I'm Laura. I am female, 31, a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic.


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Stringtopia Wrap-Up

Posted at 07 May 2011 06:04:32 PM

Right off the bat, I should tell you that Melissa is doing a much better job than I will. She had her camera out all weekend - me, not so much!

When Dan and I walked into the Golden Lamb, we were greeted by the sight of at least a dozen people sitting in the lobby, all spinning away on drop spindles. My first thought was "We're in the right place!" Shelly ran right up and found out who I was and gave me my goodie bag, which was chock full of amazing things from Ugly Schmugly, Working Girl Handmade (can't find a link) and Goodies Unlimited.

Despite that, I still felt kind of out of place, so I sort of stood in a corner and pulled out the first spindle and fiber that came to my hand- a Trindle with some of the 'petrified' locks that Scylla gave me the other weekend when we were excavating her fiber stash. LianaLi solved my problem by immediately coming over and asking excitedly about the Trindle and making me feel right at home!

This was actually from our last day, when Jacey Boggs came in and taught us how to make boobcle bouclé - which turned into a really surprising explanation of twist and plying structures that really went beyond just making yarn with loops in it. We had done a mini lesson in corespun during the kickoff bash on Friday night that was amazing in its own right, too!

I took the two-day class with Abby Franquemont, in which we each studied the kind of yarn that we wanted to make. For some, it was specifically for a project; for others it was a particular type of weaving yarn, and I wanted to focus on lofty woolen yarns. It was one of those classes where everyone learns cumulatively, and picks up much more about spinning as a whole than I think we would have if we were attending a very focused topic class. (I just hope I remember most of it!)

I skipped the Saturday evening spin-in, although quite probably I oughtn't have. Apparently there was much spinning, more door-prize-giving and rather a lot of goofing off, although I'll leave those pictures in the FOAY threads where they belong ;-) Dan and I skipped out after class to go locate a Friendly's, which for you midwesterners is a rather normal family-style restaurant which happens to have a ridiculous ice cream selection and some inexplicably craveable buffalo chicken strips. Whenever we get within 25 miles of one my only request is WE MUST GO. NOW.

And that night the Vancouver playoff game was on (although inexplicably the hotel got eleventy million hunting and fishing channels, but not Versus). We ended up watching it via live updates on nhl.com.

Somebody - I can't remember your name, but you were an absolute sweetheart - left a fantastic prize on my chair even though I wasn't at the party. I didn't even open it until halfway through Sunday because I wasn't really sure that it was meant for me. A new Trindle with 3 - THREE - sets of arms! My favorite is definitely the hammered silver beads. They're just beautiful in motion!

I, er... may have bought some things. Morgaine brought what must have been the entire stock of Carolina Homespun and set up shop in the room across from the classrooms, and oh boy - was that ever an eye-opening shopping experience.

And she let us run a tab. Talk about enabling...

I made lofty yarn! And got to play with real roving, not just mislabeled top, which was another eye-opening experience. Note to self: stop buying top, especially commercially-processed stuff with all of the crimp steamed out of it.

The (rather terrible) bouclé . But hey, I'm still learning! We used mohair for the loopy single, and I definitely underspun it. On the other hand, the merino single that we used for a core was overspun, I think, and I'll need to practice in order to really get the balance right.

The first night we made custom Stringtopian Edition batts on Abby's and Nada's carders. They were supposed to be used for corespinning practice (and it was!) but I had most of it left over which I saved and spun up once I got home. One of those things where if I didn't spin it up soon, emotional attachment would set in and it would sit in my stash forever.

131 yards. I'm not at my goal of true laceweight yarn yet, much though I'm trying, but I can already tell that my singles are more even and not underspun. Yay!

I'm tossing around ideas for a pattern for it... I swatched last night for a wide, shallow shawlette in which I can use a separate color for the edging.

The door prices were unbelievable. This is 4oz of Jacob roving in the colorway "Swamp Thing" from Gnomespun Yarn. I may have started sampling it rather immediately.

Up there on the impossible-to-refuse list is BFL/Silk. I bought some because BFL/Silk is rather like emergency pants - in every hypothetical I can come up with, I'm glad I have it.

Ohhh, dear. Dearie dearie dear. This is camel/silk in a truly impossible-to-photograph color of blueish greenish black called Moonless Night, by Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I bought the first braid because really, in what universe was I going to leave that on the shelf? And then I bought the second one because it looked lonely without its friend. (And Lianali is a very, very good enabler. I think it evened out in the end, though ;-) )

And look, Abby! I sampled!

Llamaleader gave us all 1/2oz of llama roving in our goodie bags! I haven't sampled this yet... I think I might be scared.

Our goodie bags also included a really adorable "cupcake", made by piling a silk cap into a cupcake paper and topping it with a bright red silk cocoon "cherry". Love that idea! I introduced Endora to the silkworm.

At lunch, Eve amazed me by spinning straight from the cap, without separating the layers or anything. She was just pulling yarn out of the bundle and winding it onto her spindle - so cool!

I learned a lot about silk - namely, even when it looks like it's overspun, and all of your wool-spinning instincts are screaming at you to wind on, keep going. I have a very informative bobbin that I'm actually keeping on a shelf until I get more time to practice and let the lessons sink in... The first couple of sections on it are what I would have considered "evenly spun", and then you can see the very identifiable point where I asked Abby for help because it was still not very shiny and had a lot of flyaways. Her answer was "more twist. Really. Keep going!" and the next couple of sections are much more shiny and silk-like.. the difference between the two is astonishing. I still have some plain tussah to play with, but after a quarter hour trying to manage that insane amount of twist my fingers were starting to feel a bit fuzzy and I had to stop spinning for awhile.

It was odd coming back home to a world where not everybody pulls out spindles and fiber at every opportunity and where conversation topics never include the phrase "Oooh, what are you spinning?" A weird sort of reverse culture shock.

We got home around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning and I worked from home on Monday. My hands and wrists are still not up to par, but it's not like I've really given them a break either :)

I'm trying to get caught up on the knitting; I have one shawl design that's being test-knit now, another one which is giving me fits, and the mini one for the abbybatt that's still in the swatching stage. I don't even know how I got myself into this - I love knitting, but never really intended to 'design' anything... oh well!

In the mean time I finally got my stitch counts in Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl to work out - victory! - and I've been knitting away on that. Enjoying having something that's actually Working As Intended... now I see what Anne Hanson means about how nice it is to knit somebody else's pattern.

Time to go upload the stash acquisitions to Ravelry!

Tagged as: spinning, stringtopia

On 19 May 2011 05:03:17 PM, gary (grimmler) said...

Happy Birthday Laura! Hope you have a great day, and I hope our (virtual) paths cross again sometime in the future. All the best,

On 22 May 2011 03:01:38 PM, Laura said...

I can't think how you remember that every year, Gary, and thank you!! It looks like your blog is locked so I can't leave a comment there :(

On 11 Jan 2012 04:11:24 PM, qqoyan said...