September Glow


Well, El Matchador has been purring like a kitten and helped me produce another little skein of delicious yarn.



  • Fiber: 90% Cotswold / 10% Silk (the white bits)
  • From: Nistock Farms.
  • Color: September Glow: Shades of gingerbread cookies with orange and raspberry sorbet.
  • WPI: About 20. It's a little inconsistent, leaning mostly a bit lighter, though some areas are a little thicker. The silk also tends to form nubs.
  • Length: Over 225 yards.
  • Spun on: Schacht Matchless wheel (El Matchador to you)
  • Plies: 2, plied off of two bobbins until one ran out, then switched to Andean plying to avoid waste.
  • Impressions: I just love spinning this fiber. The batts are well prepared with only the smallest amounts of vegetable matter. The fiber is not too slippery, and has a lovely sheen. It's not really next to the skin soft, but it's not all that rough either. The colors are divine. I'm looking forward to spinning up more.


For the first time, I have washed but not weighted my yarn. This skein did get a rather good beating against the pole, but otherwise, she is unmanipulated. Apparently, there are two rather strong camps on this topic. Some people are weighers and some are not. I imagine there are good reasons for both. If I had to guess as to why you shouldn't weigh, it would be that weighing might give a false sense of balance that would then be undone the next wash the yarn (probably in knit or crochet form) went through. But that's just a guess. What do you all have to say? Anyway, after soaking in some warm water and Eucalan, and a couple thwacks before it dries, the yarn seems pretty darn balanced.


Recently June posted about Spinning Spider Jenny. If you haven't found her, and you are a spinner, go find her now. She's a wealth of information. Jenny happened to post about her method of 2-plying. Alas, I didn't read it until mere hours after I had completed my yarn, but next time I'm definitely going to try this method. It seems rather like common sense but it's sheer brilliance to me.

In entirely unrelated news, we found another great hiking site for the girls, and this is only 5 minutes from home!


There's a lovely place called MacLeay Park (I like to think it's a typo and should actually end in an "n" instead of "y.") in Portland that feels like its 100 miles from the closest city.


It was a gorgeous day, though perhaps a bit hotter than we are all used to. Thank goodness we've evolved so as not to be covered in hair. How do dogs do it? It's funny, though, both girls showed some unexpected personality changes that day.

Thea, our normally fearless (seriously) hero, decided that wooden bridges were the scariest thing EVER.
With a little coaxing and encouragement, she got a bit better, a good thing, because we crossed a good many of them, but she definitely wasn't loving them. Each time we'd reach one, she'd pull on the emergency break, I'd run across the bridge and call her and she'd muster up her courage and then bolt across. Silly monkey.

And Ms. Panda, our normally indifferent and withdrawn wallflower, suddenly decided she needed to keep an eye on Thea and defend her against dominant (not aggressive, dominant) dogs.
She was fine with this little ball of happiness, but Panda tried to get a little b*tchy with some other bigger dogs. That's definitely something we're going to have to work on. We definitely don't want a dog that's going to be picking fights. That's no fun.

But don't let those two issues lead you to believe we didn't have a great time. It was gorgeous. You can see all of the photos from the hike here.


You've got to watch out for those wooden bridges!! And I agree about Spinning Spider Jenny. Her blog, and Abby's, are two of my favorites for spinning tips and such.

Jenny's method of plying is pretty much what I do. Since I don't have a tensioned lazy kate, I hold the hand away from the wheel down closer to the bobbins, so I have some room to work if my bobbins freewheel a little too much.

Re wooden bridges: when I was growing up, we had a German Shepherd named Smokey. We were walking over by a local college, and at one point, we needed to cross a wooden walkway between buildings. Smokey reacted just like Thea! She'd crouch down and refuse to move and shake a little.

I just happy-talked her and cheered her along till she got enough nerve to cross, then praised her lavishly on the other side. Just be careful about petting and trying to soothe a dog acting frightened -- sometimes that just reinforces that behavior.


Her plying-tutorial on June 7th alone is worth the effort of clicking over there. I've been gushing about it on my blog for a while now (grin).

What awesome handspun! Sounds like a great hike! :)

Your new hiking spot looks great! We found a new place to go, too - up in the San Gabriels very close to the place where you and I got lost! It's amazing, but unfortunately we did not pack a camera. You go way down into a valley where there are tons of trees and hike along a large stream with pools and waterfalls, then up to an amazing vista, then back to the stream again. You wouldn't believe it was there. We'll have to go next time you are in town.

I'm a thwacker, but not a weighter, for exactly the reason you mentioned. I'm not sure any of it matters a whit, but by now its habit. Your skein is lovely.

Spinning Spider Jenny looks to be a wealth of information. I'm a brand new beginner spinner and I'm grateful for the referral. MacLeay park looks beautiful. There are so many beautiful places in the Portland area, I think you could spend a life time finding them all. I lived there once and hope to move back eventually. In the meantime, I am enjoying your pictures of your adventures.

I've never tried Cotswold. I suddenly feel this overwhelming urge to seek it out. Congrats on another lovely skein!

My Venti, we've learned, is afraid of heights. Mostly just having an edge like a deck but it makes for interesting stuff when we're in a hotel with a balcony out the front door. Perhaps your Thea is having similar issues.

I'm not a very advanced knitter, and your skilled knitting is generally far above my head. That said, I've been reading your blog for well over a year now because of your dog pictures. ;-Þ

Panda was cute enough, and now with Thea thrown into the mix, it's so very entertaining to see your sweet pooches. The shot of Thea's reluctance to step onto the wooden bridge was a hoot! ;-)

I love the earthiness of that skien. Thank you for including your source for the fiber. I am looking to try out new vendors, and not get into the habit of sticking with the same one over and over.

I'll have you know that I starting knitting with some of my own handspun last night. There is no other way to describe it than: I am in love.

It's bad that Panda's picking fights, but it's sweet that she's looking out for her little sister!

Wow... yarn looks unreal ! Must post knitted project ! Love the butt picture of Thea - must be powered by ABS brakes *grin*

the yarn is beautiful! it makes me want to learn to spin. ah, someday. also, the dogs are so adorable and seem to have such distinct personalities. i'll vicariously enjoy them until i can get a pup of my own, le sigh.

I don't like to weight my handspun because I'm afraid it will stretch the yarn. Then, after being knit into a garment and washed, it might shrink?

I must have some kind of a sixth sense for achieving a balanced yarn though. I throw all logical tests, formulas and such out the window and go by instinct, and almost always when the skein comes out of its post spinning bath it is perfectly balanced.

I don't like to weight my handspun because I'm afraid it will stretch the yarn. Then, after being knit into a garment and washed, it might shrink?

I must have some kind of a sixth sense for achieving a balanced yarn though. I throw all logical tests, formulas and such out the window and go by instinct, and almost always when the skein comes out of its post spinning bath it is perfectly balanced.

Hi Marnie,
Thanks for the great plug in your post. LOTS of folks are finding my blog due to your kindness in recommending my plying post. Much appreciated!!
Cheers, Jenny

You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on July 2, 2007 6:48 AM.

No more pencils, no more books was the previous entry in this blog.

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