Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit

No, no, don't worry. Crazy Esther is still happily munching hay in the barn this morning. Her worn out body, legs that don't work, tattered horns and shabby fleece with brown and white spots just make me think of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and how a much loved stuffed animal becomes real.



Yesterday's cold was hard on her. Today, sitting in the sun, she looks pretty happy. Hospice care.



I spun up a goodly amount of her yarn Thursday.



Yesterday I plied it.

Sometimes I spin two bobbins full and then use my lazy kate to ply the two bobbins together. Since I didn't need much yarn, I just spun one bobbin, wound it off into a center pull ball and then plied it back onto the bobbin from the two ends, inside and out.



This usually works fine, but near the end the ball can collapse on itself and create a huge tangle. When it gets close, I pick the ball up off the floor, run a finger through the inside and keep everything straight as I finish.



This may fall into the category of too much information, but you typically spin the singles with the spinning wheel turning to the right to put twist into the loose fiber. When you ply, you then do so with the wheel turning to the left. As it winds back onto the bobbin, some of the twist you originally stored into the singles untwists and the plied yarn becomes a little puffy-er.

Notice how full the bobbin of two ply is compared to the same amount of yarn as a single ply in the first picture.



There are a couple steps between taking it off the bobbin and winding it off into yet another ball, but that's a post for another day. This is the finished yarn.

I cast on and started knitting the Crazy Esther cowl last night and am hoping to hit it hard this weekend and see if I can finish it - a challenge (for me ;-). I'm putting on a picot edging - another challenge (for me ;-). I try to learn something new with each project, big or small.

Enjoy your weekend!

19 comments:

Verde Farm said...

Oh Sarah, I am so intrigued by all this. I really want to learn how to spin. I'm going to see if there are any classes in my area. I'm going to a bee keeping class Monday night :)
Amy

Verde Farm said...

PS-I'm glad Evelyn is enjoying the warmth of the sun this morning :)
Amy

Tiggeriffic said...

Oh I love the velveteen rabbit and Evelyn looks just like him..
I wish I lived closer to you gals who have sheep and spin...it's so cool~!
FYI~ who won the contest of the favorite sheep you had posted not long ago? Keebler? Willard? I must of missed the results.
Have a great and blessed Sat.. ta ta for now from Iowa 39 degrees and sunny.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Oh, Keebler of course. By a landslide. Sherman and Willard tied for second. :-D

thecrazysheeplady said...

Verde Farm - do an internet search for spinning guilds in your area. Or, if you want to take a road trip, come up and I'll teach you :-).

Jenny Glen said...

I LOVED the Velveteen Rabbit! I have a much loved and very ratty teddy bear that I was given on my first Christmas. I always wanted him to come alive because I loved him and he was falling apart.

Alice said...

When I reread your blog again, the picture of Crazy Esther looks eerily similar to the Velveteen Rabbit. I glad to see that you are knitting with her wool. She would be happy with that compliment and legacy ;-)
When you ply from a ball, what do you use to hold the ball in place, or do you just put it on the Lazy Kate?

thecrazysheeplady said...

I just let it bounce around on the floor next to me...the redneck plying method ;-).

I still have lots of my old well worn stuffed animals and I know they are real. Someday I'll have to tell the story of finding a stuffed sheep on the side of the road at 55 mph.

Phyllis said...

Everyday is awesome, but this one is a tear jerker for me...

Gayle said...

As I look at your beautiful yarn and your awesome craft of spinning all I could think of was the big knotted mess I would create. I'm just not that smooth...

flowerweaver said...

I remember when you found the stuffed sheep on the side of the road! You definitely have eyes for sheep and 4-leaf clovers!

Glad Crazy Esther is having a nice day. It's a beautiful one here, too.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, Your cherry spinning wheel is beautiful - what is it? I've been thinking I'd like to try my hand at spinning and a lady nearby gives lessons. Recently, I treadled a Louet one treadle, and felt really clumsy. Next time, I'll experiment with 2 treadles to see if that's better for me. Thanks for the information you gave us on clockwise for singles (Z); and counter-clockwise for plying (S). June

Kenleigh's Fiber Studio said...

That picture of Crazy Esther is one to cherish. She truly looks like she is enjoying the sun! As always, the spinning is lovely.

thecrazysheeplady said...

That wheel is an older handmade Jensen Production wheel. It really is beautiful and spins very nice.

I find it much easier to use two treadles than one.

Pam said...

God bless you, Esther. You are a good sheep.

Eleanor P said...

Well, Crazy Esther, enjoy each day as it comes. You are a good sheep and I hope you have lots of time left in the sun. You remind me of my first cat, Smokey, curled up in old age in the sunshine. She was pretty tattered too in her old age, but very, very loved as well. Sleep tight old ewe and rise with the sun tomorrow.

Kim said...

Very interesting. Spinning would give me an excuse to get sheep wouldn't it?

DayPhoto said...

I'm sooooooooooo happy Ester is okay...you had me a bit worried.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Dana and Daisy said...

Hi Sarah! I have not been around to visit in a long time.
I have not figured out plying yet. I tried and made a big mess of my yarn, cut it off the spool, weighted it at one end, pulled the two plies apart and then let them self ply. So I have a plied piece that is only about 25 feet long, ha ha!

Sticking to singles for now!
Good to visit with you! Dana

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