The Best Cupcakes!

You'd think I'd given up spinning by the looks of things around here, and it's true, I've not spent much time with my wheels. However, lately I've picked up the spindles and have started to spin them again. I love the romance of a spindle and the awe I feel as a bit of fluffy fiber turns into a string of yarn. There is magic involved and believing in magic is good for the soul.

As fortune would have it, my return to spinning coincided with The Cupcake Fiber Company's one year birthday celebration! ONE YEAR in business! Our Joan has been quite successful in her endeavor and I have, on occasion, been enticed by her offerings.


It's been awhile since I've purchased anything because of my lack of will to spin. But, with the enticement of the Cupcake birthday, I decided to check the shop. And, there it was a box of blue fluff in the most amazing blue, a stunning blue that made me gasp, as it sang, it danced, it beckoned… and I flipped.


My simple little purchase was very fortuitous, as I ended up winning a contest prize from the CupCake Fiber Co forum. The stars much have aliened because the prize was a SPINDLE bag! A JessaLu SPINDLE bag! With cupcakes all over it! And it’s blue with cupcakes all over it! And, when the package arrived, it was full of all things cupcake! How cool is that!?


Thank you, Joan and the Cupcake Fiber Company! Thank you, Jessalu! My desire to spin has been buffed up and will soon be shiny and bright!

Randomly Yours on Monday


When the sky shows bit of blue I run out the back door and capture the moment.  This spring, the blue doesn't stick around very long, and we're left with rain and/or gray. Today, the rain is constant, the gray dark.  However, spring is in the air, as the infamous lake stink, a sure sign, is filling our nostrils.  lovely

When stuck inside, due to weather's inconsiderate nature, I turn to my favorite fibery passions. This past year sock knitting desire has waned and so, only slowly, does a sock appear. Pyromania has been a favorable companion, when sock mojo makes a call and, finally, I have made my way through half a pair.


The sock fits perfectly and feels like heaven on my foot, which means, by fall of this year, there will be a full pair. (I now deem the weather unsuitable for socks, unless it snows, as it surely will, but lets move on.)  The lovely yarn is Pandora, a bamboo blend of the highest order. (I also realize I am a Woolen Rabbit junky, which is not a bad thing.)  Only yarn of the highest quality is suited to wearing on the feet and I am a sock yarn snob.  Besides, how can you not love the subtle shading of color, the beauty of the dye job.  Kim is offering her first ever yarn club and I am over the moon with happiness.

Because the weekend was gray and drear I took some time to spin my wheel.  Look, the fiber isn't blue! (As yet.) On the bobbin of my lovely Corina is the first color of a Trio Set from the Cupcake Fiber Co.  Spinning with this fiber is an incredible and heavenly experience.  I may be spinning this for several months before all three colors of the Trio are finished but, it will happen. (If you're quick you may be able to buy some of Cookie's handspun Cupcake skeins.) oolala


I am quite excited about the new edition of the Ennea Collective as Anne's Chrrach Stole and Ballycastle Tam give me the push I need to get some spinning done. I would feel quite accomplished if I could knit something of substance from my handspun.  Ennea not only has the patterns, it also gives direction on how to spin for the project. I need to make it happen.


The effort of refocusing has also included spinning.  It isn't acceptable to allow my poor wheels, Miss Emmylou and dear Corina, to sit and gather cobwebs. Spinning was tearing through Blogland in 2005 and many bloggers bought wheels (if they didn't have one already). 

My first spinning tool (I caved in 2006) was a spindle and I figured if I could spin on it, and enjoy the process, buying a wheel would be worthwhile. I bought Emmylou in 2007 and there have been times I've questioned the sanity of spinning, of owning a wheel, and of continuing the process but, when it gets right down to it, spinning is a craft I enjoy.


Shortly after I finished the Sunset Roving I turned, with concerted effort, to the gray batt.  The fuzziness made tearing into strips difficult, as the fiber wondered in every direction. To help with this annoying problem, I tamed it (to some degree) by pulling the strip through a diz. The day I finished spinning the second bobbin was a very happy day.


Plying took a days of extra focus but, while working through the process I could see, right through the fuzzy halo, the beauty of the yarn and its elegant sheen. I washed the yarn in hot water and agitated it just a bit. Oh the dirt! The yarn softened and kept its glow, as the water turned black with filth.  The sleeping beauty awakens.

This yarn has a future as something more.

It's Yarn!


This simple little skein was created with more thought to the process than to grist. The yarn has a rustic quality but, tucked within the strands, is a touch of elegance. As Susan would say, it has "moments of brilliance".

The main focus was to spin, become reacquainted with the process and, in the end, enjoy a finished product. I accomplished just that and I am so please with my simple skein. It's around 260 yds, mostly a DKish weight and it's soft, soft, soft. At this time I'm just going to admire and appreciate it for what it is...a piece of simple rustic art.


This year I like to learn to make better yarn, not necessarily perfect yarn. I'd like to see where the process takes me, and how my view of it changes, as I find my way back. A skein of yarn can be the end result or the beginning of something else. The possibilities are limitless.

