It’s Okay To Change Direction

The month started with great plans — my “Luck O The Irish” stash-down fiber spin,  a test knit and a skill building yarn spinning exercise.   Then life happened.  My cousin who had been battling colon cancer for the last year and a half passed.  The grief has been gut wrenching.  I cry at the drop of a hat or laugh and smile at the happy memories. My mom reminded me yesterday that my reactions and feelings are all normal so I should just go with how I’m feeling at any given time.  It doesn’t help that there’s an issue at work that’s possibly the worst thing I’ve ever dealt with in my professional life.  Then the world got the news of the racist terrorist attack on Muslims on Christchurch.  To say March was a doozy is an understatement.

I’m not one to stay down for long, so I changed course.  My cousin lived her life in the most positively impactful ways so in her memory and for my own benefit, the way she lived is a reminder for me to do the same.

The spin I planned for my March stash-down goal has problems.  The fiber is divine, the dye job lovely, but the seller managed to pack 4 ozs of fiber into 7 rolags.  OMG!!!  Although I pre-drafted the fiber like crazy, it is still a bear to spin.  I made some headway but the emotional upheaval of the month and all the effort this spin requires, it has become too difficult for me to manage.  For non-spinners to understand what I’m staying, you can typically get about 8 – 10 rolags out of 2 ozs of fiber so to have double the amount of fiber in less rolags, let’s say this project was a fight from start until I decided to call it quits.  I just need to be able to sit, spin and not think and this project requires too much.  My goal is to undo the fiber at some later date then roll the rolags again — less dense with more rolags per 2 ozs.

So instead, for my March stash-down, I started to spin Inglenook FibersMossy colorway in their popular sticklebatts offering.   It’s a lovely Irish green (so still in keeping with the Luck O’ The Irish stash-down theme) and just wonderful to spin.  I just draft and let the fiber with all its extras do what it wants to do.  I’ve finished about 3 out of the 12 sticklebatts in the bag but so far it’s quite lovely:

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I’ve been spinning it on my EEL (Dreaming Robots) e-spinner so the spin has been going at a good rate.

I’ve also committed to improving my spindling this year — both supported and drop — so for that reason and grief therapy, I’ve started this spin on an affordable spindle I found on Etsy:

Sidebar: I highlighted the word affordable because there’s more I want to say about this spindle and this word in my next post.

I also had to set aside a skill-building spin (3 ply fractal) I started with the ThreeWatersFarm group on Ravelry.

I’m moving back to my normal self so I think I’ll be ready to pick that up again in a week or so.

The test knit I abandoned is going to get its own post.  That was definitely an exercise in changing direction.  The yarns I chose for it looked lovely, photograph nicely together but in person, they were not playing well together at all.  But all that will be in another post.

As I look back at the month, even in the difficult moments there have been lessons.  I’m going to miss my cousin fiercely.  How could I not? Even her transition reminds me that it’s okay to change direction when I need to.

#spin15aday, Luck O’ the Irish & Other Spinning Shenanigans …

Before I say anything else, I’m going to say, don’t feel sorry for me … sometimes situations come up in our lives and we don’t know where they would lead.   In my case, my crazy 2018 led me to the #spin15aday group on Instagram led by the intrepid Sherrill Roy.   Let me tell you the story …

In December 2017, I got new neighbors.  Loud music, up until the early morning, loud kinda neighbors.  I called them — The Ratchets.  I was losing sleep, couldn’t concentrate at work, multiple migraines a week, I was a hot mess if I say so myself.   The peace disrupted meant that knitting, crocheting, embroidery, learning to sew again was on hold because my head was always hurting, even when I didn’t have a full-blown headache. The only thing I could do without thinking was spin yarn.  Yards and yards and yards of singles.  The meditative hum of the wheel dulled my senses (almost) so spinning became the “thing” I did in 2018.  It was spin or drink!  LOL!

Browsing Instagram one night I couldn’t spin, I found a new to me hastag #spin15aday.  I clicked on it to find miles and miles and miles of beautiful handspun yarn.  Did I say miles?  Or beautiful? I was introduced to spinners of every skill level.  It was amazing.  I was so happy to find that the spinning community was so large on the IG platform.  Lucky for me, Tour De Fleece 2018 was beginning at the same time, then Sherrill hosted the first #campspin15aday — a virtual spin camp.   After that, as they say, the rest is history.   The group started as only an Instagram group in 2017 but it’s grown nationally and internationally so there’s now a Ravelry group although Instagram is the primary way we interact with each other.

The mission of the #spin15aday maven is that it’s really better to do small chunks of spinning daily than nothing at all.  Even if we can’t set aside 60 mins or more, 15 mins a day is all you need.  She is right.  The small increments add up to big improvement over a period of time and I’ve proven that to be so true.

For 2019, the theme is stash-down.  Sherrill created a set of prompts (1 per month) to encourage us to look at our existing stashes in a new way.

#spin15adaystashdown prompts

My January theme isn’t complete yet;  the situation with The Ratchets got worst, so I decided to leave my home of 10.5 years.  January 2019 was one of the most exhausting months of my life but guess what, because I didn’t want to stop spinning while I packed up my life, I started messing around with my spindles again and started to learn how to spin on a supported spindle.

To give credit where it is due, I thank The Ratchets for making my life uncomfortable enough for me to find a new support group AND learn a new skill!  Cheers for seeing the glass half full instead of half empty!!!  LOL!

Since January 2019, I’ve moved to a place I can actually sleep in and am back to crafting to my heart’s content.  I have to finish the braid for the January prompt: Winter Wonderland but February’s braid is done meaning spun, rinsed, snapped and now skeined — 1 sweet 128 plied yds skein of sexy merino.  This fiber was such a joy to spin but it taught me some things:

  • My default draft for merino is short backwards draft
  • I like mill-spun merino skeins but I prefer my handspun merino braids to be blends with more rustic fibers not 100% merino.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen this braid before:

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This is the Valentine themed 21 microns merino from the xoxospin15 kit — prompt:  Here, Have My Heart.  My 2 ply technique is getting better but I’m so pumped being able to craft consistently again, I’m going to buy some cheapo commercial yarn and practice a drafting method for 2 ply I learned last weekend from Jillian Moreno’s spinning video “Ply to Knit” on Bluprint (formerly Craftsy).  I want a tighter ply and am gamed to try something new.

March’s theme is : Luck O The Irish and I’m spinning a set of rolags I bought in 2018. As I was choosing my fiber inspired by the prompts, I found this image on the net that was a perfect match to the rolags I already had:


photo credit


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Tell me, how perfect is that match huh?!!!!!

Part of my yarn spinning goal for 2019 is to spin at least 2000 yds by the year’s end.  I’m enjoying these prompts and just knowing that I’m stashing down while learning my craft is a double bonus. Once I’m done the spin, I’ll do a separate post with all the fiber details.

What are you working on right now?  As always … let me know in the comments.

And yeah … I’m trying to stay being back this time.  😉