Thursday, October 27, 2011

Celia Quinn Workshop

Last weekend, I attended a three-day Celia Quinn comprehensive spinning workshop.  Twenty very lucky spinners enjoyed working with about 80 different fibers, ranging from types of wool, to rabbit, to cashmere, to goat (!), flax, cotton, hemp, and silk and silk blends.  She started us out on a twisty stick, and we learned to use a tahkli spindle for cotton.  Celia showed us how to dress a distaff with flax.

 And then she spun from the distaff.  Is there anything that Celia cannot do?  I don't think so.  No matter what kind of wheel, she is proficient with it.  A book charkha?  No problem.  Three spinners brought electric spinners.  Celia adjusted them to work more effectively.  She asked me to remind Margaret to have her bring the Hochberg notes on handspindles and distaves next time.  I can't wait!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alpaca Mitts

Just in time for a heat wave, I finished my husband's alpaca mitts.  I spun the alpaca on my Ashford Elizabeth 2, and plied it as 2-ply.  I used some odds and ends from spinning class plus some white and black alpaca roving purchased from Specialty Yarns and Llamas, in Wynola.  I used my somewhat standard fingerless mitt pattern, customized for hubby.  I wanted to make sure the cuffs are long enough to bridge that gap between the hand and sweater.  Now that it is cooling off again, he may actually get to wear them before Halloween.

I made the right hand one a little larger than the left hand one - since he, and most people, has one hand slightly larger than the other.  I hope this was not a mistake.  They look fine on his hands and fit well.

I also finished some more cotton spinning.  This is dyed cotton roving from Cotton Clouds.  You are looking at 0.5 ounce.  No, I don't have a Majacraft spinning wheel.  I bought two Majacraft bobbins to use when I am boiling the cotton yarn to finish it.

I will start the other 0.5 ounce of cotton fiber maybe tonight, when we get back from Old Town.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Vacation Updates: the Nugget

A highlight of any trip to the Gold County is visiting the 44-pound Nugget at Ironstone Winery.

The Nugget is available for viewing at the winery.  I do not intend to bore any one reading these posts with our vacation ephemera.  Rather, let's look at some gourds and pumpkins.

All are edible and we purchased several to cook in our Dutch Oven outdoors this fall.  Cider doughnuts are made to order at Rainbow Orchards.  The bonus is that they can tell you which winter squash is the one you want for various cooking applications.  We like to cook outside, so we purchased squash adapted to that function.  Ate one already.  Fantastic!  I am now making paper flowers for my La Catrina costume, for Day of the Dead.  More to come.

San Diego Electric Railway Association

This event was in National City.  SD Fiber Artist and other members of the crew attended.

This event was at the historic National City depot, 1885, on Sunday, October 9. Who says San Diego does not have history?  In this picture, the Blacksmith is holding forth with Opinions.  The ladies listen politely.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vacation Time

We just returned from a wonderful vacation.  Actually, we have been back for a week but I had to attend a work-related conference last week so I am just posting about the vacation now.  Here's the vacation summary:
Sunday - Drove up to Solvang, visited Village Spinning and Weaving.  Did I buy anything?  Hmmm, what do you think???  We drove up to Los Alamos, and attended the Olden Days event.  I purchased an old spinning wheel (more later).  That night, we walked out of Solvang a bit and saw the Milky Way on a moonless night.
Monday - Up to Sonora, we made it in time to stop off at Columbia State Historic Park.  Spouse got some Period Attire for our Old Town volunteer activities.
Tuesday - Most of the day at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, where we got a behind the scenes tour of the roundhouse, turn table, mechanic's shop, and other rail features. On to Murphys and music at Alchemie.
Wednesday - visited Stephenie Gaustad and Alden Amos.  Stephenie generously let me try out a Great Wheel.  Alden customized a hand spindle for my spouse, who is learning to spin. These two people are so wonderful and kind, I can't thank them enough for hosting us that morning.  Then on Indian Grinding Rocks State Park.
Thursday - Hiked Indian Grinding Rocks trails, drove up to El Dorado County, bought apples and winter squash,  and met Lexi Boeger at her workshop.  What a wonderful and talented artist!  We ate dinner at Taste, which is a wonderful restaurant not only because they have a vegetarian menu.
Friday - Hiked Calaveras Big Trees trails, and visited Murphys.  Drove to Modesto via Knights Ferry covered bridge and historic buildings.  Ate a fabulous Italian meal at our favorite restaurant in Modesto and danced to street music. I love Modesto!
Saturday - Drove home, made it through LA with few traffic problems but hit a big jam up around Camp Pendleton.  Took forever to get through San Diego County.  Oh, and Caltrans has every rest stop in California closed.  So plan ahead. is photo of the old spinning wheel I bought in Los Alamos.

I cleaned it up and then put some oil finish on it.  When I bought it, it was very dirty but all the pieces were there.  When we visited Stephenie and Alden, my spouse hauled it out of the car for Alden to look at.  He identified it as a c. 1880s Germanic or Swiss wheel.  It uses wooden pegs (which Alden made for me) instead of hooks on the flyer.  The drive band and tension band are flax, as is the string holding the footman to the treadle.  

You can see where her heel and foot rested on the frame and treadle.  The legs are sticks.  Alden identified the wood as beech.  There is some beetle damage to the wood.  I have it in quarantine to make sure the beetles are no longer active.  

OK, then I spent last week in Palm Springs at a conference.  I knitted a bit but was really too busy at the conference to do any serious fiber art.  Tomorrow, spinning at National City Rail Depot.