PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Friday, April 12, 2013


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You guys.  In school, they warn you about pot by telling you it's a gateway drug.  How come nobody ever warns you about knitting?  It's totally a gateway craft.  Without knitting, I would never have learned to crochet, to needle-felt (not that I enjoy that, particularly, but it's a life skill I now have), or to dye.  And now, the gateway has opened that much further.

I've started learning how to spin.

Now, perhaps not all of the blame should be put on knitting, as a craft.  Some of the blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of my YEE (yarn enabler extrodinaire, to use the Jimmy Beans' phrase) mother.  I mentioned to her a few weeks ago that I was considering learning how to spin.  As she is an avid spinner herself, I probably should have known better, because when I stopped by for dinner last Wednesday, there was a braid of GnomeAcres Merino/Silk blend in Gnomey Nights waiting for me.  We promptly sat down at my mom's wheel and she showed me how to spin.

Here are the results of my first thirty minutes of spinning:

I realize these are terrible pictures, but it was late and this was my only chance to take the shots.  It runs the gamut between lace and sport weight, but is more consistently at the lower end of that spectrum.

I have already learned that I prefer to spin off rolags, rather than the braid, and I had a fit over the color transition from blue to yellow (I think the yellow dye damaged the fiber slightly, as it isn't drawing as evenly or easily, no matter how much I open it up before-hand.  You can see the lumps it created.  I'm sure eventually I'll be adept enough to prevent that, but this was only the result of my second time at a spinning wheel).  I'm a short-draw spinner, and I'm working hard on learning how not to overtwist.  But dang, it's fun!

And just to cement the habit, on Saturday, at the Fiber Fest, I picked up these:

Now I just need to buy my own spinning wheel.

Monday, April 8, 2013

NC Fiber Festival

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If we liken being Cold Sheep to being on a yarn diet, then this weekend I binged.  I binged like someone who'd given up chocolate for Lent does on Easter.

This weekend was the NC Fiber Festival.  I had always planned to end my final three months of Cold Sheep this weekend, but I was thinking about it in terms of the last few years, when there were a handful of great sellers, but mostly a bunch of people trying to sell their 90 yd skein of worsted weight for $28 (I have no problem with people who charge reasonable prices for their work, I just object to 90 yd skeins - what are you supposed to do with that?)

But this year was not like the last few years.  This year, they moved it down to Sanford, which is a rather odd location in the middle of nowhere, about an hour away from anything else you might want to visit.  And while I'm not a huge fan of the new layout, it certainly seemed to me that there was an improvement in the quality of the vendors, much to the detriment of my wallet.

The results of the binge:

From the top: Delly Delights Farm merino roving (in the bag), Delly Delights Farm O So Soft Alpaca sport in Gray, Unplanned Peacock Superwash Merino Fingering in Coral, Knitting Notions Merino Superwash Sock in Ironstone, Taylored Fibers Merino/Silk braid, Cozy Rabbit Farm Merino/Tencel roving, and GnomeAcres House Gnome Sock in Polyjuice Potion (received as a gift).

For those curious about the roving, I may or may not have learned to spin on Wednesday and purchased all of this on Saturday.  More on that later.

On the one hand, that replaced all the stash-down I've done since Christmas and then some.  On the other hand, I have ideas for everything I purchased, so while I binged, I binged more thoughtfully than I would have pre-Cold Sheep.  And honestly, I can't feel guilty in the face of all those pretties. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go snuggle my skeins of alpaca.