Monday, February 16, 2009

Newest Family Addition

Nope, It's not a puppy. It's better than a puppy.
It's my new Jumbo flyer (with four bobbins!) for the spinning wheel. I've been wanting one for a while now as I envisioned it making plying so much better. I saved up for a bit and managed to get it ordered from Pacific Wool and Fiber. I've never ordered anything from them before, but figured I'd give them a shot as they are at least on the same coast as me and their prices were very reasonable. I figured that if it went well I'd order from them in the future. I think it went well indeed. As I said, I ordered on 02/06 and the darling package showed up at my work on 02/10. I was one happy spinning girl! I spent time after work in the evenings staining/sealing it to match the wheel and madly spinning singles so I could try it out as soon as it was dried and assembled. Isn't it purty! (Oh! And I got a lb of Corriedale Top to try too! Can Not Wait!)

I took (way too many for a normal person) pictures of the flyer and bobbins before using it. Heck my wheel even got a cleaning and tune up in honor of the new parts! Anyway, this pictures shows how much larger that jumbo flyer is. The normal one is on the right side and the new Jumbo is on the left. I've since finished the singles and plied them on the Jumbo. While the take up on it feels different due I think to the weight of the much larger flyer and bobbins, everything was really very smooth and it was great to be able to fit two bobbins worth of yarn onto ONE bobbin! (There was still some left on one of the bobbins, but I write that off to my impatience at wanting to ply therefore there was more on one than the other.) I'm unsure of the yardage yet as I'm waiting to wash the skein with the rest of this batch, thus having a total yardage amount for the Mostly Gray Jacob.
I'm still practicing the long draw method and am trying to remember not to overextend my arms. I hold the fiber supply in my left hand and my instinct is to draw the fiber back well behind my back, rotating my swiveling rolly chair that I sit in. At the last guild meeting it was emphasized to me that I needed to learn a more ergonomic spinning method to insure that I wouldn't wear my joints and body out prematurely. Evidently this (admittedly older) wiser lady thinks I'm in better shape than I am, but I was very happy to take the tips from her as she's trying to instill in the rest of us healthier ways of doing our craft just to help keep us from having to stop crafting due to worn out joints, repetitive stress disorders, etc. All of it's much appreciated. I have horrible posture and am trying to learn to sit up straighter and that a long draw can be 12" and doesn't have to be 3 yards. ;) Duh, huh?
Another thing that was stressed in the long draw class was that fiber prep was key. I've heard that a hundred times if I've heard it once, but sometimes it takes just the right person to say something for it to sink in. I've always done my own fiber prep, only buying prepared roving on the rare occasion or receiving it as a special present once in awhile. The fiber I'm currently working with has all been carefully (snort) carded into nice fluffy batts and my usual habit is to leave it in batt form, tearing off a strip to spin from as I go along. It suddenly dawned on me the other night that I see some of the other ladies (that spin award quality yarns) stripping their batts and pre-drafting it before winding it into little balls to spin from. I've always skipped this step and dealt with the pre-drafting/drafting as I went. Something clicked in my brain this week and I sat down, stripped a couple of batts and then pre-drafted them, filling a bag with little ready-to-spin balls of roving. When the time came for me to spin, the spinning was much easier, much faster and much much much more even. Another DUH moment for me. lol. I'll still skip the step when I'm going for more of a thick/thin yarn, but right now I'm aiming for an even spun lofty yarn. Ahhhh, the joys of learning.
Anyway, this is one of the Mostly Gray Jacobs wool singles before plying. I think I'm getting better. We'll see. Tomorrow night is guild and I'm sure someone will comment if I've got it all goofed up. lol
Well I'm off to prep some more fiber for tomorrow nights meeting . The best part is I can do this and use Don's Shiatsu back massager at the same time! YAY! I'm still working on the second Nutkin sock. Not because it's been a problem, but because I've been spending so much time with the fiber prep and spinning. Not a bad problem, eh? I'm still completely loving this sock pattern and will post up pics and specs as soon as I'm done with them. This has been the best sock knitting experience I've had in ages. Maybe I'm ready to take on the elusive Jaywalkers again. Ermm...maybe not.


Cindy said...

You lucky!!

Taueret said...

I like jumbo flyers! What wheel do you have?

April said...

Oh Cindy, you don't know how lucky I feel! Just to have the financial means to be able to save enough (for however long it takes) to purchase a "want" like this is a wonderful feeling in itself. Then to be able to come home to everything I do have, I tell ya, I feel pretty darn lucky. I'm in contact with people on a daily basis that have it really rough, and I'm thankful for my job, my life and all that includes. I'm certainly not living on a golden river here, but I am aware how lucky I am. ;) Oh, An Taueret, I own an Ashford Traveler. I bought it orginally because of the small amount of space it takes up. I really like it and having the Jumbo Flyer on hand makes it perfect! I have a bunch of bobbins around as I sometimes like to just grab a fiber and start spinning. ;) I mainly bought the jumbo flyer for plying skeins as I'm a bit of a bobbin stuffer and get tired of breaking the skeins up when I ply, but I'm starting to look at making larger, fluffier yarns. Or maybe even beaded yarns. Hmm....the possibilities. Thanks for dropping by!