Category Archives: Spinning

Bear Valley Trail, Pt Reyes

I had a weekend without family last summer, so I treated myself to a much longer hike than usual.  I argued with myself all the way from Oakland to West Marin, even called Mom to distract me from my attempts to justify not going.  Silly brain.

I started from Bear Valley Visitor Center.  Over the years, I’ve walked several times up to Divide Meadow and back, memorably once carrying a sleeping three-year-old slung on my back all the way down to the car. This time, I wanted to walk all the way out and back, but I didn’t know how long it would take or if I could manage. Usually, I’m limited by a whining child or everybody’s schedules (who’s playing futbol today when).

I started in the sun and found the fog at Divide Meadow.

Fog divide over divide meadow, bear valley trail

The log benches in the meadow are a good place to eat lunch and spin. (I have a rule. If I want a photo of my spinning in a lovely place, I need to actually spin and not just take the photo.)

Silk spinning, divide meadow, bear valley trail

And then I walked

Creek, bear valley trail

and walked

Pines, bear valley trail

until I suddenly found the ocean, tilting horizon and Pt Reyes lighthouse and all. Arch Rock is the end of the trail.

Pt Reyes from Arch Rock, bear valley trail

I watched a seagull watch all the people. (It was not as lonely as the photos imply.)

Seagull, Arch Rock, bear valley trail

Of course I spun more silk.

Silk spinning, Arch Rock, bear valley trail

And then I walked back up and over the hill.

Dark Bay and Light Aspen, bear valley trail

About thirteen miles round trip, I was back in the meadow at the Bear Valley trailhead.

Meadow at Bear Valley trailhead

My feet were tired and sore, but no blisters. A beautiful walk, through different woods and grasses and coastal scrub and Suddenly Ocean.

Here I am, a couple months later, and I can’t do even a short hike until this mysteriously injured toe rests enough to heal and my knees are in better shape. I’m not sure these photos are a consolation or a terrible temptation.


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Filed under Excursions, Spinning

City Wildlife

Dimond hawk

Grabbed a pigeon and stopped in this tree, right above us. It stayed a long time here, whistling at another hawk a couple trees away. We pulled out the super duper wildlife camera (the iphone – what can I say? It’s always at hand) and managed this photo. Dimond Rec Center, less than 1/2 mile off 580.  Ah, life in the Oakland wilderness.

In other news, my back is still sore.  Nuts.

Still, the trip was worth it.  We only went to Alabama to visit my parents so I could pick this up.
Wheel in maleta

What’s this? Why, it’s Mom’s old Louet S10, and now it’s here with me in Oakland!
Louet s10 new in the room

Such a simple wheel. Simple to take apart, simple to put back together, simple to spin with. There’s only one mysterious small plastic piece I found on the living room rug during the reconstruction process. But it could be from anything, given the boys who live here (not a lego for a change). After 5 days back (and back at work), I spun up a little of my old favorite oatmeal wool.

Spinning 5 days

I am not a one-project person. I started this in the Atlanta airport on the way out. And I’ve got half a batt spun up as of right now. See?

Verdura batt half baked

Abby Batt verdura – 60% merino 37% tussah silk 3% firestar nylon. On the Kid’s bloodwood Jenkins Turkish Delight. Spun mostly long draw from the fold, not trying for tiny. And I’ve got another batt just like this one!

Not knitting much.  Seaming Sprossling very slowly.  I blame the back.  Because of course I would have the sweater finished last week for the cool weather, if it weren’t for my back!  Heh.


Filed under Excursions, Oakland, Spinning

Three Days in a Row, Driving to Sacramento

And I’m tired.

This is how I spent my Friday evening:

spinning while sleeping

Spinning while sleeping.

the Kid obliged me with his photography skills. Thanks Kid!

Also, while sitting in many hours of conference, I finished my second Sprossling sleeve, and knit about 3 inches of the back. No falling asleep for me!

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Virtual Stringtopia

Since I’m not at Stringtopia for real, I’m pretending with a bunch of other people.  And look!  My swap/goodie bag just arrived today!

vString Swap 1

vString Swap 3

vString Swap 4

vString Swap 5

vString Swap 6

Beautiful Shetland, Spunky Eclectic light BFL, and LEGO CANDY!!!!!!111!!!!!OMG11!!! Love Love and Love. Thank you Ellen! My small fiber stash has just been enhanced beautifully! And the chocolate eggs have some competition.


