Monday, November 06, 2006

First born plied and joy

My first ever mini skeinlette of handspun, plied yarn. Oh, the joy...the cuteness...the wonkiness...I love it! What I love most about this little thing is that- not only it is my first ever handspun and plied yarn, but that it's been touched by many caring hands. Julia taught (and helped) me to spin this one day/evening/night at her house, after MJ showed me how to pre-draft it, using Spunky Eclectic BFL donated by Mary-Heather, who also taught me how to ply it. I know I will love my future handspun just as much, but so far, this is my favorite skein of yarn- ever!

I spun up more of the same roving, which I will leave unplied, just so I can have one skeinlette of each to remember my first spinning experiences by. The plying happened this past Sunday at the Southern California Handweaver's Guild's Annual Weaving and Spinning Festival, where I met up with MJ and Mary-Heather for an afternoon filled with much fiber fondling and stash enrichment enabling. Good times!

Happy Campers: Mary-Heather, MJ and I basking in a post-fiber frenzy afterglow

A brief fiber fest recap: We oohed and aahed our way through two vendor-filled rooms, stopping along the way to play touchy feely with the loads of fiber and yarn that was splayed out before us. We took several long pauses at the Capistrano Fiber Arts studio booth and thought of Julia each time. Do they know about dyeing over there or what! I was *this close* to buying some gorgeous, vibrantly-colored BFL, but by the time we made our way back to the booth the last time, I had reached my limit for purchases. Looking back, I regret not buying just a little of that BFL anyway, but I will survive. We watched a fashion show showcasing works by Guild members for a little while, which led to a most pleasant surprise- we bumped into Jillian! Jillian and I have *known* each other through our blogs, but had never met in "real life" (hooray for meeting blogfriends in person)! We also saw a very cool exhibit celebrating the Guild's 60th anniversary, which included this amazing work of art:

Is that a giant, woven chess set I see before me? Why, yes it is!

We were also lucky enough to meet the artist who created this masterpiece in 1969. Mary-Heather will have more to report on this coming up, so I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say it was incredible to see in person. We were in awe.

I must say, we came away with some great stuff! I'll devote a separate post to my purchases (some roving, some yarn, and a book). No, it's not that much- (thankfully I managed to show some restraint, in spite of MJ's evil ways), but it does deserve its own post nonetheless. ;) MJ and Mary-Heather also got some amazing roving, and Mary-Heather even bought her very first spindle! Once we had reached our spending limits, we decided to sit amongst a group of spinners and their wheels out in the courtyard. After Mary-Heather took her brand new spindle out for a test drive, she was kind enough to show me the ropes (hardy har) of Andean plying, which MJ was kind enough to photograph. (Thanks, girls!)

Me, inadvertently giving myself the finger while doing some pre-plying wraps around my hand and Mary-Heather admiring her new spindle. So purty!

Plying is not nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. Mary-Heather let me try her new spindle, which was fabulous! (Do I need another spindle already? Probably not, but man, it's a nice one!)

If I actually look like I know what I'm doing here, it's all an illusion!

FYI: Unfortunately, you can't really see her, but the woman sitting and spinning behind me? She was spinning without drafting (which is apparently known as long-draw technique). All three of us were in awe. (Not to mention, get a load of her basket of fiber!) As for me, I just plied away, and...voila! First ever plied yarn!

Thoughts on spinning after a couple of weeks: Fun! Thoughts on plying after one try: Fun! Here are my first two handspun babies. Aren't they cute? Can you even tell the difference between the two? ;)

Post script: Since these skeinlettes, I've been practicing on some (more) really pretty BFL I bought from Amy at Spunky Eclectic. I have been spinning at a finer (thinner) gauge and am actually finding it much easier to work with and attain more of a balance (i.e. the yarn isn't as wonky, with fewer bulbous areas). I think I will experiment with varying thicknesses and see what happens. (I don't quite have my spinning terminology down yet, in case you hadn't noticed.) This is way too much fun! Only problem is- I haven't knit in days!


Kara said...

It is the cutest little skeinlette ever! Love the colors. Way to take your love of yarn to the "next level", you are a braver woman than I.

Mouse said...

Ooh how exciting! I have put some of my handspun up for sale.. but my first skein is never going anywhere.. its my favorite.
Wait until you knit with your own handspun.. its awesome.

lori z said...

oh it looks like you guys had a great time. I really wish that i could have come, but we needed preserve ourselves for our evening out at the premiere! 'twas fun to get all dolled up and go out! hopefully we'll be able to meet again soon!

Jennifer said...

Yay for spinning! I'm glad you are having so much fun with it.

jillian said...

So pretty! And how cool that this milestone happened among friends and at a fiber festival. It was so great meeting you "for reals"!

Theresa said...

Congratulations on your new "baby"!

The Stitchin' Sheep said...

Very nice, and I'm so jealous of the fun at the spinning/weaving show.

I know what you mean: seems to be either spinnig OR knitting around here. Never both.

margene said...

You're doing well! It is such a rewarding experience to spin. You are all so beautiful with your big smiles;-)

Marnie said...

Awwww, your spinning looks SO great. I wish I could have gone to the festival with you guys.

Julia said...

Yay!! Gorgeous spinning.

Shelley said...

Now - here's what you have to do. Find a way to stop working. That way you can spin in the morning and knit in the afternoon. Yeah .. sounds like a plan.

Mary-Heather said...

Ah, such a great day! It was so nice to hang out with you guys... I had such a blast!

And your spinning and plying is looking GREAT!!!

Lolly said...

Such a fun post! I love seeing all of you happy knitter/spinners ;) Your spinning is looking good! not that I know anything about spinning, but it looks artsy, and I love the fiber colors!

Disentangled said...

I have to agree - I love the smiling faces :-) But that yarn! So much fun!

Anonymous said...

We had a good time, didn't we? All that fiber, ahhhhh! I still say, though, that the bestest purchase was your super-soft yarn. Scrumptious. Make something with it already! :-)

- MJ