Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spinning tales

Ok, so. I know I have posted exactly once so far this year. I'm not going to apologize, I haven't had much to say. But I need to talk about Stringtopia. Last year I went, and by my own report, "The whole experience was an amazing pile of information and sensory overload," and yes, that happened again. But this time was different. This time was better.

I've owned my wheel for about 3 1/2 years. I spindle-spun a very little bit before then, and much more since. I love spinning classes for the way they remind me that learning new things is hard. I love wool, and handspun yarn from crazy-colored tops and batts. I've learned enough that I really think I can make any kind of yarn I want to. But I was starting to think I didn't really like the act of spinning. I couldn't get any momentum with my projects, and I liked my wheel but didn't love it, and I'd tried other wheels but I didn't love them either. Any spinning I did, I did when I could be cajoled into going to our local spinning meetings. I tried starting new projects a few times, but I'd lose interest in the first few minutes. I was starting to give away fiber that I knew I'd never spin, or things that I didn't care what kind of yarn they grew up into. It was not happy for me, and I couldn't figure why. I'd tried to participate in challenges like Tour de Fleece, but I'd get a day or two in and lose motivation.

So I signed up for two days of classes. I gave myself a day in the middle to get some things done for work, to relax and rest and try to not come back to work during finals week entirely used up (it only sort of worked). Friday night there was the Bash, where door prizes were handed out and everything changed. I won a spindle. A Bosworth Mini, in Birds-Eye Maple. I had heard about Bosworths, and yes, whatever they say is true. My new spindle is Really Good. I started spinning right then and didn't stop until I got home Sunday night. There were breaks for sleeping, eating, and my classes, but as Mandie noted a couple times during the weekend, I was spinning in bed before I slept and when I woke up. Saturday afternoon I was grading papers and pulled out a batt that I had thrown in my bag kind of randomly while packing, and I used spinning to entice myself through a stack of tests. I had that batt entirely spun about 36 hours later.

I apparently like spinning again. Mandie, being the good friend that she is, started bugging me right away to try wheels, quick, while I liked spinning and there were all these wheels right there. I tried the few that were there for sale, and they were fine, but still, didn't love them enough to make the switch from my perfectly usable wheel.

And then I took Beth's class Sunday morning. I'll talk more about the other classes later, but in the morning Drafting Methods class I said I felt like I could do all the things, but I didn't feel comfortable spinning a lot, so that's what I was after. And so. I was doing short forward draw, and troubleshooting my sore pinchy finger and Beth tried my wheel. And said that she always raised the treadles when she sold that one. And holy cow, that was it. I'd thought for a while that part of the problem was the treadle angle, but it never occurred to me that that was something I could change. Beth travels with a toolkit, so at the end of class I borrowed a screwdriver. I raised the treadles about 3/4 of an inch along the plastic thing that attaches to the footmen, and all of a sudden my wheel felt completely different and just the way I wanted it to. It was amazing. I cried. The afternoon class was great, and I loved the feel of my "new" wheel. I'm home now, and it's still awesome.

I finished the yarn from the pink batt from Abby:

As always, of course, it was amazing being among the yarn people. This year I was far more relaxed, and it was good to see folks from last year, as well as meeting new people. I'll talk more about what happened with the rest of the weekend later, but today, I wanted to post about how Stringtopia changed the way I feel about spinning. Which, for me, glazed the weekend with unexpected joy.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Magic Playlist

There was a joke a week or so ago on How I Met Your Mother where Ted said a girl he dated said "her favorite band is Glee." Yeah, that's me. It's not a new phenomenon though - in high school my cds were all movie soundtracks. My first cassette, once my seven-year-old-self could choose my own stuff, was The Monkees (I was so sad to hear of Davy Jones's death today). Music was always something that came along with something else I liked, not anything I sought out for its own sake.

I was out walk/running this afternoon because it was warm and clear and my first 5k of the year is in a week and a half, and it occurred to me that I've been listening to the same running playlist for over a year. My workout playlist of choice is called "January Treadmill" and it dates back to January 2011. So that's thirteen months so far, and I don't see it getting old. I made monthly playlists when I thought to when I was setting out on my 500 mile challenge, but I made one after this one and it wasn't near as good, so I quit.

I have thought of sharing it before, but, given my non-taste in music, I didn't figure anyone would care. Also, there's quite a lot of Glee. But seriously, THIRTEEN MONTHS of this and I still love it. I put it together to last about the time I would spend walking my 2.5 mile route, but last weekend I finished that route with 3 songs left. Go me.

So here you go:
January Treadmill
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) -- The Proclaimers
Joy to the World -- Three Dog Night
A Beautiful Morning -- The Rascals
Learn To Fly -- Foo Fighters
Hoedown Throwdown -- Miley Cyrus
4 Minutes -- Glee
Hey Julie -- Fountains of Wayne
Sweet Home Alabama -- Lynyrd Skynyrd
Teenage Dream -- Glee
Afternoon Delight -- Starland Vocal Band
September -- Earth Wind and Fire
Forget You -- Glee
Ring of Fire -- Johnny Cash
Party in the USA -- Miley Cyrus
Time After Time -- Cyndi Lauper