Friday, January 30, 2009

The fiber and spin in discussion re drafting...

Looking at all but the tail which has no tension on it...
"Well, I THOUGHT it was pretty evenly spun."

Here's the fiber. So is that tightly braided? I do know it's hard to pull a chunk off. I have to unbraid a good 18 inches of it, maybe more, to get a length off. And then I have to really tug hard.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Draft Photos Ilustrating Questions

The little finger (not visible) is what's holding the fiber. By pulling the fiber hand away from the drafting hand, the fiber thins out as it passes through the tunnel from pinkie side to thumb side of hand. Fiber rides over ring finger with just a teensy bit of tension from riding on it, then straight through (no contact with middle finger) to thumb and forefingers which are stretched out to form a "beak" that can pinch the twist.

Shot this back toward myself from the other side.

The below photo got flipped on its side somehow. so right side of photo is actually vertically downward. This photo is backlit to show funnel that comes from interior of wad of fiber. Note: There is no twist in the funnel whatsoever. It is fibers from INSIDE the fiber mass that seem to grip onto what's been drafted, as though what's been drafted is acting as a leader, pulling it along. At this point the fiber seems to draft itself, and the funnel starts coming straight from the little finger's hold. I don't thin it out with thumb and forefinger, at all. That's already done and the thumb and forefinger's only function is to pinch off the twist with the fiber hand so I can release it with the drafting/spindle hand.

Please see this swirl. Here I had to let go of the pinch with my right (spindle) hand to hold the camera AND wanted to show the "beak" I'm forming with thumb and forefinger, so in this shot you will see some twist did get into the wad of fiber.
But more importantly, the photo shows how defined that weird funnel actually is. It goes straight through into the core of the wad. (???????)

Eventually, when I'm at the end of the wad, I have to stop and straighten out the fiber mass. My sense of it is that what it wants to do (I THINK!) is invert itself and become the last part of the funnel, but there's usually uneven blobs attached that prevent that from happening.

Bottom line is that when the drafting is in motion, I'm not touching (let alone gripping) the fiber with any part of my palm or fingers EXCEPT that the pinkie is curled around it, and maybe a little of the ring finger, though as far as I can tell, the ring finger doesn't contribute tension other than the fiber funnel riding over it.

Here's another photo of the funnel, with the mass being held down by a remote in absence of my drafting hand. I shot it with daylight backlighting and no flash so you can see through it. The funnel continues on into the mass as a darkened area. I am sure it doesn't have twist in it, because I have no problem thinning it out if I wanted to, and I wouldn't be able to do that if it had twist. Yet if it doesn't, I am totally STUMPED why that dark area can continue this far into the mass! It's looking to me like it's actually curling right around within the mass if that pink tinged area I'm seeing is "funnel-yet-to-be." And it sho do look that-a way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Spindolyn Arriveth!!

First of all, it is beautiful. Unfortunately the base it stands on is in a dark area, but if you look closely, you can see it. The size of the hook is rather ungraceful on first glance compared to the more delicate hooks on most drop spindles, but I see why it's useful at its size. There may come a point when I think I'd redesign its shape, but it works.

Spinning with this takes some practice, even for a more experienced spinner. However, there's just something about spinning with it that I know will be fun, if not comforting once I get the fluid motion and rhythm down. The stem piece that the spindle shaft fits into on this one seems to have been drilled and glued in a tad off center into the base, but it still spins well. I've sent an email to see if it makes a difference, because if so, I would want it right. That may not be a relevant concern if holding it in your lap, which is what it was designed to do. What I liked about it as a beginning spinner is that I don't have to worry about a drop spindle dropping or starting into a furious reverse spin if my attention gets captured by refining my drafting.

To learn on it, I'm spinning a very lovely, extremely soft pastel BFL that I bought from Erica who goes by the shop name, Squoosh at Etsy. Though my yarn is not as thin as I believe the Spindolyn prefers, it's thinner than I've spun before, and works pretty well on the Spindolyn. Though uneven, and some parts are thinner (a few thicker), an average length I checked came out to about 14wpi. That seems to keep being somewhere in the vicinity of my 'default spin' thickness. I'm now a little sorry that I didn't keep up with its much thinner start that both Jenny and I got when we first tried it because it would have been great practice to maintain that finer of a yarn. I'm also thinking that it's easier all the way around to spin finer than I tend to. That said, however, I'm getting a fairly consistent thickness, and probably shouldn't complain after a whopping 30 days of spinning anything, ON anything.

