School House Rocks

I have fallen in love….with Craftsy!! I signed up for a few free knitting classes, then bought a few spinning classes and I am more than impressed.  The format is amazing and the instruction is clear, concise and easy to understand.  For the first time in….well, ever…I don’t feel like I have to exclude patterns just because they have short rows in them.  Wrapping the stitches has never been a problem, but until the short row mini-class I had no idea how to knit the wrap with the stitch.  I do now.

The spinning classes are even better.  For the first time I’m using my wheel instead of my spindles and I’m enjoying it.  I have some great hand-dyed merino in a color that looks just like Sully from Monsters Inc. and I really want to get it on the wheel and see what I can do with it.

I got my whee-eel, I got my whee-eel

Imagine a sing-songy voice when reading the title.

I finally have my spinning wheel.  She’s an absolutely gorgeous Kromski Sonata named Penelope.  Shannon and I went to The Spinning Loft last Wednesday to look at wheels for me.  It was a great day – I hadn’t seen her since I left for CA and I missed my favorite spinning/knitting buddy – the weather was perfect for a long car ride and Beth’s shop was amazing.  Beth (the owner of The Spinning Loft) was patient and very helpful.  She brought me about a million different wheels (the number may be a bit lower in reality) to try and told me to just treadle them and that would tell me if I liked the wheel or not.  I have to admit I was skeptical; it didn’t seem like less than a minute of pushing foot pedals would really tell me anything significant about how I felt about the wheel, but boy was I ever wrong.  I quickly narrowed it down to four wheels (Louet’s Julia, Ashford’s Joy and Kromski’s Sonata and Minstrel)  The Joy was the first to be eliminated as it was an as-is wheel with no possible add-ons for later as I got more advanced in spinning.  Next the Julia went b/c I really did like the way the Kromski wheels felt more, but also, I have to admit, b/c I couldn’t get the Julia right away and it definitely wasn’t a travel wheel.  Once I was down to the Sonata and the Minstrel it was more difficult to choose.  The treadling felt virtually identical on both wheels.  So Beth grabbed some awesome purple Corridale wool and I spun on both of them.  In the end, the Sonata won and Penelope (I named her Olivia at the store, but it just didn’t stick in my mind) became my new spinning friend.  The final decision involved that fact that the Sonata was a folding travel wheel and b/c there were more options for adding on later with it.  I loved both of them and could definitely see myself getting a Minstrel later on.  I’m pretty sure at this point, though, that my next wheel will be the Louet Julia.  Look at me, barely knowing how to use the Sonata and already choosing my next wheel.  This is addictive.  It’s crack for the spinner/knitter’s soul. LOL

We picked up Penelope on Monday on our way down to the Detroit area.  We visited Rusty and Shannon and Jake got to play with their adorable daughter Alex.  She’s a perfect cross between her mother and father looks-wise and I just couldn’t get enough of her.  I really want to have a little girl!  While we were there Jake got the most massive bloody nose I’ve ever seen.  If it wasn’t for the fact that he was totally calm and clearly not in any pain I would have thought he had smashed his face into something.  It went away pretty quickly, but it was still a horror for me while it was going on.  I managed to keep it together and not freak out, though, b/c I was afraid that would just scare and upset him.  After we left, we went to Dad’s to spend the night.  Jake was so thrilled to see his Papa and Papa was thrilled to see him.  After TJ and Jake both went to bed, I sat up until the early morning spinning and talking to Dad.  He was very intrigued by the wheel and how it spun.  The next morning we got up and Jake watched The Bee Movie twice and then we packed up and headed home.

It’s been a pretty uneventful week here at Casa Dwire.  I was supposed to (and really wanted to) go to Shannon’s to spin on Friday, but TJ took my car while I was sleeping (of course, he leaves at 5 am) b/c he didn’t want to ride the motorcycle b/c it was supposed to rain, which it didn’t.  So no spinning for me.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get together with her this week as Jake will be up north with his “Unkie” and “Kay” all week.

Time for me to go to bed.  Hope all of you are having a great night.  Talk at  you soon!

