Friday, June 10, 2011

Finally some finished yarn!

I finally was able to sit down and ply the polwarth with the Jamaica merino/mohair blend.  I just love how this yarn feels.  And although it doesn't look like much when seen in the skein, it knits up beautifully!  I am thrilled with how this turned out, and can't wait to begin knitting.  There just simply aren't enough hours in the day.  Here is the yarn -

Monday, May 30, 2011

Polwarth Progress report

I finally filled two bobbins with the heavenly Polwarth top that I started spinning a few weeks ago.  It is now ready to be plied with the Jamaica blend also previously mentioned.  I estimate that I will end up with a hefty pound of yarn when all is finished.  I can't wait till this yarn is finished!  I am simply aching to knit something with it.    I'll post again when it is done and I have photos.

PS) I haven't forgotten about the Ladybug review, I just haven't had much time to actually sit down and thoughtfully type it out.  I'll get to it as soon as I can.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spinning Class

I am pleased to say there are 4 new spinners in Utah.  My class with the Community Ed Department went smoothly and without a hitch.  Everyone was enthusiastic and took quite nicely to using their drop spindles.  I was a little worried that we had allocated too much time for the class, but it turned out to be exactly right.  We finished the class with 15 minutes to spare.  Unfortunately (in their excitement I presume) they departed before I could do a final demonstration on the wheel.  Ah, but they will have opportunity in the up coming weeks as I am planning several spin/knit meetings very soon.  What fun - I am always thrilled to see my students successfully spin their first yarn. I look forward to seeing how they progress.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Got Bees?

It has been a VERY busy month!  Not so much in my spinning life, but life in general.  We have once again put our home up for sale.  This means cleaning, de-cluttering, cleaning some more, and then leaving the house whenever someone wants to snoop take a look at it.  It does tend to make life a little more hectic than usual.

In all the chaos, I thought it wise to cancel the honeybees I had on order (placed in December).  It really didn't make sense to acquire bees when I knew the possibility of moving was in our not-so-distant future.  We were sad, but accepted the reality of our circumstances.

We did decide though that we would take a field trip to at least see other people getting their bees.  Wow - what a sight!  Hundreds of thousands of bees, all packaged in neat wooden containers with screened sides. At least 4-6 pallets stacked full of bee boxes.  Escaped bees confused and aimlessly buzzing around, people coming and going, some with pick-up trucks for larger orders, most simply putting the bees in the trunk of their cars, but all of them with a nervous smile plastered on their face.  If only I would have remembered my camera!

We enjoyed meeting beekeepers and connecting with the local beekeeping clubs, seeing the bees, and wishing we would have kept our order in place.  Then the strangest thing happened...  In speaking with the organizer of the entire sales event, knowing that all the bee packages were spoken for, we were offered a package of bees!  In my weakness, I eagerly accepted the treasure box presented to me.  We rushed to the car with the same nervous smile as everyone else, put the buzzing bounty in the trunk and headed home.  About half way home I really began questioning my sanity, but kept going until we stopped in our garage.  We opened the trunk and gazed in amazement.  Now What??? 

Read about my beekeeping adventures on my other blog - Bees in my Bonnet

Friday, April 15, 2011

April - Fiber and a New Spinning Wheel

I'm not sure if the xmas holidays are more insane, or if April festivities are worse.  April brings the birthdays of both my children (6 days apart) as well as Easter and the changing of the season (oh, and let's not forget Tax day).  I am always SO GLAD when everything is over with and life can resume with some sense of normalcy. I do have a brief reprieve until the next wave of Easter comes through.

This month I have managed to spin another 8 or so ounces of the Jamaica blend!  Two full bobbins are now patiently waiting for me to spin something to ply it with.  And finally today I had enough time to pull some scrumptious Australian Polwarth top (in a lovely shade of chocolatey brown) out of the depths of the craft room closet and sit down at my newest spinning wheel  to try it out.  Oh drool.  This stuff is LOVELY! And so is the wheel.

This new wheel - it might possibly be my new favorite.  It is the Schacht Ladybug.  What a cute little thing, but ever so industrious.  I am quite pleasantly surprised with this wheel, and will be happy to post more about it in the next few days.  But first I need SLEEP.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jamaica color experiment

This color has been one of the strangest I have worked with.  It is a merino/mohair blend in the colorway called "Jamaica".  Here it is before spinning.

Lovely isn't it?  I just love how warm and friendly it looks.