If you want to see the Spindolyn in action, because it's an intriguing little invention with great potential, its inventor and hand-crafted maker can be seen demonstrating it in her delightful video. Even if you weren't interested in spinning, her accompanying music will make you reailze how ridiculously complicated you've let your life become, and that simplifying whatever you can is a good thing. Catherine's original Spindolyn, which is what she used in the video, did not have the black rubber sleeve over the shaft; that was a re-model that she felt eliminated certain winding-on problems she said were inherent in the bare shaft original. Her video also shows a very gentle, and to me inviable, drafting technique. When I asked her for pointers, since I hold my fiber totally differently, she said to hold the fiber loosely, as though you were holding a baby hummingbird and didn't want to crush it. And to release into the drafting zone as though sowing teensy seeds thinly in a row, or letting fine sand through your fingers. It's hard to describe a motion with words, but that gets a 10 for transmitting a feel for something. You can see her video here.

The shaft does not hold as much yarn as a drop spindle, but they can't be compared. Each has its own purpose. I'm finding that I really like both, and I think the spindolyn is going to be a great tool for improving my drafting technique. The way I've been doing it actually works pretty well because I'm told that I'm getting amazingly even yarn for my experience, but I think that in the long term, I could eventually be able to have perhaps more control doing it the way Catherine does it. So I'm now in the process of trying to learn this different way of holding and releasing the fiber for comparison. There's something I like about the way it's coming naturally to me, and I've been working on improving that way with definite progress. But I'd like to learn her way as well, then have a choice of which I think will be best to refine. Maybe both!

Catherine mentions, on her website ( that you can sink the whole base of the spindolyn into a bean bag, enabling you to spin from a table top. I didn't have a bean bag handy, so I dumped a whole box of rice into a Ziplock bag with expandable (flat) bottom. It wasn't deep enough with rice to offer stability, so I rubberbanded the middle of the bag, forcing the rice to squish up higher in the bag. It worked, but the rice itself doesn't have the weight-to-volume that split peas might, so I'll try those next. In any event, the little that I did spin with it from tabletop, I liked because it enabled me to stand and get a much longer strand before having to wind on.

What I can't seem to master is how she spins her spun yarn onto the shaft cone without getting too loose of a cop. I think that would be a lot easier with the finer yarn.
I like this tool.

Finished Project #1 - From First Spin!

I just finished knitting my FIRST SPIN! With only somewhere around a vaguely-estimated 123 yards that I spun, as thickly as I spun it, out of the gorgeous 4 oz. of fiber that Jenny gave me with the drop spindle for Christmas, I was really limited as to what I could make. That's not a lot of yarn but probably typical for a first spin.

I had a particular scarf in mind which is tailored. That was my only problem with it, because I'm not. I still like the way it looks though, and I had enough yarn for that. So I started it and only knit up about 2 inches before I realized, the size 4 needles called for were way too small for my yarn -- at least the part that came off the ball first.
This was coming out super stiff, thick and dense. I hated it, and would never be motivated to wear it. (The center stocking stitch part is where the slit would eventually go.) Otherwise it's ribbed. Thick, stiff, tight ribs!

So "tinked" it. (Jenny says "tinK" is Knit spelled backwards, and it refers to Un-knitting, otherwise known as ripping it out. So I switched to size 8, and started again.

Better, but still too dense and stiff. Only now, add that it would be too wide also. I thought maybe I could fold it over in the back, but why start out having to adjust to something you don't like anyway for this yarn.
I really wanted this first spin to be knit into something I could keep forever. Not only did this fiber come along with my drop spindle (and I can now say my "first" drop spindle), but Jenny picked out the fiber because it's a really nice BFL that spins great, and it was in my colors.

So for all those reasons, I abandoned that pattern and looked on Ravelry again for another thing to make out of it. I found one. Its picture wasn't QUITE what I wanted, but envisioning my yarn, I thought this might be a perfect thing to make. Plus it called for size 13 needles! Now we're getting somewhere!

So I tinked again.

This is now three tinks on the same yarn. AARG!

The pattern did not say "Cast on so freaking loosely that it's downright ridiculous, so I didn't. I cast on looser than I normally do, but not so it was downright ridiculous. Next time I make this (and I will), I will cast on so loosely that it's downright ridiculous. The very first rows are... you start with 60 inches, then knit 2 together down to 30 in the first row! Then without any breather purl row, in the very next row you decrease yet again! Down to 15 stitches. I mean, that's a violent change. I really had to struggle to knit two together even in the first row. The second was worse.

