11 May, 2010

homemade goodness

Lots of homemade goodness has come to pass in the house of Shannon and V since my last post about a million and a half years ago... mostly just dinners. I wont lie - i've sort of been in a creative funk lately. Uninspired and not really feelin' it... but! I had a couple little breakthroughs! YAY!
Most recently, (yesterday) i thought about my mother who used to put out flowers in colorful paper cones and give to the neighbors as well as hang on our own front door on May day. People were always surprised when May first came around and with it brought my mother bearing tulips, hyacinths, and all sorts of other beauties out of her garden. As i was cleaning up, and throwing trash in the bin, i came across two metal cans from the Garbanzo beans i had made falafel with the previous night - and an idea struck me!
I decided to make a May Day basket to give to my neighbors (who happen to my our landlords) out of this lonely can.
I poked some holes in each side and curled some wire for the handle, wrapped some twine around it, and added a little personal note... then went out in search of wild flowers. I presented them with this:

They loved it! I had to explain the tradition of May Day to them... and that it's not hugely celebrated, but they thought it was charming and really appreciated it.

Also, i've been working on my spinning lately... with whatever roving i can get my hands on. I had trouble with it at first, but funnily enough, it came to me in a dream. *backstory: When i was a teenager trying to learn stick in my dad's huge lifted, extended, turbo-diesel Dodge Ram (gulp!), i just could NOT get the hang of it for some reason. Maybe it was my dad shouting at me because i ran into his imaginary cars that i couldn't see (and weren't marked) or maybe it was because like in most things - one must practice before they're perfect - but whatever it was, the concept was just. not. sticking. After a couple of hours in the empty Wal-Mart parking lot (before it was a WalMart... ) in Bonney Lake, Washington and a whole lot of frustration, my dad drove us home. A few days later i woke up inspired! I dreamed i was driving and knew what i was doing! I asked my dad to take me back to the parking lot to practice and did i hit his stupid imaginary cars, stall the engine, or grind my gears? Of course. That all comes with learning! But the point is, i understood HOW to drive a stick and it stuck!*
I had a hard time understanding how to stop my wheel from pulling the un-spun roving in too fast (or worse! breaking it!) or how to make a fairly even yarn. I wasn't even really thinking about spinning when it came to me... DRAFT all the roving first, then spin.
That was it! Later that night i drafted all my wool as best i knew how, placed it on the bobbin, adjusted my drive band tension, and away i went! i spun 500 grams of wool before i knew it! It just went soo fast!
After that, i wrapped my spun yarn around two chairs (because i do not have a niddy noddy):
Soaked it in hot water (being careful not to agitate) until it was all wet, wrung it out in the direction of the spin, and hung it to dry: 
Haha! The pan served as a weight. Soaking the yarn would serve little to no purpose (that i know of) if you didn't hang it to dry with a weight on the bottom to gently keep the curling from happening...
After it dried for several hours (overnight), i wrapped it into a skein:
And voila! my very first homespun skein of yarn! You can see that it's not exactly perfect, but that's part of the charm. I'm looking forward to making something (small) with it!

Here is a very helpful video that was exceedingly useful when i couldn't figure out how to wrap my skein by hand. Additionally, it confirmed the idea of wrapping the yarn around a chair (since i have no niddy noddy) and provided a couple helpful tips (if you can get past the music blaring in the background! yikes!)


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