Craftily Busy

Lately there’s been several projects on the needles and spindles plus one on the loom. Tonight the weaving was cut from the loom ready to be washed and dried tomorrow and possibly sewn on Tuesday. I’ve been greatly assisted by listening to books. Normally I love working in stillness but this summer I pined for books. While I managed read several it wasn’t enough. On a whim, during the weekend Ed was in Idaho, I purchased the audio book Testimony by Anita Shreve to listen to while knitting Ed’s Whitfield Jacket. I’m haunted by the similarity between that story and the news  last week of the death of young violinist Tyler. A heartbreaking, senseless tragedy.

Listening to a book being read took me back to listening to books throughout my growing up years. My mom read to us daily. Teachers read aloud after noon recess almost every day from first grade up through the seventh grade when I had a teacher who was the best reader of them all. He choose books which captivated our attention and imaginations;  A Wrinkle in Time; The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (this was in 1969); A Bronze Bow, to name but a few. My children could to listen to me read for hours at a time without getting restless, as long as they had a box of crayolas and paper to draw with whilst listening. (Seriously, we read The Wheel on the School for hours on end completing it in two days when they were once both young and quite sick.)

Listening to a good story made the hours and needles fly! When Testimony ended I searched for an online source and found LibriVox and Elizabeth Klett. This afternoon and evening I listened to the last chapters of Jane Eyre (version 3) as I wove the final inches of the shirt-to-be that was on the loom.Yes, was. It’s cut off and ready for a washing and drying tomorrow then hemming and sewing the sides.The colored yarn is my Limegreenjelly handspun from late last year. When I calculated the warp and weft for the shirt I found that there wasn’t enough handspun for the weft by a couple hundred yards so I also used some black tencel in the weft and silver grey tencel for the warp. After the first dozen inches were woven I wasn’t sure that I liked the results, then Grace came by a couple weeks ago and saw it. Her enthusiasm for the material gave me the inspiration and courage to weave on.

I’d read Jane Eyre as a teen and had only a vague memory of it. Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte’s sister, Emily, was far more to my likening. This time I could scarcely stop and turn away from the story. Listening to Elizabeth Klett’s beautiful, sure voice was as if listening to Jane herself telling her story. I’m now queuing up other books which she has read. No worries about what to do as I listen. There’s still a couple pairs of socks that Feather and Gus are patiently waiting for. Hrmph, more likely they’ve forgotten about the socks I started knitting for them while they were visiting two months ago. They had six skeins of yarn to choose from, I was quite surprised at the yarns they chose.  Last evening as I picked up Feather’s down-to-the-heel sock I realized the pattern was lost in the busyness of the yarn so I frogged it and will make plain 2x ribbed socks for both the grandchildren. Once Ed’s jacket was finished I had planned to concentrate on the socks as Feather’s birthday is this month.

Until the other day when good friends stopped by and Mirth asked if I could make her another throw. Years ago she’d had cancer and the heavy wool throw I’d woven for her became her favorite for snuggling under when she felt chilled and exhausted but too sick to sleep. Cancer has once again attacked, she’ll start chemo tomorrow.  I’m shooting to get the warp measured and sleyed tomorrow evening and the heddles threaded on Tuesday. If I can work full speed ahead, without interruptions, tomorrow — emails answered, paperwork tended to, and packages mailed (eiyeiyei tomorrow’s to-do list is looong) maybe I can free up some normal work time during the daylight hours on Tuesday when it’d be much easier to thread the heddles.

Lots of spinning has been happening too. Often enough I’m asked how much yardage I can get on a certain type of spindle. Of course that’s so relative it’s impossible to definitively say, but I should be able to give people a rough idea of how much weight one can handle. Since the Lark/Jay is the relatively newest one* I’ve been spinning some superfine kid mohair I got from Picperfic last year. I wasn’t sure how I should spin this fine fiber until Jay came along and shouted out that it would love love love to spin it into a yarn for a sweater for Feather. (Yes, I know, the whole Lark/Jay spindle thing is rather confusing. The Jay is essentially a Lark but with a shorter shaft which the crossarms sit lower on than on the Lark. So, if you have a Lark you can get a Jay shaft and then you’ll have a two-in-one. sort-of.) The mohair and Jay have indeed been a happy union and I’ve been having a blast spinning.

