My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Vee Haf Vays of Making You Spin

About my spinning, Jenny asked:
If you haven’t answered this before, did you learn from a class, a book, or some other way. What would you recommend a beginner spinner?

I haven’t really answered this question before — I’ve just sorta been documenting it as I go along.

My friend L-B showed me how to use a drop spindle in November 2004. After two weeks of drop spindling, I bought my first wheel, Katarina, a Kromski Minstrel. I got my second wheel, Lenny the Lendrum, on December 23rd.

Apart from looking at the 5 minutes on the Kromski video that dealt with spinning (most of the video consisted of instructions for assembling the wheel, and no, I didn’t watch it — I’m a rebel), I’ve had no instructions in wheel spinning.

That said, I think beginners could benefit from spinning classes. Heck, I’m a beginner and I’m sure I could benefit from spinning classes. But that would involve some sort of proactive behavior on my part, now wouldn’t it?

But my philosophy remains that it’s not like I’m doing brain surgery without lessons. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll leave some poor roving brain-dead.

As you can see, it’s a very good thing indeed that I am not a brain surgeon.

What Have We Here?

mittens012505 Vee Haf Vays of Making You Spin

This would be a pair of Big-Ass Mittens.

I made these bad boys big enough to fit over a glove. (And Kathy offered up that suggestion in my comments after I had started this endeavor. Great minds think alike.) That way, when it’s mercilessly cold, I can wear gloves with mittens over them. When I need to do something that requires digital dexterity, for example, using my subway farecard, I can whip off the big-ass mitten, keep the glove on, and nimbly execute my farecard transaction whilst keeping my dainty paws more or less warm.

Am I not clever? No, please do not answer that.

Of course, the weather forecast for tomorrow is for above-freezing temperatures.

I am following, more or less, the mitten pattern in Ann Budd’s most excellent book The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.

More Grape Arbor Shawl Photos

grapearbor012505 Vee Haf Vays of Making You Spin

grapearbor012505a Vee Haf Vays of Making You Spin

Because some of you asked.

Hair Report

(Those of you who have thoughtfully emailed me or left comments elsewhere to say that you are “creeped out” by my hair updates, kindly avert your eyes.)

Becky asked in a comment the other day how long I plan to grow my hair.

I am this close (holding thumb and forefinger about a quarter of an inch apart) to getting a haircut. I thought about doing some chopping myself.

See, I’ve got this one bottom layer in the back that is longer than the rest, and it needs to come off. I’ve been known to perform surgery on my hair in situations like this in the past. I haven’t screwed anything up. Yet.

(Still, it’s a good thing I’m not a brain surgeon.)

But no, I am not planning on mutilating my hair myself. I today made an appointment for a haircut. On February 17th. At noon.

Send good hair vibes.

lucy012505 Vee Haf Vays of Making You Spin

Comments

  1. Wendy your shawl is gorgeous! Thanks for the pictures. I am making the Ann Bud mittens for my 3 year old, my first mittens, so I am starting small. I too love that book.

  2. Hi Wendy,
    The shawl is truly beautiful! I do hope you’ll get inspired to work up the pattern in a publishable version. I’d love to try it!

  3. Stunning, Wendy. Your shawl makes me want to go work on Charlotte part Deux, which is no small feat!

  4. Hi, Wendy! I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for a while now and thought it was time to come out of lurking mode. Your shawl is absolutely gorgeous, as are all the other projects you’ve shared with us. During our blizzard the other day, I finally looked in your gallery and almost wished I hadn’t. I have one thing to say: can I come play in your sweater closet? I am truly in awe.
    I, too, was shown how to hand spindle a couple of summers ago, but haven’t really had time to practice. After seeing all the gorgeous yarn you’ve been spinning, I really want to try again but I’m afraid that I’ll end up NEEDING a wheel and end up with another addiction (like I don’t have enough yarn in this house to keep me going indefinitely!). Thanks for the inspiration!
    Maria in NY

  5. This is too eerie–I was wondering today about when you were going to cut your hair. That thought sent me to get a little trim after work today. Just a tiny little trim to get rid of split ends, but definitely leaving enough to continue growing out for Locks of Love. I’ll send you good happy haircut vibes in Feb! And thanks for leaving a guess (made me laugh buckets and buckets!) on my blog!

