When I was in California, I shopped a couple of local yarn shops.
One was Purlescence. They had spinning wheels on the floor! and full size floor looms! And great drop spindles! I was looking for local yarn (another story about that later) and they have their own line of yarn, that they process and dye on site. It's called "Purl up and Dye" - a great name. I got a couple of skeins in bright pink - enough to make a pair of socks - PLUS. I also got a pretty heave drop spindle. The down side of the store is that there are "New Age" signals (but I've shopped such stores that have been fine) and the biggest detractor to the experience was that the operator/manager was not all that friendly. Phil wanted to see a spinning wheel in action and they were having a spinning class in the back. They were taking a break, and rather than just letting us know that it was a private area, she was pretty rude, and physically put her body in between us and the class. It would have been easy to let us watch the instructor for a minute. What was interesting was that when I as there by myself earlier, I didn't have that experience. Perhaps I was there on a mission (shopping for yarn, not wheels) or maybe the presence of an alpha male upset the balance of their universe.
The other store was Green Planet Yarn. I pre-judge the store by the name, thinking that this one would be the "New Age" store. Wrong! They had a wonderful selection of non-animal, sustainable and third world yarn. I picked up a couple of different yarns, one made out of sugar cane, the other out of cotton and wood fiber, in beautiful, soft color. The sales women went out of their way to talk about how to care for the yarn, how to combine skeins to get a consistent color (the yarns were make suing local and ancient dying techniques) - which is not a big deal when making socks.
Short story, if I'm in CA and want a spinning wheel, spindle or class, Purlescence is the only party in town. For local and specialty yarn, Green Planet is the planet I'll be choosing.
Tom lost his hat, so I started a new one (better color for him, and hopefully a better size)
The yarn is Plymouth Yarn: Encore. Color is 1444 (dark brown) and the dye lot is 45747
I wound a ball of hand spun alpaca; not enough to do anything with (yet) but I have a new pattern for a coffee cup sleeve that will work out nicely, I think)
Spinning and making yarn is an interesting process, starting with the shearing (I got all this fiber for helping on shearing day)
The point I'm at in the photo is after spinning and spinning (later on that) and then you have to let is set in water to "set the twist."
Okay...maybe I just want a little bit of his (her?) hair. Yak fiber is very soft, but a little out of my range at $36 for a 2 oz. skein. I'll stick with my alpaca for now.
I've got a fine thread going and a thicker thread that is a lovely violet/green combo from Zweeliger's (I know I got the spelling wrong) in Frankenmuth.
Spinning is pretty mindless for me, so I can listen to podcasts while I spin. I don't have a niddy-noddy to skein the yarn (I'm going to Home Depot tomorrow to pick up the PVC pipe to make one - I made a smaller one but I want a 2-yard skein for this yarn. I know I made one that size but I think it's at work.)
I've got a few dozen yards plyed (three stands of thread twisted together) that I can make into a skein as soon as I have the niddy-noddy made.
Next weekend I'm taking a little field trip to Frankenmuth to drop off alpaca fiber to have it made into roving - I don't want to spend the money on a drum carder that I'll use only a few times - besides, Zwellinger's will wash the fiber for me.
Well...okay. The lady is the owner of a local ranch...and it's not really "shaving"...it's called "shearing.
And it's not a llama, it's an alpaca.
But I will get to shear one. May 29th.
AND...I'll be able to purchase the fleece.
I was able to get my hands on a small bag of baby alpaca fleece (see the beige fiber below). I was told that it is easier to spin unwashed alpaca because the dust helps hold it together - which may be true...but!
I'm pretty miserable today, so I'm in the process of washing just enough fiber to spin in a week (otherwise I will have accidental felting)
will have me on track to make 26 pairs of socks in a year. So far, I'm on track (4 pairs finished so far). Handmade socks seem like a very nice gifts to give "somebody who has everything".
Meanwhile, spinning is challenging, but fun...so I think I want:
SILK FIBER FUN KIT: treat yourself to 9 types of silk and silk blend fibers: Tussah silk roving, dyed Tussah silk, cultivated silk cocoons, Bombyx silk slivers, 100% mixed silk fibers, throwsters waste, cultivated silk hankies, Tussah silk noil, and Bombyx silk caps. 100g total. Each kit is presented in a beautiful 7"x9"x2" handmade box produced by a family cottage industry in India. A great gitf!