probably to be expected in a device with parts called "footman," "maiden," and "orifice." Alas, there is also a corresponding lack of solid information. Selecting a spinning wheel is not at all like buying a bicycle -- an apparatus with about the same level of complexity -- perhaps because there are far fewer spinners than there are bicyclists. Neighborhood shops do NOT abound. But I do not despair. There are 7-8 potential wheels on my current list (which leans towards smallness and foldability due to my tiny apartment), and the hunt is on!


Knitting Linguist said...

Hooray! Spinning wheel are great fun (which may be why I suddenly have more of them than I have feet). Spindles are, too, and are also portable. And look at that gorgeous yarn you made -- so even and lovely, I can't wait to see what you knit it up into. Now, which wheels are you looking at? Inquiring minds and all... :)

Delighted Hands said...

How exciting! You will find that you will spin a lot more fiber a lot more often! Sorry for the hunt-not the pleasantest activity to my way of thinking and remember-you will get a lot of opinions for pros and cons but you will have to be the one to use it and look at it so consider that, too.
BTW, the yarn you spun is gorgeous! Great job.

Sharon said...

I hope you find the wheel for you. I had a spin-in at my house today. We all had wheels, and though we all are drop spindlers, I cannot imagine serious spinning without a wheel. I use a spindle at events when I want to walk around and socialize with other spinners. I spin at my wheel with a cup of coffee every morning - can't imagine it otherwise.

I showed Ian your new format with the map. He said, oh Ray Bay, I surfed that jetty for 20 years.

Liz said...

What gorgeous yarn you have created, I can't wait to see what you knit with it! Good luck with the hunt for a spinning wheel.

Linda said...

From your photo of the bay, I can see that I live close to you. I have a Schact, and an Ashford Joy and Traditional. You're welcome to try them out.

Life Looms Large said...

Good luck with the hunt!


bspinner said...

Good luck with your search for a spinning wheel. It's a rather large investment so my adivise is to take your time and try as many as you can. I'm sure there is one out there with your name on it.