Spins A Good Yarn

Archive for the ‘Wheel Spinning’ Category

Alpaca Yarn and the Apple Festival

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Last Sunday, Dan and I went to the annual Apple Festival that is held in Busti, New York. We got there just as it opened and the fields that they use for parking were already full. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of food and craft vendors, and lots and lots of people. We bought some maple syrup candy, cinnamon almonds and, of course, some apples! There were demonstrations of old time crafts like butter-making, log hewing, corn grinding and leather tooling. Everything was very interesting to watch.

Kat and Jen from the Waterways Knitting Guild were selling some items at their table and I scarfed up these little beauties, lickety split!!!
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Four (count them!) pairs of Fetching Fingerless mittens knitted by Kat! I couldn’t decide which ones to get, so I bought them all!!! What wonderful gifts these will make, although I will keep a pair (or two) for myself! Oh, how I do love fingerless mittens!

I also plied up the two bobbins of black alpaca roving that I spun last Saturday at the Y B Normal Farm.

It really filled up my Niddy Noddy.
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It was the first time I had spun any alpaca and I didn’t think it was any more difficult than wool or a wool blend to spin. I used a short draw technique and didn’t let any twist get past my thumb and finger into the fiber. It’s hard for me to spin very thick yarn, so I was pleased to get 227 yards out of 10.5 oz. to make a lovely worsted to aran weight yarn. I’ve been trying to spin what I want as far as thickness instead of having everything end up as sock-weight yarn!

Here’s how it looks in the skein:
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I think I’d like to make up a teddy bear of some sort with it. I don’t wear hats and there isn’t enough for a scarf, so a teddy bear would be perfect.

Spinning at the Alpaca Farm

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Last Saturday I went to the Y B Normal Alpaca Farm in Frewsburg, New York, to demonstrate spinning during their weekend open house. My friend, Carol, invited some of the girls from our spinning and knitting guilds to just sit and spin or knit for the day using their lovely alpaca fibers and yarns. We sat inside the gift shop and had a great time. People came and went all day long, looking at the beautiful yarns and knitted items and then going on tours of the farm. The owner gave us alpaca fiber to spin.

I chose a very soft, black roving that was so easy to spin. I spun two full 4 oz. bobbins. I still need to ply them together.

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This is my new, little Louet Victoria Spinning wheel that I purchased at the Lake Farm Park Fiber Festival in June this past summer. It spins like a dream! I love it! It only weighs 6 1/2 pounds and is so easy to carry around by it’s little strap on top of it. I slide it right under my table when I’m not using it. It comes with it’s own carrying case that has hand straps, a shoulder strap and even backpack straps built right into it.
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Here I am using the backpack straps at the fiber festival:

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So, how about some pictures of those cute alpacas:

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The alpacas let us walk right up to them. They were SO tame. The babies were only about 3’tall. They were really good at turning away from me just as I was taking a picture of them. Camera shy, maybe!

It was a really fun day and I hope to be able to see them again!

Ravelry, Finally! NOT!!!

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Here’s what my “Antsy” Ravelry check says:

Found you!
You signed up on July 25, 2007
You are #20458 on the list.
410 people are ahead of you in line.
16927 people are behind you in line.
53% of the list has been invited so far

I am trying to be patient! So close, but still so far! I first signed up in April or May, but my email address was lost to them by some spam filter and I didn’t even know I was off the list until I checked the Antsy page and then had to re-sign up in July. Arrrgh!!! It has been a long time… Tomorrow may be the day, possibly Monday. Then it will be party time for sure!!!!!

How about a picture of a really cute, little alpaca baby and it’s mama!
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I went to an Alpaca Farm today to spin and took lots of pictures. I’ll write all about it tomorrow!

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Mandie says it’s time for bed!

Goldings & Bosworths & Fiber, Oh MY!!!!!

