This past Saturday I taught my first drop spindle class of 2014. I taught this method twice last year and then somehow let teaching get away from me. The class was held at the Recycled Lamb in Golden, Colorado and I had a total of 5 students. We spent 2 hours learning how to draft fibers, thigh spin, spin on a drop spindle and then review fiber tools. The next class will be 3 hours so that my students spin a decent amount of a single ply yarn and then we can 2 ply it so they have a small skein to show for their class period. As with any process the more you engage in it the better one can tweak areas to make the process better. Even though I was a bit nervous about teaching others once we started talking about fiber I found my groove.
Things are a bit slow on the production front from last week for several reasons. Primarily I received a record number of 7 sales last week which required packaging and shipping. Also I had to prep for the spinning class and get goody bags together for my students. The second set of goody bags was packaged for the Horseshoe Market in July and given my schedule I am just going to mail the items to the event versus attempting to drop them off this week. The college kid will be assisting in labeling packages which should help me get the 50 bags out the door sooner. I did manage to finish knitting one summer hat and spin a single ply of some merino/silk last week plus there are the 2 skeins finished earlier last week.
I still have knitting and spinning projects in the works this week and will have pictures for you a bit later.
Last week I made a commitment to be more productive with my hand spinning of yarns and knitting of items which was based on my small supply of material to sell. I am happy to say that my production schedule is working and I completed 2 skeins of yarn and 1 hat within a week’s time frame. These 2 lovely skeins were spun into 2 ply yarns that still need to be measured but I’m thinking they are DK to Worsted weight yarns. The cabled lace hat also has been finished and was a challenge because I don’t particularly like cable needles.
I love the shine factor in both of these yarns and am having fun going through my stash of dyed rovings. There was a time towards the end of 2013 that I found myself short on dyed fibers but somehow that has been remedied (shopping sprees). This week I am on target for 4 skeins of yarn as I plied 2 yarns on Sunday and they are drying this week. The dyed Louet Fiber yarns are on the menu for this week. These rovings will have to be Navajo plied to keep the colors from being muddy which requires spinning a fine single so I may just do one of them. I’m really trying to boost the number of worsted and DK weight yarns in the inventory so I plan on spinning more of my other rovings than the Louet group.
On the needles is a new hat being made from the yarn I won at the Salida Fiber Festival last year. I won 3 skeins of a linen/cotton based yarn in pretty spring colors (green, yellow and peach). The yarns are being turned into hats with a broken rib stitch pattern but using a 2×2 ribbing. I had started to make a cowl using some kettle dyed yarn I received as a gift but am not liking the look of it with the color changes. This yarn has short color changes and knitting it in the round is creating a very muddled mess of colors. Thinking this yarn will make a better scarf than cowl and as it is a cotton/cashmere blend it deserves to be in a special project. My inventory only has 3 cowls in it and most are very warm so the search is on for the right lightweight yarn in a good color scheme to make cowls for the summer.
I managed to end the 2013 craft fair season with a profitable show. At this past weekends Holiday Artisan Boutique I took paid orders for 3 custom knit hats. Patrons loved the faux cable hats made but as they are more kid size than adults each requested a hat with longer length.
The first of the three is almost complete and has engaged my knitting skills. My patron chose a sports weight yarn as opposed to worsted weight. I have had to adjust needle size along with alterations in the stitch pattern. It is turning out rather nice though.
I seem to be on a hat making binge. Trying out patterns with different yarns and textures has kept me very occupied over the past week. I’m also using up several of the skeins of yarn purchased in the past few months too. Tonight I hope to clean and block my wool baby hat and partially frog another hat as I’m running out of yarn to make it as long as I wanted. Oh well it will have a child or small headed adult as its future owner. As I don’t actually have many items for this demographic this is a great opportunity to broaden my horizons.
On the Navajo Spindle is the Oreo Cookie blend of Alpaca fibers which will be sold at Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch. The wheel has some blue wool top that seems to be expanding in its raw form the more I spin since it is being spun very thinly. The problem with spinning lace weight is the fiber supply lasts a lot longer than when spinning worsted or bulky. I know though when this fiber is plied and cleaned it will grow in diameter to perhaps a DK weight yarn. That’s the great part of spinning fibers multiple times – one learns the nuances of the fiber and can alter techniques to truly achieve the right quality of yarn.
My big news is that I have not one but four students signed up to take my “Learn to Spin On A Drop Spindle” class in late February. Yes, I do know two of my students but the other two are complete strangers to me. I have the drop spindle kits set aside for the class and am gathering books, materials, websites and such to share with the class. Hoping to rent the drum carder from the guild as a prop in the class and I will be bringing my comb/hackle set, wheel and various spindles as tools. Of course given my fiber supply my students will have ample opportunity to try their hands at spinning the various wool and alpaca fibers in my stash.