31 December 2008

say hello to my little friend

For some time now, Mary has been listening to me pine away about wanting a spinning wheel. I've spun quite a bit on my drop spindle and every time I come across someone who is using a spinning wheel, I have to fight back the urge to knock them down, grab it and run away cackling.

I don't need to have such thoughts anymore.

May I introduce you to Herb, my new Ashford Joy spinning wheel:

I drug Mary out to the Spinning Loft in Howell, MI (when you go their website be sure to move your mouse over the second sheep from the left, that one has attitude issues but its funny) the other day to pick this baby up. I've been saving money for a while for it and then got some Christmas money and decided the time had come to take the plunge.

I actually got it a couple of days ago but today was the first day I was actually able to sit down and fiddle with it. There has been some cussing involved. Mostly because I didn't feel the need to go through the recommended practice exercises. I figured since I can spin on a drop spindle, this should be cake.

Um....yeah....not working so well.

When I got the wheel, it came with a whopping pound of roving so here is what I have to torture while I practice:

One of the exercises is to take commercial yarn and practice with it so you can watch how the twist gets applied and get comfortable with moving your hands around. I've been using some Vanna White that I had left over from the last afghan I finished. Its actually excellent yarn for this exercise as its a four ply that I'm spinning in the opposite direction of how it was plied so I can really see what's happening.

I plan to goof around with it a lot more today but decided Dooley needed a break from some of the swearing. I think I want to take classes, I want to spin lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of yarn. Classes are good.

I did get this book so I plan to memorize it in the hopes that it will somehow help me get good at drafting. If anyone has any recommendations on better books or even videos, I'm all ears.

So today is all about spinning. And watching movies. I have a weakness for movies that are creepy fairy tales and ones that are based on comic books. So Hellboy II is perfect since it combines both generes.

I'm still plugging away on the Babette Blanket. This one is an endurance test.

I finished the two-round squares (there are 50 of those) and the four-round squares (there are 49 of those) and am now working on the six-round squares. Those are like speed bumps, those two extra rounds really add on a decent amount of working time. Can't wait to start the eight-round, ten-round and twelve-round ones. But I'm not complaining, gives me something to do when my back is being crabby and I have to lay down.

I've been thinking a lot about the new year and how I usually sit down and make art goals for the year. I've decided I'm not doing that this year. I'm giving my muse the freedom to do whatever pleases her most, whether it is knitting or spinning or building castles out of popsicle sticks. She's calling the shots, I'm not forcing anything. We'll see what comes out of that.

Now if you'll excuse me, Herb and I have a date...


Barbara H. said...

Congrats on your new spinning wheel! I just can't go there...too much going on as it is. I joined the Babette group on Ravelry; I finally gave in to the urge to start that project. I have loved the pattern since it was published in Interweave Crochet. Your Babette is really coming along!

mary said...

herb is beautiful and very fun to spin his wheel! i think its the wisest move to let your muse talk to you this year...its much more fun to see what you create that way!

Pattie Wall said...

Wow, Herb is so cool! I think 'fairy tale' when I think of you spinning and spinning...You need an alpaca or two and maybe a cashmere goat...they could be Dooley's buddies! And above all, go with the muse!

Leann said...

A spinning wheel, I am so jealous! (More jealous of your commitment than anything.) You go girl!! I can't want to see what you and Herb make!

Yarnhog said...

Oh, congratulations! How exciting!

One tip: pre-drafting. It made all the difference to me. Before I figured out what it really meant, all I could spin was super bulky. As soon as I properly pre-drafted, I was able to get yarn that looked like yarn. It's especially important with a wheel, since things happen so fast.