Time out: At least a year ago, I saw a whole set of bamboo knitting needles on eBay, cheaper than just one pair elsewhere. I ordered them for Jenny, just in case they weren't crap quality. I mean, they came out to $1 per pair so I didn't have high hopes, but it looked like these were mass produced somewhere in Asia, and who knows. Well, Jenny didn't like the tiny ones at all, which was what she was after, so I've had 12+ sets of round needles in tons of sizes, just sitting there. I am soooo glad I do! I figure the teensy ones are all wrong (cables are too big) but the big ones, I actually like a LOT! In any event, that's how I came to have so many needles so I could keep trying different sizes. And that's really a darned good deal! I could definitely get into knitting with bamboo needles for everything!

So the yarn kept being thick, and I was really liking this scarf-to-be. Then suddenly, not even a gradual change, it became thin. And I mean THIN! Can't find the close-up, but you can see what happened on the left side of the paper. Skinny yarn, skinny part of scarf.

I kept hoping the thickness would vary back and forth so it would look consistent and on purpose, but there are just sections that are skinny.

So this is what I got. One lacy, thinner tail, and one thicker, clubbier tail.

Adding to the variation in width of the scarf caused by the thick yarn on one tail and the thin on the other, when binding off, I just couldn't do it as tightly as when I cast on. So we have one "super-ruffle" and one "not so super" ruffle.

Here are the two ends hanging off a hook so gravity adds to the differences even more.

End result (the bad part):

  • The two ruffles really do look like they're on two different scarves. In fact, one ruffle is a good 1/3rd wider than the other.

  • Same with the actual body of the scarf. The thick side is about 1/4 its own width wider than the thin side.

    End result (the good part):

  • Hey, one end will be flipped over onto my back. You won't see them together.

  • Hey, if I'm being dressy and delicate, I can have the lacy end in front. If not, then the clubbier end in front. A convertible scarf! (Okay, we are really reaching here, but it's actually true because they don't look much alike.)

  • Hey, if it was perfect it would look like I bought it in a department store.

And last but not least...

  • Hey, it's my first spin! Some people don't knit anything from their first spin. It seems fitting somehow that it would be as inconsistent as it is, and I can't help but love that about it.

So there it is. And I will definitely wear it! In fact, I think I'll wear it with pride.
I sure learned a lot more about spinning, just from having knitted something out of what I did spin.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nothing is Obvious Until you See It... ongoing learnings

Sun., 1/18/09 - Splicing a newly-filled spindle shaft to a previously spun stored section:
I couldn't figure out how to do this, and something was missing from the methods I'd been told to do when I asked someone. (Aside: I've already decided I don't like wrapping stored section on empty toilet paper tubes because they're smaller and weaker than I'd like, so I just happened to have a paper towel tube. I like it for a number of reasons.) Anyway, I'd loaded two separate spins onto one PT tube, but didn't want to keep having separate sections, then try to splice them together after the fact. One of them had a more accessible free end that I'd slipped into a cut slit on the cardboard, except it had a knot in it. That was okay. I cut the knot off, then unspun a couple of inches. The spin had already set, however, so I took a regular hair comb (just a black Ace with both size/spacing of teeth). I combed out the two inches so it was nice, neat, fluffy fiber again. Then I put a ton of spin in the last foot or so of the yarn on my spindle. Carefully laid the two ends of now-unspun-fiber over one another, and held it in a flat pinch. Lifted it off the table, and slowly released it. SNAP!! That overspin I'd put into the spindle piece just totally gobbled up the joint's fiber. I then unwound a little longer length, both from the PT tube and from the shaft of my spindle. The overspin spread out, I pulled on it, and NOTHING was going to separate that splice short of breaking it on purpose. I relaxed the whole length, and it wasn't overspun, so that was that. I unwound my spindle onto the PT holder, making a big fat single yarn. YEEEEEE-HAW!!

Unfortunately I didn't do that to the first spindle cop, so that one is still separate and needing to be joined once I get one of them off the paper towel tube. But from now on, this is how I'm going to do it -- straight from the spindle onto the previously-stored source.

Couldn't figure that out prior to trying it for some reason. But it's so simple. Just leave a puff at the beginning and end of each cop, and use the puffed end of your stored cop as your fiber source during the splice. Et Voila. One down, a zillion to go.

Ordered a Spindolyn and Misc. Unrelated Blitherings

Oooo, I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait!

