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A New Wheel

We all know how expensive fiber arts equipment is. You don’t make a big purchase very often if you’re operating on a budget. When you do get a new piece of equipment, it is a big deal! I was so excited to find this little wheel advertised for sale locally on Facebook!

I bought my new to me spinning wheel from a young couple in Tahlequah. They had bought it to spin alpaca fiber on, as they owned a herd of alpacas (more on that later!). But the lady of the couple has moved on to pottery, and is no longer spinning. They were selling the wheel, a set of hand carders, some fiber and a tiny niddy noddy, all together.

When I asked them where they had bought the wheel, they said they had bought it from someone that had put the wheel together as a kit. I just assumed that meant, the previous owners had bought a spinning wheel and assembled it at home. The wheel was finished beautifully, and worked well. A part of the distaff was obviously missing, and she only had one bobbin, but since I was looking for a wheel to teach beginners to spin on, I thought she would do. I just feel in love with her.

I spent a lot of time searching the internet looking for clues to this distinctive little wheel before I gave up and turned to Ravelry. If you need to know where a spinning wheel originated, Ravelry is the place to find that information! I found two groups in particular to be very informative. The first is the Antique Spinning Wheels group, which is where I got my first clue as to the maker of this wheel. I posted there and was ultimately pointed to Hallcraft 2710 spinning wheels. At first glance, it did in fact seem to be one of these wheels, which were produced by a company in Ohio, as kits, and then sanded, finished and assembled by the purchaser. On closer inspection, though, the legs, the distaff, and some other little differences led me to believe that while we were in the right ball park, I needed to keep looking. The other group that I have began to stalk is the Working Wheels group. It is so informative, I find myself reading threads just to see what they are talking about, how they identify various wheels, and what to look for if I ever decide to buy another wheel.

So I did some searches on Hallcraft on Ravelry, and was led to 3 or 4 discussions that lead me to believe that what I actually have is a Jacob Plum wheel, produced by the Midway Mfg. Co. Also a kit, but the legs and distaff are exactly the same as the legs and distaff on my wheel. Even more amazing, someone had just bought the rest of Midways stock a few years ago, and had finished, stained and sold these wheels for $350! I contacted the woman that was selling the wheels, and asked if she might have the missing part of my distaff or bobbins left over. She did! So I bought two more bobbins, and a whole distaff since she obviously didn’t want to split up a whole distaff. The whole bunch plus shipping cost me about $65, which is a lot cheaper than having bobbins made would have been. The new bobbins are a tad shorter than the original,but they fit! So now I have a nice little wheel with three bobbins. I still need to buy and install actual spinning hooks, as I hate the cup hooks that had been installed on the flyer. Just need to wait for that next pay check!

Here you can see the difference between the two bobbins. The larger one is the one that came with the wheel, and has the distinctive double etched lines found all over this wheel. The smaller one is one of the newer bobbins I just bought. Those smaller ones actually work better on the flyer, but I think they will hold less fiber. I have a plan to solve that problem though!

All in all, I think this is a good wheel. She spins smoothly, and is small enough to be transportable. I was worried about the tensioning system, but there is actually quite a bit of play there. I can adjust it from barely taking up at all, to feeling like there’s a truck pulling the yarn in. It was a pleasant surprise! I’m really pleased to have her. Now I just need a spinning student!

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Finally!

Got my Etsy store open on Wednesday. I was determined to have it done by the first week of September. I didn’t have as much to open with as I thought ,as Sean and I had to spend Labor Day weekend in Tahlequah, but it’s open! Now I just need to learn marketing and build inventory.’

Wednesday I woke up a little dizzy but didn’t think much of it. I hit the ground running. So after I got the shop open and started some lovely alpaca soaking for washing the next day, I realized I was getting really dizzy. By three, I was sick. I had vertigo, and it laid me out flat. I didn’t get out of bed except to stumble like a sailor on shore leave into the bathroom for two days.  I have never been as relieved as I was Friday morning to get up and only be a little bit dizzy.

