Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Favorite Men. Serious!

Owen Poad
Otto Strauch
Pat Green
Nathan Lee
Tracy Eichheim, the ultimate Majacraft dealer

And now, add to that list Kevin Hansen, creator of the miniSpinner.

Weight: 4 lbs
Woolee Winder Bobbin: 9 (!) oz capacity
Speed Range: 0-1600 rpm; Z and S twists capable
Power Supply: 100-240 VAC universal 12 volts with auto adapter

Didn't believe in electric spinning until...Kevin's miniSpinner came along. Now I can spin artyarns effortlessly and as fast as Jacey Boggs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wool Spinning Scene in Queenstown

The only handspun/handdyed yarn shop in Queenstown is owned by a Japanese woman named Chiyo. Her shop is called Little Wool Shed.

Chiyo's handspun/handdyed/handknit hat with felted flower pin.

Chiyo's felted flower pin and matching knitted jumbo cowl.

Scarf knitted by Chiyo with her fingers.

Do we look dorky enough? Hats from the Queenstown Saturday Creative Arts and Craft Market.

That's Biddy with Lorna who's wearing a beret from Biddy's Knitwear. Biddy raises Perendale sheep in her farm in Gore and accepts homestays.

Handdyed boucle yarn by Touch Yarns.

Made by High Country Knitwear in Timaru using Colinette yarns and patterns. Sold in boutiques around Queenstown.

Queenstown: Images from a Favorite Town

Favorite restaurant: Amisfield Winery Bistro

Favorite dish: crackling pork belly

Favorite chocolate cake: dark and gluten-free

Favorite burger place: Fergburger

Favorite hangout: Vudu Cafe

Favorite dessert: pavlova

Favorite sheep: the merino

Favorite travel clothing: St. James (san jams) sailor shirts. These are nine years old and still going strong.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Visit with the Poads of Majacraft in Tauranga, NZ

The very day that Lexi was arriving at LAX from her Majacraft spinning workshop near Wellington, we were departing from LAX on the way to New Zealand to, among other things, catch up with the Poads, owners of Majacraft. My intention was to join Lexi's class, but flying on Frequent Flyer Miles, one can't dictate the dates of the one's flight.

At any rate, Majacraft's marketing director, Andy (Poad), was, of course, drumming up interest on the new Majacraft wheel -- still unnamed -- on Majacraft's Ravelry forum. I was sucked into the "treasure hunt" as I was about to place an order for a custom-made Suzie, but the new wheel announcement made me put that order on hold. For all the tortuous waiting, I'd have to say it was all worth it!

I got to try the new wheel and it’s fabulous! I like all the Majacraft wheels because with them you are in control. The new wheel is different. It’s very easy to spin, but you feel it’s you and the wheel working together to create the yarn. I would liken it to taking two to tango or eating pasta that’s cooked al dente -- there’s chew. There’s a good deal of give and take and you feel some pleasant pull from the wheel as you spin. Really, really nice.

BTW, while the new wheel was created for artyarns, what I spun was more like sock yarn, so the wheel is truly versatile.

Andy also showed other things in development, but I’ll let Andy make the revelations in the months to come. No more pre-empting. Promise!

After spending the entire afternoon in the workshop and office hanging out with the Poads and Pat Old who just published her book, In A Spin (available from Majacraft dealers), we were graciously treated to delightful dinner in Glynis and Owen’s garden along with Rob and his daughter, Hope. It was very pleasant. Owen smoked mussels, and deboned and smoked trout that he caught. It was complemented by a bottle of red wine from Trinity Hill. (Owen did showed off the bottle Lexi brought them from her family's Boeger Winery in Placerville, CA.)

More photos here.