The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘spinning’

Dang! Wish I Could Find the Camera!

This past weekend was one of the High Holy Days for Pacific NW spinners, knitters, and weavers: Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Since I missed Black Sheep Gathering due to moving, I was really ready to shop for stash, even if a broken wrist was preventing me from doing much spinning or knitting.

Oh, I want to show you what I bought! Maybe Jenny knows where there is a camera.

But, here’s the run down. We got there about 10 am, after a great breakfast and a nice ride in the country. Jenny does not believe in going anywhere directly. First stop, the bathroom. I only tell you this because there was a long line and another woman and I decided to liberate the men’s room. Which caused a  line and made one man mad. All I can say is live with it. Two stalls for about a million women? And the 100 or so men need to wait? Tough cookies!

My usual routine is to make a full circuit without buying. I made it about 3/4 of the way and then had to stop and buy some fiber I had to have, in part because of the presentation. I WILL find the camera! I will!

My next purchase was some Pygora/silk in gorgeous heathery blues.  We are thinking about getting a Pygora goat so it felt important that I actually learn something about them. I also bought some white Pygora A/B to see what it spins like without the silk.

Then I found some “mystery batts” in great colors. Browns, oranges, blues, greens, definitely a fall heather theme.  The fiber content is Merino/Silk/Cashmere/Angora so I guess the mystery is in the percentages. At $1.50 an ounce I had to buy a full pound. I had to. Really.

About that time, Jenny called and wanted to meet for some lamb kabobs in the grassy sward. It’s a tradition. I held down seats at a picnic table peopled with crazy women who were clearly giddy from the smell of lamb, lanolin, and wool. I also think they drank their breakfast. One had smuggled in a dog under her coat. Another thought she should have a UFO booth where folks could bring all their unfinished objects and pay her to complete them. What a great idea!

Jenny is always eager to watch the animal judging so next stop was the barn. I left her in command of my purchases while I wandered off to buy a drop spindle or two to add to my collection. One is apple wood and it’s SQUARE! Spins like a dream. The other is a plying weight spindle from my friends Jim and Brigit at Pacific Wool and Fibers. I have several of their spindles and love them. And they are CHEAP! (Shhhhh. Don’t tell.)

I passed up Dicentra although I LOVE her fibers. But I can buy them at Northwest Wools or online. I try to find stuff I can’t get locally or easily.

What else? Oh, yeah, a pound of white wool roving for dyeing. It’s just co-op wool but it was cheap and soft and will spin nicely.

When we got home, I put the drive band back on my wheel (it had slipped off while our floors were being repaired), not an easy task when one hand is useless,  and started spinning. Fortunately, when I spin on wheel my left hand is the working hand; on a spindle, it’s the right. However, with two new spindles in my collection, I HAD to force the fiberglass monster on my right wrist to allow my not-so-opposable thumb to flick a spindle full of yarn.

AND, even before OFFF, I found a source of recycled sari silk. This is thrums from looms used to weave sari fabric and I bought two bags full. One is shades of purples, pinks, a great silvery white, and a hint of blue. It’s so nice I’m just going to spin it into yarn without blending it. The others is bright colors, red, green, yellow, gold, blue, purple, all colors, mostly silk but with some rayon and some gold thread thrown in. This will be blended with part of the eternal nine pound black fleece I bought year before last at Black Sheep Gathering. I can’t wait to get started on ALL of it!

Hopefully, I’ll be adding photos to this post later tonight. But right now, I really do need to get to work.

Why I Knit and Spin

Read this article if you think knitting is for old ladies.

As a person who has survived a traumatic brain injury, I know that it was knitting and spinning that healed me. For some reason, during the months following my death by surgery and my subsequent resurrection, I picked up my needles and spindles after a long hiatus. Something deep within called me to move my hands and trail yarn around the house. I did not know it at the time, but this was good medicine for what ails me.

Using the hands, which according to writer Madeleine L’Engle contain “grey matter”, the stuff of brains, causes new neural pathways to form. Since I had destroyed some, my body, mind, hands, spirit, knew that I had to recreate them.

But not only did I find my brain healing, my spirit, torn by the loss of my job, loneliness because all my friends worked, and many other losses that accompany serious illness, found solace. Anyone who knits or spins consciously is probably well aware that both can be a form of meditation. I knit because I love to watch the patterns emerge, chaos giving way to great beauty, and because it is soothing. I spin because the mechanics of wool to yarn is nothing but miraculous.

And now knitting is being used to explain the universe. Wow! The things yarn can do.

Whether Report

It’s raining which means I won’t be riding my scooter today. I’m new to the whole motorized two-wheel thing so I don’t ride in the rain deliberately yet. I’m bummed.

So the choices are two: spin or work.

Spinning brought my brain back together after the brain injury. I just did it because I was stuck at home and had little to do but spin and watch TV. Little did I know that doing things with your hands repairs the brain. So my body knew what I needed and made me do it. I spin a lot: in the car, while visiting, watching TV, at meetings. Based on that, I have the healthiest brain around. Don’t you agree?

On the other hand, I have a 622 page book due to the publisher on Monday and am only on page 148. Yesterday was a mess because of computer glitches, a long unneeded trip to the Apple Store to see a “Genius”, and then I felt a desperate need to back everything up to everywhere even though I hadn’t really lost any data.

Guess I better get to work. I’d rather be spinning.

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