By Saturday, I was better! We had board game day with the Three Rivers Board Game Group at Union Station. We had a great time; we played  Nightfall, Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove, Jack the Ripper, Terraforming Mars, Welcome to the Dungeon, and Qwicks. All were lots of fun, and the food at Urban Station was fantastic, as always.

Later this week I am hoping to remeber to write a blog about my new wheel, and about the alpaca I acquired, both are just a delight to work with.

Busy, Busy, Busy

…but having so much fun! I can’t even call this work, except I am so tired at the end of the day.  I would really like to get my etsy shop open by the first of September, so I am “working” pretty consistently every day.  I had to develop a system to store processed fiber so I can find it easily when I get an order.  I’m now moving on to takingnshop pictures and writing descriptions.  That’s been a little harder than the processing. 
Another thing I did was dye a batch of Corriedale wool I had processed. I am going to offer it in Art batts, just to see how it goes.  I didn’t intend to do that, but I love the colors and textures, so I am going to try it.  We will see how it goes.

Art batts


The other exciting news here is that my Father-in-law is motorizing my drum carder. I have a Patrick Green Debs delicate deluxe, and it’s a great carder, but I also have an injured rotator cuff.  All the carding is causing me some pain. I don’t want to put money into a motorized carder when I love this one, so he’s tackling the project for me. My in-laws are so sweet! I really am blessed to have them as family. 

Hopefully the next time I update I will have opened my shop.  It is exciting, but I am really nervous about it! 

Dye Day

This morning was the day I had set aside this week for dyeing some wool batts. Most of them are 100% Corriedale, but there were a few mixed breed rovings I had made that I threw in different pots just to see what might happen. 

Small batch, hand processed and hand dyed Corriedale batts


I had learned a lot about dyeing here at my house today. Previously, I had thought I was just really bad at it. My colors were always muddy, or too pale.  I figured out today I just need more acid than normally called for in dyeing instructions.  1/2 tsp of citric acid does not get me the bright sharp colors im looking for; however, bump the citric acid up to 1 tsp and Wow! I am much happier, and looking forward to dyeing many more batts in the future. 

Love this Spicy Red and Amethyst rovings.

Fiber Christmas was good to me!  I had a wonderful time, my classes were fantastic, and Sean spoiled me the entire weekend!  The only down side was I was just getting over a mild case of pnuemonia and Friday after my class I was exhausted. I had to skip the dinner and the guest speaker, go back to the hotel and sleep. 

My first class Friday afternoon was Fiber Blending with Judy Crouch. She did a fantastic job teaching us why we might want to make a fiber blend, and how to get good results. We were encouraged to use all the fiber tools available to experiment with our own fiber blends. I used 5 pitch combs to blend teeswater (I think) with angelina, hand cards to blend wool top with silk noil, and my drum carder to make an art batt out of wool, silk roving, and other things. I don’t remember what all was in there. I learned a lot and can’t wait to start blending some of the angora I have from my rabbits with other things. The knowledge I gained from that class will surely serve me a long time.

 My second class was Solar Dyeing, taught by Dawn Riden.  It was meticulously taught. Her mastery and instruction of the subject extended to regular dyeing as well, I think it will really help me get better results in all of my dyeing. We got to prepare three dye jars with fiber to take home. 

All the jars made by students of the Solar Dyeing class. Pic by Dawn Riden


Then of course it was cloudy and cool for the next several days and I could not get the dye to strike until yesterday.  Finally, though, results! 

From left to right, Cherry Red, a combo of Honey Mustard and Saffron Spice, and Hot Fuschia


Sean bought me way too much stuff while I was in class. The first day, we got back to the hotel and I found these two batts waiting for me, on top of the spindle he’d already bought me while we were perusing the vendors.


