Adventure in First

The first day of Spinning First is behind me. One day of what I imagined would be this huge stash-busting, space creating epic.  It’s not quite what I thought it would be. It’s more like spinning in first gear than spinning first.  Since the goal was to be able to make it all fit into the allotted space, I started with something that couldn’t be put away because there was no room – so I’m a day in, and nothing has shifted yet. Technically, I haven’t made a dent.  I started with a batt I got on the weekend – the batt that put me on this path in the first place, when I took it upstairs to join its woolly comrades and discovered the state of affairs. (For the moment, I choose to pretend that I didn’t know what was happening up there until it was all too late. Like that all the fibre I was buying/getting/procuring was a surprise nobody could have seen coming.)

It’s a batt from Inglenook Fibers. It turns out that there is no end to the ways my favourite nuns are super-crafty, and one of the sisters makes and sells batts, amongst other things. (The Convent is self-supporting. They all work to make that possible.) 

This batt is my favourite kind of spinning, when I’m spinning just for fun.  It’s called "Plum Tree" and it’s a mix of merino, romney, alpaca, bamboo, silk, Angelina, Firestar, silk noil and Starbright.  With a mix like that, it won’t spin up into a perfectly smooth yarn, and that means that I’m absolved of trying to make it so. I can just churn along, seeing what happens – and that’s just what I did.

Those pretty singles will get plied over the weekend.  I’m anxious to see what sort of yarn it makes. I didn’t sample first, I’m going for a full on surprise.  

I admit that I thought I’d have more done, which is crazy, but it’s harder to put spinning first than I thought. I’m pretty set up for knitting – and it really is what I think of first when I have a little time.  When I talk about getting a lot of knitting done, one of my tricks is to have it with me all the time.  A row here, a round there, it adds up fast.  I thought this weekend I’d try the same thing with spinning.  My number one wheel has a home in the living room, I bet you’ve seen it lurking in pictures, it’s sort of in a corner.  If I’m going to spin I pull it out and set it up in front of a chair (a chair that’s not really great for spinning) and put it away again when I’m not spinning. I try to put it away every time I walk away from it, because I’ve been trying to set a completely hopeless standard of tidiness for years. (It turns out it’s hopeless not just because of the people I live with, but me too. Devastating realization.) I’m going to leave it set up and good to go for a few days, to see if that makes a difference to my productivity.

I don’t like to think of myself as someone who could be put off of spinning by having to REACH for the wheel, but lets just see, shall we? I also like to think of myself as someone who isn’t lazy enough that I would paint around furniture, but it’s a different colour behind the piano anyway.  (Don’t look at me like that. You’d never know if I hadn’t told you.)  We shall see.

65 thoughts on “Adventure in First

  1. I am currently spinning an Inglenook batt myself and I love it. Amazing stuff.

  2. The wool is beautiful.
    Can you explain exactly how spinning is going to reduce the stash? Does yarn take less space?

  3. I had a huge bookcase, more than 4 feet wide and over eight feet high, and I hauled it all over, but the first time I painted all by myself as a (then) new widow, that did not go anywhere.Even though I am a lousy painter, and yes, some got on the bookcase. I moved the books!
    No judgement about the piano, it’s not like you made the bed around the cat.

  4. I’ve been attempting a yarn diet for some time now, and it works as well as the standard diet for me. I/the stash might be getting fat less slowly.
    This week I found out I’m moving across the country. I need to reduce all of my stuff. I think I’ll joint the spinning first party this week. I don’t know that it will help when I should start packing, but you’re trying it to reduce your stash, so it can’t be crazy, right?

  5. That does look like a fun batt! Did you go back and forth straight off the batt or tear pieces off? Do you have a favourite style of fibre preparation? I’ve got a question or two more for you over at my blog; I’m hoping to start on the Mohair this weekend…any suggestions?
    Do you have the next batch of fibre picked out already?
    Nobody here is interested in spinning…did you notice?

  6. “but it’s a different colour behind the piano anyway.” Oh, I am laughing so hard. My parents had a very heavy upright and we tried not to move it any more often than we had to. Thankfully, most of the time it was against a solid wood wall, or I’m quite sure we would have painted around it, too. I’m just really curious to know what colour it is behind yours.
    That batt and singles are just beautiful, lovely colours, and I can hardly wait to see what it looks like plied.
    My stash is fabric and takes up way too much room, which means I should get busy sewing instead of acumulating more.

