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A Very Bright Baby Blankie!

Samantha's Blankie/1060 metres

It’s a pattern from Wooly Thouhts, available on Ravelry. Best of all, it’s based on math and really easy to improvise as you go, once you get the hang of it :)

I used some of the shetland lamb, dyed it in a multitude of colours. I use the Dharma Trading Co. acid dyes and they are excellent! I blended the dyed locks on hand cards and added a pinch of targhee cross to each rolag – each rolag was split in half so when spun, the plies pretty much lined up and created the blending of one colour to another. In total, 1060 metres of handspun two ply went into this blanket.

handspun from handdyed shetland lambswool

A Fantastic New Craft – My Freeform Crocheted Carpet Project

Freeform Carpet

It all started when I was sorting my wool the other day. I love how a bunch of wool can create a whole chain of thought and inspiration!

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I’ve got tons of textured yarns which I’ve accumulated over the years and lots of basic acrylics that I use for blankets and toys. I had the idea to create an area rug for my son with various textured yarns held double with a strand of the base acrylics (worsted weight) in all the shades of beige that I had in my stash. The flat/untufted areas are base acrylic held with a strand of cone cotton and strand of cone rayon with a golden sparkle to it – each about fingering weight or less. It compliments the sparkle in the main ‘bling bling’ yarn I’ve used for texture. It’s the multicolour found in all the circles – pictures just don’t do it justice.

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I had so much fun with this I’m planning to invest in some rug yarns to try to make a more durable/long lasting rug. This one is tightly crocheted and seems strong but it is just blanket strength acrylic I’ve used so I can’t wait to see what I can create with real rug wool and my tufted texture yarns! It will take away the machine wash option though if I decide to go with wool rug yarn (and I’m leaning to that option – seeing a guy with a factory full of partial cones which he needs to clear out later on today and there are a few different materials to choose from).

We all knew I needed a new hobby, seeing as I have nothing to do lol :)

Oh wow, almost forgot to post this pic…

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It’s my new Polonaise! Yes, finally, I have been blessed with the one wheel I’ve wanted forever-since-I-thought-of-spinning!! A totally excellent early Christmas present :)

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She spins like a dream and is just beautiful. The lady I purchased her from was excellent and her husband was even kind enough to deliver the wheel.

And a very cute grandson pic…he loves to jump!

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The ‘RED’ Has Turned Out Very Well!

I’d love to say ‘good morning’ but it’s afternoon, evening really… so happy day, my friends :)

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I’ve been keeping busy with work and fabulous fiber. I managed to ply the red yarn and it came out to 380 meters of lovely lace or light weight fingering, I’d say. I like my socks on the thin side, comfy and perfect for normal wear in normal shoes. I’ll most likely put it in my shop but perhaps not for long, depending on how long I can resist it…

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I’ve also spent some time working with the beautiful cormo/fdt cross fleece purchased from mmfwool on ebay…

soft! cormo/fdt

It’s taking two washes to get the lanolin out, or mostly out, as the case may be. Really lovely fleece with a variety of greys in it starting with the lightest pearl gray and going to almost black in places! It combs as nicely as I suspected it would, too. Take a peek at this bit of hand pulled roving…

cormo/fdt roving - hand combed

It’s SO very satisfying, turning a raw fleece into clouds of fiber-y goodness.

Have a fantastic night :)

Something Red

Hello!

I barely made it through my day at work, lol – could not wait to get home and get back to the gray fleece again, as I’m quite sure you all understand :)

cormo/fdt wool SOFT

What a beauty it is.

All dry and perfect!

Check out that little washed bit, all separated into locks and dried now…it may well be worth washing this baby slowly because the locks couldn’t have come out more perfect, in my opinion….

I couldn’t help but spin a small sample; it’s virtually irresistible fiber.  I tried spinning from the lock and from hand carded rolags – from the lock wins hands down because the fiber is so fine.  Combing would be perfection, something I have to try and will certainly show once I do :)

cormo/fdt wool SOFT

I’ve been working through some bits of interesting fiber and have spun another skein of laceweight yarn.  This one is “Something Red”, created by blending the lovely white cormo/merino with hand dyed blue/violet silk and a wine red shade of predyed superwash merino.  I blend by sight and handcard my rolags.

superwash merino/cormo x merino/silk

superwash merino/cormo x merino/silk

Pictures coming soon of the actual plied yarn…I’ve got to skein and wash it first and we all know I’m probably lost in the land of grey fleece tonight :)  Have an excellent day!

