…I can get pretty much any weight of yarn on my electric spinner, though I mostly go for laceweight. The two keys are the speed at which the spinner turns and the tightness of the brake band. The slower it turns, the easier it is to spin thick yarns. The tighter the brake band, the faster it draws in and the easier it is to spin a thick yarn “long draw”. (Don’t overdo it–this is just cranking the tension a little bit, not a lot.)
I help my electric spinner go slower by inserting a wedge under the foot pedal (mine has a little lever that comes up out of the pedal, so this is easy)–I dont’ know if your Babe has a speed control, but if it does, turn it down so it goes slower. If it doesn’t, put a wedge on either side of the foot control to slow it down (you may have to turn the foot control 90 degrees to manage this). See if that works!
I have finished my round of silk dye samples (a relief–they take a LONG time because silk doesn’t exhaust readily, so each batch needs to be left in the dyebath for hours) and am considering another round of dye samples, this time with wool yarn. Not sure about it, though–I have a number of other projects on tap at the moment and am not sure I can squeeze another in. (Among other things, I’m studying for the PMP exam, the project management professional certification exam, and that is taking a LOT of my time.)
But I’ve gotten into weaving! Last week, after staring gloomily at the PMP textbook for awhile (this thing is the best sleep-inducer I know), I decided I’d had it with PMP and I’d had it with knitting, and hauled my little tapestry loom out of the closet. I’ve been playing with it for the last week or so, and have been having a great deal of fun experimenting with warp and weft. I figure that since I have well over 200 small skeins of yarn in every color of the rainbow (left over from my dye experiments), tapestry weaving sounds like an excellent idea. I have a book on order that should come in sometime in the next few days. Meanwhile, I’m just futzing around.
I’m also borrowing an eight-harness table loom from a friend! This should be exciting…I had a four-harness floor loom for awhile, but sold it when I moved. I’d love to try one–there are a lot of things I can’t do with this little tapestry loom, and it’s getting a little frustrating.
I did consider building my own table loom, and even went so far as to mock one up with bamboo skewers and duct tape. (Never underestimate the power of bamboo skewers and cardboard; it’s the fastest way to test a design that I know.) However, I couldn’t figure out how to make it a folding loom, and I don’t really have the house-room for one that doesn’t collapse, so I’m passing on the idea for now. My woodworking skills aren’t that good, so I’d just as soon not put them to the test. I *am* seriously considering building a loom by lashing bamboo pieces together, though. It won’t be foldable but it should disassemble easily. I just don’t know if I can get the stability I’d need–the Akha solve this problem by burying the stakes in the ground, which I can’t quite manage.
Other than that it’s just been knitting, knitting, and more knitting–I’m working on two shawls (one my design, one a commercial pattern) and have been using them to stay awake while studying for the PMP. They’re coming along nicely. The only frustration is that the knitting needles aren’t pointy enough–I’m seriously considering using sandpaper to sand down the metal needles. They’re not INOX so I don’t *think* I need to worry seriously about the finish…but I’m buying a spare pair just in case. (They’re only $6, after all.)