Then the next day, we came upon a wool picker. It was practically brand new, and the price was reasonable. However, when we went back to look at it after class, it had been sold. Oh well, there were lots of plans for pickers on the internet, and we were sure we could build one ourselves, given enough time.

Then I went to get my stuff out of the back of the van, and there was the picker! Sean really likes to pull off surprises and he really succeeded that time!  Look at the beautiful cloud of fiber ready for carding! 



This picker does not have a makers mark that I can see, but looks exactly like a Fancy Kitty swing picker. They haven’t made this model in 7 years, but this one looks brand new.  

I had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back next year! 

Sharing

Fiber Christmas is this weekend. I can’t wait. I am taking the Solar Dyeing class and Fiber Blending.  I would have taken more, but the classes I wanted were all at the same time. I think that will be enough for my first year. I can’t wait to see my friend Jane Deason. 

I washed more fleece today,  a gorgeous Shetland fleece from shepherdess Kaley Sheldon from Missouri.  


I really spent too much time playing and not enough time getting ready for Fiber Christmas, but it was fun. Now I am the good kind of tired! 

Felting

I always have so much trouble thinking of titles for posts!  Since I don’t have much time this morning to think of catchy titles, Felting will have to do.  Mainly because it’s the only thing I have had time to do all week. 

It is VBS week at church. Always lots of fun, if a little weird this year now that all three kids are graduated and out working. Reagan may go with me tomorrow, I am providing lunch for the youth workers, and it would be nice for her to go, since it’s going to be a tight squeeze time wise between the time my class is over and time for lunch. I have a plan though, so it should be fine, 

Since Christian Youth in Action are teaching the actual lessons this year, I have just been observing. It is hard for me to just sit, so yesterday I cast on a felted bag to hang on my spinning wheel. Fiber Christmas is coming up at the end of next week and I wanted a nice bag to hold all my essentials so I was constantly digging through my spinning box.  I knew it was going to knit up fast before I had gotten very far, the knitting was just flying.  I had the main knitting done by the end of my class, and I finished up binding off and the I-cord after my nap (even observing preschoolers is pretty exhausting!)  I felted it while I was cooking dinner, and voila!..


The only thing I might change is I might over dye it. The color is not the bold, saturated color I’d like. However, you use the yarn you have, and this is what I had.  The bag holds my WPI tool and card, an extra whorl,  the screw driver for the tiny screws on the footmen, and my oil bottle. I might add enough linen cord for another drive band, if I can figure out a way to keep it from getting all tangled up in there.  I think it turned out so nice. I have another skein of plain grey yarn from the same brand, and I am thinking about knitting a slightly larger bag and using it to hold a knitting project on the go. 

So, now I am ready for Fiber Christmas in July.  I just have to wait a little over a week!! I have lots of fleece coming in the mail though, so I think I’ll have plenty to do to fill the time. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you on that front soon!

Its been a long time since I posted to my blog.  The kids have all graduated high school, and as that day approached, I found that I had a lot of questions about what I was going to do with my life.   I thought about a lot of things. I need to have a “job” that is portable, because Sean would like to travel.  I really want to make things, beautiful things, with my hands.  I wanted to use the skills I already have, instead of having to learn an entirely new set of skills.  If I can teach occasionally, that would be great. 

So, despite the fact that there are probably hundreds of others out there trying it, I decided I would open an Etsy shop. I am going to start very, very small, and see what happens.  I knew I wanted to begin by trying to sell some hand prepped fiber, because I feel like commercially prepared top and roving has just had the life beat out of it.  There is nothing like working with  hand prepped fiber, full of the bounce and life wool has when it has been treated gently since it was shorn off the sheep.  


So, I have washed over 20 lbs of wool in the last few weeks, and have started processing it on my drum carder and viking combs. I have purchased dyes and the other things needed for new dyeing adventures. I have done a LOT of research. One question leads to another, and before you know it, you’ve rabbit hopped all over the internet finding answers to questions you didn’t know you had an hour ago. I love that adventure more than I remembered. It feels so wonderfuly freeing to be on that adventure for myself again; it is intoxicating!  

