If you follow me, then you will know I am camera crazy. Colleen has looms and spinning wheels… I just have lots of cameras. They sort of accumulate. I am poor at discarding things.
Nikon Z5, mirrorless. It follows the Canon M6 II. A real DSLR, sort of. And the first images. No selfie!? Oh no! But the usual suspects… flowers and cats.
Who knew? It was a pretty inauspicious start. It was pretty much an average day – 4/23/21. But anytime you break in a new camera… let the fun begin. Are there other cameras? Sure. There is always camera lust. But I am content. No need for me to get the high-end Leica or to enter the Canon system. A lens is a lens… well, not quite. But it is the image not the camera. I simply want my equipment to work and to get the image I seek. Right tool for the right job? If you aren’t good then no amount of equipment will make up for your lack of skill.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
I do believe in real cameras. 148k images and counting….
From here to there
I’m obsessing over my spinning. From here to there – fleece, to roving, to yarn. We do make a varied product from fine to rough, coarse to fine. Impressive! I never in my wildest dream thought I would spin yarn. Colleen does. Did. And she introduced me to the art. Am I good? Who knows? It’s all relative. I am not a machine and cannot produce fine yarn all even and uniform. It is the imperfection that make it handmade and special. No two skeins are the same. And who would buy it? Would I ever sell it? Ha ha! Currently, I have four spinning wheels in production with various fiber rovings we have washed and carded. Unless you spin the terms mean nothing to you. It is like the language of photography with f-stops and ISO. No matter. It is the photo and the yarn – the end product – which garners the attention and interest.
Since I met Colleen it has been a very interesting journey…
The term “stash’ refers to the accumulation of yarn and fiber a spinner, weaver, or knitter accrues in anticipation of a project as yet undetermined. You might get where this thought process is going. It is like a proverbial savings account… the bigger the better.
I idly spoke with Colleen… guilty! We have fiber related things in every room of the house including but not limited to – the bedroom (looms); the bathroom (spinning wheel); basement ( fiber, loom, etc); elevator (yes, an elevator, full of fiber); studio (looms, fiber); office (spinning wheels, fiber); living room (assorted everything); dining room (spinning wheels); kitchen … do I need to go on?
Oh gee! It all snuck up upon us with our realizing we are pretty much overrun by fiber related things. I did not label the rooms for you. Suffice to say we have an embarrassment of materials and equipment. It’s not my fault. I am simply the “getaway driver.” Yeah yeah, no one would believe that I do not aid and abet Colleen’s obsession. Ummm… did I mention (did you notice) the bathroom? The foyer?
There was the old saying: “He who has the most toys when he dies, wins.”
Out of the blue
Colleen is my “laundry fairy.” All my clothes disappear and return to my drawer clean about once a week…. She makes me go to her guild meetings. She has me demonstrate spinning at her fiber festivals. I get to wear the product of her weaving skills. She let me have another cat (eight). …loves to eat out.
Ginny called Colleen. Ginny, too, is reading my blog. She called – out of the blue – to thank Colleen for taking care of me. Did I mention Ginny is the “little sister” who gets kicked to the side and ignored by Don and myself? Don? Don’t ask. Big girl panties. He once got Ginny a pair – size 99 extra large – as a joke(cheap, at Walmart). We do love her dearly, but we would never ever tell her. (Shhhhh…)
So, out of the blue, Ginny called Colleen to thank her. Touching. Sweet. Touching. Have I, did I, mention that all love is appreciated. Thanks kid.
I’ve never been inside. Guild meeting, John Dickinson plantation. Colleen cajoled and put my true love to the test demanding I attend and spin with her. So, she did not demand… but it was the same as a command! Ha! A coven! Tour groups come through and are fascinated with the process. Ho hum? To me, yes. They were fascinated. Colleen was thrilled… I was there, too. Donna brought an E-spinner, battery operated spinning wheel. It almost seems heretical in an old historic plantation….
Spin doctor II
Lazy. I got someone to shoot us together spinning away. And the local newspaper did not send anyone to cover the event. We were back for another round of demonstration at the fiber expo. A gal came by, whipped out her drop spindle and began to spin away beside us. All, welcome! Yeah, it was fun. No one asked about the scrub shirt. They sure asked a lot about spinning. Fun!? You bet!
