Category Archives: The Wheel Itself

Red Alert

Be amazed! Take a look at this eyeball-searing shade of red. My poor camera hates it, and I love it! This is the result of switching the normal up a bit.

To explain. In the natural course of events, I ran out of my Crimson dye about a week ago.

Now, I’ve used two red dyes before. One is Crimson (my favorite) and the other is Fire Red. I had always preferred Crimson because of the deeper color tones. (The Fire Red tended to go orangey.) Well, when I ran out I hastened to order more, but the place I was buying from didn’t have Crimson!

Knitters Have It Easy

A few days ago I began a new knitting project, since I had finished the sweater. “Wait!” you say. “You finished and you didn’t tell us?” Well, it’s not finished-finished until it’s blocked, and I’d rather not model it while it’s soaking wet, thank you very much. And pictures of it laying flat on a table get old after awhile.

Ahem. As I was saying. I began knitting my first shawl. The Emily Dickinson shawl, it is called, and it’s available for download on Ravelry. (I’m LoveFiber on there, by the way.) This is my first shawl, my first knitted cobweb lace-weight, and my first time adding beads to a knitted project.

And let me just say it now, knitters have things so easy where beads are concerned! You just pull the loop up through the beads one at a time with no fuss. The last beaded non-knitting project I made required loading the seed beads onto the yarn ahead of time. All hundred and something of them. Then I had to keep scooching them along the yarn until I needed one. Crazy.

New Year’s Dash In The Pan

Alright. So. First off I would like to know who the wise guy is that made me think I had started last year’s New Year dash the day after Christmas? And who kept me from doing some simple math? I was happily prospecting on the amount of spinning I would get done, and possibly even complete spinning all the fiber you see below (carefully selected from the dozens of applicants) when someone casually mentioned the fact that the New Year was a mere six days away.

Crash. Bang. Shriek of car brakes. WHAT?!?!?!??!?

Last year I took ten days. Started on December the twenty-second. There I was, December twenty-sixth, thinking I would get even more fiber spun then last year. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.

Battle of The Spinning Wheels

Ta-da! All two pounds of fiber dyed blue and dry. Now we come to fun part. Spinning them. And spinning them ASAP.

At the time, I wanted to have all this yarn spun up by mid-October, and I still do— (I hear the rustle of calendars as you look at the date. I can dream, can’t I?) It didn’t seem so difficult at the time, but the trouble was that my usual loyal, supportive G. P. Adams & Co wheel was full of silk. And I did not have time to finish spinning that project before I began the indigo. Therefore it was time to try out the two antique spinning wheels that my father bought. Scary scary. Two unknown wheels and a deadline. I started with the one that treadled best. IndigoMerinoonWheel
This poor wheel had literally come to us in pieces and had been put back together by my grandpa. On its maiden voyage (ha ha) it behaved well for a while, then began throwing a fit. And throwing its drive band.

When that didn’t deter me, it decided to snap the single at any and every opportunity, and if it could snap the single about two inches after I had rejoined it, that was even better! Well, I couldn’t sit around and deal with it so I put it in the corner to think over its attitude and got out the other wheel.

Wool Gathering

Believe it or not, I haven’t fallen into a fiber-induced coma and vanished off the face of the earth. I’m still here trying to make time for spinning and fiber in a rapidly filling schedule. (While juggling a change of work, vacation plans, writing, and getting ready for a friend to come visit.)

Every single scrap of Iowa fleece I have left (except for one chunk that had lots of VM) has been pre-soaked twice. All of it. Excuse me while I go collapse.

I spent I don’t know how long outside in the backyard hauling pots of water, wrestling fleece, spinning out the excess water, and shooing away any curious insects. It wiped me out. I have this feeling that the neighbors think I’m some sort of odd person — constantly lugging pots out there, whirling around spraying water in every direction — yeah. Well, if they want some wool they can have it. I just want to get it all washed by the second of August.

Why the reason for this sudden haste? A certain special friend is coming to visit next month, and she’s bringing a toy with her. Something very beneficial for those who have lots of fiber to process. Any guesses?

