Spinning


Today at lunch I started on the spinning piece. I utilized my Honiton and Bruges skills to start the top of her cap. I used cloth stitch with “4 about the pin”(pin under 4) edges. I plan to keep the shapes simple with no fancy stitches. I want to keep the lines clean and make sure that it looks like a flax spinner. So far looking like I hoped!

I am embarking on an interesting journey in my lace. I friend of mine who spins flax(who also is a beginner bobbin lacer) spun some linen thread out of her stock. She gave me a hank and I told her I would see how it laced up. Mind you, it is very rough thread, yet fine enough(like 50 weight cotton). I found this picture of one spinning flax. I plan on using the picture as my design and lacing directly from it. In the photo attached you can see I have pinned the picture to my bolster pillow and wound some large bobbins waiting to get started. After it is finished, I will give it to my friend, the spinner/lacemaker. I will keep you posted on my progress.

These past two evenings my wife and I do our annual sitting at the Community Building at the county fair watching over the building. While we sit we can’t be idle. So we bring projects. Sunday afternoon I brought my bobbin lace. I brought my big bolster with a tape lace project that is half done.
I am most known for my tatting in my area. So I would get the usual comments of “Is that tatting??” then I go into my usual dialog explaining what I am doing and how it works. Not too many kids stopped by to ask questions. Mostly adults asking questions.
Last night I decided to bring my spinning wheel and work out my ongoing roving. This time the adults just watched me or just passed by with a glance. I concluded they either knew what I was doing and didn’t ask questions or decided to just pass by. The kids(of all ages) however came right up to me asking me all types of questions about my wheel, they liked to handle the wool.
I don’t know if it is the apparatus that I am working with(ie. Pillow and bobbins, or massive wheel that looks like a machine) or could it be the project that I am working on, or the tedium of the task. Most adults say about my bobbin lace, “that is too tedious, I could never do that” or “you have to have good eyesight to do that”. Kids don’t say that. No convictions. But when I am at my wheel, I am just sitting in a relaxed position a good distance from the machine. Less stressful looking??? Less inhibiting?? Not that I am stressed or inhibited by all means when working my bobbin lace. I find both lacemaking and spinning relaxing. Sometimes to the point of almost falling asleep LOL!
Spinning I assume is most recognizable in most areas and bobbin lace is not. And the “machine” you work on can also play a role in that. Most adults know what a spinning wheel is, but I find that kids may not if not exposed to that part of life history. Harder is it to find the familiarity in bobbin lace and its tools. I get the same wonder from passer-bys but the clientelle is different.

Tonight is our last night for bringing our projects to work on while we sit at the building demonstrating. I plan on bringing my bobbin lace and see if I can finish that project. Doubt it, but I will see what more questions are asked and from whom and what will happen ;)

My spinning instructor who is also a weaver had these left over tencel threads from a project. They are so soft and it is hand dyed cotton 2 ply that she hated to throw them away. So she gave me one of the bundles that was tied together to do something with it. They are 18 inches in length. They are comparable to size 12 perle coton.

I told my instructor that it could work for bobbinlace since you don’t need too much on each bobbin, unlike tatting where it requires more thread to do a substantial project. Unless you want to make little butterflies. But I decided to try it with bobbinlace. I made up this design to share with you. I intended it to be a pendent for a necklace. Could be anything.

I loaded 3 passive pairs, 2 edge pairs with the tencel. Since I needed much more for the worker thread, I found a comparable hand dyed thread in green. As I worked on it, I realized I didn’t have quite the right amount of length to finish the tail of the swirl design. So had to cut it short. This is what it looks like worked up and I am still pleased with the results

I think this design would work up nice with 4-5 passives in much smaller thread. Hope you give it a try.

I have talked about my spinning that I do occasionally, but haven’t shown you any results. About time I do! Click on the pictures for a larger view and then you can click on them to zoom in for even closer view

Below is my first attempt at spinning on the wheel. It has Merino wool and some other fiber. It spin up kind of spongy.

My next attempt was spinning with one of the colorful rovings I purchased at the AQS show from one of the wool suppliers. It has Merino and a few other cool fibers in there to make it nubbly looking.

And this is what I am currently spinning. Straight Merino wool and it is wonderful to spin. It is long staple and soft.

Soon I will have to ply these. I do have a tight twist on them, so they could stand alone. They are slightly heavier than a lace weight yarn which is my goal. I hope to use them to make bobbin lace scarves or something sculptural.