  7. So I am supposed to be spinning to reduce my stash, and what did I just do? Buy some fiber from the Spinning Sister! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  8. One of my very best productivity discoveries was to *leave the project out/set up*. Out of sight, out of mind is more than a saying. And it works with all sorts of things- my husband used to complain that he wanted to practice the guitar more…and we got a guitar stand so now he picks it up several times a day- every day. If I want to get a project started, the first thing I do is collect all the materials and set them up in the work area. It immensely lowers the bar to get started.
    And not moving the piano to paint behind it? Is completely sane. Those things are way too heavy.

  9. Golly gee whiz, I may have to start spinning. Their batts are BEAUTIFUL. [Couldn’t start this post with what I really wanted to say, they being nuns and a convent and all ;-)]

  10. You have to have it ready to go or it doesn’t get done I’ve noticed. I need to get my wheel out too, but I have a sock that has to be finished first. Then spinning white Gotland/English Leicester cross and brown Perendale to make the yarn for a colourwork sheep cushion for my guild’s opening later this year.

  11. Pianos will need a tuning after they’ve been moved (usually this means to a new house or something, not to paint). But then, they generally need tuning twice a year ANYWAY, or more if you’re really serious.
    (I tune for fun and occasionally a little money)

  12. What happens when you want to rearrange the furniture? That’s why I even painted behind my fridge.

  13. But if I remember correctly, you *did* move the bed before you refinished the floor. Priorities, right? You move the piano, you have to tune the piano. You totally made the right decision.

  14. OOH it’s so pretty – first off, you’re totally making progress, keep up the great work. Second, I should probably consider a yarn diet as well … myhusband brought home some cabinets and I asked what they were supposed to be for – he listed some kitchen items or something. I said “OH.So NOT for yarn?” … I think I was the only one laughing… Anyway- thanks for always keeping us blog readers motivated.

  15. I clicked on the link to Inglewood Fibers; that was probably a bad idea. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.
    I’m excited to see what those singles turn into! It’s going to be lovely.

  16. That batt should be called “Sunset reflected in the water at my cottage”, it is so pretty. Leaving things out where they can be seen definitely helps with productivity, I find. It also makes for a really, really messy house. But why put it away when you’re just going to use it again soon?

  17. Macrina makes the most beautiful batts. I’m currently finishing up one of her gorgeous polwarth/silk braids so that I can start on a Radagast the Brown batt.
    Macrina’s spirit is every bit as beautiful as her batts.

  18. I got my new wheel today, and I’m going to a spinning group tonight! The only problem is I may come home with more fiber than I left with.
    I love the colors in the batt you were spinning, but I have to admit to being rather scared of the sparkly stuff.

  19. Have you thought of drop spindle spinning as a means of having more portable spinning? Of course, you wouldn’t have the same overall speed, but maybe you could fit more spinning into the nooks and crannies of your day…

  20. You need a drop spindle in your purse so you can spin in line at the bank, etc… It’d freak out the muggles even more than knitting in line.
    Oh, and the wall is a different color behind my toilet tank. No way was I moving that sucker just to paint some sheetrock…

  21. Shawn Anchor calls it the 20-second rule. If you make something 20 seconds more or less convenient, you’ll actually change your behaviour. So, for example, he took the batteries out of his tv remote, walked 20 seconds into his bedroom, and hid them. He knew where they were, he was 20 seconds away from them, but it was enough of a barrier that he found himself reaching for a book more often. In your case, you’re making spinning 20 seconds MORE convenient, which should impact your behaviour in the opposite direction. See? YOU’RE BACKED UP BY A HARVARD PSYCHOLOGIST so there.

  22. I’m torn. On the one hand, you’re supporting the nuns. On the other hand, there is clearly no grey wool in those pictures.
    Let’s see what you pull out for tomorrow, eh? Hint: dig deeeeep.

  23. I think you just sold a lot of fiber and yarn for those sisters! I bought a skein, since I don’t spin. Gorgeous stuff. I can’t wait to see what else comes into their shop.

  24. I’m still laughing about the piano comment. I want to paint my third bedroom, but it involves moving 4 bookcases…I don’t think I want to paint around them, though. The spinning is beautiful. I want to spin yarn. It’s the practice part that’s holding me back.

  25. Hiya! I’m deeply grateful you’re posting where you get your batts from. Is there a master list of awesome fiber places lurking about somewhere? 🙂

  26. Pianos and waterbeds don’t have to be moved when you’re painting a room. I was assured of this (by my inner voice) several years ago when I decided to paint the bedroom with a king-sized waterbed in it.