That is until I started spinning it.  It was looking so muddy as a single on the bobbin.   Of course, if I really was that concerned about it, I would have spun it from the fold, but I am lazy, so this is what I got;

You would think I could get a better photo, but I couldn't for some reason.
Eh.  It's nothing like I was hoping for.  But you never know how it will turn out in the end, so let's continue.

I was thinking about plying this with another color to hopefully get the colors to pop a bit (especially the purple), so I spun up a few samples of various colors and plied them with the Jamaica.  Eh again.

Well - maybe they will look better knitted up.  So I made a swatch and came up with these;

Jamaica plied with teal
 Oh I like this.  The teal color really brings out the warmer colors of the Jamaica.  This is definitely in the running, but still not the ultimate yarn I was hoping for.

Jamaica plied with lilac
 Eh - this one I like - not so much.  Nothing is really coming to life here.  I think I'll pass...
Jamaica plied with fuchsia
 Ummmm - not my cup of tea.  PASS.
Jamaica plied with chocolate brown
Oh my.  This is absolutely lovely.  Very rich, yet understated.  I am very surprised at this one.  Definitely my favorite.  Lots more of this will be showing up soon.

Jamaica plied with fawn.  The very last two rows were knit with Jamaica plied upon itself.  You can barely see it.
The fawn is just not doing ANYTHING for the Jamaica. This is a definite PASS.

WOW - these sure look a LOT different than I thought they would.  The two colors that people seem to unanimously like are the teal and the chocolate brown.  I LOVE the brown. Oh swoon.  I was most disappointed with the fawn combination.  Yuck - It really looks dull and muddy.  No life to it at all. The fuchsia is just too -- fuchsia.  And the lilac/lavender color also looks dull.

But you know, the Jamaica plied upon itself actually brought out a bit of the colors I was hoping for.  The muddiness diminished some and more of the purpley colors are showing through.  After all this struggle I have decided to simply ply the Jamaica on itself - BUT, I do plan on a second run of the Jamaica plied with the chocolate brown.  Ohhh I can't wait!

So after all is said and done, here is the final result.  This yarn is pleading to become a woven blanket, with which I will graciously agree.

The yarn is still damp here - a little darker looking than it really is.

Up close.

At the wheel this month

The winter doldrums are still here with no sign of spring yet.... sigh.  Here is the view out the back window.

This does however lead to some fine spinning time.  At long last, I have managed to spend more than 2 minutes at my wheel.  Don't ask me how it happened, but it did, so I took full advantage of it.  Here is my latest spinning project:

This is a merino/mohair blend, "Bay Breeze" colorway.  I really like the green highlights in this blend.  Hopefully it shows in the final yarn.

And here is the finished yarn - a simple two ply (haven't measured the wpi yet).  The green didn't show the way I was hoping, but the yarn is still pretty.  I wish you could see it better but the camera I am using at the moment just doesn't want to give me a decent photo.  This one will have to do.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

My New Etsy Shop

I have opened my new Etsy shop!  My next project will be to create some new hand-dyed rovings and yarns.  Weeee!!!  This feels great!  I will post new additions to the shop on this blog as they are listed.

You can find Pioneer Handspinning on Etsy here -

I would love to hear your feedback as the shop develops.  Thanks!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's coming along nicely!

Things are looking great for Pioneer Handspinning!  I am excited to announce that I will be teaching spinning classes through the local Community Education department!  This is a new offering for them, and the director and I both feel it will be a welcome and successful addition to the program.  We will offer a spring season class, break for summer, and then start up again in the fall and winter. Already two people have expressed interest and we haven't done any marketing yet!  I am smiling at the chance to share the art of handspinning with my community.  Other good news is that I have lined up my first two suppliers - Schacht Spindle Co and Ashland Bay Trading Co.  I look forward to working with these companies and others once again.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I'll do it!

Exciting news!  I have decided to re-start my handspinning business!

Several years ago, I closed my shop because I simply could not handle the responsibility of a shop AND raise my two small children the way I wanted at the same time.   They are older now, and a bit more independent, so there is more time for me again.  I missed working with the fiber, and also meeting wonderful people in the process, so I decided it was time to begin once again.  It is beginning to look like  2011 will be the year for many new beginnings for myself and my family.

Stay tuned for my new website at!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Starting anew

HOLY COW!!! I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted looked at my blog!  My how life flies.  And I can't say I really had a lot of fun.  But alas - it's time for a new beginning.  Time to breathe some new life into my fiber pursuits.  I hope you stay tuned for what lies ahead.