Giving A New Drop Spindle a Whirl

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May 04, 2015
Whilst in Halifax a fortnight ago, I had a chance to visit the ladies at LK Yarns at 5545 Young Street, Halifax (in the Hydrostone Market).  This shop is stuffed full of fibre-y goodnes!  It's guaranteed to make your wallet lighter and your stash so much more richer.  If you ever are in the Halifax area, make sure it is on your "to do" list.  Your needles will thank you for it!

Here are some of the goodies I picked up there.  Two skeins of Manos Del Uruguay Alegria in colour A8720 "Maiz."  It is a sock weight yarn that is 75% Superwash Wool, 25% Polyamide with a gauge of 28-30sts = 4" (10cm) on needle size 2.25-3.00mm / US 1-3.  It is 100grams and it seems to have a generous length of 425m / 445yds per skein.  Now that I'm in the shawl knitting swing, I thought I might pick up a few skeins to try my hand at designing one.  This wool is simply divine, and if you are in Canada, you can buy it online at True North Yarn, here.  And nope, I'm not an affiliate of this store, I just love Canadian online shops.

Up next is a Schoppel Wolle Laceball 100 in colour "Rauchzeichen" (Smoke Signals) 2169.  It is 800m / 875 yards, merino virgin lace weight wool.  Gauge is 33 sts or more/4 inch on 4-5mm needles.  I haven't knit with this brand before, but I'm not too worried about it.  This ball is very yummy squishy!

Now, the spindles!  First is a very large Turkish drop spindle made by a Halifax woodworker.  Unfortunately, I didn't get his name.  From hook to end, it's about 10 inches long, with a diameter of about 6 inches.  This feels to me like it will spin some very nice dk or worsted weight.

Next is a different style of supported spindle by the same artist.  I was so excited to buy it; I've never seen a spindle like this before.  With the metal point and the imbedded metal sleeve, I suspected that it would spin fast and long, something I've been looking for. 

But, alas, it was such a disappointment when I gave it a whirl!  It wobbled terribly and would only spin for about 15 secs.  Not long enough to get a good draw.  Too much friction on the metal shaft.  I contemplated a drop of oil, but oil and wool?  Not a good mix.  Feeling so disenchanted, I pulled it out of the support and gave the metal point at the bottom a good old snap of the fingers to set it spinning.  My super fine single felt like it was going to snap under the weight of this thing, so I dropped it to the floor, taking the spindle's weight off the single.  Holy Smokes!  The spindle straightened up and spun so fast and long I was struggling to keep up with the draw!  Huzzah!  It works beautifully.  Not as it was intended, but at least the base can work as a storage stand.  The Grand Plan?  To spin some lace weight 3 ply, using the Navaho plying technique.  The Goal?  To spin at least 15 minutes a day.   I think that is manageable.

What are some of your recent yarn shopping treats?

Designing Socks With Trains On The Brain

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May 02, 2015
Have you ever heard about The Canadian Crazy Train?  Their Ravelry group is here and their website is here.  I confess I've never heard of them before until I saw a "call for designers" in one of the Ravelry designers forums.  Here is a quote from their group page...
"The Passengers are challenged to make a single sock from one of the designs made just for the Crazy Train. They knit one sock for each of the other Passengers on their line. One sock is knit, it and the yarn and pattern are sent up the line to the next on the route, meanwhile the other passengers on the route are making their sock to send on down the line. The caper continues until all on your line have completed socks for each other stop. Prizes are awarded for first sock, first pair, first line to finish all, and random events by discretion of the organizers.
...there are three knitters per team."
 Okay, how crazy fun is that?  As a designer, I'm practically slavitating at the chance to incoperate ironwork into a sock.   I loves me some good iron bridge designs! 

So, here are some pictures of my inspiration... the old train bridge that connects the Northside and Southside of Fredericton.  It used to rotate in the middle to allow tall ships to come up the Saint John River to deposit their cargo along the city docks.  In the sixties, my mom used to run across it with her best friend dressed in heels, trying to make to to a school dance faster and cheaper than the city transit bus.  The tricky part?  Jumping over the missing railroad ties.  In heels.  Crazy! 

Now the bridge is stationary and has been converted into a beautiful walking/biking bridge.

My design may not get selected for the CCT, but it will be fun to give it a whirl.  I'm tempted to use a local yarn made by Briggs & Little from Harvey, New Brunswick Canada.  Not sure, but something to think about.

Have participated in any knitting/crocheting event like this?