  27. My Mom has this ‘silly’ saying-and I want to go on record here that I do NOT adhere to it-is “That everything has a place, and everything IN it’s place’. Needless to say, I got my ‘crafty-ness’ from my Gran’ma (her Mom-it skipped a generation). My Mom does think I’m awesome though for all that I do, and she is always ready to accept any and all hand-made gifts-especially socks, and mitts, and hats, and . . . lol

  28. I think I need to take my wheel to my office instead of the living room. It’s cold and dim and kinda boring in there, so I tend to avoid it. My office is warm and cozy and holds my computer and all my DVDs.

  29. I would love to support the nuns, but I don’t spin – and I am not planning on learning. I clicked on the link, but it only shows fiber. If by chance they do sell yarn, please let me know, as supporting nuns would be a worthy excuse to increase my stash!

  30. I got one 4 oz bobbin done and a 2nd is half full. Had to relearn how to spin this BFL. Had put my wheel aside for 3 months and…well…had dto get requainted. But all is well. Going to spin more now.
    Those nuns are a hoot! Do they sell fiber to the public? If so, where can they be reached?

  31. Hey, if I had been painting alone, the area behind the refrigerator wouldn’t be painted either.

  32. I, too was devastated by the knowledge that I have as much responsibility for the chaos in my home as my husband (jam-flinging, non-bed-maker that he is). We shall overcome, I’m convinced.

  33. I just love her stuff… My method for spinning more was to put the wheel in the family room, just past the range of the tv. When the kids watch, I can retreat and spin.

  34. Would like to hear more about spinning chairs, & how to test them for comfort without carrying around a large spinning wheel. Mine is adjustable, but I still can’t seem to spin too long without a break because it’s just not that comfortable after a while. (When we get that worked out, we can go on to beds & mattresses….)

  35. Step,
    Still laughing. We think so alike, I am sure we are related! I got the rude awakening after both boys left home that I was responsible for most of the living room and kitchen choas. Having the older one back to finally finish his education, it is still my mess! His room is a disaster but doors close. Knitting projects and yarn are everywhere in the living room- well around both the big chairs- not the couch which seems to be reserved for laundry coming and going from the garage where the washer and dryer live. Such is life and if company comes, I scurry around and make it presentable.
    The stuff you are spinning looks like the stuff of my dreams- just beautiful. Enjoy it.

  36. Oh, I am drooling over that beautiful batt. I handpaint and spin A LOT of yarn, but it’s all just plain wool. Mind you, it’s soft and all, but it doesn’t have all this fancy stuff in it that yours does. I wonder what you are gonna make with it?

  37. I bought an adjustable swivel stool at IKEA just for spinning. It makes me focus on my posture and it doubles as an extra end table in the living room. I leave my wheel out when I’ve got a project going on. After all, non-functional wheels were a decorative fad twenty years ago.

  38. Beautiful batt, beautiful work! Too bad the nuns have to be self-supporting — the Church always seems to have plenty enough money to pay lawyers to defend child molesters, but never enough to support small neighborhood churches or convents. Like in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — the Vatican was strangely bankrupt then. Hmmmm….
    Oops, I left my snark app turned on by accident. Hey, for all I know they could be Buddhist nuns. Either way, the batt and your resulting work are both just gorgeous.
    I keep both a sock project AND a drop spindle with roving in my car at all times. I’ve been known to spin waiting at the dentist or doctor — that REALLY freaks people out. At the doctor’s you end up with extra space around you, too, and less chance of catching someone’s cold.
    Can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to sit next to a spinner, thoguh.

  39. Ahem, JF Brown at 2:54 PM, exactly what is *wrong* with making the bed around the cat??? Cats are people, too, you know.

  40. I just love that batt!!! Should be called ‘the Kitchen sink’! I’ll be interested in seeing what it looks like plied & knitted. And why not Spinning Nuns?? They should have fun too.

  41. Same thing happened when I painted my family room. Only it wasn’t a piano. It was a fish tank. When I sit in my chair in the evening, that grey spot on my ivory wall just kinda glares at me. Fish tank was of course moved out of that room 4 years ago……, uh, yeah……

  42. I spun up an oz of BFL/tussah top quite fine; and then spun a maybe an oz of wild batt of mohair,suri alpaca, silk and wool. A lot of green with yellow and blue thrown in various shades. I spun that slubby and plied it with the first one alternating tension from one to the other. I’ll post a picture on my website.
    This is about the previous post. I found out Wed evening that a very close friend of my god-daughter’s family killed himself. They are mourning and wondering what they could have done different. I have 1 1/2 socks made for my son’s birthday in June; they are too big. They will fit my god-daughter’s husband perfectly. I will give her the first Catkin cape that I made. Emotional armor and pocket love. Why did I make two Catkins and socks too big for my son?? The inner voice is a mystery.
    Thank you so much for your post.

