Fiber Resolutions: 2013

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to throw out some fiber goals for 2013. Up until now my fiber-y life has been pretty disorganized, unfocused, whatever. The goal for 2013 is to change all that by:

  • Organizing My Stash: This doesn’t just mean my fiber and yarn, but all my crafty things (embroidery supplies, fabric, etc.). For my yarn it means making sure everything has the proper tags. That my handspun and recycled yarn is cataloged by fiber content, weight, yardage and wpi. For my fiber, it means I know where I bought it, how much I paid, and notes on any plans I may have at the time.
  • Selectively De-Stashing Synthetics: This is something I’ve wanted to do since my first project with 100% wool yarn. After that going back to acrylic was painful, but because I’m a woefully poor college student, inevitable. Now that I’m graduating and heading out into Big-Girl-Land, I want to ditch most of the synthetics in my life, especially the all-acrylics. I might finish my acrylic WIPs, it would seem wasteful not to, then file that away into the “beginning” chapter of my knitting and switch to all natural fibers (or at least blends).
  • Finishing My WIPs: In reality, at the time of writing this, I only have 2 or 3 WIPs that have been languishing for ages. I need to either finish them or frog them, to make way for new things.
  • Make More Things: Pretty self explanatory. Maybe have 1 project a month or something, so I can feel accomplished and have 12 new things at the end of 2013.

So, those are some of my 2013 Fiber Resolutions, happy new year everyone! I’d love to hear what goals you have for all your yarn and fiber-y goodness in 2013.

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It’s been a while…

I’ve thoroughly ignored both of my blogs for well over a year now. That’s pretty depressing now that I think of it, because I love blogging. But between school coming to an end here in less than a month and some very persistent emotional drama, I’ve been torn away from a lot of my passions.

I have however, started spinning again – which is glorious! Like my last WIP, it’s also grey – but this time wool that I randomly purchased off Etsy ages ago. And, like my last spinning project, also turning out beautiful and heathery, though not as bulky.

Misc. Grey Wool Handspun

(For future reference, that’s my obligatory “project on the nightstand” photo, because it’s got the best lighting in my room.) 

I started spinning this months ago then put it down and had other things going on. I think when I started I sectioned and weighed out my fiber – but as usual didn’t write any of that down… So when this bit is done and I pull it off the spindle I’ll have to compare its weight to the weight of the other mini-braids I have laying around.

Logistically, same spindle as the last time… it’s still the only one I’ve got, which really needs to change soon.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the spindle right now – I have plenty more fiber to spin (not enough time or spindles…).

Update: So, I finished spinning that bit of fiber I had parceled out. I weighed it and it was exactly 1.5 oz. So, I found another braid that was more or less 1.5 oz, and have started spinning that up, so I’m looking at a projected 3 oz of finished product. Once it’s plied and washed I’ll actually calculate yardage and wpi for an accurate tag and stash entry.

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School is… ew. But, I have a spinning wheel!

…and maybe one day it’ll actually be operational! She’s battered and a little bit bruised (I mean, seriously – this wheel sort of looks like it went through a war), but mine and I love her.

I mean, how does one split the freaking adjusting board in half?! It’s really the only thing that’s been keeping me from spinning with her, if I’m completely honest, oh, and that adjustment knob is gone. Upon receiving the wheel I also noted that the drive band was missing, the drive wheel a little warped and most of the wooden parts dented, scratched, dinged, marked up, or a combination of the prior 4 things.

AND, though I picked this wheel up in late August, I haven’t really touched it until this week because school’s been insane, I’ve been moving, unpacking and the wheel was living at a friend’s parents’ house in North Olmsted.

Today, I pretty much disassembled the wheel and continued sanding down some of the parts that needed it most – the wheel is unfinished (which was insanely helpful for the sanding process) and thankfully the weather’s still nice enough so I can sit on the back porch and sand away. Oh, and I might need to invest in some wood putty, but we’ll see.

Once I’m all done with THAT, I can wipe it all down with a tack cloth and re-assemble. Hopefully my order from Paradise Fibers will be here by then, I ordered the necessary adjusting board, knob and the maintenance kit – which should give me everything I need to get up and going.

On the up side, the wheel did come with everything promised, which was a lot – and for my own sake I’ll detail it all here. So, for the low low price of $75 I got:

  • Single Drive Ashford Traditional
  • Upright Lazy Kate
  • 4 Bobbins
  • Quill Spindle Attachment
  • Ashford Niddy Noddy
  • A Huge Bag-o-Wool
  • Some Misc. Spinning Books*

I had to spend about $45 to repair the wheel, which bumps my total amount spent up to $120. The retail price of buying just the wheel and accessories new: $540. All, in all I think I did pretty well… and that everyone, is the power of craigslist.

Pictures to come, I promise, probably on Thursday when I have some free time.

*I was too lazy to go downstairs and find the titles of the 4 books she threw in with the wheel and the giant bag of wool and assorted other fibers… they weren’t particularly special or well known or anything – but nice to have.

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Road Trip Fail

Seriously… it’s been a fiasco. I meant to leave on the 10th and it’s presently a little after 3AM on the 11th. Now I have 3 days, 2 nights to get from Florida to Ohio to stay on schedule.

Am I packed? No.

Why?

