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October 2006

dressing up Bess

Remember Bess?  I've spun quite a bit o' Bess in the past year.  Every bobbin is different.  In some cases, very different.  They can be light grey to charcoal, or maybe even to brown.  It's made me wonder how to handle the irregular tones in a project.  I could dye it.  I could separate it into like colors and use it for many different projects.  Of course, there will be assorted projects.  Bess started out at 9lbs.   Saturday, as I sat playing with the Turkish spindle and a handful of Bess, it came to me.  I would blend it with something with color, not too much, but enough to shift it to a tweed.  And there, next to me, was a lovely bag of roving from the Persimmon Tree.  Barn 31?  It's always in the same place at the very end of the barn.  Lovely stuff, usually a wool / mohair / maybe some llama, in luscious colorways.


My first thought was to make one bobbin of bess and another of the multi and then ply them barber pole.  When knitted they would make a pronounced tweed.  I spun a bit on my spindle to test it out.  Nice.  Not quite what I wanted.  I decided to blend it with the carder.




I'm having fun with it.  For every few hand fulls of Bess I put on the carder, I put a layer of multicolored fiber. 

If you live in the Northeast, you know that the weekend was wet and very windy; snowy too, depending on how far north you were.  That meant I had plenty of time to spend indoors.  Saturday was the monthly Spin In at RI Handspun,  That got me going on my spinning.  By the time I went home, I'd managed to ply up a couple bobbins of Lincoln I had spun during the summer and spin a bobbin of a medium brown Austalian wool that I picked up somewhere and wanted to think about.  I've been spinning and dyeing the Lincoln all summer, a couple skeins at a time, to use for a rug hooking project I've been thinking about.  It was also time to clear some bobbins in preparation for the Gathering this coming weekend.  By dinner time Sunday I felt like I had accomplished something.   It's been a while since I had a spinning weekend.  Felt great. 

Turkish... ??

The Turkish spindle wasn't the only thing I recieved from Turkey last weekend.  A friend, recently returning from a trip to Istanbul, brought me, well.. guess what it is (the scrunchy orange and cream thing..).   


I'll put the answer in the comments so you can't peek easily.  I wish I had thought to have him look for spindles at the bazaar. 

Here's a hint.  It fits.

**ouch!  having never posted a comment to my blog, I did not know about the security letter thing that was there.  I hate those things.   How very irritating.  Either it is a Typepad thing, and I don't think that's it, or I did it accidentally. 

a potato on a stick

A potato on a stick...that pretty well sums up the essence of the spindle.  You know I'm right.  A wad of clay, a potato, a rock, a block of wood; put them on a stick and you've got a spindle.  My first spindle, the one I learned on, was a 1"x3"x3" block of wood on a dowell.  It worked great, still does.  Someone in the wood shop at school cut up a bunch of little square pieces of wood, drilled a hole and we slide it onto the stick.  The ends were cut sqare, no pointy end, no hook.  Not long after that, a friend returning from Peru brought me two spindles that were little more than a wad of fired clay that slide onto a hand whittled stick.  The stick was pointed on both ends.  The spindles were bottom whorl, rigged (if that is the word) by hand, no hook needed.  I LOVE tools, the more basic the better.  This said, here's what I bought at Rhinebeck.  I have been eyeing the beautifully carved, incredibly simple, turkish spindles.  Now, this one is mine.


Compared to the beautiful little spindles we buy from Forrester, Golding, & Bosworth, these are heavy.  But, heavy is good if you have a hairy fiber with a bit of grease in it.  The women who use them, use them well... spinning beautiful fine yarns.  Often, the arms are chipped.  I'm told that this is comes from the spindle being tossed off the roof or balcony of the spinners dwelling, not in anger, but in an effort to get the longest possible draw.  LONG DRAW!!!  It boggles my mind.  Apparently, they sometimes hit the side of the building while twirling their way down, chipping a bit as they bounce along.  They do spin forever.  Imagine having to go down the stairs and out into the street to reclaim your spindle after a poor toss.


