Friday, October 31, 2008

Spinning from the Land

Last weekend when Josh and I went to meet my sis-in-law Kelly's new horse, Quantum, I spotted something as we were cruising down the dirt lane, on our way home. There were interesting-looking plants in the ditch, sprouting fuzzy stuff at their tips.

"Stop!" I yelled to Micah, who was driving. He pulled to a stop and I hopped out to examine the plant. Sure enough, as far as I could tell, these were milkweed plants, their pods already blown out and rife with delicate, silky floss-like fibers. The fibers act much like dandelion fluff...wind picks up the silk and blows it (with the seed) down the ditch a ways. The pods were big...some were as large as my hand. Since they had already burst for the season, I simply grabbed some handfuls off the tips (saying a little thanks to the plant, of course), jumped back into the car, and we were on our way.

I examined my find. The staple length was very, very short...about an inch, on par with cotton. The fiber itself was ridiculously silky. In fact, it really resembled silk in its sheen and feel. The seeds were about .5 mm in length and separated easily from the fibers. Since I'd only grabbed a couple of fistfuls, I didn't have much, which was alright since it would be difficult to spin a pure milkweed yarn anyway.

I decided to incorporate the milkweed in a yarn I was spinning for Kelly. I blended natural ecru, lime, and baby blue merino (colors she picked to match her skis) with soysilk, green flash angelina, and the milkweed with my handcards and then spun them into a chunky yarn. The yarn might be too bulky to contain the milkweed for long - it pokes out of the yarn in a couple of places - but I'd already started the project when I found the fiber, and thought the inclusion of the milkweed would be special for her. Now if only I could find a hat pattern I liked! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Update

Oh, man, I'm such a sleepy one today! I was up most of the night thinking really hard about how much I wanted to sleep. I'm not sure I actually sank completely into sleep all night...there was some dozing, I think...meh. I hate it when my mind just won't shut off.

So, during the depths of the night, I read about 50 pages of my current book Disobedience by Jane Hamilton, which I picked up off a card table marked "Free" in my neighbor's yard. This is also where I got Nectar in a Sieve, which I really enjoyed. is my friend, and I do love it, but sometimes the availability of excellent reading material is sparse. So it's nice to find an unexpected source of free, interesting books.

It was an eventful weekend! On Saturday I strapped my wheel Indigo Montoya into my car, plopped in my spinning bag of tricks, and headed over to the University of Colorado Natural History Museum for a spinning demostration. Josh came along as my roadie and helped me set up before walking back home. Naturally, I forgot my camera in the midst of making sure I had all of my tools. That's just the way it goes.

It was a fun event...there were about 8 of us there, mostly from the local Handweavers Guild, and we all set up shop in the Dinosaur Hall (right under the "Fossils!" banner, which cracked us up) and spun a variety of material while describing what we were doing to curious visitors. Lots of kids, and - this blew me away - a number of men seemed entraced by what we were doing. Actually, all the adults who inquired and wanted to try out a wheel or a spindle were men. One guy stayed the whole 2 hours, and by the end he could spin a decent beginner's yarn on the wheel. Turns out he was a woodworker and wanted to challenge himself to build a wheel in his shop. Trying to describe exactly how scotch tension works turned out to be a wee bit challenging, especially for someone who tends to trip over her words. :) I didn't get much of my usual yarn spun...since I was supposed to be helping to educate, I mostly carded up alpaca and wool and spun from rolags, in order to demonstrate using wool cards. So now I have this bobbin of finely-spun natural-colored yarn that I'm not sure how to use. The museum itself was a really fantastic resource that apparently few people know is there. I'm thinking about volunteering there in the future.

Sunday dawned cold and wet, just like Saturday. It was definitely a day for lounge pants. I barely moved from under the blanket on the couch until about 2 p.m., when Josh and I decided we would make it out of the house and go on over to Lyon's Pinball for a little pinball action. Did I mention that pinball is my favorite? 'Cause, yeah...I totally love it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


So I just started getting involved in Twitter.

Doomed, I say...doooooomed! It is ridiculously addicting. And it lets me keep up with lots o' spinny and knitty peeps, so I'm a happy one. If anybody wants to find me, I'm Nicolassa on Twitter. Whoop!