Random on a Friday: LEDs, Spindle Single Weaving, S’mores

Wednesday was a big day for me, with the announcement about WeaveZine’s Evolution and all.  I’ve been doing a lot of post-announcement communication since then, answering questions, and talking to some very cool people about projects.  Two days in, and I’ve got a full slate of awesomeness to work on.  Life is good.

On the other hand, in Kai’s first week of school, all the kidlets brought in all the germs they’d collected over the summer and passed them around, and now we’re all sick.  Not gut-churning sick, just pooky, wanna stare at TV and drink tea sick.

Which is my way of explaining that is to going to be one of those “collection of random musings” blog posts.

First of all, I’d like to say that although the lamp from last post was an example of LED mis-use, I’m not anti-LED at all.  In fact, quite the opposite.  And at the grocery store I found the best, highest, use of LEDs ever.

Blinking toothbrushes

Blinking toothbrushes.  The concept is brilliant: you bang them on the counter and they blink for a full minute, acting as an uber-cool timer to keep your kid brushing.  It turns it from a “mom says I have to keep brushing” fight into a “Wow, the toothbrush is still blinking, gotta keep brushing!  Look at my uvula glow!” experience.  Brilliant in so many ways.  (And yes, in case you’re wondering. One of the toothbrushes ended up being mine.)

I’ve started warping up my second handspun-singles project.  This time I’m using singles that I spun on my Jenkins Turkish Delight spindle.  This thing has been my near-constant companion since I bought it at the first Sock Summit.  It’s that cool.

So far, I have to say spindle-spun singles have it all over wheel spun.  They’re much tighter, and having to be strong enough to support the weight of the spindle, they’ve been “gravity tested” to a minimum strength.

The turkish spindle creates center-pull balls (aka: yarn turtles) that you can use immediately, without having to unwind them off the spindle first.  (If you’ve not used a turkish spindle before, they actually come apart like a magic trick and you can slip the ball right off.  I’m convinced the turkish is the ultimate geek’s spindle, it’s so clever.)

So here’s the begining of winding the warp.  Ignore the fact that the ball of yarn looks like a hideous snarl, it actually spooled off flawlessly.

beginning to warp


The yarn for this has an interesting story.  It’s all spun from free samples I recieved at GGFI.  GGFI is a fiber-palooza and you get handed lots of wee samples of gorgeous and soft fibers to spin in tiny cellophone baggies.  I didn’t want to end up with wee samples fossilized in my stash, to be uncovered a decade later and puzzled over, so I set about spinning them while I was at GGFI, with the intention to weave a “GGFI” scarf when I got home.  (The scarf is intended as a present for a special and deserving person, but I’m not telling who…though you might know her.)  I finished the last sample up in the airport, and here it is, my GGFI-freebie warp!  What’s cool is that I had exactly enough for a scarf, a 2-1/2 yard  warp, about ten inches wide.

This yarn is thin, so I’ll be setting it at 24 epi, using two 12-dent heddles.

Below is one of the reasons that a rigid heddle loom is excellent for handspun: the direct-peg method of warping.  These singles have a lot of energy and twist.  If I tried to warp them on a board and then move them to a loom, it’d be a crazy-making tangle nightmare.  But see how the direct-peg method keeps all the threads under tension and untangled as you measure the warp, nifty huh?

direct-peg warping


(Though, really, you could direct-peg warp on a more traditional loom as well.  I keep meaning to try it on my Baby Wolf.)

When I take the warp off the peg I insert my wrist into the loop that went over the peg, and below is an illustration of why.  See how much energy is in the singles?  If I dropped that, the warp would be done.  Over.  Compost.  Keeping my wrist in, I can always re-tension the warp and get it back to straight and untangled.

warp on the wrist


I’ve currently got the slots and holes in the first 12-dent heddle threaded, tomorrow I’ll work at putting the second heddle on.  (Then I’ll take a picture of how to tension a broken warp thread, but really, it’s nothing special.  It consists of grabbing something heavy, wrapping the thread around it, putting the heavy thing on a table and pushing it away until the tension’s right.)

Other randomness…today was the manditory weekly “cheat day” of my diet.  Kai and I decided to celebrate with s’mores.  Here’s my secret weapon of s’more-ness.

Secret weapon of s'moreness


And here is just about the damn most perfect s’more ever.

damn most perfect s'more

I ate it and it was perfect and lovely and…I had an epiphany.  When you eat something that perfect, it’s enough.  To have a second s’more would have made me more full, but it wouldn’t have given as much pleasure as the first.  So…I stopped at one.  On my cheat day, when I could have had as many as I wanted.  But I only wanted one.  I think that was the lesson I was supposed to learn.

Wonder if that works with yarn-buying, too?

Please share your thoughts: I enjoy your comments and feedback!