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

On Saturday, September 15th, Meagan, Marcus and I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival in Hemlock, NY. This is a great fiber festival which has been going on for around thirteen years. This was our fourth time to go and we had a wonderful time! We left around 7:00 a.m. and arrived around 9:30 a.m. so we had plenty of time to purchase our tickets and check out the festival brochure before we bolted through the gate at 10:00.

Marcus had a hard time keeping up with us as we sprinted to the main building to see Jonathan and Sheila Bosworth of Journey Wheel fame. We love the Bosworth’s and had a nice time visiting for a few minutes before the rush of people came streaming in. I was trying to talk to Jonathan, but those spindles of his kept calling to me. So I had to go at least look at them and ended up buying a little pink ivory spindle with a tulipwood shaft. It was a need! I only have about twelve other Bosworth Spindles!

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Isn’t it pretty! I love the shiny whorl and tulipwood is one of my favorites.

We then made our way over to Tom and Diane Golding‘s booth. What can I say about these fiber tools other than: I wants it, I wants it all!!!!! I SERIOUSLY want a Golding spinning wheel. I tried one out last year and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since! I may start a little fund and squirrel some money away each month and see how much I can save. They have some beautiful, new spindles made from vintage ring materials and handmade whorls using mandalas from Napal. So pretty and so nice to spin with, of course! Here are the ones I purchased:


This one is silver-plated copper with walnut. See the little birds? It weighs .9 oz.

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From left to right: Sterling silver with handcarved cherry whorl – .8 oz., Nepalese Mandala Tibetan Silver whorl – .9 oz., Mother of Pearl with handcarved linden whorl and painted tropical fish – 1.1 oz.

I have several other Golding spindles and love each of them. They spin so evenly and so long. They are a joy to use. Here is a skein of yarn that I just finished spindle spinning and plying using them:
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It weighs 2 oz. and has about 195 yards, which is just the size yarn I was hoping for. I have 8 oz. of this roving and want to make socks or perhaps a lace scarf or shawl with it. I should end up with about 800 yards. It hasn’t been washed yet, so it looks a little wonky!

We saw alpaca, llama, sheep, oxen, BIG horses and bunnies. We ate belgium waffles with fresh strawberries and warm maple syrup, apple sausage and bratwurst sandwiches, french fries, maple cotton candy and fried dough. We bought silk caps, angora/wool, wool/silk and just plain wool fiber. We also bought some fibery gifts for our spinning guild’s Christmas party. This little guy came home with me to hold my stitch markers on my desk. I think he is an egg cup of some sort.
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The fiber festival was really fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for lots of fun and fiber!

New Handspun Sock Yarn!

Monday, August 13th, 2007

These are my newest skeins of handspun sock yarn. I purchased the fiber at a fiber festival at the Lake Farm Park in Kirtland, Ohio, this past June from the Wooly Knob.

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I spun the burgundy skein on my Lendrum double treadle spinning wheel that I have had for about 3 1/2 years now. The greyish skeins were both spun on my brand new Louet Victoria wheel that I also purchased at the fiber festival in June from French Creek Fiber Arts. I was trying to spin for socks (I like to get about 8 stitches per inch or more for my gauge) and the skeins in the top photo didn’t have enough yardage separately, but have plenty if I use them together. Now I just need a lovely pattern! The bottom skein ended up having 355 yards so I should have plenty for a pair of socks. I love to knit toe-up socks, especially with my hand-spun, so I don’t have to worry about running out of yarn before I am finished with my sock. I usually use one of Wendy Johnson’s toe-up patterns from her site, Wendy Knits. She writes great patterns and has some new free ones that she has graciously posted on The Loopy Ewe’s website.

Here is a picture of a pair using her toe-up pattern which has a slip-stitch heel. I love this pattern! life-style-pink-socks.jpg
These socks were knitted on 2.75 mm KnitPicks needles using two skeins of Zitron Life Style yarn in color 1862, Lot 6605. They were very fun to knit because the colors and patterns changes so often. I don’t usually use self-patterning yarn, but I’d knit this yarn up again in a minute.

Next time I’ll have some pictures of the latest stitch markers that I have been making. Bye for now. 🙂