Monday, February 19, 2007

I Can Admit When I'm Wrong.

This isn't the first time I've had to suck it up and admit to having been wrong. Just a few short months ago, I was forced to humbly apologize to the entire sock yarn industry and acknowledge that there is, in fact, such a thing as "good" sock yarn. Good things come from owning your misconceptions. Now I have nicer socks.

Yeah...I make mistakes all the time. Like that dark chocolate/chipotle candy bar that I bought because it was on the half price-post-Valentine's Day table. That was a judgement error. And one that I continue to pay for after having consumed it last night. But that's another story and one that you probably don't want any details on...

Today's humbling confession is to the makers of fine drop spindles. Like many new spinners, the drop spindle was my first introduction to the world of yarn production. I found a kit on Ebay and was seduced by the reasonable price. And it was an economical way to get a handle on the whole concept of spinning, but one that I quickly cast aside in favor of a wheel. This just wasn't for me, I boldly stated. It took too long, was hard to control and the results were just not what I was looking for. Frankly, I never really saw the appeal.

Except that drop spindles are awfully pretty... And they call to you when you see them at fiber events. And, even if you aren't a spindler, you may find yourself purchasing one for far more than you originally cared to spend. You tell yourself that it is "fiber art" and that it will make a lovely decorative item in the home.

And then you spin with it. And you "get it." It is a poor craftsman who blames her tools, but that original spindle that I bought years ago was not good. Not good at all. A good spindle will make good yarn, even if you lack developed skills. Sorry about the earlier attitude, spindle makers. My bad. You are good and talented folk who just want us all to make yarn wherever we may be.

My first stop at SPA this weekend was at Amy's booth and I just couldn't resist this spindle. I've been fiddling with it off and on for days and am just agog over how smoothly it spins. I honestly didn't think I wanted a top whorl spindle, but clearly this should have been my tool of choice in the first place. Now, I don't claim that this is my best spinning. In fact, it lacks anything remotely resembling consistency and I fear that there are places where the fiber is so thin that spiders would turn up their noses at it and call it too insubstantial. But it is, by far, the best spindling I've ever done.







And yes, that is a binder clip on my lovely Greensleeves Spindle. That's a trick that goes back to my early spinning days and it works quite nicely. It's just not all that aesthetically pleasing...
My wheel has also been active these days. All those fiber fumes from Saturday have gotten into my system wicked bad and I just can't seem to stop playing with the wool. The "mystery fiber" that I dyed a couple of weekends ago continues to please me and I'm hoping that I can finish up the bulk of it over the school vacation.

Bobbin #2 is filling up speedily.
I'm a happy Sheepie! However there is a downside to all this spinnage: my thumb is a-throbbin'! I have very tight tendons in my left thumb and it is permanently bent at a somewhat odd angle. Drafting for long periods can cause the cramping. But, I have found a pretty handy solution to that little problem. I share it with all the other middle-agers out there who have discovered that they are now capable of injuring themselves through the most sedate of activities. Sheila over at Ewenique Fiber recently updated her shop to include her new line of Tread Lightly Herbals. One of her products is a bunion balm designed to relieve foot pain. She also recommended it for the knuckles. I ordered some thinking that it might be a nice alternative to some of the more commercial remedies for pain and find it to be incredibly soothing after a day of spinning or knitting. It also softens the hands and feet amazingly well! These are also good things when you've been on the planet for a few years, lemme tellya! Sheila has also been great about answering questions I had about the product and her shipping time rivals any business out there. So now you can not only get your wool and knitting patterns at Ewenique Fiber, but also the soft and pain-free hands. Nice!!!
This is good because I have a disturbing amount of fiber to spin right now as well as more of the sock yarn that I bought during a SPA-induced blackout. And then I found these new Etsy stores...these purchases may also prove to have been errors in the financial sense. But it is my vacation.
And I'm having a really good vacation!!
SA

18 comments:

Annie said...

Hmmm. Where's the woolee winder on your wheel? Or am I just missing it?

B. said...

Woo hoo! I'm number one! I'm number one!

Your spindle spinning looks loverly ... I am envious! Tonight is my first Spinners' Guild meeting, so I'm taking some fibre, my new spindle and will not be shy in seeking advice.

Your blue yarn is beautiful!!! Have a great vacation.

B. said...

Darn it...Annie beat me to the publish button...perhaps another time I'll be first.

Beth said...

Both of your yarns look great! Your new drop spindle is really pretty.

Vicki in So. Cal. said...

Yes, a good spindle can make all the difference. The proper weight for the yarn you are spinning, well-balanced, even good looks help me get in the groove. But also the fact that you are spinning well on your wheel makes a huge difference. Whether you can spin on a wheel or a spindle, it makes sucess faster to achieve on the other. A lot of people find it easier to get going on a wheel at first even though some people think that you should always start on a spindle. I've always felt you should start on whichever one you're more comfortable with. It doesn't do any good to insist that a person learn on a spindle first if it frustrates them so much that they quit all together. I'm glad you've found a spindle that got you started spindling as well as spinning on a wheel. Spindles are great to take with you when a wheel would be imposible. They are also nice to have at demonstrations to show the progression of spinning through history. Have fun with your new tool!

Julie said...

Hmmm, I thought I learned how to use my spindle, but my yarn doesn't look anything at all like yours! With practice maybe.

Sounds like your vacation is turning into one big spending adventure - what could be better!

See you tomorrow night? Brenda says she may try to make it too.

brenda said...

I've been spinning for two whole days and so far I love my spindle. Next stop, a wheel!
Maybe I'll see you tomorrow night if the sick kids don't wear me out!

Sheila said...

Thanks for the complimentary words, Sheepie!
I'm glad you are finding the balm helpful.
I had a similar spindle experience, only it was the weight not the price that made the difference. I was using a ginormous spindle which I assumed was the size they all were, not having ever seen one before. When I finally tried a lighter one, spindle spinning took on a whole new shine.
Your yarn looks great!

Mel said...

Okay, what? My eyes glazed over as soon as I read "dark chocolate-chipotle". Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

I suppose the lack of the woolee winder on the Jensen means your only bobbin is full and is a not-so-hidden hint of what you want for your birthday! DS

Knittymama said...

I had the same experience with spindles. Hated mine until Itried with a totally different one at class. World of difference!!

Anne said...

That hand balm sounds perfect. I think I need some. Too much transcribing this week and I've got stiff fingers. As I always say tho, It's not the years, it's the mileage. :)

And you still have almost a whole week left to go on the vacation! Pace yourself.

debsnm said...

I wanna learn to spin!! I could totally blame it on you, but I don't think it's enirely your fault - I saw a "beginner's kit" someplace - it had a drop spindle and a bit of fiber. Now, if I can only remeber where I saw it.

Teri S. said...

My favorite drop spindle, made from a cup hook, drawer pull, and a dowel went missing many years ago. I bought another drop spindle at Stitches this year, but have been disappointed in its performance. I'm hoping I'm just out of practice. Have fun spindling...the yarn looks great!

Lazuli said...

What a beautiful spindle! Your yarns are both looking great, though I admit a partiality to the lovely blue shades! Have a wonderful vacation.

Kate said...

I'm so jealous of the week off!!

Amy Boogie said...

YAY for spindles!!! Good ones that fit you really do make a difference.

That's some mighty nice yarn you have too. Sounds like a good vacation so far (BTW, money spent on a vacation doesnt count.)

knitseashore said...

It sounds like you are having one fabulous vacation! Looking forward to seeing the treasures. :)