This particular spindle was sold as an antique. I prefer the word "used" or maybe "older".  The date it was carved or perhaps given to the spinner is carved into the side of one arm.  Not "antique".

These spindles are workhorses.  Lots of spin and lots of room for yarn.  When you remove the spun yarn from the arms, it's ready to ply, both ends accessible.

walk with me wednesday

Business kept me driving from client to wholesaler, then on to search for inspiration.  After seeing so many holiday supplies, I needed to clear my head.  I am not ready to switch to red ribbon, wreaths and glitz.  Not. ready. Not. yet.  So, I went for my walk.

For many years, in every season and any weather, if I can get to these cliffs and rocky beaches, I do.  They are salve for my soul. 




When I got to the beach a surprise was waiting..




****  I can see from the comments here that I 'd better clear this up before rumors begin.  You guys have WILD imaginations.  There isn't any seal blood, no bear scat, nothing of the sort.... just rocks.  When I got to the beach, somebody had arranged the different colored rocks into lines of reds, blacks, whites, and yellows.  All natural colored rocks, as found on the beach.  Someone with loads of time.  Rivers of stones.

rhinebeck, oh my..

Since I just magically erased my Rhinebeck post, and it was a good one, and I have to start over because I haven't learned my lesson yet and this half caff coffee is frankly NOT doing the trick, this post will be late and maybe shorter than the original.  Too bad, Rhinebeck is not something to be short changed.  Luckily there are loads of posts, or will be, about the phenomena that is Rhinebeck.  Cassie and Kim have written beautiful posts that say what I want to say, so go read them.  Rhinebeck begins for me on Thursday afternoon; that's when I pick my sister up at the airport.  This is one thing we do together, alone, no husbands and kids.  I order lobster rolls for Friday, as a launch lunch, the first stop on our way.  Perfect.  Then we drive.  Traveling weather, the past couple years has been sort of lousy, rain, wind, that sort of thing.  But Rhinebeck, of all the fairs, has the advantage of being the autumn festival, and the colors in the Hudson Valley are always wonderful.  From the moment I walked into the hotel and saw the gaggle of knitters, spinners, and bloggers gathered in the lobby, I felt at home.  It's like that.  Even the newbees aren't new anymore.  There have been so many gatherings, festivals, spin ins, knit outs and whatever, that most everyone feels a part of it.   Pretty amazing, actually.  I heard bits of the same conversation over and over.. it sort of went like this: "I was always the last one chosen when it came to teams, you know, I was the easy out, the kid with the braces, the one that couldn't hit the ball, the shy one, the (fill in the blanks here).  But here, I am at home."  That kind of thing.  Can you feel it?  There are the stories, the sharing, the hugs.  Friends you haven't seen for a year, a month, friends you've never seen, and friends you didn't know you had.  That's the Rhinebeck experience, the part that is apart from the festival.   

The fair.... this year it was so packed it felt like Maryland.  By 2pm on Saturday I realized that I hadn't left the hill.  I had covered only one barn, two food vendors and the bloggers meetup.  Terrific meet up.  Kim has the same pic but with me, Margene and Ann


Rhinebeck and the US for that matter, finally have some Wensleyday sheep.  Most of the time I see Lincoln X and I haven't been terribly pleased with the fleece.  These little guys are wonderfully soft.  I originally learned to spin so that I could knit with Wensleydale.  It holds a special place in my heart.  I love the drape and it is hard to find it in different weights and colors.  A fleece from one of these guys is on my future.


By the end of the day Sunday, I had sort of skimmed through all the barns.  Somewhere around 3:30 pm I ended up sitting on a curb outside Barn 31... it was all I could manage.  This was still all I could see, in every direction.  Amazing.


This post is about to fizzle out, I just finished work, dinner is not ready and I'm thinking I probably won't make it to Tuesday night knitting in favor of putting my feet up.  Maybe more Rhinebeck on Thursday.  Tomorrow is Wednesday, walk with me, will you?


