My newest fiber craft

January 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm (Uncategorized)

I have caught the “spinning bug.”

It started when I read A Curse Dark as Gold for my YA novel class last term. I loved reading about spinning whenever it appeared in the book–the mechanics simply brought the craft to life! I had to give it a try.

Problem: I don’t own a spindle and I don’t know how much one would cost.

I’m a crafty person, so I decided to make my own. I did some browsing and found instructions here, but still waffled. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy the pieces yet. But when my friends took me to Hobby Lobby and I wandered off unsupervised, I gravitated to the wood I needed.

Problem 2: I have no roving. This is compounded by
Problem 3: I have no money and no job.

But… but… I have the spinning bug! I couldn’t resist. I decided to read up on some tutorials about plying.

That way, I could get the feel for my spindles and practice until I could afford roving. I started off with some partial skeins of KP Gloss Lace.

Of course, I needed the spindle first. I sanded down a dowel and screwed in the hook to make a very basic, low-whorl drop spindle.

I played with my drop spindle for an evening and got 9 yards of cabled blue-green yarn, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I thought it’d be better if I tried a high-whorl spindle instead.

And so I used more sandpaper and more wood and created said high-whorl spindle. I wanted to mix it up, so I used yellow laceweight.

This presented a number of problems. First, it was a little wobbly; second, I couldn’t tell if I was plying too tightly or not. Part of that is because I’m so new to spinning, but plying the same color of yarn together didn’t help! I plied 16.5 yards together.

At this same time, a copy of Respect the Spindle finally made it to the library. As I read it, I saw that I hadn’t made a true top-whorl spindle. I wanted to do it right, so I shoved the whorl higher and tried again. I wanted to check my plies, so I used blue and green again. However, the spindle wobbled so much that I got sick of it after 2 yards.

I went back to my first setup–blue and green on the drop spindle–and plied another 16 yards. In hindsight, I liked the high-whorl spindle best because it doesn’t wobble like the top and it’s much easier to get the yarn off of than the bottom.

I haven’t been cured of the spinning bug yet, but now I have a good way to handle it!

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>Plot not working? Try writing backwards!

January 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm (Uncategorized)

>At critique group last week, we had a discussion about plotting. I like to think I have a very unique process, so I started expounding about it and its awesomeness.

At this point, Shallee stopped me. “Post about it for my blogfest!” she said.

And so I am.

My stories always start with an idea. For example, in my fiction class this semester, I want to explore the science behind astrology. I let the idea steep for a few days, and in the meantime, I go recruiting for characters.

Within a week, I’m ready to get started. I write the first chapter. Or two. Maybe three if I’m still not confident in my plot. And then I go backwards: I skip to the end. By this point, I usually have an idea how I want the story to end. Themes, characters, and settings are all accounted for; having their resolution already written helps me feel less overwhelmed by my projects.

From that point, I continue backwards, filling in scenes one by one until I’ve reached my original starting point. Most of my writing here is dialogue. This may sound funny, since my characters aren’t solid at this point, but it helps me get a feel for their voices. (This is when I let them debate who will be my protagonist.) Only after I revise the story from beginning to end–completing a third draft–do I have a solid story.

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