It has fangs. It’s devouring the second ball of laceweight as fast as I, its slave, can work. Eight hundred stitches in circumference means progress is slow but steady; I do an hour before I start work, for example, and well over an hour every night, plus whatever time I have during lunch. Only 21 rows and the cast-off to go and then I’ll be able to see the pattern complete (it’s Mim’s ‘Seraphim‘). This is where I stopped this morning. Had to stop. I can feel the muscle tension in my forearms already and I’ve a whole day of computer work ahead of me…
Tuesday Spinners offers sanctuary from my purple master. Although others do knit (I’ve been running impromptu classes in toe-up socks for the last month), I welcome the chance to spend 2 hours on the wheel without a head popping around the door of my room to say “I wondered what that strange noise was”. And I’m starting to worry a little about fibre build-up in the computer. My last one was making felt in the back of the CD holder, and that was only cat hair! It’s taken longer than I’d expected to spin this, but I’ve been trying for consistent thickness rather than speed and I’m pleased with the result. I plyed about 150m of 2-ply alpaca/silk on Sunday, reluctant to display my lack of plying expertise in front of everyone else tonight. A little bit loose but I can add some twist if it doesn’t knit well. It’s my longest length of handspun, only my second? third? plied on the wheel. The only thing that bothers me is that there are still some guard hairs in mix which project from the yarn and might cause some irritation. I spent about 15 minutes pulling the worst offenders out of the skein yesterday: any excuse to fondle this stuff!
I was going to switch to some merino/tencel for socks tonight, but the sheen of this inspires me to continue: I want about 600m of this fingering-weight for a shawl/scarf for my mother. So that’s me with a sample length of singles on my right knee, feeding the wheel again tonight. On the left is a medieval Chibi. I’m not joking: it’s a pewter needlecase modelled on a 15th C original found in the Netherlands. The leather tab slides down to secure the lid, although it’s heavy enough that the lid won’t move much when it’s hanging from my belt. We met friends at a re-enactors’ fair on Saturday; the venue was dire, but the cool weather meant I could wear my ‘Lady Sarah’ gear to visit the traders as a prosperous 14-15th C woman of means attended by M, wearing her standard garb and carrying all my purchases in her basket. Bar the needlecase, which went straight onto my belt! I also bought a bottom whorl spindle in holly and beech to use at such events, shown here with the Gotland I’d brought with me.
An educational experience. The spindle isn’t incredibly heavy, although it feels it by comparison with the sub-30g spindles I seem to like, it works just fine: it’s made and sold by a spinner. It just feels so clumsy by comparison with the modern artisan top-whorls I’ve been using. The Kundert, the Golding seem to spin by themselves, forever. This one requires work. The slippery Gotland was not the best choice of fibre to start with, either: it’s fortunate that this is so, um, sturdy.
Reviewing what I’ve written, it’s clear I’m not lacking fun fibre-related stuff. But the US fibre-festival season is well under way, and I feel so jealous! Woolfest (I’ll be there Friday afternoon/evening), and The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace are months away. I was beating off the impulse to do a little web-shopping (I have a list of stuff I
want need from Habu *, from Crown Mountain, from Blue Moon) when the postman rang the doorbell and I was reminded that I’d already done some web-shopping.
I can’t think whose blog it was that showed me a square spindle whorl. I love the idea and it’s functional, it would stay where I put it! So I visited Spindlewood Co and emailed Steve to ask about an elegant applewood spindle shown on the webpage. I love my tiny Golding, but I wanted to try something even lighter. By the next morning he’d emailed me a picture of the spindle he’d made just for me… and here it is. Applewood, 0.5oz, beautifully detailed and finished. When the time is right I will be spinning frog hair.
* Look! They’re going to publish an english translation of Setsuko Torii’s book. Register your interest if you like seriously interesting garments: I have the Japanese edition and it is fascinating.