Monday, August 4, 2008

Apparently I Missed Spinning (and love hyphens!)

Tour de Fleece notwithstanding, I guess I missed spinning a lot. A LOT. So much so that, while in Germany, I continued to stash spinning fiber from Hello Yarn, A Verb for Keeping Warm, and Girl on the Rocks even though I knew I wouldn't see any of it (or my wheel) for several weeks.

In the midst of one of my bouts of wheel wistfulness, I stumbled across a post on Ravelry from a person who needed to make room for a new fiber source. She was giving away her Kromski spinning wheel. GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE. I was dumbfounded, but I sent her a message, just in case this too-good-to-be-true offer was, in fact, true. Well, don't say that being awake and online at weird hours compared to the left coast never got anybody a free spinning wheel. I was the first person to respond, and this Saturday afternoon, I drove to the other side of San Francisco to pick up my new (to me) Kromski Prelude.

Kromski Prelude

Meet Prudence. She's really not an upgrade from Birdie, because they both have similar ratio ranges, similar size drive wheels, and Prudence is scotch tension only. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth too much, but there are two main reasons why I'll hang on to this wheel for awhile. A) I can spin more than one batch of singles, as I now have nine bobbins for holding potential yarn. B) This wheel is light enough to carry and of appropriate appearance for renaissance faires. Yes, I am one of those kind of geeks. If I were going to buy a second wheel (why no, I haven't thought about it, why do you ask?), it wouldn't be a Prelude, because it's too close to the Ladybug to be of much advantage. But free? Yes, please! Oh, and it's small enough to fit in the closet.

I spun up my AVFKW baby alpaca last night as a getting-to-know-each-other exercise (4 ounces, 150 yards, pictures forthcoming when the fog rolls out). This was the last of the fiber I bought almost a year ago at San Francisco's Bazaar Bizarre, so yay stash busting! I was a bad bad person, however, and plied the singles without waiting for them to sit overnight and relax. It got to be a little tough to treadle by the end of the skein, and I think I had too much tension on the drive band. Also, I'm not used to the single treadle, and this wheel has a dead spot like you would not believe. It was much more difficult for me to keep the wheel going through the first two or three revolutions without reversing direction. I think this will come with practice and I should keep at it, even though I still prefer the double treadle.

On Friday and Saturday, impatient to pick up the new wheel, I felt I should show Bridie that I wasn't abandoning her. So I spun up my BFL/Tencel batt from Tactile Fiber Arts. This is the pink and yellow fluff that I got at Stitches West. I got a rather fine two-ply, similar yardage to the alpaca (a little less than 150 yards), but from only two ounces of fiber.

Summer Fruits Closeup

The color is a little too bright in this photo. I love that the little bits of bright, peachy yellow Tencel still show up in the yarn and didn't get completely blended in with the wool. I have no idea what I'll knit with either of these. However, I have another 18 ounces of fiber either already arrived or coming in over the next few days, and I was feeling like I need to make a dent in the stash. The unfortunate thing about spinning fiber, is that unless you're going to give the yarn away, spinning it doesn't really diminish the overall stash. Speaking of the stash... well... it's better if I just show you. Click on the photo to go to Flickr and see notes identifying the various bags and baskets.

The Whole Stash

I got a little worried about the stash getting out of control. We aren't in a studio, but our apartment isn't huge either, and every now and then I worry that I'm not converting yarn into lovely portable warmth at a rate that at least approaches that at which I acquire said yarn. So, in an effort to convince myself that I don't have too much, I got it all out and reorganized things into bags roughly according to weight. I noticed a few things:

1. I have a ton of sock yarn. I guess the last two years have been good for The Loopy Ewe because two-thirds of my sock yarn is from them. :)

2. I didn't really get a lot of yarn from Germany.

3. Most of my stash has intended specific projects. Mittens, another felted Noni bag, socks galore, even an entrelac cylindrical pillow cover. I was refreshed to remember than most of this stuff has a purpose. Except for the giant basket of leftovers. Dang!

4. I have no sweater projects stashed for, and at least 10 sweaters in my Ravelry queue.

5. Sock projects are nebulous, and without a specific pattern, it will take me a looooooonnnngggg time to figure out what exactly to do with a skein of sock yarn.

6. If I compare how fast I knit to how fast I spin, and then look at the stash, I realize that my yarn stash is GINORMOUS and my fiber stash is TEENY-WEENY. If I spun a lot and stopped knitting, I could probably burn through my entire fiber stash in a month. The yarn stash? I think it would take... gosh... years.

So, I think I need to take a hiatus from purchasing sock yarn, learn to plan projects for my handspun, and not feel quite so bad about buying yarn for sweaters. For some reason, I tend to shy away from the expense of buying yarn for a sweater, but don't really blink when that same amount of money is spent on two or three sock yarn binges. Not that I should start stashing sweater projects left and right, but I think I need to be a little smarter about matching the stash to the queue.

I'll try to be back next time with a leftover travel post, I want to try and get those out before the semester gets into full swing. See you later this week!


fluffystuff said...

A beautiful wheel for free!!! I am so happy for you. And great stash. So this must mean you are back from Deutschland. Stef and Liz don't keep me very informed. I have to sort it out for myself.
If you get a chance to come down, maybe we can spin together. Always fun in a group, well, a small group.

Knitsonya said...

That is wonderful. Cracks me up - more bobbins! You are lucky and can't wait to see you burn through the fiber stash.