Today was exhausting but liberating. I moved four carloads of stuff from our current house to the new one, starting around 6am. I disassembled, moved, and reassembled a six-foot utility shelf. And I moved Sophie-the-loom, breaking her down into her component parts, packing her carefully into the car, and reassembling her in the garage (her new home). The AVL warping wheel and loom bench went with her, of course. And…drum roll please…I moved the very first item into my new fiber arts studio! (My dress form – photo in my previous post.)
The flooring installers finished today. The house looks glorious – light, airy, and clean. And, since all the contractor work is done, I can now start moving delicate and/or awkward items to the new place. I am sternly telling myself not to move the entire fiber arts studio over immediately – I need to have some stuff here if I am to do any fiber arts work at all between now and moving day, but I am just dying to see how the new studio will work out. We’ve also hired professional movers, so it seems rather silly to schlep all my stuff myself, one carload at a time, when three burly guys and a twenty-six foot truck are eminently more suited for the job. But I’ve never been good at waiting and I really want to be moved in now, dammit! so I can get on with my fiber art instead of being stuck in eternal we’re-moving limbo.
So what’s a girl to do if she can’t pack the studio and can’t work on anything else, either?
Well, I’m experimenting with swifts. As far as I can tell there are basically five variations for yarn-holding devices:
- the umbrella swift
- the wheel-style swift, e.g. the Goko swift
- the squirrel cage swift
- the straight-armed swift (which looks like a skeiner except with adjustable arms to accommodate different skein sizes)
- the very bored spouse (which holds the skein between two outspread arms until it gets tired of this and wanders off to have a beer)
I already own two umbrella swifts, one wheel-style swift (the Goko), and have ordered a squirrel cage swift. I’ve tried using my Crazy Monkey electric skein winder as a straight-armed swift (it’s too heavy to really work well). And for some reason, I just haven’t been able to get the yarn onto the spousal swift – it keeps muttering something about having better things to do than stand around holding yarn all day.
Anyway, the Lacis umbrella swift was working well enough for small skeins, but I got curious about swifts. So I have a lightweight squirrel-cage swift on its way. What’s a squirrel cage swift? Imagine two hamster wheels mounted on a stand, some distance apart, with the skein stretched around the hamster wheels. As the yarn reels off, the skein rotates around the hamster wheels, keeping the skein taut while allowing the yarn to reel off evenly. (Am I the only one visualizing some very dizzy hamsters?)
Meanwhile, Deb McClintock was nice enough to send me this photo of a Japanese-style swift, sold by Habu Textiles:
Now this is ingenious. It’s a wheel-style swift, similar in concept to the Goko swift sold by Schacht, but much more adjustable, simpler, and a lot cheaper to make. It’s basically two sets of wooden spokes stuck into a hub, and connected with loop of strings, which can be moved up and down the spokes to accommodate larger or smaller skeins. The skein goes around the strings, and friction holds the whole arrangement in place. It’s very lightweight, too, a huge advantage when dealing with fine threads.
So of course I’m going to try building one. How do you build one when your tools are all packed?
Time, my friends, to go to the toy box. Literally. I’ve ordered some wooden Tinkertoys. (Fiddlestix brand, actually, but essentially the same item.) These, if you didn’t grow up with them, are little wheels with holes drilled through the center and around the edges. One connects the wheels with tight-fitting rods to create all sorts of wonderful little structures, and Tinkertoys were among the great joys of my childhood. As far as I can tell, they should work perfectly.
At any rate, I’ve ordered a batch of Tinkertoys, and they should be here on Wednesday. I’m hoping to make the swift on Wednesday night, and will post photos if and when I succeed.