Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Mailbox Surprise

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

It seems like my fibre club packages arrive at the perfect time. The last one came on a snow day when I could spend a good length of time at my wheel enjoying the great colours and trying to figure out how to spin long draw. Today marks the start of the 4 day Easter weekend, and my mailbox was full again!


The fibre this time is Romney, and the colourway is called Lightning Strike. I am thinking that I need socks rather than mitts at this time of year, so my plan for spinning will take that into consideration.


I’m going to divide the roving in half lengthwise, one half for each sock. I’m going to try to make matching socks by using the fractal spinning method. The colours appear to be a pretty brownish purplish orange. I hope that the individual shades can stand out well.

Spunky socks

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Today I finished my pair of socks that I’ve been working on for the last two months. They started off as the 100 g of Cotswald fleece expertly dyed and distributed by the good folk at Spunky Eclectic.
20130328-011037.jpg The yarn is thick and dense, perfect for the kind of socks that can keep you warm when wearing rubber boots. These are the most fun and classiest rubber boot socks that I’ve ever had.

I knit the socks on 2mm needles, toe up, with an after thought heel. Toes heels and ribbing were worked in black to contrast with the peacock tones of the body of the sock.

I am glad to be done this project, because I will soon be getting another package of fleece in the mail!


Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Yesterday the weather was bad–it was a storm that lived up to the bus cancellations and media hype.  I watched the storm get worse all day while at work, and we were finally sent home at 2pm.  The drive was a short one, but rather scary, as the roads had not yet been plowed, and many others had been sent home early from work at the same time.  I had to shovel waist deep snow to get myself dug IN to my parking space once I got home.  (pic taken much later, about 9pm when cars and buses were stuck in the snowbanks)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To my surprise and delight the mail had been delivered–thanks postal workers for working through all kinds of miserable conditions–my Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club had arrived.  This is the first time that I’ve joined a club like this, and I think mail order fluff once every 2 months sounds like a great way to get experience spinning new kinds of fiber, and to experiment with colour choices that I wouldn’t be able to dream up.

This first shipment is Cotswold, and the colourway is Eye of the Peacock. eyeofpeacockI spun late into the night, watching and waiting for the snow to let up and for the plows to get to the smaller streets.  This morning I got up early and enjoyed the warmth of the February sun and the brightness of all the snow outside.  I plied my two bobbins of singles together.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I took pics on my fresh balcony snow. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m thinking this might make some pretty interesting socks.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHope everyone else has been safe and warm for their snow day!

Rather Late Christmas Presents

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Last Christmas I gave my brothers soft squishy presents under the tree.  They unwrapped and found bags of fiber which I promised to make into something that would be unique and perfect for them.  I never guaranteed that they’d be done quickly or anything.  Here are the results of several months of spinning and knitting.

A cable hat for brother #1 made of merino wool


And…for brother #2 who can’t wear anything wool because it is too scratchy, a pair of mittens designed for operating an iPod or iPad made out of superfine alpaca.


These are hunting gloves, with a finger and thumb separated from the hand.  The tips of the index finger and thumb have conductive thread stitched in.  This is what lets the touch screen devices pick up the “touch” signal.finger

He’s going to have the warmest hands this winter–no need to take these mitts off EVER!



Sunday Morning Spinning

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I took a break this morning from all the things I should be doing.  It was lovely to sit by my window, in the bright sunshine, and spin up 4 oz of “baltic” blue roving from Paradise Fibers.


It’s now one very large skein of 2 ply yarn.

Now…back to the regularly scheduled work…

Drive Band Installation

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

It’s not as hard as I thought it would be to change a drive band.  I was a little concerned because I would have to take my spinning wheel apart, or cut and refasten the drive band.  I searched online and found a tutorial that made the process look fairly simple. The process of replacing a drive band is simple– it is also not anything like what this tutorial claimed either.  Perhaps it’s because I have a single treadle wheel and the tutorial seems to be for a double treadle.

In any case, all I needed was a flat head screw driver.  I decided that because I have one treadle, and one piece of surgical tubing that connects the treadle to the footman (and the wheel) that I would undo the screw that connects the tube to the treadle, and insert the loop of drive band there, and then put the screw back in.  In a matter of minutes I’m ready to go again!  Thanks so much to Paradise Fibers for the speedy delivery of my new drive bands!

I’m taking advantage of the day at home to give it a test drive.  Back to work and robots tomorrow.

Baby Camel In The Mail

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Look at the goodies!!! mailI stopped off at the post office on the way to robotics this morning, and was thrilled to see that the package I got was a box full of my order from Paradise Fibers.  There’s some gorgeous  baby camel in there that I can’t wait to spin.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, there are two drivebands for my wheel.

After a long sleep tonight I’m going to attempt to change the band tomorrow.  It’s a job that requires a bit of wheel dismantling.  I hope I have the appropriate tools.  If I don’t, at least I know a robotics team that is happy to share!

FO: Cozy Hat

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

My grandmother, the knitting matriarch of the family, turned 95 today.  The family gathered to celebrate with cake and ice cream and champagne.

My mom made a delicious banana cake garnished with chocolate coated strawberries.  It was quite an elegant dessert party.

