I've set the timer for ten minutes. That's how long I have to write and post this entry.
I must apologize in advance for the perfectly crummy photographs in this post. I'm always telling students in "Photographing Your Fiber" that it's all about light, light, light. Today, my available light is revoltingly inappropriate and there is no time to make it better.
My equipment is also lacking. Part of my Tour de Fleece challenge this year–which I don't think I've mentioned here in the blog–is that I'd use only my phone camera to photograph anything related to the challenge. I have so many students coming into photography classes with a phone as at least one part of their kit that it behooves me to get more phone shooting experience under my belt.
It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, but although the camera in my phone has surprised me with how much it'll do, when the chips are down it lacks the fine control that allows one to grapple with truly challenging conditions. So that's good to know.
Anyhow, what I meant to say is these photos suck and I'm sorry.
Here's a representative sample of my output on a plate shaped like a cabbage leaf, just because.
You've already seen the Corriedale from Lunabudknits, and the muddy brown mystery bobbin on the niddy-noddy.
I spent the last part of the Tour de Fleece on the road for work, and my wheel doesn't travel. But my host–my good friend John Mullarkey, who asked me to help him make final preparations for a video shoot–is a spinner. A far better spinner than I, in fact.
He surprised me with the generous loan of two spinning wheels I'd never tried before–a Schacht Sidekick (fully portable) and a Lendrum Upright (somewhat less so).
I'm not enough of an experienced spinner, honestly, to give you a worthwhile review of either. All I will say is I admired the way the Sidekick came to pieces for travel; and the way the Lendrum, though not strictly made for travel, folded for storage and was quickly set up when wanted.
Both wheels were enjoyable to spin on, easy to adjust, and allowed me to turn out pretty decent long draw singles after only a brief acquaintance.
When John and I weren't at work, I played with both wheels using his other surprise–perfectly gorgeous Polwarth roving dyed in brilliant blue by the always brilliant Briar Rose.
Before I left, he wound my output on both wheels onto a single bobbin. We wound that bobbin onto a ball, and from the two ends of that ball I used the Lendrum to make a two-ply. I'd never done that before–John threw in the lesson as lagniappe.
We discovered during plying that I'd inadavertently spun almost exactly the same amount–to within an inch–on both wheels during the weekend.
The wet finishing of the mystery yarn was a hoot. Upon contact with the hot water it fluffed instantly into the most alarming frizz and I figured I'd lost it. But no–in the cold water it relaxed back into something like a skein. When I thwacked it–mostly because I've heard you're not supposed to thwack worsted-spun skeins, and I wanted to see what would happen–it changed very little. As it dried, it settled into a finished state that looks remarkably like dreadlocks.
I have no idea what the hell I will do with it, and of course I still have no idea what the hell it is. Wool, sure–but what wool? From where? I still don't recall spinning it. Weird.
And then we have the green merino (it's a bird, it's a plane, etcetera). That's the thing on top in the first photo, with the plate shaped like cabbage.
The green merino (for truth! justice! and the American way!) is resolutely refusing to be photographed from any angle or under any light that does not make it look like first-quality shit. And yet, even if I say it myself, it's not. It looks quite presentable, thank you very much, and I have three bobbins of it. They are marked to become my first three-ply yarn.
I'll photograph it again this week, when it's plying time. Since it won't be Tour de Fleece photography, strictly speaking, I'll aim to get some beauty shots of it with a better camera under appropriate lighting.