Monday, December 1, 2008

Buried Treasures

What a great week! We had some time away from reality, good food, family and time to enjoy both. We ate too much, talked too long and before we knew it, it was time to come back home, back to reality! That really sucks you know? I have decided though, if I ever leave Battle Mountain, southern AZ is a likely place to migrate to. I already miss the mild weather of Oracle which sits on the slopes of the Catalina mountain range (Mt. Lemon) to the north of Tucson.

There is a fiber store, a buried treasure if you will, nestled in middle of the city of Tucson. Well, maybe not dead center, but close enough. Unique Designs is a great name for the place; she not only designs unique yarns and knitting/crochet patterns, but the whole set up is unique! Unique Designs is a ranch with a fiber store attached. I love the set up and Kathy is really easy to talk to. She is proud of her fiber business and the quality of the product she sells shows it. Her spinning is way off of what I would do, she is nutty and creative in her production of yarns and it sells! I had a really great time looking at all her fiber animals, the bulk of which were angora goats, along with shetlands, a few rambos, some llamas and two or three alpacas. Oh, can't forget the angora bunnies in the wool shop; as you walk up to the shop, there is a sign on the door that states; 'Please close the door, the rabbits are out'. Very down to earth and a great place to pass a few hours. I bought lots of mohair (more than I want to admit to really) and learned a couple of techniques that I plan on practicing.

This boucle yarn is an accident, one that I plan on repeating! I was actually trying to do a coil, hoping I will get it right soon and be able to show you what it is supposed to look like. In the mean time, I will enjoy the misadventures of learning :)

All pictured here is mohair, from kid to yearling and a bit beyond, all of it is nice to work with and really fun to spin.

Natural colors here!
I just finished this tonight. It is kid mohair spun from fluffed locks, some call it tail spinning, others lock spinning. I am going to try another method that is also called tail spinning, where the tails of each lock actually hang out of the thread (or yarn) by 2 or 3 inches! (this skein is for sale, 1.7 oz, 148 yds, $10)

I also went to Grandma's Spinning Wheel, which is REALLY down town Tucson! She has a great shop with lots of things like silk, merino, bamboo, and so on and has fair prices. She sells beading supplies and charms. She also has spinning wheels! I had intended to ask when I went in if she was familiar with the SpinOlution Mach 1, but didn't have to, it was the first thing I saw as I walked into the shop! Guess what I did next! Go on! Guess!
Wow! What a wheel! Yeah OK, I tried it. I woulda liked to see her try and stop me LOL
I really enjoyed spinning on this wheel. It is a big heavy thing that doesn't walk away when you treadle but is still fairly portable at 22 lbs with wheels and a strap for a handle. I tend to spin at an angle from my Joy, so it is a bit of a challenge to spin sitting directly in front of the wheel, but here there is no choice really, not the way the 'legs' come out on either side. That doesn't really deter me though, I don't know that I would buy one, but you never know what I might do with the next $500 I have lying around doing nothing!
I think I picked the two best fiber stores in Tucson to visit, both have their flair and are different from one another. I will definitely go back to both.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving get-away!

Mim said...

Cool, cool, cool! Good to have you back and the fiber is awesome!

Dori Ann said...

Your spinning is beautiful! Glad you were able to get away, sometimes that is just the best thing to be around family and feel loved :))
You did upset me a bit though, we lived in Tucson for 1 1/2 years before we moved out here to be with Jeffery and I have never heard of either of the places you mentioned!! Boy was my husband lucky :))
Glad you had a chance to spin on the Mach 1, it is a nice wheel isn't it? I look forward to seeing more of your yarns!

Sharon said...

What a wonderful trip you had and what a wonderful haul you made!! Your spinning is perfection. Yes please, do share that technique.