My Return to Spinning

Aside

One of my fibre goals for this year was to spin more.  Spinning always seems to take a back seat to knitting for me, and even more so recently because I had deadline projects where spinning always has less of a sense of urgency.

When I finally did manage to pick up spinning again recently after a several month long hiatus, I got quite discouraged as I was finding I was encountering some difficulties that I hadn’t previously.  I had started using some Schoppel Wolle pencil roving that was a gift from my mother in law for Christmas, thinking this would help me get back into the swing of things after such a long break…I mean, predrafted fibre…what could possibly go wrong?  Instead my yarn was dissolving in my hands any time I pulled on it at all, but it didn’t seem woefully underspun.

Time to call in the expert!  Leslie Ordal, my first-spinning-class-teacher-turned-friend, offered to come take a look, and Shireen thought this would be a great chance to come learn how to spin on a wheel.  So the three of us convened at my place on Saturday, with Shireen and me ready to absorb the knowledge imparted by the pro.  This was the inaugural use of my new WooLee Winder (more on this miraculous device at another time!), so I put on an empty bobbin and spun up some new fibre, using some bits and bobs samples I had lying about.  I showed Leslie what I had been doing and she decreed that overall, I was doing fine and that while I should probably be putting a little more twist into it, she could not see what was causing the issue.  And this new yarn wasn’t falling apart.  So I showed her the bobbin with the pencil roving and she immediately knew what had been going wrong.  The fibre had tweed-y slubs in it, so when I was spinning, most of the yarn was spun with enough twist, but the slubby parts, because they were thicker, not so much.  Those were the parts that were falling apart.

Once I switched to something with a more consistent texture, I got this:

Random Halloween-themed fibre spin

Random Halloween-themed fibre spin

Not bad at all, considering I hadn’t spun in ages.

Once I got the hang of it, I broke out a braid of superwash merino and decided to try that.  So far I have turned this:

pink_mediumInto this:

Handpainted Merino

Handpainted Merino

I spent about an hour last night spinning away in front of the Penguins/Rangers game and I am planning to set aside some time each day to try and move my spinning forward.

So, they tell me there was a weekend in there someplace….

Aside

I am really not sure where this weekend went.  One minute it was Friday, and the next, I am at work.

I spent some time Thursday evening with Deb of Dye Hard Fibre Arts, chatting and pawing through her bin of gorgeous (mostly self-striping) colourways.  I came away with a lovely pink self striping yarn, named for the Princess Diaries, “She Rocks, She Rules, She Reigns”.

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I also picked up a OOAK colourway, that in her dining room looked to be a pretty blue, but only when I got it outside to take a photo of it did I discover how lovely and variegated it was.

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It had no name and following Deb’s tradition of naming her colourways from movie quotes, I stole this one from Hackers’ Cereal Killer.  I called it “We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless!”  (As a side note, finding movie quotes with the word “nameless” in it is very hard.  If you Google “movie quotes nameless”, you get lots of movie quotes from nameless characters!  But I digress…)

Friday night was the Knitty Roundtable where I got to try out some new yarns, and received this for my troubles:

I learned to do colour work from my friend Meghan a few years ago, but have still not actually knit anything.  This will be a great reference book to add to my library.

Creatively, Saturday was pretty much a wash.  I cast on a new test knit cowl for Liz Abinante in a bulky weight yarn, and managed to get a few rows in before bed.  My jury is way out on the yarn…it’s a commercial one called Saphira and it looks and feels sorta like Malabrigo Worsted, but is about as splitty as the Phentex yarn my grandmother gave me to knit with when I was 7.

Sunday, I cooked.  Oh my God…did I cook!  And baked some too.  I started out by making homemade pancake mix, courtesy of a recipe from Nigella Lawson.  Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes followed, along with a Macaroni Casserole using a recipe that my mom has been using literally for as long as I can remember, and a cooker of Pulled Pork for a potluck at work.  You’d have thought that would be enough for one day.  You’d be wrong.

I have been craving pumpkin cake for about a week, so I located a recipe for a cake with pumpkin, spices and buttermilk (I hate seeing something go bad when only a tiny bit has been used).

The Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Icing from Epicurious turned out well…although I think it would not be quite sweet enough without the frosting glaze.

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Once that was in the oven, I figured “In for a penny, in for a pound” and proceeded to dice up butternut squash for a risotto I have been making for a couple of years now.  I found it in Canadian Living a few autumns back, and fell in love with it, once I realized that for the squash to cook it had to be diced up fairly small.

No matter how hard you try, risotto never looks pretty 😉

Let’s not discuss the dishes that I did over the day…just too depressing.