Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm Back!

Oh, my goodness, tell me it's not true that my last post was February 16th!  Well, that's on this blog - you know I couldn't be quiet for that long.  If you want to catch up on my life, check out Jack and the Alpacas.  Anyway, I'm here because I've actually taken a weekend to think of creating and not just caring for animals!

To say the boys have been time consuming is an understatement.  So for the last two months I have made a couple of cards and a simple little scrapbook for a friend to celebrate her new grand baby, so this weekend is a welcome break.

W. C. Mercantile Booth
Hand Carders
As you know I love to needle felt and we will soon have our own fiber from the boys, so my attention is turning to fiber off the hoof! This weekend I went to the Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta in Seguin, TX.  The Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch where I bought my boys had a booth with their gorgeous fiber for sale and my favorite wool store W. C. Mercantile was right beside them.  I bought my first hand carders and got a quick lesson from Katie, a remarkable 21 year old "fiber genius".  She's been knitting since 8 and now spins, dyes and teaches us how to begin the process.  All this and college too!  She is a wonder!  Of course, I was especially drawn to her as that's my "perfect" granddaughter's name and the same kind of joy!

When I entered the doors I was blown away by the array of fiber!  It was like walking into a rainbow and the friendliest people I've ever met at a show of any sort.  Everyone wanted to help me learn, no question went unanswered and I learned so much.  After walking around and my carding lesson, I went to my drop spindle spinning class!  It was a small class of about six of us, all of which knitted, except me! The first thing we were told to do once we had seen the beautiful fiber she brought for us to use and were introduced to the spindle, was to make a slip knot.  For many of you that probably sounds like a simple instruction, but I just sat there with a blank look on my face as five other ladies quickly made their knot and slipped it over the top of the spindle.  I just had to take a deep breath and say, "I'm sorry, but what is a slip knot?"  Heads spun and the woman next to me showed me how.  Not that I remembered later, but she helped the class move along.  No one ask why I wouldn't know how to do that if I was a knitter and if I wasn't a knitter why was I taking this class. I made no confessions!

From that point on we were all beginners and I loved the process of spinning with this old and simple method.  I actually made decent single ply yarn.   Our teacher showed us another type of spindle called a Turkish spindle (no idea why it's called that) and it was interesting, but then she said, "You start it with a half hitch!  Well, in my mind that was out of the question - another knot!  No way!

Class ended and I headed over to show my progress to my friends and I saw the "Jeri Brock Woodworks" booth. I had just received a 10% discount on spindles so I stopped.  What beautiful spindles!  All hand made by Jeri of beautiful woods and I knew I had to have one.  So I was preparing to ask about them when my spinning instructor appeared.  She said, "Hello. I see you found the booth.  Aren't these spindles beautiful?"  I said, "They are beautiful and now I just need help on choosing one."  I turned to Jeri for help. Now this is the fun part!  Jeri said, "What type of yarn do you want, as that determines the type of spindle?"  I looked at her with that same blank look I had over the slip knot!  She looked at me and said, "What do you knit?"  I loudly exclaimed, "Oh my, I don't knit!"  I wish you could have seen the look on her face!  Her eyes were wide open with surprise and wonderment and the heads in every booth around us spun around!  My instructor simply said, "She just got alpacas and is starting the process from the opposite direction than most of us!"  I loved this comment and we had a big laugh and Jeri proceeded to introduce me to the types of spindles and when she showed me the simple process of making a ball of yarn as you spin with the Turkish spindle I was sold!  She showed me the half hitch knot ( this will be a separate post) and I got my first Turkish spindle.  Jeri hand carves all of her spindles and they are beautiful.  I got one with cutouts of Texas, but it won't be my last and so I will be collecting many of her designs.  She encouraged me to spin for at least 10 minutes every day for seven days and I would be shocked at how much improvement there would be; so I've started that plan and this is my first little ball I made on Saturday as Bill and I drove back down to the show.  She took it off the spindle and made a tiny little skein for me to save.  Everyone says we must keep our first skein, so she put it on a decorative holder for me to put on the tree each year.
My first mini skein!

I have so much more to say about spinning, the fesitval and fiber plans, but reality sets in and I must get some things done today, so I am putting my stories on hold.

So much to say, so much to do, so little thyme!
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