  6. Hi Wendy, The shawl is beautiful ! I love the colour. It is gorgerous !

    Eva

  7. Thanks for the extra shawl photos Wendy. Fabulous and I’m pretty sure I get the construction. Just ONE more scarf question – did you knit the border on to the live stitches (I’m thinking yes) or sew on the separately worked border (I’m thinking no). Thanks again, Sally

  8. LOVE that shawl!! Interesting that some have been creeped out by your hair updates. I think they’re interesting, but maybe that’s ’cause I haven’t had a haircut since May, in an effort to grow out some annoying layers. And I need to know I’m not alone. (“My name is Lisa, and I haven’t cut this unruly mess on my head in 7 months.” “HI LISA”) :-)

  9. Absolutely beautiful shawl, Wendy. Oh, the colors. The sheen. Sigh. It really gives me a craving to dye some cashmere/silk roving I have. I love seeing the things you spin. It makes me want to put down the knitting (just for a moment) and visit my poor lonely wheel. The pull of two loves. Ain’t it great?

  10. That shawl is wonderful. Oh my gosh. We want the pattern, don’t we, everyone?!

    Btw, will you keep your hair to spin into human hair yarn? :)

  11. Thanks, Wendy. And the shawl is really gorgeous. Great colors!

  12. I love the way you were able to put “spinning” and “jenny” together – clever and funny! You have made me anxious to learn to spin with your amazing exploits. I’m reading everything the library has to offer, and a kind lady is coming to our library knitting group next month to demonstrate using a drop-spindle. I hardly imagine I’ll catch on like you did (it must be in your DNA), but I’m really looking forward to giving it a whirl. After moving from drop spindle to wheel, do you ever use your drop spindle, or does it seem too slow, fiddly, (whatever)?

  13. All I can say is Thank Goodness you don’t work in my office…the gorgeous shawl would have vanished in a twinkling into my cube! Love, love, love the colors! I think it is my fave project!

  14. Oh, that lucky office chair….the shawl is GORGEOUS!
    I have to say, having spent more time than anyone should HAVE to, consulting with brain surgeons, I’d rather talk to you ANYTIME….thanks for the sweet tears for my SaraCat.
    xoxoxo

  15. many many good hair vibes, and hopes for it to grow as long as you want it.

    and may it never look like you stuck a hank of yarn around your head either :)

  16. The shawl is so nice—great stuff.

    Isn’t spinning fabulous? I don’t get as much knitting done when I’m in Spin Mode, but what the hell. Some nights I just go back and forth, from wheel to needles, happily puttering away. Enjoy!

  17. Wendy, the shawl is a dream! The reality that is going to get me out of my chair to start another project though, is the pair of big ass mittens! What a great idea- much better than my fingerless gloves + mitten flap, because frankly, it’s not my palms that get cold when I have to fish for something…

  18. Hot tip: if you ever see a class by Judith Mackenzie, do it. You will not be sorry.

  19. I love your pictures of Lucy, but I do have to say that your shawl is one of the all time most beatiful knitted objects I have ever seen. It glows, it drapes, it is incredible!!!! Daryl

  20. by the way, how many skeins of the silk did you use for your grape arbor shawl? Daryl

  21. When I was first learning to spin, it took me awhile to get the rhthym and mechanics of it down. Then, after I had the very basics down, I took a workshop from Rita Buchanan. I knew enough at that point to ask good questions and to understand what she was saying. Taking that class at that point in my learning curve really helped me allot. I would also love to take a class from Anne Field—she talks more about matching the yarn you want to spin to the wool you start out with. I think there is always something new to learn or try as a spinner—you can spend a lifetime getting better at it.

  22. Love the BAMs! I am making myself a pair of fingerless mitts from my tiger yarn.
    Can’t send good hair vibes today. Must keep for myself, hopefully can send them to you tomorrow.

  23. Your shawl blows me away. It’s definitely a pattern I’d be willing to pay for, when/if you ever have the time to write it up. Have you considered it submitting it to a magazine for publication? I think it deserves to be published. :-)

    Of course, I wouldn’t have that beautiful hand knit blue/purple silk to knit it with. *drool*

  24. Hi Miss Wendy!
    Your Spinning is BEAUtiful- I love your color picks.

    I recently became the proud momma of an Ashford Joy, and I would like to know where you get your fiber from.
    I’m in western PA, and somebody thought it would be fun if they put all the Spinning, fiber shoppes in Eastern PA. I’ve got LYS aplenty over here, and as much as I’m addicted, I can’t always make spur of the moment 5 hour long Fiber Journeys.

