Today was exhausting but liberating. Â I moved four carloads of stuff from our current house to the new one, starting around 6am. Â I disassembled, moved, and reassembled a six-foot utility shelf. Â 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). Â The AVL warping wheel and loom bench went with her, of course. Â And…drum roll please…I moved the very first item into my new fiber arts studio! Â (My dress form – photo in my previous post.)
The flooring installers finished today. Â The house looks glorious – light, airy, and clean. Â And, since all the contractor work is done, I can now start moving delicate and/or awkward items to the new place. Â 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 dyingÂ to see how the new studio will work out. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â I’ve tried using my Crazy Monkey electric skein winder as a straight-armed swift (it’s too heavy to really work well). Â 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. Â So I have a lightweight squirrel-cage swift on its way. Â What’s a squirrel cage swift? Â Imagine two hamster wheels mounted on a stand, some distance apart, with the skein stretched around the hamster wheels. Â As the yarn reels off, the skein rotates around the hamster wheels, keeping the skein taut while allowing the yarn to reel off evenly. Â (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. Â It’s a wheel-style swift, similar in concept to the Goko swift sold by Schacht, but much more adjustable, simpler, Â and a lot cheaper to make. Â 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. Â The skein goes around the strings, and friction holds the whole arrangement in place. Â It’s very lightweight, too, a huge advantage when dealing with fine threads.
So of course I’m going to try building one. Â How do you build one when your tools are all packed?
Time, my friends, to go to the toy box. Â Literally. Â I’ve ordered some wooden Tinkertoys. Â (Fiddlestix brand, actually, but essentially the same item.) Â These, if you didn’t grow up with them, are little wheels with holes drilled through the center and around the edges. Â 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. Â 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. Â I’m hoping to make the swift on Wednesday night, and will post photos if and when I succeed.