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The Nature of Good and Evil

Eh.  Maybe I won’t write about that just now.


Feels like Spring is Springing today!  Rain again yesterday, which is lovely to listen to, while folding clothes in front of the fire of an evening.  (Not so lovely driving all over Oakland with large boxes to deliver.  Why do I always find myself driving more for work when it’s raining?  Why?)

The sky is clear (-er) this morning.  Woke up with crows outside.  By the time we left the house, the little birds were chirping all over the place.  Spring, I tell you!  (and it’s all of Feb 5)  More light too.  No wonder I’m annoyingly cheerful this morning.  Be thankful you don’t have to listen to me talk!


An odd thing I noticed the other day:  As you may have guessed, I drive a fair bit.  Both the school/work commuting, and for work.  Driving down 73rd Ave/Hegenberger, I started looking at the streetlights.  They’ve got a lot of different styles, and sometimes they’re mixed up together, and sometimes they’re in sections.  So odd.  All in less than a mile.  Huh.


I picked up a book the other day.  (Surprised?)  Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style by Mark Garvey.  He quotes Adam Gopnik, describing Strunk & White as “a very good guide to writing the kind of prose that it’s a very good guide to writing.”  Hee!  Now I need to find my copy of Strunk & White.  Wonder where it’s hiding?  I need to read it for fun, before I get distracted by others’ opinions.  Which will be fun to read.


I had a Feeling about some thread I’m spinning.  I’ve got Plans, involving this Abby Batt merino/silk thread and three different colours of roving from A Verb for Keeping Warm.  When I picked up the thread the other day to spin some more, I noticed I was spinning it the other way from the other wool I’m spinning up.  Hmm.  Went to check the single I’ve finished of Verb.  Yup, I’ve got a problem.  Can’t ply this thread together with the Verb.  I’ve got them twisting in opposite directions (S and Z, if you care).  Luckily, it’s not much thread yet.  I’ll wind it off, maybe ply it on itself for fun and have a teeny tiny skein to play with, and start over.  

Oh, the could haves and would have wanteds and such!  I’ll be happy I noticed now.  Would have been a bigger puzzle later.  (you try thinking of a better word than ‘problem,’ other than ‘issue,’ and share it with me, please) (cause it isn’t actually a ‘problem’ as such)  (by the way, the kiddo wants a little square Spindlewood spindle of his very own.  Oh dear)


Carry on.


Filed under Oakland, Reading, Spinning, Uncategorized

Sometimes I make my own yarn

Not often, but I’m trying to work with my spindle more consistently.  A couple weeks ago, I spun and plied and washed this pretty little skein.  The back of the dining room chair makes a great skein winder, except for a little problem of the top being the widest point.

2009 32yd jul 10

And I’ve got some more going. I’m working for consistency, not tiny-ness, and getting the hang of drafting.  And figuring it out ergonomically, so I’m not hurting myself anymore.  (damned week at the computer)

2009 single mostly fold  close july

Just need to keep on going! It’s fun being a rank beginner. I have no expectations for a particular level of ‘good.’ 

Wool roving, from Mom, a bit of our personal history – that there roving is more than 20 years old.   gulp!


Filed under Spinning

The spindle came out

I went to Color: A Fiber Festival the other weekend and took a beginning spindle class. It was just what I wanted to get me going with the spindle. I like learning out of books, but when I’m just starting something new and a handcraft, it’s much better for me to watch, then try with feedback from the teacher.

We had bits of Finn (white) and Blue-Faced Leicester (natural brown) top to work with in class. Once I got home and finished off the bit of top, I managed Andean plying out of Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.

BFL Finn yarn drying p Color Fiber Festival
Washed and hanging to dry from the grapevine.

bfl finn swatch
One half knit into a swatch. The skein was short enough to pull across the room and have the kid cut it in half. I spent the drive to la playa fria swatching. I think I’ll make myself mitts with the bits and pieces of handspun. Knit back and forth in garter, with slipped stitch detail, striping the bits and pieces.

wool white oatmeal lemon
From Mom’s wool roving – white with a touch of grey, total two balls like this one. (I’ve got lots more roving just like it.) My husband watched me plying. I think the spinning spindle fascinated him in the hypnotizing sense, because he helped. Carried the spindle across the room for me. The kid was not happy, wanting to be the one to do it. Oh, the jealousies.


Filed under Spinning