  43. The less moral among us (me) at this point wonder how many bobbins you own. Plying’s gonna slow down the batt-busting. Also? Great construct to justify with logic spinning the new thing first. I almost didn’t spot it.

  44. I think daily spinning for bit of time is a splendid idea. My guilt is not driven by excess fiber but rather the dust gathering on my lonely wheel.

  45. Laughing in recognition, over and over. In my case it was the burst hot water heater and all the yarn and fiber that is not ever going back in that closet–how do you knit it all up right right now? (You don’t.)
    Gorgeous batt and yarn; have fun!

  46. Joining the spindle brigade! I learned to spin on one and didn’t get my wheel till a couple of years later. Spindles are incredibly portable, great conversation starters (you think people look at you cock-eyed when you’re knitting… ha!), and you can whip out a surprising amount of yarn with one, or two, or… Have you ever looked at the amazing variety of gorgeous spindles out there? It’s a whole new opportunity for hoard– I mean collecting!

  47. Dear Stephanie,
    If you are a reader of mysteries perhaps you should read Canadian write Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamach book “Trick of the Light”. Nothing like a self supporting monastery. The mention on the self supporting convent made me think of it.

  48. Pianos are sensitive to humidity and temperature, which can be very different in different places within a room, let alone in different rooms. Moving it out a bit to paint and then back in probably wouldn’t affect it, if the weather is dry enough so the paint dries quickly. However, accidentally knocking it over so it falls down will definitely affect it and anything it lands on.
    For me, things left out to be visible tend to turn into backdrop anyway; I have to keep moving things to keep them in mind.

  49. Dear Harlot,
    If, in your naiivete as a new knitter, you have lovely yarn wound for later use – say, 2-3 years later – will giving the yarn a bath resore it to it’s former non-stretched glory?

  50. There’s no question that I spin/sew a lot less when I have to reach for something. In order to use up those 15mn sneaky blocks of time, you can’t be spending 5mn up front and then afterwards with the getting stuff and putting it away, you have to be able to just sit down and do it. So start thinking of a permanent place in the living room :-). And also get yourself a comfortable spinning chair already! Really!!

  51. Please, please, spin a batch of “dull” batt into a justso yarn, like easy, done in no time and still eh dull. Then twine it with the nuns not so perfect yarn, but so beatiful colours. You will have made a dent in your stash and those bright colours don’t get a muddy colour from twisting/twining tw that will not match in ages to an accepable colour. Trust me, I am not a spinner yet, but I have more then 55 years of crossstitching behind me and I know, relacing one colournumbre with one only two shades lighter or darker can spoil a whole picture, so, if in doubt, go for naturel white wool or a very light grey. Your vibrabt colours will look more vibrant next to a dull colour then next to a competing vibrant star.

  52. That is a stunning batt. I’ll second the suggestion to ply it with something plain to make all the different colours really pop, and that way you’ll get more yardage to knit with too.

  53. For the person above who talked about reducing her stash in order to move…..don’t do it! Yarn and fiber makes great packing material, rather than using lots of box filler. If you are doing your own packing, you’ll be able to fill all the tiny voids in your boxes with your stash. That’s what I did the first time I moved across the county, and I’ll be doing the same thing this time (yup, going back across again.) It worked like a charm and we had ZERO breakage.

  54. The batt and the singles are wonderful : ) I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Also, for me- out of site, out of mind. Definitely leave the wheel out. Of course, then I feel obligated to work on it and so start avoiding it but, that’s a whole other issue.

  55. Macrina’s batts are absolutely gorgeous!!! The little bits of color and texture running through them make the spinning so much fun. When I see her creations, I am helpless to resist them. And as lovely as the picture is, the actual batt is ALWAYS even more beautiful.

  56. That is lovely. The sheen is amazing.
    I was trying to finish a pair of socks in solidarity, but instead I made banana bread, banana pudding, brownies and ice cream all in one day. It is amazing how much that took away from knitting!

  57. Knitting nuns! Or at least spinning nuns. Worth a story or even a book if enough nuns could be interviewed. I’m completely intrigued. In years past, nuns made lingerie (!!) to support their orders, now batts of yarn. Who would have thunk? But it makes perfect sense. Lingerie is less desirable, but women everywhere (so it seems) likes to acquire yarn or at least wool to make yarn that turns into socks, sweaters and more. I want to mee the Inglenook Fibers Nuns. I’m sure we could pray a Rosary or two, then talk all things fibery. Possible?

  58. The batt is SO beautiful! Love the colors.Oh…I’ve painted around shelves. Got to save all the time I can for knitting.

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