Saturday, June 14, 2008

Me and the monsters take a day trip

Me and the monsters took a little day trip today, sans daddy, as usualy. unfortunately my husband never goes out with us because he works nights and therefor sleeps days. it sucks, and it must seem much harder to those on the outside looking in, but i've gotten used to it, and the kids have never known anything else, hell, he had this job even before i met him!! that's a long ass time ago!

we went to my grandparent's house and swam at their community pool (they live behind the gates) so it was nice and quiet, only 2 other people were there. the kids had way more fun than i thought they would! with my husband working nights, they're left with me during the day, the mom who hates heat, humidity and sweating!!! not to mention i can't get my son not to scream bloody murder in the bath tub!! i was really proud of them, does that sound dorky? to be proud of your kids for swimming?!?! oh well, i don't care!

i didn't actually swim, but i was there *with my wheel of course!* and, since i totally forgot to take pictures of me spinning, i'll barage you with pictures of my little monsters with their great-grandparents!!!

here's kyndra with her great grandmother- check out the armpit action on her swimming shorts!!!

that was the first time i've taken my majacraft out of the house, and also my first time taking it apart and putting back together. it was relatively easy, only taking a couple of minutes which was nice. i've been working on spinning the cotton punis for the last week or so, and trying to fit in more time to get spinning done at all. of course, i can never get enough time for spinning, but it has gotten so bad. since my daughter became mobile and interested in everything, i've only been spinning when she's asleep, which of course leaves practically no time for me to spin and take care of everything else that needs to get done around here! so i'm slowly integrating the spinning wheel back into the time the kids are awake. she's doing pretty good with it. sometimes she tries to touch the flyer while it's in motion, but i close eye on her little fingers when i'm spinning and luckily, my majacraft *which i do 99% of my spinning on* doesn't have a spoked drive wheel like my ashford. those spoked wheels could probably break my three year old's arm, much less my one year old daughter.

i'm still trying to perfect my technique with the cotton. it's gotten better, but it's still tricky. sometimes i'll get in good rythym, but by the next day, i've totally forgotten what worked so well the day previously! i did make a MAJOR break-through, though!

i had been trying to spin the punis long draw with no predrafting. the problem with that was that when i'd start to draw my hand back, the momentum of the wheel would pull out a big slub real fast and then the yarn would just get progressively thinner and thinner, and it would eventually break if you'd let it because it would be too thin. i found that with predrafting, the yarn would be much more consistent.

you see, the punis i'm working with are imported from india. they are the same kind of punis i've seen at every spinning supplier that sells them. if you do a search for them online, you'll see they all come rolled up in indian newsprint and tied with twine.

now, the way these punis are made is they are carded on hand carders and then rolled into a really tight rolag! so tight in fact, that it makes predrafting them difficult at best, so imagine spinning them with no predrafting, and you'll understand why i had problems!!

i know people are probably thinking "why didn't you try that before!?!" it's so elementary, that's like the first rule of spinning, predraft before you even start thinking about spinning! everybody knows that!!! well, i'm not from that camp. i don't predraft unless it's absolutely necessary! i mean, if i have a roving that's a little felted from the dyeing process *and i have bought commercial roving that was slightly felted, believe it or not!* and also if the roving is like steel wool, but i don't usually buy that kind of wool! i think that predrafting sort of takes some of the fun out of the process of spinning. i mean, if you're a beginner i would certainly tell you to predraft. you are learning, and that will make the process much easier.

and people say "oh, spinning cotton is so easy! all you have to do is predraft the roving to the EXACT size you want the finished yarn to be, then, when you spin it, you are only putting in the twist!" well, i call that a down-right waste of time!!! i wouldn't even clasify that as spinning! some would call that "careful preparation" but if you're going to do all that, you might as well save your time and effort and go buy commercial cotton yarn.

i believe that spinning is not necessarily "easy", but that doesn't mean it's impossible!!! it takes time to learn the intricacies of the fiber, but once you understand the cotton itself the actual spinning is no different than any other fiber or technique you would use. and interestingly i'd like to add that i've seen of surge of people on craftster that have become interested in, or already are spinning cotton! and that does kind of surprise me, but i'm over the moon about it! i think i'll go on a campaign:

maybe i can even get it funded by the official people that own the rights to that cotton label, you know, the people that have been making those commercials about cotton for like the last year. they show all these hot young women throwing their clothes in the trash because they're not cotton.

when i first wanted to learn about spinning cotton, i headed straight to the joy of hand spinning website and was shocked to see not one word about it! they have articles and videos on every fiber imaginable on that site, and i visited it often as beginning spinner to touch up on techniques. so i emailed them about it. i told them how many people have begun showing an interest in spinning cotton again, and how important i think it is that the information be out there. they emailed me back saying that they're adding new videos this summer, and they would consider adding some info on cotton spinning. we'll see, i hope they do!
and one last little thing- i finally got to order my new cotton hand cards!!! i wasn't sure of the specifics of each brand, so i looked around to compare them. after much debate, i decided to go with the strauch carders. they're a good size *wide for making punis* and they had what i felt was a *good* number of points per square inch (which is totally objective, some can have as little as 80 whereas the strauch's have 225! that's a big difference!). but mostly, i felt they were the best hand cards at the best price for me. i can't wait until they arrive!

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