Apr 27, 2009

Jury Rigged ~ Clemes & Clemes Indian Head Spinner / Flyer

Mmmmmwwwhhhaahahahahah! At last, I have a novelty/bulky/art yarn spinning device in my clutches. Now, the fibrous mayhem can begin in earnest! This flyer head set-up with ginormous bobbin should be able to handle a hearty woolen concoction or two. I'll do a better job of mounting it one day but, for now, I'm not messing with success. The uptake is great and the spinning is smooth.

It's a Clemes & Clemes flyer and bobbin that I believe was produced in the 1970's when hand spinning was enjoying one of its revivals. Clemes & Clemes designed this wooden wonder specifically for use on old sewing machine treadle frames. Why? Well, sewing machine treadles are one of the most abundant antiques around. Cast iron really withstands the test of time. I've heard it called the Indian head Spinner as it may have originally been primarily intended for the creation of thick Navajo weaving yarns. As for my uses I wanted a contraption that could wind on all kinds of crazy foreign objects like big beads, silk flowers/leaves, and stuff I might find in the junk drawer...you know objects that cry out, "Put me in your knitting yarn. I want to be part of a woolen ear-flap hat!" I'm guessing that bobbin can hold close to a pound of wool. I won't be able to hang my skeins to dry from the chandelier any longer. They'll be too hefty. YAY!

Apr 26, 2009

Mid-Life CRISIS Yarns ~ Spinning & Knitting

When I first realized I needed to design my own yarns the big, big goal was to spin everything smooth and even, smooth and even. Well, that has all changed. I want the lumpy bumpy yarns of my spinning youth, that first 6 weeks behind the wheel, only this time I want to exaggerate it all while retaining a balanced yarn.

Seems it only took me 2 weeks to break every good habit I developed, except for the balanced yarn part. I'm not much for over or under twisted finished skeins. And, I don't believe stretching the daylights out of a yarn in the name of "blocking it" does the knitter any favors. Wool is, well it's like my hair. Do anything you want to it but remember, the first humid environment it encounters and sproing! While over twist can be purposefully used as a wonderful design element in a project it is rarely a pleasant surprise element.
Spinning on the wild side is rather addicting. (Imagine my saying so. It's such a rarity for me to become obsessed with woolen activities.) For those that have not slid down this slippery slope here are a few of the terms we young and moderns banter about: Thick and thin, Coils, Super Coils, Wrap and Roll...just a bit of the lingo of the cool spinster chick (although a cool spinster chick would not use the word lingo or call herself "cool", "spinster" or "chick").

These hats are what I like to call "Wisconsin Wild" because they're made with lots of wool and the ear flaps are built right in. (Practical and sophisticated.) I have apparently entered into an ear-flap-hat phase where the design possibilities may prove to be endless. The Treadler's Haberdashery will soon be teaming with woolen toppers. Then the gnome-like elite will line up to arrange for private fittings where they'll select one-of-a-kind statements for their heads while sipping hot cocoa from fine pewter mugs. Well, that's the dream anyway.
When I got tired of spinning little-miss-straight-and-even I found the following rogue elements most helpful:
There are also a slew of other envelop pushers in the Ravelry group Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners

Apr 19, 2009


I joined a gnome makers group on Ravelry.com then dove directly into a Spring Gnome Exchange. Look at what came to me in the mail last week! If the above isn't proof that hand crafted gifts are the best then I don't know what. Check out those hand spun bloomers. They feel like alpaca. (As a textile addict I always have to feel and touch everything.)

The below picture is just for fun. My avatar is introducing my giftie gnome to her new surroundings. I took this photo to perpetuate the myth that I live in a fantasy world surrounded by and always talking to woolen dolls. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm actually very serious and scientific about my passion. As you can plainly see from the photo these two are deeply engrossed in a wheel-to-whorl ratio discussion. (Let's be very, very quiet and try not to disturb them.)
I'd like to emphasize that Dawn made me a gnome just loaded with fantastic and tiny details. A great many time-consuming embellishments were given to this character. Every time I pick up this doll I discover something new. But, that's not all, I received this lovely batt (below) of spinning fiber as well! What a perfect extra surprise from one hand spinner to another. If you click on the below picture you will be transported to Dawn's etsy shop where you can see beautiful examples of her art and novelty yarns.
She also sent me a spice blend of seasonings that are popular in her area and a rich, deep, dark chocolate bar. (note: due to a previous engagement chocolate was not available for photo shoot.)

Apr 9, 2009

Gnome Swap / Alchemy / Spindle Sticks...

Cornelia Kandeykorn
My noggin' has been cranking out some serious headaches of late. While I normally ascribe to the "no brain=no pain" philosophy I have to admit these little throbbers have been getting to me to the point where I almost believed my wool addiction was suffering, perhaps even falling by the wayside. Surely I have not been feeling myself and subsequently have not been able to spend every free moment playing in the fiber lab. (I can no longer call where I live a home).
Well, at least I thought my fiber abuse was waning until I looked into my camera and realized there's been a heck of a lot of nonsense going on in spite of my reduced faculties. I just finished the above gnome for a swap. I had to play with wool to do that. And, I had to join Ravelry to join the Gnome Makers group to get involved with the swap. If you are not yet familiar with Ravelry it truly is the ultimate F.A.H. (fiber addict headquarters).
Somebody dyed 4 lbs of wool while I was in pain from the neck up. My personal diary appears to indicate that it was me. That is my handwriting and my trademark technique of stapling samples of wool along each and every page of my personal diary.
And, at an especially low point, I seem to recall feeling a bit too weak to rise up from the couch and sit behind a spinning wheel. Apparently The Treadler became her own trusty side-kick The Spindler for an evening. I've been wishing and waiting and hoping for my spouse to become the trusty side kick but so far this addiction has eluded him. I'm starting to think he has immunity (although I prefer to think he simply hasn't developed his super-powers yet).
Well, as soon as these headaches subside I'm going to dive right into my long-anticipated mid-life fiber crisis. I can't wait! A spinster's mid-life crisis is truly something to behold. After years of spinning smooth, even threads I intend to become a Yarn Hellion. But, more on that next post.