Saturday, February 21, 2009

This week I have been very busy getting fibers and yarns ready for my booth at the Southern California Handweavers Conference at the Riverside Convention Center on March 6th, 7th and 8th. ( Despite the work that needs to be done, I did manage to take a couple of breaks during the week to play around.  My friend, Michelle, from Escondido came for a visit and we spun some bulky novelty yarns.  We made up a big mixture of mohair, mohair curls and such, and here is the skein I spun when she was here.  This is 46 yds. and weighs in at 3.8 oz.

After Michelle left, I kept looking at all these lovely natural colored fibers I had -- dark and light mohair, kid mohair curls, pygora, corriedale, merino, and angora. So I made up a concoction of fibers, threw in some novelty stuff, and here's the result -- 56 yds. and 4.5 oz. of loveliness:

Here are a couple of other bulky mohair novelty skeins I spun.

The bulky novelty handspinning really gets me out of my usual spinning box (below).  I handpainted some superfine merino wool recently, and began spinning two of the rovings with the idea of plying them together.  Rovings ("Avalon" and "Avalon II") and yarn below.  This is my normal spinning, 455 yds. and 3.8 oz. fingering weight -- knit on a US2 to US4 needle. 

I'm thinking this might be great for some more crocheted granny squares or maybe one of Vivian Hoxbro's mitered scarves.  

Yesterday, we had our little informal spinning group down at Common Threads in Encinitas. We had the best turnout yet -- I think we had eight spinners.  What a great time we had. We'll be meeting again on Friday, March 20th, from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  I am hoping Martie from Taos Sunflower will be in town and join us.  

Well, back to work!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Yesterday I traveled north to Manhattan Beach to have lunch with a friend who I had not seen in several years.  It had poured all night and was still at it when I got up.  A little nervous about driving an hour+ up the freeway, the radio reporting flooded carpool lanes,water spouts and thunderstorms approaching off Long Beach, etc. I almost canceled but then decided I'd venture out and if I had to turn back, I would.  The rain goddess must have been watching over me because as I approached Long Beach, the freeway was somewhat dry; further on, the sun came out, and I had a wonderful trip. One of the highlights of my day was visiting Twist, a yarn store located at Sepulveda and 8th Street in Manhattan Beach.  Such a delightful little shop and my very favorite in the L.A. area.   From the outside, the shop seems like a little hole in the wall, but it is actually a diamond in the rough. Once inside, it's quite magical, full of colorful, unique yarns -- many of which you won't find in other shops. Tons of artisan yarns -- all the things I love: Chasing Rainbows, Habu, Malabrigo and many other indy dyers. (

I had a nice chat with Cathy, Twist's owner, who also creates and carries her own line of Twist artisan yarns and spinning fibers. If you're in the area (or even if you're not), this is a destination little yarn shop.  

I couldn't get away without coming home with some silk/wool Malabrigo in beautiful colors of blue,violet,gold and green, perfect for another Buttonhole scarf. This will be the take-along project for my trip to Seattle on Weds.

Here's my latest handspun project:

For the past week, I've been working on a capelet, knitting with my handspun yarns. Until I started knitting with my handspun again, I had forgotten what a special thing it was.  Now I'm addicted to using all these colorful yarns sitting in baskets around my studio.  This capelet is my own design and uses three different skeins of fingering weight handspun.  

The lace body of the capelet was knit with a merino/cashmere handspun in my colorway "Goldenrod".  I used a traveling vine lace -- lovely with handspun.  The bottom lace edge is a yarn, plied using a merino/cashmere in "Cabo" and a merino/kid mohair handpainted in gold, rust and gray.

The gold lacey ruffle was spun using a Foxfire Fibres cormo wool/tussah silk roving, which I later dyed with coreopsis from my garden.

The shawl pin is a "Perl Grey" creation and I purchased the handcrafted ceramic buttons from an artist at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago.  

The end of the day Saturday produced a stunning picture. Not quite a full moon, but it was pretty spectacular to see it floating above the huge thunderhead clouds. 
So excited to be heading up to Seattle on Wednesday and to take in the Madrona Winter Fiber Retreat in Tacoma. 

Monday, February 02, 2009

Last Saturday, I hosted a spinning workshop at my house (on behalf of South Coast Weavers and Spinners Guild).  Janel Laidman, author of "The Eclectic Sole" and master of the Spindilicity website, was our workshop leader. There were 12 spinner participants and we all had the best time, learned so much and left with lots of colorful handspun yarns and new techniques.

After each exercise, we wound our yarn on cards so that we could see the color sequencing.
These are just some of the wraps.  Gorgeous!  
And Janel was so generous -- she signed books and then gifted everyone a 2009 Spindilicity calendar.   The latest issue of Spindilicity is now up:

And here I was flipping through the calendar when July's picture came up.  I was more than surprised to see a great picture of one of my Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio rovings -- Chili Peppers.  What a great treat!  

So, on Sunday, I just had to swatch with some of the yarns I had spun in Janel's workshop. Granny squares with handspun yarn are more than lovely. 

Closeup of one of my singles yarns crocheted into a granny square.

Here's the fake Noro square.

And I'm working on a capelet with some of my handspun yarn.  

Another reminder -- the Association of Southern California Handweaver's conference will be March 4 through 7.  For more information, here's the site: 

Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow today -- six more weeks of winter!  All for now.