Screw Spinning

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to spend the day helping my friends Allie and Phil at their annual Alpaca Shearing Day.

As the alpacas are shorn, their fleeces are sorted into bags - the main fleece, the neck, and the trash. In slow times, I'd poke around in the trash barrel and oooohhhh and ahhhhhh at what was being thrown away!   I wanted to spin that stuff so badly!  Allie and Phil have such gorgeous alpacas that their refuse is stunning, lol.  So, being the rude person that I am and all, I poked around in the storage room, hoping to find something that I could use as a spindle, because I just couldn't stand looking at that lovely fiber and not spinning it.  I'm sure that you understand.

Voila! I found this long screw. Excellent! Actually, it spun very nicely. My friend, Peggy, snapped the photo, above, using a flash - the screw is actually spinning, and I am actually making yarn. WOOT. The only problem is this - I'd spin a length,

and then wind on, and I put a hitch, then spun another length. Then, I'd have to pick out the previous hitch, wind on, and put in another hitch. This was a royal PITA with the screw because of how the yarn would bury itself in the threads.

Back into the storage room.

Sorry Phil.... you were really busy.... I should have asked.....

Anyway, I found a bite block, which was a stick about an inch in diameter and about 6 inches long, and covered in Alpaca Puke (ICK), and I thought that I'd try this.

It worked very well. After a while, I gave up picking out the previous hitch, and would just wind on top of it, thinking that I'd deal with the problem later.

Truth be told, I never dealt with it. I never got to do enough spinning for it to be much of an issue. We were kind of busy.

I showed this photo to my son, and he exclaimed, "OH! Alpaca poi!"

Silly boy.


So, take a look at this photo!

(The photo is of such high quality that if you click on the link above, you can enlarge your view numerous times and still have a clear idea of what's going on.)

Look at where his yarn meets his yarn ball - there's a little stick there. *facepalm. Of course. Why didn't I think of that. So simple. It would be such an easy thing to just pin that stick in there and no need for picking-out-of-hitches.

I wonder if his apindle-stick was coated in Alpaca puke? Take a look at the size of that ball of yarn, will ya? I wonder what he's spinning? His fiber looks sort of stringy/hairy. I wonder if this is the end of his supply - or, maybe he has a basket of fiber behind his right leg? I want to know more about this man and his spinning....

If I had poked around in that storage room, just one more time, I bet that I could have found a small nail.

Un Sospiro - Grace Thomas

Number 3 in D flat major - Un Sospiro by Franz Liszt

PianoKnitterGirl is at it again!  My daughter, Grace, is currently studying at the Lamont School of Music, Summer Pre-College Academy.  She was selected to perform in their Honors Recital, which was held last night, in the Hamilton Recital hall in the Newman Center of the Performing Arts.  Oh My Gosh, what a facility!  She will perform with her Chamber Ensemble tonight, July 2, in the same location, 7:30 pm, in case anyone is up for an evening of a variety of chamber groups.  Join us!  I'll be the one who is grinning like an idiot, possibly knitting.

Their final big blowout performance will be held on Saturday at 1:30 in the Gates Hall which is quite a stunning performance hall.  Grace will be performing again, with a woodwinds ensemble, I think - not sure.  This event will feature an all-school choir, a number of large ensemble groups, and an orchestra.  It should be perfectly delightful.

All of these performances are free, and open to the public.

If you know of any high-school-age student, who is serious about music, please direct them to the Lamont Pre College program.  Grace attended last year, and again this year.  She just loves it, and she has never worked so hard in her entire life.  Kids attend from all over the country.  They study music from dawn to dusk, and they really grow as musicians.  It's worth every penny.