Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Turning the Great Wheel

I've wanted to tell you about this for ages, but somehow I never got around to actually doing it. Now that I am temporarily unable to use a spinning wheel, I can at least write about my experience on the Great Wheel or Walking Wheel :-)

In September 2009, my husband and I went to Ireland on our honeymoon. We spent a few days in Dublin, then slowly made our way to the west coast, visiting the Boyne Valley with Newgrange and Knowth, spending time in a cute café in a small town called Slane (where I knitted a cowl - which reminds me I have to find the pictures again), visiting Trim Castle and Locke's Distillery Museum, and finally ending up in Galway, as intended. We spent a few nights at a cozy B&B called Liscarna. After a few days there, on one of which we visited Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, we drove on to Clifden. There, we spent a few nights at another recommendable B&B called Kingstown House and drove around the countryside during the days.
I was delighted when, as I consulted the internet for yarn or fibre shops nearby (as I did in every town we passed, by the way ;-)) I found The Sheep and Wool Centre, just about half an hour away from Clifden. We just HAD to go there :-D And we did.

It's a museum of sheep, fibre and fibre-related crafts; a shop; and a café. You can read more about it on their website if you like. Anyway, we went there and stated that we wanted to visit the museum. We were the only people who did, somehow all the others were satisfied with the shop and café. After having watched a film about local (sheep/fibre-related) history we were given a spinning and carding demonstration. When I told the lady I already knew how to spin she was delighted, as for some reason there don't seem to be many spinners left in western Ireland. I hinted that I really wanted to know more about spinning on the Great Wheel, since I had read about them but could never really imagine how to work with them. And then - she not only showed us, but let me try it.

Unlike with a more modern spinning wheel, you don't treadle with your feet and use both hands for drafting the fibre, but you turn the (really large) wheel with your right hand...

...while drafting the fibre with your left hand only:

While drafting, you hold the emerging yarn in a right angle to the wheel. As soon as your arm doesn't seem to be long enough anymore, you hold the yarn parallel to the wheel and it will be wound around the spool - turning the wheel with your other hand all the time, mind you!

It was weird and unfamiliar, and I did have my problems with the technique, although Orla (I think she was called) seemed to think I did fairly well. It was fun, and I think if I practiced I would make good progress. I don't want another wheel, though, I already have three and don't know where I'd put such a large one ;-)

It was a great experience and I really recommend visiting The Sheep and Wool Centre - so if you have the chance, go for it - and say hello from me :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tour de Hat? Hat de Fleece? Whatever - Gorgeous Hat made from Art Yarn ;-)

We really love to see what other people make from our yarns, as we can hardly emphasize often enough ;-) Today, we're very happy to show you another wonderful item!

Kat, who had already sent pictures of what she made from our blog giveaway yarn, has made a gorgeous hat from the yarn I spun for the Tour de Fleece on Day 4. She has sent pictures of her daughter wearing it, and has kindly allowed us to share them with you - so here they are:

Thank you so much, Kat! And please thank your daughter for us, too.

This was the skein of yarn the hat was made from, by the way:

If any of you want to show the world what you have made from our yarns, please send your photos to info123 @ (after removing the numbers and blanks), and we will be very happy to blog them! Please state the name you'd like us to mention in the blog post, and if you have a website, ravelry page, blog or shop, please let us know so we can link back to you :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Last Wednesday, I had a bicycle accident. I seem to have had all the luck possible in that situation: my bicycle tyre got stuck in the tram track while I tried to turn left on a crossroads, but I didn't get run over, there were a lot of people who helped me get off the road and collected all my stuff, and I didn't break anything. I twisted my left ankle, though, and was in a hell of a lot of pain. If there's no improvement after one week it means I have taken damage to one or more ligaments, but since I am already in less pain I do hope that is not the case. However, I am currently unable to use a spinning wheel and I don't have any unlisted yarns left :-/ My husband is willing to make errands to the post office to take care of shipping the yarns already listed if they get sold, but creating new ones will have to wait a while. I really hope to recover quickly - I already miss spinning a lot! Also, we've already booked a trip to Norway in July and I really don't want to have to go on walking tours using crutches. Well, I will be able to row a boat, at least ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday ETSY!

