Can’t talk, nose to grindstone!

Well, okay, nose to drum, I guess. Enlarging the Batt Club membership a little means that instead of having a pile of boxes to take to the post office this morning, that pile will be heading out this afternoon, except for a few of you, whose packages I managed to get out the door Tuesday afternoon, with my son’s help.

You’ll have to let me know if you can tell your box was packed by a 9-year-old eager to earn a new video game.

In the madness of it all, I received a great big box from my Knittyboard spinning secret pal, who revealed herself to be LICraftGal! She really outdid herself, just look:

I almost don’t even know where to start! Wonderful buttons and clasps, beautiful dyed mohair locks, fun glittery stuff, a huge pile of sari silk (which I have actually never had any of in this form!), a wonderful-smelling vanilla candle, mandarin-lime hand lotion (I never, ever have enough hand creams and whatnot), a ball of really beautiful Navajo Churro roving from Long Island, (from the lady who taught her to spin), a postcard of Montauk Point lighthouse, and oh, I’m sure I’m forgetting more… and absolutely jawdropping pile of loot, and with a Long Island theme through it, too. And it touched me quite a bit — a lot of things Long Island make me a bit emotional, as my father grew up there and he’d always tell me stories about his childhood there, in which beaches and lighthouses and the seashore figured prominently, and I’ll always remember just managing to get him to the hospice on the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound, where he breathed his last. My dad used to say Long Island was a microcosm that ran the gamut of practically everything about the United States, but most people don’t realize it.

So, I scored an amazing pile of swag that’s going to keep me quite entertained, and that makes me sentimental besides! LICraftgal is clearly a secret swap genius. Anybody doing a secret swap should totally hope to be spoiled by such a swapper!

Being chained to Cardzilla, as Sammi put it, and with the excitement of a holiday, it seems I’ve gotten very little done (because after all, those boxes just keep making their way out the door, so they aren’t here, so it looks like nothing has happened). But I have actually managed to get some knitting done (and a huge pile of laundry, I’ll have you know, and I even tidied my spin-me pile and put most of my bobbins in one place), and I did spin this…

Well, two bobbins of that, actually. Each one was an evening of somewhat leisurely laceweight. It’s Chasing Rainbows merino/tencel, which is one of those things I treat myself to when I’m looking to give myself a “someone else’s fiber” gift. So I spun and spun on that (working on keeping the colour changes in order, which can slow me down a bit what with “paying attention”), and then I plied it.

And then I plied it some more.

Then it took even longer to fill the bobbin up, but eventually I did! Huzzah! So, I skeined it (with poor broken Mr. Skeiny, presently held together with glue, wire and silk after the accident he had moving here from California), lauded myself on 1100 yards and started thinking what to make with it, threw it in a hot soapy soak for 20-30 minutes, rinsed it out cold, thwacked it around, skeined it again while it was damp, hung it to dry unweighted, and lo, this morning now that everything’s dry, we have…

Mmmmm, tasty. Probably worth the mild ropeburn… er, yarnburn… that I got skeining it repeatedly and watching the tension on it.

But now, I have probably procrastinated with my coffee for as long as I can, and I have to get in the studio and start finishing the club stuff and getting it out the door. Realistically, too, it needs to be out the door before the new dye-me fibers are in (any minute now): a bump of tussah silk, a heap of cashmere/silk, more superwash/tencel, more merino/silk, another bump of merino, that sort of thing). Here’s hoping I’ve had enough coffee to get this day on the road!

13 thoughts on “Can’t talk, nose to grindstone!

  1. Abby,
    In order to keep the color changes in matching order when you make a 2 ply yarn, do you just split the roving as evenly as possible in two before you spin each bobbin-full? I always have to split each half in half again (at least) and every split seems to add “noise” to the final matching of the singles. I guess I have never done it carefully enough, and probably my spinning is not as perfectly consistent, but I can never get the two plys to match up for very long in terms of color. I can always Navajo-ply, but sometimes I really want a 2 ply yarn. Do you have any tips?

    I’ve been reading your site for some time now, but haven’t commented. Your spinning is inspiring! Thank you so much for all the information and the great photos.
    -Julie

  2. I kinda figured you had been exceptionally busy getting the batt club stuff out. Can’t wait to get mine. Of course, I’ll probably put it with the other stuff I’ve gotten from you and just sigh. Maybe I should get a large shadow box and entitle it Abby.

  3. Howdy Abby, Hoping you fiber genius can help me out. I frequently find knitting patterns that I like that recommend specific yarns. Short of going to a yarn shop and asking for the specified yarn and then deciding whether it’s lace, fingerling, sport etc..is there an easier formula? They usually list the weight and how many yards per skein…but it’s often hard to determine what a yarn actually is looking at pictures on the intenet. I would like to “spin my own” rather than purchase. Many thanks, Jennifer N.

  4. That’s gorgeous! It looks a lot like the colorway I’m spinning right now (“Opal”) in their tussah/cashmere . . . though mine’s not as perfect as yours.

    I wanted to ask, though–why reskein it while wet?

  5. Abby,
    I am always so touched by what you blog about your Dad. He was a wonderful man and I always enjoyed the times I got to see him at the lake when I was a little girl. The last time I saw him and Molly was in the summer of 1992 and he made me so comfortable just as he always had.
    Thank you, Cheri Morgan-Opie

  6. Isn’t it funny, how an anonymous secret pal can really touch you? I love matching people, and you never know what connections you’re going to see. Glad to know you enjoyed the swap!

  7. Jennifer, you might want to check out yarndex.com. It’s got a lot of yarns listed and described, and is easier than a trip to the yarn store! wiseneedle.com also has yarn reviews which sometimes contain additional information you might find helpful.

    Abby, my batts came today (the tape on the bottom of the box did have a slight 9-year-old quality to it, though it was perfectly secure). You said I’d like these and you’re right. So pretty and my favorite colors.

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