Archive for September, 2010

Spinning Yarn: Chill Results #28

Friday, September 24th, 2010

“Marion, since you will be going to Antarctica later this year, you should take the opportunity now while it is winter, and go up to the snow. Have a practice. Check out the new clothes and the old blue coat…..”

 This was an excellent suggestion! I am so glad that I went! I did learn quite a bit from this practice session, not the least of which was – wood shrinks in the cold. It took a few minutes to understand what had happened to “junior” — that he could not move the driveband. (everything was working perfectly inside the hotel) but once I had figured that out, and the adjustments made, there was no further problem and Junior spun exceptionally well in adverse conditions.  He ins no longer “Junior”, but “Hero” (short for “Hero of the Hour”)

 Rosalinda, my girlfriend, said that she prayed for my success and for Antarctic conditions. Well, I certainly had both! Not only did I produce adequate skeins, but was blessed with the best snow for 20 years! God grants us the desires of our hearts  ….

Spinning Yarn: Back to Beginners #27

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

 The yarn I produced, the Hotham Skeins, is quite chunky as a result of me wearing the gloves while spinning. Most people like chunky handspun; that is its charm. However, I felt like I was back at the beginning of my career, doing chunky.

To assuage my “beginner” feelings, I decided to ply colours together. As a result I have a skein of brown crossbred with white llama, a skein of grey crossbred with white llama and a skein of only white wooltop. (see picture on the website). I also have an empty bag of fibre. Yay.

In taking 2 hours to fill a bobbin, and then having to come in to thaw out, I realized that quanitity could be an issue, if the person successfully bidding for the skein wants to make a garment. I will have to spin quickly, and chunky, with gloves if I am to accomplish a reasonable quantity.

Spinning Yarn: Hotham #26

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

I did not visit the Customer Service lady at Hotham. She did not return my calls telling her of my arrival. Approaching the Hotham Resort Management instead, they were very supportive of my project, setting up an area for me to spin, keeping track of me and my progress and telling everyone to visit me. Eliza was particularly enthusiastic, taking a few pictures for the Hotham Resort Website, and making a display in the Office.

 I sat outside in the snow, spinning, for 90 minutes the first time, and managed to 2/3 fill a bobbin! I was so chuffed! (happy).  Eliza, Te Resort Manager Marketing lady,  had a good look at the bobbin and was quite surprised. The second session was a full two hours. (see picture on the website)

 The cold does not matter so much. It is the wind that makes the difference. Sunshine is fine, and cloudy is fine, even snowing is fine, but if it is windy, you cannot stay out in it for very long at all; shelter is a must!

Spinning Yarn: Carefully Snow #25

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

   What to do first? Well, how about walking in snow? Try that. OK. Whoa! Ah yes, watch out for the wind blowing your hood down around your ears. Be sure to lift each foot and be sure to put it down again properly. Good. Keep going….Right.

 The snow plough has been through so try climbing over the roadside edge. Careful. The lumps are uneven. Ok. Gee, the leaves on those gum trees are covered in ice – doesn’t that look neat? Where is the camera? Oh yes, in my inside pocket. Ok. Turn out of the wind, glove off, retrieve camera, set the screen, press shutter, DRATS, turn on camera, re-focus, press shutter, click, another shot just to be sure, Click, replace camera, do up jacket, replace glove, put hand with  glove in pocket to thaw out, hood up, walk on. Whew! Now, where am I going?

 I remember this!

Spinning Yarn: Arriving at the Snowfields #24

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The Bus arrived at my Harrietville hotel at 715am. I was waiting! I was excited! I was actually doing this! Junior sat under the bus, well behaved the whole hour trip.

 We arrived at the Hotham terminal to a chorus of blowing wind and swirling snow. I remember thinking “I remember this!”: cold, wind, snow, being bundled up like the Michelin Man….The smell of fresh snow on trees and on woolly clothing…..ahhhhh – breathe it in…….

Alighting from the bus, I gathered my equipment – day bag in one hand Junior in the other, wearing my backpack over my BLUE COAT (see previous post). My gloves were in the bottom of my backpack so my fingers were pretty cold (and blue) when I achieved the Snowbird hotel.

 I say ‘achieved’ because I mean achieved. I trudged, waddled, slipped and jolted my way from the bus stop, through 2 feet of snow in blowing wind, struggling to carry my balanced load in frozen fingers through the front double doors of the hotel, while being bowled over by a group of Grade 11 and 12 teenagers from a Melbourne school.

 The Hotel was surprised to see me so early (Check in is 2pm) but were able to prepare my room in good time, allowing me and freeing me to have my reconnaissance of the area unencumbered by wheel and bags.

Spinning Yarn; Driving up to the Snow #23

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I set out to the Australian snow on Monday 23rd August. It is a reasonably long drive from Melbourne to Hotham – about 4 hours – and because I went by myself, I was determined to arrive safe and rested, so stopped several times along the way. Yea, and Benalla now know about my adventure, and Myrtleford filled my petrol tank. Then I arrived in Harrietville to a lovely dinner and a time of preparing my wheel.

 What do I pack for a couple of days spinning in the snow? This was the very first thing to rehearse. Thinking about when I do other demonstrations, I take a range of equipment and spares, though this time, I will be going up the mountain on the bus, so I must be able to carry comfortably any gear that I will be taking. I left the chair and the big banner sign in the car with my basket of tools and the spare wheel. I could borrow a chair, talk  to  people instead of them reading the sign and carry a small selection of spares in my day bag.

I chose “Junior” for this excursion. He is a Sheridan wheel, the Student model, and though I have always regarded him as ugly, he certainly is functional and loyal. He is also the least bulky of all my 32 wheels. Being relatively light weight, he balanced nicely the weight of my day bag, stood upright under the bus all the way up the mountain and behaved admirably in the harshest conditions he has ever seen!

 Junior and I have a new understanding!