Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A TFC Training Post!

Well, I had a request from one of our New Spinners (Hi Nancy!) for some helpful hints. I tried my best to explain myself in an e-mail, but spinning is just NOT one of those things you can learn manual-style. So....I said I would post pictures that (hopefully) would clarify my rambling. Here it goes....

This is a little trick that I learned from one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's videos. To test whether you have the correct amount of twist, it is often helpful to stop occasionally and fold your single back on itself. It's an easy, quick way to determine if your still on track.
The two photos below show an exaggerated example of a single with not enough twist. Notice that is very lofty (puffy) and that you can see light through the yarn. This occurs because there isn't enough kinetic energy in the form of "twist" to grab the individual fibers and hold them together. Singles without enough twist will drift apart when being plyed and create a finished yarn with very little definition or tensile strength.

Here are two examples of yarn with the correct amount of twist (for our needs at TFC). You can see the individual definition of both singles which, when doubled on itself, creates a yarn that resembles a string of beads. I've included two different diameters as examples.

Thicker (our "Regular Weight")...

Here is an example of a single with way too much twist. This curling effect is what I call "pig-tailing". There is so much kinetic energy in this single that it begins to double curl and creates a very harsh, hard finished yarn. As a plyer, this is the hardest kind of single to "fix"; it's hard on the machinery and on my hands. If, when you stop and look your work, you find these "pig-tails", you can either slow down your treadling, or speed up your hands to compensate.

When a single with too much twist is folded back on itself, it kinks wildly...

I was also asked for a few ideas about toilet paper rolls and what to do if they don't fit snugly over the ball winder. You have two options, depending on the diameter of the shaft.

The first option is to simply put the roll over the ball winder, then tape the bottom securely to the base of the winder to keep the roll from wandering up from the centrivical force.

The second option is slightly more involved, but more foolproof...
Cut the roll lengthwise....

Wrap the roll around the ball winder until overlaps and fits snugly (not too tight, or you'll have problems pulling it off after you're done)...

Then tape the edge closed. I find that electrical, duct, or masking tape works better on the cardboard than scotch tape.

Select a place to tuck the end of the single and start winding, keeping some tension on the yarn with your free hand. This creates a tidy, solid ball that doesn't wander on the roll.

Well, I hope this is helpful and answers some questions! Spinners: let me know if there are any other issues that might be helped by a photo Training Post!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Didn't know I was so well traveled....

On the MSN homepage this afternoon, there is a list of 10 places to see before you die. I was dumbfounded to discover I had already seen 5 of them (four of which are chronicled on this very blog)...does that mean that the list sucks, or that I'm surprisingly well traveled? You decide:

1. American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland
2. Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia
3. Disneyland in Anaheim, California (DONE)
4. Ellis Island, New York City
5. Grand Canyon, Arizona
6. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California (DONE)
7. Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California (DONE)
8. Muir Woods (Redwoods) in Marin County, California (DONE)
9. Niagra Falls in Ontario and New York
10. The Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois (DONE)

I also must note that two of these I did with Brent (Disneyland and Griffith Observatory) and two of these I did with Mom (Redwoods and Monterey Bay Aquarium). I saw the Sears Tower by myself (but then met Randy Fox for dinner). I'm still working on the rest; perhaps I could convince Brent to go to Colonial Williamsburg and Ellis Island, those are so him...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tanglewood's Newest Helper?

Who is the mysterious man winding off my bobbins????? TFC's newest helper, that's who. His identity will remain safely anonymous :-)

Shhhh....he doesn't know I took this picture....


Just some quick shots of what's been going on here lately..

Here is a Gypsy Bus that appeared in front of my apartment building. The quartet of two guys, one girl, and a cat stayed for a few days, then disappeared just as mysteriously as they appeared. Alexandra thought this was great and took several pictures of her own as Mom started up a conversation with the "Magic Bus" crew. As they cooked their dinner in a beat up saucepan over a Bunsen burner, the spokesman of the group explained how they traveled from music festival to music festival all over the country. Needless to say, she was thrilled with this and wished them luck as we walked on to Papa Hadyn's....

A new rug, finally!! I searched and searched on Craig's List, but had a hard time stomaching a two hundred-or-so-dollar price tag for something that would live on the floor. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect one in my favorite shop The Red Bench in Silverton. For a bargain price of $79 dollars, the owner of the shop reluctantly folded it and put it in a bag for me, handing it over the counter with a mumbled "I wasn't quite ready to sell that".....

Perserverance Sustained

As I was driving to Cheryl Newhouse's place to collect more singles on Monday, I looked in my side mirror to see a small yellow spider clinging desperately to a newly started web. When I stopped for a red light, she scrambled quickly up the fresh frame strands to safety behind the mirror. Apparently, I had caught her by surprise. By the next morning, she had finished and the web shimmered, unbreakable in the breeze as I drove to work.