Maybe it's something to do with the music that accompanies Cady May's demonstration video of her spindolyns. Or the image of such a peaceful seeming soul sitting there in her cabin, cat stretching in the background. But this just looked like a wonderful way to spin.

Add that my back has gone out, out, OUT! and I'm worrying that it's the position I get into when spindling. Now that I'm so hooked into it, that's a big fear.

I do know I can't live with this back pain. It feels like a nerve that runs through my entire pelvic section from my back straight through to the front, then across and 90 degree turn down the inside of my thigh. It feels like that nerve is being subjected to a medieval torture device, then bashed with a sledge hammer for good measure. So if it is the position of spindling with my top whorler, then the spindolyn might be more than just an intrigue, but my solution. I'm hooked into spindling, one way or the other.

Cady May did email me and said that she hadn't sent mine out as of Friday because, with the frigid cold front, her cabin rooms were 45 degrees except right by the fireplace, so she was afraid the glue wouldn't have dried. But she said she'd gotten an electric heater and would send it tomorrow (which is now yesterday) if the heater helped. So I don't know when it'll arrive, probably sometime this week. It won't be soon enough! I'm dying to try it.

This is one of those times when having a horse is huge overhead, and I'm not talking about cost. I'm talking about in 10 minutes I have to fill 4 gallon jugs of water, carried two in each hand (that means no gloves for that part) out to the barn, saved from slipping on the solid sheet of ice that's my driveway by some serious spike button ice cleats, and do just what my back feels like most (NOT!) Fork out Cloud's indoor pen, bend in that awful position to pour the water, and all the other moves that result in her getting grained and 10 lbs. of hay, those tight leaves spread open. I'm not looking forward to that, but gotta do it.

New barn cat. S/he ran from me for months. Looked too fat to be ferel, but it's adopted my barn. I feed him now. He knows by now I'm not interested in eating him. He loves to be pet, even a little roughly (my test). I sat down out there to see if he'd come to me, and he did. This cat ain't de-clawed, along with the purring came the claw-kneading. On my leg. That cat's a mystery. He's either very trusting or is owned. Or was. He's taken up residence here for sure.

I'd bring him inside if Bella-Dawg wouldn't eat him. But I have no doubt in the world that she would. He never looks cold. With all that thick fur, no one would be. He's adopted a bale of hay as his bed. I put a blanket on it for him. I think I'll find a more crumply one he can snuggle into, this is a mover's furniture protector pad. Not very snuggly.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More on the Third Spin -- Thick/Thin/Slubby HELLL!

Maybe this is too far advanced for me, at least with this particular fiber. It's a wool mix, and extraordinarily spongy. Yet it compresses more than you'd think. Only sometimes though. Sometimes it compresses less than you'd think. (This is where experience would come in really handy!)
Yet still, I persist.
I'm getting the idea that one way to go about this would be to just not let the yarn get too thin. I wasn't guarding against that last night, or when I first picked it up this morning, but I've returned to it with the thought that my thin parts ought to be thicker than I've been letting them be.

The big problem with thick/thin is that the spin gravitates toward the thin. It gets overspun. Meanwhile, the thicker parts don't... well, MAYBE they don't, get enough spin. So I'm now thinking if I try for less of a difference between the extremes of thick/thin, that may help.

Drafting this fiber is also full of challenges. In some ways it acts like a long staple length (you need a longer draft zone) yet in others, it acts like it doesn't (will drift apart easier than I'd expect.)

Challenging!! Yet I have the feeling if I can pull this off, it'll be a lot of learning curve under my belt. I haven't yet figured out whether I'm going to get the hang of this anytime soon (expensive fiber to experiment with) or whether I should abandon the thick/thin/slubby idea, and just go for making the goal of a consistent yet fairly thick yarn. This fiber will spin thin, definitely. But I think it would lose some of its character, or at least the character that I see in it.

This will be an ongoing learning thing, and one I won't want to lose track of, so I may just keep adding to this post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

THIRD (interim) Spin: Trying for Slubby!

Okay, even at the beginning of this new spinning endeavor, I've found that when I look at a fiber in its braided, unspun state, it just seems to tell me that it would SING and ZING if it were to be spun in a certain way. This fiber... its colorway of golds and greys, from light to charcoal, along with its coarser (perhaps more kinky) texture... it just said, "Spin Me Slubby!"