The Beautiful Birthday Wool And Other Fun Stuff

Good Morning!

Yes, again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted :) It feels like spring – a beautiful beautiful day in Ontario. Time to sort, clean and catch up…

A couple of weeks ago I had another birthday and wanted to treat myself to something special. I decided to make some pretty yarn inspired by amethyst…a little bit of sparkle (silk from india), a little bit of shine and bold bright colour (handdyed longwool) and a fair share of beautiful, bouncy softness (gorgeous handdyed cormo/merino cross recently purchased from mmfwool on ebay – I *highly* recommend it).

In the dye pot – the wools and some wilton’s violet icing colour….

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I blended the fibres with hand cards and, voila!

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The plan is to knit ‘Sabbatical’ by Connie Chang Chinchio…it should be awesome!

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The wool from mmfwool is absolutely wonderful to work with…nice crimp, beautiful feel, lovely length….

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The kids have been enjoying march break!

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I’ve been working on some other wools as well…

black/brown suffolk mix – this is a three ply worsted/dk weight which will eventually become a sweater…
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Finished pictures coming soon for this and some lovely wool/silk mix yarn which I’m just in the middle of finishing up! Have a fantastic day :)

My Newest Wheel – A Little Bit Of A Project

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Isn’t she sweet?

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(her wheel is on backwards in these pictures)

We purchased her from a local lady and she’s missing her treadle, flyer and bobbin. Altogether though, she is in great shape!

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Check out her ‘redness’! I think she was originally a red wheel with a black stripe on the wheel itself, on the inner ‘ring’ of the wheel.

Her hub is solid with only a couple small cracks. Her wheel is slightly seperated but should come back together with a little coaxing, oiling and perhaps the dryness of winter will help if nothing else does. Certainly, my other wheels become quite loose during the winter season.

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The leathers are perfect and the rear leather is amazing….a solid chunk of leather!

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Hoping to spend some quality time with this lady in the upcoming week and build her a new treadle. I’ll need to find her a flyer or see if one of my other wheels has a flyer which would work as a loaner for now :)

Have a fantastic day!

You’ve Got To Love A Friday!

Yes, I know it’s not really friday.  For me, though, it is – so yay!  Not that I don’t enjoy my job because I actually do, it’s just a matter of balance.  My crafts are exactly what balance me :)

And now I get to spin :)  For two whole glorious days :)

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This is some of the very lovely cotton which I bought from an excellent seller I found on Ravelry, from Kentucky.  I bought two pounds to give it a try – it was raw…I love learning new things from the ground up!

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It came like the bit on the left – on the right is some of the cotton pulled off of the seed.

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I held the seed and pulled off the fluff…

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In the end I had a cloud of very clean fluff with just a bit of vm left.

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Just because I’m me (lol, of course!), I had to try spinning it both ways.  I carded some and rolled it off the card from side to side…

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I think both methods work well and don’t have a real preference yet :)  I ended up all distracted and started spinning and knitting for a lovely thin knit alpaca cardigan – 2 ply just-a-little-more-than-lace-weight.

hanspun 2ply alpaca cardigan

I have more yarn to ply…I’m finding the weaving bobbin rack and winder sooooo useful!  Best thing ever.

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It’s an absolute star for storing the singles and plying from too!

Oh! And I must show you the baby boy!  He’s growing like a weed and getting cuter every day!

So cute!!

The spinning wheel is calling…Have a fantastic couple of days folks – I know I will :)

The Little Summer Lace Socks And The Pattern

NOTE: In the pattern, where I say to disregard row 1, I mean row one (the ‘no stitch’ row) of the charted pattern – I made the chart one row too long. The written pattern is correct as written. Sorry for any confusion! :)

Hello :)

I’ve been working on a little personal challenge – my socks are wearing out (they’re handknit so they are all a few years old) and I needed some more.  The socks I like, however, are little.  Ankle socks.  With lace….lots of lace!  Of course, as it usually is when one has something definite in mind – I couldn’t really find a pattern I liked for it’s style and pattern.

