Well I had to leave a comment on the blog of my friend Roseann, "Possessed to Knit" about her Cher Alpaca Shawl This shawl was spun up from the fleece of the very first alpaca ever born on my farm so, of course, I need to see how the shawl turned out, and Roseann was taking her time showing the finished masterpiece. All of her spinning and knitting items are masterpieces. Soooo jealous!
You can see photos of Cher, herself, HERE:
Cher the alpaca
Meanwhile, back in Edgewater, Florida, I went to the estate sale of a handspinner.
That's right, EDGEWATER FLORIDA! See why I keep saying that Florida is (shockingly) Fibery?
I found out about this sale on the Ravelry forum "Florida Spinners." Since Edgewater is about 10 minutes from my house in Scottsmoor, I HAD to go - you know, to pay my respects to a fallen spinner and all that.
Not that I didn't do a wee bit of shopping whilst I was there.
I bought the following:
An old-fashioned niddy noddy that has a wooden peg holding the top piece on. When you pull the peg, the top slides down a couple of inches and, voila! your skein slips right off the niddy noddy without a fight. At least this is the theory.
It turned out that this niddy noddy had not been used in a very long time. The peg was stuck tight.
I got my husband to pull the peg while he said a lot of swear words and vented about my habit of buying things without trying them first.
Then I used a plastic crochet hook as a peg until I could repair the wooden niddy noddy peg. That method worked fine but did not look nearly as charming as the all-wood niddy noddy.
I also bought a huge skein of spun linen. This smelled so musty and awful that I washed it twice. I did notice, whilst washing, that this skein of thin linen didn't seem to be tied off very well.
I usually figure-8 tie the heck out of my skeins before I take them off the niddy noddy. This one seemed to be tied in only two places. But, being a little, Pollyanna optimist, I decided that the other handspinner (may she rest in alpaca fiber cloudy heaven) must have known what she was doing.
She owned TWO GREAT WHEELS! (and by great wheels, I do not mean marvelous wheels, of course but, rather, wheels that are very large and have no treadle.)
Well, suffice it to say that I got to the point where the musty smell was replaced by the most lovely, flaxy-linen smell ever, but the skein was not looking any better tied-off after 2 washings.
Here is what it looked like on the swift after it had been washed:
If you have never put one of your own hand spun skeins on a swift and carefully arranged the skein so that it is not turned under or twisted anywhere, you may not realize that a skein that is not tied-off well and arranged properly will quickly become an object of terrible torment to the spinner or would-be knitter.
No matter how much you try to unravel the yarn and roll it into a ball, the yarn keeps getting hung up every 2 inches or so. This is similar to what happens when an evil dog or cat (or toddler for that matter) gets a hold of your yarn, but all the more annoying because, theoretically, it was supposed to be tied-off properly so that it could not tangle.
There is no word I know of for this phenomena, so I call it
There is a special level of hell dedicated to Skein Wreck, where former spinners are made to unravel, overly large, poorly tied-off, very fine, badly twisted skeins. Just to make it more
agonizing, the skeins are always alpaca, cashmere or (Bombyx Mori) silk - nothing that you could feel happy about throwing away. Not that that is an option in skein wreck hell.
Being tortured with Valkyrie wool combs for all eternity would be a welcome relief compared to this.
So, I threw the skein out. Shocking, I know, but I did only pay 50cents for the entire thing, and, having experienced skein wreck before, I knew I would not keep my sanity if I continued trying to unravel it. My fiber friends were aghast!
I try to be charitable and pretend that this, now-passed-from-this-world, spinner might have spun and tied this linen skein before she really knew what she was doing, and just couldn't bear to throw it out.
Maybe she bought the Flax on a special trip somewhere.
She just didn't realize that the fates would be cutting her own thread quite so soon, and never intended for this skein wreck to be sold. I hope I'm right.
I wouldn't want her to be YOU-KNOW-WHERE now!
I also bought some wonderful hand spun yarns in white and multi-colored purple. These I bought already wound in balls, so I skeined them on the niddy noddy and washed them before I ended up by winding them into balls again.
Here is a photo of most of my purchases lined up together:
My favorite purchase at the hand spinner's estate sale might just be the little booklet about all of the different, historical spinning wheels bought at the Ulster Museum for 3 shillings and 6 pence.
Yes, I am a spinning history nerd - and not in the cloakroom about it either!
If you are wondering why I could not resist the plastic toy spinning wheel in the above photo, so am I. There's just something so retro-cute about it. I doesn't really spin though.
This week's alpaca e-mail:
You're invited to join our brand new Herd Sire directory, which will be available as an online resource, as well as in print form. The online
directory will be free to view by anyone, and the printed copy will carry a small fee to cover printing and postage costs.
We are past the planning stage and in the design stage of the herd sire directory, so we are offering a discount for those that sign up now. The special price will be $50/yr. per alpaca. After this promotion ends, the price will be $75/yr per alpaca. The directory will be updated once a year. Blah Blah, etc., etc.
Under subject line: "Help!"
I have several Alpacas 13 to be exact and in the market for more . I am having a problem with finding a site that would be interested in coming
out to shear my Alpacas and buying the wool .Do you know of a site or a place that I can call to help me sale my wool .Thanks
Yeah, where IS that "site" that just calls YOU up and says, "We want to come shear your alpacas for you, then buy your fleece from you. when's good for you?"
So, at the risk of repeating myself -AGAIN- I sell a DVD that teaches alpaca owners how to shear their own alpacas. If you want one, you can get it here:
Alpaca Shearing (and care) DVD
I don't maintain a directory of shearers, nor do I find buyers for YOUR product. Maybe the people who want you to advertise in their herdsire (stud) directory can help you. THEY must still be in the alpaca breeding business.
Or, maybe the person you bought your first 13 alpacas from can help you. Unlike me, THEY are also in the alpaca breeding business.
Sorry to be so mean, but saying it nicely, over and over and over, wasn't working.
Entirely gratuitous photo of an armadillo in my yard:
I'm one of those alpaca breeders, you can be mean, it's okay, we still love you and I haven't really met you yet, just your entertaining writing and ideas and photos, you ROCK!
I got a skein that WASN't tied in a box with 17 other skeins from an estate sale on ebay. But I don't have a life, so I put it across my two chairs and worked on it for a couple of days and finally rolled it up into a ball! Yes, SHOCKED AND APPALLED that you threw it out! But, yeh, that really took some guts to throw it out!
I'm spinning alpaca today. Can't figure out why I skirted it out of the prime blanket and marked the bag as seconds, maybe it was a different color. It is GORGEOUS.
The socks must have been knit on the opposite side of the yarn from where it should have. But crazy socks are great to wear spinning. And you finished both of them! How does THAT happen. If I could find all of my needles, they are in projects somewhere....