Monday, June 25, 2007

Yarn: Grape Goodness

People who know me know how dangerous I can be in the kitchen, so I should tell you up front that no humans, equipment, or animals were harmed in my first foray into dyeing yarn.

There was, however, a cat who was quite possibly annoyed since I was ignoring her during the process.

Friday afternoon, relying on Kristi Porter's "Dyed in the Wool" article on Knitty, I decided to jump into creating my own colors. I used one 3.5 oz. skein of Patons Classic Wool since it was easily available at my local craft store. (Sharp eyed readers will note the strawberry drink packets; I am entitled to change my mind on the colors.)

The dyeing itself proved remarkably easy.

The hard part was waiting for the yarn to dry. It started out in the shower, but finished here, which I thought was a much prettier picture than the inside of my shower. Can you tell I'm fond of purple?

By this morning it was dried and skeined. This shot is pretty accurate color-wise, although a Kodak EasyShare is not the best for close up pix. All in all, I'm very happy with the results.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

One of the "problems" the Lilly Fellowship has helped me solve is the fact that I had no spinning wheel. Now, I have several drop spindles made by my father, but compared to a wheel, those are like bicycles compared to cars. You can go a lot further and faster with a wheel.

I ordered my Majacraft Rose spinning wheel from Sue Baughman at White Creek Wool in Deford, Michigan and anxiously awaited its arrival. One fine day at the end of May it arrived. I lugged the big box home from work and tore it open . . .

I thought the handle looked remarkably like the stock of a rifle . . .

But when unpacked it was apparent I had the parts of a spinning wheel.

Alas, when I started to put it together, it seemed that one of the parts was not all it could be. As you can see below, the drive shaft of the wheel was bent (bottom). Andy at Majacraft kindly sent a replacement (top) winging my way from New Zealand.

It arrived last week and after much muttering I got the wheel put together today. Normally I am pretty good at following directions, but these stumped me a few times. The problem might have been Kiwi-speak or Spinning-speak. I don't know enough about spinning (or Kiwi English)to know. (A pozi screw? A plastic bush?) Anyway, with perseverance and much consultation of diagrams, I got it put together.

It's a beautiful wheel and all reviews I've read say it's very versatile and high quality.

And of course, it has a rose.

Now I just need to learn to use it! I leave two weeks from today.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

So, What's With the Name Ariadne?

Ariadne is the name of a princess in Greek mythology. She gave Theseus red thread from the fleece she was spinning and he used it to escape from the labyrinth after killing the minotaur.

Basically, a spinner. I didn't want to use the name Arachne (also from Greek mythology) because she got turned into a spider. Ick.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What's It All About? (Not the Hokey Pokey)

In Indiana, the Lilly Endowment offers an annual grant to teachers to support "creative projects that are personally renewing and intellectually revitalizing." I have applied for this grant four (count 'em) times and have been awarded one for this summer.

My grant proposal was titled "Ariadne's Legacy: Spinning a Golden Thread." Hence the blog title. The official purpose of my project is to "allow me to fulfill my dream of purchasing a spinning wheel and fibers necessary to create handspun yarn. Also, it will provide funds for participating in spinning workshops in Nova Scotia and allow me to create handspun yarn for a one-of-a-kind sweater."

This blog is part of my effort to document my project in a fun and timely way.

A big shout out to Lilly Endowment for providing this opportunity. They do some great work around our state, and this particular program provides many living on a teacher's salary with opportunities they could not otherwise afford.

James 1:17