a 3D printed spindle

This is a gift box set from New Age Spinning etsy shop.

The spindle spins really well and it didn’t mind at all when I dropped it a few times yesterday. This will be perfect to bring with me to woolly gatherings where nobody blinks an eye when you spindle or when you drop things. (There are, however, always quite a few people who love green at these sort of meetings so I might have to keep an eye on things!)

It’s so handy, with its own little cute box. And so colour-coordinated! This is the very first gift box that the shop owner put together. She wanted it to be a present and she chose green as a colour for me. Well chosen. In the shop you can choose your own colour. However, I advise all of you to choose green so I can bring mine to gatherings and we won’t have to “test our friendship”.

It comes with a cup so you can use the spindle both as a drop spindle and as a supported spindle. I haven’t mastered supported spinning yet. Which is probably a good thing because I’ve seen people fall in that rabbit hole only to emerge with arms full of beautiful twigs and the dreamy look of satisfaction in their eyes.

Two adorable sheep charms and twenty stitch markers:


while turtles sleep…

All the silk is spindle spun into turtles.
Now they need to rest for a while, while the twist sets.

Not one to twiddle my thumbs idly, I delved into a dreamy misty green elfenbatt:

Soft, silken, sparkly.
It’s the prize I won at the last Tour de Fleece. It’s a custom made batt by the fantastic Cjadam:

Spinning it is a delight. It made me hungry for more meters so I grabbed a wheel and had a fantastic evening:

Spinning and purring

We’ve all arrived at the cabin and we are all purring and spinning and relaxing and leaving all the stresses behind us.


I made the cat on the mug in the background, do you like it? I don’t but I’ve come to accept that feeling as a natural companion to anything I draw. I do see that it’s a nice start however. And I’ve got more mugs!

Lillepoes has gotten grey on her nose and chin in the previous two weeks…


She’s still weak and sleeps a lot. This episode has taken one of her nine lives I think.

I’ve fallen ill too, in the good tradition that owners should resemble their pets. Grey, weak, sleeping? Check, check, check.
For me it’s back to only doing two things a day, with an inflamed liver. It’s a classic after-stress-reaction, as described by dr. Selye.
There’s nothing I can do except rest and heal. But I’m pretty annoyed because of all the plans I cannot execute at the moment. One of them drawing cats on mugs. But again, there’s nothing to be done. Eat, sleep, spin.

Poekie is a big help and advocates snacks to help counter the stress:


gifts from Saint Nic

It was a lovely evening yesterday! Celebrating the birthday of Saint Nicholas and giving gifts anonymously to each other, with witty poems attached to them.
I thought I’d sow you the knitterly gifts I received from Sinterklaas.

first of all: yarn!

two skeins of….. DONEGAL 3PLY!! Bought at the actual yarn mill in Ireland! By Sinterklaas, of course. When he was on holiday there, with Zwarte Piet, only last month.

She, Sinterklaas, reads this blog too and was laughing her head off whilst I’ve been talking about this yarn for weeks now and contemplating buying more.
Imagine her shock when I announced yesterday that I, in fact, had bought more of this yarn. And her relief when the yarn turned out to be blue!

It was so funny, unwrapping this. And now I’ve got more white! I could dye a bit of this. Combine colours. A hat…. wristwarmers… I’m so looking forward to using this!

With it came two handmade ceramic buttons. Hedgehogs! So lovely!

What do you think, hedgehogs on the Donegal hat or on the wristwarmers?
They are adorable!
Hopefully a new item in the etsy store of Wolop.

Typical things a knitter needs: a notebook, a pen and an eraser.

Next: a spindle! A 3D printed turkish spindle:

It’s kinda plastic and shiny and novelty item. But it spins and it’s a fun thing that you can bring with you anywhere because it’s sturdy. Shiny purple is always fun. Thank you Sinterklaasje!

Sinterklaas was a bit concerned a plastic spindle wouldn’t thrill me to the core so that’s why she blew my mind with this:

a high end turkish spindle!
This one’s small and delicate and a dream to spin with. It spins on and on!
Made from a beautiful dark wood brought over from Japan, with an oak shaft. Lovely materials to touch (I’m such a tactofile!)
Handmade by Wolop.
It came with a tin to transport it in and a long sliver of blue fibre to practise with. Such a thoughtful presentation.

Now check this out: leaf printing.

It’s a cotton shirt that’s been pretreated with alum and something else. And then eucalyptus leaves were pressed on it, for hours and hours. In heat. Or soil. I don’t know. Magic. Check out the site of leaf print artist India Flint if you want to learn more.

This concludes the knitter/spinner/dyer gifts from Sinterklaas but here’s a picture of all my loot:

Two gifts are not in the picture. Two jars of coconut skin creme for the face, they are already on my nightstand.
And a special set of glasses to be worn at night, when driving. They work anti-glare. They’re already in the car, I used them last night.
Oh and another thing is not in the picture! My Danish Dripping Machine. A mesmerishing hourglass with blue and green oil… it’s at the home office of my husband, otherwise known as our dinner table, and keeps us entertained when we’re there.
A fourth thing is not in the picture! A ceramic slab on which you can rest your brushes. It’s in dark clay, it looks so solid and contemplative. Absolutely right for when I start painting again (January 1st?)

