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A Grand Fiber Day in the PNWetandsnowy, and Home at Last

April 7, 2007

On our way home from Hawaii last month we stopped in Seattle for a meet-up with FT friends. Sam was our gracious host and chauffeur. Our first stop was at the Seattle Weaving Works. Worried that I was quickly getting into a rut of spinning nothing heavier than lace weight and fingering, I asked Sam to help me pick out some easy-to-draft roving that would be nice for practicing spinning worsted weight yarn.

We headed straight for the fiber room. I was too dazzled to focus on anything, but Sam’s keen eye zeroed in on the bins of BFL and Falklands. The rest of the morning we spent weighing and packing big balls of fluffy roving to send back to North Dakota.

Clockwise: dark BFL, white Falklands, white BFL, and in the center a dollop of merino/silk that I couldn’t resist.

Then just to play with, some squiggly silk rods (reeling waste) and Bombyx cocoons.

After lunch at a nearby Greek restaurant, with much good food and talk of wheels and spinning, we headed out to Village Yarn and Tea, where Ellen was our hostess. Jen slid down the snowy hills to join our little knit-in. What timing…a big shipment of Fleece Artist sock yarn had come in the day before! We made a beeline for the sock yarn wall. After admiring every skein in the bins, I narrowed the choices down to two, a conservative brown skein and another of bright berry colors. A pair of charming shawl pins rounded out the shopping day.

For the rest of the afternoon we sat around the bright, comfortable table, knitting and chatting and drinking hot tea. Ellen introduced me to white tea, delicately aromatic and brewed to perfection. It made a delicious cup to end a memorable day!

Back home at last, I spun up samples of my Seattle treasures just as soon as the box arrived on my doorstep. I dove into the spindle basket and pulled out a group of Bossies in a variety of weights, and spun my new rovings into a range of singles.

A 1.02oz. Tasmanian tiger myrtle (left) and a 1.06oz. oak (right) with BFL for worsted.

A .7oz. Red Cedar (left) and .77oz. Cherry with Falklands for DK.

And for the merino/silk?

I give you the prettiest spindle that has ever graced a spinner’s hand.

Little Dancer is a .42oz. Kauri featherweight from the hand of Jonathan Bosworth.

Kauri is a wood of incredible antiquity and great beauty. The changing color you see in the photo is not a shadow, nor is it due to pigment variation in the grain. Rather it is a shifting flash of gold – a cat’s eye chatoyance – that comes from the play of light within the structure of the wood itself as the spindle twirls and tilts in the spinner’s hand.

My Dancer is a very special and treasured spindle indeed.

Two months working in Hawaii, a fiber adventure in the PNW, and home to North Dakota for some pleasant spinning. It was a good winter.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2007 10:13 pm

    Those are very nice bossies. I love all the fiber. I must purchase one for traveling. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. April 7, 2007 10:20 pm

    Thanks for pointing out which weight you used for which type of yarn…I just do it by the seat of my pants, and I’m never sure what spindle weight will work for what I want. I do know my Cascade Tiger is killer for laceweight, but that’s about as premeditated as I get.
    Must. Get. More. Bosworth.

  3. April 7, 2007 10:21 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful time!

  4. April 7, 2007 11:57 pm

    Beautiful pictures. You are very productive on those spindles! That Kauri is a sweetheart, but I still want to see the red oak!

  5. Sam permalink
    April 8, 2007 5:44 am

    Jan, you have a real gift for making folks feel as if they were on all your adventures with you! I had such a wonderful time with you and Bill, and hope to be able to do it again very soon. There are so many more yarn stores to visit! 🙂 Your spinning, as ever, looks just perfect, and I do envy you that little kauri. It’s next on my Bosworth list. Thanks for letting me play!

  6. April 8, 2007 11:27 am

    Mmm, all the Bosworths. I want one in red cedar.

  7. Jan permalink
    April 9, 2007 9:57 am

    I keep a mini Bossie or my walnut Spin Dizzy Traveler with some fiber in my tote. A good spindle will make a pretty wide range of yarn thicknesses. My rule of thumb is: at the git-go, if it keeps dropping a lot, change to a lighter spindle; if it stops dead when you ask it to go, change to a heavier one. There are lots of fine spindlemakers out there. Try them, get to know your spindles as individuals. Mine all have names and come when called: Tas, Oakie, Reddy, Cherrystone, and Dancer are the ones here; Skylark, Buiscit and Sugar are waiting to ply this stuff.

  8. April 9, 2007 10:01 am

    So many pretty spindles!

  9. Melanie permalink
    April 9, 2007 5:48 pm

    Your spindling is just perfection, and your collection of Bossies is awesome. I’m intrigued by the kauri wood, and the red cedar is very handsome.

  10. April 9, 2007 8:29 pm

    Gorgeous spindles Jan, and truly beautiful spindling. Yum.

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