Friday, June 27, 2014

Lever Knitting

I am sitting here trying to take pictures of myself knitting using the Lever style.  I have concluded however, that it is almost impossible to do.  I am too close to me, and I need a free hand to do it!  I will have to get my friend Lou Ann to do the honors one day.

 I can however show you my rehabilitation progress.  The knuckle on the middle finger, of my right hand, blew out about 6 weeks ago while I was merrily knitting at a knitting retreat.  It swelled up and was red and painful.

 It is still a little larger than I would like, but I do keep bumping it!  I haven't iced it in ages but I have done some cold water exercises.  The mountain stream in the campground was sooooo cold, but it felt wonderful to be able to flex that finger to almost a normal angle.
Here it is almost flush with the other digits!  See, I am giving the thumbs up!

Now, back to Lever knitting.  The injured finger was put out of commission by the pressure of the stitches that were building up on the right hand needle, I had to find a way to take that pressure completely off of it.  When you use the Lever technique, the right hand needle is placed in your right armpit.  (At first it seemed to not want to stay put, but now I don't even think about it.)

The heel of my right hand rest and remains on this  right hand needle.  The yarn is carried by my right hand, but it is wrapped in such a way so that my thumb and pointer are free to manipulate the stitches along as they build up on the needle.  (They are also free to help when I need to make a cable.)

Let me see if I can say how it is wrapped with words.  The yarn comes from the ball that is placed on your right hand side.  It comes over the back of your hand and between your pointer and middle finger.  It then wraps around the middle finger clockwise just once, then goes over your ring finger close to the fingernail bed.  I will be getting some good pictures of this in the next few days so that you can see it with your eyes.

There I was with a knitting needle in my armpit, and the yarn wrapped in a completely different way and in the other hand, and I haven't even picked up the left hand needle, can you say awkward!  Since I really had no choice, I had to press on!

I'm not sure my word pictures are going to cut it, I will continue, when I can get some pictures!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Knitting, Tina

Monday, May 26, 2014

Nigora Bucklings!

We had a camping trip this week that got canceled for various reasons.  We got some days in August instead.  It turns out that it was a good thing, because the Nigora doe that I bought a little while ago decided that it was time to have her kids.

We had some trouble establishing a good nursing relationship, but I think we have made it through the rough part.  There are 2 Bucklings in the barn doing well, as is their mom, Kami.  ( I will get some pictures up when I can get to the computer.)

Until next time, happy spinning and weaving, Tina

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Loom in the Studio

I bought a rigid heddle loom this week.  It is a Leclerc Bergere, a 24 inch sturdy loom.  I bought it so that I could weave scarves and shawls with my handspun, and also use up some of the commercial yarns I have on hand, that I don't want to use on the bigger floor looms, like this Alpaca yarn from Knit Picks.

I have had this yarn for awhile, and I have tried a couple of different projects, but have not been pleased with the results.  This time however, I think is a winner.  I have enough of this yarn to make several scarves, so stay tuned for different color combinations.

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Friday, February 28, 2014

Slice of Life

I live in a very old house, and I spin on very old spinning wheels, and I weave on very old looms.  I am detecting a pattern aren't you!  I don't know what it is about the old things, Dear One teases me about being born in the wrong century.  It may be that I can feel the connection with history every time I sit down to spin or weave.  Or it could be the thrill I get when I learn a new skill, or handle a new fiber, especially the fibers that have been used for centuries like flax, and wool.

It centers me, the gentle whirring of the wheel, the creak of the treadle,  the rhythm of the loom.   I can think,  I can pray,  I can make plans for the days and weeks ahead, and trouble shoot any problems there might be.  When I arise I am a calmer, gentler,  and all around happier person.  That is why I love it!

I love living out here, just outside of the local towns, close enough to be convenient, far enough to be quiet and country like.  We love having family and folks out to our house to share a Sunday afternoon.  As the weather begins to warm up we are spending more time outside.