Well, in the middle of Spin #2, I decided to load another spindle (Jenny loaned me her Kundert while a glitch was being remedied on the one she got me) with that fiber, and see if I could purposely spin thick-thin and slubby.
Man, did I EVER overdo it! I'd draft what I thought would be a slub, and it just spun quiet. A little thicker, of course, but no slub. And those really thin parts next to the thick parts... I didn't know how much spin to put in a combination like that, but those thick parts just didn't seem to take any spin, so I spun more. And more. And more! I decided I'd definitely stop after an ounce or thereabouts, and process it, then see what I got. So when I soaked it, I used HOT water for this because I'd read that you want to kind of slightly "felt" a slubby yarn so the slubs won't come apart. I also whacked the crap out of it. I mean, my dog ran for cover. Slam, slam, slam!! I then spun it dry in the salad spinner, and hung it to dry.
Oooomigod. It was a freaking kinking mess. I ran to Beginning Spinners Forum on Ravelry, and screamed HELP! I mean, I could practically hear this yarn screaming,
"Ouch! Argh, OUCH!!"
Well, in Beginning Spinners I asked if there was any way I could gently UNspin it to some extent. I had really processed it, I didn't think I still could.
They said I probably could, so that's what I tried. Now that was a neat learning experience, because it's a thing you do by feel. You just sense when to stop, and I mean for me, it came down to one revolution of the spindle.

Time Out for some drippy stuff: It seems to me that as ridiculous as this sounds, if you almost "listen" to your fiber or yarn in progress, it'll tell you exactly what to do. It's an instinct thing. It's not something that screams out at you, you have to listen for it. I've had just glimpses into this, and I'm sure it's commonplace with experienced spinners, but for other newbies, just be open to what the yarn is telling you.

Anyway, I did that unspinning in places, and not in others (that's fairly obvious EXCEPT that you have to mentally picture what's going to happen to the unspinning. Where will it gravitate? So I soaked it again, spun it in the salad spinner again, and this time I didn't whack it. I also didn't want to put a weight on the bottom of the skein loop because some of these slubs are damned long. I figured they could easily pull apart. So I looped just a dry wash cloth over the bottom of the loop. Not a lot of weight, true. But just enough to... well, it wouldn't hurt. It felt right to do. And this is how it came out. Still a little squiggly, but soooooo much better. And I didn't hear the yarn yelping anymore.

So what did I learn that I THINK will be the case?

When I draft thick and thin, I'm thinking that doing everything in more moderation is best. Things that looked like little slubs grew. If there was too much difference in yarn thickness, it invariably overspun the thin parts, and the bigger difference between thick and thin, the more that would happen.

With this spin, and this treatment (which is probably above my head at this point to be trying it), I'm going to do another ounce before proceeding, just to make sure these learned ("suspected") points are real.

SECOND Spin and notes

This is the fiber I bought on New Year's Eve in the snow storm, fearing I'd run out of my first dwindling "stash" on New Year's Day when ALL stores are closed, and when I thought I'd want to spin while watching the parade and pondering New Year's Resolutions. Besides, I had made a mini-breakthrough on the drafting. The safest textured fiber, and in a colorway I thought I'd like, I bought Louet Northern Lights wool blend that came in an 8-oz. bag of what the store owner told me was a little thicker than pencil roving. I later learned that this form is called a "sliver" (pronounced sly-ver).

Here's my best photo of what I was now able to get in terms of even thickness. I was now just getting the hang of the FEEL of how much fiber I was releasing into the draft zone. Still slow process of park-and-draft, and still holding my drafting and pinching hands too close together (for some reason terrified the fiber would drift apart... I was not good at joining, and still have a little trouble with it. I understand the tendency is too close together. More about that later.

Well, as Jenny put this yarn on her niddy noddy, she said that it was actually pretty tightly spun. But then she also said she thought this yarn would be great if I plyed it. She thought I'd see a whole lot less purple, to boot. So she put it on her umbrella swift and split it into two equal lengths, for two equal sized balls. And showed me how to ply yarn on the drop spindle.
ET VOILA!!! My first plyed yarn!

Gee, for first photos on a first blog, these just don't look as clear as they do elsewhere. If anyone knows some setting to get them clearer, please let me know!
Anyway, I didn't have wool wash yet, or a niddy noddy, so just wrapped it around the bottom of a plastic storage box and soaked the yarn in pretty hot water, then stuck it in a salad spinner which works amaaaaaazingly well. Hanging on a hook, it dried in just a few hours! Way faster than when we squeezed it dry. I did whack it, but not that much. There was some clockwise twist still in it after it dried. I guess I plied it even tighter than I spun it!
So I am now spinning up the rest, planning to ply it and hopefully the two shall be the same. What spinning a sample did teach me is to make a control card! One that shows the singles and the ply. I can't remember at this point how thickly I spun the single originally, so no clue if it'll come out looking the same as the ounce I have here.
I'm still in the process of spinning up the rest of this fiber. I don't yet know what I'll make out of it. I'm going to knit a swatch with this sample, and see if any ideas come to mind.