So – I decided to design some.  These are the first and I’ve made the pattern available as a pdf;  The Little Summer Lace Socks

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They fit really nicely since the lace gives them stretch.  The edge sits just below the ankle.

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I designed the lace by modifying an existing pattern, “String of Beads” from the book “Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls” by Martha Waterman.

Enjoy, I know I am :)

If you are interested in my handspun yarn for sale, please have a look at my HandSpunYarn site.

 Have a fantastic day!

What A Beautiful Day!

Absolutely LOVING the gardens this year…(and they are loving me right back)
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Our veggies are planted and yesterday we added a strawberry garden too…
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I’ll have to get a picture of it since it’s tucked away in the corner there, by the grape vines :)

The fruit trees are starting to blossom! We have pear and apple, I believe :) New houses are always fun when no-one leaves you a garden map. I feel like an explorer, finding new things every day in the garden.
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I’ve decided to take a chance that the frosts are done for the year and get everything in now – I may be sorry but I’m doubting that. LOL – my way is to plant it and give it to nature – I help nature out by using my fleece soak water as liquid fertilizer and by weeding a little :) If it works out it’s fabulous – if not we’ll plant a few more things in a couple weeks :) I have some pepper plants and some cherry tomatoes that I’ve started in the house which are yet to be placed in the garden. Other than that we’ve got parsnips, carrots, lettuce (leaf and romaine), brocolli, corn, turnip, tomaotes, parsley, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, radishes, peas. I’m thinking of adding a blueberry garden in the centre circle which currently houses some rose bushes. Roses are nice but blueberries are better :) I can always move the roses to a spot along the fence! I’ve also found some rosemarey (my favorite herb) and something that I’m SURE is an herb and smells like lemon – I assume herb because it’s in the garden itself and the prior owners of this house were dedicated gardeners!

After a week of rain, I’m so happy that the sun is out :) I managed to wash most of the mystery fleece that I was working on in the last post…it came out nice and clean!
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There were parts of the fleece I gave up on and left too long in the soak water – they will now be going to live in the back of the yard, near the pine trees, as mulch. Since the fleeces were free and unskirted I feel just fine about that – the hardest part will be lugging it back there :) I still have about half of the total three bags to process and will take a bit more time to skirt these!

I’ve been spinning some icelandic that I washed last year. I thought it was felted but was pleasantly surprised to find it cards up just beautifully and wasn’t really felted at all!
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icelandic singles - not felted after all :)

Today I really should get back to knitting the socks BUT I have a feeling I just may end up spinning on the deck… :)
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Have a fabulous day!

What’s New? Spring Cleaning….Fleece!

Good morning!

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It’s been so long….

Spring is here and I’ve been busy :) Seems spring always makes one want to DO more – and some of us have a different take on spring cleaning! I’ve had several fleeces sitting for a while — some since last summer! I don’t know if I posted about it last fall but I have some absolutely beautiful long staple alpaca…dusty dusty stuff with some burr issues as well. It’s got a staple of about 8 inches as it was a long time between shearings and it is SUPER soft – lovely lovely lovely. Irreplaceable really. Fortunately, lol, I started out with about 14 pounds and there is no end in sight yet.

Unwashed…
alpaca - prewashing

Combed out for debris, but not yet washed…
raw alpaca lock 8 - 9 inches

Final product – rovings are clean and pulled from my combs…
alpaca -- combed

There is also the ‘meat’ sheep wool which I was given last year – in black and white – waiting to get a good soak and a wash. The wool comes out nice but the dirt is incredible – sometimes free looks like an excellent price. There is a large bin full of that waiting for me on the porch.

Oh yes, and a basset hound too…
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Mr. Man

My baby grandson has had his first birthday – still the cutest baby in the world with the BEST smile :)

Happy Birthday Baby

His other grandma has sheep and lambs and has very generously given me three bags of wool (I jokingly asked for ‘three bags full’ lol) – the first is lamb (three fleeces I think), the second is yearling (two to three fleeces) and the third bag is adult (haven’t counted them but I believe it holds two fleeces).