Still in California and a Spinning Wheel Question

I hate wordpress!!! That about says it all. In the last two days I’ve written two lengthy posts about this trip and about the spinning wheel that I’m going to be getting when I get home from CA (will I ever get home seems to be the question at hand). So I had these two posts written, I published them both and…and…well, nothing. Neither of them are here nor are they saved as drafts, nothing. They just don’t exist. ARGH!! I’ve never had this happen to me before. It quite sucks ass!! On with life, though; an abbreviated recap of them…

What started out as a three week trip has turned into an epic journey. I was supposed to go home at the end of Feb. but my mother is coming back to MI with us and b/c of doctor’s appointments she wasn’t going to be able to do that until at least the middle of March. Then her birthday (March 24th) came up and it was suggested that we stay until after that so everyone could celebrate with her and Jake and myself. Next we moved onto my aunt Marion’s birthday which is only about a week and a half after my mother’s and my mother is very close to Aunt Marion as am I etc. so now we’re at April 16th for a fly home date. I’m booking the tickets this week and they will be non-refundable. LOL

Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a WONDERFUL time out here. This is one of the best vacations/visits I have ever been on. My mother and I are getting along better than we ever have in my adult life, I’ve renewed a friendship with my cousin Krista that’s deepened and become very important to me – she’s one of my closest friends now and leaving her to come home will be difficult at best. Jake has gotten the opportunity to play with his cousins Brandon, Logan and Olivia and he’s taken to all of them. Olivia is his special one, though. He adores her like a puppy adores it’s new master. Too cute!! He’s got a little Brandon worship going and I think he relates to Logan the best – Logan is the only one who will play chase with him and there is nothing Jake likes more than a good game of chase. Spending time with Diane and Melissa has, as always, been a blast. You can’t be around Diane and not laugh and Melissa and I have been close since we were kids. I’ve always loved spending time with her and that hasn’t changed at all. I do wish she weren’t so busy with all things kids, as all mothers are, and we could have some one on one time, but I understand how it is with kids in your life; hers have the added bonus of acting auditions on a regular basis. Yes, my little cousins are going to be big, famous stars one day and I’ll be able to say I knew them when…they were in diapers…LOL I never really thought much about family and how important it can be, but now that I have Jake and especially after spending all this time as an adult with them all, I see how much it means and that it would be unfair of me to keep Jake away from this crazy, loud, obnoxious, wonderful, loving and oh so fun family that he’s now a part of. If any of you are reading this, I love you with all my heart and am so glad I was blessed to be brought into this family!!

Now onto the important stuff: my spinning wheel!!! When I get home TJ and I are off to the Knitter’s Nest in Howell to pick out, and hopefully pick up, my new spinning wheel. I couldn’t be more excited!! This is where all of you experienced spinners come into play. Right now I have myself settled on one of two wheels: The Louet Victoria or the Ashford Joy. The Victoria I have actually had the chance to spin on briefly and it was a dream, even for someone who had no clue what she was doing. I’m pretty sure it had less to do with the wheel itself than with the fact that I was actually using a wheel for the first time, but that is a pretty powerful thing. It will always be a special wheel in my head b/c of that. My friend Shannon Too has one and I’m pretty sure she’s happy with it – she certainly spins gorgeous yarn on it. The Ashford Joy, OTOH, I’ve never spun with or even seen in real life. It’s got a good reputation though, and I’ve heard good things about it. So there I am. At this point I’m looking for a smaller wheel, most likely a portable one. I want to get the “fairy tale” wheel one day (which will be a whole other deciding frenzy) but right now we’re in the middle of houses (the owner of our rental home has decided to allow the house to go into foreclosure so we’re screwed. At least we get 6 months or so of rent free living there while we look, but we have to move, ugh!) and I don’t want the big wheel until I know we’re in our “forever house”. So I want a traveller, something that’s good for a beginner, but also that will grow with me as I learn. I tend to spin fairly fine, but that may be mostly b/c of my light weight spindle. I want to be able to spin a variety of weights. I tend to love things with “bells and whistles” but in this case I think something a little more simple is in order. So I would love some advice. The Victoria or the Joy? Or another wheel altogether. As much input as possible would be appreciated here. I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.