Posts tagged ‘guilds’

The heddle sorting continues. As does the spinning of solid color singles for sock yarn. I’ll spare you the details, other than to say I’ve got a bobbin and a half done. The president of Spindles and Flyers, a friend of mine, has been trying to talk me into submitting a skein for the San Mateo County Fair. The entry form deadline is coming up fast and items must be delivered near the end of the month. I don’t know if I will have anything finished by then. I have a day or so more to think about it.

So, of course, I went shopping at monthly spinning night instead of actually getting any spinning done. I’ve been thinking I should try some socks from commercial sock yarn before I set out to do with handspun, so I can contemplate what I want. I’ve only done a couple socks and it’s been a while. So I picked up enough to do two pairs, one short and one tall. I’ve been looking at sock yarns but not happy with what I’ve seen in a few other shops, the colors were oddly muted and mostly they were the instant Fair Isle stripy things. Stripes are ok, but I didn’t want funky patterns that would only get weird if I don’t work on the recommended number of stitches. After pawing through an entire bin, I found some I could live with at Carolina Homespun. Everyone was amazed that they were not gray. (There was only one skein of gray in the yarn I wanted.) Now I just have to work out the toe-up thing so I can knit until I run out of yarn.

Yesterday I got the package of yarn back from my Learning Exchange group. It was just yarn, the evaluations will come later apparently. So now I have a sample from everyone in the group who finished. Some did not, so there are only ten samples out of the original thirteen members. The coordinator wrapped everything up nicely in tissue and a lace ribbon and included a handwritten note. The entire package was lovely, and it was great fun to go through it all and see what everyone had done.

I like to see other people’s yarn. I want to see not only what other people are up to, but how they approach yarn design. This group had a range of spinners, from two to twenty-five years of experience, and the yarns were of all sorts of kinds of Merino. Raw fleece (some from personal flocks,) small-lot mill carded and the ever-present Ashland Bay. There were blends with silk, angora and mohair and yarns both fluffy and smooth. Most were two or three ply, but there was a single and my 4-ply. Some spinners measured angle of twist but most didn’t, one participant included an extra sheet describing the different scouring methods she tried. Scouring is important for Merino, because it has way more grease than pretty much anything else.

I don’t know how long it will be to get the evaluations, but the group leader has all the materials so things should be coming along. I’ll post more later.

Now I remember what else I was going to say. This month’s guild meeting was the ongoing project of sampling fibers, 50 by 05. It started before I got there and was to celebrate the guild’s 50th year. So every few meetings we get a pile of samples, many from one terribly over-stashed member’s apartment. As usual, she didn’t want to take any of it home. Nobody was much interested in the camel hair, so I ended up with another color similar to the one she gave me earlier in the week. Now I can do something interesting with the two contrasting natural colors. I also came home with a good sized chunk of this amazing Cormo fleece. It looks very like the white Merino/Corrie I already have (which makes sense given the history of the breed.) Only after I washed it could I tell that the crimp was slightly different and a little less Merino-like. It still has that fine crimp, but washed it looks a more wavy. It’s almost like there is a second crimp pattern in the fleece. It should be a little more bouncy.

Today was my spinning guild meeting, so I got to hang out with a bunch of spinners. The program was on handheld distaffs so I got several more pictures for the distaff page. One member was impressed with my photographic professionalism because I brought a black cloth to use as a backdrop. It’s the same one I’ve been using all along. It also happens to be one of my spinning lap cloths, too. I look at my yarn when I spin, and I can’t see it very well if I don’t have a contrast background. There were also several comments about my matched set of wrist supports. I don’t currently have major trouble with repetitive stress injury from spinning and I’d like to keep it that way. I was applauded for figuring this out beforehand and doing something about it. I’ve been meaning to write something about spinning ergonomics but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I’ve now got the borrowed charka. A very nice piece of equipment, I must say. Everything the Bosworths make is perfectly finished and finely tuned. I can’t come up with enough good words about their stuff even if it’s pricey. The fit and finish of the charkas just can’t be compared to the Indian ones, people I know who don’t care at all about spinning admire them for the engineering. I spent the meeting with the same brown cotton — I didn’t bring anything else knowing I’d have the charka. I even remembered to bring a towel to fold up and sit on, because they work best on a large flat surface and in this case that can only mean the floor. I’m not sure where I can set it up here because I can’t sit on the floor without something to lean against and floor space is already at a premium. Maybe I’ll go find a quiet corner at the library. One very nice thing about all the charkas is they fold up and fit in a small bag. The book charkas are quite literally that, less than the size of a good hardcover trashy novel.

I was also able to get a few more items from the guild library, I returned the copy of Spinning Designer Yarns and picked up some old Spin-Off issues and Fleece in your hands. I needed that book for some last details on wools for one of the tables. I could tell that the author of the wool table had it, as much of the required information comes directly from it. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you locate the correct book, filling out the tables is easy. Between Fleece in your hands and The essentials of yarn design for handspinners, I think I could almost do the whole wool table right there. But, ever the engineer, I have to look elsewhere to confirm that what I find reflects current reality. That was really important for the colored cotton data as much has changed in recent years.

One of the magazine issues had an article about one of the few sheep not covered, Tunis, and another on rare breeds (although I already have what I need about those.) The other has Rita Buchanan’s article about woolen and worsted and why she thinks the terms and the concepts both need to be allowed a graceful demise so the rest of us can move on. There was also the results of the 2000 reader survey, which I vaguely remember submitting. I recall at the time I was getting frustrated by the growing number of knitting articles. I added my own write-in reply of nålbinding for what I did with my yarns. I guess few other people did because it wasn’t mentioned. (It’s a looped needle technique somewhat related to crochet and far predates true knitting.) There are about a dozen issues in the guild library and going through them is both fun and frustrating. I started thinking about what I was working on at the time and that the reason I was rummaging through the box in the first place is because almost all my books are still in storage back east. With one exception, I own all those issues but I only have access to the ones since I moved to California. Same thing with Fleece in your hands, which is how I knew I would find the information I needed in there. I try not to get too whiny about that but it is annoying that my temporary storage is now three years and counting. Several details of my COE work, not to mention everyday life, would be much simpler if I had the things still sitting in Atlanta.

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