Grandma wool - three bags full

The lamb, unwashed…
Lovely lamb

The yearling, unwashed (or possibly the adult)…MUCH dirtier than the lamb. I plan to soak this in a cold soak for a few days before washing it…
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These fleeces MUST be a mixed breed but are sooooo soft I’m pleasantly surprised! I’ve washed some of the lamb, so far, and it’s coming out lovely. Very short fibers but lovely AND it helped motivate me to learn how to spin short fibers. Happy to say that after two days of utter failure…. I CAN DO IT! :)

The lamb…clean…
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Here’s some blended short fibers that I’ve successfully spun…YAY!…it’s camel, yak, silk and lambswool blended on carders and then spun for a two ply thick and thin yarn….(it truly is soft as butter)
short fiber mix - camel etc.

I’ve sold one of my spinning wheels – the Bordua that I bought last fall – to a really nice Ravelry member who will truly appreciate her. I’ve also begun selling some handspun wool yarn and some spinning fiber (the above mentioned alpaca) through my local kijiji. I definitely spin more than I knit and the wool is piling up!

Some recently spun yarns…
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(Left to right…lambswool, spun from the lock very finely for a four ply fingering weight yarn; alpaca, spun from combed fiber, two ply; grammalamb spun two ply; the soft as butter blended camel 2ply; a skein of laceweight, handdyed silk two ply approx 800 metres.)

Oh – Almost forgot! There IS news on the knitting front….

lamb, silk, alpaca mix for socks - three ply

I’ve spun 900 metres of silk/lambswool/alpaca (in approximate thirds, blended on carders and then spun fine for a three ply lace weight) to make a really beautiful pair of lace knitted stockings. So pretty, so impractical. Of course I had to have them :) I’ve only just begun the knitting but it’s coming along well…

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Lace Stockings - heel detail

As if that isn’t enough, I’ve also been working on some orifice hooks…
orifice hook - loves red

Flowers on a spiral

I am also working on the spinning wheel at the beginning of this post – she needed a few things and a bit of a facelift. I should have pictures to share very soon :) I believe she is a german parlor wheel but who knows for sure…

And just because…I’ve decided it’s time to make a quilt. A really special quilt I’ve had a picture for for ages…known to me and those that know me as “THE ONE”. It begins something like this….

Tammys Quilt

The Acadian Wheel Spins!!

Hello :)

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I am so happy! I’ve been working on finishing the restoration of the Acadian Wheel – I made her new leather flyer bearings, new axle bearings (also from leather, soaked in water and shaped into a ‘u’ shape and allowed to dry in place with the wheel in place as well), tied on a (temporary) string footman and figured out how her alignment works!

So, how she looked when she had her first (undrilled) bearing made, and all fitted…
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I discussed making that bearing here, using shoe leather and an old belt…I ended up dying it with leather dye, after creating a hole for the orifice, using first a drill and then carving it a little bigger…

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I used a bit of belt leather, dyed it with leather dye, for the back bearing – you can kind of see it (undyed) in this picture…

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Since she was flyer and bobbin-less when she came to live with us, my Vezina Slider has graciously offered to share her flyer and bobbin. She very wisely realised that I can only spin on one wheel at a time. I’m going to keep my eyes open for a suitable replacement.

She has no tensioning system so I had to figure out a way around that. I’ve made the back maiden (which holds the flyer with a leather bearing) the mobile maiden so that the flyer can be removed by removing a peg and twisting the maiden. The leather bearing itself I made with longer ‘tails’ than usual to allow the bearing to slip forward, in order to allow me to tie on the drive band and then, by pulling it back towards the maiden, to adjust tension on that band. I then used a square nail (one of the many ‘bits’ from the wheel that are left over) to wedge between the two ‘tails’, from the back of the maiden, in order to hold the leather in place where I put it. I think, in theory, this will allow me to somewhat tension the wheel.

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It turns out, with this flat rim wheel, that the angles are all important. The wheel was made with large pegs that fit into the wheel uprights, beneath the table. These, it turns out!, adjust the angle of the wheel, allowing you to line it up with the flyer properly. I have managed to make her work as a double drive wheel – which I believe she always was, judging by the double groove worn in the wheel rim.