Ashford Joy spinning wheel
One of my training professors told me that it was hard to make a new mistake. Ha ha. I do not know. I made plenty. They were all original to me. But…
So, we got an Ashford Joy spinning wheel. I won it at an auction. We paid $$. It is compact and folds up. It travels. Coleen’s! I got it for her so that when we travel by car she could take it along and spin as we go. Neat idea.
The wheel would not spin. There was a problem at the hub. The wheel wobbled. The drive band kept coming off. Wobble is not good. So??? I replaced the drive band. Obvious answer. No! This did not work. The drive band is plastic and you have melt cut ends in a flame and then put them together. The tension has to be just right. (That’s a whole ‘nother story.)
It was the wobble. How do you fix that. The metal connector at the hub wobbled. I tried different ways to tighten it up to no avail. Finally, hammer in hand, I pounded the hub into the wheel once more. Voila!! The wheel was tight once again and the wobble gone. It was not at all obvious what to do. And we did not find anything on the internet search to help.
So, here it is. This is a fix for a wobbly wheel. You might try it. It might work. Where to post the solution? I don’t know. But the internet knows everything. So this post will probably live on forever.
Opposite minimal – maximal
Clutter, hoarder… there is a fine line? Or, is it obvious which group we fall in with? Taking pictures? I shoot many, that is to say more than one, redundancy is the word. …just in case, I don’t want to miss the important shot. My mantra? Digital is free.
We realize that most of our kids are minimalist and neat. It gives us shivers. We laugh. We are not. And, happily so, and happy to admit it – more shudders. Our counters and tables have nary a bare spot. In fact we see the table top about twice a year, when company is coming. No matter, I know where everything is. We have never lost a kitty amongst the stack. I am not apologetic. Do you need two mantle clocks and so many spinning wheels? The answer is obvious… umm, do we? It could go either way. We are weak. We do not play by any rule. It’s just fine. No harm, it’s just a little bit crowded. Let the kids shudder and laugh. I have one kid living out of a back pack. Yup, all his worldly goods in a back pack – the ultimate minimalist, except for the stuff stuffed in my closet that belongs to him too. … kidding. On this occasion – it’s a neat mess!
Backwards. Opposite. … we are not… neat and organized.
We do pack our days. Upon our return from our recent trip to Maine it took about an hour to unload the car. Slow?! We had a lot of stuff crammed in all the nooks and crannies. How about a linear foot of books beneath the front seats. Exaggerate. No, I was merely cautions. There was a lot of glassware or pottery too.
Waiting were my seven cats. It took Feather a day to forgive my absence. Wating too, were a slew of Amazon fairy packages. Neat! Colleen would spy a book she had to have. I would find it discounted… or that tea pot. We need another like a … and I found it on Amazon and had it shipped. Ha! More room in the car. Thank goodness we do not have a van.
We managed a visit to the beach. The erosion from the recent hurricane had pretty much decimated the beach. I started to spin. There’s a lot of fiber processing to come this winter. And Feather made it to the vet.
Neat comes later. Organized? Colleen got a new pocket book and transferred the contents from her old one. We never did find the old one among our bags. Hmmmm? And a bread box? Yeah!? I did not know we needed one. Books? Every other available space … used and second hand. It seemed every library in Maine had a sale going. You borrow, right? Nope, you can buy gently used….
It’s all very topsy turvy confusing but there is organization to our happy chaos. Umm… and another spinning wheel… like the proverbial hole in the head. Ah! Ha! It folds compactly to travel in the car! Yup, it would be great if we had any room in the car. Did I remember to mention the large bags of sheep fleece?
Work in progress
We just got done with kitchen renovation. A myriad of packing boxes empty and full are strewn about getting sorted into donation or putting away. It’s a mess in another picture…
Meanwhile Colleen is on a roll. So, move the weaving accoutrements from here to there hither and yon. Oh boy! I am making another mess or cleaning up one that is long overdue. The barn loom went downstairs – storage. Rugs were coming and going. The bookcase and Hossier cabinet came up for additional storage. Two looms migrated into the space. And… etc. etc. and so forth. Neater?
Of course it is! Did anything get thrown out? Don’t ask!?! Neater! More organized! Easier access and easier on the eye. Less messy?!?! I gotta admit. The girl can organize. Oh! My aching back! You may laugh, this was pictures of a kitchen renovation. Right?! …. all that moving about and not a thing got thrown out.
Here to there
How’d I get here? In the absence of anything else, I shoot cat portraits. Simple. They pose?!? Nope. I put the camera in their face and point the lens straight at their eyes. It works.
