Honestly, there are plenty of times — many of them in December — when I find myself thinking I clearly did better living closer to the equator. It’s partly the shorter daylight hours and the sad, oblique nature of what sunlight you seem to get. When you couple that with a frantic rush to finish lots of things by the end of the year, then throw in a heaping pile of holiday, it’s like a nasty conspiracy aimed at getting me down. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of winter, and it’s been a struggle to find Christmas cheery ever since my dad died. You’d think you would get used to people being gone — and you kinda do, I suppose, I mean this will be Christmas number five since he died and it’s sinking in — but it’s still a total buzzkill at times like this, especially when thanks to the season, you try to do something like go outside for a breath of fresh air and some sunlight or something, and all you get instead is cold and bleak.
Deep in my brain, I always know that once the corner is turned and days start getting longer, my mood starts to improve in short order. But simply knowing that doesn’t eliminate the mood. Mostly, I push through the darkening of the year by dint of sheer momentum, which I fuel with loud music when it flags.
But, although I’ve been sadly remiss on the blogging front, lots has been happening. Momentum, it would seem, is reasonably effective. I’ve managed a few classes and a few deadline projects, and one of those is big. A lot has been non-bloggable. But I think I’m through most of that at this point. Just not without casualties.
A major casualty is my workspace. Actually, both of my workspaces.
Due to deadlines, I’ve just been pushing through getting stuff done as things become more and more chaotic in my work areas. It’s truly unpleasant. At this point, I have to haul huge piles of things out the hallway, and spend days on straightening. I thought I’d get to it this week, but… I haven’t; work intervened. Maybe next week. Of course, then, kid-home-from-school and Christmas will likely intervene. Argh! It’s going to take a lot of loud music. That much is certain.
So, maybe you’re wondering what kind of deadlines, eh? What would be so all-encompassing and nonbloggable that it would leave me with so thoroughly trashed a set of workspaces? What would keep me from even blogging about not one, but two, new spinning wheels?
Oh, okay. I have some new spinning wheels. The first one is my walnut Lendrum Saxony that I’d had on order for a while.
I got to pick it up at SOAR, and Beth took it home for me, then drove down with it just before Halloween. Plus she brought the other wheel, but we’ll get to that. The Lendrum Saxony comes unfinished, and my better half’s been wonderful about working on the finishing for me, which is just plain ol’ oil. Why? Because my mother-in-law has a fabulous old walnut table (and other dining room stuff) made from beams salvaged from a 16th century monastery, and that’s what she has used tending to it for decades. She reports it has really been the right thing for that wood in our wildly variable Ohio Valley humidity and temperature, and I believe her. So we’re going with the old and low-tech solution.
It’ll take time and lots of coats and it isn’t going to be a high-gloss finish. But I know it’ll darken nicely over time, and it’ll happen faster than I expect. Things always do. I was astounded a few weeks ago to look at Beth’s new Journey Wheel. Mine is so much darker than hers, and mine’s not quite five years old.
But, anyway, the Lendrum is a wheel I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a good while. As a few folks have been mentioning and asking me about, I did get Gord Lendrum’s prototype “stupid fast flyer,” as a few of us have been calling it. This flyer isn’t on the market or available — it’s a beta test kind of thing, and hopefully Mr. Lendrum won’t kick my butt for blogging about it; seeing as how it was seen and tried out by a number of folks at SOAR I think I can get away with it. It is indeed stupid fast. So fast nobody with any sense wants one. So, you know: stupid fast. It’s like driving a car that doesn’t go under 30 mph. It can be stopped, or at the slowest, going 30 (but usually, it’s going about 110. You have to be some kind of mutant who can exhibit telekinetic powers over it to make it go 30). So parking it, you have to go from 110 down to 30 using the power of your sheer force of will, and then straight to stopped. Just right. And if you don’t….
…this happens in about a half a second. I’m not exaggerating. Plus, to park it successfully, you have to establish physical contact with the flyer so you can use your brainwaves to safely bring it down to about 30mph, and the way you do that is by sticking your hand — your SMART hand even, the one you like to use to control twist and stuff — into the flyer that’s rotating at, no lie, like 4500 rpm. It’s a little like making a leap of faith that it’s going to be totally fine to stick your hand into the hub of a propeller.
I adore the flyer. I just love it. But, you have to realize, this is because I’m stupid. I don’t want a thing about it to change, really, because… because it’s so totally badass. But yet there is no way I would recommend it go on the market. Sane people would hate it. I’m about a month into coming up to speed with it, and I still have a ways to go before I really own it. All my wheel-spinning habits are so ingrained now, complete with little things to slow down my drafting… and it’s like learning to spin all over again. At 110 miles an hour. You know. Stupid fast. Reckless endangerment speeds. It’s fine for the track, but no wheelies on the freeway, know what I mean?
Well, so. I also had a terrific opportunity to pick up another big Saxony — this one a 30″ Schacht-Reeves. Beth brought that one down for me along with the Lendrum. The irony here is getting two fabulous new wheels while in the middle of deadline madness. So I used the new wheels as bribes for myself — “Just finish this up and then you can play.”
Mmmmm. I picked up this fiber at SOAR but didn’t get a chance to actually sit and spin it until recently, seen here on the Schacht-Reeves.
It’s BFL from Gale’s Art, and it was really a delight to spin.
So it’s kicked off a bit of a BFL binge for me, but we’ll talk about that in an upcoming post. I’ve also had lots of spindle spinning to do.
Beth pitched in. Such a friend. All of these spindles, and more besides, are off right now being photographed. Off where? Photographed for what? Well, now that I’ve handed in the manuscript and all, it’s bloggable. They’re off at Interweave Press, being photographed for use with said manuscript… which sometime in fall of 2009, will be a book about spindle spinning.
So, you know, what with having lots of spindles not at home right now, I’ve had to restock. Fortunately I’ve had help. Just look at this fabulous early Christmas present:
It’s the most fabulous Moosie ever. It just plain is. See what I mean about a BFL binge, too? Yup. BFL binge.
I’m still down a lot of spindles for the time being, but I have picked up a few (and I’ll blog more of ’em). Like this Greensleeves Loki, seen here with some slubby cotton going onto it.
Okay, the truth is, the only reason I spun that cotton on that spindle is because I liked the colour combo. I just thought it went really well.
Well, realistically, I’m out of blogging time today. On the bright side though, I mostly have blogging mornings back now. Just in time for hectic holidays!
Tune in again in a day or so for some fun and exciting info about plying and finishing. No, I swear, it’s going to be exciting. And informative.