Top Whorl Question and Buttons

I had promised to give my opinion on my new top whorl spindle.

The experience was so awful compared to my Jenkin’s Turkish spindle that I must question whether or not I used the top whorl correctly. Seriously.

Before I go any further, I want to stress that by no means do I believe that my bad experience has anything to do with Dragoncraft’s craftsmanship. Dragoncraft makes beautiful and well-loved spindles. Their feedback is 100% positive. This, of course, makes me believe that the problem does indeed lie close to home.

I chose to spin Shetland roving on it. It had spun up so quickly and evenly on my Turkish that I felt it would provide a fair and accurate report on the top whorl’s ability. I used Red Heart’s Super Saver as a leader (I’ll be darned if I’m wasting my good wool on a leader strand). Then, I started to draft and spin the Shetland. Rolling the whorl on my thigh or flicking it hard with my fingers produced a fast and balanced spin. Yet, the spin didn’t last long.

There is a clause about the top whorl I bought. I knew when purchasing this top whorl that since the whorl was not located at the top of the shaft, the spindle would wobble at bit until I started adding spun yarn underneath the whorl.

I should write a 2nd clause about my lack of patience. In 10 minutes flat, I was frustrated and looking for my tin whistle (to blow off some steam). Needless to say, not a lot of spun wool got wound underneath the whorl.

OK. Clauses aside, the spindle didn’t just wobble a bit when spun slowly; it wobbled like it was 3 sheets to the wind, swinging like a pendulum. It couldn’t hold a slow spin any better than a drunk person. I had read that a top whorl could spin fast or slow. True, it was designed for speed, but any spindle should be able to spin at any speed. Right?

So, after all my rambling, here’s my question: Does a top whorl spindle typically wobble when spinning slowly?

If the answer is Yes to the above question, the top whorl is going to be looking for a new home. I prefer a long, slow spin. There is often a baseball game going on when I am spinning and half of my attention is pinned on the game. (Which by the way, we lost last night.)

I’ve already ripped the Shetland off the top whorl and put the spindle aside, focusing on my Turkish which is spinning an alpaca and Shetland blend.

From Spinning

Spinning aside, let me show you the buttons I received in the mail.

Although I wish there were such things as button fairies that randomly sent buttons in the mail to people who could appreciate them, these buttons were received because of a swap I participated in. Mandy of SewSpun hosted the button swap last month. The Purple Lady was my swap parter.

I signed up for the swap because, to be honest, I have a lot of buttons. I thought it would be so neat to give away some of my collection in exchange for … more buttons. It made perfect sense to me.


Great Ending to Summer of Love and an Heirloom

I received my 3rd and final package for the Summer of Love swap.

100 More Afghan Squares to Knit book
Vogue Knitting magazine
Honey Bee pouch
Birthday cake measuring tape (Isn’t it the cutest?)
Silkroad Aran Tweed by Jo Sharp
Evolution by Chameleon Colorworks

Close up pics of the yarn:

The best part about this package isn’t the yarn or the cute measuring tape. The best part is that the package didn’t come in the mail. It was hand delivered by my swap partner – to be known henceforth as Tamsie. Isn’t Tamsie a better name than Piney? I think so too even though I am partial to trees.

Tamsie was in town for the Philadelphia Folk Festival, so we had lunch together at the Brick House on High Street. It was wonderful to finally meet the person behind all the lovely packages. She was even nice enough to haul my package back to my house, since there was no way it was all going to fit in my little bike pouch. So, even Jake got to meet Tamsie. He wasn’t even the slightest bit disappointed that she didn’t have a bone to give him. You see, he has all the delivery men trained in town from the mailmen to the UPS guy. They all know to bring Jake a little bone when they stop by.

Thank you, Tamsie!

The very next day after meeting Tamsie, my neighbor bestowed one of her family heirlooms to me. Let me back up and tell you the whole story. About a week ago, I found a thread rack in Walmart of all places. I was ecstatic. I bought it immediately. I had coveted a thread rack ever since I saw it on Flossie Teacake’s blog. Well, of course, I had to dash over and tell my neighbor about it. Imagine my surprise when she announced that her husband had made her a thread rack many years ago. It was downstairs in her basement. So, we trekked down into her basement. It wasn’t a thread rack. It was a complete sewing cabinet. She asked me to take it. I politely refused. Her husband had made it. It should go to one of her daughters or her grandchildren. She insisted her daughters didn’t want it and her grandchildren were all boys. It wasn’t being used except by the house spiders. She wanted it to go to somebody who would appreciate it. We agreed to think about it for a few days.

A few days later, I took cookies over to her. She asked me again to take the cabinet. I willingly agreed.

The lid does fold open to provide a longer working surface. However, the sewing machine as well as the mechanism to support the machine was removed leaving a gaping hole. So for now, it will remain folded up.

The thread rack which started the whole journey:

Summer of Love Part 2 and SewSpun’s Yarn

I received my 2nd Summer of Love package yesterday from Piney, not my real swap partner’s name.