One of the pegs was missing so I used the existing one as a pattern…and a bit of old lath, lol – we’re doing some renovating. I had to wittle the lath down because it was a little too thick at first…

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You can see, in this picture, how the uprights are not in a straight line – they help the wheel align with the flyer…

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The angle looks like this…

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It’s A Turkish Wheel!

Good morning! I should call this ‘tales from the rabbit hole’, me thinks :)

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We acquired this beautiful Turkish ‘Nomad’ Spinning Wheel this past weekend. She’s beautiful and very very old. The couple who sold her to us bought her on the Turkey/Russia border, years ago, on a trip. I haven’t mastered spinning with her – she’s a little bit moody and operates on a bobbin led, no brake system. Apparently spinning on these is similar to charka spinning. Of course, I’ve never charka spun, either!

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I scrubbed her down with methyl hydrate (standard warning – these rags will spontaneously combust if left in a pile and not dried flat and disposed of properly) and a bit of steel wool. I tried the toothbrush (my favorite method) but her dirt went a little deeper. The steel wool is fine and doesn’t mar the wood…

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She cleaned up really nicely…and with a few shims to tighten up some joints (I used stretchy plumbers tape – not sticky – to wrap the maidens so they weren’t loose) and plan to use some wire to stabilize some of the more serious cracks. I feel like the cracks are stable as is but who knows how heat/humidity and use will affect things. I feel like the wire wraps will be a good way to repair her without taking away from her history. I would HATE to have to replace a part completely.

Another view of the dirt – precleaning -
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My baby after her bath…and a little tung oil massage…
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Where To Begin…?

Yes, it has been a while! I’ve been stuck in this place called ‘the rabbit hole’ since I bought that first antique wheel. The rabbit hole looks something like this…

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The wheels are abundant…and beautiful…

I’ve been busy cleaning them and oiling them and doing my best to get them spinning well. Grandma is doing very well with her new spokes! She’s also glowing from her blo treatments…her old self is shining…

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I carved her spokes from a dowel, since I didn’t have a lathe. It began because I was thinking of putting dowels in place, temporarily, until I could get replacements made. Necessity is the mother of invention, for sure! I just gave it a try and figured it out along the way…

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And then she had her clean-up…

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And now she is much more beautiful… :)

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She spins really well! I’ve spun a two ply superwash merino (approx. sock weight), so far…

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Winding those bobbins of singles was enough to convince me I NEEDED to built a bobbin winder. More on that coming up tomorrow. I used a formerly-useless spinning wheel type object to do it!

A Slider CPW!

Another one saved! Hopefully she will soon be in spinning shape again…

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We got her from a lovely lady in Sudbury. The wheel was her great grandmother’s (on her father’s side) and has been in storage for years. The seller’s husband wanted to THROW IT OUT!!!

So, you see, we saved her in the nick of time!

Her wheel is seperated, a little, at one of the joins…
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Pretty sure I’ll be taking out the screws shortly. I just need to figure out if it’s best to take them out first and then oil the wheel or oil and then remove. I’m thinking the first option but waiting for advice from those that know before I begin! She’s been through enough already.

I’ll be replacing the missing spokes, either with old ones (if I can find them) or with new ones – we’ll see :)

Her flyer is beautiful but needs a little work…

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She has the slider tension…
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Her footman is the old hammered type – original, I think…
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She’s going to need a little tlc but I think she’s going to be just perfect, when she’s done :)

But She Wanted To Be A Real Girl!

So, in my spinning wheel collecting adventures, I once bought, in total error, a wheel which was made only for display – NOT FOR SPINNING!

(without her flyer – presurgery)
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(her flyer/shaft and bobbin – the whorl is there somewhere too)
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(another pic)
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I know, ridiculous. Like a dresser who’s drawers don’t open, like a fridge without coolent, like a car that won’t drive. It boggles my mind how much fine wood and how much effort has gone into making these almost-wheels. And, they’re everywhere!

So, I did what I could. Nothing. Just looked at poor pathetic pinnochio in the corner, wondering what in the world she was good for. (my daughter seriously suggested the garden) I call her pinnochio because she really, really, REALLY wanted to be a real girl and spin!