I want to mention the sewing pattern by Deer & Doe, a small independent pattern maker in France. Such a difference from the usual flimsy patterns you get from the Big Box pattern pushers such as Vogue, Burda and the like. Different in body shape too. I am very curious!

There’s a book about SciFi series Firefly. I love contemplating things and this book is full of invitations to think about the ‘verse.

There’s a lemon zest scraper so I have one in the cabin and one in the city and can make apple pie everywhere!
A gnome lady fridge magnet. Because I should remember my secret identity always.
Moustached candles to keep my cool AND save me from freezing to death when I strand somewhere with the car.
A big BIG bowl that goes into the oven. I prefer to bake in glass or ceramics and this is one BIG bowl. That will be some pie!
A lovely tin with foxes on it, from German designers’ label Artebene.com. Mr.Sinterklaas bought this at our local thingy-shop Werk Aan De Winkel, where I regularly buy gifts for my friends. It’s great the Sint found his way there for me too!
A plastic tin with little glass stems in it. These are ideal to use in enamelling. Which I’m itching to do again! How can the months just zoom by? It was only yesterday I enamelled for the first time and knew I’d found a new passion and vouched to do it again asap…
A funny glass x-mas bulb. I love glass x-mas bulbs! I happened to mention that I broke my weird little hippo bulb some time ago and now I have a new one, a weird little pig one.
And a yellow cakeform to make little bee shaped cakes in. For Summer!

Sinterklaas knitted something for my husband too:

A soft warm hat, from alpaca yarn. Because the Sint knows my husband is a yarn snob and only wants soft soft yarn.

We also got a mug each, but they were not from Sinterklaas and only given reluctantly because the creator wasn’t satisfied with their technical execution. We of course love them!

I did some knitting for Sinterklaas too and made these wristwarmers:

Made from Finnish sheep yarn. In gorgeous green and orange. I nearly didn’t want to give them away, they are making me so happy. They made the recipient happy too, she wore them all evening and they are precisely good for her particular brand of cold hands. They suit her amazingly well, it’s clear they are 100% hers 🙂
Pattern Fox Wristwarmers. On needles 3,75mm.

The pattern is in both English and Norwegian and the Norwegian brought me a happy memory. I once encountered a fox on a Norwegian mountain. It was tramping and stamping up the mountain and I stood at the top, waiting and frighted.
Then I saw who made the noise and it saw me and instantly grew ashamed of its racket.
The look on its face was so funny! It stood there for a moment transfixed. Then hid its head behind a leaf.
Such a lovely animal 🙂

Let’s wrap up this post with pictures of another lovely animal: Mimi the Turkish Van that is the cat of the home we visited yesterday.


and totally nutters.

Last day in the city

Today I spend the last day in the city, tomorrow I return to the cabin.
What a day it was!

I finished writing the pattern and send it off with the handspun wool to Pauli. With some dark city chocolate! And a free form handcut sheep letter.

It was particularly enjoyable for me to get the job well done, to give attention to details and to make a nice parcel for Pauli to open.
(I hope the pattern is clear enough and there are not too many glaring mistakes)

Then at night I got out The Good Tools and drilled a hole in two pieces of oak I had brought with me from the forest:

(that’s one of my wood knives. Just a cheap knive from a big store in Norway but it’s a good knive.)

I snapped off the top of a shawl pin I had carved earlier but was too fragile to wear. What do you know, it’s an exact fit for the hole I drilled:

She spins!

She spins like mad!

I made a spindle… A well balanced, small, solid oak spindle! I’m so chuffed!
It weighs 11 grams, it’s flyers span 7 cm and the shaft is 10 cm.

What a good, productive day! I really enjoyed it.

I even went to the market and ate Maatjesharing, a semi-raw herring. You know of this Dutch tradition?
It’s herring without the head or intestines and it has stewed for a few days in its own pancreas enzymes and brine so it’s really mushy and slimey and salty.

This is the proper way to eat it:

It’s a treat!

I just found page 1 of the pattern under the cat, I’ve forgotten to put it in the parcel to Pauli.

Making Spindles

I confess, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of spindle spinning.

I’ve got the Enid Ashcroft turkish spindle. It’s small and that means it spins fast. I love it! It’s a Midge, 13 grams.

pic by Enid Ashcroft

Besides this one I’ve got two top whorl drop spindles made from a dowel with a toy wheel on top. They spin fast too, faster than spindles with the wheels at the bottom.
But they don’t spin long…

They are lovely to spin “rustic” yarn with. From fun batts, standing or walking on wool gatherings or in the garden. In fun colours.
Especially colours that match the spindles, that makes it extra fun! Giggling while spinning? It’s the best!