Spinning Round

Ever since my room has been organized and cleaned out, the spinning wheels have been calling more frequently. However, there are several bins of fiber hiding in the closet, along with a basket of fiber beside each wheel.  Both wheels have projects in, in other words, there is plenty of fiber in this house to spin.

But...big BUT, I'm dying to get my hands on some of Joan's fiber.  Joan opened the Cupcake Fiber Company (with a little egging from Cookie) a couple of months ago and I've been haunting her Etsy shop ever since. 

When I first stepped back into spinning I decided to just spin, not worry about quality, and to get the feel of spinning a yarn, any yarn. In hindsight, smaller quantities of fiber may have been easier and would have given me a quick sense of accomplishment.


The fiber on my cherry Schacht, Corina, is giving me fits as it really doesn't know what it wants to be and, at this point in time, I just want it to be done.  I'm tired of it's fuzziness, it's grayness, tired of IT in general.  There isn't much more to go before I can ply it into a mess of yarn.  I could give the whole thing a chuck, but I'm determined to see the finish line. Corina and I will "just do it".


On the other hand, I'm quite happy with the project on my Lendrum, Emmylou. We're spinning for the Cuppa Joe Mitts from the Ennea Collective. Anne's article on how to spin for the mitts was quite thorough, although I'm very sure my yarn will not look as good as hers.  One bobbin is finished and I'm working on the second. The Fiber Optic's pin-drafted roving has been a pleasure to spin as the preperation is lovely.

But, back to Joan's fiber....her fiber will be my reward for finishing the projects on both wheels.  It's crazy to buy more fiber when I already have so much but, I will allow myself to buy one thing from Joan when both wheels are empty.

However, that may not be as easy as it sounds. 

She has so many choices!  The trio sets are so enticing! Just think of how cute barber-poled socks would be.  She also has bamboo blends, silk blends BFL or merino blends!  And, I haven't even talked about color choices.  I'm all in a tizzy over what I want.  Hopefully, by the time I've attained my goal I'll have made a decision. Or you will have emptied her shop.

But Wait!

Pssst...I've got a little secret for you today. It's about the Ennea Collective. Now wait! Before you go running off because you're not a spinner, please give me a shot.

This is a real tip! If you love fiber, whether already spun (aka yarn), spin it yourself (aka roving, batts, etc.), or reading about fiber people, animals, and other fluffy goodness, you'll  want to read Ennea.  You really must take a few minutes and check it out because there IS so much more to the Ennea Collective and you're going to love it!

Take a spin (sorry, couldn't help it) around the knitting patterns and, if you see something you like, Ennea has a wonderful article on how to substitute a ready-made yarn for handspun.  The patterns are varied and range from sweaters, cowls, socks, to shawls, mitts, and gloves--AS WELL AS, articles to cover other aspects of fiber.  

And, there IS more!

In this, the third issue (Winter 2011), Kristi has an article on photographing knits and/or fiber. Her tips are very helpful and, since many of us share projects via Ravelry, Facebook, or other media sources, you will find it informative, interesting, as well as, in depth. 

Plus, look at this! There is no need to spin or knit to create this lovely pair of angora (warm!) mittensEnnea is full of creative projects for the fiber lover. Take a look back through the past issues and you'll find great ideas and endless hours of entertainment.

IF you spin and want to improve your technique, or you'd like to learn to spin, there is even more here for you!  Reading through all three issues has helped me understand how to create the yarn I want. For more help and interaction with other knitters join the Ravelry groupRav_linkredyarnball.


I've been spinning (not very well) for the Cuppa Joe Mitts as I just happened to have the exact fiber Anne used in my stash.  We'll see how it goes. The goal is to spin, not worry about perfection, just do the best I can.

More About Twist and Knit

For multiple reasons, summer is not a good time for spinning and, my poor wheels, Emmylou and Corrina, spend months neglected and alone. Over the weekend the weather cooled and the desire to spin returned. Before I could spin, Corrina needed a little TLC, so with the new cloth, I polished her beautiful cherry wood finish, all the while dreaming of the soft, luxurious, and unique fibers we would spin into yarn. 

Fiber is often spun for the experience of working with the content and the resulting yarn can set aside unused. Spinning is about the process of creation, not necessarily using what results, thus handspun can marinate in the stash. Twist and Knit, Miriam’s first book comes to the rescue, with multiple patterns for the small and large skeins of handspun (or commercial yarns).

Twistandknitwithhandspun When the book arrived I went right to the handspun bin and started plotting and planning which yarn would work with which pattern. The white yarn is a soft as can be 3-ply Cormo from Wooly Wonka Fibers and should make up nicely into the cowl on the coverRav_linkredyarnball, perfect for winter’s cold. The white may have a dye job after knitting is complete.

The plan for the purple yarn is to knit the rustic and cozy Comfy ShawlRav_linkredyarnball in a 2-ply spun from Spinderella's thrums.  The shawl should be toatsy and warm, just right to throw over a jacket this winter.

