Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Exciting times with a local alpaca herd

alpacaLittle did I know that my visit to Marcia’s alpaca farm (Orchard Hill Farms) yesterday evening was going to be as exciting as it turned out to be.  I just wanted to treat myself to more alpaca fiber and I loved that I had met her alpacas when I “helped” (read that as tried to not to get in the way) on shearing day a month or so ago.  I called her up and she was happy to sell me some fiber so I drove on up to her house in the country.   It is such a beautiful drive.  I just love getting out of town although it makes me rather homesick.  After greeting the little dogs in the house we weighed out some beautiful fiber and talked about our beginning spindling and spinning skills.  She had white and black roving from last year’s shearing so of course I bought both.

After chatting a bit and talking about the alpacas she asked if I wanted to watch a mating (at least she didn’t say I’d have to help) since she was thinking about doing it anyway.  What could I say, but “Sure!”  So out we went to watch alpacas make babies.  It was a surprising turn of events, but not one I was about to turn down, and indeed, it turned out to be quite educational.  So Marcia, her husband Joel, and I hung out with the alpacas and the dogs and then she decided to split up the babies from their momma’s since they needed to be weened.  So the little ones, Norman, Lisa, and (ohh, I forgot his name) had to go in a separate corral from their moms and it was a split they weren’t very happy about.  At least Joel’s shirt wasn’t new!  And I was in charge of the gate.  I can do that.  =)  Now I want to go “help” again!

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I love spindling fiber

Spinning really is miraculous and wonderful.  Almost like magic.  And when I tried for the first time, I think I probably thought it was magic because it’s hard when you learn, but once you catch on, it’s so simple.  I am also really interested in simple tools that can do so much and have been used for so long through time.  They cross cultural, gender and time boundaries.  The drop spindle is just one and I am happy to have discovered it once again.  You know, they say that because our ancestors worked with these tool, sometime our fingers instinctively know how to do things or how they might prefer to do them.  Like knitting Continental style versus English style, or drafting with your right hand or your left.  There isn’t a right way, just what works for different people.  For me, I knit Continental and I really want to learn how to knit English so I can do two colors at once, but I haven’t quite got it yet.  With spindling I hold the fiber in my right hand or around my right wrist and hold the twist with my left.  I don’t know if that is more of a right-handed way to do it or left….  Anyway, I am in love with fiber.  I want to try to spindle anything I can get ahold of.  If I could get my cat Spike to sit still, I’d spin his hair too.

Spike is the darker one.  His hair is soooo long!

Spike is the darker one. His hair is soooo long!

So it’s been a while, but I have a new hobby!

And of course a new hobby and craft is definitely worth a blog post.  I have rediscovered drop spindle spinning.  I tried a couple of years ago, but between my trying to learn, making my own drop spindle, dying the fiber I wanted to spin and felting it a bit, it didn’t go well.  I think I actually got the hang of it a little, but it wasn’t fun.  At least not at that point.

But now the Topeka Farmer’s Market just started up and the Spinster’s club has a booth selling fiber, yarn, hand made drop spindles on a wood lathe, and it has real people spinning at the table.  Yay for Marilyn!!  I was completely inspired.  So I treated myself to some local alpaca fiber from their table, but when I went home I dug out the wool fiber I had dyed… 2 years ago and decided I had to learn on that since it was going to be funky as a beginner.  Then I would work on the alpaca after I’d gotten a little better.  That was some serious incentive because I have been spindling ever since!!

 Spinning is seriously addictive.  I think I’ve heard that before and now I know it is true.  I love the simplicity of the drop spindle.  I’m very interested in traditional knitting, spinning and crochet tools.  Anyway, I’ll just post more pictures of what I’ve done this week now.  =)  Yay for spindling!!!

Dyed wool spindled as my beginner project.

Dyed wool spindled as my beginner project.

 

Dyed, spindled yarn in skeins.

Dyed, spindled yarn in skeins.

Plying alpaca fiber into 2 ply.

Plying alpaca fiber into 2 ply.

Brown and white alpaca spun and plied into yarn!

Brown and white alpaca spun and plied into yarn!

Brown and black alpaca fiber, partially spun.

Brown and black alpaca fiber, partially spun.