Right round, baby, right round

The news has sucked lately.

No, that’s putting it nicely. Let’s try again:

The news has been a non-stop panic machine, creating an endless stream of adrenaline-pumping, hysteria-producing, cortisol-spiking mania that causes you to have angina every time a push notification shows up on your lock screen.

Today, we in Los Angeles might be getting nuked by North Korea. (It’s been nice knowing you.)

So what have I been doing to avoid losing my mind? I’ve been making good use of my new spinning wheel.

Spinning is cheaper than therapy, easier than meditating, and allows you to watch silly TV comedies like Angie Tribeca while still feeling productive. So here’s what I’ve been up to:

First up: this 2-ply Polwarth/Silk blend:

First finished skein off my new spinning wheel! I'm still working on my drafting skills, but I'm really happy with how this plied up. (Spun from a 85% polwarth, 15% tussah silk roving braid from Sweet Georgia Yarns.)

A post shared by Laura Birek (@iwriteplays) on

I actually knit it up right away. I figured if I keep spinning without knitting, I’ll be in serious SABLE territory. I made a simple triangle scarf with eyelets every 20 rows or so. Here it is blocking:

I’ll try to remember to take photos the next time I wear it. It’s going to be in the 90s for the foreseeable future, though, so don’t hold your breath…

While in Portland over the 4th of July week, I visited Northwest Wools, where I picked up a lot of new fiber, including this alpaca/silk blend:

I did another 2-ply for this fiber. I feel like I didn’t put enough twist in the ply, but I still like how it turned out.

I then uncovered a braid of merino roving I had hand-painted over a year ago, and thought I’d spin that up.

Unfortunately for my knuckles, I had felted the wool a bit during the dyeing process, so it was a total pain to spin. I did a fractal spin (or my approximation of what a fractal spin is supposed to be). I split the yarn in half and spun that onto one bobbin. Then I took the remaining half and split it in thirds, and put that on a second bobbin. The effect was actually pretty cool — I’m excited to knit it into something.

I also made little mini-skeins from the leftover singles I had left on my bobbins after plying. I think they’re adorable. I also really love how the deep purple from my merino hand-paint mixes with the oranges from the leftover polwarth/silk blend. I’ll have to keep that color combination in mind for the future.

So that’s what I’ve been up to! In typical Laura style, all this spinning took place during Tour de Fleece, but of course I didn’t have my act together to be part of a team or post during the event. C’est la vie I guess!

How are you all coping with the current state of the world? Do fiber arts (and alcohol, not mentioned above) play into your coping mechanisms as well?

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