Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bison? Dyson?

I've been on planes again. It will take a few days to recover. But for now?
abby batt and spindle

I came home with gifts and purchases. I'm spinning some delicious fiber from Abby on my new Desko spindle, that I purchased at Beth's shop . Yes, I went to Michigan, to one of the few spinning-focused shops in the country, and we had a weaving class!

There was wool everywhere for sale, a veritable cornucopia for those who like to touch before they buy, and buy what is right for their project, not just what they can find. Everything was there: longwools, fine wools, down breeds, silks, dyed fibers, dyed roving and batts (see above!) and the odd optim, latte and soysilk. There are wheels to try, spindles to fondle (fewer of them than previously, I assure you), books and all sorts of tools for spinners.

The workshop participants were a cheerful crew, the best! I wish I had more pictures of the workshop, but Beth's blog has a great wrap up.

We knotted, we clipped, we made a total mess. By the time we left there was such a plethora of wool bits on the floor, Beth's delightful daughter Chelsea will be cleaning up after us for days.

There was no bison, Denny, but there will be a Dyson.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Small Things

Several small things in the works or done:
spindle bag outside

First up, the spindle bag. It looks a lot like a horse's feedbag: maybe I should just save myself some time and shop at the feed store? The other side:
spindle bag other side

Inside, there are 2 pockets for spindles, and 3 pockets for my niddy-pinny. Here it is empty:
spindle bag inside empty

And full:
spindle bag inside full

There is room for the two silk spindles (both Goldings), and the bombyx silk I've been spinning. It has a drawstring top, and a handle to sling it over a shoulder. Quite the success, for the first time out, although the second (and third? fourth?) bags will have some alterations. Maybe less of a feedbag look too. :)

I've got enough of the silk spun now to start knitting:
silk knitting yarn

Start being the operative word:
knitting silk start

This will take months to knit: it's a scarf or shawl, depending on how long the silk and I hold out. But it's to be travel knitting, and the traveling starts this weekend with a trip to Michigan, so it was time to cast on.

My last trip brought a few new small things too:
michael's pins

Silk pins,a gift from rug weaver and basket maker Michael Rohde, made with his hand-dyed yarns. He came to the lecture with a tiny copper and brass lap-loom, based on Archie Brennan's pipe looms for tapestry. I've been using a variation on Archie's loom plans for knotted pile, and tried a small version for travel using Michael's alterations:

pipe loom small

This is not as small as Michael's: mine is 12" x 18". I may try for smaller yet, but some of the constraints of knotted pile make for a slightly larger version than for tapestry: I need room for the shedding device, and enough room above and below the shedding device for the warps to move. This will fit easily in my usual travel suitcase, though, and it works(!).

And last, the smallest red shoes I have ever made:

red shoes

I'm going to be someones Grandma soon! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is one of my favorite bags:
baba yaga 1

There are skull beads on this bag given to me by my son, there is a broom made from the hair of the daughter of a friend from my younger days, there is also a silver broom and cauldron, and a chicken foot made from the copper wiring from my house remodel.

But why Baba Yaga? She is one of my favorite folk characters too: witch, wise woman, herbalist, curandera, keeper of the flame, Baba Yaga is all of these. Folk figure or legend? Some of both, most likely. From the oral tradition, stories were written down; there are many versions and many exploits of Baba Yaga in the guise of monster, wise crone or helper: just like anyone's mother..... :)

This bag is woven of raw silk yarns, dyed fiery colors, with a eye-dazzler cardwoven band in the same flame yellows and reds:
baba yaga back

Baba Yaga lived in the woods, in a house perched on chicken legs. She kept, among other things, an eternal flame, for those who needed fresh coals to kindle a fire. After finding one's way through the woods to her house-on-legs, one appealed for permission to enter. If the correct secret words were uttered, the house would turn on its chicken legs, orienting so the visitor could enter.

baba yaga back2

Baba Yaga would give three tasks for the applicant to complete: always daunting tasks, like finding a needle in a haystack, or separating earth from poppyseeds.

If one completed the tasks correctly, burning coals were the reward, given in the hollowed out skulls of previous, but unsuccessful, visitors. There would be notorious and frightening sightings of the fiery skulls as they made their way home to the village through the woods.

baba yaga close up

Baba Yaga flew through the night sky in her cauldron or mortar, sweeping all traces of her path from behind her, using a broom made of the hair of her victims.

Baba Yaga is Earth Mother, fearsome and useful, helpful and capricious. In some stories she is the heroine, in others the monster.

baba yaga framed

Apropos of nothing previous, Patricia and Tuck were married this week:


We're meeting them for dinner later this evening, and I will be soundly berated for my recent lack of blog posts. Now I can ::blink, blink:: in all innocence. :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Perfect Marriage

Still winter:
yurt winter morning

Still spinning:
hound design spindles

A perfect marriage of fiber and spindle: Hound Design laceweight spindles, both Paduak, from Acme Fibres (love the name, it reminds me of Roadrunner cartoons, as does their logo), and pygora/tussah fiber in Copper Canyon from Rainbow Yarns NW, which I bought from Terry at SOAR 2009.


This is about 80 yards of laceweight yarn, less than an ounce spun up so far (I have 7 more ounces, I have lots of spinning to do!). The colors of the fiber and spindles just make me sing. That is, after all, what this is all about isn't it?