I want to talk about it, though. No one here, as much as they love me, is particularly keen to hear about how I figured out how to use the copper/ammonia mixture that has been percolating under the sink for the last 6 or so years to mordant fiber for natural dying.  They don’t care too awful much about seeing my dying notebook, or looking at the 12 beautiful Corriedale batts that are waiting for me to mix up dye stock and dye them so that they can then be turned into art batts.  So I have turned once again to my fiber blog. Even if I am just talking to myself, I will at least be sharing my knowledge, and that is important to me.  Let me know if you enjoy it!

no excuse

I didn’t make it through the entire photography challenge. Sigh. I don’t know what happened. The assignments quit speaking to me I guess. I couldn’t think of a way to make them interesting, and I didn’t want to do it if I couldn’t think of some way to make it original. Maybe I need a smaller challenge, like a once a week photo challenge, so I have more time to think of the details.

I have still been taking pictures, but I think I have hit the stage I saw on a graph about “how I feel about my photography” that simply says, “I suck” I don’t know if it is my aging but already poor eye sight or what, but none of my pictures are coming out very sharp. Also, the kids are refusing to let me take pictures of them any more. I need to find more things to take pictures of.

In other news, I just published a new pattern on Ravelry that also got picked up for KnitPicks IDP. The patterns name is the Anpiel Shawl. The test knitters really seemed to enjoy it, and that really made me happy.

I am working on some other knitting. I have four “baby” sweaters to knit. Only one of them is for a baby not already here, though. To say I am behind on my baby knitting is an understatement. I also have a hat to knit for my Uncle Rudy. Since hats are quick, I am hoping to get that done this week while the kids are doing school. I also have weaving to do, and sweatshirts that need cut up before I can complete that. As usual, I am having a hard time prioritizing, I want to do it all!! I told Sean the other day when I had a marvelous idea for someone into pottery, that as brilliant as the idea was, I could not, would not should not start another hobby. I’d have to give up sleep altogether, and I really like to sleep. If anyone knows of a potter who would like to make a ton of money selling things to knitters, though, I have a brilliant, genius idea.

Thought I would update the blog while the kids were getting woke up, before we get school started. I am going out to walk while they do their computer work, because I have decided that it is finally time to get this weight off that I have regained. Tomorrow will be weigh in day, and I think the first week went well. I managed to not drink coca-cola at all last week. I am eating better, and walking, so I’m excited that maybe this time, I will be able to stick with it. You all be praying for me!

Behind…

Well, I got behind on the photo challenge. A day or two that stumped me, and then I fell behind, and I’m not sure I’ll catch up completely. I do intend to jump back in tomorrow, or rather, later today, since it is 4 am, and I am up with insomnia. Insomnia really bites.

I do have a good excuse for falling behind though, as the last couple of days have seen me putting the finishing touches on another pattern I am submitting to KnitPicks. The test knitters are finishing up, and the tech editor is done, and so I sent the final pattern and the sample knit off yesterday. I try to never feel like I am for sure going to have a pattern accepted by Knit Picks, but I really like this one. I hope they do too. Reagan was my model again for this one, and she was just so grown up looking and beautiful in all the pattern pictures.

The other thing going on this week is, I have tried to restart my diet. I have tried several times in the last year or so to jump start my diet again. I have lots of excuses as to why I haven’t been able to get back on track, and none of them are good ones. I just need to do it. I’ve done a LOT better the last couple of days, I just need to keep getting back on the horse if I fall off instead of just abandoning all hope and eating everything in sight. I know I can do it, but I have to actually DO it.

Hopefully I will be back later today with a photo post. I’m starting to get sleepy, thankfully, so I’m going to head back to bed……

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