Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Whoo Hooo, No More Cheetos!

Whoo hooo, whoo hooo for today! I spent some time today with the drop spindle; that tool I swore was for spinning ugly yarn, and managed to get the lumpy "cheetos" out of my yarn product! I am learning to handle the drop spindle with a large bag of orange wool which makes the yarn either appear smooth and slick when it is spun correctly, or it looks like fat "cheetos" puffs disbursed amongst the thread/yarn variables. Today I've managed to spin what looks like real thread! Whoo hooo! (picture to post soon)

Adding Links

After all the posts about sheep, spinning, wheels and yarn, I thought I would add a section for amigurumi so that I could post some of my book covers as well as pictures of the 3-D critters that I've crocheted in the past few months. I made my first amigurumi about a month or so ago and just fell in love with the Japanese amigurumi patterns/charts and the adorable little animal creatures that are possible to create in an anime style. I also thought that I could do the same type of showcase for the crochet thread bears that I am working on. Then all this thinking led me to add several links for different subjects. Right now there is an amigurumi addition and an addition for our Hurricane Katrina pictures and a place for me to tell our story as we daily deal with the aftermath of that ordeal. I'll add links to a "crochet thread bear" blog, a "friends" blog, and maybe a few more as I think of them. So, feel free to click a link and watch as those blogs grow as well as this one does. This main blog will be my platform to catalog any current events as they happen. Thanks for stopping in...islandgirla (alicia)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Drop Spindle

I truly believe that this is a tool to make the ugliest yarn on earth. ;) While waiting for my spinning wheel to be delivered, I am having to 'practice' on this drop spindle. Yesterday, I succeeded in making what is probably the ugliest yarn ever. But, hey, I figure, I DID make something that at least LOOKS like yarn. I will have to get a few snapshots of the yarn and post them here as well. It's made from my practice bag, generously supplied by my mentor, of orange wool. Let me tell you, when I first sent this thing spinning I was thinking of all those thousands of years that humans had to use this tool...and how fine the work was that they produced. In these modern times there is so much talk of how much time is spent in front of the TV, but I'm sure that this little tool caused many a people to sit with it for HOURS on end trying to get a few yards of thread/yarn to supply the villages. I've had to learn to stop this little do-dad from spinning the life out of my yarn and while each of my hands is doing something on their own accord, my toes have had to get into the action to secure this little bugger while it's 'dropped' and stopped. My first few spindles few of yarn has spots in it that look like Cheetos...the fluffy baked kind!

Meet the Sheep

If you haven't done so yet, go to the Running Moon Farm website to see all the wonderful sheep. When we went out to meet the sheep we thought the nursery area for all the new lambs was adorable. They are so small! They grow quickly though, as we saw the little bottle fed lamb that seems almost too big to pick up already. (I don't think the little lamb is more than a few months old) Needless to say, when we turned the corner we encountered SHEEP that were BIG. I never knew sheep were that big! I think the children's picture book writers and illustrators should all be FIRED! They seem to portray all animals at a much reduced size when presented in picture books. (You have to remember that I am from Hawaii and we just don't have access to many animals let alone variety of breed of animals.) The goats were just beautiful as well. I really like the one silvery goat that is penned alone. I'll have to look up his name. Of course, Margrett knows all of them well, so she'd know exactly which goat I am speaking of. He stared at us the whole time we were walking around though the gated areas. I think the whole experience was 'cosmic' in some ways since we visited on my mom's birthday on April 1, making her an Aries, John and I are both Aries, my Jack Russell Terrier, Mr. MacKenzie is an Aries (and he was there at the farm as well) and my dad is a Capricorn, and here we were, under the sign of Aries, surrounded by Rams and Ewes...and the goats were part of the package as well. John and I both felt so 'at home'. I wonder if I could have a sheep-pet once I get back to Hawaii this October? My little Mr. MacKenzie would love a sheep sister, right?

Creative Wool Process

While visiting the sheep farm, I was just overwhelmed with stimulating creativity. It was the best "field trip" that I've ever taken. I got to see the life cycle of yarn from the back of a happy well cared for mammal to the hands of a fiber artist. Margrett was washing fleeces as I got to poke around her studio. There were tubs filled with drying wool tufts, racks of air-drying wool, an enormous drum carder surrounded by wool in all stages, a cedar lined room with floor to ceiling choices of fibers, dyed wool, blends, you name it...a palette of wonder. I saw several weaving projects in progress set up on several looms. I saw her knitting room set up with several knitting machines and a sock knitting machine as well. And, the purpose of the trip, I got to try out several spinning wheels. When we had spent hours inside experimenting with fibers, we got to go out to meet the sheep!

Birthday Present Surprises

While at the Running Moon Farm, I got to test the "Joy" compact spinning wheel. It was one of wheels I had considered buying online prior to taking the road trip out to meet the sheep. I was lucky! Margrett had her personal "Joy" right there to test the treadling action and to tinker with. It has smooth, easy to control treadle action. And just look at all that surface area to paint! While trying to narrow down my zillions of choices for a spinning wheel, one of the considerations was the surface area of some models...lending to even MORE creativity by offering up a blank canvas for personalized painting. This is my birthday gift for this year. (4/07/06) All from my generous hubby. His only request is that I take raw material, spin it with the wheel, and no matter what the result, use the yarn to create an original 'anything'...just so I experience the entire process at least ONCE; that's it. If I just do it once, that makes it all worth it. It will take a couple of weeks for my new "Joy" to get to me via UPS, I think. So, meanwhile, I am tinkering with a drop spindle.

Sheep Farm Fun!

We went to a Sheep Farm on Saturday! (4/01/06) It was part of my birthday week celebration, an idea of fantastic adventure to support my fiber art forms-all made possible by my thoughtful, encouraging husband, John. We took a little road trip to Running Moon Farm ( to meet Margrett and Lloyd, touch all their spinning wheels, see all their HAND MADE tools for spinning, drool over their wonderful working studio of looms, weaving, spinning, knitting...and of course to see the source of it all...the SHEEP and GOATS that make it all possible. It was so exciting. Go to their site and click around. They have great photos of farm and the studio.
(photo is from Running Moon Farm website)