Missing from this picture is a book titled Knit Noel because it was the first thing I snatched from the box. It wasn’t until I finished taking pictures of all the goodies that I realized the book was still laying on my desk open to the page of the Christmas Tree Skirt design. (My design of a Christmas Tree Skirt is still undergoing the embellishment phase.)

About those goodies – boy, did I receive a bunch of them!

First up is the roving.

It is 100% Merino wool dyed in bright green and yellow with a smattering of royal blue. All the roving that I have – and I have an amount that is bordering on too much roving – is undyed. I refused to purchase any of the dyed rovings because I was certain that I would fall victim to the rationalization of buying roving just because it’s pretty. I hope this gorgeous roving doesn’t push me down the slippery slope.

Here’s a look at the non-fibery goodies Piney included: a needle gauge keychain, K2tog magnet which has been relocated to my fridge door, and chocolate wrapped in tin foil.

The unwrapped chocolate:

Lastly, I unwrapped the yarn:

It is 100% wool named Taos from Crystal Palace Yarns. The color is a mix of blues and greens: my favorite color combination.

Thank you so much, Piney!

Two days before I received Piney’s package, I got a box filled with yarn from Mandy of SewSpun. Since she had chosen the name I had suggested for her blue-green handspun yarn, Lady of the Water, I won the contest and received one skein of yarn as the prize. Much to my surprise, I found two skeins of yarn inside the box.

The cream yarn cake was handspun by Mandy from undyed wool roving. The red skein was commercially-spun, but hand dyed by Mandy.

Thank you, Mandy!

A Cheery Apron

Within Ravelry, I am in a group called Sew Obsessed. Obviously, it’s for knitters/crocheters who love to sew in their spare time. Recently, there was a call for an apron swap. I have still not had a chance to make myself another apron, so I thought this would be the perfect motivation to not only make myself a new apron but to also make an apron for someone else. I could share the love, so to speak. Though I have not even started to make an apron for either, I received an apron from my swap partner yesterday.

It’s so bright and cheery. When I pulled it out of the package, I smiled.

Though I only expected the apron, my swap partner Betty included many goodies from the kitchen friendly to the taste-bud friendly:

A card
A card set
4 dishcloths
2 cutting boards
Candy fruit slices
Dark Chocolate with orange flavoring
Orange scented candle

Thank you so much, Betty!

Faithful readers, I know I promised alpaca fleece, more Sammy and a custom knitting bag, but household chores are calling me. I have ignored them too long. Plus, I would like to eat homemade food tonight. I’m thinking potato soup. I have some pork stock that should provide a great building block. I will try and post again tomorrow with the fleece pictures.

Until then, here’s a sneak peak of how the woven pillow is turning out.

Summer of Love, part 1

When I signed up for the Summer of Love swap, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve never participated in a swap before. I understood the concept. I was to send yarn to a person randomly chosen by the organizer and a different person, whose name shall remain secret until the end, was going to send me yarn. I thought I would receive two skeins of yarn – maybe three. Tops.

When I opened up the package today, I was stunned.

I literally sucked my breath in and stared at all the lovely packages in the box without breathing. Then, I giggled with joy and ran with the package into my office/craft room so I could take pictures of everything.

7 packages! Woo!

Like a child at Christmas, I started tearing into the packages.

In the order I opened them:

Malabrigo! I’ve heard so many great things about this yarn. I’ve wanted to knit with it for a long time, but could never decide on a color.
My Secret Pal, named Piney – I really doubt it’s her real name, chose Yellow. It matches my living room walls exactly. So, of course, I have plans to make it into a pillow.

Then, more Malabrigo! This time in red.

Though I never wear the color (I have red hair and am careful to keep the red family away from my face), I love to knit with it. It makes me think of apples, tomatoes, and my sister. She always looks stunning in red. Whenever I knit for her, I use red.

Next, I opened up a package I presumed to be a book. Sure enough.

It is an excellent reference book for knitters, filled with techniques, stitches and guidance. Often I find myself searching the Internet for the correct way to execute a certain stitch. It will be handy to have such a book in my library.

Then, I opened up an odd shaped package to find this:

Ribbons! You can never have too many ribbons. I plan to use this collection for embellishing cards, gift packages, and sewing projects.

Next, lovely, green, embroidered fabric, that unfolded into this:

It is as light as feather, made of 100% rayon. An excellent summer shirt.

My next to last package contained … Beads!
Now I’m no stranger of beads. I use seed beads in many of my knitting and sewing projects. Yet, Piney didn’t send me sead beeds. She sent me fancy beads.

Aren’t they beautiful?! I especially love the carved wooden mini cuffs.

Lastly, more Malabrigo in green!

This yarn I will use for me. I’m envisioning a new wool scarf and hat.

Thank you so much, Piney! I am overwhelmed by your generosity! I love it all. Thank you! Thank you!

Now, because I am still a bit giddy, I am off to update my stash and library in Ravelry.