FIRST Spin - Photo and notes

Along with my brand new kick-ass Kundert Spindle that Jenny gave me for Christmas to see if I'd like spindling, she gave me a braid of gorgeous blue and white hand-dyed BFL Superwash fiber that she'd bought from The Woolen Rabbit. I LOVED that fiber! So here's the initial stab at my first spin.
The next photo is after I brought my FOUR (4) little balls of spun yarn to Jenny's to be washed and whacked. (It kept falling off the shaft.) We were really short on time, so I told her to just tie the ends together, I'd deal with it later. This is apparently very typical for a first spin -- thick, thin and slubby. As it was hanging to dry, I thought I had slubs throughout that seriously exceeded the staple length (for non-spinning friends, that's the length of each fiber and that would make it easily split apart)...

BUT! When I wound it into a ball, I discovered much to my delight that the really long unspun parts were all at the knots! Yeee-haw! I cannot wait to knit this yarn, the rest of it came out much to my liking. It's going to become a neck warmer (probably ribbed) that has a split at one end that the other end slips through.

This is a single, I got approx. 123 yards out of this 4-oz. braid. And I will treasure it forever as my first spin, and also just as meaningful to me, the result of the best, sweetest Christmas present I've ever received.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How I Even Got A Drop Spindle Anyway

My daughter took up knitting several years ago, and while I absolutely appreciated her work (still do!), I have never been much of a knitter. Well, a couple of exceptions: Way back when God was a boy, I made a big, snuggly, practical shawl, but only because I couldn't buy one like it. I still have it. Twenty years later, I also built a crewneck sweater I saw in a pattern by chance. Again, it had everything I couldn't find in a purchased one. And then last year, I was in need of something to do with my hands, so knitted another sweater. I still don't know how to sew it together. I will though.

So with all the above being super simple stitches, I currently know the following: Cast On, Knit, Purl, Increase, Decrease and Bind Off. That's it!

Meanwhile, daughter Jenny had also now taken up spinning on a wheel. Last Mother's Day we went to a Sheep & Wool Festival for a nice day out together. She wanted to see the fiber and tools, I wanted to see the Sheep Dog Demo's. She bought an inexpensive Drop Spindle for fun. Since then, whenever she'd come over, I'd casually watch her twirling and whorling as we chatted. It was her thing. Horses were mine.

Just on a chance, Jenny got me a Kundert drop spindle for Christmas along with 4 oz. of beautiful BFL roving in my colors. She thought just maaaybe I might enjoy it. But she included the preface that if I didn't happen to take to it, do not feel bad, her feelings wouldn't be hurt one bit. She knew it was a crap shoot, and not for everyone. So Christmas day she showed me how to spindle. I felt as though I had 15 fingers, all tangled together, and then at other times, I needed two more that had to be at least 8 inches long. I had a death grip on the draft, my hands were way too close together and fighting one another. Clearly this was going to be a definite learning curve. But it was really challenging. And kind of fun.

So fast-forward to New Year's Eve, daytime. During the six days hence, I'd picked it up several times a day, and was learning a tad more each time. Park and draft, park and draft. Death grip. Pull, ease... quite a process. But I kept at it because I was seeing YARN! Late afternoon, there was a howling wind and snow/ice storm in progress and all news sources were saying to stay off the roads "unless absolutely necessary." Well, it started dawning on me, I'd gotten pretty far through the 4 oz. of fiber, and no yarn shops are open on New Year's Day. Suddenly I felt clutched. So I called the cops and asked how bad the roads were, reeeally. They said just go very, very slow and take back roads. So I drove just that way to a yarn shop two towns over, and chose from their small supply of fiber. That's when I realized, I was addicted.

Having joined Ravelry, starting membership on New Year's Eve, I see that everyone keeps a blog of their progress and projects. That makes a lot of sense, because you can look back and see your steps and later remind yourself what you did to get different results. And what not to do next time.

So that is how I got my Drop Spindle, and my new hobby, and a blog. Spinning will probably be with me from now forward.

Thanks Jenny, that was the bestest gift to your mom, in the whole wide world... ever!