  25. Wendy, you’ve done it again. The shawl is stupendous and I’d gladly pay real $$ for the pattern – despite my having to seriously reduce my stash as I’m moving this summer and face combining two households into one small house.

    You’re a first-class enabler, you know that? ;-)

    Skritches to Lucy!

  26. Luscious shawl! What did you wear it with?
    Yum.

  27. Diana & Orion says:

    BIG ASS MITTENS *ROFLMAO*!!!

    Thanks Wendy. I really needed to laugh hard right about now.

    Thanks also for the close up and Full-length of the GRape Arbor Shawl. Damn, that thing needs it’s own temple. It makes me feel faint every time I see it … or a piece of it.

    You really outdid yourself on that one, girlfriend. Very nice, indeedy.

    Am knitting up some awesome yarn from Dancing LEaf Farm … not too very far from you if you wanted to visit in the summer. Pretty incredible handspun, handpainted stuff. You could get wool right off their sheep there … this stuff came from “Bramble”.

    Check them out http://www.dancingleaffarm.com

    Road trip.

    purrs to you and The L Cat. — Diana & ORi

  28. Diana & Orion says:

    BIG ASS MITTENS *ROFLMAO*!!!

    Thanks Wendy. I really needed to laugh hard right about now.

    Thanks also for the close up and Full-length of the GRape Arbor Shawl. Damn, that thing needs it’s own temple. It makes me feel faint every time I see it … or a piece of it.

    You really outdid yourself on that one, girlfriend. Very nice, indeedy.

    Am knitting up some awesome yarn from Dancing LEaf Farm … not too very far from you if you wanted to visit in the summer. Pretty incredible handspun, handpainted stuff. You could get wool right off their sheep there … this stuff came from “Bramble”.

    Check them out http://www.dancingleaffarm.com

    Road trip.

    purrs to you and The L Cat. — Diana & ORi

  29. Diana & Orion says:

    BIG ASS MITTENS *ROFLMAO*!!!

    Thanks Wendy. I really needed to laugh hard right about now.

    Thanks also for the close up and Full-length of the GRape Arbor Shawl. Damn, that thing needs it’s own temple. It makes me feel faint every time I see it … or a piece of it.

    You really outdid yourself on that one, girlfriend. Very nice, indeedy.

    Am knitting up some awesome yarn from Dancing LEaf Farm … not too very far from you if you wanted to visit in the summer. Pretty incredible handspun, handpainted stuff. You could get wool right off their sheep there … this stuff came from “Bramble”.

    Check them out http://www.dancingleaffarm.com

    Road trip.

    purrs to you and The L Cat. — Diana & ORi

  30. Love the shawl! It’s so gorgeous!

    I think you need to make a string to run through your coat sleeves and attach to your mittens so if you have to whip off a mitten, you won’t lose it. ;-P

  31. “I think you need to make a string to run through your coat sleeves and attach to your mittens so if you have to whip off a mitten, you won’t lose it. ;-P”

    Mitten clips! I absolutely love mitten clips. I especially love mitten clips that have little snowmen on the clips.

  32. Wendy, the shawl is simply breathtaking. How can we convince you to write the pattern? Money? Yarn? Housecleaning? Chocolate? Name your price!

    Seriously, if you felt like sharing the name and source of your lace patterns, that could be very inspiring as well.

  33. I’m not one of those who was smart enough to ask for more photos, but I am so glad to see more of the grape arbor shawl. It looks like a Tiffany glass effort! I especially love the fringe!

    Good idea on the gloves/mittens combo. I discovered that after too many cub scout/boy scout outings where I had to help someone and needed to remove the mittens for dexterity’s sake. Now I always wear my heavy leather gardening gloves under hulky mittens at winter outings. The leather is especially useful with all of the fire starting and campfire cooking they do.

  34. Wendy, the grape arbor shawl is GORGEOUS! Beautiful work!

  35. I think that is one of the prettiest shawls I’ve seen!

  36. Your shawl is gorgeous, as well as the other items in your gallery. What type of needles do you to knit so fast? I am working on a shawl with the EZasPi knitalong group and it is going very slow. I look forward to reading your blog every day!