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I do some dyed rovings that slowly graduate from one end to the other, either in color or intensity of hue.  To show this off to customers, I form them into circles, but then need something to support the floppy roving.  I was using these cardboard circles,


which do the job very nicely, but are expensive, as they are Wilton’s cake base cardboard. Fifty cents each.  Adds up. Then I had a vision of another type round cardboard, inexpensive, already on hand:


Paper plates.  They are smaller in diameter and don’t make such a perfectly round display with all the roving coiled up on it —


but it’ll do nicely.  And being smaller they fit into my tiered plate stand.


Looks good enough to eat, eh?  Especially if you are on a high fiber diet 🙂

Another Snow Event here in the Puget Sound Area, and I really don’t  want to schlep out to get more suet cakes, yet worry about the birds finding enough to eat.  My jar o’grease that I keep in the freezer has very little in it, so I decided to make a nutritious goo of peanut butter, rolled oats, and Crisco.


I stuffed this into the bird feeder and put it out in cherry tree in the front yard.


I hope they like it!

Meanwhile, I’m inside busily dyeing Blue Faced Leicester roving to get ready for the Whidbey Spin-In,  April 4 and 5.  I’ll have a table on the 5th only.



Got wool?  Oh, yeah.


We pulled into New York right on time. Here is Greg contemplating The Big City — someone out there must know the name of that bridge, right?  A quick stop at our hotel, then off to a late power lunch with Greg’s agent, Richard Curtis, and Greg’s new editor, DongWan Song  of Orbit.


That stylish chalkboard is at Five Napkin Burger, which has very good burgers indeed, even if the meat hooks hanging from the ceiling are a little alarming. I actually didn’t have a burger, but a plate of the cutest tiny tacos ever, since I knew dinner was coming pretty soon. 

And what a dinner it was!  Lisa, AKA Tsock Tsarina was kind enough to come in  to mid-town Manhattan from the wilds of Long Island with her sweetie,  TheBoy ™ in tow.  We decided that since  Pigalle , the restaurant in the hotel, offered Cassoulet with Duck Confit for a very reasonable price, it was worth a try as well as an easy transition from meeting in the lobby.  Then, upstairs for Show and Tell with better light.  Lisa did some spindling


while I fondled the sample socks from last year’s Flock Sock Club. I also got a preview of the first sock for this year’s club, the magnificent Fearful Symmetry, which is burning brightly on the far right.


The next day,  a trip to the Morgan Library, then another power lunch that I didn’t get pictures of, with Roger Cooper , publisher of Vanguard Press.  Following that, a stroll down to the Flatiron Building, home of Tor Books.  The Flatiron Building, by the way, really does look just the version brilliantly done in Legos  here (scroll down a bit).


We chatted with publisher Tom Doherty, who has what must be one of the coolest office in NYC, in the very tip of the Flatiron Building.


Then we whisked our back uptown via subway to rest up for our evening get-together with members of The Gunroom.  John, Katherine, and Hugh joined us for a peripatetic evening that included beer at the Blind Tiger Alehouse, dinner at Excellent Dumpling, take-away cannoli from an Italian place that I can’t find the name of, and a brisk walk out onto the Brooklyn Bridge, where Hugh pointed out various sites associated with George Washington and the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  We do like a little history with our food.


Katherine is another knitter extraordinaire, and brought along the socks she has knitted from my yarn.  I do love seeing how the yarns knit up!


The next day we had time for a quick trip to MOMA, which had this interesting installation of braided roving in the window.


All too soon it was time to dash back to the hotel in the light snow to pick up our bags and head to the airport.


New York has theaters!  Note to self: next visit, make time to take in a show.

I recently had the sad duty of  cleaning out the stash of a long-time weaver, spinner, and knitter, Jane Garrett.   Jane was 89 years old, and had seemingly done everything in the fiber arts, from turning fleeces into sweaters of hand-dyed, handspun yarn, to weaving fabric for a reversible, double weave coat, making clever animals out of yarn, knitting beautiful lace shawlsand  practical slippers, weaving miles of hand-woven dish towels, etc., etc. She left all her fiber related stuff to Seaview Weavers Guild, and  after her death, her daughter  Sally called me to come pick it up.  We were glad that Sally decided to keep the loom her father had made for Jane, and that she hopes to learn to weave. 

As Sally and I sorted through boxes and sacks and piles and mounds of (mostly) neatly labeled yarns, fiber, buttons, tools, scraps of handwoven, binders of weaving samples,  and so on, I came to a couple of conclusions. One, don’t keep everything.  Scrappy stuff will just get tossed when you are not there to hang onto it.  Two, don’t leave the best for later, because later might not arrive in time for you. We found two ounces of quiviut fiber, a couple of pounds of silk, about half a pound of angora, a sack of alpaca, several pounds of merino, etc., etc.,  all ready to be spun.  Massive amounts of handspun, waiting to be knitted.  Cones and cones of cotton, waiting to be woven. By ruthlessly tossing, we managed to  get the usable stuff  and the spinning wheel into my Volvo stationwagon and have enough room left for me.

The spinning wheel is being kept by the guild to have available for long-term loan.  It still had Jane’s last work on it, a lovely merino/tencel blend.  There were two bobbins done and one on the wheel, with a little fiber yet to spin.  I spun that off, and decided that Jane had intended to make 3-ply.  The top yarn here is the three-ply, about 85 yards.  The lower yarn is 25 yards of two-ply that  I made with what remained on two bobbins after one ran out.

Jane's yarn

Jane's yarn

Probably the worst of the lumpy bits in the top yarn are my spinning — that tencel blend is very slippery, and took some getting used to! But the bottom yarn is all Jane-spun, and I’m relieved to see that it’s not perfect, either. The plying is all mine — like the curate’s egg, parts of it are excellent. I think I’ll make it into a lacy neck-warmer type thing, and use the two-ply to have an extra lacy edge. Pattern suggestions are welcome!

The wheel, a Lendrum single-treadle, is one of the ones I learned to spin on and has seen a lot of use. The flyer has grooves worn in it by the passage of miles of yarn.

Jane's wheel

Jane's wheel

Who knew that spinning wheels could get crow’s feet, or maybe laugh lines?

At our meeting, as the guild members chose items from Jane’s legacy to us to incorporate into our stashes, we decided to make note of where these things came from, and include that fact when we bring the finished items back to guild Show and Tell.  So Jane will still be part of our meetings, as long as her stash lasts.

I’ve started working on a new product line for the business: Mixed fiber batts for spinning.  These are fluffy bundles of wool and silk, ready to be spun into yarn.

Golden Campfire batt

Golden Campfire batt

For those who don’t spin, batts are made by taking fiber and running it through a drum carder, which makes the fibers parallel and airy.  By putting mixed fibers on in layers, you can get these fabulous blends which will spin into equally fabulous yarn.  I like these lighly carded mixed fiber batts, which will make yarn that varies from inch to inch, both in fiber mix and color.  In the one above, the yellow and orange is merino wool, and the white is Tussah silk.
This and more, now up in my online store!