As I told you yesterday, last year, while recovering from surgery, Miriam asked if I would like test knit one of the patterns for the book. You may remember it was quite awhile before my brain worked as it should, and I admit to struggling with even the most simple of tasks, but after several false starts, and multiple errors of my own making, the lace became easier to read and the pattern repeat stuck in my head. I was off and running!


Knitting Motte Rav_linkredyarnball was just what I needed and, as she grew, I knew I would recover my sanity and my memory. The big plus was working with my own handspun and realizing my own yarn wasn’t half bad! In fact, it was beautiful and it helped create a unique, and rewarding, shawl.  If I can spin, and I can knit it into something so clever, I can do anything. Knit on!

She Came to Stay

Please allow me to introduce Corina. She came to stay awhile ago and, sadly, she has been ignored. She's been a part of my spinning dream for a couple of years and now she's here, living with me.  I feel so fortunate to have this gorgeous wheel in my life. 


Practicepraticepratice She's a 40th Anniversary edition Cherry Matchless from Schacht and she can spin.  Susan was here a couple of weeks ago to make sure Corina worked smoothly and was properly adjusted. However, it wasn't until yesterday morning I sat and gave her her due.  We worked hard to get to know each other and at times the road was bumpy.  It was love and perseverance that pulled us through, and after spinning an easy white merino for what seemed like a minute (and was actually over an hour), everything clicked.

It became clear to both of us that color would be better and I grab something nearby...a bump of Spinderella's Thrums in a wonderful purple.


Our first bobbin (in living color) is looking pretty good and we plan on living a long and happy life together.

Don't worry about Emmylou (my Lendrum). She's here, doing well, and she had a little attention this weekend, too.  This first bobbin was spun over the last couple of weeks and we're well on our way with a second.


It's quite wonderful to have two beautiful grrls in my life.

Spinning Away the Weekend

As away of avoiding any knitting that had to do with a sweater, I spent quite a bit of time with Emmylou (my spinning wheel).  In fact, I spent more time spinning this weekend than I did at any time during the Tour de FleeceZzzzzzzzzzforblog.  It was fabulously enjoyable until the room became too hot.  Thus, and in fact, this is why I was a huge FAIL at the Tour.  I took the wheel to another room, a cooler room, and that room, since it is rarely used, took Emmylou out of sight and out of mind.  When she is in the junque/fiber room she is ready to go, but it becomes too hot in that room early in the day and SO...July is not for spinning in this house. 

August apparently is the return of spinning season and spin, Emmylou and I did.  Look what we made...

This was two ounces of beautiful alpaca/silk roving from Tactile and it was so much fun to spin.  In the end we only spun up 310 yards, but I'm so pleased with its beauty.  This above picture is before fulling/finishing.
This picture is after finishing school. The yarn is fuzzier, soft, rounder, and quite lovely. The top picture is darker than the actually color. This is a truer color representation.  There is enough yarnage to make a lovey scarf, a lacy beautiful scarf. 

Was your weekend as enjoyable as mine? 

(P.S.  Knitnana is having a contest. She's celebrating five years of her Nana Sadie Rose company (she makes some of the nicest bags I've ever used) and, not only that but she's celebrating the creation of her 750th BAG! Can you believe she's made that many?  You have several chances to win and she's putting together a wonderful gift package. Don't forget to tell her who sent you, okay!? Now, doesn't that alone make a Happy Monday?)

Cranking it Out

A plan is in place for Emmylou (my Lendrum wheel) and I to spin our way through the Tour de FleeceRav_linkredyarnball with team CrankyPants.  While it's not in my nature to be as cranky as this group (they have the art of crank down pat!), I certainly lived up to their standards with the great knitting disaster and the weekend meltdown.


Spinning was a nice way to assuage the tortured knitting soul and treadling melted away the angst. First on the wheel for the Tour is an alpaca/silk fiber from Maia's company, Tactile Fiber Arts. She has faith in my ability to spin this fiber into a fine lace yarn of about 450 yds.  I may have treadle fast enough to make dental floss of the fiber, but we'll see in the end. One bobbin is finished and it's so, so pretty.

TospinforthetourdfleeceMy goal for the Tour is to spin with Project Spectrum South in mind.  There's a bit of red fiber hanging around the stash and spinning from stash is der rigueur. This luxurious 80% merino/20% cashmere is from last years Spirit Trail Fiber Club and the intent is to spin a yarn suitable for the lace mitts in the Summer issue of Piecework.  The fiber was heavenly to spin and a test skein turned out nicely.


Since Project Spectrum continues for a month after the tour, I should have time for another braid of fiber from Spirit Trail, a gorgeous, vibrant red. This one is a 50/50 cashmere/silk and the color is electric, hot and exquisite. Isn't this an "oh la la color?"


I'm not sure I have the ability to make this into a good yarn but, I am willing to give it a try.  It's just so-o scrumptious and luxurious.  I've been devouring Amy's new Spin Control book and find it very accessible, easy to read and full of great tips and information.  I'm building up confidence to spin my mountains of fiber stash.