So, in the interest of quieting pinnochio and satisfying my own curiousity and need-to-work-with-wood – I thought ‘Why Not?!’ and here are some pictures of what I’ve done and how she looks now….

I call it “The Pinnochio Project” :)

She came with a rough (really rough, not even rectangularly cut – an actual parralellagram) homemade flyer. The arms looked ok (so ok, I suspect they came from a REAL GIRL) and the centre (where it goes through the shaft) was very rough cut. The flyer shaft was seperated (or had never been attached) and had a huge hunk of sauter? or something where the orifice area was attached the straight shaft of the flyer. The shaft itself was threaded from the end past the whorl, up under the bobbin a ways (and not reverse threaded) so I presume they sautered an orifice shaped object onto a normal bolt or something like that, to create this flyer shaft. The orifice itself was very small, shallow and rough. Just a show orifice, not to really use. Ok, just a thought BUT – IF one is making something ‘for display’ then WHY the h*ll would they not make it display worthy?! As she was, Pinnochio was ashamed of being displayed!

(the tiny orifice)
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(the hideous parallelagram shaped thing)
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The bobbin was rough (as can be, not sure yet if that will really work well, ever) and it appeared that the original ‘display’ idea might have been that the bobbin and whorl were not made seperately but as one piece and someone in Pinnochio’s history had cut through them to make a seperate bobbin and whorl. (why, oh why, mysterious repairer, did you not notice the hideous state of the flyer?)

The wheel itself seems in excellent shape. I hesitate to say it’s well made, considering where it started but to my eyes, it looks good.

(the wheel)
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The table, legs, mother of all – all good. The tensioner? NON EXISTANT. That’s the major idiocy of these wheels, if you ask me. The fact that someone did everything to make a spinning wheel and then bailed on creating a tensioning device. WHY? Something for the stupid files. Pinnochio had a fake medallion thingie to look like a screw tension but nothing that moved or worked.

So – to fix her. I decided to work on the flyer first. I sanded down the parallelagram. I sanded down the hunk of sauter around the orifice join as well. I did most of this with the favorite tool – the wood file. I love files! I also filed off all of the threads on the flyer shaft that I didn’t need and smoothed down the ones under the bobbin without totally removing them. (I didn’t want the flyer shaft to have a ‘small’ spot there). I used a nail file (best sandpaper in the house) to smooth a spot on the flyer arms where the bobbin rubs, to sort of widen the flyer a little at that spot and then used epoxy to attach flyer to shaft, once I had things sitting level and looking as pretty as possible. Pinnochio wants to be pretty….

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The next thing was to figure out the best way to create an easy tensioning device. I decided on a tilt tension system (of course, with my current canadian production wheel obsessionn) using a u-bolt and a carved groove. Really, very simple! I thought about doing a screw tension (which would suit this little wheel better) but decided against the adventure of trying to figure out how to make or where to get screw boxes. I’m a simple girl – I work with simple tools!

I first removed the mother of all – had to take out stupid staples but at least it wasn’t glued or nailed), removed the medallion (with a putty knife I managed to loosen the glue on that piece), cut off the dowel, flush with the table (to keep the table bed kind of solid instead of having a random hole that I would have to fill or plug anyway) and then marked my groove and used my wood carving tools to chisel out a groove for the moa.

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I bought a length of threaded rod at the hardware store and bent it into the U shape. This transpired because there are no suitable sized U bolts (or at least not that day, at that store) and the ones I saw were so clunky and thick that I though the rod was better anyways. I used a similar size table leg to bend the rod around, by hand, and then filed down the threads in the section that will show. Because the rod becomes very weak once all the threads are off (I know this from cutting through it with a file), I left a bit of them there. The roughness actually helps it grip the wood nicely and with a project like this – there is NO WRONG. Two wing nuts and two washers attach underneath the table to secure the U bolt and the MOA.

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And, YAY! She spins. Not well, lol, but she does. I need to super grease her up and open up a little more space for the wheel axle in the uprights, to see what she can really do. The tensioner works perfectly!