Last Sunday, we had 3 families with kids, a total of 16 people were at the house.  A friendly game of softball was underway when we noticed that we had an audience.  We have an unusual set of softball rules at our house, that have developed as the oldest grandson has grown up.  One of the longest standing rules is that if you get a hit, you run as fast as you can around the house.  If you can make it back to the front porch before you are hit with the wiffle ball, you have a home run.  Like I was saying, we noticed that we had an audience, that we were not expecting.

The market calves, all 10 of them, were lined up at the fence, watching the humans play the game.  I suppose this is the first time we have been outside in a "herd", since they have been in this field.  I had noticed that they have a habit of congregating  around the chicken pen, to watch the chicken channel at least once a day.  I ran into the house and grabbed the camera, I just had to get it on camera.


Next month, this batch of steers will be off to market, and then the new calves with their mom's will be in this field.  I do love watching the little ones running, and jumping around the field together.  Hmmm, It seems that I do as much cattle watching as they to  people watching!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It Just Happened

I totally didn't mean to do it, but you would have done the same thing, if you were me!  It all started when I happened to check Craigslist, just for giggles you know.  (I really should stop doing that!)  There she was, one of the spinning wheels I have been keeping and eye out for, one of the early tilt tension wheels made in Canada in the mid 1850's and 60's, by Jeremie Ouellet.

 The price was right on, thought the pictures were not the greatest.  I called this morning to see if the wheel was still available, and it was.  I roped Lou Ann into going with me after weaving.  We set off for a quick trip to the mountains about 1 hour away.  We only had to call the seller once when I wasn't sure which driveway I should take.

We were warmly welcomed by Tommy and Paula, and we sat and chatted for an hour before we even got around to talking about the wheel!  They had bought it a couple of years ago at an auction, and had admired it since then, though neither of them spin!  We finally got around to discussing the wheel, and they asked me if I wanted to try it out.  Of course I did!  They already had a drive band on, and I had brought some roving to use.

I found the bobbin stiff on the mandrel and the yarn was a little sluggish on the uptake, but I think that will be fairly easy to take care of.  I know some tricks!

Tomorrow it is supposed to snow a lot in the valley, if it does, I know what I am going to be doing all afternoon.

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Double Flyer Wheel in Action

After I posted a couple of pictures to Ravelry "Antique Wheels Group", one of the members asked if this wheel was a "Schippertje" or Barge Wheel.  Well you know that sent me searching the internet!  Turns out this is a Dutch wheel that was used on the barges that travelled along the canals in Holland and Germany in the 19th Century!  I was thrilled to have so much information in such a short time!

I asked my weaving buddy Lou Ann if she would video me spinning on the wheel during our Tuesday Weavers show and tell.  I had hoped to post it to Ravelry, but I can not figure that out!  I then remembered that I could post it here and then do a linkydink!

After practicing all day yesterday, between laundry and bread making, I did pretty good, and at least looked like I knew what I was doing.




Until next time Happy Spinning, Tina

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Unusual Wheel

I got a new wheel this afternoon.  You might think that this is just like any other wheel that I have, but you would be wrong!  This wheel is a double flyer wheel possibly from Germany, but definitely from the 19th century.

She has had some repair work done to her.  The right hand flyer is a more recent replica of the left hand flyer.   The treadle has had some work done to it and the top of the 3 piece distaff is a replacement as well.
 I have had my left hand in training for about a month.  It is really hard to get it to work as easily as my right hand.  As soon as the wheel got here this afternoon, I set her up.  She had been packed up really well, and labeled very well.  It took only about 10 minutes to put her all together, and before you know it I was treadling.  I treadled for about 10 minutes, to get the feel of her, and I oiled all the necessary places so that she was running smoothly, before I started trying to spin anything on her.
Surprisingly, I was having trouble with the right hand flyer at first, until I figured out that the tension was greater on that side.  Once I got that fixed, it went much better.
 I have successfully spun with both flyers going simultaneously, but I am  still much better one at a time.  It will just take a little bit of practice, and maybe a slightly different fiber presentation, this flax was a little too loose.
She will be going with me to the Museum of Appalachia when I demonstrate, and talk to the public.  They always love to see these wheels spin, and are intrigued with the process.  Now I have a wheel that looks the part.

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Tina