Sunday, September 30, 2012

So busy!!!!

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted (June!!). Things have been so busy around here. Seems like summer has gone by in a blink of the eye. Hay has been brought in (and is slowly being put up in the barn). Wood has been delivered (and still needs to be split and stacked in the woodshed). My new Suri boys were brough home yesterday (already posted about that) and are settling in nicely. I've become an aspiring spindle maker. Not only can my spindles be found in my etsy shop, but they can also be found at a local shop (COLCA Fashions) that sells very beautiful alpaca clothing, accessories, fiber, and yarn. Added bonus of visiting the can also visit with a few of the hundred Suri Alpacas that live there. The new cria are super cute, too.  :)             

Currently I made 3 types of spindles....akha spindles, navajo spindles, and Svan spindles. The akha and Svan spindles can be found in my etsy shop and the local shop. The navajo spindles are only available locally. Didn't want to have to deal with shipping them due to their size.
  How did I get started in spindle making? Well, there were a few reasons. One was the lack of options for some of the the navajo. And then when I did find a navajo spindle I liked, it arrived with the shaft broken in several different places. Although the maker did send another one (which arrived with a slightly warped shaft), there was no way I was going to go through the expense and hassle of trying to obtain a second one (which I really wanted). So I blew off the dust on my navajo weaving book (which gave very brief instructions on how to make a navajo spindle) and proceeded to make my own.....of which I'm really happy with. I was able to find a local source that carries a wonderful selection of wood and discovered that I really enjoyed making them.
The other reason (and the biggest) for my venturing into spindle making....I got tired of being told "no custom orders". Or of having to wait weeks on end for a spindle only to find out that what is being shipped isn't what you had ordered. The biggest culprit......having to deal with spindle makers who will only put up a couple of spindles for sale and then enjoy watching as potential buyers fight over them. I have even come across particular spindle makers who not only encourage this type of behavior, but think it's very amusing. Then there are those spindle makers who decide that they are so good that they can choose who they want to sell to. And I mustn't forget those spindle makers who feel they are so superior that they won't bother responding to an inquiry. You would think that spindle makers would want to make their product as accessible and affordable as possible.  I mean, really, to sell a drop spindle with a very pronounced wobble for $150......what are they thinking????? And what was the person who purchased it thinking??  "I got a ------- spindle!!" Really?? Is owning a spindle due to the name really worth paying that much for an inferior spindle?? And that is why I decided to try my hand at making spindles anyway.
The akha spindles came around because the only maker I found was in Canada. So I did some research, studied all the photos and videos I could find.......and my version of the akha was born. I like having a point on one end so I can use it supported instead of suspended like it is traditionally used. It's a very fun spindle to use and made spinning cotton a dream!
The Svan spindle was a custom request from a spinner in Ireland. She had recently visited Georgia (the country not the state) and fell in love with the supported spindles they were using. She sent me a photo and the Svan was born. I have to admit, that even though this is a rather large spindle (14" long), I really love using it. It's a dream to spin on and can easily hold 2 ounces of fiber. It's  amazing how often I reach for mine....and mine is the proto-type!! The Svans I make now have a slenderer tip for flicking and seem to spin forever. While mine does seem like it wants to spin forever, the flicking tip isn't as slender. I've been toying with the idea of going back and re-working that.
Since I have started my adventures in spindle making, I have acquired a scroll saw (which I love using) and a mini-lathe. I'm currently in the process of setting up a small wood working area in the barn so I can start learning how to use my mini lathe. I can't wait to start turning my own spindles! I have also dabbled with hand carving and am in the process of finishing up my first hand carved phang. I can say for sure that I won't be offering up any hand carved spindles for sale. It's just way too labor (and time) intensive. I just had the very strong desire to make a phang spindle by hand. I chose to carve mine out of hemlock because it is a fairly soft wood and easy to work with (relatively speaking).

Aramus and Porthos.......

.....are my new Suri alpaca boys. They were brought home yesterday afternoon. After the initial "meet and greet" with the rest of the group, they spent the rest of the afternoon chasing kittens in the barnyard. They are very curious about everything!! They will spend the next week in the barnyard getting to know their new home....and me!