Monday, February 5, 2007

I love fiber

Five times a year, I make space in my schedule for an all-day meeting. I pack up several bags, a lunch, and a carefully-measured amount of spending money, and head across the Connecticut River to my alma mater. I come home hours later, happy, tired, my head brimming with ideas and new techniques--my pockets are usually empty at that point, and my bags are even MORE full of stuff. ;)

Yep, I'm a member of the Nutmeg Spinners' Guild.

This month's meeting was the pot luck lunch meeting, where everyone brought food to share. We also didn't have a speaker or mentor this time, which meant everyone just sat around spinning, talking, sharing knowledge, sharing wheels & spindles, and experimenting with new fibers. It was amazing.

I always love the meetings to begin with, but this one was just so laid-back and relaxed. It's cool to have mentors and teachers, but sometimes I think we all just like knowing we can connect with other spinners. This time around, I tried baby camel/silk for the first time, learned the proper method for carding wool and bamboo fibers, tried a Great Wheel, tried a Traveller wheel, and arranged to borrow a wheel from another member.

I'm ecstatic about that last thing--I have wanted a wheel for so long, and haven't had a chance to try one for more than a few minutes. This way, I'll have a chance to experiment for a much longer time. I have a pound or so of wool that came with my Louet spindle--something I swapped for. I was planning on giving it away or selling it. Now, though, I think I'm going to use it as my test wool--I won't be crushed if it doesn't come out the way I want, since I didn't buy it in the first place.

I did buy a new spindle, as I mentioned in the last post. It's a Spindlewood mini drop spindle, made of purpleheart and yellowheart. Here's a pic of it from The Wheel Thing's website:

Next to it is a pic of my bloodwood Kundert spindle, also from The Wheel Thing.

The mini is so pretty and cute, and I barely feel it moving, it's so well-balanced! I'll post a pic of my own later on, when I receive my Aztec spindle, too. Right now, the mini is being used to spin some of that baby camel/silk top.

Which brings me to my fiber acquisitions of the day. I bought the baby camel/silk top from a vendor I hadn't met before--the colors called to me from the moment she put it out. They're mossy, deep greens and browns, with a few hints of russet in there for good measure. Then I headed over to Dragon's Lair Farm's table to look over the Navajo-Churro roving she had. I found three smallish bumps in her clearance bin, one pink, one orange, and one yellow. They were coarse and hairy and exactly what I wanted--I have wanted to make a felted bag in those colors for a while, and Navajo-Churro should wear like iron. Last, I bought an ounce or two of Shetland from Cairn Farm's table--a lovely heathered warm grey.

That was supposed to be the end of it. I had my existing stash at home, plus the Scottish fleece (which didn't get drum carded, sadly, but now I know how to card by hand), plus my new stuff. Then, however, I went to reclaim some sock needles I'd lent to C from Dragon's Lair. She was working on a pair of socks, and decided she didn't want to take the needles out. "Would you be up for trading your needles for some roving?" she asked. WOULD I. I ended up with about 1/2lb. of heathered grey Navajo-Churro--this stuff was much softer than the colored roving I'd bought earlier. Hurrah!

So we were packing up. My husband and Dragonmaille's husband & son had stopped by, and they were talking to another Guild member, T. Turns out she and her family do Revolutionary War reenactment, which appealed to my husband. Then she heard me exclaim about how much I loved fiber (while brandishing my new roving) and she said, "Come with me."

We went out to her van. She opened up the back to reveal a large box of dark caramel-colored alpaca roving. T reached in, grabbed a large handful, and gave it to me. ALPACA!! :D I learned how to spin on alpaca! This was lovely, soft, and so warm. Then, when we went inside for our stuff, she brought over a bit more, as well as a nice handful of pale grey llama.

It was just so nice. SO NICE.

When I went home, I pulled out all of my stash and re-packaged everything. I'd been using shopping bags and plastic grocery bags for most of it, but now that I have a real stash, I don't feel comfortable doing that anymore. I put everything into clear plastic ziploc bags, labeled them with fiber content, weight, and approximate date of acquisition, then neatly put the bags into some fabric cubes I got from Target. I now can see everything I have, and it's safe from moths or bugs or whatever. Heck, they're safe from my cat's mischief! :D

The spindles have a new home, too--I've been hanging them on my wire cubes, but I don't really like them there. Now they reside in a plastic shoebox with a lid. My small niddy-noddy also fits in there--bonus!

All in all, I have a really nice stash, though I think I'm done for a lonnnnng time. I had purchased enough to spin over the next few months, but with the gifts, I'm set for the whole summer at this point! I'm also done buying spindles for a long time, too. The only one I truly want is a Turkish spindle in Osage Orange that always makes my heart skip a little. However, just like last time, I am going to hold off on the purchase until the next meeting or two. If it's still there, then it was meant to be. If it isn't, well, I'll always find another one someday. :)

I'll take pics sometime soon so I can show off how pretty everything is.

OH OH!! And The Wheel Thing is now going to carry some of my peg swifts!! Watch for the update soon! :D :D

And now for a Project Update:

Sock yarn for husband: FINISHED
Calorimetry (from Knitty): FINISHED
Art Scarf--Neutral colors, Plant fibers: IN PROGRESS
Green Scarf in Alpaca yarns: IN PROGRESS

1 comment:

beverly said...

I finished my Calorimetry today, too...just have to sew on the button.

Sounds like the meeting was fabu. I'll be sure to go to the next one, for reals!