What a fabulous weekend!Saturday
started with a "yarn crawl" in Alexandria, VA with my Secret Pal from SP8, Mia, and her friend Erica. We started out at Springwater Fiber Workshop. I bought some gorgeous Colinette sock yarn, some linen yarn, and lots of interesting spinning fibers. Oh....Erica is now going to spin! Wahoo! Another convert! She picked up some roving and a drop spindle....she'll soon be on her way!
The fibers I purchased were:Soy silk
- in a natural ecruDyed Soy Silk
in a bright magenta pink (wow!)Merino/Organic Cotton
- a super soft 50/50 mix from PeruBaby Llama
- oh.......talk about soft!Eco Spun
- recyled denim and plastic soda bottles. Yes, I said plastic soda bottles! It's surprisingly soft. I can wait to spin some up to see what it looks like!
We ate lunch at the Thailand Restaurant - thanks Mia! We then zipped on over to "Knit Happens". I'd never been to Knit Happens before, so that was a new experience for me. I've seen so many of their ads, including ads in British magazines, so it was very exciting to finally see the shop. They had some really cuddly lace weight alpaca that called my name as well as some very bright reddish pink silk that was 50% off! I'd been wanting to make an eye bag for yoga...and the silk will be PERFECT!
We're already planning future excursions - perhaps to the various shops here in Northern Virginia as well as out to one of the fiber farms!Sunday
afternoon was spent with the usual "Knit Knutz" group - knitting to our heart's content. Many of us stayed the entire afternoon. There were some lovely projects in progress. A few of the projects I remember are: Val's double knit hat for her son, Pamela's French Market Bag (in GORGEOUS colors!), and Karen's Swallowtail Shawl. Oh......Claudette has a fabulous "stash buster" shawl that was almost done - which she modeled with great flair! Everyone else had lovely stuff too.....I just can't remember what everyone else was working on. We were missing several regulars because of the ice storm we had last week - many are still "ice-locked".Spinning Update
: When I got home from Knit Knutz, I fixed Louie - and found that the SECOND treadle was also needing a new connector! I also tightened a couple of loose bolts and now he "spins like a dream"! I finally finished the second skein for the Feb. "Spin-to-Knit" Secret Pal exchange. This time I did two smaller skeins - very different - one in the "Creamsavers" colorway using BFL and Finn and one spun thin (sportweight?) out of Black Welsh Mountain (cross). I also "de-squeaked" Lennie 2 - my Lendrum double treadle folding wheel - in preparation for Monday's workshop and next Saturday's "Spin-In".Monday
- what an absolutely fabulous day! I took Kati Meek's spinning workshop, "Spinning Straw Into Gold". It was FANTASTIC! Kati is a wonderful teacher - she provided a wealth of information and was a very interesting speaker (photo below)! The workshop was sooooo enjoyable, none of us wanted it to end. We learned all about flax - growing, harvesting, preparation/drying, fiber preparation, and finally spinning!
We took a "fingers width" of rhetted flax to "process" into spinnable fiber. We broke it, skutched it, and combed it which resulted in a VERY small bit of fiber to spin after lots of work. You can see the mess that we made breaking the flax and how much is wasted in the photo on the above right. I managed to spin 19 whole inches with the flax I processed. It really helped us appreciate the "cost per pound" of the processed flax......as well as linen products!
Here is some of the flax I spun (in natural colors - ecru and tan) - I wish the sheen of the spun flax showed more! There are 6 segments of spun flax on the bobbin: one on the left, four in the middle, and one on the right. The left most segment as well as the third segment in the middle of the bobbin were spun using "Super Fine Water Rhetted Top". The first two and fourth segments in the middle of the bobbin were spun very fine - about 4 times finer than the thread you see trailing out of the orifice - and had a wonderful luster using "Line flax". The segment on the far right of the bobbin as well the thread trailing out of the orifice on the right of the picture was spun from with "Water Rhetted Flax Top from Great Britain". Kati sent us home with some Combed Flax Top, Euroflax Dyed Flax, China Grass (Ramie), and Hemp to try spinning as well. (Don't forget to "single click" to get a closer look at the spun fibers.)
The "straw-like" stuff you see above is called "tow" - it's the stuff that fell to the ground after skutching. Believe it or not, you spin that as well! When you spin it, you simply run your fingers back and forth on the thread as you spin it and the straw falls off - it makes a big mess but you do get a bit of decent yarn out of it. I managed to spin 6" of thread using the "tow" during the workshop.