I brought my newest finished project to show and tell after dessert.  My handspun blue/green/purple yarn has now become a hat.  It’s a one-of-a-kind toque that will warm the head of a friend of mine this winter.

It is soft, stretchy and long enough to keep ears toasty warm.  I am very pleased with how the blue-green and blue-purple colourways have blended together to form waves and strata of colours.  Cables are almost lost in the stripes…but I needed the cables to keep me interested, and to add elasticity.

This hat has many hours of love and care spun into the yarn, and knit into the stitches.  I hope it brings much warmth and comfort to the wearer all winter long.

Midnight Spinning

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

In the quiet midnight moments, when the world is still, I have taken to unwinding while sitting at my spinning wheel.  The whir of the wheel turning, the repetitive pedal pushing, the rapid rotation winding freshly spun singles onto the bobbin, colours merging and blending from black to green, from purple to blue, slowly filling bobbin after bobbin….all of this has calmed me….quieted my brain…over the past few busy days.

What’s wonderful about this type of meditation/relaxation is that there is something to show for all of the midnight moments.  I now have a lovely one of a kind skein of yarn.  The colours remind me of peacock feathers.

there’s lots more purple than the top picture shows:

I think this might become another baby sweater.  It’s all superwash wool, easy to care for.

The roving (Longwool top in nightgreens and nightviolet colourways) was purchased from slimchicken’s etsy store.  I alternated spinning various lengths of each colourway, then plied two bobbins worth together.  There were a few lumps and bits of roving that appeared to have felted–it strikes me as odd, since it is superwash, but apart from the few felted bits, the roving was a pleasure to spin, and I’m sure the finished garment will be really pretty too.

Twitter To The Rescue

Monday, September 20th, 2010

This weekend I snapped…..

It was Spin In Public Day, and I was considering hauling my wheel out somewhere and spinning in the sunshine.  However, when I went to my wheel, I found that my drive band had snapped!  I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s someone or something sabotaging my spinning, but there’s no proof, and really nobody would spend that much time to cause me this much frustration.

I guess with enough stress for enough time anything (or anyone for that matter) will snap.

note to self (and others): do not leave a drive band under tension between spinning sessions.

I had replaced a drive band before (blogged), but didn’t really want to go searching for more tubing.  There’s got to be a way to fix this band.

What do you do when you’re looking for rather obscure specialized information? Last time when faced with this issue I looked up different suppliers and sent out a bunch of emails.  This time I tried something different.  I consulted Twitter!

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s a social networking tool, a way to communicate with people in short (140 character) messages.  You can follow people who are interested in things you care about, and just about anyone can follow you too.  Sometimes you know people, sometimes you don’t, but if you are needing advice, there’s bound to be someone willing to offer their 2 cents to help you out.

I’ve been on Twitter for about a year, and I’ve developed a network of spinners and knitters whom I follow, and who follow me.  I threw out my query to the Twitterverse, and sure enough, within minutes, there was an answer!

@KLgrant1971 (from Wiltshire England) suggested the following ideas

“Pair of tights or a stocking like a fan belt repair? Super glue and duct tape?” and then added…

“I’m not a spinner, but hubby’s dad was a mechanic & I picked up a bit of knowledge by osmosis! Hope U find a solution! ;-)”

So….I set about fixing my drive band/finding a replacement.

First I tried to melt the ends of the current band, and stick them together.  Plastic melts right?  Is my drive band plastic?  It turns out that mine is rubber, and that does not melt.  It catches fire, and makes a stinky smoke and a hot ash, but doesn’t get sticky at all.  Rather disappointing!  (If you try this, be sure you have water on hand, and beware of the stink!)  I was glad my candle smells like cranberries.

Next I tried to tape the ends together.  I didn’t have duct tape, so I found the next best thing, really sticky scotch tape–this kind is really flexible, so I had high hopes.  I had to cut bits off of each end of the drive band due to the whole burning/stinky ash attempt.

For a while, things were looking good.  The tape held, but the loop made a clicking noise every time the tape went around the bobbin–I think the tape made the drive band too stiff in that area.  For a while, it became a self shifting mechanism as the band slid itself (against my wishes) from the largest part of the bobbin down to the middle size, then the smallest, and finally off of the bobbin entirely.  It was worse the faster I spun.  After a little troubleshooting and experimentation the whole band snapped once more, and not where the tape was!

Rather than patching the whole thing and trying again, I took a bit of a break.

After removing myself from the frustration for a while, I went back to my wheel today with a new approach.  Stockings!  I’m sure we all have a pair or two with a hole in them, tucked at the back of your top drawer because you knew that they’d be useful someday.

To repair a spinning wheel with stockings:

  1. cut off one leg of the stocking.
  2. cut that stocking leg in half from toe to top (don’t try to rip it, it will rip around the leg)
  3. Thread the stocking around the wheel where the drive band goes.
  4. Stretch the half stocking all around the wheel, and tie it so it will stretch to fit the bobbin.

Before declaring victory, I spun a bit yesterday and then again today just to be sure that it is still a working solution.  I am actually amazed at how well this works.  I don’t know how long lasting it is, but for now I’m back spinning again thanks to @KLgrant1971 on Twitter.

P.S.  I’m @sticksandstring on Twitter.  Feel free to follow me!

Has twitter ever helped you solve a problem?