Ants. (…mostly)

Yes, ants in my car. I got back from my 2 week Hawaiian vacation with my mother to try and pack only to find ANTS. This was at  around 9PM, and we finally got all of them out by around 1AM – then all I wanted to do was swim in the pool and take a shower. Maybe now I’ll go to bed. Get on the road by noon tomorrow, and push until late at night, maybe I’ll make Tennessee. Then on Day 2 I’ll hit the Woolery in Frankfort, KY – then head East and North until I make Portsmouth for the night.

Definitely more on the Woolery once I get there and see the store. I’m pretty excited. More fiber-related goodness when I’m not crazy and sleep deprived.

Love, Liz

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Something’s Brewing…

As a proponent and lover of all things related to fiber arts in the great state of Ohio, I’m always on the lookout for fiber arts tools made by talented people from Ohio – and I have a couple that I’m waiting to blog about… but I like to actually experience something before I gush about it in a blog post, though I may throw some names, links and pictures out there with a disclaimer that I haven’t used or seen any of their tools in person.

All that being said, there are plenty of posts to come specifically about Ohio tool makers, and perhaps one specifically about a now deceased Ohio wheel-maker. I haven’t even touched or seen the Ashford Traditional of a couple of posts ago and I’m already lining up the purchase of my second wheel, made by the aforementioned Ohio woodworker, who will remain unnamed for the time being.

I’m in the process of lining up the purchase and doing a little research to see if I can’t compile what will be the first in a series of posts about Ohio fiber tool makers. I’m very excited, it should be excellent.

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The Ohio Natural Fiber Network

Since it’s raining (again) and I can’t photograph my current spinning project, I thought I’d take a minute to write up a post about a very valuable resource for fiber-y folk in Ohio: The Ohio Natural Fiber Network.

From the ONFN website:

The Ohio Natural Fiber Network is dedicated to supporting Ohio fiber producers and artists, and to developing awareness of the diversity and beauty of Ohio farm yarns and fleeces. Andrea Wargo from That’ll Do Farm is the president of the organization, which was founded by Karen Burke of Places in Time farm. Our fiber farmers raise alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats and angora rabbits for their beautiful fiber. Our fiber artists dye, hook, spin, knit, weave and felt the most beautiful fiber art you’ve ever seen. Knitters, check out our Ravelry group on-line. We’re hoping you make 2011 the year you decide to “go more local” by supporting your local fiber producer or artist! We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Ohio Natural Fiber Network was listed in the Winter 2010 Spin Off Natural Fiber Directory: a brief list of fiber sources from the US, Canada and the UK. Unfortunately the web address listed in the Spin Off directory no longer directs to the ONFN website, so it takes a little more digging to find their web presence (and for a while I was afraid they didn’t exist anymore).

I think the people at ONFN do really good and important work, they visit a lot of local area fiber festivals and were even up at River Colors Studio in Lakewood (which is a really lovely yarn store… I think I walked around in a dreamy state the first time I was there, it’s just so pretty). Ohio has a lot of fiber sources, just a fraction of those are members of ONFN, but I think one of the most important parts of their work is in raising awareness of the existence of fiber sources in Ohio. It’s also a great starting point for people who are looking for farms in their area.

Their blog lists local events, classes ads, pictures of adorable baby fiber animals and all sorts of other good stuff. In my opinion, they are a very valuable Ohio fiber resource, so check them out and sample some locally grown fiber and yarn!

Links:

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You Would Think Florida Would Be Brighter…

I mean, it’s Florida – the sunshine state, and yet every time I try to photograph current spinning and/or knitting projects it’s dreadfully overcast, raining cats and dogs or so sticky and humid that I don’t want to take natural fibers and a wooden spindle outdoors to put them in natural light.

I realize that has been sunny rather a lot since I’ve been here, then it’s the heat that hinders outdoor photography. How do knitters and spinners here manage? Perhaps I’m not acclimated to the climate of Florida yet, or perhaps I should set up a little photo studio someplace in my parents’ house here. I think I’ll have to scope out a place that doesn’t have moving boxes and is conducive to taking a good photograph. So far I have 2 completed handspun yarns to photograph and one work in progress that I’m crazy about. I just don’t want the photos to be rubbish.

In the mean time though, I have a couple of new tool acquisitions that I’m really excited about. First, have a slightly blurry photo that I jacked from craigslist:

How pretty! This gorgeous Ashford Traditional is going to be in my possession in just one short month. On Thursday my friend from school (who just so happens to live within 20 miles of the woman selling the wheel) is going to retrieve the wheel and babysit it until I get back to Ohio. I’m buying it from a woman in the greater Columbus area who I think came to own it at the same time as a loom, never got into spinning and wanted to get rid of it. Needless to say I’m ridiculously excited to have a wheel in my apartment and to learn to spin on it. I’m getting all sorts of goodies with the wheel: the quill spindle, niddy noddy, lazy kate, extra bobbins, some wool and 4 books on spinning and dyeing. From my understanding, part of the wheel is a little bit broken, but I think it’s just the tension knob or something easily fixed with a replacement part. I’ll definitely post more photos once I get and spruce up the wheel. I love the aesthetic of the Ashford Traditional, it’s very basic and beautiful (and for this reason was one of my 2 first picks for prospective wheel purchases), I can’t wait to have it!

I’ve also recently propositioned a woodworker from the Carolinas to turn me a pair of spindles. Hopefully they’ll be done in time for me to pick them up in person when I make the drive north. I love adventuring like that, and if I can get some fiber-y goodness out of it, all the better!

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