It was a whirlwind trip for Kim and I! We left home at 7am and got to Paducah, KY at 9:45am. We made it just in time for the doors to open at the HLG lace display and demo at the Grace Episcopal Church on Broadway. We got to visit with the River City Tatting Club out of Evansville, IN and other members of HLG. Lots of friends we haven’t seen in a while! Susan and Jim Groh of Unique Expressions were there as the vendor and they had their entire store sprawled out in the large church library. Lots of shopping done and I got quite a few items. I was bad, but got things I was “needing”. Here is what I got


A pack of “The Blues” Oliver Twist thread, plus two others, black and white 100/2 Brok thread, a pack of pearwood square continental bobbins, a lace roller, a gimp or broken thread clasps that act as a separate bobbin, a size 16 bent hook(manufactured that way and perfect for joinings so you don’t have to struggle), 5 jade midland bobbins waiting to be spangled, a spider separator pin, and an HLG striver.

After saying our goodbye’s(which took quite long) we headed down to the convention center to do MORE shopping. This year the Hotel was renovating some areas and they had to put in a temporary tent to house all the vendors that typically were in the south wing(which consists of about half of the vendors for the entire event). They were in one of those fully enclosed, white vinyl blow up things that I think look like a big slug. Like THIS. It was really nice and lots of room and wasn’t hot inside. That is good both for vendors and customers.
Right away we started in on our buy spree. At the Sulky booth I found some size 12 Blendables thread in several varigated colors. Just got a few but wanted ALL of them. Yes I see that they do tat well as so many tatters tell me. So does the size 30 wt I got a few weeks ago HAH. Here is the thread stashes I got


Top row is this wonderfully exotic metallic thread by the Marathon Thread Co. out of Conshohocken, PA. I instantly saw butterflies and dragonflies bobbin laced or tatted with this thread. It is metallic wrap cord and has an irridescence to it that is something I haven’t seen before. Even other thread suppliers I showed it to were enthralled!
Next row below is hand dyed size 12 cotton by ArtFabrik.com out of Elgin, IL. They are a long time vendor and I just now am getting some of their wonderful colors. Perfect for lacework!
Next row below that is the ever popular Valdani varigated thread. Top four, left to right are O 41, JP 6, O 520,O 559. Bottom foure, left to right are O31, JP 4, P 10, O 505.
Next row of thread below the Valdani is Sulky Blendables in size 12. Left to right is #4002, #4025, #4043, #4109, #4021, #4008

One of my ultimate finds in this show was some wool roving that I didn’t expect to be there. This vendor sold any item that deals with wool. Naturally I drooled over the roving since I am learning to spin. Plus Kim does wool embroidery. So we both went nuts! This is our stash


The roving balls are mine. Kim got hand dyed wool fabric and 4 spools of wool thread. A few other items not related to wool that we got from other vendors are fabric organizers, wallet sleeves, magnet for pins, Little Gripper for rotary ruler, and other fabrics for Kim’s embroidery.

We didn’t get through the last row of vendors in this area. We were getting hungry and went to the food tents and had lunch. Italian beef…MMMMMM…… We proceeded to the main quilt showcase and MORE VENDORS. I am not allowed(by AQS law) to show publically on the internet the pics of the quilts on display or who won. We got a book of all the quilts listed with pictures and details, so I didn’t take much for pictures. Except I did take pictures of the Best of Show. So if you are a fan of LOTR or just want to see, please EMAIL ME. It was a phenominal quilt and well executed. If you like “quilts” that are fully machine embroidered and machine quilted….hmmmm…….

Time for rant! I have been to this show many times and have seen the quilts go from traditional hand quilt art pieces, to just plain art pieces that you wouldn’t put on your bed but confined to the wall, to just everything done by machine and not a stitch of blood from fingers were touched by the fabric. I would guess that 75% of the quilts now at this(or any of the shows we have been to) are machine quilted, machine embroidered. I think I could have counted on both hands of quilts I saw that were hand quilted, hand embroidered, and might I add that they were astonishingly accurate and well executed and I like them better. Many that I talked to at the show said their favorites were the handmade ones. Not because of subject or color(altho that plays a big role), but because I know what work goes into it and the hours. I know, I know, these fully machined quilts have their place in this quilt world. But call me old fashioned or just one who enjoys the process of everything handmade. Many(ok 50%) of the quilts I saw were from Japan and I commend you and thank you. BUT, what was surprising was that the Japan quilts were the hand quilted, hand embroidered quilts!! Come on USA, skip the machine and get back to your roots!!! A growing trend I saw in the Japanese quilts was that they were hand done and actually more beautiful than the machined. So hopefully this trend will come back to these shows. Even the vendors are influenced by this machine era. It was very difficult to find a vendor that catered to those who like to do hand work. It is all about machines, furniture for machines, thread for machines………buhahahahaha.
OK….off my rant!