And here are her ‘after’ shots…

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I also need to trim the U bolt, underneath the table. Oh yes, and add a flyer hook nearer the beginning of the bobbin (and take one away at the end – I suspect these flyer arms and this bobbin ran away together since they certainly don’t really belong together)

Canadian Production Wheel!

Look what I found!!!!!

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Isn’t she pretty?

I was lucky on the weekend – we found this beauty at a small Ontario flea market, completely unexpected (we stopped for the fries, lol) and an extremely good deal!

She even spins! After a few repairs and adjustments and after creating her a cheap homemade whorl. I used a small toy wooden wheel, from the craft store, and a file (to create the groove for the drive band). The predrilled hole turned out to be the perfect size to thread onto the flyer shaft by hand, creating the threads by the threading itself. :) An excellent (if not long term) fix for less than $1.50!

the wheel;

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there are two grooves in the wheel;

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the hub;

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the flyer/bobbin/mother of all;

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that ‘fancy’ homemade whorl;

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which started like this;

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and ended up like this; (I used the knitting needle and a small rubber piece which fit on the needle to help me keep the groove even. It made things a lot easier!)

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the maidens look like this;

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she has a pretty narrow front;

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leg detail/cast iron treadle;

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Lovely, lovely wheel. I’m so happy to have saved her!!!

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

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It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

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I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

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The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

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I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

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I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

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We’ll have to see how it goes….

Back To My Spinning Wheel…

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I’m hoping to spin enough 2 ply yarn for a light weight sweater :) It feels good to be working with fibre and using my wheel again, after so many months of focusing on other things!

Since finances SUCK this year for us, I’m using mostly stash yarns and fibre in all my projects. I am out of sweater-lots of wool so if I want to knit anything bigger than socks I will have to spin first!

I have lots of bits of superwash merino in different colours and am going to combine them to spin up some yarn for knitting. It means combining colours and is a surprise every time. I made this a couple days ago – it’s a mixture of three or four blue shades, 2 ply, approximately 260 metres. I’m thinking socks for the baby boy, or a little sweater, perhaps :)

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Another project I’m working my way through is combing through the leftovers from last years fleeces. I have about a pillowcase full of jacob wool and another partial case full of rambouillet. Some of it is ‘second combings’ since I HATE throwing out anything and there is a lot of saveable wool left over from combing in the first place.

Happy Spinning!

Do You See Socks?

I see socks.

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I’m planning to ply the darker tone with the brighter tone and I think they’ll be beautiful! Or at least the yarn will be, lol, since I can’t promise to actually KNIT socks in the near future.

I’m working on the skeins of reclaimed ‘unspun’ I dyed – I don’t know that I’ll finish them all though, probably I’ll store some of it for later too. This one was kettle dyed with yellow/orange/copper wiltons icing dye. I’m so happy it didn’t felt a bit – I can still draft the fibre even though this comes from the part of the sweater I had to frog!

The summer is HERE, all the kids are out of school and my second daughter has graduated high school. I was a very proud mama last night! She is heading to college in the fall and I’m so happy for her :)

A Little Shetland Lace Cardigan

Using my handspun!

Remember the shetland fleece I bought earlier this year?
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I washed it, combed it – seperated the down coat from the coarse outer coat, and spun the down into a nice, lofty two ply.

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I wanted a little sweater – it’s really soft and I’m not overly sensitive to wool anyways. The Sylph Cardigan by Robin Melanson (Interweave Knits) was perfect. Or at least close to perfect! I downsized it, one size. I also continued the lace pattern throughout and knitted on the neckband rather than sewing it on later. I reshaped the sleeves a bit when downsizing. I like them well fitted.

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I love how it turned out!

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Combing Wool

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I decided to do this post to try and show ‘how’ I comb my wool with my diy combs. I find it’s easier to comb sideways. It keeps my fibre on the combs and it seems to do a nice job too!

After a little comb with my dog rake, I place a bunch of locks onto the comb, so the tips are farthest from the tines. I then comb them off, onto the moving comb.