The Heel Turned

Ta-da! Behold the latest in footwear fashions. (No, the photo is not sideways.) The unique design enhances ankle warmth and circulation while leaving your toes to cool off and wiggle about as they desire. The spikes protect from any little nippy dogs, and the ball of yarn drags along in case you have a sudden knitting urge.

Yes, I’m planning to finish it. And its mate. This one will have some queer little lumps and bumps in it. Things like “repeat rows A and B until x amount remains on the needles” should not be listed after “continue.” What do they think I am? A knitting guru? Ahem. Well, anyway, it seems to be turning out despite the difficulties. I can get it on. And off.

I’m enjoying knitting something that small. I like tiny things. Tiny stitches, tiny needles, tiny yarn. I even have a pattern picked out for the next pair! It’ll be a very special pair due to the fiber choice. (More on that later.)

What Am I Looking At?

Beginner’s Info: Part 5

So, you’ve decided to get a spinning wheel, you lucky you. Spinning wheels are the sports cars of the fiber world. There’s just this aura around them. A feeling of mystery which can be very thrilling, but when it comes to picking out a wheel it can get in the way.

I’m going to try to sweep away some of the fog and reveal the spinning wheel in all its grandeur.

Parts Of A Spinning Wheel

First off, what are the different parts of a spinning wheel? Here is an excellent picture with handy little arrows. (If you’re wondering, it’s on quite a nice website. Feel free to explore.) Now, the business end is the “head,” which refers to the bobbin, flyer, orifice, and bobbin whorl. That’s where the yarn is actually made. When I first started researching spinning I had a vague idea that the fiber had to go around the big wheel – wrong. The big wheel is the power engine for the head. And your foot is the power engine for the big wheel, which brings us to the first option to be considered.

So You Want To Spin?

Beginner’s Info: Part 1

So you want to learn to spin? Good for you. You’re about to be initiated into the wonderful craft of spinning. Or, to turn it into its most basic process, the art of taking a handful of something and making into gorgeous yarns.

If you’re interested in spinning, chances are you’ve at least seen a spinning wheel before. Maybe you watched someone at a Living History demonstration, or perhaps you have a friend who keeps babbling on about their wonderful wheel, or maybe (like me) you picked up a magazine and got sucked into a world of color and texture. However you developed the interest you want to get started. So now is the time for me to stop telling you how much fun you’ll have and give you some hard facts.

What is spinning?

Spinning is putting twist into something to make it form a new, stronger shape. You can spin with three blades of grass and your fingers. You can spin with long strips of fabric and a heavy rock. You can spin with your hair and a messed up curler. But none of these are the cool ways to do it.

If you want to begin spinning, you’re going to need three things. Something to spin into yarn, something with which to spin that thing into yarn, and something to tell you how to do it.

Spinning Fur

Last week was a tough one. Long and tiring. That’s why I’m so pathetically behind on this update. By the time I hit last Saturday I was ready to chill. Really chill. Chill to the point of not having the oomph to pump the treadle up and down. So, I sat on my bed with two or three big glasses of ice water and enjoyed a great book. At least, that was the idea.

I’d been trying to do some fiber-related something every day so I’d have lots of interesting things to blog about, and that afternoon I wound up pulling out the Aussie Fur. That stuff was incredible.

Aussie Fur

Yes, you read that right. A very good friend (and fellow spinner!) sent me some fur from her dog for my birthday present. AussieFurclose

That stuff is so soft! It’s unwashed at the moment, which is driving my dog nuts. I can hardly wait to get started with it. I think I’ll spin it first, then wash it. That will help keep the fibers from felting or getting tangled. Which is pretty much the same thing, now that I think about it. (Unless you want to get into the molecular structure of felted fibers.)

I’m going to spin it on the Great Wheel as soon as I finish up the fall colored fleece. Talk about motivation! Let’s get that fleece done! She also sent some rescued cotton bits from pill bottles. I’m very curious to see how they will behave on the wheel.