Sorry, I am running on empty.  My house needs a good cleaning, it won't happen. Maybe just a bit of a pick up and a swish through the bathroom.  I've nearly completed the three week pile up of laundry.  The sweater (either sweater) I had hoped to complete before Rhinebeck sits with a half finished sleeve in its bag.  I need to finish up in the office, mail out some yarn... today, ABSOLUTELY!, and pack up for tomorrow.  Oh, and I need to get to the airport to pick up my sister.. and take her to our favorite Thai restaurant for dinner.  Oh yeah, get stuff for breakfast and on  and on and on....

I did finish the last few rows of the Midwest Moonlight scarf. I washed it and hung it to dry.  I couldn't get into the blocking thing for something that will be wadded up and tied.  I do love it.  No pictures, just find me at Rhinebeck. 

And one more thing....

Yep, I'm a square.

walk with me wednesday

It gets harder to fit my walking into the warm part of the day.


the shorter the day
the longer my shadow grows

This morning, as I started to think about putting together this post, I began to wonder where this relationship I have to walking began.  Why are my walks so important to me, where did that desire come from.  I love to walk.  Anywhere.  Everywhere I travel.  As a child, one of my fondest memories is our family walk, taken in the afternoons on our farm. We walked with my Grandmother, down the unpaved road, then off into the woods on a worn path or woods trail.  In the early spring we'd hunt for arbutus, in the late summer, the Indian pipe.  There was always something to see, a treasure to discover.  It was a walk, a wander.  Not far, not long, a breath of fresh air, a stretch of the legs and food for the spirit.  It still is, all that, for me.  I can start my walk at war, and come home at peace. 



  • I mentioned the number of 70,000 as a possible number of attendees at NY Sheep & Wool.  The number 75,000 was bantered about at Maryland this year.  I don't know if there was an official count, the web site for MD still states more than 60,000.  Pretty amazing.

Rhinebeck (as I see it)

Forecast for Rhinebeck, Saturday & Sunday:  (as if you haven't been checking ALL week)

Low: 38    High: 58   
Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s. Lows in the upper 30s.

My mechanic always tells me that "there's an ass for every seat".  He's right.  We all see things a bit differently, we can be at the same place, at the same time, and have a completely unique experience.  Keeps things exciting.  So, the other day, when I read Norma's post on Rhinebeck, I had a chuckle.  She's right, she was there.  So was I, here's my take. 

On Food:  The best fair food I've ever tasted.  Period. If you like lamb, its a shoe in.  Get the lamb chops and spinach. It's LOADED with cloves of garlic.  YUMMMMM!!! Or there are the lamb burgers, sausage, kabobs...loads of lamb.  For the carnivores that don't do lamb, there's the usual, hot dog and hamburg.  For the vegetarian, OMG, try the artichoke wagon.  I can NOT stay away from this guy.  The cooked one with garlic, and some sort of cheesy sauce.....  If you crave fruit, there is an apple pie, apple crisp apple on a stick, candied apple guy.  And there are the CHOCOLATE wagons....
chocolate scones with lattes for breakfast
chocolate cookies or cookie bars for snacks
chocolate creme brulee for whenever
chocolate truffles for...
get the picture?? 

My problem is trying NOT to eat everything in sight.

On Cell Service:  Mine work.  I have used Verizon, Sprint & Cingular.  All worked fine for me.  The biggest problem I've had is hearing my cell ring over the screaming and squealing noise of the crowd.  Use the vibrate function.  If you choose  walkie talkies, find an obscure channel.  Remember, there may be close to 70,000 people there.  Many, trying to locate one and other.

On strollers... you guys are brave.  I wish you luck. 

On planning:  It's never worked for me.  I get there with great intentions.  As soon as I pass the first booth, it is all over.  Color, texture, smell.... good intentions fly.

On Money:  Bring it in all forms, be prepared. Or, if you can't trust yourself, and trust me on this, when you get there you probably won't be able to trust yourself, don't bring any.  right....  By bringing all forms you may get through the lines a bit faster.  Lots of vendors that take credit cards are hooked into the credit companies through their cell phones.  That takes time.

On clothing: see the forecast above. Remember, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute.  Be prepared.

That's it.  Rhinebeck is fun, more than fun.  There's something for everyone.  Hey, Norma?