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Since I HATE waste, I save all these bits in another pillowcase. I suppose I could use them in lots of ways…carding (if I ever try that), felting, needle felting, stuffing…

Then I comb back onto the stationary comb…

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I usually give the last bits a bit of a pull…to get as much of the fibre as possible…

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You can continue this ‘off, on’ as many times as you like. I usually just do two passes (one off, one on). The more passes, the more perfect the fibre becomes but the more waste as well. It depends what you like.

Next, I pull off the combed top, as evenly as possible. I don’t have a diz and frankly, am not planning on getting one. I have no trouble pulling off the top and then drafting it out evenly to spin.

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Give it a little twist and move my hand up to the comb again…

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When I’ve pulled all I can from the comb, the rest goes into the waste bag…

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The finished combed top….

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I’m spinning some of this right now, for lace…

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I hope this post was at least a little helpful :) Have a great day!

Awesome!

Very cool day in wool-land!

I’ve started to knit with my charcoal shetland…

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It’s a ‘sylph’-ish cardigan…or at least that’s what I’m going for…

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I had to downsize it, one size, and am thinking about leaving the open pattern throughout rather than changing it to the closed version halfway, as the pattern is written. I think it shows off the shetland nicely AND the mods are necessary if I hope to have enough wool!

Since I’m new at this, I didn’t realize how much weight is lost in the cleaning and processing of the fleece. I have approximately equal amounts of the outer coat (silvery gray) and the inner coat (the chocolate brown/gray that I’m using for this sweater).

My rambouillet fleece arrived today! From Knit-Knackers in Ottawa, Ontario – purchased from ebay but also available directly from the store and sold by the pound, for anyone who is interested. :) It’s so soft and fine, really really fine. 17 to 21 microns. I’m almost afraid of it, lol.

It’s soaking already, in a cold water soak.

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And – the 3rd fantastic part of today – I’ve found (or been found by, lol) a local lady who raises sheep and she’s going to drop off three fleeces on the weekend, for FREE. Yay for free things! Very cool and she says next spring I should get back in touch again. LOVE the idea of having local fleeces and saving money even IF they are more work! She’s shearing tomorrow and I’m excited. :)

It’s Here!

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I picked up my fleece this morning at the post office. Good thing too…now it looks like it’s going to pour rain today! It came in a pretty small box, it’s amazing how well they vacuum packed it.

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About 4.5 pounds of raw charcoal/black shetland fleece from Devine West Ranch in New Brunswick, Canada.

Couldn’t help it – had to see! – so I’ve let it stretch a little in a smallish bin in the living room until the kids get home for lunch. I want to let them share in this whole thing – it’s a real learning experience for all of us and I’ve always been craft mama with them :)

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It fluffed right up and it’s not nearly fully ‘fluffed’…

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I can see some finer fleece as well as some coarser and there seems to be a variety of browns/blacks within the fleece. I’ll be able to say more once I stretch it out (planning to use an old sheet for that!) and have a better look. Doesn’t look like too much hay or other fun stuff in there but again, I need a better look.

I’m all excited and intimidated at the same time, lol! Wish me luck :)

I Have To Have This Camp Shirt!

Now that I’m done surgery (and healing well I’m happy to add!) and my 40th birthday has passed uneventfully…I wanted to do something for me. A little personal pat on the back…

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Nice, isn’t it?

I’m using some yarn I spun for the project, superwash merino laceweight in the colour ‘sapphire’, mill ends purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. My yarn came out thick and thin (doesn’t it always?) and is roughly lace/light fingering weight. It seems to be working out well in this sweater though I’m pretty sure my guage is off. I’m making the smallest size so there’s a bit of room for that guage issue.

I really don’t tend to worry very much about getting guage and I’m usually pretty lucky.

A little peek…

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The colour is off…it’s brighter than the picture shows but it’s so blah here today I’m doubting it’s the day for a better picture…

Check out the newest gadget I’ve reassigned to spinning…

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It’s actually a tiered knit dryer with mesh that fits over the bars…I found it at a discount store for about 8 bucks last weekend. I think it’s ideal as a yarn dryer as well, on it’s side like it is!

It’s currently drying a skein of laceweight (for the camp shirt) and some yarn I’ve spun for the African Adventure blanket. That blanket is surely sucking up the yarn, lol. I’ve got good news…it’s not abandoned, just in transition while I respin each colour for it.