Because of this lack of handmade oriented supplies, were beginning to panic, because we couldn’t find our favorite vendor that supplies silk ribbons and fabrics that we make this special trip to just see and spend from her. Quilter’s Fancy out of Cortland, OH is our favorite vendor. It was getting late and we were frantically going through the vendors row by row and we weren’t finding her. She wasn’t in her normal spot!! OH NO!!! We finished looking at the upstairs quilts(never did get to the downstairs quilts and antique vendors), our feet and legs were hurting and we had just about ad enough. We rounded the corner and I spotted her!!!!! They moved her from her normal spot! We chatted and browsed and drooled and just had a grand time visiting with her and her newly retired hubby(who graciously is helping her). Cindy is always showing us the newest stuff she gets in and is a real charmer for selling to us. Enough of the drooling, lets get to buying her stuff!!! This is what we got and we spent way too much and my pocket book is crying and SO AM I!!!


Just look at all that silk. Silk ribbons, trims, silk hand dyed velvet, fabrics, cording. She showed us this new book and felting technique using the wide silk ribbon. Had to get that!!!
We closed out the vendor and show and half the lights were turned out and the vendors were covering their booths up. Yes, we need to go and we have spent TOO MUCH. It was a good day and we were totally tired and I had a hard time driving back home. But we made it!

Below is a slide show I made from the pictures I took for your enjoyment.

If you would like to see them individually and I have descriptions with the photos, go HERE

Last night I went to spinning group after a long hiatus these past few months. Life got in the way and I couldn’t go to the spinning group. Now I am back into the swing of things. The group met at one of the member’s home that was out in the country in very wooded acres. There property is gorgeous with gardens and everything! A haven for creativity! I got my first roving off my bobbin that had sat there for months. They showed me how to take it off using a ball winder so I can free up the bobbin and later I can ply it. Not sure if that is what I will do. My spun roving is a bit thick and thin and not nice. We will call it “art” spun :-D They let me try some of their Merino long wool and it spins MUCH nicer and I can get it real thin and even. Thinner for me is better as my goal in spinning is to get it to lace weight quality so I can use it for bobbin lace or tatting. :)

I desparately need to get my wheel fixed so I can give back the Ashford I am borrowing from one of the members. Had it for too long!!

Remember this spinning wheel that I got last year at an auction and paid only $60? Last month was the first meeting of a spinning group here in town and most of them I already knew and are friends as a result of heritage demonstrations. So nice to finally have a group of fiber artists with like minds meet together in my town! Groups I have heard about have been quite a distance away and not worth the travel. So excited that there finally is a local group. Maybe after a while I can branch out, if they will allow it, and bring my lacemaking. HECK…….they spin and they also weave and do other things. Seems only fitting! For now it is just a spinning group.
Anyhoo….I brought my spinning wheel to the group to get their assessment. It seems to be in rough shape and some of the parts need reworked or replaced. Could cost me more than what it is worth! You get what you pay for. For now it is just a nice piece of furniture to look at. :-\ So one of my spinning friends was gracious enough to let me borrow her Ashford Traditional until I can get mine fixed or get one that I truly work well with. This months meeting was last night and is when she gave it to me.

This wheel needs some work too. It is workable as is, but my spinning friends suggest I replace the leathers that hold the fly wheel and bobbin and the footman. It will work much better. So when I get an ounce of any kind of time…..HAH…..I will be spinning some wool. Last nights meeting one of the members brought in their gorgeous collection of drop spindles. I have done a little drop spindle, but didn’t feel I was that good. So for the first half of the meeting I did some drop spinning. I had a blast!!! I even got my wool down to lace weight yarn and really surprised myself…..and the others. That will be one of my goals, is to spin fine enough that I can use the thread for bobbin lace. Of course it is wool and bobbin lace is usually linen or cotton. So I guess another goal is to spin cotton. Flax I don’t think I will be up to until I have a lot of experience. I have drop spindled cotton one time at a heritage event just to try it out. It worked fine for me. Will have to try it again.

Tatting-wise: still working on the wedding lace!!!!