My New Toy!

I got home tonight after a lovely day with my friend penelope waits and an evening at the richmond knitter’s night and discovered something to make my day even MORE awesome!

and inside this ashford box were a whole pile of pieces, which, two hours and a WHOLE lotta sweat later (It’s 40+ degrees here in melbourne today) I have this!

I managed to do it all myself, with a little help from my housemate’s 5 year old daughter, but i busted the tack that goes under the tension knob whilst trying to hammer it in, so i will get a new one tomorrow. a regular thumb tack should do as long as i can get it in without bending the pin. It’s just to stop the tension knob screwing into the soft wood. Other than that i think i have done an excellent job even if i do say so myself. My screws are flush (my grandfather would be proud) my pieces are all straight and lined up.

Now to decide what to spin tomorrow night when the cool change hits! I have some fibre combinations i’ve been eyeing off for a while, but i also have some fibre from a new enabler… hmmm, decision time!

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adventures in spinning

as i mentioned previously, I’ve been spinning a lot lately – mostly inspired by my lovely gift from Knitspirations on ravelry.com – two beautiful tops – and a trip to visit charly at ixchel where i purchased a new spindle and beautiful angorino top (and have since purchased another one, plus some more tops from Ewe Give Me The Knits!!)

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

I’ve been spinning undyed (which is starting to boooooore me) because it’s cheaper and i can experiment with dyeing it. And I’ve taken up the spindle to finish of the packet of sample fleece i got ages ago from sunset fibres on etsy.

So I looked up some great videos on you tube and practiced on both my spindle and wheel. I’m getting more even, but i’m still a bit thick and thin and have trouble maintaining a single any smaller than an 8ply (which means my plied yarn is very bulky)

here are some photos!

merino single, drop spindle

merino single, drop spindle

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

There’s another skein of this sort of weight 2 ply currently drying. I will re skein the two together and get a meterage. I’m considering making the dumpling bag from interweave knits from this for my friend – hand dyed in her favourite colours!

Things i have learnt

– how to predraft properly. in order to get an even fibre I really can’t afford to skimp on this bit.

– how to draw out the draft while i’m actually spinning – not a lot, but enough to thin out some of the ‘thick’ bits.

– i need to find a better way to guide the two singles when plying in order to get a more even twist in both singles

– i’m still over spinning a bit in some places, particularly on the wheel.

– i like having a notch on my spindle, especially when they’re as beautifully smooth as the spindlemaker!!

I really want to try navajo plying – especially with my coloured tops, in order to keep the colours even.

I have some raspberry and fuchsia merino i want to spin and then ply, in order to see what the two singles are actually doing.

i have plans to spin the more orangy of these two rovings into a skein for my friend for christmas. hence all the practicing!! Of course it’s important to remember – there ARE NO SPINNING POLICE lol.

a fibrous gift

a fibrous gift

Crafty lady – chapter 1

So much to do, so little time, so much to tell you!

I shall break this into chapters:

Chapter 1: The Spinning Wheel.

A lovely friend and I were discussing spinning wheels and how i wanted one. She mentioned she got hers from ebay for a steal and linked me to a number of wheels listed in Victoria.  One was listed for only $35 with three days to go on the auction. So I bid. After all, as if I would win an auction for a spinning wheel for $35.

I did. Monday morning I get the email telling me I’ve won the auction. I looked around my TINY apartment and BURST out laughing. I couldn’t believe it. Where was I going to put it?! I clearly hadn’t thought this through! I honestly spent about twenty minutes laughing.

I went and picked it up on Saturday. The story goes that a butcher made it 50 years ago from instructions in a magazine. He kept it in the shop window as decoration and then the wife of the seller inquired after it and ended up buying it. She spun on it for many years, but gave it up about 25 years ago. So now it is mine!

I realise that getting a handmade wheel as a first wheel contains a few risks and may make learning more difficult, but $35!!!

I went to the Spinners Guild and bought some more roving, dyed and undyed and a selection of dyes, as well as a book – A Visual Learning book with nice big, clear pictures – on spinning (both spindle and wheel).

I need to replace the cord that’s standing in for drive tension.  Still not sure what’s best to use, but i guess i can experiment! I also need to get some sewing machine oil to oil all the moving parts, and then just have a go i guess! I can always needle felt the yarn barf (read chapter 2- coming soon!)

For those who like pretty pictures: here is the wheel in my (incredibly messy) apartment. I have since tidied the house and it is now tucked away against the wall until I need it.

read on for more adventures in Chapter 2 – THE COW!