Finally, a new oven! The old one – dead. Built-in obsolescence. Better one? It had to fit the hole of the old one. Pain!!! Major pain, supply chain issues, we snagged a clearance model at less than half price from retail. Lucky! You bet!! It clearly said on the box – in big black and white letters – the oven was too large for the hole – ¾ inches too large. Really!! So, it fit right into the hole of the old oven. Go figure.
And, within moments – carrot cake. I add (my mom did it) a cup of grated carrots; the cake rises…. And, a few days later… a sour cream apple walnut pie. We wasted no time in making up for lost time.
Pizza? Well, I gotta say, “Who doesn’t like pizza?” Gluten free crust. ??? Oh! Well, Colleen is also vegetarian (off and on), so, two pies – mine had sausage. It was a good pie! Yeah, it’s good to have an oven again.
One more step – to product. I spin – wool. We process. … ‘cause I don’t wash. The one and only time I washed, I felted. (If you don’t spin, the joke went right over your head.) Straight off the sheep, the fleece is polluted – grass, dirt, poop, etc. The fleece is opened up – picked. Then, it is washed, carded and prepared into bats, ready to spin. Spin, spun, it looks rather fine and refined, ready to go – cloth, shawl, scarf, and so forth. This would be here to there. Yarn!
If you take enough pictures, a few will be good. It follows: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. Selfies? The easy way or hard way? It’s probably not good to say I go both ways. Beer? I don’t drink beer! Heresy! As you can see, we do have some good times together.
Socks? Everyone needs socks. These days, I’m retired. My socks retired too. I wear ‘em about three cold days a year now. Colleen? – adores socks. And, she adores the Pemaquid lighthouse!
Sheeps? Why is it sheep? I did not go to Maine for the art. Did I? Spinning wheel? Colleen arranged to pick up a signature spinning wheel that I found online. She brought $$. And, now, I use this wheel. Was it a plot? Planned? I love this wheel – to use; it’s sweet! I love my wife … more!
The last time? 2018 – crunchy granola set. I say it in the most wistful way, for Colleen adores the Common Ground fair. It was our second visit. And, then, the Covid pandemic hit; its canceled ever since. Produce, sheep, bourbon barrel maple syrup … and a spinning demonstration, it was full of photo ops. I now know, much more about spinning wheels. For instance, I can spot a Schact ladybug wheel. Ha ha. They are all castle wheels? I can say my eye is more practiced in spinning, and, you don’t care. Alas, a sheep is still a sheep. I can only tell you that this batch is not ready for shearing. Maybe the fair is on again this year? Maybe.
Spinning, you draw out the wool and then the wheel twists it into yarn. Magical! It’s a skill. It’s not hard to master. It can be hard to do. Few, fewer people do it. There is a Zen to spinning. Meditation. Peace. Tranquility. Elle, our solitary cat, likes to sit behind Colleen. She will bide, until, she wants attention. It’s all part of the Zen process. Everyone should have a “weaver” kitty.
… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.
A sheep is a sheep – all the same to me, just different colors, with or without horn. A spinning wheel? A loom? Venerable. Costly. Slow (to make clothes by hand). I get my clothes for sale $10 a shirt. That is simply sinful thought. To not appreciate the process is to ignore history and how we got to this point in time; this is narrow minded thinking. Shearing, washing, carding, spinning, weaving… yarn to cloth to clothes.
The Golding wheel is the Bentley of spinning wheels. Art. It is not how you get there as much as how you look getting there. Any car goes when you add gas. Eh? Computerized looms? It has a niche, though, it’s oddly out of place with hand craft. You go to the sheep and wool festival to – meet Golding and son, see the sights, see sheeps, and to see people. I get photo ops. Sheepishly, I have newfound respect for the handicraft. No, Colleen, (I get it now) a sheep is not a sheep. There are differences beyond appearance. And, no, a Golding wheel is not in our future. Hey! You don’t have to spend $10k for a Golding! Maybe I should not have checked $ on the internet. Price increase! – $30k for a stained glass Golding wheel!! I still cannot differentiate sheep breeds. (A sheep 🙂 is still a sheep.)