My loaded Jay sitting next to an empty Jay of the same size. There are 57 grams of fiber on that Jay, that’s 2 ounces! By the last few grams  I was trying to wind more onto the shoulders and sides instead of upwards since the shaft was slowly disappearing. I could have put a few more grams on it. This kid mohair has been a joy to spin that more has been spun in the last two days. I’m so eager to make a little jacket for Feather it’s hard to stop spinning. The colors are so bright and cheerful that I decided not to take the chance of muddying them when plyed so at the suggestion of Pam of Herndon Creek Farm (she is such a sweet loving woman!) I will be spinning grey alpaca to ply with the mohair singles. Right now the plan is to weave the yarn then slightly full and brush it for the jacket. Half the fun is in the planning!

With all these projects and listening to books (and blogging!) there’s been little personal computer time taking place. I’ll feel like a stranger when I finally make it back to Ravelry. Must do so soon for I have an International Moleskine that’s needing to go forward on its journey so I’ll need to check in there. I’m almost afraid to open Ravelry and get lost down the wayward tunnels of threads.

* the chip-carved one  is still in the wings while Ed is making numerous spindles, hooks and needles for store orders.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

11 thoughts on “Craftily Busy”

  1. Tonight I finished the fiery targhee sample that came with my standard; the myrtle and the cop are both SOOOO pretty! I’m going to spin the tussah silk sample I got with my Lark/Jay as fine as I can to ply it with, and hopefully end up with enough for a small luxury knit.

    I’ve finally found the perfect backdrop for all spindle photos, a beautifully glazed, wheel-thrown bowl I got at a Christmas party one year.

  2. I’ve been reading Elizabeth Klett’s blog since I started blogging. I love her written “voice” but have yet to hear her literal one.

  3. What beautiful fabric on the loom! And what a full spindle!!

    I love listening to books while I weave and spin. Thanks for the link to librivox. You may also want to check to see what your local/regional library has on offer. I can download audio books through a Michigan service using my township library card.

    Can’t wait to see ‘Feather’s’ jacket.

  4. Beautiful.
    Both the spinning and the weaving (the tencel really ties it together !)
    very pretty post altogether…
    glad you had a chance to write it.

  5. Wow you have been very busy! Blessings to your friend for comfort, health and stamina to face this next round. And blessings to you for this labor of love.

  6. It’s funny timing to see you writing about reading – I’m just in the middle of an essay about my reading habits for my college English class! :o)

    I’m really sorry to hear about your friend, how kind of you to make her another piece of tangible love and comfort.

  7. I, too, love listening while I craft, and my girls are the same way. They will listen to me (or anyone else) read out loud by the hour, given the chance. I hope things go well for your friend; your love and support will help tremendously, I know.

  8. The yarn you’re spinning for Feather’s jacket is lovely – it will make a wonderful fabric!
    I’m sure th throw you’ll weave for your friend will be a great source of warmth and comfort. Best wishes to her.

  9. My mom read to us nightly before we went to sleep. We had the original Winnie the Pooh books, before Disney got hold of them. I carried on the tradition by reading to my children. My kids still remember the books we read. I think I might look into audio books to pop into my car CD player; my commute to work is twenty minutes. Thanks for the idea, maybe I’ll ask for some for Christmas. I love Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Lovely yarn colours for Faith’s jacket!

  10. I get most of my reading done these days while crafting by listening to audiobooks through I’ll have to check out LibriVox. My students at school (8th grade) still love to hear books read. We’re finishing Copper Sun now and they beg to hear the audio rather than just reading it themselves.

  11. I LOVE Librivox! With cooler weather I am back at spinning…a two-tone fleece for a Buffalo Plaid garment….and listening to Little Women (again….).
    Your weaving looks WONDERFUL!!!

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