But for expert spinning I crave more turkish spindles. But I don’t want to spend money on commercial spindles (they are expensive!). So I made one myself. I used this tutorial.
I carved it from a little oak tree in my garden:

It’s really small. I purposely made it with short “legs” so it spins fast. It does!
You can see a turtle from the Enid Ashcroft turkish spindle in the back, to get an idea of the size of this one. It’s about the size of a Midge.
It’s quite good, for a first handmade one.
But it will take a little disassembling once it’s full.

I’m looking to make another one who disassembles more easily. For that I split some old, dried oak length wise. You can see the parts lying there.
They need a hole drilled in the middle to put the shaft in. (The drill is in the city). The shaft will grow smaller towards the top.

Both spindles are carved with my wood knive, a Norwegian spike knive.
I love wood carving. I don’t like wood turning much. Nor sanding it down.
The guy who taught me to carve an Inuit Kayak with just a wood knive explained that sanding down is the very last step, if done at all. After sanding you should not use your knive again since the residue of the sanding paper will make your knive dull.

Good tools and fun displays are important in life:

Spinning mad

I’m spinning on my Turkish spindle every day now.
With some Dutch spinners we started a group where people make small bundles of fibre for each other. Batches of 20 grams. In nice colours, nice fibres.
This arrived in my mailbox the other day:

5 x 20 grams of various fibres from Sasssefras, a person who’s famous for making excellent little rolls.

The green silvery rolls made me squeek with joy and I put them on my spindle immideately.

They go fantastically well with my ring! It’s a big old rock, nearly an inch high, caught in faux gold.
It’s my Secret Mountain Fairy Queen ring.
I wear it this time of year (Feb thru May) and it makes my spirit travel to the mountains of Norway. It’s also an hommage to Frau Holle, that ancient European goddess (from before Celts, Vikings, Romans) who resides in a mountain and spins the threads of life.

Ooops, is my personal tag of madness hanging out again?
A more rational person would have rephrased it like: “spinning great fibre with good tools is as much a spiritual experience as it is one of skills.”
And we would all nod understandingly and not feel the flurry of fibre butterflies around our hearts 😉

Look at this roll, who thinks off adding a bit of lilac to a roll that’s all warm greys and warm greens??
Sasssefras would. She’s a master of colour.

Every thread I wind upon the turtle gives such delight. The fibres, the softness, the glitter, the colours. The precision with which I add twist. Pure delight.

I spin on the couch. I spin outside. As long as I manage to catch the rays of sunshine on my spinning thread, it’s all good.

So many subtle colours… going through a roll is like a journey through colours and textures.

Turtles having the last laugh

I put the skein of gold spindlespun silk through the spinning wheel, to add a bit more twist. Here you see at the top the original yarn and at the bottom the one with added twist. My fingers keep the twist from travelling into the top part.

I hope you can see it, it’s not easy making the iPad focus when you hold it with one hand and hold thread with the other. (I used my nose to tell it where to focus.)(I had a hard time convincing it that the radiator isn’t nearly as interesting as string)

But it worked. The extra twist now makes this yarn more like stringed pearls. Just the way I like it. It will wear well, pill less and withstand extreme blocking.
Great for a lace shawl!

However, putting in the extra twist didn’t go without trouble…

The skein was on my skeinwinder, on top of my Louet, and it got caught in the hooks of the flyer and then it went “Wieeeeew!” wrssswfrrrtblb!

Of course I couldn’t let go of the yarn (on the left, outside of frame) to stop it quickly. Then I had to keep hold of the twist while untangling all this. Which took quite a bit. (and this wasn’t the first time either but I didn’t take a picture the first time because, you know, these things happen)

Then 5 minutes later…. it happened again:

Those blasted turtles fighting me for the very last meter!
They sure got the last laugh.

How come I never see these kind of things on other blogs?

Well, since sealife mocks my spinning, I might as well end this post with a seal that hiccups.

Please know that when I laugh too much I get hiccups.
This seal makes me laugh.
Too much.

plying gold

Plied on the wheel those turtles still had a chuckle:

After a day I took the yarn of and made it into a skein, unfinished (i.e. I haven’t given the yarn a bath yet).
I’ve put it next to the skein I spun from this silk a few years back, on my wheel:

The Turkish spindle turtle plied skein is at the top.
I like the twist better in the lower skein…

I’m thinking about running the turtle skein once more through the wheel, adding a bit more twist.
As a spinner you have some room to play in and make a yarn to your own specifications. As twist does relax a bit after the yarn has had its bath (and silk has no elasticity, it won’t “spring back” like wool does) I could give it quite a bit of extra twist before I turn it into a wire (which means: too much twist)
I may do this, I love the sheen of the smooth silk in the lower skein.

The top skein shows that one of the singles had more twist than the other: the threads are not evenly twisted around each other. One, the one with the less twist, dances a bit more loosely around the other.