Middle of no where nowhere
I have a parochial view of the Midwest. Biased. For sure. I have been thru but never been there. Passing thru is all I wish to partake. Yarn Barn – a destination. ?! Colleen knows it as in tourist destination – for spinners and weavers. Yawn! With newfound knowledge and interest I am looking at spinning wheels in a different light. Schact and Ashford – hallowed names in spinning wheels. Ho hum. They are sold but not made in the store. But to touch and feel…. Ha ha. We did not buy a wheel. And, I did not get a haircut. It is like antique stores. You never know what you may find that you did not need until now. Me? I’m gettin’ back in the car and takin’ Colleen. Need her? You bet!!
I’m a hobbyist – photographer. I do not collect cameras. I have cameras – more than one.
Don’t ask. We spin. Forget weaving for the moment (too many pictures). We have (spinning) wheels. We do not collect? Well, sort of. There are a few old ones not currently spinning. The rest are in active use. Even the old winder – weasel – is in use. Weasel? Yes, as in “pop goes the weasel” – a term used/derived from the button which pops when you have wound off the yardage of yarn you desire. There are different features – castle, Saxony, single or double drive, single or double treadle… Do we need ‘em all. Do you care? Colleen uses them. All. I do, now. Fun? Fun!! There is a certain “zen” in spinning. Oh! Did I mention wooly winder? And?? Spinning wheels go back over 1000 years. We have followed in a long hallowed cherished tradition. Neat!
Me? Spin? … in self defense. We have so much stash – fiber waiting to be spun – it would be impossible for one (or two) people to spin. So, I, too, have wheels in rotation. Name the wheel? Model, manufacturer? No, real names, Colleen has given real names to the wheels she uses. Ahem, … my cats have names.
In a rut
I can hear Carol – “…enough cats already” And, “eight is enough!” I’m shooting the same things over and over as when I was diving the Red Sea. Enough fish… hey! I have a camera near at hand. This is the subject material that presents itself to my lens. I am lazy. We don’t get out enough. My bad. Colleen wants to go around anytime anywhere. We got a lot of “going around” to make up for. When do you see a bed pan with a chimney? The moon is not an easy subject, but, it shows up. Telephone poles always seem to be close by when you want to shoot the perfect sunset. I love my cats, too. They are just too cute sometimes. So, what to shoot? I hope travel restrictions end soon. We would like to go again. I am, indeed, a lazy photographer. I shoot what’s available. No doubt. But, I do try to shoot each and every day. Hey! It’s a hobby, not work. Happy and hobby have lots in common.
It goes like this
The end point is spinning yarn. A sheep fleece is processed from shearing to spun yarn. You start by sorting and picking it. It has lanolin (grease) that needs to be washed clean. Along the way Colleen took locks to weave into a rug. I combed (carded) the rest and prepared it for spinning. Yarn is the product. Weaving comes next. I know way more than I ever intended to learn. It’s craft. In my wildest dreams I never expected to spin fiber. Fun? I sheepishly replied, “Yes!”
Almost not quite
It was a close call. We almost got cats number 9 and 10. They were beautiful cats. Colleen put her foot down. No more cats!! No picture. Alas! A new wheel? Can you say Kromski? It’s old looking. But it is recent vintage passed off as an old wheel in demonstrations. It was at an estate sale. It was ugly (a lot of dust and squeaks). It looks so much better in the pictures. And it was even better when I spiffed it up. Yes, we got another wheel. Colleen got it. I’m using it. So, you know how that goes. She got me a wheel. Me! I now have double drive wheels rotating thru different stations to occupy my time. And I am (spinning)! It is, indeed, a good looking wheel. And, no more cats! Darn!
There is art in form. Art is not always in museums. Photography is art? Platitudes. There is a fine line between art, photography, and journalism? Is nature art? Antiques are automatically art? Modern art? Does price define art? $$$$ For a shopping cart with zip ties – $10,000. Paying for concept or for a few packs of $1 zip ties? Oh yeah! Does that sound outrageous? Does it make it all the more valuable? I ain’t no critic. Artist, journalist, photographer, gadfly? Egad!! – (word) first used in 1673, how do they know stuff like this? Do you look funny eating?
Picker? It’s something I was told we needed. Ok. Ok? Huh? It’s something I won at auction later (that day) some years back. It went for hundreds of $. Yeah, me, I paid hundreds!?? Don’t ask. Look! It is so simple, simply made from nails. Sharp nails. Super sharp! Yes, stay away; those nails can DO serious damage. The device swings like a pendulum pulling the fiber apart. My imagination runs, and, I laugh. Women, I would guess, are mostly at risk? Picker? It is part of the process of going sheep to fleece to roving to yarn. Yeah, easy.