We just found out that today is Etsy's Birthday - so let's celebrate!
From now until the end of the week (Sunday, June 20th, midnight EST) we'll happily grant you the following discounts:

*buy any 2 yarns and get 5% off your whole order
*buy any 3 or 4 yarns and get 10% off your whole order
*buy any 5 yarns or more and get 15% off your whole order

(please note that shipping cost can't be included in the discount!)

After checkout, either wait for a corrected paypal invoice from us or pay in full and we'll send you a refund.

Happy Birthday, Etsy - and thank you! :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who would have guessed?

I love the ocean. I love ocean-themed yarns. I made another one :-D
I'm still thinking about the name of this one - "High Tide" comes to mind, as well as "Seashells from the Ocean". Well, both are not too creative, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll consult my pillow :-)
This is another one of my yarns I'll find it hard to part with, by the way - but that's the same with all my ocean yarns, come to think of it.

And here's another new one where the title is difficult. Since it's made from pure alpaca fibre (hand dyed by myself) and contains silver flowers, I'm thinking of "Paca ate the Flowers". A bit weird, I know - but so am I ;-)

I hope to be able to list this one before I fall asleep. It's nearly 2 in the night here and I should go to bed... At least it's quiet now - after Germany won the game tonight, people made quite a racket. I did actually watch the game, and I think that was a first. I was never really interested, but somehow I didn't even get bored and I kind of look forward to the next one tomorrow. Strange things happen...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hurray for European Handmade!

Just a quick note to let you know that there's now a forum of the Etsy European Street Team (EST), in addition to the blog - which has moved, as I've just realized.

Here are the links:
Handmade Europe - Blog
Talking Handmade - Forum

Thanks to all of you who were involved, I love the new site! :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Good Start

Twisted and I participated in a spinning meet-up last weekend. It was nearby, the people were nice and interesting, and we had a lot of fun. I had forgotten many things I would have needed, like an extra bobbin for plying, a needle of the right size, a part of my lazy kate (a plying help thingy), but I managed to spin a gorgeous yarn, anyway. Since I was missing a bobbin, I spun the black plying thread on the Hitchhiker wheel some of the participants thankworthy let me use. It was fun to try that wheel, but honestly: I don't like it much. I love the design and the fact that it is small and portable, but it is very loud when you treadle fast (which I do) and it kept falling apart. Not my thing, really, but I was glad I could use it, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to carry on with the yarn. Which reminds me - here it is ;-)

For My Inner Punk

It contains black and pink merino wool, pink silk strips, metal discs and screw-nuts. I usually don't like pink much, but this combination I LOVE! :-)
Now I need to find some time to list the beauty - should be rather soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Keeping Up

I've been through a very busy time, some of it exhausting, some of it fun :-) My husband and I spent the last weekend in the Black Forest for a little walking tour; last week, we spent quite some time to complete our archery equipment; my dad visited with us for nearly a week; I had a lot of work to do (as always), but I also got some spinning done while my dad read Lucky Luke - sometimes aloud ;-)

Grey Rose

(286 m, 43 g, 28-30 wpi)
contains black bamboo, light green merino/silk blend, and hand dyed silk and lambs wool of a dusky rose colour.

Nothing But Blue Sky

(173 m, 114 g, 8-12 wpi)
contains hand dyed merino/bamboo blend, lace fabric, eyelash yarn, freshwater pearls, golden thread, facetted glass beads, angelina and wonderfully shimmering sequin-like things shaped like a snowflake or flower.

As for non-fibre-related stuff, there's a lot going on. I am currently reading and researching for my thesis, and I have yet to see about the technical aspects of the whole thing. I've just bought a netbook since I will have to do quite a lot of the work in the library, and I am thinking of learning LaTeX since I really don't want to use Word or the like. I also need to find a suitable database system, but I hope it won't be that hard to find one. Sooo, keeping busy, still hoping for enough spinnng time :-)


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