Grace and Spindle Jim

Eye Candy!
My 15yo daughter, Grace, spun this yarn a while back. It is a 3-ply of luscious alpaca - one ply is a champagney ivory, one ply is bay black, and the third ply is a brown+black barberpole sort of mixture.

She intended to 3-ply from the very start, which gave me pause, as I couldn't imagine how she would tension the three spindles. I've never had luck with lazy kates, so I dug around in the Spindler's folder and I found plans to make ...

Spindle Jim!

I departed from the instructions in many ways - first of all, the Spindle Jim in the Spindler's files area is really furniture-quality craftsmanship and mine is... well... not. I'm OK with this. If you look at their directions and look at my Spindle Jim, you'll notice many variations; nearly all of them are cosmetic. Their's is extremely pretty and mine is... ummmm.... serviceable!

I only wish that I'd have given some thought towards making mine easy to take apart. This doozy isn't coming apart - ever. I don't know where I'm going to store it. Oh, wait, I know - I'll just leave it in the living room. Good idea.

More on Spindle Jim later, first, let's look at Grace's spinning - didn't she do a great job?
Isn't it pretty? Click for a larger view, if you like.
Don't you just love the dreamy look on her face? I think that all spindlers will recognize it. It's called, "Peace" and it's brought on by using a drop spindle. I highly recommend it.

Watching someone spin is almost like watching them dance, isn't it?

See my poor little itchy dog? He's always scratching.

Here is the Spindle Jim, up close and personal, and with the hold-the-hook-onto-the-spinner solution. Tying it on with rubber bands worked perfectly well, too, but was annoyingly fiddly. This solution is quick and easy. Large soft drink straws work nicely, as well as short bits of tubing from the hardware store. I don't know if you can tell from the photo or not, but there are two different kinds of clear tubing in use here as well. I like the straw the best as it really wedges down onto my spindle shaft and assures that the spindle isn't going to jump off of the spinner. The straw comes from a Sonic Strawberry Limeade - summer bliss as far as I'm concerned. Isn't it amazing - everywhere you turn, there are tools for spinning?It works best if you get the spindles situated in the strings first, and then put the tubes over the hooks. The way you do it is to first, tie the string around the posts, fairly snugly. Then, put the front string over the back string, and stick the center spindle's shaft into the loop, then arrange the hook. Repeat for the side ones, but you have to put the little side seatbelts on first. Click the photo to enlarge it - I think that the string arrangement is pretty straightforward and self explanatory. As you can see in the very first Spindle Jim photo, way above, Grace pulled one side of the string down and the other side up, in order to tighten the tension a bit.

You can use it with only one or two spindles, too. When I use it with two, I use the side positions with the extra little seatbelts. It keeps the spindles from drifting towards each other. Then, when you get everything plied and onto one spindle, you put that spindle onto the Spindle Jim and then wind the yarn off onto a skeiner - next post - stay tuned.

How did I ever live without this little gizmo? It is extremely handy. Since my wood stash rivals my yarn stash, it didn't cost me anything - I was able to rummage through my wood piles to find everything I needed. I only had to shop for the swivels. I really like this kind of project.

Have you heard my rant about how MUCH I hate Niddy Noddies? Well, I do. I completely hate them. So, I replaced the center post of my PVC niddy noddy with a length of broomstick to make a nice skeiner. Have you heard me wax poetic about how much I love a skeiner? Well, I do.

Below, you'll see Grace's yarn on the left and my yarn on the right, on my Niddy-Noddy-turned-skeiner - Have I ever told you how completely scatter-brained I am? I am terribly scatter-brained, terribly. I own a perfectly nice skeiner, but I forgot all about it, so I made Grace use my old niddy noddy to wind up her skein. Then, a couple of days later, I finished my spinning, and forgot I had a skeiner AGAIN, and used the other side for my skein. I get so tired of being me. Sigh.

In a few days, I'll post how you can make a skeiner for yourself out of everyday hardware store items. Stay tuned! In the meantime, admire Grace's 3-ply.

She wants to knit "Calorimetry" from Knitty - I think that this will turn out so cute!
Since it's my blog and all, I thought I'd slip my skein in here -
This is spun from some of Eyedazzler alpaca in a fun and interesting preparation - Allie had the mill prepare some roving which is a mix of white, fawn and bay-black, but is distinct bands of color from one end of the roving to the other, so when it's spun, it ends up quite tweedy and nice. Isn't it odd how this one bit happened to match up - it's blonde for about 8 inches. As far as I can see, it's the only place in all of the 165 yards where the colors matched up on both plies.
It sort of puts me in the mind of that one grey hair on my otherwise dark head. heh heh heh.

I plied this in the method that Abby Franquemont describes - I spun two different spindles-full, and then I plied them together. When one ran out, I did the Andean wrap thing with the remainder of the second spindle and finished it off that way. It works great, and Abby's right, it makes so much more sense than Andean plying one, huge, spindle full.

Thanks, Abby! You're on my genius roster, ya know.

Is this what they mean when they say, "Yarn Porn?"


Carolyn said...

That Spindle Jim is certainly interesting. It's interesting that both our daughters are making Calorimetry with three-plied handspun, too!

Love the pictures of the dog on the patio. His twin is curled up on the couch at the moment.

Lillian said...

the straw idea is genious! I use a similar arrangement by hanging the spindle from a wire-rack shelf, and the spindle pops out of the hook too. I've got to find a wide straw to cut apart.

Romi said...

Very very cool. I love the three ply yarn! Your daughter did a great job. :)

Fran said...

Love the spindle Jim ! As well as a spinning obsession I also admit to a spinning tools obsession, so "Thanks for enabling". Love your blog by the way.

~ P ~ said...

Looks like you are going to have a spinner on your hands. Good job.
The Spindle Jim is very interesting.

MaryMary86 said...

I love the Spindle Jim - I think my DH will love it even more (he has been holding my singles so I can ply ...) Looking at your skeiner made me think that I could have turned my ironing board upside down and used it!! Okay I'm totally kidding!