Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spinning Again!

I encouraged my sister, Rheta, to buy a lovely Ashford Country Spinning Wheel a couple of years ago at SAFF (Southeast Animal & Fiber Festival) near Asheville, NC. She has become so involved in photography, that she decided that she would sell the wheel. Since I've always wanted to be able to spin bulky, fancy yarns and can't do it on my smaller Louet, and since I convinced myself that it was my fault that she spent the money, I decided to buy it from her.

My mother, always a trooper when it comes to helping us with craft projects, agreed to help me put this together. I'm pretty sure that we put each leg on at least twice to get them correctly attached. When we finally got the whole thing assembled, but the end caps on the pedal bar, we were ecstatic (and also, as they say in the South, "give out"). The end caps decided not to cooperate either, though. The depth of the caps was not enough to connect and they kept falling off until we had mangled them with the hammer with our "yes, you will stay on here" attitudes. A close friend of my parents was at the house that afternoon and checked over the wheel, even disassembling and reassembling some parts. He assured us that the wheel should still work without the endcaps, now totally useless. I did buy some others at Lowes later, but they proved unusable. The wheel works well without them, though.

My Louet has one large pedal for both feet. I'm very used to it and can operate it with both feet or with one. Going to the Ashford with two pedals was a little difficult at first, but I felt that I was getting better. I managed to spin a bit of two different rovings, one I promised to Rheta that I would spin for her and another from Ashland Bay Company that is promised to my mother for her help.

I let the wheel sit for a while and have only in the last week tried to use it again. I couldn't get it to catch the roving and keep it spinning. It was like being a beginning spinner again. The roving literally flew out of my hands and broke from the batt. I even listed it on Craigslist, thinking that I had made a big mistake in buying another wheel. Did I really need to spin big yarn, or should I just be happy with what I had? Then, I remembered something else I had let go for too long - ravelry.com.

Yes, I was a member of at least one spinning group on that site. I pulled up the site  and sent out a call for help. I got several responses. Someone suggested adjusting the large bolt that holds the leather brake. I had a Homer Simpson moment "Doh!", and oh yes, oh yes, it worked! I also slowed down my pedaling and am now actually seeing the bottom of the pile of Rheta's lovely blue-green roving. My goal is to get both done by Valentine's Day.



So, thanks again to the lovely women on ravelry's Ravelers Who Spin for their sage advice. I'm so happy no one responded to my Craig's List ad. It's expired in the meantime, thank goodness.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Zentangle!

For the past year or so, I've been fascinated by a meditative art form called Zentangle. I've purchased several workbooks on the subject and have been trying to learn this on my own. I was really happy to find out that there are teachers within an hour to an hour & a half's drive of my home. I've signed up for a class next Sunday afternoon and can hardly wait. The idea is to draw repeated patterns, taking one's time, to relax and ease tension. I've been concentrating on a book, called One Zentangle A Day, by Beckah Krahula. I've been keeping a ringed set of note cards and am now branching out to watercolor paper.
My life has been extremely stressful this past few months. I've had to move my classroom at school due to a new building being completed. I have a beautiful new classroom now, but my back is still paying for the lifting and carrying. My family lost my father on January 10th after a prolonged illness. I've been in a fog a lot of the time and rely on my Zentangle to keep my mind going and to feel that I'm accomplishing something other than going to work, or sitting in front of the TV.  I'd love to learn enough to eventually do my own illustrations for my writing or to someday teach others, but for now, I'd settle on just doing this well.

Yarn Giveaway Winner!

Thanks so much to my readers who entered the New Year's Resolutions Contest. The winner is....Anonymous! I take it that she doesn't want her email or name listed, so I'll keep the secret. Your yarn will be coming your way January 21, when the post office opens up again. I hope you love the yarn.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Yarn Giveaway Resolutions Contest!

Happy New Year to everyone! I've never been one to stick to New Year's resolutions, so I tend to not make a lot of them. However, this year being so hectic between teaching a new grade of exceptional children (6th) and twice as many as usual AND, raising a new puppy, my crafting has really fallen off. I fully intend to get back on the crafting wagon this year and make some effort to make time for myself to do so. I purchased two scrapbooks for my great nephew and one of my great neices and have actually started on these. I'd like to get at least their first year done by May so that I can give them to each of their mothers. My Mighty Wolf loom is warped and partially woven for a wall hanging, I have a new 15-inch Cricket loom I can't wait to warp.
So that's a start with my resolutions. My etsy business is my other resolution. I've decided that my craft studio is too crowded. I'm hoping to sell out of most of my yarn and concentrate on offering handmade items such as woven fabrics and scarves, or maybe even some handwoven toys for pets. That all hinges on getting my pup, Benjen, to settle down upstairs and to perfect his potty habits a little further.
So, what about you? Have you made any crafting resolutions for this year? Send a comment to share. I'm offering two free skeins of yarn from my etsy shop: Universal Yarn World Class Stash 403 Pergola Lot S3520. This is a newer yarn from Universal Yarns of Concord, NC. It would make a really fun knitted or crochet hat or mittens.  I'm listing the skein information so you'll know what you're competing for.  I'll post the winner by January 20th.  Good luck!